The Planting

Back before my dad spent two weeks in-and-out of the hospital, having an ultrasound, an MRI and four endoscopic procedures, I wrote about how I built a raised bed garden frame all by my very lonesome. Well, Owen offered moral support, but mostly it was all by my very lonesome.

Now comes the part about how I made the frame into an actual garden.

First, I went to Lowe’s and used our military discount to buy starter plants. Since I went in early June, the pickin’s were kinda slim, so I mostly ended up with peppers. Red, yellow, orange and hot banana peppers, to be exact. For variety I added two zucchini plants, even though I have heard stories about how they consume everything in their path. I suspect they’ll make short work of my tiny 4×4 plot, but nothing ventured, nothing gained!

I also had several container tomato plants and some herbs.

the plants

Ready to Rock

Owen helped me pick out the location by scouting the sunniest spot in the yard.

raised bed

After I moved Owen, I placed the frame where I wanted it, marked it off, moved it back out of the way, and started digging. I wanted to be sure the soil beneath was loosened up so the roots could grow down as well as out.

The ground was hard-packed, full of rocks and tree roots, and it was slow work. After about twenty minutes of jumping up and down on the shovel and shaking out grass clumps, all I had was this:

breaking the sod

Never terribly patient, I decided to enlist the help of a professional digger.

Owen digs

Not even kidding. I called the dog over, pointed him in the right direction and instructed, “Dig, Owie!” He tentatively scooped with one paw and looked up at me questioningly. When I said, “Yes! Good boy!” he went into high-speed Rototiller mode. Dirt flying, Paws of Lightning dug down about eight inches right quick.

I stopped him only to move him to the next corner.

Paws of Lightning

Look at that dirt fly!

Go Paws of Lightning, go!

I freaking love that dog.

Once we were dug down eight inches all around the square (can you be “around” in a square?), I filled it back in with loose soil. I used a completely random mixture of “native soil”, bagged garden soil from Lowe’s and composted manure that my neighbors had delivered by the truckful and were kind enough to share with me. I think my ratio was, ten shovelfuls of native soil-to-a dumped-in amount of garden soil-to-a few shovelfuls of manure.

I mixed it up as well as I could with my cool little rake from Lowes and brought it up to ground level.

soil mixture

Time to place the frame on! I discovered at this point that I needed to widen the square just a smidge on one side so that the frame would sit evenly. Then, because I am incredibly anal retentive, I made sure the frame was level on all four sides and packed it in securely from the outside.

almost perfectly level

Perfect!

Well, close enough for jazz.

I used the same(ish) soil ratio to fill the frame until it was about an inch from the top.

soil ratio

Next, I placed my plants approximately where I wanted them, ignoring the instructions to “place 18″ apart”. If I “placed 18″ apart” I would have had about four plants in my 4×4 garden. Instead I spaced about 10″ apart.

plant plan

Gardening is hard work. Snack break!

snack break

Sorry about the oogy bite marks but I was too hungry to wait to take the picture.

There’s not much left to tell. I peeled the bottom of my peat pots and sunk the plants according to instruction.

planted plants

Cute wheelbarrow, eh? I love my little barrow.

I planted the tomato plants in the container (and one in the left corner of the bed), put some some cat grass seed in the colored pots and watered everything.

Planted garden!

Our garden: June 5th

The cool part is that the garden is already feeding our family. Owen likes to eat the composted manure chunks out of it. Which is pretty gross but, to his credit, he hasn’t once tried to dig in the garden since he helped create it.

Gratuitous artsy-looking plant photo:

pepper plants

Oh yeah, and I can’t forget the herbs! I planted those in a window planter right outside our door. Easy access when cooking!

herb planter

Parsley, basil, dill, thyme and rosemary. Plus sage, chives and oregano that I didn’t have room for and stuffed down along the sides of the raised bed garden. Along with the marjoram I got from my farm share.

