NWK

NWK

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Mmmm....Cakey

I discovered the joys of cake-flavored vodka last night.  Mixed with pineapple juice and a teensy bit of maraschino cherry juice, it tastes like pineapple upside down cake.    Yum.

I need to get my Lammas menu ready, huh?  Well, I'll see what I can round up for you all, and I'll even try to do it before Wednesday ;)   I plan to do something small during the week, and then at the weekend, I will do something bigger.  My birthday is on the weekend as well.  Might be fun. :)

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Not a Kitchen Witch?


I have a confession to make.  I call this blog “Witchin’ in the Kitchen”, but to be honest, I’m not really a kitchen witch.  Well, I’m most likely not a kitchen witch as you know them.   

There are really as many definitions of kitchen witch as there are people who identify kitchen witches, but I just don’t know if it’s me.    I’ve seen lists of things that do (and do not) a kitchen witch make.
 For example, a kitchen witch practices more rustically, using what is on hand.  I do that, sure.    I work with seasonal ingredients as much as possible.  My tools are simple – wooden spoons, metal pots, knives, and other basic kitchen tools, plus candles, charcoal for incense, and my goddess figures.  All right, then, in that sense I am a kitchen witch.  Hmm…

I guess it’s just the whole “witch” aspect.  I think the term is a great term and people should own it in a positive way, but when I think of the term “witch”, I think of more than just someone who is wise.  My mind focuses on the spells and rituals, which I just don’t really do.   I can’t tell you the last time I really observed a sabbat.   I know there are other definitions of the word; I’m just talking about my personal connotations.  What people think of as “witchcraft” isn’t really part of my path.   Although, once in a while…

I just don’t think “kitchen witch” is the *best* term for me.   I focus more on showing honor and respect to kitchen deities and to the turning of the wheel via my cooking.   Preparing a meal or kneading bread dough is a ritual for me – no circle casting, no scripted invocations.   Just me, my mind, my energies, and my hands. But I really don't prepare tinctures by moonlight or mix up batches of *luv* potion.  

 This is prayer time for me.  I chant while I cook.  I try to infuse the food with love, healing, and prosperity.   
Some would call that magic, but I’m simply praying for the people who will eat the food, and giving thanks to the gods and the elements and the animals that provide the food.  I think that in that sense I am more of a priestess of the hearth.  That’s how I like to think of myself: a priestess of the gods of the hearth.    I keep the hearth flame burning for Hestia and others.   I remind others of the changing of the seasons by using what is naturally available at that time of year.  My meals reflect the changes from cold and dark weather to warm and light
 
Maybe I’m just having an identity crisis. Maybe the stress has finally gotten to me, who knows.  What are your thoughts?   I dunno.  I just think I identify more with something like “Priestess of the Hearth” than “kitchen witch”, although I think the term is great and I want to use it.  I just don’t know if I feel it. 

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Boycott Time? But how?


This is being passed around Facebook, and it lists the companies that use Monsanto products.  It's a rather extensive list and it really puts things into perspective.   It's going to be a hell of a chore avoiding every one of these companies, at least for most of us, but I plan to make a list and take it to the store the next time I go.  The problem is, what about store brands?  Whatcha think?

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Bacon-Wrapped Mahi Mahi

Today is my boyfriend's birthday.  Earlier in the week, I asked him what he wanted for dinner today.  He requested my barbecue-seasoned, bacon-wrapped mahi mahi, so that is what we had tonight.  


I imagine you could use any firm white fish, but mahi mahi is my favorite. It has a very meaty texture and a mild flavor. 

Bacon-Wrapped Mahi Mahi

6 mahi mahi fillets

4 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon garlic salt
1/2 tablespoon black pepper
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon smoked paprika

6 slices bacon

Mix together the sugar, salt, pepper, cumin and paprika.  Season both sides of the fish with this mixture.   Place fish on a lined baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap, and store in the refrigerator.  Allow fish to marinate for 4-6 hours.

Preheat oven to 425.

Wrap each fillet in a slice of bacon.  Bake the fish for 12-15 minutes, until the bacon is done and the fish flakes easily with a fork.   Flip once during cooking.


There you have it, an easy, really freaking good fish recipe.  I served it with steamed jasmine rice and green beans seasoned with soy sauce, garlic, and ginger and tossed with sliced almonds.  Deeeeeelicious. 




