NWK

NWK

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

The 'Cycle' of Eating

I'm not going to say that this post is just for menstruating women. No, I think this is important for both menstruating women AND those who love us and live with us and want us to feel better during that time.

With that said, if you find the topic taboo or grody, you are dismissed.

Still with me?

If you're reading this, I'm going to go ahead and assume you know what menstruation is. You might even be experiencing it right now. I am. I'll admit it. Why not?

This post is about good foods to put into your body while it is busy sloughing off the uterine lining. While you're feeling crampy, maybe weak, and possibly not at all like eating anything at all. I know my appetite is gone, but I still have to fuel my body. What, then, should I put into it?

To answer that question, I picked up my copy of Cunningham's Encyclopedia of Wicca in the Kitchen (Cunningham, 1990). I knew what I wanted to look for, and I am here to present to you my reasons for choosing what I have.

First of all, with the menstrual cycle being referred to as a Moon Time, among other moon-related names (and some names that we don't go into here), it is my belief that moon-ruled foods are very important during this time.

Another thing to consider is how menstruating women can feel about themselves during their periods. I can't speak for anyone but myself, so I will. I feel crampy, bloated, sore, and just plain beastly during particularly heavy times. At other times, I feel more intuitive and powerful and in touch with the Divine. It varies greatly.

The Moon rules foods that stimulate psychic awareness. It rules foods for healing, purification, sleep, love, fertility, peace, and compassion. Mercury rules foods that are utilized to strengthen the conscious mind, as well as divination, wisdom, and communication. Venus rules happiness, compassion, meditation, and beauty.

For the aforementioned purposes, I recommend concentrating on foods that are ruled by these three celestial bodies, with a few exceptions. For example, the Moon is connected to some dairy products, and I think that it is important to cut back or avoid dairy during menstruation. It may not bother everyone, but for some people it can create intestinal distress. Why add to the problems in that area if you don't have to, right?

On to the lists! I will give you a partial list and some ideas on what to do with those foods. I will leave it up to you to choose what is in season in your part of the world.

Moon:

blueberries, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, coconut, cucumbers, eggs, grapes, grapefruit, lemons, lentils, lettuce, melons, mushrooms, papayas, potatoes, pumpkins, seaweed, soy

Venus:

alfalfa sprouts, apples, apricots, avocados, barley, blackberries, Brazil nuts, cardamom, cherries, nectarines, oats, peas, peaches, pears, plums, raspberries, rye, strawberries, sweet potatoes, thyme, tomatoes, vanilla, wheat

Mercury:

almonds, beans, caraway seeds, celery, chervil, dill, fennel, marjoram, oregano, parsley, pecans, peppermint, pistachios, pomegranates, turmeric

Ideas:

Herbs such as those ruled by Mercury can be added to an omelet or scrambled egg dish. They can also be used to flavor soups.

Miso soup with tofu and seaweed can be nourishing to the body and light on the digestive system, which can be slower during this time.

Some of the vegetables listed under the Moon can cause excess gases, so it may be wise to avoid a lot of broccoli or cabbage during this time, especially if your stomach is already feeling sensitive.

If berries are in season, snack on those throughout the day. Make a smoothie from frozen berries and vanilla soy milk. Make a smoothie with canned pumpkin, vanilla soy milk, and pumpkin pie spices. Sweeten as desired.

A good meal idea would be miso soup, an omelet, and a salad with nuts.


I know that cravings can really take hold before and doing a period, but as we know, some of those things are actually going to harm us instead of help us. Too much salt will cause too much water retention, leading to a bloated feeling.

Chocolate, though? I wouldn't dare tell a bleeding woman not to eat chocolate. Have a square! Have two! Just be careful around those family-sized bars. I know I have to watch it.

I hope that this gives you some ideas for simple, healthy, delicious foods to consume during this part of the cycle. Again, though, if you don't menstruate and you want to foster those things in your life - communication, peace, psychic awareness, etc. - these foods are for you as well.


