Thursday, August 30, 2012

Oh, so *that* explains it!

When writing about autumn, one of the adjectives that gets tossed around is “introspective”, as in ‘Autumn is an introspective time’.  Hell, I’ve used it myself.   It’s not that it isn’t true; it’s that I’ve finally figured out the connection I have to winter.  Introspection is the keyword.

Introspection – n.  The examination of one’s own thoughts, impressions, and feelings, especially for long periods.

During the autumn and winter, we have months and months in which to turn inward and examine our beliefs and feelings.   Some people, however, spend most of their time this way.   That’s not necessarily a bad thing.  I don’t believe it makes that person selfish or narcissistic or self-absorbed in any way; rather I find very sensitive people tend more toward introspection because it’s just…easier somehow. At least it is for me.

I’m also a very introverted person.  I wasn’t always that way, but things happen and personality traits can changed.  Nature vs. nurture.  I’m shy.  I communicate better through writing than speaking, especially when it comes to dealing with deep feelings.  Some things only come out through writing, you know?

At work, in the classroom, I’m all open and energetic. I sing, I dance, I perform. ( I rarely sing or dance, but has been known to happen. )  Outside of the classroom, I am quiet.  I moved to the other side of campus to be on my own, away from the other offices.  There are three of us in that part of the building, and we don’t bother each other.  It’s so nice. 

Whoa.  I’m going off on a tangent.  To sum up, I like autumn because, well, I *am* autumn in a lot of  ways.  I like being alone with my thoughts.  I like to take time to examine what I’m feeling and how I perceive things.  I’m quiet and I like being alone sometimes. 

Autumn is the perfect time for that.  The weather often keeps us inside.  Autumn is the time of death so that rebirth may occur.  It’s a spooky time of year for some.  We’re reminded of our own mortality.  The shorter days give us more time to think about death… Maybe that’s just me.  Maybe it’s because of the SAD and clinical depression. Who knows.   I’m interested in hearing your thoughts on autumn and why you like it/identify with it.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Blogger Award

Thank you to Spiritrunner at Hearth -n- Home for the One Lovely Blog Award nomination!

One Lovely Blog Award Rules/Guidelines:

1. Thank the person who nominated you (see above)
2. Share 7 things about yourself
3. Nominate 15* or so bloggers you admire
4. Leave a comment on each of the blogs letting them know they have been nominated

1. I had weight loss surgery ( a gastric band ) in Istanbul in 2009.  I am still working on losing weight because I've had a lot of problems with the band.  Things are being sorted out.

2. I am an only child, but not a spoiled, overindulged child.

3. I love cooking and writing and love the idea of completing a major cookbook project. However, I doubt I will ever get that far. I put out a couple of booklets, but they were very, very rough.

4. I drink coffee all day long, even before bed.  It doesn't keep me awake. Damn it.

5. I have an irrational fear of the walking dead.  I have zombie survival plans on the brain.

6. I like covering my head.

7. I am obsessed with The Band. Rick Danko in particular, may he rest in peace.

Book of Mirrors
A Pagan Mother's Life
Confessions of a Kitchen Witch
Merlin's Magical Mistress
Absynthe and Arsenic
Bringing up Salamanders
She Who Seeks

I may come back and edit this with more names.  I'm going to come back tomorrow to comment on the individual blogs. It's too bloody late to do that tonight!

Oh, before I forget, is anyone interested in joining me on this Fall Fast from Samhain-Yule?  I'll be posting lots of good vegetarian recipes.  They might even make their way into another book (ha).    Leave a comment and let me know what you think!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Witch, Feed Thyself!

I got my gastric band adjusted on Wednesday.  I’ve had it for three years, but for the past two years, I’ve had nothing but trouble. Very little weight loss, and lots and lots of regurgitating.   Yeah.  Pleasant, right?    So back in March I finally decided to get it looked at by a surgeon in town.  I had to do a couple of barium swallows (chalky, but not as horrible as people would have you believe), and since I had some dilation, I was unrestricted.   I finally got a teensy bit of restriction back this week.