So it’s a little crowded in there. But, it’s been a month and everything seems to be doing well so far.

updated garden

Our garden: July 1st

Especially the zucchini.

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The Heart of a Hero

Hospital
Image by José Goulão via Flickr

He lay sleeping, slightly listing to one side of the raised hospital bed, head resting on his chest. A once-broad shoulder jutted out of the neck of the thin gown. His hands rested on the covers, calm and free of tremor.

My eyes lingered on his hands. They still looked strong and smooth – the hands of someone twenty years younger. But mostly, they were pale. Almost white. Strange, for my Sicilian-skinned father, but a relief. It was a huge improvement over the yellow tinge he had been sporting in recent months.

My dad has been in and out of the hospital for the past two weeks. He’s had a total of four endoscopies during that time, first to find out why his liver counts were elevated and he was so jaundiced, then to correct the problem.

It turned out he had a precancerous polyp in his small bowel that was blocking his liver and pancreatic ducts. On the third endoscopy, the doctors put in a stent to hold the polyp away from the ducts. This temporary fix allowed the liver to drain while we decided what needed to be done.

Within hours of that procedure, he was sleeping and pale. But a good pale. The kind that meant his skin was no longer holding the toxins his liver couldn’t release. Despite my mortal horror of hospitals, I wended my way through the concrete-blocked and pipe-laden halls, up elevators and through scary sets of double doors to be with him.

The doctor came in to speak with us. She explained his condition and outlined the treatment: Whipple surgery. Whipple surgery, to be completely un-technical and probably slightly inaccurate, is a 5-6 hour ordeal where the surgeon takes out your guts, connects them to things they aren’t normally connected to, removes what needs to be removed, reconnects everything properly and replaces it.

Recovery time is up to two months and involves feeding and drainage tubes. This sounds horrible for a normal person in otherwise good health. For a diabetic Parkinsonian, this news was just left of a full-on catastrophe: heightened risk of infection, possible complications during the surgery and other delights and wonders.

The alternative? A potential for pancreatic cancer – one of the most aggressive forms of cancer. I went home and sobbed on my couch.

The next morning, the sun rose on a new ballgame. My mother called: The doctors think the polyp can be successfully removed endoscopically. The procedure takes about 90 minutes and the recovery time is just a couple of days.

Relief flooded through my family.

The procedure was scheduled for Monday – my birthday. So, yesterday, my dad had his fourth endoscopy. It went well and he came home this afternoon, tired but already on soft foods.

I know my mom and dad both felt bad that they had to be in the hospital on my birthday. Admittedly, I’m a bit of a birthday brat. I’ve always loved my birthday – it’s the one day of the year that I feel belongs to me; that is ripe with possibility; that is, well, special. So, yeah, I was a little disappointed that I wouldn’t be spending time with my family on my Day of Days.

But then I picture my dad, holding a cup of broth in his newly pale hands. He’s not had solid food for almost 48 hours and has only recently been started on liquids. The broth smells delicious and I’m so glad for him. He takes a slow, careful sip.

“That smells really good,” I say, to encourage him.

“Yeah, it really does,” my mom sounds surprised, hospital food having the reputation that it does.

My dad holds the cup out to me. “You want some, Sah?” he says, calling me by the shortened form of my name that maybe only three or four people in this world use. Then he offers it to my mom.

We refuse, of course, but the scene strikes to my heart and stays there. A man who hasn’t eaten in almost two days is still willing, quite literally, to give us the food right out of his bowl. I know he feels like he has so little to give these days, but it’s times like this that he gives more than I can quantify.

How does one measure inspiration? Kindness? Example?

When that scene flashes through my mind, as it has so often during the past week, it ceases to matter that he was in the hospital on my birthday. In fact, suddenly a successful surgery seems like the best birthday present ever.

