NWK

NWK

Friday, October 14, 2016

Samhain Oil Blends

I am here today to give you some recipes for non-food items. Today we are talking about essential oil blends for Samhain. These blends can be used to anoint candles, and since they are diluted with a carrier oil, you can also use them (carefully) on your skin. 

As we all know, this time of year is when the veil is thinnest. The spirit world can communicate with our world, and we honor our ancestors in various ways, engage in fortune telling for the coming year, and celebrate the end of the old year. I've written previously about my beliefs for the year - it ends at Samhain, and then we have an "in-between" time until Yule. That's the time of year that I eat a vegetarian diet, which I've also blogged about. I'll dig up some links for any new readers, if you would like. 

Below is a list of various essential oils and their properties that carry energies that fit with this particular sabbat. I have also included recipes for blends that combine properties and smell good together, in case you want to anoint yourself for ritual. When I do this, I tend to focus on the inner wrists, the heart, and the third eye chakra. 

  • ·       Basil -Conscious mind, peace
  • ·       Bay - psychic awareness
  • ·       Bergamot  - Peace, happiness, restful sleep        
  • ·       Black Pepper - Mental alertness, protection, courage     
  • ·       Cedarwood   - Spirituality, anti-hex
  • ·       Cinnamon  - Protection, psychic awareness, healing
  • ·       Clove Bud - Healing, memory, protection, courage          
  • ·       Frankincense - Spirituality, meditation, astral strength
  • ·       Ginger- Magical energy, love, courage
  • ·       Grapefruit -  Purification
  • ·       Jasmine   - Love, calming, peace, spirituality, psychic dreaming    
  • ·       Lavender - Health, love, peace, relaxing
  • ·       Lemongrass  - Psychic awareness, purification   
  • ·       Myrrh - Spirituality, meditation, healing
  • ·       Orange  - Purification, joy, magical energy           
  • ·       Patchouli  - Honors the Earth
  • ·       Pine - Healing, purification, protection, magical energy  
  • ·       Rosemary  - Remembrance, love, conscious mind healing, purification
  • ·       Rose  - Love, peace
  • ·       Sandalwood  - Spirituality, healing, purification, meditation        
  • ·       Tangerine  - Protection,  wards off psychic and social vampires
  • ·       Vanilla – Love
  • ·       Vetiver – Protection, anti-curse/hex




Blends: 

1.Blend 1:       4 drops orange, 4 drops sandalwood, 3 drops frankincense, 1 drop cinnamon
2.Blend 2:     3 drops each frankincense, myrrh, sandalwood, and patchouli
3. Blend 3:      2 drops rosemary, 1 drop pine, 2 drops lavender, 2 drops patchouli
4.  Blend 4 :    2 drops cedar wood, 2 drops lemongrass, 3 drops sandalwood
5.Blend 5:       2 drops bay, 3 drops lemongrass, 1 drop clove
6. Blend 6:      3 drops tangerine, 2 drops frankincense, 3 drops vetiver, 3 drops rose
7.  Blend 7:     2 drops black pepper, 2 drops pine, 2 drops vanilla, 3 drops lavender
8.  Blend 8:     3 drops bergamot, 3 drops frankincense, 2 drops ginger
9. Blend 9:       2 drops vanilla, 3 drops lavender, 2 drops jasmine
1. Blend 10:   1 drop basil, 2 drops bay, 3 drops grapefruit, 2 drops vetiver 

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Must be the season of the (unprepared) witch

Happy Rocktober, everybody! My favorite month, my favorite season, and my favorite sabbat. Probably yours, too. Plenty Samhain awesomeness for all! But, seriously, where the eff did August and September go?

I wanted to share a dream with you all. I haven't been sleeping well for a while, and the other day, I managed to catch a short nap, but I was plagued by a terrible dream: It was already Samhain, and I hadn't planned my menu, done any shopping or cooking, or made a single preparation to honor the beloved dead! I woke up in a panic.

I think the message here is: Stop procrastinating, you ding-dong! Or something like that. I really need to be creative this year, being unemployed and all. Sure, I have more time and most likely won't be hopelessly depressed and overwhelmed like last year (knock on wood), but I'm broke AF. 

Still, I plan to do something on my own here at the house. My boyfriend and I are also going to attend an event at an acquaintance's home. All we have to do is show up, and he's been asked to do the music. 

Tell me about your plans. Have you decorated yet? What are you cooking? Are the kiddos dressing up? Are you? Sing it with me: It's the most wonderful time of the year!


Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Talkin' About Writer's Block

Always a good topic for me, writer's block happened to be the topic of this week's twitter chat at #writestuff.  Join author Tamara Woods and discuss various topics related to writers and writing. These chats happen every Tuesday at 21:00 EST. 