Wednesday, November 25, 2015

A New Blog!

In my attempts to get good at Tarot again so I might be able to offer readings to others, I have started a new blog. Join me for musings, readings, and who knows what else.

Nar's Tarot Table

Building New Traditions

Well, here I still am, fortunately. Samhain, as you may have read, was replaced with The Week of Crippling Depression, but medication is sorted out, and I am feeling less horrid. Just in time for the really depressing winter holiday season, yay...

Anyhell, Thanksgiving is upon us, with all that it really  means and all that we were taught that it means. I don't really celebrate it. My parents live several hours away, my boyfriend is Australian and not really accustomed to Thanksgiving, and I want to have as little stress in my life as possible right now. The semester is wrapping up, which means final exams and final grades and the first draft of my teacher portfolio will need turned in for whatever reason I can't fathom.

Normally at this time of year, I am working my way through a vegetarian diet. My body always complains, however, so I said fuggit. It was a nice idea with a lot of thought put into it and blah, blah, blah...but my body doesn't deal with it well. A whole turkey is too much for two people to eat even in a week, and with my faulty gastric band and all that scar tissue, it's very hard for me to eat and keep down. We're having spaghetti instead.

Yes, I said spaghetti. Spaghetti with ground beef in the sauce (not quite a Bolognese because I just bought a jar of Prego or something), Italian sausages to roast and cut up in it, and maybe, just maybe, homemade garlic rolls. It depends upon the state of the house tomorrow.

Instead of celebrating Thanksgiving, which I haven't felt in years, I'll be watching The Last Waltz and drinking some red, red wine. Today is the 39th anniversary of the concert, so I might have to watch it later tonight, too. The Band never gets old in this house!

For Yule, I had a menu planned. Yes, I love to jump the gun. However, we will either be going to my parents' house, or I will hopefully be recovering from gallbladder surgery (I see someone about it on the 10th). I will post more about Yule later, though, and share some of the ideas I had that I MIGHT get around to one of these days.

I'm sorry, y'all. I have had a rough time. I'm trying to get better, but it takes a while. Thanks for your support. It means a lot. I hope you all have a wonderful feast if you're celebrating tomorrow, and please, please don't forget to make a food or monetary donation to your local food bank! I can't stress that enough, especially during this time of year.

Happy Turkey-Lurkey!


Saturday, October 31, 2015

It's Samhain, and...

It's Samhain and...

no pumpkins were carved
no food was prepared
no candles were lit
no costumes were donned
no gravestones were cleaned
no candy was doled out

It's Samhain, and...

I am just horribly, awfully, miserably depressed.

I should've known it would happen. I should've expected the big, black dog. I should've known it would come and sit on my chest and not leave for days. I should've expected to be the failure that I am.

Gee, my ancestors would be so proud. Ha.

Monday, October 26, 2015

The Pre-Samhain Scrubfest

I can't believe Saturday is the day. Goodness, what a weekend we had here! We're trying to get this place in shape for guests, both living and otherwise. We made a pretty good dent over Saturday and Sunday, but we still have some bits to finish. Fortunately, my boyfriend is off on Friday and can do a few last-minute things while I'm at work. Oh, how I wish I could have Friday off as well! I just have too many things to do on Fridays for that to work out, however.

Cleaning is a very important step in preparing for Samhain. I know I wouldn't want my ancestors to see me living in squalor! A contractor is coming to fix the bathroom floor on Tuesday. The roof has been repaired. After the floor has been taken care of, we have to wait for the new windows for the living room to arrive and be installed. I'll be ready for winter, too, at least!

Physical cleaning is one thing, but what about spiritual cleansing? Many of you most likely have your own tried-and-true methods for doing this, and I'd love to hear from you. I'm using the last of my little packet of frankincense and myrrh to cleanse some things. I've cleansed and consecrated the spirit board I made in case anyone wants to use it. I have mixed feelings on those, so I don't know if I will participate, but it's made.

