Monday, May 28, 2012

Memorial Day

As today is a day of remembering those who serve in the military, especially those who have lost their lives, today's food is rosemary.  Rosemary is an herb of protection, healing, love, and remembrance.

If you're grilling today, as many may, add some rosemary to your food.  Whip up a batch of shortbread with rosemary (you can use the prosperity shortbread recipe and substitute 2 tablespoons of chopped fresh rosemary for the pecans, cinnamon, and sesame seeds), or some sugar cookies with rosemary in them, as you would do at Samhain.

May we never forget those who have fallen.  Whatever their reason for serving, we honor their memories and their service.

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Sunday, May 27, 2012

As Promised - Prosperity Shortbread Repost

Prosperity Shortbread

This is a recipe that really works. I tried it one day when I was snowed in. I was wanting to bring some good things into my life - prosperity, a new job, etc. I was very, very unhappy in my current situation. So I took a cue from Scott Cunningham and went into the kitchen. I used a basic shortbread recipe and included some special-purpose additions.

4 ounces unsalted butter
1/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3/8 cup each finely chopped pecans and sesame seeds

Toast pecan pieces and sesame seeds in a dry skillet, stirring constantly. Cook them over medium to medium-low heat for a few minutes, until they smell toasted. I stirred the rune "Fehu" into the nuts and seeds as I toasted them. I put them in a bowl and charged them with my intent - a betterteaching job for me (personal prosperity and job-hunting), and prosperity for anyone else who eats a cookie.

In a bowl cream together the butter, sugar, vanilla, and salt. I used the same motion when mixing those things together. I added the flour and mixed it in with my hands, then I added the nuts and seeds.

I pressed the mixture into a baking sheet, cut them into squares, and inscribed each square with Fehu. They're in the oven right now, at 325. The recipe says about 20 minutes, depending on thickness. Check them after about 12 minutes and give the cookie sheet a turn. 

I got a new job after eating these cookies.  I made some for my boyfriend a few weeks ago, and then he got hired by Sprawlmart, so they work if you want them to.  Enjoy!

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Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Elemental Goddesses


They aren't perfect, but I like them. :)  This is what I've been up to during my vacation, besides some cooking.

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A few new clay creations

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

What it isn't

It’s not a contest, it really isn’t.  This isn’t some contest to see who’s the most magical, or who has the most fairies in their house, or the biggest, baddest motherfuckin’ dragon guardian around.   Stop that shit!  

Yes, I am a compassionate, empathetic individual. No, I do not want to hear all your sob stories all the time.  All that woe-is-me crap drives me nuts.  We all have problems. The Universe shits on everybody, and sometimes it’s just your turn.   “Some days you’re the pigeon, some days you’re the statue”.    

I repeat: This is NOT a contest to see who can be the most speshul and yuneek.  It’s not a game either.  Go back to your LARP or your D&D or whatever the hell people play these days.    You’re not a dragon. You’re not an elf. You’re not a fairy.  You were not Cleopatra.  No one in your family was ever burned at the stake for being a witch, making you a natural hereditary 18733897th level Grand Pooh-bah of Wicca or Paganism in general, or any other paths that fall under this umbrella term.

This is my life. This is my spiritual path.  Some people are making a mockery of it, and no, they aren’t (“evil”) Christians.   They’re other Pagans, running around with turkey platter-sized pentacle necklaces, too much eye makeup,  and a couple of Llewellyn publications collecting dust on their bookshelves.    They’re people running around saying they are otherkin, lycans, changelings, etc.    They’re the vampires and demon slayers.

Grow the fuck up, please.  You are either very bored or very delusional.  Maybe some from column A, some from column B.  I don’t know for sure.  All I want you to do is STOP FUCKING MAKING THE REST OF US LOOK LIKE WEIRDOS BY ASSOCIATION!

I take my spiritual path rather seriously.  Nope, I’m not a big spell caster.   I don’t do enormous, elaborate rituals in fancy robes.   I am not now, nor have I ever been, a creature that DOES NOT EXIST IN NATURE. 

I believe in representations of the Divine that we perceive as individual gods and goddesses.  I believe in Nature.  I believe in the seemingly magical force of nature, but I do not believe I can cast a spell to make you fall in love with me.  Nor would I do it, even if I believed it would happen.  Do I believe that some spells and prayers do take effect?  Yes. I’ve seen it.  Ask me about my prosperity shortbread recipe sometime. ;)

 I do not believe that dragons, werewolves, vampires, fairies, elves, gnomes, goblins, brownies, etc.  actually exist as physical beings.    I believe that running around saying you’re whole or part elf or fairy or vampire or whatever is ridiculous.  I believe that it’s the sign of some deep-seated problems that need to be sorted out by a professional.  Perhaps medication may even be involved.

A while ago there was a project called Project Pagan Enough.  Well, let me tell you all something. You are Pagan enough without the jewelry and the wardrobe.  You’re Pagan enough without telling people you’re a vampire or a lycan.  You’re Pagan enough even if you don’t have a totem animal, spirit guide, power animal, etc.   You’re Pagan enough even if you don’t have tons of books by Big Name Pagans.  

You’re Pagan enough by yourself.  You don’t need someone else’s approval.  You don’t have to try out-weird anybody.   Again, if you feel the need to draw all this attention to yourself all the time, positive or negative, you need to sit down and evaluate some things.  I know that isn’t easy, and I know not everyone has access to help.   I do understand that.   Shit, holler at me and I’ll scour your neck of the woods to find someone who CAN help you. 

