Bread for Diabetics

A few days ago, I saw a recipe for a loaf of bread that was vegan, gluten-free and made with seeds and nuts. It sounded yummy, but a bit severe.  I wondered if I could make some changes and keep it delicious for diabetics, too. After baking the original and making several changes, here’s what I came up with.


  • 1 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 cup ground flax seeds (don’t use whole seeds, you can’t digest them)
  • 1/ cup hazelnuts. (You can substitute almonds or walnuts)
  • 1-1/2 cups rolled oats (6-grain, whole-grain mix is OK, no steel-cut oats)
  • 1/4 cup dried apricots or dried black figs
  • 2 Tsp. chia seeds
  • 4 Tbsp. psyllium seed husks
  • 1 tsp. fine grain sea salt
  • 3 T coconut nectar or agave syrup
  • 3 T butter
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1-1/2 cups milk


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Chop hazelnuts and dried fruit into a rough chop. Combine all dry ingredients and fruit in a large bowl. In a medium saucepan, heat milk, vanilla and butter until the butter melts. You do not want to boil the milk. Allow to cool until the mixture is below 110 degrees F.

Loaf1Pour the liquid into the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly. If mixture becomes too thick to stir, add a tablespoon of water at a time. Pour the mixture into a greased loaf pan. Let sit for two hours. You can also make this in the evening and leave it in the fridge overnight.

Bake bread for 20 minutes, then remove bread from pan, place the bare loaf upside down, directly on the oven rack, bake for another 30 to 40 minutes until it sounds hollow when tapped. Let cool completely before slicing.

It’s not a bread that can be used for sandwiches, but it is great with cream cheese, or with gruyere melted onto it. Also good plain or with nut butter.

* * *
No, I’m not starting to write a food blog. But I’ve found very few really good diabetic breads or snacks. Creativity includes cooking and self care.

Quinn McDonald misses cinnamon rolls more than anything else, but is getting over it.

Creative Stroll: January 18, 2014

We live in a world of detail we never see or notice. Sometimes we are just in a rush, other times we lack the microscopes to see the tiny details.

© Markus Reuger, Liquid Art

© Markus Reuger, Liquid Art

Markus Reugels at Liquid Art has the microscope and the camera, but the photos he takes are not manipulated. He uses water, food coloring and oils to create these amazing photographs of water drops.

© Markus Reuger

© Markus Reuger

Lukas Holas is a photographer and graphic designer from the Czech Republic. He does animal portraits in black and white, the details coming through the spare, no-background portrait approach.

© Lukas Holas

© Lukas Holas

The lighting and staging makes these portraits extraordinary. You can tell Lukas’ love and respect for animals.

© Lukas Holas

© Lukas Holas

Visarute Angkatatavanich is also a commercial and animal photographer, but he specializes in Siamese Fighting Fish. Yes, those fighting fish. Currently living in Bangkok, Thailand, Visarute captures the amazing flowing fins of these fish in still photography.

© Visarute Angkatavanich

© Visarute Angkatavanich

Bettas (from the Latin name) live two to four years and are about three inches long.

 Visarute Angkatavanich

Visarute Angkatavanich

Two male Bettas in the same aquarium isn’t a good idea. They will fight till one of them wins and the other is dead. Better to let each one be the king of his domain.

Have a creative Saturday!

–Quinn McDonald loves the details people see in the world.

Dirty Little Addictions: Guest Post

Note: As people buy the Inner Hero book (or simply fight with their Inner Critic), I invite guest posts that discuss the struggle. Today, Wendy Watson of Late Start Studio (and a frequent commenter on the blog) talks about addictions–the metaphorical equivalent of tempting candy treats handed out by your Inner Critic.