I don’t write fiction in my blog. I don’t really write creative nonfiction, either. I write recipes, and sometimes, I run out of ideas. I get recipe writers’ block, I suppose. Other writers run out of ideas, too. They might write a few pages of utter shite, crumple it up and throw it away, but I can’t bake a terrible cake and then waste it. No way! Brainstorming wastes no food. I can’t taste it, but I have a pretty good idea of what flavors work together well, sorta well, and not at all well.

Recipe writer’s block is like when I look at seasonal ingredients and ideas for inspiration, and I find nothing but the same old ideas. The same handful of recipes, done over and over again with a different garnish. Speaking of things overused, here’s a phrase: There’s nothing new under the sun. And it’s true. For now. I just know I won’t be the one to come up with the Next Big Thing in recipes, and I’m 100% fine with that. That’s not my goal. What I bring to the table (heh) is – I hope – simplicity, realness, some education, and a bit of entertainment.

 Other times, when I am writing a story for fun or an essay about something, I get this feeling that there are all of these ideas dancing around in my head. Some of them try to get into some sort of order, but the other ideas start a game of Red Rover, and there is chaos once again. Plus, the damned things won’t wriggle out of my brain and through my fingertips so I can put them on paper.

When writer’s block strikes, depression increases, and I am very harsh with myself. I doubt my creativity, my talent. Then I think about all the ideas I’ve had in the past. I’ve started cookery book projects before. The ideas just hadn’t seemed right. The organization and content were lacking. When the current idea struck, I nearly lit up like a Yuletide tree. Now I just have to keep up that motivation and inspiration and…

I might need some encouragement from friends now and again. I hope they don’t mind my recipe-related ramblings. For that matter, I hope none of my cakes turn out terrible! I wouldn’t want to waste a failed experiment, but I wouldn’t want anyone else to have to eat it, either. Perhaps a respectful burial would be in order?



Friday, September 16, 2016

The Cake of My Dreams...Quite Literally!

What's going on? How are you? It's been a while, but I said it would be a while, and boy, I wasn't kidding!

As you know, I've been unemployed, and there haven't been any prospects lately, except for one. I applied for it, and when the time comes, I will focus more energy on it. Until then, I'm trying to get myself motivated to get out of the house sometimes, to CLEAN the house sometimes, and of course, to cook.

All of this non-job having nonsense really helps me screw up my schedule nicely. Sometimes I sleep all day, and sometimes I go for over a day, like right now.

However, I have a very good reason for not being able to sleep well last night/this morning.


Yes, that. I couldn't sleep because of cake. No, I didn't want to stay up all night eating the cake. It didn't exist yesterday, you see. No, I was unable to sleep because I could not stop thinking about making a yellow cake with chocolate frosting. 

My dad's favorite combination is yellow cake with chocolate frosting. Taking after him, I am rather fond of it as well. And just creating things in general, as you know. 

But, what has eluded me all these years is THE yellow cake recipe. I haven't used a box mix in probably 15 years, and while I am pretty lousy in the decorating department,

                                                                         (exhibit A)

I am pretty darn good at making them taste nice. 

For many of us, cake is but a vessel for frosting. I'm often the same way, but it's because the cake part is often too dry or crumbly or tasteless or some combination of those. Even recipes that promise to be "Super Moist!" aren't quite what I'm looking for. 

I want moist, yes. I also want fluffy and light. I am looking for texture and flavor that make me think, "Damn, this is good cake! Who made it? Oh, I did! Fuck, yeah!" or something to that effect. Well, I doubt mine is unique amongst yellow cakes; after all, there's nothing truly new under the sun, but it's still a tasty cake, people. 

Oh, and I wanted to decorate it for Halloween because I found candy eyeballs at Walmart this morning. 


Now, on to the recipe for the cake and frosting:

Note: Don't be shocked. Don't be appalled. I'm using Crisco. Yes, Crisco. Trust me. 

Yellow Cake: 

1.     1 c butter-flavored shortening
2.     1 ¾  c sugar
3.     4 eggs plus 2 egg yolks
4.     1 tsp. salt
5.     1 T. baking powder
6.     3 c cake flour
7.     2 c buttermilk
8.     1 tsp vanilla extract
9.     1 tsp imitation butter flavor

Preheat oven to 350 F.  Grease and flour 2 9-inch round cake pans.
Cream together shortening and sugar until light and fluffy. Incorporate eggs one at a time, and then add egg yolks one at a time.
Whisk together salt, baking powder, and flour. Add half of this mixture to the egg mixture. Then add half the buttermilk. Mix in the other half of the dry mixture, and then the rest of the milk. Stir in vanilla and butter flavor.
Pour batter equally into prepared cake pans. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until tops are springy and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
Cool on a rack for 10 minutes in the pans. Remove and finish cooling on a wire rack before frosting.

