Friday, July 31, 2015

In the words of Bill the Cat: Ack!

Is anyone else happy that Bloom County is back, at least for now?

Anyway, I say, "Ack!" because Lammas has sneaked up on me and found me 100% unprepared and unmotivated. I am so ready for this semester to be done, even though I know my vacation time will consist of three days if I'm lucky. I am pooped. I don't want to cook or read or write or anything.

I promise I will get over this. I will climb out of this rut. I will:

* Try to post more photographs of recipes, even though my house really does look like an episode of "Hoarders".

* Get something organized! Not just in the house, but in the cookbook.

These are, once again, my goals. We shall see what happens.



Friday, July 24, 2015

Checking In

I feel the need to start this post by telling you just how much this semester is kicking my ass: a lot. I am exhausted, busy af, and I keep getting sick. My stomach cannot handle all the stress and anxiety. I need a vacation. Badly. I hope I can get a few days off in August, around the middle of the month. There are a lot of things that need to be done, but I doubt I will get to very many items on the list.

Also, how is it nearly Lammas already? I need to figure out what we're doing and eating to celebrate.

In other news, I have started planning my vegetarian meals and menus for the period of Nov.2 - Dec. 20. I am going to have meat on Thanksgiving, though. I did the vegetarian Thanksgiving thing a few years in a row, and it just isn't as satisfying. I want some turkey, damn it.

A friend of mine is going to help me organize some recipes and hopefully get something accomplished with the cookbook projects I've had brewing (heh.brewing.) in my brain for YEARS.

Another goal I have is to have a kitchen I'm not ashamed to photograph so I can take some pictures of the food I am preparing. I know how important good visuals are to the food blogging community. People love to see what is being made. I just never seem to be prepared to take good pictures. The kitchen is always a mess after I get done cooking, and as I've mentioned before, do you really need a picture of every single step of the recipe? You know what a chopped onion looks like, I'm sure.

Last year, I shared a file of vegetarian recipes and menu suggestions. Someone commented and said they would've paid for such a booklet of recipes. That gives me something to think about, but right now I'm not sure if I will do a freebie or try to actually sell another recipe booklet. I guess it depends on those photos.

Anyway, I just wanted to check in and let y'all know I'm still alive and still trying to cook, mostly on the weekends, when I have the time. I plan to do some meal prep this weekend so we can just heat 'n' eat during the week. We shall see. Good intentions and all that.

Many blessings,

Nar

Monday, July 6, 2015

My Latest Passion

Perfume! Rather, making perfume. I’ve been blending essential oils to create fragrance oils and solid perfumes.

I’ve been having an incredible time and have learned a lot. I have a ginormous list of ideas for god and goddess scents, Sabbat scents, elemental blends, etc. I’m eager to get started, but I am still waiting on my latest oil order to arrive.

I trucked on over to Eden Botanicals and bought a *few* oils and got several free samples in the process. I’m really excited to start experimenting. I have learned a lot from AromaWeb, too. That’s where I first really learned about the notes in a fragrance and the ratio for each one. 

The Eden Botanicals site also has information on what oils are what notes – top, middle, or bottom/base.  Some of their oils are thicker or nearly solid at room temperature and have special blending instructions. I’ve ordered from them before, and I’ve been very satisfied. They may not be cheap with many things, but they do have some good prices. It just depends on how rare the oil is.
I’ll include a screenshot of my first order. My second order was for one single oil – osmanthus.


I have several ideas for each and every one, and ways to include the many oils I already have. I might have a bit of a problem developing here...My house is going to look like an episode of Hoarders. One room already does!

Okay, back to finding more inspiration for future experiments. If you're into making your own natural perfume, too, let's talk about it! 

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Dreaming of October...

Don't I always wish it were fall? It's not that I'm not enjoying the summer. It's just that I long for the season of the witch, all year long.

We're almost ready for Midsummer! Well, y'all might be, but it's crept up on me again and I don't know if I'm going to have the time and energy to get prepared. I don't even have a menu planned. Can you believe that??

What I DO have, however, is a menu plan for every other sabbat through Yule. Yeah, yeah, I know...Priorities.

As usual, I will share the menus now and promise recipes later. I truly am terrible, aren't I? I will even attempt to get some decent photos. I'm just so ashamed to let anyone see how cluttered this tiny space is!

Anyhell, here are some sabbat menus:

LAMMAS
·         Pork chops (grilled) with orange, cumin, chipotle glaze
·         corn pancakes with whole corn
·         toppings: avocado, green onions, sour cream, shredded cheese
·         frijoles rancheros – pintos with bacon, onion, and jalapeño
·         garden salad with Green Goddess dressing: salad mix, spinach, red onion, orange bell pepper, shredded carrot, shredded cabbage, sugar snap peas, broccoli florets
·         cherries jubilee with vanilla ice cream  (cherries done outside)

MABON
·         Baked vegetarian kibbeh  (potato, onion, and bulgar with chickpea-pine nut filling)
·         Yogurt sauce
·         Lemon-herb roast chicken
·         Persephone’s salad
·         Ginger pear upside down cake

SAMHAIN
·         Cornmeal-dredged fried catfish with tartar sauce
·         Hoppin’ John
·         Cornbread
·         Apple crisp
·         Sweeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeet tea

YULE
First course:
·         Buckwheat blinis with with duck, red cabbage, parsnip, ginger-cranberry-orange sauce  - lightly sauté cabbage and parsnips

Main course:
·         Maple-mustard glazed pork tenderloin with fruit stuffing
·         Duchess sweet potatoes with garam masala
·         Stuffed onions
·         Swiss chard with curry powder and hazelnuts

·         Persephone’s Salad

·         Butternut Squash Flan

Monday, June 8, 2015

Already Planning for Samhain

My heart is rather heavy as I am called to start making plans for Samhain already.

A few hours ago, I received the call that a sweet friend of mine died by apparent suicide. I am not completely surprised, but I am saddened. I'm also a bit upset that he acted on impulse instead of reaching out, but I understand, too, in a way. I've been on the brink of acting on those same impulses. I weep because I had someone to catch me, and he did not.

I have been focusing on sending him love and light and praying that he is in a place that does not know sorrow, sadness, or loneliness. I have also asked that he visit me this Samhain.

As Bill was a good Southern boy, I believe we'll be having fried catfish. I imagine Hoppin' John, a traditional New Year's dish, will make an appearance, as will some cornbread and, in his word, "tooth-meltingly sweet" iced tea.

Rest for now, Bill. I will always think of you fondly. You are welcome at my Samhain table this year and every year that I'm alive to keep it.


Sunday, June 7, 2015

Finally cooking again (a bit!)

I bought two bags of frozen chicken wings at Save a Lot last week, and I've been playing around with slow cooker wings.

Thursday's experiment was a success. I just put today's batch in a few minutes ago, so we'll see.

For Thursday's wings, I have to admit I didn't measure anything. I used a LOT of honey, and a fair amount of harissa powder. Harissa powder can be found here: http://www.spicesinc.com/t-searchresults.aspx?keywords=harissa.  I cooked them for about 3-4 hours on high and added a cornstarch slurry to thicken the sauce toward the end.

Today, I measured. Here we go:

1/4 cup each Major Grey chutney and honey
Sriracha and salt to taste (I may have gone overboard with the sauce here)
3-4 tablespoons sweet curry powder

I put them on low and am going to keep them there for about 5 hours.  I think they will be delicious. We shall see!

What are you up to in the kitchen?