Tuesday’s Recipe: 20 Shades of Quinoa

 With 50 Shades of Gray coming up this weekend, I thought I’d add my $.02 in on torture:


Quinoa can definitely be an instrument of torture.  If you have had a lump of quinoa served to you at any time, you understand that it can be soggy, mushy, gray, weird, bland and grainy.  There ain’t nothin’ good about poorly served quinoa.


If you insist on treating it like rice, you will have a bad time.


However…if you treat it as a blank canvas of foods, you will see the wide spectrum of possibilities quinoa has!  Stop forcing it into little bento boxes of conformity.  Start cooking quinoa with the respect it deserves: especially with smoked gouda and roasted tomatoes. (omg)

So this weekend, surprise your loved ones by blindfolding them, tying them to a chair and serving them actually good dishes of quinoa!


Quinoa (prounounced keen-wa) (link) was a staple food for the South American Indians living in the high altitudes of the Andes Mountains. It was immensely popular because it was one of few crops that could survive in such high altitudes (10,000 – 20,000 feet above sea level). It could withstand frost, intense sun and the often dry conditions that characterized the Andean climate. It was also recognized for its superior nutritional qualities. For these reasons, it was dubbed “mother of all grains” by the Incas, so much so that it came to have spiritual significance for them. Many traditions and ceremonies surrounded the cultivation, harvest and consumption of quinoa.

Quinoa is a “pseudo-grain”—actually a gluten-free seed, but used in cooking like a whole grain. This nutrient-rich grain is a wonderful source of complete protein, providing all of the essential amino acids. It is also a good source of dietary fiber. Naturally gluten free, this powerful little grain is a great addition to any diet, but is an ideal solution for those following a gluten free, vegan or vegetarian diet that are looking to increase their protein and fiber.


It is like rice, but it isn’t rice.


To begin, here is the easy how-to on quinoa cooking:

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 cups water in a medium saucepan.
  • Bring it to a boil, then put a lid on top and turn the heat to low
  • simmer until quinoa is tender  (this will take about 15 minutes)
  • Listen: quinoa retains water like crazy, so make sure you drain it completely after it is done


Now that you have quinoa, here are 20 ideas of what to do with quinoa!

  1. Quinoa in taco meat
  2. Quinoa in salads
  3. Quinoa with stewed tomatoes, parsley and gouda
  4. Quinoa with baked garlic and stewed tomatoes
  5. Quinoa with steamed carrots, peas paprika and cilantro
  6. Quinoa with salsa and chicken
  7. Quinoa with garlic/paprika seasoned roasted corn
  8. Quinoa with roasted garlic eggplant and tomato slices, with melted pepper jack cheese
  9. Quinoa burgers (just add an egg, herbs/spices and some parm. cheese, form them into patties and fry them in oil.)
  10. Add Quinoa to soup instead of beans, lentils, rice or noodles
  11. Add Quinoa to stews for extra protein
  12. Quinoa salad – quinoa, corn, tomatoes, avocado, green onions
  13. Black beans, Quinoa, corn, tomatoes, cilantro
  14. Stewed lentils, Quinoa, stewed tomatoes, cumin
  15. Quinoa pudding (like rice pudding)
  16. Quinoa with steamed garlic broccoli and hollandaise sauce
  17. Quinoa stuffed acorn squash with sausage
  18. Quinoa bake: have a layer of quinoa on a casserole dish, layer citrus and honey chicken (or fish!) on top and bake
  19. Quinoa stuffed bell pepper with carnitas
  20. Quinoa mixed into a curry

Things Only Stressed Out Women Dream Of: Last Night, I Dreamt of Godzilla.


Indeed, I did dream of Godzilla last night.

At first, I saw him coming up out of the ocean.  His body was so huge, his bulk actually moved the water up and across the land, flooding the shores and nearby streets.  I watched him stride up and down the coast, planning his devastation on the little coastal town, staring down buildings and eyeballing structures.  His Godzilla screams were deafening, and the little people ran everywhere, trying to find a secure hiding place.

And then, suddenly, I was inside Godzilla and watched through his eyes the destruction of buildings with sonic screams.

