Saturday, September 1, 2012

Quinoa and Poetry

As you may know, I'm beginning to cook in my quest for a slightly healthier lifestyle and I'm quite awkward at it. For me, a healthier lifestyle just means running more and microwaving less (eating more real foods and less food-tasting preservatives). Speaking of that, the savory souffle I wanted to make never happened last weekend, but it will. One day. This holiday weekend, however, I have introduced yet another healthy food into my diet and with that came another experiment in the kitchen.

This is a salad, prettier than mine and with cranberries,
but it's somewhat similar (imagine paper plate and bent-pronged fork)
as highlighted on
I bought 1/2 a pound of quinoa from Sprouts today because it looks like risotto when I've seen it at restaurants and, after reading that it is actually a seed that is incredibly high in protein and fiber while also being full of iron, thiamine and folate, I figured it'd be pretty near a grain like rice--it'd be something I can work with.

Well, it does not taste like risotto. It looks like it, but taste... yeah, not so much. At the same time, it was really good as a salad compliment. I boiled it with a ton of Italian spice and a little pepper for ten minutes then piled it on the plate and taste tested: Meh. I gave a spoonful to my husband: It needs butter, or honey. In other words, it tastes like nothing because everything that has no taste is cooked with butter or something sweet like honey.

Seeing that quinoa wasn't going to be the staple of my dinner, I made a spinach salad with feta cheese and scooped a little hummus on the side. This, along with a scoop of my quinoa and a little raspberry vinagerette... and just like that: Wow! It was healthy and amazing. Quinoa, in my kitchen, will be a base. It's that type of food that adds a little bulk and is easily enhanced by contrasting flavors. In other words, my husband was right. It just needed a little flavor. I thoroughly enjoyed this salad. Better, that little seed expands like rice, so the 1/2 pound I bought will last me quite some time.

Here are a few really good recipes I found using quinoa that sound  a lot better than my salad thing:

In writing news, I have a new poem out there in the world at THRUSH Poetry Journal: "Monday" is a short, fun piece about, well, Mondays. Check it out:

I have been writing longer stories, which are difficult to send to journals as many journals have tight word count limits that seem to be decreasing every year. Perhaps this is a sign I should return to my novel. I compiled a few stories into a short chapbook and entered it in the Black Lawrence Press's Spring 2012 Competition. I didn't win. I did, however, get semi-finalist status, which is something. So I'm revisiting this little collection and polishing the stories up just a little more. We'll see. Perhaps I should hold out for a full collection.

Finally, a plea: This week, I got word that I'll be teaching a creative writing class this term at San Antonio College. I really love teaching this class, but I'd like to mix up my bag of prompts a little. I have one that inspires my students so much I can't budge from reusing it, but for the other writing assignments in which I want the students to focus on sensory details and work from an image, I'm still looking. This is a Flex II course, so I have another month. Let me know if you find any images that you think may inspire a story. The rest of the assignment is there, but I need a powerful and dynamic image to work with.

Well, with teaching, the corporate gig, and writing, I'm going to be incredibly busy this fall, so in the meantime, I'm going to thoroughly enjoy this weekend. Three days! I hope you enjoy it as well. Live it up, people.

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