Quinoa-Kale Salad with Lemon-Dill Dressing

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I wish I could take credit for dreaming this one up. It’s actually a knockoff from a restaurant I’m boycotting (poor service). I really tried to hang with them for this salad. But I’m happier making my own.

My daughter introduced me to this salad as I was restructuring my diet pre-surgery. It’s packed with anti-carcinogenic, anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties.

This salad is a good keeper. The small seedless cucumbers don’t become watery like their larger seeded sisters. Baby kale is easier to digest and chopping it actually releases more nutrients. So you end up with a compact bed of greens that oxidize much slower.

Finally, most of these ingredients can be purchased ready to eat, cutting way down on prep time. As a fibro warrior, that’s also really important: saves spoons.

This makes enough salad for me for 3-5 days. If you plan to keep it longer, omit the cucumbers and add them fresh at serving time.

SALAD INGREDIENTS

  • One 5-oz. package of ready-to-eat organic baby romaine
  • One 5-oz. package of ready-to-eat organic baby kale
  • Four mini seedless cucumbers
  • One envelope of Success Boil-in-Bag Tri-Colored Quinoa
  • 2 T. DeLallo Simply Pesto®, Sun-Dried Tomato, Basil & Cheese
  • 1/2 c feta cheese crumbles
  • 1/2 c. organic sliced raw almonds

DRESSING INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 c. fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 c. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 t. dried dill weed
  • 1/4 t. salt
  • 1/4 t. black pepper

PREPARATION

  1. Boil the bag of quinoa according to instructions on the box. When cool, empty into a small bowl and toss with the pesto. Set aside.
  2. Chop kale, romaine and cucumbers and transfer to a large bowl or kettle.
  3. Toss with lemon-dill dressing to taste.
  4. Add cooled quinoa and toss again.
  5. Top with almonds and feta.

IMPORTANT STUFF
The glucosinolates found in kale are utilized for DNA repair and help prevent cancer and slow the growth of cancer cells.

Along with the antioxidants found in romaine, the leafy green may also protect the body from cancer through its high folate content.

A study, published in 2015 in Gynecologic and Obstetric Investigation, found that individuals who consumed higher quantities of peanuts, walnuts, and almonds had their risk of breast cancer reduced by 2–3 times.

Quinoa contains a number of bioactive compounds, including polyphenols, which studies have shown can reduce the risk of cancer and cardiovascular disease. It also has a high concentration of protein and essential amino acids.

Cucumbers contain high levels of nutrients known as cucurbitacins, which may help prevent cancer by stopping cancer cells from proliferating and surviving.

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Hebrews 13:2

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This is a true story.

After dealing with LabCorp today and getting nowhere, I decided to run errands. It was sooo hot I wore a tank top and my tattoo sleeves.

I found a penny by the car, money side up. This has happened to me so often when I’ve been concerned about my finances that I’ve taken to calling it angel money.

In Tuesday Morning, I was a little annoyed at having to wait on the cashier to finish her story. So I eavesdropped.

She said to the customer in front of me, “And then this little boy sitting behind me pulled three roses out of the arrangement and handed them to three different women. I took it as a sign that meant everything is just going to be OK.”

In Kroger, I was a little annoyed at having to wait on a woman talking on her cell phone at the salad bar, who was dawdling over the romaine. So I eavesdropped on her, too.

She said, “She’s got about two weeks to go on her treatment. There’s a whole list of people praying and pulling for her.”

At least half a dozen people stopped to admire my tattoo sleeves and were shocked they weren’t ink. Young men smiled at me and stepped politely aside. Young women asked where they could get them for themselves.

A guy more my age followed me around the gourmet section and asked me on a date.

I told him I was expensive.

He said, “I’ve got Mama’s money until they cut me off.”

I laughed and kept walking, but in hindsight I should have asked him to pay my lab bill. I’m sure Mama wouldn’t mind.

This is what happens when people like you offer prayers and healing energy. A flock of angels arrive with messages of hope and joy — and even romance, or something like it. And they seem to be in no hurry to move out of my way.

Thanks for your contributions of love and money. I’ll keep you posted.

 

Forget not to shew love unto strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. ~ Hebrews 13:2, English Revised Version

Why not chemo?

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Breast cancer? No problem. Get ’em cut off and then get radiation and chemo. You’ll do great.

But did you know that if you have fibromyalgia, you not only have a 20% higher risk of cancer but you are 80% likelier to die from that cancer?

Let’s look at the most common chemo drugs for breast cancer.

Anthracyclines: not recommended in patients with mitral valve prolapse or arrhythmia. Guess who has those?

Taxanes: not recommended in patients with arrhythmia or orthostatic hypotension. Guess who…

5-FU also not recommended in patients with heart issues. F.U. five times, OK?

