Resolutions, Intentions & Farm Retreats + RECIPE: Napa Cabbage Noodle Salad

How are you all feeling as we officially end this first week of 2019? Are you still figuring out resolutions? Have you already given them up? Did you choose a word for the year? Do you think that’s utter bullshit?

I lie happily in the middle: contemplating deeply about who I want to be during this next year of my life and also screwing up my goals pretty much daily. It feels amazing to enter another year in just the way I want while also accepting that it may or may not go at all according to my plans.

Thanks sun, soil and weather for teaching me these deep and profound lessons so that I can love the process of setting intentions and making plans, but am also able to find comfort in letting life unfold in the epic ways it always seems to.

One of the goals my Carrot and I have set again and again for the past several years (to minimal success I should mention) was to find more space to connect and align our visions with one another.

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Running a business with your spouse is a beautiful, messy and complicated thing that easily entangles every aspect of your existence with one another. We help each other in ways that seem generous only to discover our help is limiting their growth. We have conflicts to mediate, personalities quirks to accommodate, and a love to nurture all at the same time. We set goals only to realize a market has shifted and we need to adjust. We talk topics to death and then lose track of who’s doing what or what we ultimately decided.

We try to work in silos (he the producer, builder, mechanic, scientist, and manager of employees; me the communicator, business analyst, administrator, marketer, and accountant) so we are able to spend the most time in the areas where we really shine , but then obviously need to make sure these silos break down every so often so that we both understand the business as a whole (but can’t break them down too often or we wind up wasting time).

We have to make both independent and collaborative decisions constantly. We have to self-manage but still communicate so many tiny details every day. Work easily blends into life and it’s hard to make time for each other or for fun.

For all of these reasons, in 2016 and 2017 and 2018, we resolved to create more opportunities for connection so that we could stay on the same page as our business grew and got more complicated while still retaining time and space for fun. For three years now, we told each other we would hold an annual retreat of at least two days and then have quarterly full-day check-ins throughout the year. We said we’d have Sunday morning meetings most weeks of the year and date nights every Thursday with farm talk banned. Three years of setting the same goal with a 5% success rate and we’re finally determined that this will be our year: the year we take our partnership, marriage and friendship to the next level.


We’re heading to Bayfield, Wisconsin on Thursday for our second ever farm retreat. We’ll dive deep into our goals and resolutions for 2019 as well as the longer-term aspirations for our farm and our lives. We’ll read and reconnect. We’ll jive on podcasts and take a hike where we’re only allowed to dream for the whole ten miles. We’ll eat good food and watch the stars. We’ll play games, build a giant fire, and stare out over Lake Superior.

I can’t freaking wait.

And I love you all so I recommend you all make your own January traditions to connect with the people you love most around resolutions and goals. And also, around dreams. Don’t let this January resolution business only be about drinking more water and being healthier and simplifying your life (all things I’m absolutely going to be prioritizing); let yourself dream bigger my friends. Let your mind and your heart run wild. And let those dreams shape a couple of your resolutions.

Because who cares that it’s January 7th?! Not me! I’ll be savoring every January moment of transformation. With a heaping bowl of Napa Cabbage Noodle Salad because come on, I know we’re all trying to be a little more healthy.

Big dreaming and scheming to you all,

P.S. To all my farmer/business owning friends out there, shoot me an email and I’m happy to help you structure a retreat should you be interested in one.


Adapted from Bon Appetit
I’m not calling for fresh herbs here because it’s January and I don’t have any growing anywhere (yes, I’m disappointed in myself as well) but if you have some (particularly mint, basil or cilantro) by all means toss them in at the end. They will only enhance and improve this simple dish!

Serves 4
Takes 30 minutes

3 tablespoons toasted sesame oil, divided
1 bell pepper, any color, seeded and diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Kosher salt
6 tablespoons fresh squeeze lime juice
3 tablespoons fish sauce
3 tablespoons honey
1 pound sirloin steak, bone removed and thinly sliced
6 ounces wide rice noodles
1/2 head Napa cabbage, stems removed and shredded (about 4 cups)
1 daikon radish, peeled, quartered and thinly sliced
4-5 scallions (whites and greens), sliced
1 cup roasted peanuts, roughly chopped

  1. In a large skillet (preferably cast iron if you’ve got one), heat one tablespoon toasted sesame oil over medium heat. Add the bell pepper, garlic, red pepper flakes and a pinch of salt. Saute for 2-3 minutes. Pour into a large bowl followed by lime juice, fish sauce, honey, one tablespoon toasted sesame oil and 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt. Whisk to combine.
  2. Remove 1/4 cup of sauce and set aside to use later as dressing. Add steak to large bowl and toss to coat. Let marinate for up to 45 minutes (or as much time as you have; the flavors will be fine after 15 minutes if you are in a crunch) while you chop your vegetables. Stir every once and while to ensure all steak pieces are marinating.
  3. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook rice noodles according to package directions and drain once finished. Let cool for 5-10 minutes.
  4. Make sure the cabbage, daikon, and scallions are well-drained (if you rinsed right before preparing) and then toss with the 1/4 cup sauce you set to the side. Add another couple pinches of salt and toss to combine.
  5. Pour the last tablespoon of sesame oil into your skillet (the same one you used before; you don’t need to wash it out) and get it nice and hot over medium high heat. Use tongs to transfer the steak (but not the marinade) into the skillet. Cook for 2-3 minutes until cooked through and then let rest for 5 minutes. Add steak and noodles to large bowl of cabbage mixture. Toss to combine (add herbs here if you are using) and serve warm with peanuts on top.

One Comment Add yours

  1. Love your posts Leek….I work with my husband, although not in our own business…it just turned out that way. I think because we genuinely ‘like’ each other it works for us…but we do have “no work talk” rules too. Hope your 2019 is wonderful. 🎉


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