Optional (but you really should do it): Brush cooling cakes with vanilla syrup. Combine 1/3 cup each sugar and water in a saucepan. Heat until sugar dissolves. Stir in vanilla. Allow to cool a few minutes before drizzling and brushing over the cake. 


Chocolate Frosting: 

4 c powdered sugar
1/2 c  really, really dark unsweetened cocoa powder
1 c butter, softened
½ c  butter-flavored shortening
½  c milk, as needed
2 tsp. vanilla
Pinch of salt

Sift cocoa into a bowl. Add butter and shortening and beat to cream together. Add 1 cup of sugar at a time, alternating with the milk, until all ingredients are thoroughly incorporated. Beat in vanilla and salt.

There you go. Frost those cooled cakes, and maybe stick some candy eyeballs on the finished product. 



Serve on a Halloween dessert plate, if you are so inclined. 





Friday, August 5, 2016

What's she up to now?!

This is one of those blog posts that I am actually planning out in Word before posting, as opposed to just typing directly into the box. I don’t want to forget anything important or mess up too badly!

Just the other day (which could be two days to a month ago), I was thinking about my blog. I took a trip down memory lane, and I’d like to revisit that with you all.

I started this blog in 2007, I believe, with the intention of writing about magical properties of herbs, fruits, vegetables, etc. I did that. I wanted to discuss sabbats and seasonally-appropriate recipes to help celebrate the turning of the wheel of the year. I did that. I included some recipes here and there, both referenced from other sites and my own creations. Sweet. Another check mark on the to-do list.
What I never did, though, was take all of my recipe ideas and sabbat celebration ideas and put it into a book. I meant to do that ages ago. Oops.

 I’ve actually worked on this project several times. It has had different incarnations over the years. I just never felt satisfied with what I was doing. Then, last year, inspiration struck, and I hit upon what I wanted to do. I’m still in the planning stages, so I don’t have a whole lot to tell you yet.
Maybe I’m just chronically bad at finishing projects; we’ll see. That’s my mantra, always: “We’ll see.”

I am going to put some of my unemployment time and energy into planning and organizing, and I’ll be testing a few things here and there, but it’s going to be a lengthy process. I might suffer burnout. I might have to come to you all for encouragement.

As for the blog, I have said all there is to say about magical properties of ingredients, etc. That doesn’t mean I won’t have new recipes and things to share in the future, however. I shan’t abandon my beloved blog, but content may soon consist of test recipes and me begging for the sweet release of death because I’m buried alive in recipes. Again, we’ll see.

Oh, and lest I completely forget: The project itself! I am working on a book of days. A kitchen witch’s book of days, to be exact. There will be information on magical properties, ideas for sabbats, and some other rantings and ramblings of mine, but most importantly, it will be almost a recipe a day. That’s a lotta recipes! I guess I’d better get back to my planning!


Love to you all, and thank you for reading. I shall be in touch shortly, I hope. 

Thursday, June 16, 2016

A Midsummer Day's Salad

Did you appreciate my take on Shakespeare? No? Everyone's a critic!

Anyway, this salad is a delightful, refreshing recipe that is perfect for any hot summer day, but especially when the sun shines the strongest at Midsummer.

This is my take on tabbouleh - a Middle Eastern salad with bulgur wheat and lots of parsley. I have updated it a bit by using quinoa because it's delicious, easy to digest, full of protein, and just really, really good for you.

Another change I've made is with the tomatoes. Please, use tomatoes if you like them, but I do not care for raw "maters". My substitute? Watermelon! It was incredibly delicious, and the flavors worked together beautifully. Seriously, this is something you shouldn't knock until you've tried it. You'll be pleasantly surprised, I think.

Midsummer Tabbouleh

1 cup quinoa, uncooked

1 cup finely minced parsley - use a food processor
1/2 cup finely minced mint
1 cup finely sliced green onions
1 large hothouse cucumber, sliced into half moons
1 cup watermelon, cut into small chunks (I used seedless because I'm lazy)

1/4 cup each fresh squeezed lemon juice and extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

To prepare:

 Cook the quinoa according to package directions.  While quinoa cooks, prepare dressing by whisking together lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper.  When quinoa is done, allow to cool for about 10 minutes before tossing with 1/2 the dressing. Chill for approximately 1 hour. Combine the rest of the ingredients with the quinoa and the rest of the dressing. Toss gently to combine. Place back in the refrigerator to chill completely and allow flavors to meld.