It was crazy.  I didn’t fall back to sleep after that dream for quite a while…

A Godzilla dream is an indication that you are feeling that some part of your life has spiraled out of control. The situation you are struggling with in your life is winning out. It is getting the best of you and is begging to be taken care of. You need to analyze the situation and find the best solution for your problems. Then tackle it bit by bit. The out of control giant monster can be defeated little by little. By analyzing the Godzilla dream, you may even be able to find symbols of things that will help you overcome this out-of-control feeling.

Did I mention I just began to pack the kitchen last night?

Good heavens.  How many rusted cookie cutters do I need to throw out?  …many.  A broken popcorn maker I got the kids for Christmas a few years ago?  Why on earth do we still have this.  The busted Magic Bullet. The Magic Bullet cups I never use. 6 old vases, do I see 7?  They are all sitting outside by the trash can, as of last night.  I have 2 cupboards finished.  I have 2 more cupboards of similar natures, as well as 2 junk drawers stuffed to the gills with kite string, rubber cement jars, old bottles, sandpaper and who knows what else we have forgotten about.  All things that we are not taking with us, that’s for sure.

So, I might be a little more anxious than usual; which is understandable.  Ben suggested I take the kids to the park today, which is a good idea. We finally have a sunny day, and I think we all need a good, solid Vitamin D fix.

The thing, though, is that I don’t think I feel stressed.  We still have a few weeks to pack, and everything is coming along at a nice, even pace.  Today is a normal Monday, tomorrow will be a normal Tuesday.  Yet, Godzilla dreams might be a sign that my auto-repress function is working at full speed.

So, I’m going to stop being anxious and resume being awesome.

Got on the treadmill this morning, I’m showered and dressed….with shoes…and back in business.

Auto-Awesome: Engaged

No! Not The Rocking Chair!!



This is my beautiful rocking chair.

This was the first thing I brought into my nest when I first became pregnant, over 11 years ago.

Before the crib, before the bassinet, before we even bought any swaddling blankets…there was the rocking chair.  I remember going to a huge warehouse filled to the brim with cribs and changing tables,  and a little corner in the back filled with a variety of rocking chairs.  I found one that I knew I would love forever.  With beautiful cream embroidered upholstery, cherry wood frame and a seamless glide, this was the symbol of maternity to bring me into the realm of motherhood.

I am not sure what other women might do to usher in this new era.  Perhaps buy maternity dresses, or decorate the nursery with gentle nature scenes.

There is a multitude of customs we hold for new mothers ranging from cakes


to games

to announcements

(image credit)

But for me, it was the rocking chair which brought me into the sleepless land of motherhood.

You know when you are in the shower, and you daydream about your acceptance speech when you win the Oscar for Best Actress?  That was the same daydream I had about this rocking chair.  I thought I would spend the rest of my life rocking babies in this chair, and when they were grown and in college, they would come home…and see the cream and cherry wood chair that was imbedded in their childhood, and gasp.  “I remember when Mom held us in that chair,” they would say, with a little sentimental tear in the corner of their eye. “So many years were spent rocking with Mom,” they would remember so fondly.


Truthfully, that is what I had in mind for myself in the beginning.  Simply holding my baby, and rocking her to sleep.

There were,indeed, many years spent rocking babies in this chair.  I remember holding Glenn in the mornings, letting him wake up on my lap before breakfast.  I remember rocking Nova after she fell and scraped her knee.  I remember years of nursing in this rocking chair.

The magical land of motherhood can be so beautiful and serene…in the distant future, or in the distant past.  But in the present?

 “I have stitches in places they never mentioned in Health class.”

(image credit)



This symbol of motherhood and magical maternity, during the very present “now,”  has also been sitting isolated next to my nightstand holding laundry for quite a few years.

So, in a most inevitable moment, while Ben and I were discussing our great move, came the time when words were spoken.  Words about “not taking the rocking chair” with us when we move.  Possibly “leaving it behind“…to which my reaction was:






Now, granted, I understand why we wouldn’t take it.