Among Cytoxan’s side effects are pain, fatigue, hair loss, tingling in hands and feet and brain fog. Maybe I don’t actually have fibromyalgia; maybe I have Cytoxan.

Paraplatin is not recommended for people with a platinum allergy. How would you know?

So maybe I don’t do chemo. Maybe I just do radiation.

From macmillan.org: “Radiotherapy can change the cells lining the lungs. This can cause problems with breathlessness months or years after treatment. If you already have a chest problem, such as asthma, the symptoms can be worse.”

Guess who has asthma?

Javid Moslehi of Boston’s Dana-Farber Cancer Institute writes, “Radiation can cause not just narrowing of the arteries and heart attacks, but abnormal heart rhythms, malfunctioning heart valves and other serious issues.”

I already have abnormal heart rhythms and a malfunctioning heart valve.

I’m thinking nutritional healing is going to be my best option. I found the Annie Appleseed Project through Chris Wark’s website. I’ll be reading there from now on and maybe stop scaring myself so much.

Blue Apron Salad

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One of the nicest things I did for myself in 2017 was to sign up with Blue Apron. Meals are for two, which means I get great leftovers, too. Unless it’s a shrimp entree. There are no leftover shrimp in my house. Ever.

It’s been just too hot for frying or roasting this week. So I made soup with some of my latest shipment and put the rest in this charm tomato & fresh corn salad.

I’m having it for lunch today on a bed of balsamic-dressed romaine with dried cranberries and almonds (and one wandering cashew).

8 yellow charm tomatoes, quartered
2 ears of corn, blanched and cut off the cob
2 carrots, sliced
2 ribs of celery, sliced
1 Kirby cucumber, sliced
4 garlic chives, thinly sliced

Toss with this dressing:

1 T olive oil, 2 T rice wine vinegar, 1 T sugar
S&P

Serves 4-6, depending on how you roll.

A Tale of Two Lewises

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This morning I was trolling C.S. Lewis memes, looking for reassurance in quotes from “Mere Christianity” and “The Problem of Pain.” But as Google is wont to do, it proffered the words of another Lewis, those of the representative of Georgia’s 5th District.

I myself led a quite sheltered life in my youth. While I quietly protested the war in Vietnam in my own way, I was unaware of much of what was going on in America, largely due to media censorship, but also because I was too busy embroidering my jeans and trying to get a boyfriend.

It’s not like in the past 40-50 years I’d forgotten how truly brutally political and human rights activists were treated.  But earlier this week I watched “Steal This Movie,” about the life of Abbie Hoffman.  I’d been unaware that Hoffman was severely beaten for simply wearing a red, white and blue shirt patterned after our flag.

Wearing our flag was something many of us proudly did in the weeks after 9/11 and I’ll bet not one of us thought we’d risk a beating for it.

By his own count, John Lewis was arrested more than 40 times during his days of civil rights activism.  I don’t like to think about how many of those times he was also battered or beaten.  Yet today he stands before crowds and preaches a message of diligence and courage.

I am afraid. I am worried. I am angry and frustrated that America is still a land of great brutality and violence and political corruption. We’ve forgotten that some of us fled England for relief from religious tyranny. We do not remember how precarious it was for the Founding Fathers to write such a thing as a Constitution.

And we still allow those in power to sacrifice lives overseas for economic and political reasons, spinning war as a necessary exercise in defense of freedom, while they, like so many leeches, suck human rights and civil rights from the lives of ordinary citizens.

C.S. Lewis once wrote, “We do not write in order to be understood; we write in order to understand.”

He also wrote, “We read to know we are not alone.”

So I’m writing this morning as I struggle with understanding. And I will read this morning to find community and comfort, which means taking a break from Facebook and CNN.  And I’ll post this and hope it helps someone else. It surely has helped me.

Desperation Bars

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Desperation Bars are good enough to make on purpose. But I invented them in a desperate attempt to treat a severe chocolate deficit, using whatever I had on hand.

These are surprisingly chewy and stick to your teeth so keep a hot cup of coffee handy. Or make them without the marshmallows. But they won’t be nearly as much fun.

First, clean out your pantry. Put everything back except for:
* half a bag of stale marshmallows
* a jar of marshmallow creme
* half a stick of butter
* handful of whole toasted almonds
* 1 cup of shredded coconut
* 1 cup oat-walnut meal* (if you’re not avoiding gluten you can sub graham cracker or cookie crumbs)
* 1 can of condensed milk
* 1 jar Nutella

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and spray a 9″x 13″ baking pan with cooking spray, being sure to coat well the corners and edges.

If you have to stay tidy, just give it up now. Everything is going to be sticky by the time you’re done.

Melt the marshmallows, marshmallow creme and butter in a bowl in the microwave, stirring frequently. Scoop up the pieces that inflate themselves onto the turntable and eat them. Don’t burn your mouth. Give up trying to completely melt the marshmallows and leave big hunks in the bowl.