Thursday, June 2, 2016

Mmm...Free Reading

I'd love to give someone a reading. If you'd like to be that lucky person, head on over to Nar's Tarot Table - Win a Free Reading and follow the instructions. This is for an all-encompassing 9-card reading.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Some Tarot Time

I haven't really written much over here about my other blog, Nar's Tarot Table, nor have I written much there lately. I've been a busy lady lately, but I am about to have a lot of free time on my hands. I believe I mentioned in a previous post that my contract at work did not get renewed. I am out of a job after June 30. I don't have anything else lined up yet. I had an interview today, but the other communication has been of the rejection variety. Jobs begin in mid-August, and I need time to move and get settled in a new place before the job starts. Universities are slow to contact anyone about anything, however, so I'm still playing the waiting game.

Which brings me to this: I'm offering my services as a tarot reader through my Etsy store. I started reading 18 years ago, and I think it's time to start working on the witchy business idea I've had in my adorable little brain for a few years now. Therefore, if anyone is interested in looking at what I have to offer and maybe sharing the posting (please share), you can find things here: My tarot readings on Etsy.

Thank you all for your time and attention. I will have a lot of free time on my hands for a while. I hope I have some creative, productive ways in which to fill it.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Beltane! May Day!

It's also my dad's birthday, yay!

As you may have noticed, I did not put anything about Beltane, and here's why: I had a painful experience at a May Day celebration many years ago, and it has stayed with me. There are a lot of things I could say about Beltane and why it's not one of my favorite sabbats, but I'll save it for those who really want to know. I won't force it upon all of you, ha ha!

I did test some recipes and get some more organizing done for project, but it's still a long, slow process. It'll get there, maybe. We'll see.


Sunday, April 10, 2016

Recipe Testing Extravaganza

I've been working on my book of days for the kitchen witch, and that means lots of brainstorming and cooking/testing recipes. It's great fun when you have the time and the money! I don't always have both of those things together, though, so this weekend has been kind of special.

I made three recipes this weekend. That isn't many, considering how many more I have left to do, but it's progress. 

I even took photos! They're crappy, but I have some. Wanna see? 

The star of the show this weekend was Beet Ravioli. 
Yes. 
Beet.
Ravioli. 

Beets are great for you, plus they are beautiful and sweet and earthy and...  I'm drooling on my keyboard thinking about all that tender pasta surrounding creamy golden filling and ohshitthereIgoagain!

Let's just talk about the recipe for now, shall we? We can do all the correspondences later, gators. 

The first thing I did was trim two golden beets, wrap them in foil, and roast them at 425 for an hour. After they were cooled, I peeled and quartered them. 

I also roasted a tiny head of garlic at 375 for about 15 minutes and let that cool. 


The main filling ingredients are the roasted beets, the roasted garlic, some ricotta, and some goat cheese. There are some herbs involved, too, but they were feeling camera shy. 


They look fine in the food processor, though. This is my teensy Ninja chopper. I lurve it. 

Oh, yeah, I'm lazy AF, so I used egg roll wrappers instead of making pasta. I don't exactly have the counter space for it, and my pasta roller has only ever been used for polymer clay. Not too food-friendly. 

So, grab some wonton wrappers or egg roll wrappers and cut them in half like I did. 

The filling blends up nice and creamy: 
Mmmm...  

Now, I don't know about you, but I have a kitchen elf. His name is Martin and he's from Australia, and I put him to work filling and folding the ravioli. 

He kind of had his own system for folding them, but it mostly worked out: 


This was batch number 2 because the first one mysteriously disappeared last night. Hmm... We ran out of wrappers for this batch, though, and of course the store across the road was out of them. Now I have a bit of extra filling in the fridge, waiting on me to bring home a fresh pack of wrappers from a different store tomorrow. 

There you have it - the reason I don't photograph recipes very often! Oh, and a recipe. 

Beet Ravioli 

2 golden beets, scrubbed and trimmed
1 small, small head of garlic
2 oz. goat cheese
2-3 Tablespoons ricotta
1 teaspoon fresh dill
1 Tablespoon fresh chives
salt and pepper to taste

pack of wonton wrappers


Wrap the beets in foil and roast for an hour at 425 F. Allow to cool, and then peel. Give them a rough chop so they fit in the food processor. 

Take your garlic and cut off the top. Drizzle some olive oil over the exposed cloves, wrap the head in foil, and roast at 375 until cloves are soft. This took me about 15 minutes because my garlic was so tiny, but a bigger head of garlic may take 30-35 minutes. Allow to cool. 

