Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Sallee's Best Quinoa Salad Ever

Quinoa is one of my favorite grains. It is very high in protein and is very easy to cook and digest. This has been my staple potluck dish for many years. I am constantly varying the recipe - it is very flexible. The apples are essential. I chop them with a hand chopper - they give a backdrop of sweetness. Then whatever you add is up to you.

Quinoa Salad

2 and 1/2 cups dry quinoa - cook with 5 & 1/4 cup water for 15 minutes and let cool

When cool, fluff up the quinoa, then add:

3/4 cup diced celery
3/4 cup chopped parsley (I prefer curly, but my husband usually buys the flat-leaf.)
1 diced red pepper (optional)
1 medium red onion, diced (optional)
1/2 cup chopped scallions (optional)
1 cup toasted pine nuts (other nuts can be substituted,e.g. slivered almonds - I toast the nuts on the stove top in a skillet)
1 cup dried cranberries, chopped (craisins) (other dried fruit can be used as a variation, e.g. raisins, currants, or diced dried apricots)
1 T orange zest (optional)
1/2 cup olive oil (or less for the diet conscious)

Juice 2 to 3 limes (lemons, oranges work equally well as a variation or a combo of lemon and lime, or orange and lime)
2 or 3 diced apples (granny smiths are great, but could be any kind of crisp apple) - Add to lime or lemon juice first, then add to quinoa.

Salt, pepper, cayenne to taste:
SALT -- approximately 1.5 to 2 tsps
Pepper -- severral good turns of a pepper mill
Cayenne -- approx. 1/4 to 1/2 tsp - or more to taste - the cayenne gives it a kick that the pepper cannot reach

This makes a big bowl of salad and is a welcome change from usual potluck fare. Enjoy!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Last Encounter with Kate

for Linda and the rest of the family:

Last time I saw her - we had met for coffee at the original Starbucks across from Pike's Market in Seattle. The kids are skeptical about our claim that we are sisters. They keep hoping they can trip us up in a lie.

We walk through the market admiring flowers and the displays of perfect rows of zucchini and radishes, Japanese eggplant and glistening salmon tossed through the air by fishmongers.

She has made an appointment for later with the oncologist and in her subdued and stoic commentary she tells me "the news isn't all that good, spots on the sternum in bone scan. Linda is freaking out, but well..." There. She's told me - no drama and on to the next topic, or the next food stand where we sample some pepper-ginger jelly. It's a brief visit but we cover a lot - cover the basics: fine, not fine, happy, not happy. In this moment, just the pleasure of the moment -the vivid market of colors and life, fish tossed about for entertainment.

We are headed toward the new library -and she walks us part of the way. When we part ways as we have parted ways now - she to another destination, we say goodbye and she walks off as we continue where we were headed.

Later in that trip, I get a call from her, "I'm going to come meet you in Portland." "I'm not going to be there," I say. "I'm leaving the family there by themselves for a couple of days." I try to be discouraging as I'm not sure Richard wants to deal with her on his own. It doesn't work out - we don't connect.

Plans are proposed, here and there, but nothing materializes, the parting of paths now complete, complete for now. Moments shared, remembered, captured in photos or on video, added to websites, added to the collective memory of who this being was and what she meant to us all.

What was that? - A light, a laugh, a wit? Oh yes, a wit - sometimes sarcastic, biting, though not ill-intentioned, wit coming from a deep place, an open raw, vulnerable wounded place - laid open and exposed without drama or pretense or bullshit, frankly without the blah-blah. How hard is it to live like that? Only she could say - disappearing into it for months on end to sheepishly resurface begging her friends for patience and forgiveness, which would give or would not give her absolution.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


Sometimes earthquakes throw people into each other's laps and a friendship is formed. Such was the case of the 89 quake that hit the World Series and the city of San Francisco, shaking up Kate so badly that she fled to the Iowa cornfields where it was safe. At least that was the hope, that was the motive, but when she called me and said "Help!" - that was the moment that the falling into laps had arrived, the moment when somehow I managed to give her permission to dance and I discovered the deep soul and brilliance of someone who had been prior to that moment, only an acquaintance. Now she was a sister, folded into my heart in such a way that even chaos, craziness, manic-depression, bipolar - any sort of diagnosis could not override or supersede the baseline truth. While on the surface that was all there, the truth I saw and knew about Kate existed on another level.