Other things that you can use:

Patchouli incense or patchouli oil and water in a wax warmer - some say the spirits respond very well to patchouli.

Sage - Some say that sage will drive spirits away, and that could mean the ones you want as well as the ones you don't. Use your discretion.

Rosemary - Either burn dried rosemary or use incense or the oil/water mixture. You can also mix the essential oil of your choice in with some (salted) water and spray that around.

I mixed up some bay, ginger, clove, and citrus oils in a bottle of water and used that to clean my door and freshen things up a bit. I used that mixture for purification, protection, and awareness. I don't want any skunky-funky mischievous spirits hanging around, but I would like to invite a few special people to drop by.

Also: Sweep, sweep, sweep. Use your regular broom on the dirt, and if you have a besom, sweep some of that negative crap out the door as well.

Use the oil(s) of your choice to anoint doors and windows for extra protection. I always polish a protective symbol into my door when I clean it, for example. Citrus oils purify spiritually AND cut grease physically. Bonus!

I am going to try to get some photos and maybe video of the set up once everyone gets here on Saturday and things get underway. The altar will most likely be set up outside due to a lack of space, so we're having kind of an indoor-outdoor Mute Supper and ritual. As always, we'll see.

The final countdown is here! Happy Monday before Halloween/Samhain, everyone!

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Making Preparations

So this is post 667. Not quite as exciting, huh? Well, I'm freakin' excited! Samhain is almost here, and for the first time in a long time, I have what may turn into actual plans!

I've been chatting with one of my friends and making plans in our spare time. I hope to get some good pictures of everything to document it. I hope it all works out. So far, everything feels good.

The tentative schedule:

Friday, Oct. 30 will be the night we make our rosemary remembrance cookies. I may tell the story of the first jack o'lantern to my friends' daughter (I'll make sure it isn't too spooky because she is a fabulous five years old), or we might wait until Saturday. I want to work in some pumpkin pretzels at some point, too. I might have to get up early for that.

Saturday, Oct. 31 will be the day we celebrate. Now, if you look at the actual cross-quarter days, you'll see that Samhain is November 7. Why not celebrate both days? I might!

The cemeteries around here close at 2:00 on Saturdays, so we will have to get our butts up and moving early. The plan is to go clean up any areas that could use some TLC, give the kiddo some more information on what we're doing and why, and leave some offerings. We're also planning a little bit of a picnic, hence the pretzels.

After we have cleaned up a bit and discussed the significance of the day, we can get ready for the evening plans. Food will need to be prepared for the ancestors' potluck/dumb supper.

The evening ritual will be an opportunity to remember not only our deceased loved ones, but also to remember those who don't have anyone else to honor them. Some people are forgotten in sickness and at death. They are alone. I will be one of those people, so it's especially important to show some love, I think. They will all be invited to the supper.

As is traditional, divination will happen later on. I'd like to do some tarot, and I (badly) painted a spirit board:


Those are our tentative plans. It will require a healthy dose of organization, so I'm glad I have help. I wouldn't want to do this alone! Fingers crossed that all goes well, even if it isn't 100% according to plan. 

What are your plans? 

Saturday, October 17, 2015

It's the most wonderful time of the year...

This Samhain, I am trying to organize something with my boyfriend and some friends of ours. I hope it works out because I have already started making plans. I'm really excited, but if it doesn't work out, I know I will just feel depressed and do hardly anything at all. Fall asleep on the couch watching horror movies. Eat Reese's til I puke. Who knows.

Anywaayyy... I have some ideas that I thought I would share.

Food (of course): Ancestors' Potluck - The guests and I will supply one or two dishes that loved ones particularly enjoyed or would have enjoyed.

I am going to make fried catfish in honor of my friend Bill, a beef, mushroom, and Guinness pie for some of Martin's relatives, and a lemon ricotta cake that my grandmother and everyone else would have liked.