As far as I’m concerned, the minute you walk out into nature and are awed by its beauty and power, you are Pagan enough.  You are Pagan enough when you acknowledge the Divine that is in you, and me, and everything and everyone else that is alive, no matter what name(s) you choose to use.

You are Pagan enough without being a jackass.   One of the reasons I haven’t burst forth from the broom closet in a big, huge way is because I don’t feel the need to draw people’s attention to me.  Another reason is, it just isn’t anyone’s business, really.  Yet another reason is because I do not want to be associated with most of the Pagans I’ve met either in person or on the Internet over the last 14 years.  Yup.  I don’t want to be associated with that crowd, thankyouverymuch.

So, let’s re-cap, shall we?
  1. It’s not a contest to see who has the most speshul, yuneek abilities.
  2. It’s not a contest to see who has the saddest back story.
  3. You’re HUMAN.  Accept it, and maybe other will too. In Time.

I’ve said my piece for now.  I’ll be back with some more delicious recipes and food lore later.  Right now, I’m going to enjoy my vacation from work, do some cooking and some crafting, and I’m going to be Pagan in my quiet, unobtrusive way.  No jewelry.  No robes. No “Blessed be!”.    Nope.  Now, if you will excuse me, I am going to enjoy the beauty of nature and give thanks for the blessings I have. 

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Thursday, May 10, 2012

Crock Pot "Baked" Beans

This recipe makes a pot full of sticky sweet, bacony baked beans, perfect as a side dish at your next cookout, or lovely for breakfast (according to my Aussie boyfriend).  I seasoned mine with a Moroccan spice blend, but you could use smoked paprika, a little cumin, or just leave them plain.

Slow Cooker "Baked" Beans

½ bacon, cut into 1” pieces
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 ½ cups navy beans, cleaned and sorted
¼ cup dark brown sugar
¼ cup tomato paste
¼ cup molasses
½ cup apple juice or cider
2 teaspoons ras el hanout or smoked paprika
Salt and pepper to taste
Water to cover the beans

If you are cooking beans in a crock pot/slow cooker as in this recipe, you don’t necessarily have to soak them.  

Put the chopped onion in the crock pot first.  Then, add the bacon and the beans.

Dollop in the tomato paste and brown sugar. Pour over the molasses.

Add the liquid and stir to combine.   Cook on low for 8 hours or high for about 5-6 hours, until beans are tender.

Season with salt, pepper, and ras el hanout or smoked paprika before serving. 

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Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Fish Pakoras

I used The Spice Goddess Bal Arneson's pakora batter recipe as my starting point for this recipe. I used different spices, and I used mahi mahi instead of salmon. You could use any fish you like, but mahi mahi is my favorite. I served these pakoras with cumin-rubbed sweet potato wedges and a salad.

  Fish Pakoras
8 ounces mahi mahi, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 cup chickpea flour (besan)
1 tablespoon garam masala
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
 ¼ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
 ½ cup yogurt
 ¼ cup water
Oil for frying

 Mix the chickpea flour and spices together in a mixing bowl. Stir in the yogurt.
 Thin out the batter with the water.
 Dip the pieces of fish into the batter. Fry in the oil 3-4 pieces at a time, for 2-3 minutes per side. Sprinkle hot pakoras with salt. Serve with your choice of chutney.

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Here are some highlights from the past month or so, including dishes I've made:
 * Wrote an article for witchvox.com about veiling. It was published about 3 weeks ago.
 * Fish pakoras and sweet potato fries with cumin - nom! Recipe for pakoras coming soon.
 * Wrote another article for Pagan Edge magazine (www.paganedge.com). The "Food of Gods" column is mine. June's recipes are for fairy foods. This will be my fourth month.
 * Considered quitting my job for a career in the carnival.
 * Best slow cooker baked beans ever! Recipe to come.
 * Had another upper GI to see how my band is doing.
 Apparently the previous problem has resolved itself. I go back to the surgeon's office in a few weeks to get some restriction. Hopefully I'll be able to lose some more weight.
 * Made a roast pork dinner for a friend who is leaving for the United Arab Emirates in a few days. Pork and potatoes, roasted asparagus with garlic, salad with homemade Green Goddess dressing.

 I went through a period of major depression. I was stressed, and I wasn't taking my medication regularly. Oops. I'm feeling better now. Teaching is finished until the end of the month, so I can relax a little bit. I have one more meeting and I need to get my folders put together. Then, I'm done for a couple of weeks. I plan to get back into my Major Arcana series, as well as getting the aforementioned recipes posted. I'm still working on my brunch book and my seasonal series, but it's a slow process. My boyfriend landed a job (thanks in part, I believe, to my Prosperity Shortbread), and that will give me a little more money left after bills. More leftover fundage means more cooking and recipe testing! That's about it for now. Have a beautiful Wednesday.

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Saturday, May 5, 2012

Hello, Hello

I’ve been away from my blog for a while, as you may have noticed. I haven’t been online too much these days. I just haven’t felt like it. I haven’t wanted to chat, or blog, or watch videos or anything. Depression stinks. I’m starting to feel better, however. I’ve been doing some cooking, but I haven’t really tested anything new lately. I made a roasted loin o’ pork Thursday night for a friend who is departing for the UAE in a few days. I made Prosperity Shortbread a few weeks ago, as my boyfriend was looking for a job. A few days later, he got one. It really works! I recommend trying it. I’ve been busy at work. Teaching is finished for now, but I still have to go to the office. Booooooring! I think some of the stress from my job has affected the way I’ve been feeling lately. I sure could use a break. Hopefully soon. That’s about it, really. I’ll be back with more soon.