Dirty Little Addictions: Wendy Watson

Yes, most of us have them and from time to time they get out of hand.  I have one: I knew of it’s existence before partaking but eventually a personal introduction was made by a friend, well it was more like the way a new convert would be indoctrinated into a cult and I fell for it hook, line and sinker.  At first it was harmless and I thought I had full control, no one, not even me, was being hurt.  Now?  I can’t quite say the same.  The effect of this energy sapping, mind numbing (most addictions are), debilitating and dirty little addiction is that I am wasting my time, time I can never recover.

Because I have had a month off work and don’t need to clear my mind of rubbish by putting even more in its place (how pointless is that!) I am noticing how much precious time this compulsion robbing away from me.

© Wendy Watson 2014

© Wendy Watson 2014

I’ve tried to ration when I allow myself to indulge but to no avail.  Do I need to go cold turkey?  Is that even possible?  Do I need to find myself a 12-step programme and work through it?    I joke that I have oodles of willpower but next to no won’t-power.  Not funny.  I have to come up with a plan whereby I am accountable for what is wasted on this dirty little secret of mine.

Perhaps some kind soul would come and wave a big stick around, threaten, cajole, encourage by turns.  That might be a fine plan but will hardly empower me to make my own decisions, live my own life.  There’s only one thing for it . . . do it myself.  I got myself into this mess and I know I have lots of company but small comfort that is!

I don’t need to tell you what it is; you might try and experience the initial thrill of it for yourself and so it’s better you remain ignorant.  No, I need to ‘fess up to myself, put on my big girl knickers and get on with living!  Remember, “Each day passes whether you participate or not,” Deng Min Dao, 365 Tao: Daily Meditations.
* * *

The Amazon problem is now resolved, and the book shows it is shipping and reviews can be posted.

Living with Your Messy Journal

Somewhere in your head is the vision of the perfect journal. Maybe it’s all online, on a beautifully decorated page with changing photographs. Or maybe it’s all written in fountain pen, in a lovely Palmer penmanship. It’s a nice thought, but it’s unlikely. If you are like me, you drag your journal with you and it has sticky spots on the cover, grease spots on the inside pages and some place where the cat (or your) chewed the corner.


“If you don’t design your own life plan, chances are, you’ll fall into someone else’s plan and. . .”

Life is messy. Your journal will be, too. Unless you create separate pages and include only those you like, (and whose life is that controlled?), you will have pages that are neater than others. If you use your journal daily, you will write in various pens, include things torn from magazines, and in other ways, create a journal that looks like your life–messy and busy.

"Guess what they have planned for you? Not much."

“Guess what they have planned for you? Not much.”

It’s a much more realistic approach to journaling. There are people who tell me that they are waiting for their lives to “quiet down” before they start coaching. They never get around to it. Coaching, like journaling, takes place in the middle of messes, tears, joy, and confusion. That’s how life is.

If you hate a messy journal, here are three ways to make changes:

1. You can cut out an annoying page, leaving about an inch close to the spine. Then tape another page, one you like better, to the stub, using washi or masking tape. (If you have a sewing machine, you can stitch it in.)

2. You can gesso over the page you don’t like, and re-create it. Now you don’t have to look at the annoying page. You can also use a cream-colored acrylic and let some of the old work peek through. It’s more interesting that way.

3. Tape a piece of vellum over the offending page and write a list of things you would do differently on the vellum. That helps cover the old work and lets you remember what you like and don’t like. (That may change over time).

Or, you can enjoy the journal exactly the way it is, knowing that you are a recovering perfectionist, and your journal is fine the way it is.

–Quinn McDonald is a writer who keeps a messy journal. Several of them, in fact.

Full Flavor, No Sugar

Flavor without sugar. It’s what diabetics want and it’s hard to find. Most “sugar-free” foods are loaded with either fat or fake sugars. And I don’t do well with fake sugars. (See the reviews on the 5-lb bag of sugar-free gummi bears on Amazon.)


So I’m after big, bold flavor. Spicy, deep, rich–foods with flavor is a diabetic’s Holy Grail.

