The World’s Best Beans, Smoothies, Cereal Necklaces

Good morning and welcome to Thursday. Yesterday I wrote recipe headnotes for a chapter of my book. (Headnotes are the little descriptions that introduce the recipe, or tell a story, or give some context and instruction); I went for a long walk; I started a novel I was assigned to review. Lastly, the unsettling news from Minneapolis and Central Park prompted some seriously soul-searching conversations in our house, and we’ve decided to work our way through a few books on this list and this one. I hope you’ll do the same. Here’s today’s PPP…

Pantry: Lima Beans with Warm Bacon Dressing

This looks like the most boring bowl of beans you’ve ever seen, right? And lima beans, no less? Who even eats those? Well, the joke is on you because I’ve literally been dreaming about this dish for 48 hours. This is how they came into being: I had one last 16-ounce bag of Rancho Gordo lima beans, so early on Tuesday morning covered them with water in a large bowl and let them sit on the counter; Then, about an hour before dinner, I simmered the beans in the same soaking liquid (adding more water to cover by about an inch), half a roughly chopped yellow onion, about 1 tablespoon salt, and heavy drizzle of olive oil. When they were tender (about 40 minutes of simmering), instead of draining them, I scooped them into the bowl you’re looking at with a little of the bean broth, more olive oil, and then the bacon fat rendered from a single piece of bacon. (Plus the bacon itself, crumbled.) I would’ve added herbs, but I only had cilantro and dill, neither of which felt right. I maybe should’ve added lemon juice or Parm, but for some reason didn’t think to. I just kept picking beans from the bowl and thinking, This is the most delicious bean I have ever eaten. So I didn’t feel like I had to mess with it too much. Of course, a big part of the deliciousness stems from the heirloom lima bean itself — and unfortunately, because we are all so bean-obsessed right now, Rancho Gordo is sold out of them. But TheKitchn wrote about other heirloom bean resources last year, so I’m eager to try a few of those as well, and obviously, it would be worth a shot with a bag of dried beans from the regular old supermarket. (Maybe not canned though.) We served the beans with a gem lettuce, pickled onion, and blue cheese salad.

Project: Afternoon Smoothie

No breaking news here, just a reminder that a mid-afternoon whirl of plain yogurt, strawberries, and a scoop of almond butter is a really nice way to fuel up when you’re trying to get to the 5:00 finish line.

Purpose: Cheap and Easy Crafts

I just read that sales of craft books are up 50% — which makes me want to remind everyone about Supermakeit, my friend Jodi’s website and instagram, where she writes about spinning everyday items into the most creative art projects for kids. Cereal necklaces anyone?

Stay safe.

The goal of the Project, Pantry, Purpose series to keep us sane, distracted, and connected. Please continue to comment below with suggestions for recipes, projects (for kids and adults), good deeds, donation ideas, stories, movies, games, puzzles. Or just tell me how you’re doing, what your daily routine is, and especially how DALS can help you or people in your community. You can also email me directly at

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I, too, have been doing a lot of soul searching since the events in Minneapolis and Central Park. I want to donate to organizations that are working to end race-based violence and hatred. Through my research over the last few days, I have become overwhelmed by the options — so many good people doing amazing work! Do you (or others) have recommendations for organizations that need funding for work in these areas?


I still have a stash of Rancho Gordos from a health food coop not far from where I live. I call the grocery my secret RG dealer! I have a burning question for you, though: what do you do with the bean cooking liquid usually? I see you’ve added some to this dish, but there is usually a ton of the broth left over and i never know what to do with it, so wind up tossing it. I have some in my freezer now. It seems weird for some random soup…


from a fellow lima bean enthusiast: here in new orleans, everyone knows that you gotta use camellia beans for your monday night red beans and rice. but not many people have tried their lima beans (i go for their large limas). they are the creamiest! but, i’ve never tried rancho gordo, so….
*and also, martha rose shulman’s “baked beans with honey and dill” is one of my all-time, most favorite things. just sayin’ that dill and limas can, and will, be great friends.
thanks for your thoughtful posts during weird times ~ xo