Off the beaten path in the victory garden | The Enterprise
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Off the beaten path in the victory garden

Posted on January 10, 2022


DeeAnn Rivera

DeeAnn Rivera

I hit writer’s block this week. My routine is off — the kids have not gone back to school because of snow.

My New Year’s resolution is already broken; exercising three times a week is still a dream. My garden is bleak — the ground is white and buried under literally 16 inches of snow, and COVID is mutating!

I’m over feeling like I want to build a snowman and I’ve started semi-hibernating by the fireplace with a cup of coffee. Fortunately, unlike my military service time in Germany, I can have all the coffee I can tolerate.

I was stationed in Germany in 1994. There was no internet, the German money was in Deutsche marks and I had a ration card for gas, alcohol, tobacco and coffee. It was weird but I don’t smoke, so I never had any problem with the amount of rations I was allowed.

After I came back from Germany, I remember asking my grandmother about using a ration card during World War II. She very quickly told me that yes, she had used a ration card and she had never bought horse meat. I was so confused that I just dropped the questioning.

Next, I asked my mother what the “horse meat” comment was about. She explained that her mom once bought a cut of meat that was so tough with her ration card that she thought she might have been tricked. She wasn’t positive that horse meat was not actually served for a meal or two.

Again, I was very confused and just dropped the questions.

To further take us off the beaten path, I have been thinking about last year’s toilet paper shortage drama. It crossed my mind that ration cards could have been reissued. I am happy that we were able to self-regulate and didn’t need ration cards to continue shopping.

Which brings me back to coffee and victory gardens. I feel I am a very simple gal. I want a minimum of two cups of coffee and a little bit of food, in that order, every day. When I travel, I take coffee with me to make sure I am not in a coffee desert and have to frantically search for the required amount of daily caffeine. I also carry snacks in my purse — I don’t want to get caught hungry or without a cup of joe.

I’ve been doing some research. While I feel I could grow enough food to keep me and my family from starving, I don’t think I could grow coffee and process it appropriately. So, I’ve decided I need to have friends who can do the coffee thing. Hopefully, it never comes to me needing to trade potatoes for coffee, but I’m going to be ready!

Interestingly, my youngest child who historically eats the fewest vegetables has decided to become vegan. Veganism is a more intensive form of vegetarianism. Vegans do not eat dairy, eggs, meat or honey. Plant-based breakfasts have been a challenge.

At first, I thought her vegan desires would pass, but just like COVID, she is persisting. Instead of trying to convince her that she wants to eat butter, drink milk and have a chicken sandwich, I’ve learned to accommodate her food restrictions.

What has been strange is that she looks healthier. In the Bible, Daniel enacted a similar food restriction of not eating animals or drinking wine, and he didn’t consume other rich foods. As a result, he seemed healthier than his colleagues. There’s a popular diet called the Daniel Fast where people eat only whole foods — fruits and vegetables, whole grains, no dairy, no sweeteners and no processed foods — which adherents feel is similar to what Daniel of the Bible chose. It sounds very vegan to me.

My youngest daughter is also lactose-intolerant. By eliminating dairy, she has also eliminated her stomach issues. She reports feeling better, her skin looks better and since I’m helping ensure she gets the protein and calcium she needs, her diet is sustainable. We are winning in 2022!

I’ve included a recipe for pumpkin spice latte because you can make it vegan, and pumpkins are not just for fall!

DeeAnn Rivera is a Spring Hope resident who blogs at Email her at

Homemade Fancy Pumpkin Spice Latte

Avoid the lines and have a delicious PSL in about 10 minutes.


1. ½ cup strong coffee — pick your favorite. I like dark roast and I like it hot, but iced is great, too.

2. 2 tablespoons of pumpkin puree — canned is fine.

3. 1-4 tablespoons of sugar — white, brown, maple syrup or honey.

4. ½ teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice.

5. 2 cups of milk — dairy or nondairy (oat, almond, soy, coconut whatever you like, although oat seems to froth the best).

6. 1 tablespoon of vanilla.

7.  Whipped cream, optional — dairy or nondairy, for topping.

8. Cinnamon, optional — but a little dash to top it off makes it fancy.


Milk frother, optional — these are cheap and will pay for themselves in making this recipe twice.


1.  Heat your choice of milk to a simmer. Do not boil!

2. Add your pumpkin puree, sugar type, vanilla and pumpkin pie spice to the milk and whisk it together until well blended.

3. Add in your coffee and blend again.

4. Pour into 2 cups and top with whipped cream and a dash of cinnamon.

5. Optional step: Simmer ½ cup of milk or milk substitute and froth for about a minute. Add on top, then add whipped cream for an extra-fancy treat. Enjoy!

This makes enough for me, but I have been known to share.

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