The high school hasn’t sent my son’s transcripts to his No. 1 college choice, and the application deadline is this weekend.

My husband is traveling, and the front storm door just shattered.

Our neighbor came over to kvetch about our grass, but the lawn mower is broken.

Plus … it’s cold!

I’m in one hell of a piss-ant mood. So the last thing I want to think about is dinner.

But these children of mine. They insist on eating.

The pantry is pretty bare. We had a party Saturday night, and I haven’t had time to shop. But I do have carrots. And spices. And staples like raisins, dried cranberries and nuts. So I toss together this Moroccan-inspired slaw:

carrot slaw

It’s crunchy (thank you, carrots and nuts); chewy (from cranberries and raisins); bright (thank you, lemon) and wonderfully scented with cinnamon and cumin. It never fails to lighten my family’s palates and moods. Plus, leftovers are lovely for breakfast the next morning.

Which is a good thing. I’m going to need all the energy I can muster to track down those transcripts.

Mood-Changing Carrot Slaw

The inspiration for this dish came from a 2003 “Gourmet” magazine recipe collection. Carrots were blanched, tossed with a spicy dressing, then layered with goat cheese and tapenade onto crusty bread. I liked the dressing and started playing around with different ways to use it. Twelve years later, this variation still wows.

  • 1 1/2 pounds carrots, finely shredded
  • 1/2 cup scallions or chives, finely chopped
  • Dried cranberries
  • Dark raisins
  • Golden raisins
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons sweet paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup olive oil

Place the carrots and scallions in a large bowl. Add as many cranberries, raisins and pumpkin seeds as you want. You’re aiming for color and texture and what appeals to your personal taste.

In a small bowl, whisk together the sugar, lemon juice and spices. Season with salt and pepper, then whisk in the olive oil. Taste and add more salt or lemon juice if needed.

Pour the dressing over the slaw and toss well so that everything is nicely coated. Serve immediately or let the slaw sit in the fridge for a few hours.