I am going to make a punch for the little chickpea who is attending. We may have to let her sleep here for a while if we stay up late. She's my friends' kiddo and she is five. She rocks. I will make an apple cider-cranberry juice-ginger ale-orange sorbet punch for her.

Adults get a twist on my hot buttered rum recipe. I might put some caramel in it, and I plan to use some pumpkin pie spice. *gasp* I know! A pumpkin spice hot buttered rum! Do to me what you will. I think it will be delishuz.

If I get a chance, I will make rosemary remembrance cookies with the kiddo and her parental units. I also want to try pumpkin soft pretzels.

Symbolism:

I think I will ask my guests to bring some cheap dollar store decorations like bats, skulls, spiders, witches, etc. I am after a decent-sized plastic skeleton. I want to adorn it with flowers and some "jewels". It will represent the beloved dead and have a spot somewhere. I can set up a table outside and put some food out there.

Ritual-y Stuff:

I don't know about that yet. I don't want to make that decision completely on my own.I'm not that kind of person, usually. I'd rather it be a collection of ideas and traditions. I'd like to toast to the ancestors and share stories. I'll probably cry a lot because that's what I do, but that's okay.

Divination/Tarot, etc. can take place later. We'll figure out what to do with the kiddo later.

If I end up on my own, there is a Tarot thing I plan on doing either way. I will go out by the fire if I can. I'll still make the food, too.

My friend also wants to go to a cemetery and clean some graves out of respect for those who don't have anyone left to do it. I like that idea, and I hope we get to do it. Again, we'll see.

I want to hear about your plans. What are you doing? What are you making? Who are you honoring? Let's get excited about Samhain! The veil is thinning! Hail the beloved dead. :)

EDIT: This is post 666 on this blog. Hehehehehe.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Thinner...

Here it is the middle of September only, and so many of us can already feel the veil getting thinner. It's exciting and I wonder if it's earlier this year than it has been in some years past? Or maybe it's just me being more sensitive due to things like the Mercury retrograde (vomit) and the approach of my period. Who can be sure.

When do you typically notice the veil between the worlds thinning? What are some of the first signs for you? Weird shit happens around here. Things disappear. Strange feelings come and go - not necessarily bad, but definitely the feeling of not being alone. Things disappearing and just fucking up in general makes me think maybe the retrograde is at least partially responsible. It's set to end before the middle of October, I believe.

I need to figure out what to do. Who am I going to remember? How am I going to do it?

I think the most efficient way to do it, and the easiest, is to write down everyone's names. You can write down birthdays and/or the days they passed, as well. I don't really have any photos of anyone; they are at my mom's house. I will write down the names of grandparents and friends who have passed.

I may also include some way of honoring others who are important to me but to whom I am not related or closely acquainted.

As for decorations and such, I made a groovy wreath last year, but my ferrets destroyed it. I guess it's back to square one, there. I am going to set up a small folding table on the porch with the names, some food, candles, booze, and maybe some cigs for anyone who has fond memories of smoking.

As for food, one of the dishes I plan to make is fried catfish. I mentioned that in an earlier blog post, shortly after my friend Bill died so unexpectedly. He was a good ol' Southern gentleman and loved his fried catfish and sweet, sweet tea. So he shall have some. I imagine I'll work some taters 'n' cabbage in there somewhere, too. I'll make a separate post when we get closer.

The Corn(y) Post

Corn. Maize. Whatever you call it, this delicious grain has been cultivated by Mesoamericans since prehistoric times. Corn is believed by historians to have first been cultivated in Mexico, but it is not known precisely when. 

Corn means different things in different countries. In England, 'corn' can refer to wheat, while in Ireland, it can refer to oats (other posts for other times). Corn may have been introduced to Europe by that d-bag Columbus, or it could have been another d-bag European explorer/conquistador. Either way, corn as we typically think of it is indigenous to North and Central America. When the Bible says 'corn', it means wheat or barley, most likely. 