Rock Star

Rock Star

Me: I look like a rock star in these sunglasses. Don’t you think I look like a rock star?
T: In your Disney sunglasses? No.
Me: Well, maybe I look like Miley Cyrus. Did you ever think of that?
T: Miley Cyrus doesn’t look like a rock star either.
Me: Touché.

Building a Raised Bed

Welcome to Mowenackie’s Do-It-Yourself Home Show!

Your host for the day will be Sarah, a wannabe carpenter with absolutely no experience. Joining her is her trusty sidekick, Owen. Owen likes digging, rolling in the grass and chasing the cats. He also likes piña coladas and getting caught in the rain.

Today’s project (which was actually completed two weeks ago) is: Making a Raised Bed Garden. Or at least the raised bed part.

Here are the materials you will need:

tools

  • (2) 2×6 boards, 8 ft. in length (Aside: did you know 2×6’s are actually something ridiculous like 1-7/8″ x 5-3/4″? Why? This makes me feel cheated. Good thing Lowe’s gives a 10% military discount.)
  • 1 piece of flatwood, 1’x3′
  • handsaw
  • level
  • measuring tape
  • carpenter’s retractable pencil
  • power screwdriver
  • 2 “ 2.5″ screws (about 20, plus a few to strip or lose in the grass)
  • Band-Aids

Got all that? Okay, first lay your 8′ boards over two saw horses the picnic table bench. Use the measuring tape to find the 4′ mark, then draw a straight line across it. Try to follow this line as you cut the board with the hand saw. Try not to cut the picnic table bench.

4' boards

You should now have four 4′ boards.

Next, use the deck platform your husband just built as a level surface. Line up the boards face to end. This is called a butt joint, but I wish it wasn’t. I feel awkward telling you to hold your butt joint tight while you secure it with screws.

butt joints

You should now have a nice little frame.

Back to the picnic table. Measure off one square foot of the flatwood and cut. I made up the term “flatwood”. I have no idea what this type of wood is called. It’s not plywood. It’s flatwood.

Trace a line from opposite corners of your square and cut to form two triangles. Sawing the wood will be more difficult at this angle, but suck it up.

Repeat this step. You’ll need four triangles – one for each corner.

cutting corners

Secure the triangles in the corners using the screws.

finished bed

Fine. If you want to be all fancy-dancy and not lazy, you can go inside, get a hammer and some nails. Or you could probably use thinner screws if you had them or wanted to take another trip to Lowe’s. Because the 2.5″ screws may or may not split your flatwood.

split corner

In fact, they probably will.

As long as you can get the screw all the way in before the wood breaks completely, it will hold it. I think.

split wood

Perfect!

Other advice? If you come across a knot in the wood, it will be very difficult to get the screw through. You will have to take it out and start over in another place.

Or another.

Or another.

stupid knot

A word of caution: if you try to force the screw into the knot by using all your weight to lean on the power screwdriver, the screw will be %@#! hot when you finally give up and take it out. Handle with caution. Or have burn cream handy.

Don’t worry if your seams aren’t perfect.

gaps

The thing only has to hold dirt, not water. So get off my back, alright?

Injuries are possible.

scrape

Cue the Band-Aids.

Ignore the pain and focus on the results.

raised bed

See? Owen is ecstatic.

On our next show, well show you how to turn the sandbox-looking thing you just built, into this lush abundance of fruitfulness:

raised bed garden

Thanks for watching!

Reason #61 Why I Should Never Work in a Nursing Home

Otherwise entitled…

How I Turn a Simple Incident into a Moral Dilemma of Epic Proportions

It started out innocently enough. My husband and I met for a walk during lunch break. The weather was sub-par for June, but I always enjoy seeing T in the middle of my day. This time, however, it spiralled into something I hadn’t anticipated.

(Gutterheads.)

The following conversation was the turning point, and a perfect example of why you shouldn’t mess with Karma:

Me: Do you have three dollars?
T: No.
Me: Yes, you do.
T: Why do you want it?
Me: I don’t know. I was downtown so it just felt right to ask someone for money.