What happens when two fiery, cynical, slightly bitter, angry and otherwise good people choose to be friends? Well, it could be pretty short-lived - or it could be that each gives the other truth - a perfect mirror like having a twin. You get to observe and see yourself walking the planet in all your glory and all your pain, heightened to the max - visible in the bright light of truth.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Claiming My Sisters

Kate on Bainbridge Island, c. 2000 - a glorious day!

written 2/8/06

A quiet, unassuming, and kind person – friends from a shared interest in writing, expressing, being vulnerable, being Iowan cat lovers, Claudia. Claudia I see you happy for your release from a body, broken and no longer serving. Kate, Kate, Kate – we play together in the words of the Scrabble Board – neither of us has other words to post to the other, just this sad game where the points flip the scale with – every turn, an evenly matched competition – well, she usually has a 10 pt edge on me, knows how to play those 2 letter words for double/triple points. Kate, living with cancer, living with bi-polar, which, has almost been more deadly, the downs worse than the highs which drove away all the friends. How we became friends – I gave her a counseling session after she moved here, shaken too much by the 89 quake and seeking solid ground in the Midwest. I let her dance and move in her session, gave her permission to be the ballerina the 3 yearold never got to be and is trying to be. She can dance now, move, breathes – shakes a little too loose at times for the comfort of others. Some need that kind of freedom. Some need to break those boundaries. My kids don’t believe she is my sister. And keep asking my brothers if they have another sister, thinking they caught me in a lie. It isn’t a lie – she is my sister, Claudia is my sister, too – I’ll claim her – she deserves me more than she deserves Sylvia. In this circle of women, she has a real home and family.

The Need for Coffee

written 11/30/2001

Kate's sister Linda asks her "Do you really want to die"? Every decision for her at this point becomes an existential question. Whether to drink coffee or not may or may not be a matter of life or death. The sister, trying to be rational – your hormones, sis – think of your hormones, and Kate just wanting the taste of Java, the taste of this one small pleasure of life in the sucking vortex of stage whatever breast cancer. She tells me about her retreat for breast cancer survivors and how they tried to coach her into a decision. That decision of their agenda – get the radiation, they say, is a decision of a knife slice in hard rock, goes nowhere, against the surface with a dull thud, doesn't get to the broken wall of pain. Kate says all the women there had too much to lose, families, children, wealthy baubles of houses in Darien, Connecticut, but she has nothing to lose – can't get behind the belief that there is even one good reason to live, except for the occasional coffee at Starbucks, sitting in the sumptuous chairs staring out at the rain with a friend in conversation waiting for the rain to stop.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Bee Aware

Colony Collapse Disorder is threatening the very foundation of our food supply. When the bees disappear, how will we produce food? Our eco-system is SO fragile! There's a lot of smoke and mirrors around what the culprit is for CCD - cell phones are getting blamed or proposed as a possible cause. That was probably cooked up by Bayer to delay any real discussion about the real cause - rampant use of neonicitinoid pesticides. Another reason to eat organic and fight the big chemical companies. They are destroying the planet as fast as they can.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Evil Monsanto

Click on the title of this post to access part 1 of a 4 part documentary about Monsanto. This documentary shows just how corrupt our FDA really is. They clearly have not been protecting citizens for a long time. If you are still drinking Diet Coke, if you still think that GMO food is safe and don't eat organic, if you use Roundup weed killer in and around your garden, if you drink regular non-organic milk contaminated with BGH and feed that to your kids - you NEED to watch this.