It is/was the staple of many an indigenous diet, along with beans and squash (The Three Sisters) here in North America. 

Corn is ruled by the Sun and the element of Fire. Corn energy is Corn Mother energy to me - fertility, love, protection. Spirituality is included in the list of corn's energies. 

Cornmeal can be used in spiritual practices to represent the four elements. It can be given as an offering. Blue is considered the most sacred. It also represent west. Yellow represents north; white is for east; red is for the south. 

Lammas and Mabon are excellent times to utilize corn. Stalks can be used for decoration. Dishes featuring corn are appropriate for the sabbat meal. 

One of my favorite corn recipes is the cornbread we've made in my family for years. 

Nar's Family Cornbread:

1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup cornmeal
1/4 cup sugar (or less if you prefer)
2 tsp. baking powder
1 1/4 cup butter milk
1 egg
2 Tbsp melted butter or shortening
2 tsp. salt

Whisk together sugar, buttermilk, egg, and butter or shortening. Whisk together flour, cornmeal, salt, and baking powder in another bowl. Add to wet ingredients. 

This recipe is perfect for a cast-iron skillet if you have one. Preheat the oven to 425 F. Grease the skillet with shortening. Pour in the batter and bake for 22-25 minutes. 


References:

Cunningham, S. (2003). Cunningham's encyclopedia of Wicca in the kitchen (3rd ed.). St. Paul, Minn.: Llewellyn Publications.

Gibson, L., & Benson, G. (2002). Origin, History, and Uses of Corn (Zea mays). Retrieved September 17, 2015.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Not Against the Grain

September greetings! Can you believe it? Autumn is so close I can almost smell it. I can certainly feel it in the air, even though it was 91 here today.

Another harvest approaches, and that means Mabon is on its way as well. The "Pagan Thanksgiving" is one of my favorites. I want to try to carve out some time to do a few fall things between now and Samhain, but you know me. And if you don't, I'll tell you: I procrastinate like crazy and end up doing diddly-squat, usually.

Aaaaaanyway, this post has a purpose, and I am about to get to it, but first, a little word association.

Harvest.
Fall.
Blue skies.
Crisp apples.
Smoky fires.
Fuzzy blankets.
Grains.

Wait, grains? Grains? But, Nar, aren't those EEEBIL??  Don't they cause everything from weight gain to asthma to butt rot?

Er, no, not exactly. If you aren't one of the people affected by autoimmune disorders such as Celiac Disease, grains aren't going to turn you into some writhing, foaming, acne-coated, wheezing, nearsighted, unfocused, fat mess.

I'm not here to talk about that, though. No, no, I'm here to talk about the historical, cultural, and magical significance of grain. Keep checking this space as I explore wheat, corn, rye, barley, and all sorts of other grains that people have been eating for centuries. What can they bring to your spiritual life? Stay tuned! I shall show you.


Monday, August 3, 2015

I Feel Better Now!

Greetings, once again.

The other day, I was feeling bad that I hadn't gotten around to making any Lammas or even blue moon posts, but then I happened upon this in my newsfeed: Why I'm Boycotting Lughnasadh

I feel much better about not observing most of the holidays now. I agreed with a lot of what the author said, especially about how some rituals are escapist. It does seem that, even when rituals are done outdoors, there is a disconnect between what we tell ourselves the day is about and what is actually happening in nature around us.

I am guilty of this, too. I mean, how in-season is the produce I incorporate into my recipes, really? How local is it? Probably not very. I am trying to harmonize my body with the cycles of nature and the seasons, but why? Shouldn't my body already be that way? Has our modern world messed with us that much? Eep!

Read the article and let me know what you think.

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?

Friday, May 22, 2015

A Simple Day

This isn't a blog post so much as it is me sharing notes I made yesterday. I am pondering setting aside one day a week or so as sort of a holy day like the Abrahamic folks do in order to work on my spiritual side. I would love some feedback, so leave a comment and tell me what you think.