The city we work in is, sadly, home to many, many panhandlers. I know I should be sympathetic, but after years of getting solicited on the street, I’ve become hardened. I feel bad for these people. I really do. But I have absolutely no inclination to give them money and, quite frankly, it pisses me off when someone asks me. Some are nice and say, “Thank you,” or the ever-popular, “God bless,” – even when you walk by stone-faced and don’t answer their plea. But I’ve also had people yell at me or mutter uncomplimentary things.

(Then, too, I’ve had people try to push anti-war propaganda into my hands and, when I attempt to walk around them politely saying, “I’m all set,” I’ve had them yell after me, “The WAR’S not [all set]!”

But that’s another story – about a rage that almost consumed me in my effort to contain it – for another time.)

Anyway, where was I? Oh, yes. The three dollars. The real reason I wanted three dollars was because I hadn’t slept well the previous night and I wanted an iced coffee to get me through the afternoon. It was a last-minute decision, so I didn’t have any cash on me. I try not to carry cash around the city – for aforementioned reasons.

My lovely husband reached into his pocket and counted me out three dollars. We parted ways and I headed to Dunkin Donuts, because America runs on a franchise that can’t spell “doughnuts” (a word that doesn’t even make sense and is kind of gross, when you think about it).

Here’s what happened after that:

I go into D&D and get my iced coffee. On my way out of the store, there are in front of me: a large woman on a motorized scooter and a man with a cane. The woman holds the door open for the man with the cane. The man is taking tiny, wobbly steps. He catches his foot on the rubber mat in front of the door, loses his balance, spins on the cane and falls on his bottom, smacking his head against the wall – hard. As he struggles to get up, I ask, Are you all right?

He ignores me or doesn’t hear me or whatever. Possibly because someone in the store (another customer) keeps calling out, panicked, over and over and over: Someone fell! Ray, are you all right? Someone fell! Ray, are you all right? (Names have been changed to protect the innocent. And because I can’t remember the actual ones.) This person never comes over to help…just wails like a siren the entire time.

Round Handle CaneI put my jacket and coffee down and try again, a little louder: Can I help you? I hold out my hand. Again, he ignores me or can’t see me or whatever. I notice that his eyes are crossed. The malicious little devil on my shoulder wonders if it’s from hitting his head. The other part of me worries that maybe he is blind. But, he can’t be totally blind, can he? It is a normal-looking cane, the kind with a curved handle and a rubber foot (which, in the meantime, I pick up).

Ray manages to flip himself onto his knees, puts one hand on the wall and starts to push himself up. Yes, I’m alright! he finally says to the siren. So I know he can talk. Now the woman on the motorized scooter starts repeating soothingly, but over and over and over again: He’s all right, Edna, he’s all right. He’s all right, Edna, he’s all right. (Or whatever Edna’s name was.) Edna continues to wail, Someone fell! Ray, are you all right?

I hold out the man’s cane so he can use it to push himself up. All set? I ask. He says nothing. Once he finally stands back up, I try to hand him his cane. He still ignores me, or can’t see me or whatever. It’s not until I actually place the cane in his palm that he closes his hand around it. For one second I didn’t think he was going to take it at all and I wondered what I was going to do with it. Edna is still wailing.

I stand behind the man to make sure he makes it out the door okay. He takes a higher tottering step, clears the rug, and wobbles out the door. I grab my jacket and coffee and follow. I say, Thank you, to the scooter lady who is holding the door. She looks blankly at me. During this entire exchange neither Scooter Lady nor Man with the Cane ever address me or even acknowledge my presence.

I dart around them both and leave as fast as my thankfully sturdy legs can carry me. Suddenly I don’t want my iced coffee anymore. I run upstairs to work and wash my hands. Then, for good measure, I wipe down everything I’ve touched with hand sanitizer. I’m not sure what it is I think I’ll catch (the ability to feign deafness? crossed eyes?), but I’m not taking any chances.