In the meantime, roughly chop the almonds and toss in a bowl with the coconut and oat-walnut meal*. Stir in the condensed milk and spread evenly in the baking pan.

Spread the marshmallow goo over this. Then spread the Nutella over the goo.  You don’t have to use the entire jar but what the heck.

Pop in the oven for about 20 minutes. Take out and cool 10-15 min before cutting into bars. Sit on your hands or go outside if you have to. The chocolate aroma in the house is killing you by now.

Desperation Bars

the globs of unmelted marshmallow turn into bumps of gluey caramel

Store in a cool, dry place or refrigerate if you don’t eat the entire batch in one sitting.

Makes 16 *extremely* chewy bars.

*Oat-Walnut Meal:  put equal parts oats and walnuts in a food processor and pulse into fine crumbs.

Mexican Quicherrole

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20161117_113009This one was easy. I had all the ingredients on hand that I’d bought for other recipes and didn’t use. The pico was on its last legs and was the inspiration for this. Makes a 9″ x 13″ casserole; serves 6-8, depending on size and appetite of diners.

INGREDIENTS:

Two refrigerated pie crusts, room temp
Six eggs
One can evaporated milk (or 1.75 c regular milk, half&half, etc.)
One 10-oz tub of pico de gallo (or a drained can of Rotel. Or your own chopped tomato, onion and jalapeno)
One cup finely grated Mexican blend cheese (or your own… well, you get it)
A big bunch of fresh spinach, torn into pieces (I used half a bag of bagged fresh).
Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 425ºF.

Line a 9″ x 13″ pan with the pie crusts.
If they overlap, that’s OK. If they hang outside the pan, just fold them over the top of the casserole.  Make them pretty if you want to.  Obviously I like the asymmetric look.

In a large bowl, gently whisk the six eggs.
Add milk and whisk again.
Stir in pico.
Add the spinach and cheese and stir again.
Salt and pepper to taste.
(You may wish to S&P at table if pico or cheese is salty.)

Pour into pastry-lined pan and cover pan with foil.
Bake for 30 minutes or until set (filling doesn’t jiggle when you shake the pan).

Allow to cool for 10 minutes or so before serving.
Refrigerate leftovers (if there are any).

origami envelope for cash

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I couldn’t find exactly what I wanted online so I came up with this. You use the entire 9″ x 12″ sheet from a pad of tracing paper: no measuring or trimming except for the first fold.

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env5b

 

 

 

 

 

what I did on my Facebook vacation

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My part-time job as TV news editor has been sort of hateful lately.

So on Thursday, when all my assignments were preempted yet again by another assassination, this time in front of Parliament, I opened my Facebook page to a string of hateful posts related to other crises in America.

I’d had enough.  So I started my weekend a little early.  And I took time off from Facebook.

1. On Thursday afternoon, driving down Walnut Grove,  I laughed out loud at a Blue Screen of Death on a digital billboard.  I’ve never seen one that big.  Maybe another media conscript was feeling mutinous.

2. On Friday, I walked to the Art Center to buy origami paper.  I decided to step into Inz and Outz Gift & Cards, thinking I’d shop for Father’s Day.

Y’all should have told me what that place was before I went in there.

I didn’t buy any cards.  I did, however, consider some of the leather thongs.  Bet those zippers get awfully hot in this heat.

3. On Saturday, I perfected an origami envelope for a direct mail project and designed an outdoor sign, a non-digital one.  No BSODs here.

Sidebar:  I used to have a recurring dream, working at my old job as a graphic designer.  Today I’m literally living that dream.  Life is full of surprises.

4. On Sunday, I was grateful, grateful, grateful for so many things.  I’m grateful that I have air conditioning in my entire apartment now and my butter doesn’t melt if I leave it on the table.

I’m even grateful for my part-time job as TV news editor, even if it does make social media unbearably redundant some days.  There’s lots of love at that job.  My co-workers bring it every day.  Otherwise, I just couldn’t cope.

Actually, there’s lots of love at all my jobs, some of which necessitate my using Facebook.  I just have to remember that I have a choice:  I can unfollow people or pages that post stuff I don’t want to read.

I am one lucky girl.  I live in America.  I get to read about it all, the bad and the good.  Life is full of surprises.  It’s also full of choices.

1. Today I choose to be grateful.

2. Today I choose to show up for the love.

warm front

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just two hours away
the storm grows heavy

the trees bash the sky
with great bales of wind

and the unlikely spout
of an ice cream van

burbles “jingle all the way”
down a childless avenue

in the first week of April
in the middle of the day

the dove falls silent
with her rooftop forecast

my body sings with tiredness
as my thoughts take cover

even napping now and then
in a lullabye of weather