Melon juice on a snowy day...

Potatoes galore... the Andes were the birthplace of potatoes...

Hey everyone,

It's snowing here-- can you believe it?! Toddler and I went out to investigate early this morning, when it was only snowing a little. He was really excited, but wanted more snow... so he demanded, "Mommy, I want BIG snow!" And when I explained that I don't have control over the weather, he didn't buy it, and kept insisting in that screechy toddler voice, "I want BIG snow! BIG snow!" Luckily, it did start snowing harder, which qualified as BIG snow, and once again, I became all-powerful and just in his eyes...

Party at Maria's house in Oatavalo. Maria's husband, Tino, is the one singing and holding the pan flute.

So, it's less than a week now til the release of The Indigo Notebook, and I thought I'd post another one of Maria Virginia's recipes in celebration. This one's a beverage, and you can make it with any large melon-type fruit-- cantelope, watermelon, papaya... It's especially nice for those times when you have half a leftover melon and the fridge and want to use it fast before it goes bad.

the pig and sheep and cow market in Otavalo

Jugo de Melon (makes four small glasses)

In Ecuador, this refreshing beverage is often served at breakfast, lunch, or dinner.


½ peeled cantaloupe,
5 tablespoons of sugar (or to taste),
3 cups water,
4 ice cubes.

Cut the cantaloupe in small cubes and blend in a blender with ice, water, and sugar.

How much easier can it get?! And it's really yummy... it gets a nice foam on top.

Another great review of The Indigo Notebook came in-- this one from the Southern Colorado Literature Examiner. Here's an excerpt:

"The journey to [Zeeta's] revelations, as recorded in her notebook, will amuse and entertain readers of all ages. The characters are charming, unique individuals that will remain in the memories of readers for many days to come. This tale is a young adult adventure, with a humor, mystery and mystique thrown in to make a truly enjoyable read." -- Kaye Lynne Booth

Yay! Thanks for a lovely review!

on the way to see a shaman in a village outside of Otavalo

Have a wonderful day! For you Fort Collins folks, I'm doing a Red Glass presentation at the new Council Tree library tonight at 6:30... should be fun!

Weather update: It's still snowing... MEGA-BIG snow now...


Ecuadorian Shrimp Ceviche... mmm..

Otavalo food market


I'm in my trailer with the heat blasting, trying to warm up. It's cold today! Before I dive into my revisions for The Ruby Notebook, I thought I'd post another yummy Ecuadorian recipe from Maria Viriginia. This one's shrimp ceviche (which Wendell and Zeeta make together in The Indigo Notebook.) My Ecuadorian friends always serve this with tostado or popcorn.

Shrimp Ceviche (Serves four)

2 lbs of medium shrimp (de-veined and de-shelled)

5 medium tomatoes
1/3 bunch fresh cilantro (about 15 pieces)

4 large limes
3 medium white or yellow onions
About 1 tablespoon of salt (start off with less, then season to taste)
1 ½ cups water
a tablespoon of olive oil

Boil the shrimp in 1 ½ cups boiling water for 5 minutes. Take out the shrimp and put in a large bowl. Save the water (you’ll use it later) and set aside to cool.

Boil another pot of water, and boil the tomatoes for 2 minutes. Then take out the tomatoes and peel off the skins. Put the peeled tomatoes in a blender with the water that the shrimp was boiled in, and add a teaspoon of salt. Blend until you have liquid tomato juice.

Cut each shrimp in half. Add the blended tomato juice to the bowl of shrimp. Chop the cilantro very finely and add to the mixture.

Next, soften the flavor of the onions: Cut the onions into thin slices and then cut the slices in half to form half-circles. Put the onions in a separate bowl and add a teaspoon of salt and a cup of water. Mix with your hands, crushing and breaking apart the pieces of onion. Drain out the water and add another cup of water to rinse. Drain again.

Add the onions and lime juice and olive oil to the shrimp mixture and mix all ingredients together.

Serve immediately with a side of rice and/or popcorn.

(Note that Maria doesn't usually measure ingredients, just eyeballs them, so you can adjust the quantities to your taste.)

grains in the Otavalo market

Today Becky's Book Reviews posted an interview with me about The Indigo Notebook... please check it out!

Thanks for reading!


Quinoa Soup Recipe

Hey, everyone!

Google alerted me of an absolutely lovely new review of The Indigo Notebook today! It's from Six Boxes of Books blog, and here's an excerpt:

This first book in the series takes place in Ecuador, and the first sign that I wasn't in Babysitters Club territory was the richness of setting. It's obvious that Resau knows her Ecuador, but it comes out of her naturally, without delving into travelogue territory. The last two days I felt like I WAS in Ecuador, and so the only possible thing I could have for dinner last night was Ecuadorean quinoa vegetable soup from Moosewood Restaurant Daily Special. Sights, sounds, smells, tastes--you may think you've never been that interested in going to Ecuador, but after reading this book, I predict you'll be looking up plane fares. -- Wendy, Six Boxes of Books

Isn't that cool? I actually have that same Moosewood book and have made that same recipe! Here's the recipe that my friend Maria Virginia (co-author of The Queen of Water, coming spring 2011) uses. We led a Whole Foods cooking class together a couple years ago, and this is one of the scrumptious dishes we made. (Hmm... maybe I'll post the side dishes over the next few days so you can cook yourself a complete Ecuadorian meal after you read the book!)

Be aware that quantities are approximate-- Maria just eyeballs the ingredients, so she had a tough time quantifying them when we wrote down the recipe ... ;-)

Quinoa Soup (sopa de pobres in Spanish and sopa de pubri gendipa api in Quichua) (Serves four)

¼ pound dry quinoa

3 medium red potatoes (cut into one-inch cubes)

10 green onions (white parts only, finely chopped)

About 1 tablespoon salt (to taste)

½ tsp. cumin
3 garlic cloves (finely chopped)

1 medium carrot (cut into ¼ inch cubes)

1 tsp. olive oil
¼ bunch of fresh cilantro (finely chopped)
¼ tsp black pepper

1 cup milk

1 pound of mozerella (or similar) cheese

About 3 liters of water or broth

½ teaspoon achiote (optional for natural red color)

In a large soup pot, boil the quinoa with the salt and water for 45 minutes. When the quinoa is soft and creamy, add potatoes and carrots and garlic. Let simmer until potatoes and carrots are soft. In another pan, heat the oil and sauté the green onions with the cilantro for about one minute. Add the milk, achiote, cumin, and let boil for three minutes, stirring constantly. Add this milk mixture to the quinoa mixture. Bring to a boil and let boil for three minutes. You can either put the cheese cubes into the soup and let melt, or, you can add the cheese cubes to individual bowls of soup.
Buen provecho!

the beautiful Maria Virginia

Back to the Six Boxes of Books review, again! I just want to include the last paragraph of the review--

I think your bright middle-schoolers and maybe high-schoolers will love this series. I was desperate to travel when I was that age, and it seems like something even more teens aspire to now. Zeeta is both a real girl (multiracial, by the way) and a wish-fulfillment fantasy, something YA can never have enough of.

I'm so happy for that comment-- it's what I was going for with this book, and I'm really pleased the blend of reality and "fantasy" worked for this reviewer. (And to answer Wendy's question about how many books will be in the series, I'm planning on three, which I suppose will make it a trilogy...)

Outside view of a bread oven attached to a house in a Quichua community

Thanks for reading! Be sure to read my next blog tour interview at Becky's Book Reviews on October 6!