May 27, 2014

Every year at this time, I write some kind of “Three thousand things running through my brain!  Can’t write a coherent thought!” post, slap it atop a recipe, and call it a blog post.  This is 2014’s incarnation of that post.

the best coleslaw ever | Blue Jean Gourmet

School years create their own roller-coaster rhythm, with dips and crests, weeks that float by, weeks that you slog through, days you count down, time playing tricks with its passing.  Somehow it’s almost June and I have to let go of another batch of students who have stolen my heart.

There is this crazy ratio between “days of school remaining” and “items remaining on the to-do list,” and me trying to lasso my wandering brain.  There are the iron-on labels I just ordered because Shiv starts school next week (!), thereby beginning a life of his own, outside the context of his mamas, and I’m so, so excited to watch it happen.  There’s the knowing how blessed we are to have found an educational institution with an approach that aligns with our beliefs, with tuition we can afford…there’s the desire to maintain awareness of this privilege, as I am so easily frustrated by lack of such awareness in others.

Then there is my own personal (bastardized) version of Nietzsche’s Eternal Return, an experience of reliving the weeks leading up to my father’s death that starts each May and lingers in the background of each summer.  I remember it all freakishly well: my tiny, newborn godsons, my iced coffee obsession, the songs I had on heavy rotation, the meals I cooked, the runs I took around Rhodes campus, the drives to the hospital, my silver Razr flip phone ringing at all hours, the exact layout of my father’s room in the ICU.  Sometimes it’s very hard for me to believe that there’s been any distance—let alone eight years—between those days and now.

So I don’t know if it’s the nostalgia, or the weird cycles of school-year time, or the fact that I am planning new writing projects (holy WOW does that feel good/scary/exciting/did I mention scary?  and exciting?), but I am all over the freaking place these days.  Sticky note lists litter my desk at work, I’m doodling & scribbling in two journals at once, jumping from book to book, brain running when I get into bed at night; just behind the tiredness is a wired eagerness, pacing.

I love it.  I feel completely alive and like a total mess, which maybe is actually the same thing.  Here’s to the summer, y’all.


recipe source: Lauren Crabtree

I was introduced to Lauren’t blog via my friend Leslie, who has introduced me to all kinds of wonderful things over the years.  With this recipe, Lauren shared about the health benefits of cabbage and the fact that it’s an incredibly affordable vegetable to keep in the regular rotation.  My family has likewise been working on becoming both more crunchy and more frugal, making this recipe a perfect fit.

Jill normally won’t even touch coleslaw, but she is obsessed with this one.  It is, in her opinion, the definitive coleslaw recipe; she sees no need to ever make another.  My mom has also been converted, and Shiv loves to eat it out of a bowl with a spoon—how’s that for an endorsement?  We’ve made it probably ten times in the last two months, and I can see it happening many, many more times over the course of the summer.

the best coleslaw ever | Blue Jean Gourmet


half a head of cabbage, sliced/shredded

¼ cup mayonnaise (we are obsessed with Duke’s in my house)

¼ cup apple cider vinegar (Bragg’s is my preferred brand)

2 T sugar

1 cup sliced or chopped almonds, toasted (I highly recommend the giant bag of sliced almonds from Costco; I throw them into granola, oatmeal, baked goods, etc.)

1 cup cilantro leaves, roughly chopped

salt & pepper, to taste

One bowl recipe y’all!  Mix the dressing in the bowl first, then dump in the cabbage, cilantro, & almonds, stirring to coat.  Season & adjust as needed.  That’s it.

I like to make this at least 15 minutes before serving, but you can make it even farther in advance and store in the fridge.  Keeps well for several days and goes with everything—tacos of all kinds (black bean, fish, ground beef), burgers/grilled sausages/hot dogs, as a topping for quinoa patties, alongside beans & cornbread, etc.  I had some today on top of leftover baked sweet potato fries & grilled veggies.


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