That’s a hell of a way for someone whose father uses both a cane and a motorized scooter to act, isn’t it?

The thing is, I’m not sure I was trying to wash off germs so much as cleanse myself of the entire, awful incident. Mentally, I’ve been both sitting in a leather chair with a pad of paper, psychoanalyzing my anger over the incident, and lying on a leather couch scraping my brain for clues.

I was embarrassed. Was that the problem? Maybe. I don’t like to be embarrassed, but frankly, in this city, the entire incident would barely score a glance from passersby.

Did I do something wrong? Nope. I did everything exactly the way I should have. You don’t help someone without their permission. Even if that means you stand there like a jackwagon talking to yourself for 45 seconds.

Maybe that’s it. I mean, I’m way above average when it comes to being invisible. I make Sue Storm, or Violet from The Incredibles look like amateurs. But this brought things to a whole new level. Still, I don’t think my ego is that fragile that I’m terribly upset about being overlooked by two people who, quite honestly, probably weren’t all there to begin with.

No. The closest I can come to figuring out my distaste for the episode is that I’ve seen someone in that same situation many times: flat on his back in the grocery store, eyes wide; picking himself up off the pavement in a parking lot with blood trickling down his knee; hoisted up like a child by two huge guys, burly and virile.

And there is no way I want anyone to associate my beautiful, beautiful father with the kind of people I have met downtown. Yes, his Parkinson’s disease causes him to fall – often. But, my dad would say, “Thank you,” if someone helped him up. He’d look them in the eye and acknowledge that they wanted to assist him. Even if his hands were shaking, he’d shake their hand or wave or smile.

Still, I wonder if anyone has ever seen him the way I saw the man with the cane. I wish, with all of my heart, that the answer to that question was “no”, but I know that more likely it’s “probably”. And I know that no matter how many times I wash my hands, I can’t change that.

But, I also know, it doesn’t matter. I know who my father is and the people who truly know him know who he is, and that’s what’s important.

Using this logic, one could argue that it doesn’t matter what I think of The Man with the Cane or Scooter Lady. What I think doesn’t make them who they are. What I think didn’t make me act any differently than I would have if it had been a well-dressed, well-groomed man with straight eyes who had fallen. I would have done the same thing.

Does any of this justify my hardened feelings towards those who are, perhaps, less fortunate than myself? Not in the least. And that bothers me.

I was lamenting this fact to my poor husband last night, who had to listen to the whole sordid story and subsequent analysis. I should be a better person, I told him. After all, I said, continuing to bemoan my moral corruption while now quoting from M*A*S*H, Jesus ate with the lepers.

My husband looked up from his computer, then down at me lying on the floor where I was gripping my hair as I wrestled with my demons. They ain’t lepers, he said with infinite irony, and you ain’t Jesus.

Good point.

Walk With Me: Our Story, Part XIV

Hiking helped pass the summer during the Iraq deployment and by August, my boyfriend and I were planning for two weeks of leave.

Read Our Story from the beginning.

By some fortunate coincidence, the R&R for K’s husband and my boyfriend overlapped by a week. K and I were ecstatically happy over this. It meant that neither of us would be without the support of the other for two full weeks. It meant that each of us would be spared the longing and envy that would come from knowing the other was spending those two weeks in the blissful arms of their significant other while one of us sat in a loneliness intensified by that very knowledge.

We also got to fully enjoy the planning and the excitement leading up to leave instead of trying to temper it to spare the other’s feelings, We knew, too, that we would be mopping up our broken pieces together once they were gone again. Even better, we could plan something for all of us during that overlapping week. For once, things seem to be working out perfectly.

Joe was due home in the middle of August and K spent the first half of the month frantically preparing. I was so excited for her when she left for the airport and I was busy enough preparing for – and worrying about – the imminent arrival of my own love that I didn’t dwell on it. I could just be happy.