Wednesday, July 18, 2012


I’ve been covering my head for quite some time now.  I didn’t start doing it yesterday or the day before, and I certainly didn’t start doing it for this a certain day that is scheduled to take place on Mabon.    Why do people feel the need to organize this day?  Well, you’d have to ask them, but a lot of it has to do with someone being spat at when she was wearing a hijab. 
 I’m not going to give this case any more attention because it’s had plenty, trust me.   What I will say is this:  I do not appreciate something that I hold dear to me being turned into a spectacle.   There are now quite a few people jumping on the covering bandwagon because…well, I don’t really fucking know.   Some of them want the attention.  Probably more than I know…
There’s the whole discrimination thing.     We’re really not being discriminated against.  No, seriously.   Were you passed up for a job because of your head scarf?   Try living in Turkey, where that happens every day.   That’s not as much of a problem for developed nations.    Religious discrimination, you say?  Yeah, we got that.   Girlfriend probably thought she was spitting at a gen-u-ine Muslimah, instead of a Pagan woman wearing a hijab.   Still…we’re not discriminated against as much as other people.  It’s a drop in the bucket for those of us in the Western World. 
There’s the whole oppression thing.  People want to stand up and say, “No, I’m not being oppressed. This is my choice!”  And that’s great…if it is your choice.  For some women, what they wear isn’t a choice. 
I don’t know if I get dirty looks from people because I don’t pay attention to them.  I’m not covering for the benefit of the public.  I’m not doing it to give you something to look at; I’m doing it for my own spiritual reasons and that’s all I am going to say.  My life, my choice, my head, my business.    I don’t WANT people to look at me.  I’m much, much happier if you just leave me alone, unless you need me for something.   Well, there is one coworker who gives me dirty looks, but she’s an ignorant bitch who can kiss every single inch of my ass…  And for the record, if someone spits at me, I’m going to spit back. In their face.  And I’m going to accompany it with a, “That’s how you fucking do it, bitch!” 
I just don’t think it’s what it’s being made out to be.  To me, getting the ol’ hairy eyeball or a pavement oyster in my direction isn’t as big of a deal as being beaten with a tire iron or being denied a job or an education.   I don’t think some people wearing a piece of material on their head for a few hours is going to accomplish much for the truly oppressed and those who really are discriminated against on a daily basis.  
I’m trying to wrap this up because I’m rambling.  What do I want to say?  Hmmm….Okay, this:

·       * Jumping on a bandwagon does not make you more aware of the social issues; it just makes YOU more visible.   A lot of Pagans already suffer from “Look At Me!” Syndrome. 
·         * Don’t wear a symbol of someone else’s faith or religion or path or whatever to get attention. It ends badly.
·        *  Think for yourselves.   It’s not that hard.
·        * Don’t do something just because everybody else is doing it and you want to seem as though you’re just as informed or caring.  Again, it just makes you look like a d-bag who is desperate for attention.


Saturday, July 14, 2012

Buckwheats and Nostalgia

I miss a lot of things about West Virginia.  I miss my friends and family, of course, but I also miss the natural beauty of the state, the funky little towns like Morgantown and Lewisburg, and...the food.  Mmmm....pepperoni rolls...  Where was I?  Oh, yeah - food.

Yesterday, as my students were beginning a reading chapter about food roots and foodways, I had the opportunity to talk to them about some of the food festivals that take place in my home state.  We have the Strawberry Festival, various ramp festivals, and a Buckwheat Festival every autumn in Preston County.

That made me think about buckwheat pancakes.  It had been years since I'd had one.  There's nothing like a fresh buckwheat pancake, risen overnight, covered in blackberry jam.  Or soaked in syrup and served with a sausage patty or two.

Since I've been feeling the call of Autumn in my bones, I decided to whip up a batch of buckwheats from the sack of flour my parents sent me a while ago.  Heavenly!   They cooked up beautifully (photos courtesy of my boyfriend) and really hit the spot.


Buckwheat pancakes – overnight recipe

I cobbled this recipe together from the bag of buckwheat flour and a website I can’t find right now.  I should’ve bookmarked it.  The recipe on the website included the egg and molasses (which I subbed with honey because I couldn’t find my molasses).    I left out the all-purpose flour and did straight buckwheat.  

2 cups buckwheat flour
1 package dry yeast
½ teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups lukewarm water

1 tablespoon molasses or honey
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ cup lukewarm water
1 egg, beaten
2 Tbls oil

The night before you plan to make and serve these pancakes, mix together the yeast, sugar, salt and flour in a bowl.  Stir in the warm water.  Cover and leave overnight.