For the past year, at least, it has not been rocking me and my babies.  I haven’t spent every morning holding Glenn as he slowly wakes up, as I did when he was little.  There have been no babies to nurse for the past few years.

Instead, I have been piling clean towels and jackets upon my symbol of maternity.   So, naturally it will be considered as something we don’t “need” to take with us.


Perhaps, though, this is something more profound than just letting the rocking chair go.

Maybe I am having to face the reality that I am really leaving a season of motherhood behind that I have grown quite accustomed to.  The season of baby clothes and diapers, tenderly holding my babies while they fall asleep.  By now, my youngest is 3 year old and far too big to carry for long periods of time.  I have no use for swaddling blankets or diaper genies.  Gone are the days of bibs and  cribs.

(image credit)

I wonder if letting it go will help me usher in a new season of childhood.  Maybe letting the rocking chair go to another home will help me to let go of baby curls, bottles and blankets.

And yet…

I don’t know if any mother is truly ready to let their babies go, in the end.  When the young man signs up for the Marines and is flecked in uniforms and boots, I don’t think his mother sees him as a young Marine.  She sees him as her 8 year old little boy heading off into a big world without her.  When a young woman gets into her car to drive herself off with a couple boxes of belongings to begin her career in college, I imagine her mother wonders if she remembered to pack her pink tea set, just in case she needs it in the afternoons with her friends.  There is something quite gripping about motherhood that keeps me from letting some things move on easily.

Ushering motherhood into my life was something that changed everything about me, and I just don’t know how ready I am to let some of it go.

Still, maybe I will fight to keep this rocking chair, to usher in the seasons to come of rocking my grandchildren to sleep.

We’ll see.

High Quality Gif Master tamr

I have watched women in my life learn how to crochet.

It is a vintage art that I have simply not been able to master.  In the least bit.

There is still a bag upstairs with a few skeins of yarn and a couple mismatched knitting needles, but I have nothing to show for the countless hours I have spent knitting lines.  I have given away all my crochet hooks in defeat.


I have discovered, this very morning, how to make High Quality Gifs.

And, my friends, the satisfaction and joy I feel is probably the same feeling that the women I know experienced when they began their first crochet project.

Here we go.


Friday Round-Up: Who Are You?? – From Superheros to Theme Songs

Hey All!

We are preparing for a rainy weekend coming up…hopefully.  The last time the media freaked out about a “monster storm,” it was so warm we left the windows open and enjoyed some light rain for a day.

That’s California weather for you.

I am gearing up to pack 2 rooms today, and I need some superhero motivation to get me through this.

How about we finish off this week with some superhero quizzes??


Which Keirsey Personality Type Are You?

The Rationals
This doesn’t surprise me much.  I think I can relate with their huge ideas and ginormous plans…as well as their catastrophic defeats.  But we always get off the battlefield calculating for a better victory….next time.
You’re a Rational! Rationals are abstract and objective thinkers that seek knowledge. You strive to learn as many subjects as possible and you have an incredible knack for strategic thinking. You’re most likely tech savvy, down to earth, and very reliable. As a rational, you also excel in any kind of logical investigation. This makes you perfect for anything that involves a deep level of thinking or strategizing. You either tend to be an attentive mastermind and use your intelligence for coordinating people and things or you’re a true architect at heart with incredible intellectual potential. As a Rational, you’re in some seriously awesome company! Charles Darwin, Albert Einstein, Benjamin Franklin, Naploeon and Julius Ceaser were all famous Rationals! Do you feel like an Einstein or Julius Caesar? Let us know!

What Is Your Star Wars Personality Type?

The Mastermind: INTJ (Palpatine)
I am INTJ through and through.  It’s just how it is.
Defining Attributes: Objective, Thorough, Independent, AdaptableAs an INTJ, your mind is a wonder to behold, and is centered around your well-developed powers of concentration. You are a natural leader who strives for perfection in everything. Talented in bringing ideas from conception to reality, you expect this same perfection in others. “Masterminds” are characterized by their desire to produce mastery and achieve ranks that reflect their own brilliance.


What Would Be Your STAR WARS Job?