I focused on cleaning my apartment – and myself – from top to bottom. I counted and recounted the days until my period was due. (Never very regular, I had narrowed it down: it could come before, during or after T’s leave.)

I wondered whether I’d recognize him when he walked out of the terminal. I have a terrible memory for faces and didn’t have many pictures of him. I hadn’t seen him in six months. What if he’d changed? What if there were other soldiers in uniform on that flight? At that point, I felt they would all look alike to me.

What if I didn’t feel the same way about him once I saw him again? Our communication for the last eight months had consisted of a disembodied voice on the end of a phone line and sometimes misunderstood emails. Sure, we were competently compatible via email, but what if we weren’t in person?

By the eve of my boyfriend’s arrival, I was a wreck. I knew he was in route, but I didn’t know exactly when he’d be landing in the States or when I’d need to go pick him up. I was waiting on yet another phone call and it was making me into a certified wall climber.

Having been there already, K knew some of the palpitating anticipation I was feeling and insisted that I spend the evening at her house grilling, eating and sitting around the fire with her family. I resisted, insisting that they needed time together, but K told me that they were already perfectly reconnected. If it weren’t for his going back, she told me, it would almost be like he’d never left.

I took profound relief from this and applied it happily to my own worried circumstances. Surely T and I would pick up where we’d left off as well. True, K and Joe had been together for years while T and I had only been dating for ten months (eight of which he’d been gone for), but we’d worked at staying connected. Right?

I hadn’t been to K’s house since Joe had been home. When I arrived, he was walking around the backyard in shorts and a t-shirt, carrying a spatula. Seeing him sent another wave of relief over me so strong I had to fight back tears. It was the same old Joe. He greeted me with a grin and a bear hug. Haircut a bit sharper, skin a little darker, face almost imperceptibly more weathered, but still teasing his kids, groping his wife in the kitchen and tossing her an, “I love you, baby,” àpropos of nothing.

Yep. That was Joe.

Sitting around the fire pit later that evening, still glancing at my Siamese-cell phone every three seconds, I shared some of my fears about not recognizing T at the airport. K tried to ease my worry by telling me about her reunion with Joe.

When she got to the airport, she said, there was a sign asking folks to wait for arrivals downstairs and to stay clear of the terminal area upstairs. Despite the sign, there were plenty of people milling around upstairs. K felt a pang of envy, thinking that if anyone had a reason to wait upstairs, it was her. (I agreed.) Reluctantly, she compiled with the sign, and waited diligently at the bottom of the escalator.

Soon travellers began pouring out of the doors and making their way down the escalators. K didn’t have to look long for Joe. He appeared at the top of the stairs and spotted her almost instantly. Circumventing the statues on the escalator, he dropped his bag at the top of the stationary stairs and bounded down them, two at a time, until he reached her. Picking her up in a cinematic hug, he spun her around, while she hissed, “Put me down, put me down!” in his ear.

I laughed, but my heart melted at this story; so romantic. I couldn’t wait for my turn. I longed to feel T’s eager arms around me; to breathe him in and touch him again; to see his bright smile. I imagined the sympathetic looks of others as they watched a soldier reunite with a loved one. This moment would make up for every minute pain over the last long months. Easily.

Toward the end of the night, I got my long-anticipated phone call. T was on the other end of the line. He sounded weary but excited. He told me he would be landing at the jetport at one o’clock tomorrow afternoon.

I went home to wait.

My NAVI Breakfast

Greetings!

Yesterday was Day Ten, the final day of the Sugar-Free Challenge. Minus that little (unintentional) slip up on Day One, I’m going to call it a success.

Want to know what I’ve missed the most? Ketchup.

Yep, ketchup. And I can’t imagine that’s something I couldn’t make myself if I really wanted to. Maybe I’ll try it someday. Or maybe there’s a sugar-free brand out there somewhere. Anyone ever heard of one?