When they fill or unfill the band, it causes swelling, so you have to go back to just liquids.  This is the part that I hate.  Broth and gelatin for three days, and then I can add some more opaque liquids to my diet.  I will be able to eat some real, solid food on Monday.  It should still be relatively soft, however.

I’m hungry.  I’ve been hungry and grumpy for days. Good gods, have I been grumpy and unpleasant!   Now, a lot of people fast in order to help them attain more heightened awareness.  It can aid with meditation, astral travel, etc.   I’m not one of those people.  No, I have not spend my time meditating or waiting for visions to come to me.   I’ve been having visions, all right – visions of food!  

What does it mean when a kitchen witch cannot eat?  What is one to do?  Well, I sent my boyfriend to a fast-food restaurant for dinner.  Twice.  Yeah, twice.  And then, I decided that I was being selfish.   He still needs to eat!  I can’t send him to hamburger restaurants for 5 nights.  Gross!

I decided to do some large-scale cooking so my boyfriend will have dinner on the nights when I cannot eat, and lunch to take to work.   

Being hungry and grumpy and impatient as hell, I took him to the grocery store with me.  I told him he would help keep me balanced.  You know what? He did.  We had a nice time shopping and it wasn’t stressful the way it can sometimes be.  (I went two days ago and the store was packed. Two cashiers were working. I walked out. Impatient, hungry, grumpy.)

...Something changed when I started to cook.  I started to chop onions and garlic, and fry them in oil.  The smells…satiated my hunger.  The mere act of preparing a meal for someone I love fed me somehow.   It was amazing.  I got to cook the food and watch it transform from a bunch of raw ingredients into a delicious simmering curry, and then a big pot of gumbo.   The aromas comforted me and fed my soul.  Oh, cooking is magical indeed.  J

I think I’ll go feed my head by reading, and then I will feed my soul again come dinner time.  I may even make myself a special pot of soup. Why not?   

Well, that’s where I am right now.  I hope you’re all well-fed right now, too. 

Friday, August 10, 2012

Fur Baby Friday


 Danko posing with her mama's favorite DVD

How could you not adore that face?

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Ain't Got No Meat? Whatcha Gonna Eat?

Just because I consider this a bit of a fast (a Pagan Lent? *L*) doesn't meant I can't still eat delicious, nourishing food.  Now, because I have a gastric band, I will have to drink at least one protein shake a day.  There is a lot of protein to be found in vegetarian substitutes, but I have some special dietary needs, so it will be whey protein to the rescue.  I'll be consuming some eggs and dairy as well.

I have sort of started developing recipes, but the real testing and development will happen in the moment, when the produce I want to use is actually in season.  For now, though, I have a list that I am working on.  Here are some of the dishes that I will be experimenting with during the period between the old and new year:

Linguine frittata with greens - chard, etc.
Lentil burgers - I'll experiment with different spices
Majahdra - lentils and rice flavored with fried onions
Tofu scramble - That recipe is posted on here somewhere
Butternut squash lasagna - Another recipe that is on this blog somewhere
Tofu stir-fry with veggies and probably a peanut sauce
Stuffed cabbage - Using my lentil-walnut loaf mixture as a stuffing
Stuffed mushrooms
Roasted vegetable enchiladas
Roasted carrot and parsnip soup
Wild mushroom soup
Mushroom and polenta pie

I'm also working on a grain or rice salad that features the colors of Samhain.  I will probably have some of that on Samhain to mark my transition.  

Those are just a few of the ideas I have. I'm sure I'll feel creative enough once the produce is in season and the stores are decorated with squash and other autumn goodies.   Stay tuned, as always, for recipes.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

A Fall Fast

It’s August already. Summer is nearly gone, and fall is getting closer. Fall and winter are both times for introspection.  It’s a time for us to turn inward and stock of our harvest and make decisions.  What do we want to keep for seed? What do we want to cast off?  What still fits in our lives and what have we outgrown?   What do we want to work on in during the dark half of the year? 