A Pagan Holy Day
-          An experiment in which I attempt to keep up with a plan I make.
-          Also a chance to try to connect more with the Divine within and without
-          Must be a weekend because of our work schedules
-          Martin works every other Sunday
-          Could be once a week or once a month
-          Blog posts/vlog posts

·         Rest and reflection
·         Prayer
·         Fasting  before breaking fast with special meal
·         Rituals
·         Connecting with the Divine
·         Tarot
·         Little to no Internet distraction
·         Music is fine
·         Workshops? Belly dancing, women’s topics, drumming, etc.
·         Little thought of the work world
·         Connecting with friends

Saturday or Sunday?  Once a week or once a month?

Pros:
·         A change to turn off and breathe
·         Simplicity
·         Relaxation
·         Recharging of batteries, both physical and spiritual
·         If held once a month, less pressure to get everything in place
·         Once a month could be the whole weekend
·         Could include camping in the summer (at least in the yard)

Cons:
·         Getting all the cleaning done on Friday night
·         Holding it on Sunday but only every other week (could be a pro?)

·         Once a month might defeat the purpose of trying to get into a habit of doing this 

What else can you think of? I hope to hear from you! 

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Hummus

The hummus recipe I took to the picnic was inspired by Jamie Geller's Lemon Lovers Hummus   recipe.

1 15-oz. can garbanzos, drained and rinsed
2 tablespoons tahini (or more if you're like me)
1 large clove garlic
juice and zest of 2 lemons
1 tablespoon ground coriander
2 teaspoons ground cumin
salt and pepper to taste
1/4- 1/3 cup water to make a smooth paste

Combine ingredients in a blender or food processor, adding the water as needed. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Check for seasoning. Blend until smooth and creamy.

Pour hummus into a shallow dish, creating a well. Drizzle on extra virgin olive oil. Sprinkle on Israeli zaatar and hot smoked paprika   (use this sparingly because it is HOT).

Serve with pita, vegetables, whatever. I gave some to a coworker who used it as salad dressing.

...It's Beltaine. Use your imagination...  :D


Inching Toward Summer - Beltaine!

Beltaine! Already! I don't know where this year has gone. A new semester starts next week. We're all exhausted, but we have to keep plodding through the days, weeks, and months of the semesters. I plan to take a couple of long weekends to use some of my vacation time. Maybe a 4-day weekend if my friend Author T.A. Woods can come for a visit.

I thank the gods several times a week for the glorious spring weather. It's cold and rainy right now, though, but some days were absolutely gorgeous. I am trying to take stock of the things I have to be thankful for and think less about the things I don't have. Being a better daughter, girlfriend, teacher, and all-around person is the goal. We shall see.

It's nice to be able to cook with a wider variety of ingredients again. Winter can be very limited in certain areas, especially if you are on a budget. I'm addicted to roasted asparagus and have to eat as much of it as possible while it's in season.

I attended a faculty picnic last weekend. I took my  Gobi Manchurian and rice, some lemony hummus (recipe on the way), a big salad with homemade creamy Italian dressing, baked beans, Buffalo turkey meatballs, and corn and green chile casserole. I prepared for two days. There was a buttload of food at the picnic, and of course my lap band wouldn't let me eat properly. I honked.

Speaking of that sumbitch, I see a surgeon on Wednesday. I have to go to Ashland, Kentucky. It's not that far from here, but I have never been there. I have to go alone, and I am super anxious about it. I am going to give myself plenty of time. The GPS isn't always clear to me. I don't always know what's going on. Anyway, let's hope the surgeon is willing to discuss solutions to this gastric band problem. I've had it since 2009. I got it put in when I lived in Istanbul, and other doctors here don't really want to touch it. Assholes.

I doubt my insurance will cover it, but maybe I can at least get him to take out any saline that's in there so I can eat normally. I miss fruit. I'm craving fresh fruit like crazy, but it's too acidic for my pouch right now. I want to eat more raw food, but I can't right now. Grrrr. Let's hope something positive comes of this. If you want to throw any positive energy my way, that would be super duper.