Note: The amount of garlic you will actually use is about 4-6 cloves, depending on size. I'll also say it depends on your love of garlic. I used the entire head, but it was the size of a ping pong ball. 

Put the beets, goat cheese, ricotta, herbs, salt, pepper, and garlic in your food processor and process until smooth. 

Place your wrappers on a lightly floured surface. Lay down one square and put about a teaspoon of filling in the middle. Dip a finger in some water and run it around the edge. Put another wrapper on top and press out all the air bubbles. My kitchen elf folded the edges again and crimped everything with a fork, but do whatever fill-and-fold method works for you. 

Boil a beeeeeg pot of water and cook them 4 at a time for about a minute. 

Sauce? I boiled my ravioli for a minute and then plopped the dumplings into a skillet of butter with lemon zest in it and fried them for less than a minute on each side, just until they began to color slightly.


There you have it. An actual recipe with actual photos! 

Thursday, March 24, 2016

A Devastating Loss

When I was a newbie Pagan, I met a couple of women who were very welcoming to me and eager to share knowledge and resources. One of them was named Whitedove. I became friends with her, her son, and her granddaughter when I lived in Morgantown, West Virginia.

A couple of days ago, her son messaged some of us on Facebook to let us know he had been informed that she was missing. She'd been missing since March 7. Then came the news that they found her. Not alive and well.

I don't know how to express this shitty sadness and this loss to the community that we had, not to mention her family members. She was loved by many. She helped loads of people. Now she needs to be laid to rest, and her son needs help.

I am posting the link to his GoFundMe page here. You can read more about this wonderful lady here. If you can't donate, I understand, but would you please be so kind as to spread the word?

https://www.gofundme.com/whitedove

Friday, March 18, 2016

The Magical Egg and Celebrating Ostara Through Food

The Magical Egg and Celebrating Ostara Through Food  is an article I wrote for The Witches' Voice a while ago, but I thought I would post it as an extra bit of information and an extra recipe for your celebrations. I hope you enjoy it.


Thursday, March 17, 2016

Spring into Ostara!

Ostara is nearly here, and with it, the first official day of spring! I'm excited. I have found my mood improving as the weather gets nicer. I thought I'd take a moment to talk about Ostara and some recipe ideas.

First, Ostara is just one name given to the spring equinox. The Celts' celebrations of spring bore no resemblance to a modern neo-pagan observances, but some similarities exist. For instance, it was and still is a time to plant seeds. Some pagan folk start magical herb gardens at this time.

Speaking of sowing seeds and fertility and all that good stuff (which we'll get into more as Beltaine gets closer), now is a good time to start thinking about what talents you want to develop, or what you want to learn or how you want to grow. What do you want to harvest at Samhain? What do you want to take into the new year with you?

Even if you have a black thumb like I do, you can still plant seeds of spirituality, of love, of peace and harmony, etc. How you do this is your choice, but I would recommend symbolically burying something, even if it's egg shells. It increases the visualization, I believe.

Seeds are some of the traditional foods for Ostara, along with leafy greens such as chard and spinach, dairy foods, and egg dishes. I sometimes like to include something spicy as I do at Imbolc, to awaken the senses.

Some suggestions would be a frittata with greens and cheese of your choice, a leafy green salad, or seeded rolls. I would use my Harvest Home Rolls recipe and add poppy seeds to the dough. You could also use sunflower seeds or put pumpkin seeds on top.

I hope those of you who are celebrating have a blessed Ostara, and I hope that whatever you plant flourishes.

Friday, February 26, 2016

Crawling Out...

I'm trying to crawl out from under the rock that is depression, anxiety, stress, etc. It isn't easy, and I feel a bit like a salmon swimming upstream, but I'm working on it. I haven't written or done anything else creative in a while.

Slowly, slowly, bit by by, as spring returns, I find myself awakening once again. I feel inspired to begin creating recipes, oil blends, and other things again.

Shitty things have come to pass. I am not going to be staying at my current job after June, so I am trying to find something else. I've been ill a lot because stress has taken its toll on my body.

Better things have come to pass as well. I think. I can't think of any examples right now, but I'll let you know if I do. Well, the job thing might just be a blessing in disguise, but I am a bit worried about finances come July and beyond. Something will hopefully come along.

I think that I have finally come up with a way of combining all of my half-assed cookery book ideas into one project. I'm currently working on that. We'll see what happens. It is a big task, but it feels more manageable to do it this way. I feel that I might be able to make some real progress if I can afford to buy groceries and test recipes. Ack.

Anyhell, I'm still surviving and existing. I am working on living, truly living, and I hope that some of you will join me on my journey.