Here’s a quick fix: dried orange peel. Yes, dried. Not chocolate covered, not sugar soaked, although I did love those for a long time, too.

It couldn’t be easier. Peel an orange. Remove some pith, although you don’t have to make yourself crazy getting it all off. Cut peel in strips. Put in 250 degrees Fahrenheit (120 C) oven on a parchment covered sheet pan.  After 10 minutes, toss. Leave in for another 10 minutes. Check to make sure the peel doesn’t turn too dark. Cool. They should be crispy.

Put in a ziplock back and run a rolling pin over them till they are dust. Or put them through a spice grinder or a small blender. Done!

  • How can you use orange peel dust?
  • Sprinkle on cappuccino instead of (or with) cinnamon
  • Sprinkle on unflavored, unsweetened yogurt
  • Dust over oatmeal and skip the sugar
  • Add to tea with the tea leaves before brewing
  • Add 1/2 tsp. to diabetic-friendly chewy almond bars to change the flavor completely
  • Melt Black and Green dark chocolate (never tastes sour or bitter) add chopped nuts and a bit of the orange dust. Yum.
  • Mix into Greek yogurt and use it as a dip for apples and pears
  • Stir into whipped cream cheese and fill celery sticks
  • Blend a bit with 2 tsp of vanilla and cut into a cup of whipped cream. Use as a topping over fresh fruit.

Be very careful–a little goes a long way. Use less than you think. It’s easier to add more. You can do the same thing with lemon, lime and grapefruit peel. The lemon and lime make a great addition to salad dressing and sauces you put over fish and poultry.

Quinn McDonald is married to Kent, a personal chef who cooks interesting food that tastes good. Eating his diabetic-friendly food helped her lose 65 pounds in a year.

Inner Hero, Inner Critic

Most people think that with the Inner Hero book,  I no longer have an Inner Critic. [Snort] HAHAHAHA! Or course I do, and he’s not going to go away. That’s the whole purpose of the inner hero idea–to create an alter ego that has your permission to kick the inner critic’s butt.

One of the big steps in dealing with an inner critic is knowing when something makes you happy and reveling in it. Dogs do this naturally–they roll in revolting things because it makes them happy. Cats chase after red-light dots with crazy abandon. But people don’t express happy very well. We create an excuse like drinking to say “I got carried away.” We should all get carried away more often.

I’m just back from the CHA convention (Craft and Hobby Association) in Anaheim, California, and I had two enormously wonderful things happen.

BookingsigningCHA1. North Light (my publisher) had me do a book signing. I asked Seth Apter and Rosaland Hannibal, book contributors,  to sign the books with me. (Seth is not in this photo, that’s Rosaland on the right). After all, three signatures is better than one. And I’ve never seen that happen, so I thought it would be fun. And it was. Pure fun. My editor, Tonia Jenny, was there for moral support and took the photos. How nice was that? Tommy Semosh (also from North Light) made books, chairs and pens appear. And we signed books and talked and laughed.  Pure joy and excitement.

2. I was talking to someone at the CHA booth when a woman came up and recognized me from my column in Somerset Studio magazine. “Are you the Quinn McDonald?” I was sure she was thinking of someone else. “Probably not,” I said, and then she asked if I did the column. She said nice things. I did not tell her I was a worthless human or a talentless troll. I said, “Thank you,” and meant it. I allowed myself to feel good. I allowed my ego to inflate.  Carefully, and not too much. Because sometimes it just feels good to be recognized and praised.

I did not “jinx” anything by feeling good about myself. The world did not come to an end. Nothing bad happened to “counterbalance” the good. Happy is a wonderful feeling. But you have to allow it to happen.

—Quinn’s Inner Hero book is launched. There will be a Phoenix-launch at Changing Hands bookstore on Februray 20. Save the date, she wants to see you all there.


Sometimes when you want water, you get sand instead.