Oooo!!!  Smuggler!  That is very exciting, AND I get to wear leather.  If I so choose.  I’m just sayin’.
My favorite line is: “Smuggling may not be the most glamorous (or legal) of jobs…”  Definitely need my blaster close to me for this line of work.
Life is… complicated, yes? So far it’s been one big scramble to find out who you are and where you’re going – let alone who will take the journey with you. People like you need a niche, a position of belonging and purpose. People like you also happen to possess an unmatched amount of charisma and wit – which becomes invaluable in a galaxy rife with unrest and gray politics. Smuggling may not be the most glamorous (or legal) of jobs, but it suits you to a T. And it pays. Boy, does it pay. Just keep your friends close, your enemies closer – and your blaster closest of all and you’ll be just fine.

Which Member of the Justice League Are You?

Batman (Bruce Wayne)
This is hilarious.  Batman….of course I am Batman!  I feel like I may have taken this quiz before, though.
The best part is the “Bruce Wayne” in parenthesis.
You are an exceptionally intelligent, driven and disciplined person with clear goals to make the world safer and better and the passion to make those goals a reality. You are observant, adaptable and focused with a deep sense of personal justice. Though introverted and perhaps socially awkward, you are deeply loyal to a few close friends and are selfless in your defense of people. Some consider your black and white views on morality a weakness, but it allows you to make clear cut decisions that protect you and the ones you love. While many consider you an extreme activist, they have a profound respect for your passion and want to share in your causes.

What Is Your Achilles Heel?

The Past
Well.  I am Batman.
Of course The Past is my Achilles heel.
Ah, the past. Full of what ifs, stressors and regrets. The past is a double edged sword, full of history to learn from, but sometimes unbearably painful to carry with us. The fantastic thing about the past is just that – it’s the past. Letting go of regret, guilt, or grief is always a million times easier said than done, but it CAN be done and it will improve everything from your daily life to your longevity. Accept the past for what it was, let it go and move forward with life! Your future awaits!

Which Superhero Are You In The Comic World?

Captain America
How about a superhero on a more positive note…
Captain America???  YES!!  That reminds me of something…
Oh yeah, I was Captain America for Halloween!!
You are The Legendary Captain America, who is armed with a nearly indestructible shield that he throws at foes.
A frail young man enhanced to the peak of human perfection by an experimental serum. You will always fight for freedom
and justice even if you are the only one fighting.

What Should Be Your Theme Song?

Born This Way


Okay, last one before the weekend!

Lady Gaga…?

Oh sure, why not.

“‘There’s nothing wrong with loving who you are’ / She said, ‘Cause he made you perfect, babe’ / ‘So hold your head up girl and you’ll go far…”. Your uniqueness, creativity and confidence are some of your most beautiful traits. You might stand out from the crowd, but that’s not such a bad thing. After all, you deserve to be noticed!! Now enjoy the song…

Packing Begins In The Deepest, Darkest Places

Screenshot 2015-02-04 17.21.43

It must begin in my cavernous closet.

I spent a good 2 hours in there sorting through boxes and piles.

I laughed. I cried. I brought a bottle of Blue Moon in there with me.

It is bizarre what I have kept.

IMG_1683A tank top my mother wore in the 80s.

IMG_1684 IMG_1685 IMG_1686

I found the journal I had to keep in 2001 when I was discovering my epilepsy.


There is a little red push pin on the wall that made me cry.

I used to have my sewing desk in here, and it was on that pin that I used to hang my measuring tape.

Okay, moving on.

IMG_1688 IMG_1689

These are flowering teas I was saving for when we needed quick gifts and didn’t have time to go to the store.

They, apparently, expired in 2010.

IMG_1690 IMG_1691

I also found the jewelry box of my grandmother’s broaches, as well as her nursing pin from the Saskatoon Hospital of Saskatchuan.


Half of this pile is going.


How do you pack wings….

Okay, taking a break.

Relationships – Thinking Outside The Box


This is the box filled with collapsed boxes with which I shall begin to pack my house.

