I’ve been waiting for the perfect moment to start writing this new blog of mine. A day when O is sleeping or otherwise occupied, the house isn’t a total disaster, work is under control and I feel well rested and inspired. The shopping has been done, the bills paid, the random piles of paperwork dealt with and I have a meal cooked and beautifully photographed to share with you all.On this perfect day I am showered and my legs are shaved and I have even put lotion on my elbows. There isn’t a pile of clean (but wrinkled) laundry setting on top of the dryer and another pile inside the dryer. Maybe – and this is getting completely crazy now – the yard is even weeded and I have mailed a birthday card to a family member before their birthday has passed. And to repeat, all this is accomplished and I am not draped over the couch, a shell of woman who’s energy and creativity has been completely drained out of her body.
Why, two and a half years into this whole motherhood gig am I still learning that a moment like this will never, ever present itself? I should know by now that the only way to find time for something I really want to accomplish is to shove it to the front of the line, no matter what. Sometimes this “thing” is a big work project, sometimes it’s starting this blog that I’ve really been wanting to start, sometimes it’s exercise or a phone call to a friend and sometimes it’s as mundane as re-organizing the tupperware drawer. Which you should do, by the way, as I guarantee your irritation level with the world will immediately drop several degrees. Which reminds me of a happier lesson of motherhood: there is so much pleasure in the little things now!
Every time I open that organized drawer of tupperware and can easily find a lid for every container it’s the equivalent of what I use to feel like after a $75 massage. Last week, O and I went to Huntington Gardens and instead of rushing around trying to enjoy all 120 acres we sat on a bench under a tree not far from the entrance and pretended it was a boat sailing out to an island. We “fixed” the boat with little twigs that we pretended were our tools.
So much in life is harder now that I have a child, but happiness is in such close reach all the time and so easy to find in such little moments throughout the day that it all evens out. Usually.
So today I finally made time to start this new blog, a continuation of my old blog but with a new look and a new focus. I needed a change, although I wasn’t sure what. And then suddenly I did: Vegetables. I needed more of them.
We are not vegetarian, not by a long shot, but I want to get more vegetables on my table and in my kid’s lunchbox. Who doesn’t?
I thought I’d start with something simple and pretty. I also thought I’d woo O in with this Beet + Yogurt dip because it’s her favorite color: pink. She was suspicious and didn’t fall for it. But if you invite friends over for a summer dinner, they probably will. The color is really gorgeous. The flavor is mostly of roasted beets, but eating them in this totally new form shocks the taste buds in a good way. It’s the type of dip that everyone’s eyes will immediately be drawn to. I recommend serving it with raw veggies and spicy olives and tasty bread and few other dips – like tapenade, hummus, tzatziki and an oregano and feta spread like this:
This sort of combination of appetizers should always be eaten outdoors with chilled rose or ice-cold beer. No matter what type of day they’ve had, everyone at your table will feel happy and lucky. I promise.
So, cheers! Or, like O says every time we clink glasses, “Happy Birthday!”
3 medium red beets (about 1 pound), trimmed on both ends
1 1/2 cups plain 2% fat Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint plus torn leaves for serving
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh tarragon (I didn’t use this, don’t really care for tarragon)
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
salt to taste
Preheat oven to 450°. Place beets in a small baking dish with a lid and add hot water to come 1/2-inch up sides of the beets. Put a lid on the dish and cook beets until tender, about 1 hour. Remove beets from baking dish, let cool slightly, then rub off skins.
Grate the beets on a cheese grater
Mix beets, yogurt, chopped mint, tarragon and vinegar in a medium bowl; season with salt and more vinegar, if desired. Cover and chill at least 3 hours to let flavors meld.
Top beet yogurt with mint leaves.