“Every morning I awake torn between a desire to save the world and an inclination to savor it.  This makes it hard to plan the day.”  E. B. White

My sentiments exactly…

Bean & Tortilla Soup, Everyday Dorie, The Way I Cook


Unlike Oprah, I’ve experienced very few AHA moments but have approached Enlightenment, those lightbulb moments, gradually. Call me a Slow Learner. I plead guilty. But about 20 years ago as we moved into the 21st Century, I AHA’ed bigly. I decided that Joy is a choice with resilience and attitude, the survival tools. But, most importantly, I realized women must be Brave.

My AHA moment has successfully guided me through the past 20 years but it’s been a total lifesaver the last 7 months – a time like no other, bouncing between status quo to terrifying. And yet, despite the barriers, restrictions and mis-managed Pandemic, I have been not joyful exactly, but very content. Admittedly, some days I’ve had to pull on my big girl pants and just be Brave. 

Bean & Tortilla Soup, Fully Loaded

Here’s to sharing some of the past month’s joyful moments and hoping you’ve had some of your own. It’s chilly in the Colorado High County so soup is on the menu. Need comfort food? This Bean & Tortilla Soup smells heavenly and carries some heat (or not, your choice.)


Hunter Creek Valley
A Sunday Morning Hike with Jessica Salet.

By mid-September it’s always a quiet time in the mountains. 

I was hiking Lower Lost Man and ran into these guys who were pulling in trout like crazy. It was mid-morning, they started fishing at 7:30 am and had already caught 10. They are part of the cooking staff at Plato’s, one of Aspen’s fine dining restaurants at Aspen Meadows.
While we were watching, he caught two fish on the same hook. His friends accused him of showing off but even he was amazed.
Max and his buddies were having such a great time.
I was feeling sorry for all those fish. What a lousy Sunday morning for them!


The women’s suffrage movement was a decades-long battle to win voting rights in this country. It took 100 years to make that happen for white women and longer for black women. Suffragettes were brave. Other brave Americans have fought and died so we can vote but only 56% of us cast votes in 2016. Don’t ask me to understand that.

Photo from “Decade by Decade: Aspen Revealed,” a current show at the Aspen Historical Society which focuses on a comprehensive view of Aspen History from 1870-1970.

In 1893 Colorado was the first state to grant white women the right to vote although the Wyoming Territory granted voting rights in 1864.

Since our Emma is a first-time presidential election voter, this is an exciting time for our family. (Well honestly, I’m the one who’s most excited.) Although Clara is a not-yet-eligible 17, she’s was a Poll Watcher in California’s last election. She wrote an extensively-researched paper on our Women’s Suffrage Movement last year which she shared chapter by chapter with her Grandmother. They both definitely needed VOTE necklaces.


Self-Saucing Ginger Toffee Pudding, a sweet, gooey and delicious Australian classic (Gayle Morgan photo)

As you Readers know, I’m a Fauci follower. Realizing no one is immune to this virus, I still listen to Dr. Fauci’s suggestions, trying to stay safe and not harm others. In late September, I was asked to join six others at a dinner party to celebrate a very special birthday and another friend’s becoming an American citizen. 

The birthday boy and his wife, Cathy. Fred and Cathy are the reason I began going to Paris for the winter. Cathy is also the gal who master-minded my trip/flight home from Paris last March when I was stranded after the quarantine was announced. I seem to keep Cathy and Fred on speed-dial.

It took a few days of discussion and our knowing we’d all been like-minded with our safety protocol to make it a Go. Realizing we faced a predicted surge as well as winter (it’s already snowed in Aspen), if not now, When?

Although I volunteered to bake a birthday cake and Donna Grauer offered to make ice cream (our usual dog-and-pony show), Jonathan insisted on making this pudding for Fred. We applaud his effort and are glad he insisted. On the day of our dinner, Jonathan became an America citizen and has dual citizenship.
Gayle is a beautiful and gracious hostess. Most of us had not been in their newly built home so that was a treat also.

It was a perfect evening albeit making us realize even more how much we missed being around a dinner table with old friends. These are strange times when we are hoping for the best, planning for the worst and staying focused on what’s most important to us. That was important. No regrets. 


Books read this past month. Loved them all. (L) The Seine, The River That Made Paris; American Lion; Duck Season, Eating, Drinking, and Other Misadventures in Gascony; What Unites Us; and my absolute favorite, The Soul of America by Jon Meacham

This week I received the Roaring Fork Audubon newsletter written by our president, Mary Harris, who is an expert birder and passionate about protecting our Valley. What I loved most was the advice she shared from her son who has a PhD in Microbiology focusing on tuberculosis. It dittos the reminders I often receive from my daughter. Ya gotta love our kiddos.

“Mom,  Please stay safe. Don’t cave. Wear your mask outdoors when others get close, and don’t go visiting the people you miss. Hang in there.”


It’s such a windfall to be cooking through Everyday Dorie, The Way I Cook right now. These are the easy, simple recipes Dorie cooks every day at home for her family. Right now the Greenspan family is +1. Dorie and her husband Michael are grandparents for the first time…to a lovely little girl. Mazel tov.




For the Soup

1 large Spanish or Vidalia onion, chopped

1 large red bell pepper, seeded and chopped

1½ tbsp olive oil

2 large carrots, peeled and thinly sliced

1/2 jalapeno, seeded and minced

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 tsp sea salt

pinch of sugar

¾ tsp cumin

½ tsp chili powder

3 cups vegetable, chicken or bean broth, adding more as desired

15 oz canned fire-roasted diced tomatoes

11/2 cups cooked or canned pinto or red kidney beans or black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed if canned

For the Add-Ins

Sour Cream or Greek yogurt

1-2 avocados, halved, pitted, cute into bite-sized chunks

Shredded Cheddar or Monterey Jack

Chopped fresh clilantro

1-2 fresh limes, Cut  1 lime into wedges and freshly squeeze lime juice from the other 

Tortilla Chips

Hot sauce (optional)


1. Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven or soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion, pepper, carrots, jalapenos, and garlic to the pan. Season with the salt and sugar and cook, stirring every few minutes, for 20 minutes.

2. Stir in the cumin and chili powder and cook for 1 minute. 

3. Pour in the broth, canned tomatoes, and beans. Bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Season to taste with salt, black pepper and the lime juice from 1 lime. 

4. Remove from the heat and divide into serving bowls. Top with suggested mix-ins above, as desired.

5. Ladle the soup into bowls and top with sour cream or yogurt and the avocado, some cheese and a generous amount of cilantro. Pass the lime wedges and tortilla chips. If desired pass the hot sauce also. 

TIP:  The soup can be made ahead and kept covered in the refrigerator up to four days or packed airtight and frozen for up to 2 months.