Exhausted from holding on and worn out from trying hard, I yell "take!" to my belayer. The slack in the rope tightens and I can sit back in my harness. I stare at the rock wall, analyzing it's seams, and it stares back at me, full of tricks and secrets and history. My forearms ache from holding on: my endurance for sport climbing is lacking right now.
Three feet from me, a spot of golden yellow with a tinge of red catches my eye.
There, in the middle of the rock, a miniature tree grows, it's leaves turning orange with fall. In fact, an entire micro ecosystem sits within the crack in the rock. A tiny but steady stream of water from above trickles across a pile of dead pine needles, and a bug crawls up to see the view from the edge of the crack.
I imagine a bird visiting that spot a year ago. He drops a seed, and flies off. And then I imagine that seed getting just enough water to sprout--and a bit more, enough that the sprout grows into a tree right there, on the side of a rock face. It's no larger than 1 foot tall, but it clings on to the side of the rock with might and patience. It doesn't have a belayer; it can't call "take."
There is a breeze and I am reminded of the task at hand. I climb on while that baby tree just stays there, clinging for life. Imagine the view from it's home!
This pumpkin smoothie bowl is the breakfast to eat when the leaves are crunching underfoot and the air is crisp but still not too cold. It's spiced with fresh ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg, and is super creamy. Top it with toasted pecans, and for an extra special treat add a dollop of whipped cream (coconut cream for dairy free!).
In the ingredient list you’ll find an outlier (cauliflower) and if you’ve never put cauliflower in a smoothie, this might make you run and hide. BUT I promise you: once that cauliflower is all blended in, you will not taste it. What you will taste: pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger. Toasted pecans if you choose to put them on top (please do!). And it will be a thick, creamy smoothie. That texture? That’s because of the cauliflower, which at this point you’ve forgotten is in there.
Serves: 2 | Total Time: 10 minutes
- 1/3 cup canned pumpkin
- 1/3 cup cottage cheese (or plain greek yogurt, or non-dairy yogurt)
- 1/2 cup milk of choice
- 2 frozen bananas, sliced
- 1 cup frozen cauliflower florets
- 1/2 teaspoon finely grated fresh ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg, plus more for serving
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Pinch of ground cloves
- Optional: 1 scoop vanilla or unflavored protein powder
- Dollop of whipped cream (or coconut cream for dairy-free)
- 2 tablespoons raisins (I use this brand)
- 2 tablespoons toasted pecans
- Add pumpkin, cottage cheese, milk, bananas, cauliflower, ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, and protein powder to blender. Puree until no chunks remain. Pour smoothie into two serving bowls.
- Top with a dollop of whipped cream, raisins, pecans, and a sprinkle of extra nutmeg. Enjoy!