That's about it for now.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Blessed Ostara and happy first day of spring! I see some of you poor souls have snow today. Ugh. May it melt quickly.  

If you're in the Southern Hemisphere, a blessed Mabon and welcome, autumn!

The time has come to start thinking about what we want to plant for ourselves for the coming year. What do you want to realize by Samhain? What goals do you want to accomplish? 

For me, I want to plant some self-acceptance. I've struggled with it for years, but it's high time I start liking myself for who I am. I plan to work on the physical body a bit, though. It's time to at least attempt another overhaul. Basically, I want to harvest myself this year. Who I really am, perfectly imperfect, worthy of love and blessings, and a woman of wisdom and talent. 

Leave me a comment and let me know your plans. We'll probably have a spring brunch this weekend, plus I have a cake to assemble. 


Tuesday, March 17, 2015

A blog prompt from Mom's a Witch!

Link to the prompt here:
http://momsawitch.blogspot.com/2015/02/pagan-blog-prompts-february-2015.html

Prompt:  What is something you can do this month to bring you closer to the Goddess?  How can you strengthen your spirituality?

1.       I can say more prayers of thanks and gratitude.
2.      I can try to like myself more. After all, aren’t I made in Her image?
3.      I can share with others. I intend to:  Donate to food banks and thrift stores. Cook a meal for a friend. Bake a cake to celebrate a friend’s wedding.
4.       Make things for people to use in order to strengthen their own spirituality. I plan to make some goddess prayer beads.
5.      Do more creative things.

6.      Spiritually cleanse my home. Oh, and CLEAN it, too! Ugh! 
7.       Celebrate with others.
8.      Spend more time outdoors.
9.      Try to keep some plants alive for once. 

Even though this prompt was for February, I think it's also a good one for March because it's the start of spring.  
























Sunday, March 15, 2015

SPRING BREAK!


Thank the gods for this glorious weather! Winter did not hit us until February, but it hit with a vengeance! We were buried under many inches of snow and ice, although not as much as other parts of the U.S. I am so incredibly excited to see and feel the sunshine and not to see any snow in sight!  I pray that it stays that way. 

I am on spring break. We had SIX snow days over the last few weeks. This is completely unheard of at a university, but they were necessary. It was simply too cold and treacherous to have classes. I wouldn't have been able to make it to campus from where I live, anyway. I'm glad I didn't have to use any personal days. I'm using them for spring break instead. 

My plans for this break include trying to declutter and straighten up a bit. Right now, I am working on laundry and setting aside a pile of clothes for the thrift store. With Ostara coming, I'd like a tidier home. I'd also like to start some seeds for herbs, but I will most likely end up buying those already started. If I try to start anything in the house, one of the cats will just fuck everything up. That's her job, and I love her for it. 

Speaking of Ostara, I know that a lot of people like to do their various rituals in the evenings, but I actually prefer to welcome the day in the morning. I don't do a formal ritual, but I do like to have a few moments with the Divine, and of course, I like to cook.  My Ostara brunch menu is below: 

Ostara
Smoked salmon spread with Crostini
Savory spinach custard
Ham-Potato Frittata
Strawberry Cheesecake Smoothies

Iced Mint Tea

The strawberry cheesecake smoothies are something I started making last summer. I like to use a mixture of cream cheese and ricotta cheese, and I throw in some graham cracker crumbs for good measure. Delicious! I'll try to get my shit together to post actual recipes soon.  For now, though, it's back to laundry land!

Happy Spring! (Gods, I hope I didn't just jinx us all!)

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Spring is Coming?! Maybe??

It's March!  Ostara is weeks away, for those who observe it.  I've been so busy being mired in the winter doldrums that I've not even thought of spring cleaning.  Boy, does this place need it!  Ermagerd!