The next morning, mix the baking soda and molasses or honey with the warm water.  Mix the water, oil, and egg into the batter.  Let rest for 30 minutes.


Cook pancakes in a skillet or on a griddle.  I use about 1/3 cup at a time, and this will make a good-sized stack.   This recipe made about a dozen pancakes for me. 

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Signs?


In 2006, I was living and working in Texas.  I was an adjunct instructor, meaning my position depended on need and budget.  By July, I would be out of a job, so I started applying everywhere.  One of the places I applied was the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa.

In the meantime, I was also tutoring people through another company.  I was put in contact with some DuPont factory workers from Mexico who needed to improve their English, so I met with 2 or 3 guys in the library a couple of times a week.

One day, I was in the library waiting for one of my students to show up.  I had recently applied for the job in Alabama.  I was looking through the books on the shelves and saw a book on spell casting.  I decided to pick it up and flip through it.  I picked it up off the shelf, and something fell out of the middle.  I bent down to pick up the object, only to find an Alabama quarter! 

Shortly after finding the quarter, I was hired for the job in Alabama.  It was a sucky experience and I would rather eat a dog crap sandwich than go back to that place, but the point is, I got a sign from the universe.  I strongly believe that that quarter was a sign.

Fast forward to this year.  I hate where I am right now.  I think the program is a sinking ship.   I half expect to be let go because of the numbers, but who knows.  Enrollment is down this summer, and I've no idea if it will increase in the fall.  

I have applied for three or four new jobs.  I have applied for jobs in Florida, Kentucky, and Ohio.   The Ohio job is the one I really want because of its location.  It's close to home.   

Over the weekend, I went to Kroger to do some grocery shopping, as you do.   When I got out of the store and into my car, I noticed that the car across from me had Ohio license plates.  Could this be a sign?   Honestly, where I am, Ohio license plates are about as common as West Virginia (mine).   I see a few Missouri, Mississippi, Oklahoma, or Texas plates around here, but I don't recall ever seeing Ohio before.

I hope this is a sign that I will hear something favorable soon.  I haven't heard anything yet, and I am growing more and more discouraged with each passing day.

If anyone has any good "new job" vibes to spare, that would be fantastic. 

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Cleaning the Kitchen


I’m such a bad kitchen witch at times!  I hate cleaning the kitchen, but, boy, do I love trashing it to get a good meal on the table.   My boyfriend, gods bless him, took it upon himself from the very first to clean up after me.  He does it to show his appreciation and I, in turn, appreciate that. A lot.   I also appreciate my dishwasher.  
Yeah, so my kitchen gets kinda grody at times.  It’s kinda grody right now.  And I, being the kitchen witch, dammit, should do more to clean it.  A nasty kitchen is an unhappy kitchen.  I really don’ think Hestia appreciates a stove that is splattered with grease and marinara sauce.  
This priestess of the hearth needs to get her butt in gear.  But how does a kitchen witch clean, exactly?  What makes it different from a normal, everyday cleaning?  Well, not a lot, really.   I’m working on a list that I am going to share. 

Effective Kitchen Witch Cleaning

1.      1.  Use natural products as much as possible.  I am currently using a mixture of white vinegar, water, and orange essential oil to clean the stove and counter tops.    White vinegar and water work wonders.   I’m also a big fan of Dr. Bronner’s soap.   Look around the Internet for recipes for natural home cleaners.  There are tons of ideas and recipes out there.
2.      .  Remember to smudge.  I use a mixture of sage and rosemary to cleanse and purify. 
3.      3. Add a few drops of essential oil to the vinegar-water solution to mop the floor.  Lavender and rosemary are personal favorites.    You can also use some cinnamon and clove oils to create a cozy atmosphere. This is especially nice around Samhain and Yule.

Okay, that’s for the physical cleaning.  Now on to the spiritual stuff:

4.     4.   Clean to music.  Seriously.  Not just because it makes you more productive, but because you can really generate some good energy while singing or dancing.   The kitchen is YOUR space, so fill it with YOUR energy.   
5.       5. Use said energy to communicate with your hearth deity and request his/her presence in you kitchen.    I light a candle and put it on the back of the stove to represent the hearth flame, set my statue of Hestia up there with it, and give an offering of food. 

Let the candle burn out – I use tea lights – and your kitchen will be physically and spiritually cleansed and protected.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have some scrubbing and chanting to do…