BEETS – photo by FOODISM360 on Unsplash

I think it was Jitterbug Perfume that gave me the idea that beets are sort of…magical.

And Ruth Reichl’s beet salad recipe in her FABULOUS cookbook, My Kitchen Year, sealed the deal.

It’s perfect for this time of year, but I’m also excited about making it in the summer, because it won’t wilt in the sunshine during pool parties. #alwaysthinkingahead

Borscht Salad (à la Fergus Henderson)

3 beets
1 green apple
1/2 small red cabbage
1 orange
1 small red onion (I didn’t have a red onion so I threw in some diced radishes – worked fine)
1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
4 tbsp. olive oil
sour cream (or goat cheese) (optional)

Peel the raw beets and grate them. You may want to use rubber gloves, or your hands will be a lovely shade of magenta for quite a while.

Peel and grate the apple and stir that into the beets.

Slice the cabbage as thinly as you can. Do the same with the red onion. Toss them with the beet/apple mixture.

Squeeze an orange and measure out 2 tbsp. of juice. Mix it with the balsamic vinegar and olive oil, then toss with the beets. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Spoon on to 6 plates and top each serving with a dollop of sour cream.

(One more note from me: Ruth says to “grate” the beets and apple, but I just cut them finely and it worked just fine.)

Hooray for beets!



P.S. BTW, you can still enroll in The Get It Done Workshop if you want to – go to – just $42 gets you started. – S.

By the way, you look really great today.

Lentils, Monastery Style

Lentils, Monastery Style

It’s not uncommon after traveling or completing a big project I feel a bit depleted. Ever feel this way? I am sure you do, most of us do even if we don’t always admit it.  

I have a little secret weapon though to get me back on the move I wanted to share with you.
I make “Lentils, Monastery Style” from “Diet for a Small Planet” by Frances Moore Lappé. (I know – that’s real, old-school vegetarianism, right?)

My mom used to make this when I was a kid, and it was always one of our favorites — the cheese makes it feel like there’s a secret treat — and everyone I’ve ever made it for falls in love with it.
Lentils, Monastery Style
(serves 4 as a main dish)
In a large pot, sauté 3-5 minutes:
1/4 cup olive oil
1 or 2 onions, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
Add and sauté 1 minute more:
1/2 tsp. dried thyme & marjoram
3 cups stock or seasoned water
1 cup dry lentils, rinsed
salt to taste
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley (or 1 tbsp. dried parsley)
1 lb. canned tomatoes
Simmer in covered pot until lentils are tender (about 45 minutes or an hour).
1/4 cup sherry
Have ready:
2/3 cup grated Swiss cheese.
To serve, place 2 tbsp. of cheese in each serving bowl and top with soup.
It’s simple and hearty and you can improvise on this recipe endlessly. It’s very forgiving.

You can add sausage or kale or ham or more veggies or whatever else you’ve got lying around. You can switch out the cheese – I love to use Goat cheese – or skip the cheese completely.

Although, of course, I am from the Midwest and the phrase “skip the cheese” has never once crossed my lips.

Here’s to simple comforts —

Where Will I Think to Look for This Later?

Where Will I Think to Look for This Later?

Asking yourself the question “Where will I think to look for this?” might be the single greatest organizational step you can take.

Asking yourself this question puts you in a state of awareness about your organizational style and creates an automatic mnemonic so you are even more likely to remember later on.

If I can imagine that the last time I put away a bottle of vanilla extract I thought, “Well, I’ll probably think to look for this with the rest of the baking stuff or maybe with the spices,” and then I put it with the rest of the baking stuff, well, I’ve got a better than fifty fifty chance of finding it right away the next time I need vanilla.

Certainly much higher than if I just jam it on a shelf somewhere where it eventually gets shoved to the back (because it’s a seldom-used item) and where I’ll never find it because I’m not even sure I have any to begin with because I don’t remember the last time I put it away.

This leads to buying more vanilla extract, which, if you use the pure extract (and you really should; the imitation stuff is terrible) is pretty darn expensive.

So why buy two when one, well placed, will do?

Again, the question is not, “Where should this go?” The question is, “Where, given my actual life, would I think something like this might end up?”

This is also a great question to ask yourself in parking garages, although there it sounds more like, “How will I remember which spot this is when I return?”

A good system is practical, realistic, easy, and even fun.

A bad system is impractical, unrealistic, hard, and a bummer.

You, your stuff, your space, and your art all deserve great systems.