Being a kitchen witchy person, I tend to focus on what needs to be done in the kitchen before I think of the rest of the rooms.  In all honesty, though, I'd really rather not think about cleaning anything, simply because it's just that overwhelming.  This place looks like the inside of a goat's stomach.  Ye gods!

Annnnnyyyywaaaaaayyy...I suppose we SHOULD talk about getting the hearth back into a good state, right?

Cleaning, as much as a lazy person like me hates it, is necessary for many reasons. One of those reasons is spirituality.  It's damn hard to get one's mojo working when everything is cluttered and covered in a layer of grime.  Ugh.  Cleaning gets the kitchen and the kitchen witch ready to work up some magic.

What are your plans for celebrating spring?  I plan to scrub everything with soap, water, and rosemary oil to clean and purify the space.  I plan to smudge every corner.  Sorry, spiders, but those cobwebs have to go. Goodwill, here I come!  Notice I said all of those for fall, too.  Guess what?   Heh heh. Oops.

I haven't started thinking about my Ostara menu just yet, but I think I might do a brunch.  If that's what I end up doing, then I do have a menu.  It's part of the brunch book I still haven't finished writing.  Have you noticed a pattern here?   Yeah. If laziness and/or procrastination were Olympic events...I'd still sit on my ass.

Talk to me about spring. Fill us all with hope, joy, sunshine, and the promise of flowers.  I think we all need it, at least in the part of the U.S. that I inhabit!

Friday, February 20, 2015

Customized scents from Nar's Witchy Kitchen Haul





Here is my lovely friend and talented author, T.A. Woods, unboxing a package from Nar's Witchy Kitchen Etsy!

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Essential Oils - My List


Here is a list of the essential oils I have in my collection.  They aren't alphabetized, but they are categorized by type.  Magical uses are also listed. For some of them, I couldn't find any information anywhere, so I just went with intuition and mundane purposes. I use these for magical roll-on solid fragrances, wax melts, regular roll-on solid fragrances, etc.  I am working on blends for each sabbat as well. 

Essential Oils


Citrus/Fruity:
·         Lemon  - physical energy; purification
·         Lime – physical energy; purification
·         Grapefruit – protection; healing
·         Bergamot – physical & magical energy; money
·         Sweet orange – purification
·         Lemongrass – purification; relaxation
·         Neroli – purification; love

Earthy/Woodsy/Green:
·         Patchouli- energy; money; sex
·         Vetiver – protection; money
·         Myrrh – awakens spirituality;  meditation
·         Frankincense – heightened spiritual awareness
·         Cypress – transitions; soothing loss; protection
·         Pine – fertility; protection; prosperity; purification
·         Tea tree – purification
·         Cajeput – purification; healing
·         Sandalwood- protection; purification; spirituality
·         Cedarwood – purification; love; money; spirituality
·         Ho Wood – relaxation; meditation
·         Juniper berry – love; protection
·         Nagarmotha – sex energy

Spicy / Herby :
·         Cinnamon bark – prosperity
·         Clove – purification; mental strength
·         Ginger  - love; sex; passion
·         Allspice – prosperity
·         Nutmeg – money; psychic awareness
·         Caraway - protection
·         Cardamom – healing
·         Thyme - protection
·         Basil – love; money
·         Dill weed – healing
·         Bay – psychic awareness
·         Cumin – calming
·         Sage – purification
·         Parsley – purification
·         Rosemary – purification; love

Floral:
·         Palmarosa – happiness; protection
·         Geranium – happiness; protection
·         Ylang ylang – peace; sex; love
·         Jasmine – love; spirituality
·         Rose – love
·         Clary sage – dreaming
·         Chamomile – calming
·         Lavender – purification; healing; peace; love
·         Citronella
·         Litsea – purification; sweetness

Minty:
·         Peppermint – purification
·         Wintergreen – purification
·         Eucalyptus  - purification

Foody:
·         Cocoa - love
·         Coffee bean – psychic awareness
·         Vanilla – love; lust