Life throws a variety of curve balls. We can sit and sulk, or we can take risks and change our lives.


Water main cover in street. © Quinn McDonald 2014.

The idea of risk is usually far more appealing than the risk itself. When we think about risk, we almost always automatically think of failure. And we plan how we will survive the failure. How we will re-group afterwards. “Plan for the worst,” we say and then we are disappointed when it happens. Well, you did plan for it.

We rarely plan for big successes. Once you have asked yourself, “What’s the worst that could happen?” Immediately ask yourself, “What’s the best that could happen?” Plan for that, too.

You create your own reality. Where you look is where you go. Make sure you include great scenery in your life.

–Quinn McDonald

Creative Play

Bureaucrat by day, street artist after work. Oakoak is an untrained artist with a clever eye and a wicked sense of humor.


Letting your mind roam and quickly make connections is a great creative game.


So is seeing a part of something and envisioning something completely different.

Artist and creative director Brock Davis is another person with an eye for turning the mundane into the unusual.

Bread knife with shark.

Bread knife with shark.

The artist sees normal objects in different ways. That opens a whole new world. It can also open a coffin on a week-old egg roll:


The joy of this is deliberately switching your perspective to allow something else to show up.

And sometimes you have to take a closer look—really, really, up close—to be amazed.

frosted-spider-webThis photo was shared on reddit by shivs1147. It’s a spider web coated in frost.

Go out and try on a different pair of eyes and discover your world all over again.

-Quinn McDonald is having the time of her life with her new eyesight.

The Life You Want

What’s your ideal life? The answer is up in the air for many of my coaching clients. They just know that the life they have now isn’t the one they want.

The start of a new life begins really early in the process.

The start of a new life begins really early in the process.

Luckily, you don’t have to be stuck with the life you have now. You do have to be willing to change. Change your routine, your schedule, your friends (if they don’t want you to change), and maybe your salary and your expectations. Of yourself and others.

Most often, I ask, “Who do you want to be?” Almost everyone has an idea. Then comes the tricky part–“What did that person do to get there?” Because if you want that life, you can’t just step onto their stage, you have to scramble up the path. Most often, there is no short cut. You have to do the struggle part, the risk part, the fall-on-your-face-in-front-of-everyone part to get to the good part.

You can’t skip that part. If you do skip it, you’re stress dream will come true and you’ll climb up on stage and discover you aren’t wearing a stitch. Before the “ahhhh” comes the “grrrrr.”

I always smile at the people who know the Inner Hero book is out and say, “You HeroBookare so lucky to have written a book.” Pssst. . .it wasn’t luck. It was getting up at 4:30 a.m. and crying when chapters didn’t work out and I had to start over and swearing I’d never write another book (yeah, the idea for book #3 is already running around my feet), and feeling overwhelmed and exhausted at the same time.

To have the life you want, you have to build it. From the ground up.

-Quinn McDonald swears she will sign 1,000 books before she admits she may want to write another one.


You Are Never “Done”

Right before I slide into “overwhelm” I realize how much I still have to do. It’s now just after 10 p.m and I’ve been up since 5:30 a.m., working. I’m trying to get to a point where I’m “done” and can go to bed. What a mistake. There is no

“done.” When I’ve finished paying the bills, I have to send invoices, and then I have to create the Powerpoint and do the outline and book my flight and remember what is left to do for the trip to Yuma and the one to Houston and. . . there is no end.

Which is a good thing, as steady work means money to pay the bills. But I have to decide how much to work each day. Sometimes a small machine in my head acts as if I will hit a magic end to the work, a big trumpet will sound and satisfaction will pour into my heart as money pours into my hands.

Instead, there is satisfaction in getting work done well, and a bit of panic in the work left undone, and when the whole thing balances out, it’s been a very good day.

Quinn McDonald has to buy cat food tomorrow, or the day will not end well. And she is teaching Tiny Journals at Arizona Art Supply on January 26.