For some people, the year ends at Samhain and begins anew.  For me, the new year begins at Yule, with the rebirth of the sun.  I consider the time between Samhain and Yule an especially powerful time, one in which we can communicate more readily not only with spirits, but also with our inner selves.  

I have a problem with SAD – Seasonal Affective Disorder.  When the dark half of the year comes around, my depression worsens.  I tend to withdraw a bit. I stop enjoying things. I tend to get in a rut and do the same things over and over. I lose my inspiration.

This year, I have decided to channel that energy into a more positive direction, a more spiritual direction.  My goal is to learn more about who I am as a witch/priestess/whatever.    Now, you know I have to work food in here somewhere, and I intend to.  I plan to use my diet to help me with my focus.  How?  Well, it’s going to be a fast of sorts.  From Samhain-Yule, I shall eat no meat. 

I’m an omnivore. I normally eat meat. Not at every meal, but almost every day. I know, I know – it’s bad for me, bad for the environment, etc.  Save it. My dietary choices, my bidness; your dietary choices, your bidness.    For me, giving up meat means a few things.   It will give my body a chance to cleanse itself a bit.  Meat is typically very grounding, and I will already be consuming many other grounding foods during this time of year.  I want to be a little less grounded so I can meditate better.  Another thing I hope to accomplish is to become more in tune with our ancestors’ eating patterns.  During the winter, meat would’ve been precious and saved for special occasions. A lot of it was probably heavily salted and preserved.  Another thing giving up meat will do is help me cook more creatively.  I’m looking forward to it, and I have already started making a list of meatless dishes with which to experiment.

So, that’s the major plan.  Vegetarian meals from Samhain to Yule, combined with more meditation and devotionals.  Need some prayers or energies?  Hit me up!   Want to help me practice Tarot?  Hit me up.  I’m working on getting in tune with my witchy ways a bit more. It’s been a while since I’ve recharged my spiritual batteries, and I don’t like the way I’ve been feeling.   Wish me luck, and I’ll keep you posted.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

They Say It's My Birthday

Well, today is my birthday, and I am where else? In the kitchen, of course, cooking food for my dinner guests tonight!  Well, there will only be three of us - my boyfriend, a friend from work, and me, the birthday girl.  I'm not here to talk about my birthday or getting older, however; I'm here to talk about the menu!

I just finished making some soslu patlican (deep fried eggplant and peppers in a garlicky tomato sauce) and I am going to make kabak mucver (zucchini fritters) in a little bit.    Those are a couple of my favorite mezze from Turkey.  I've been missing Istanbul lately, so I thought I'd treat myself to a little Turkish food.

I have a London Broil marinating in the fridge.  I put on a dry rub a little bit ago. It consists of oregano, smoked paprika, cumin, garlic powder, and black pepper.

The meat will be paired with roasted red potatoes (with more garlic), some green beans with hazelnuts, and a salad with homemade Green Goddess dressing.

Dessert will be flan.  Mmmmm!   I didn't cook this well for my boyfriend's birthday! *L*   Oh, well, a girl has to treat herself once in a while, right?

I'm not one to toot my own horn, but fuggit, so far it's been okay, so Happy Birthday to Me.  ;)

Thursday, August 2, 2012

A Call for Prayers

Zelda is my baby.  Ever since she found me when she was an abandoned dog last August, she has been my baby.  Today she started acting weird and I took her to the vet. They aren't completely sure what is wrong. Now I have medicine to give her and she has to rest in her carrier, which doesn't make her very happy.  She's just lying in it right now, looking sad and pathetic. My poor little darling. Please, please, please if you can spare a prayer for her well-being and health, that would be fantastic.  I am so incredibly upset and stressed out right now. You've no idea. I cry as I type this because the thought of something being seriously wrong with my dog is more than I can handle.  Thank you.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Lammas/Imbolc Blessings and a New Fur Kid

Blessings to you and yours for a bountiful Lammas in the Northern Hemisphere, and a lovely Imbolc in the Southern Hemisphere.
Oh, and here's a kitty picture. This is our new fur baby, Danko.