Easy Meal #2

This is a satisfying dish for any diet. Plus it’s pretty. Even if you’re not a vegetarian, chances are you know one.  Keep this recipe on hand in case you need to whip up something veg fast. Or add it to your repertoire if you’re keeping Meatless Mondays.*

2–3 large servings


15-ounce can chickpeas, drained
Medium onion chopped
1 cup shredded red cabbage
Grain of your choice (optional)


→Heat oven to 450 degrees.
→Place chickpeas on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper to taste.  Roast in oven about 20 minutes or until golden.
→Sauté chopped onion in olive oil a minute or two. Add cabbage to pan and sauté until soft.
→Add roasted chickpeas to onion-cabbage mixture.
→Season with fennel seeds or paprika or whatever you have that might go.
→Serve on top of your favorite grain (or not).

Chickpeas and cabbage on top of brown rice. Sriracha garnish for kick and color.

*Fact check: Meatless Mondays have their origin in World War I, not Whole Foods’ marketing department. During the war, the government promoted wheatless meals on Mondays and meatless meals on Tuesdays in effort to conserve scarce food resources.

Spring Cleaning: Your Closet


PASS OLD CLOTHES ON—Clothes that you are not wearing will do someone good if you pass them along to those who need a little help. Don’t keep them thinking you will have them remade, only to find that you kept them so long that they are way out of date and not much use to anyone.
—Janet D. Myers, 2002 Household Helps (1941)

Funny how this advice from 1941 could have easily appeared in any of today’s myriad books helping us get rid of our stuff. Femme Banale likes Janet D. Myer’s advice because it is straightforward and practical…period. No therapeutic talk of liberation, leave-taking rituals, or the psychology of why we hang on to old blouses with shoulder pads.

It’s Spring. Time to clean. Let’s start with our clothes. Femme Banale applies what she calls the “Oprah rule”—if you haven’t worn something in a year, it’s time for it to go. (This is based on an Oprah episode in which an organization expert helped Gayle clean out her closet.) Go ahead try it. Maybe set a goal for yourself: I’m going to fill 2 shopping bags, or I’m going to get rid of 10 items.

Of course, there are special pieces that you’ll want to keep. But be careful on the slippery slope of rationalization. I could wear this to an ABBA party! I don’t think so.

Let me know how it’s going. Any tips?



Easy Meal #1

Even experienced home cooks face the what-to-make-for-dinner block. Baked potatoes have long been a go-to answer at my house. They are the perfect vehicle for your favorite toppings or leftovers. Plus they offer a menu item easily adjustable to household size. Make a party out of it with a toppings bar.

My husband prefers sweet potatoes, but I’m a straight-up Idaho lover. No matter—they bake well together. Below is a recent take on baked potatoes using leftover beet and bean chili.

His: Sweet potato topped with chili, fried egg, and jalapeño
Hers: Idaho potato topped with chili and jalapeños