At first glance, it it simply a box.A box that is standing in the entryway of my home.There is nothing intimidating or dangerous about this box.  Even at its worst mischievousness , if it fell on me I would not even be maimed by its bulk.  I would merely say, “Goodness, it has fallen over.”

Yet, this box of boxes transforms itself in my mind into something more sinister.  Something with evil intent, to wear me down and insist that my efforts of organizing our home into little boxes is as futile as the very words King Solomon spoke, thousands of years before this cardboard menhir was carried into my house.  Instead of seeing a bland beige box, I see a menacing monolith of grandiose proportions just waiting to pounce on my efforts of vanity.

unnamed 4.27.45 PMChampionship boxing.

The whole purpose of these boxes is not necessarily what we will be putting into the boxes.  The purpose is actually what we won’t be putting into the boxes.  And I have a feeling there is going to be a lot of clutter I am not going to feel like moving with us.

I have a closet in the master bedroom, alone, that is larger than most dorm rooms in America.  I had put things in there for storage when we first moved into this house, and it has become the cave of isolation and doom for 7 years.  I honestly don’t even know what are in the shoe boxes on top of the shelf, holding up other mystery shoe boxes.  It is going to be a coin toss as to whether or not I even open them before I throw them out, at this point.

The hallway closet upstairs is filled with sheets that fit a queen size bed, which we no longer have.  We are also up to our ears in crib blankets and sheets, which we have also grown out of.  And I can assure you: there will be no broken toys of any sort that will take this journey with us.


What I cannot bring with us, and what I will sorely miss with all my heart, are my grapes.

I have 4 grapevines in my front yard which give me buckets and buckets of seedless table grapes every harvest.  They were an amazing investment, and I treasure them enormously.  My kids can pick grapes on the way out of the house and grab bunches on the way back into the house when we return.

Any plant that actually grows in my garden is amazing…and these grapevines are a fulfilling plant for my gardening soul to have flourishing in my home.  It is beautiful, sturdy, a faithful grower and it gives us fruit that I love.


IMG_5684My beautiful grapevines.

I spent a good amount of time this morning completing the final prune on the grapevines before growing season begins.  They are all little stumps of sticks by now, but I could see the very living green under the flaking bark when I snipped branches off.  Which, naturally, reminds me of this:


John 15:2

Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit.


That is the whole point of pruning, is not to stall its growth or kill the plant, but to be able to bear more fruit.

There was a 2 question questionaire I read (very quickly) that could predict how healthy a marriage was.  The couples were asked to rate their answers on a scale of, ‘much worse,’ to, ‘much better.’  It was easy for me to answer.  This was a no-brainer for me.

The first is: “How happy are you in your marriage relative to how happy you would be if you weren’t in the marriage?”

And the second: “How do you think your spouse answered that question?”

I am very happy in my marriage.  If I was not in this marriage, I would be so…so much worse.  Worse isn’t even a valid variable, I don’t believe.  I would be a completely different person, obviously; but I would not know what it felt like to be truly loved by my husband, which I do now.  This would lead to a bitter and fungal soul, I guarantee you.  I depend on my husband’s love to help me…be great, and not be horrible.  If I wasn’t in this marriage, I would not be happy.  I would be miserable, and I am sure the people around me would be miserable as well.


(for the record, we were going through some relationship book once, and we got to the term “enabling,” at which point we got out the dictionary and tried to figure out of we were enabling each other with our love.  …nope)

And how I think my spouse would answer that question: quite the same.


But this got me to thinking about my grapes again.

I will miss my grapes.  We have a good relationship together.  I take care of them, and they give me beautiful vines and grapes.  We take care of each other, and we have had a good run.

I will not miss other things here.  We do not have a good relationship together.

So, how happy will I be if I wasn’t in a relationship with some of these other things?  Very happy.  It will be nice to let them go.

How will they answer the same question?

I honestly am not sure.  And it is possibly unfortunate to say that I also am not too worried to find out the answer, either way.

Some relationships need to be pruned so that you will grow a healthy vine that gives you fruit.  And although pruning can be scary…the idea of never changing and watering dead vines for the rest of your life is much scarier.  So, with a mighty snip… you let them go.

link credit

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