This week has been rough. An extended (by marriage) relative's father has passed away at way too young an age. The relative is about the same age I was when my father passed away. I remember those first few days and thinking of all the moments we would all miss with my father... him never getting to hold my child, not getting to walk my sisters down the aisle on their wedding days, not getting to celebrate the next big wedding anniversary with my mom, not getting to enjoy retirement and do all those things he'd planned to do. Then there were the feelings of concern for my mother. How was she going to handle it? They'd been married for so long that it would be difficult to not have him there. I remember the pain and hurt that came from deep within and kept me crying off and on for days... weeks. I still carry that pain and hurt with me. It aches right now thinking that someone I know and love has to go through the same thing.
But, it gets better, slowly but surely. The pain subsides. The thoughts are of happy memories instead. Like when it was my turn to go motorcycle camping with my father and we came back from the evening park ranger's program to find a skunk in our campsite. That was the first time I saw the Milky Way. Or the Halloween when he rigged up a ghost to fly in front of kids as they came up the front walkway. Or Halloween of 2003 when he set this up in the front yard:
There are so many things he taught me: how to change out faucets, change the oil in my car, rotate my tires, plumbing projects with PVC pipe, the basics of HVAC, patch a gypsum board wall, paint, plant bushes and shrubs, drain a pool (or any liquid) by siphoning it out, drive, and, most importantly, be a good person and care about others.
I remember watching the Jerry Lewis MDA telethon one year and deciding I wanted to make a donation. My father said it was a great idea and that he wanted to give money, too. So, we got on the phone together and he gave me his credit card and made me do all the talking. That was one of his lessons in being a good person and caring about others.
I could go on and on about my father, but the bottom line is his memory lives on and, though I'd rather have him here with me, I'll take the memories.
And what about all the things he's missed? Well, I swear he's here sometimes with my son, especially when he was an infant. My oldest sister had our uncle, my dad's brother, walk her down the aisle. My middle sister had an aisle-less ceremony in a gazebo. My mother took the entire family on an Alaskan cruise to celebrate what would have been their 40th wedding anniversary. And, my mom just retired and is spending his social security and retirement funds and planning what she'd like to do in her retirement.
And, how's my mom doing? Though I'm sure she'd rather have him here, too, she's doing awesome! She has a busier social calendar than I do. She sold the "family home" two years ago and moved to a condo. She's living life to the fullest.
And, now to today's recipe. I'm not sure how much my father would enjoy it, but we sure do :-)
If you've never had halloumi before it's an interesting cheese. It has a high melting point so it can be fried and grilled but still maintain its shape. It's slightly briny and squeaks a bit in your teeth. I love it. The Wikipedia article is pretty interesting.
total time: about 45 minutes
- 1 c quinoa (I mix brown and white together and also soak mine overnight)
- 1 package frozen butternut squash
- 2 c water
- pinch salt
- dash of thyme
- splash of olive oil
- 1 package halloumi cheese (vegan alternative: I haven't tried it because I can't do soy anymore, but it seems like tempeh would be a good substitute or this), slice 1/4" thick
- 1/2 c (approximately) frozen peas
- If you have a rice cooker, put quinoa, squash, water, salt, thyme and olive oil in it, turn it on, and wait for it to finish. If you don't have a rice cooker, put the quinoa, squash, water, salt, thyme and olive oil in a pot and cook it according to the package directions.
- In a separate saute pan, pan-fry the halloumi over medium heat (there's no need to add oil.) Depending on the brand, it may release a lot of moisture at first, but that will all cook off. Then the halloumi will start to turn a golden color. Turn it over and cook the other side until it becomes golden. Remove from the pan and set on a paper towel to drain. (If using tempeh, I would recommend sauteeing it.)
- When the quinoa has finished cooking, stir in the peas. Let it sit for a minute to defrost the peas.
- Break up the halloumi and stir into the quinoa. Enjoy!
This recipe has been shared on Diet, Dessert and Dogs' Wellness Weekend, Vegetarian Mamma's Gluten Free Fridays, Allergy Free Alaska's Whole Food Fridays, and The Daily Dietribe's 5-Ingredient Monday.