In celebration of ten (almost) sugar free days, I’m going to reveal this NAVI (New And Vastly Improved) breakfast I’ve been going on about.

Let me start by telling you about my old stand-by breakfast. I love cold cereal. I’m a cold cereal freak. If I could walk hand-in-hand along the beach with cold cereal, I would.

One of the hardest things about going gluten-free for me was finding new cereals. Believe me when I say the options become much, much more limited. And when you cut sugar out of the mix, it gets even tougher. I found a couple of brands that I really liked. This was my one of my favorites:

corn flakes

Check out the ingredient list:

corn flake ingredients

Three ingredients. Three.

Is it sugar free? Technically, yes. Not-so-technically, this is a carb-fest. It’s basically just corn. Corn is a grain.

Let me say that again: corn is a grain. Not a vegetable, as so many people firmly believe.

Now consider that, due to my dairy sensitivity, I no longer drink milk. Instead I pour either rice or soy milk (or more likely a combination of the two) over my cereal. More carbs. Soy has some protein, but rice milk? Not so much.

Corn and rice for breakfast. Grain and grain. Carb and carb. And without even the benefit of the fiber, were the grains whole.

The straw that broke this camel’s back came when the camel looked up the glycemic index of “cornflakes”. The glycemic index ranks foods from 1-100 according to the impact they have on blood glucose levels. Higher ranked foods can spike blood glucose, while low glycemic foods keep it steadier. A diet based largely on high glycemic foods can lead, over time, to diabetes and other ailments.

Examples of high glycemic foods? Bagels, muffins, white bread, white pasta and, of course, sugar. Basically, the typical American diet.

Another example of a high glycemic food? Uh, corn flakes. They comes in at a whopping 74. Ouch. The suggested target is 55 or under. Even adding fruit and nuts, as I always do, isn’t going to do much to level out that blood glucose spike.

So, what’s a cereal-loving girl to do? Especially one who loathes hot cereal. Oatmeal, with all of its lovely fiber, comes in at about a 54, which is decent. (Let me clarify that by saying quick or slow-cook oats are a 54. Instant oatmeal, which is processed and usually loaded with sugar, is an 84 – not good.)

The problem is, I detest oatmeal. I find it too hot and heavy in the mornings. (Wait, what?) And cold oatmeal sounded gross.

I decided to try quinoa. It’s lighter than oatmeal, might be okay cold and has a GI rating of 53. I got to work experimenting with a couple of different versions. Here’s a sneak peek:

pumpkin quinoa

Quinoa is easy enough to make. It comes in red grain or white, but they taste similar. You can buy it by weight, or in a box. I use this brand:

Quinoa

Just boil one cup of quinoa in two cups of water for about ten minutes. I prefer to let mine cool, but you can eat it hot, too. Makes about four servings, so you have breakfast for the next three days as well! Of course, the fun part is how you dress it. I’ll share my two favorite versions here, but feel free to play around and add what you like.

Version one:

Summer Breakfast Quinoa
Top with sliced almonds, a generous dollop of cold coconut milk (for sweetness) and fresh raspberries.

Summer Breakfast Quinoa

I also like to add a bit of soy milk.

Summer Breakfast Quinoa w/soy milk

I probably should have shown you a picture of what the quinoa looks like, but I was too busy smothering it in luscious toppings. Trust me, it’s under there in all of its low glycemic glory. You can see the small, round grain peeking out in spots.

Version Two:

Autumn Breakfast Quinoa
Top with chopped walnuts, pureed pumpkin, cinnamon and a generous dollop of cold coconut milk. Sprinkle with nutmeg and a few dried cranberries.

Autumn Breakfast Quinoa

Don’t forget the soy milk!

Autumn Breakfast Quinoa w/soy milk

Delicious!

How about you? Would you ever consider going sugar-free? Have you ever tried quinoa? And, most importantly, do you want to hear more about food on Mowenackie?