Tuesday, January 31, 2017

More Thoughts on Daily House-Witchin'

As I have mentioned in previous posts, I have been striving to set aside some special time to devote to spiritual growth. I’ve probably also told y’all a million times just how untidy my house gets! No, untidy is too mild. It’s friggin’ filthy at times.

I hate cleaning. It’s a futile effort because it never stays clean for very long. Not with five pets and an Aussie, anyway. I hate it, so I rarely do it. I’ll do the dishes, of course, but I have a smallish mountain of laundry to go through. The bed never gets made nicely, unless the bedding has been changed. Dust? Eh...You catch my drift. But that’s gross, y’all. I can’t be a happy kitchen witch here, or anywhere that isn’t at least somewhere tidy.

I have decided that, since I have nothing but time on my hands right now, I should come up with a schedule to help me utilize all of those free hours. Seriously, I need to step away from the computer once in a while!

So, what I have so far is a list of tasks that, if done consistently, shouldn’t take much time at all. This list is a combination of mundane tasks and witchy things to help keep the house protected and full of love.

This is my tentative plan:

Sunday is set to be our witchy day here because it’s the day my boyfriend has off. The goal is to strengthen our paths and devote time and energy to our crafts.

  • Spend some time unplugged from technology, except for maybe some kind of music playing device
  • Spend time in thought/prayer; to commune with deity - utilizing music, incense, whatever feels right at the time
  • Read
  • Tarot time

Sunday dinner is going to be the roast dinner that’s in my 2-week rotation plan. I can do some prep work on Saturday such as baking bread and making dessert. It takes a while to make a new routine an automatic one, so wish me luck! Let me know what you're up to, as well!

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Daily Devotionals, Kitchen Witch-Style

  I suppose I should start by examining the meaning of devotion, so I’ll pull from Merriam-Webster:

1.     An act of prayer or private worship
2.     A religious exercise or practice other than the regular corporate worship of a congregation
3.     the act of dedicating something to a cause, enterprise, or activity
4.      the fact or state of being ardently dedicated and loyal 

Those definitions segue into the topic of this post. I want to explore the concept of daily devotionals, and I want to look at how these ideas can apply in a specific, meaningful way to the kitchen witch.
By dedicating time and energy to our deities, we strengthen our connection with them. (While it could be that we humans project our emotions onto the gods, or whether we get our emotions from them is irrelevant to me, for once. hehe)

There are many different ways of communing with the gods. One way is to meditate. I’m sure most of you have at least dabbled in meditation and are aware the benefits you receive from it. Another method of communication is prayer. Prayer and meditation can be combined. Some people use prayer beads or other symbols to help them focus. Candles, herbs, incense, music – all of these things are useful to different individuals and their practices.

For me, lighting incense and sometimes a candle means it’s time to cleanse the area. It’s time to create space for tarot. It’s time to get witchy! This made me think about how I can focus and incorporate some more daily spirituality (an area in which I royally suck, btw) into my broader path.
I’ve written before on the power of setting aside a special day once a week or every two weeks or so to unplug from technology and plug into the Divine. That doesn’t work with everyone’s lifestyle, and I totally get that. I’m forgetful. I’m a procrastinator. I’m lazy. It’s a horrible combination. I don’t always get my shit together for that day of rest.

Maybe you’ve seen me post about kitchen altar ideas and herbs for cleaning, purifying, and protecting. There are other, much better articles out there, too, but the reason I mention them at all is because they can all be a part of a daily devotional routine. At least, that’s what I’m shooting for.

Some of the ideas I’ve been working on are:

·       Cleaning/magical cleaning schedule – washing surfaces, protecting doors and windows, sweeping dirt and negativity, etc. This is a bigger project. A never-ending project. A tedious project. A necessary project, though, and one that can be made more enjoyable. I usually put on some inspirational music when I’m washing the dishes and the rest of the kitchen. Not every job has to be done every day, of course. It all depends on your kitchen usage and time available. Whatever task you focus on, put your intent into it. As you sweep, focus on negative energies and obstacles to get rid of. If you are cleaning the stove, imagine polishing an altar in the temple of your hearth deity.

·       Consecration of sacred space – this can include setting up and caring for an altar if you have one, or it can be as simple as lighting a candle and putting into your (turned off) oven to represent the hearth flame. You can do this in just a few minutes if that’s all you have. Light your candle, say a prayer or greeting to your hearth deity, and leave an offering if you can. The offerings can take place once a week or on weekends.

·       Spend time in sacred space – even if it’s just a few minutes while you brew your coffee or tea in the morning, take some time to ground and center while the candle has a chance to burn a bit. You can meditate or pray more, or just enjoy the peace and quiet. This can be done at any time of day, really.

·       Blessings – some of us enjoy the practice of saying a prayer or reciting a blessing before meals. This is probably the only thing I do consistently. The meal may be home-cooked or takeaway, but I am always thankful for it.

And there you have it. These are things I am working on adding to my life. What else would you/do you do? 

The Frugal Kitchen Witch

First of all, Happy Belated New Year!

As I may have mentioned, I’ve been unemployed since July. I’ve been looking and applying for jobs since March, but I’ve had maybe 3 interviews. It sucks. Money is tiiiight. I’m sure many of you know what I mean. I get an unemployment check every week, and my boyfriend gets paid every two weeks, but it’s not enough to keep things running smoothly. I had to turn off autopay to avoid overdraft fees out the wazoo, and I’m kinda sorta juggling things a bit. I’m getting about half of what I used to earn as a teacher, and even then, it was extremely difficult to save. Bleah.

BUT! This blog post is not about just that. This blog post is going to look at what we, the kitchen witches, the priests and priestesses of the deities of the hearth, can do to keep ourselves and our loved ones properly fed and nourished, even when money is short.

I’ve written about how kitchen work can be a ritual, a magical experience, a spiritual experience. We know how I feel about connecting to the wheel of the year and the earth by seasonal cooking. Where am I going with this?

Well, I am going to show you, through my own trial and error, waves to get food on the table that: 1. People want to eat, 2. Is affordable, 3. Tries to be as seasonal as possible (which enhances affordability), and 4. Will, hopefully, help keep spirits up and spirituality alive and well. After all, it’s at times like these that we really turn to the gods and to spellwork, no? Speaking of which, I really ought to make those Prosperity Shortbread Cookies again.

There are a butt-ton, yes, butt-ton, of tips out there on how to cut food waste and grocery costs. As a pagany-type, kitchen-witchy-type person, I am concerned about food waste. I do not want food to go to waste, but because of our lifestyle and our habits, it happens. It happens to everybody. One reason I dislike waste is because I feel I am being disrespectful to the energies of the foods, especially meat products. I do not want to dishonor the spirit and life of the animal. Another reason I dislike waste is because there are so many people who don’t have enough to eat.

Okay, so the goals so far are:
  • Spend less
  • Cook less  (in amount) (there are only two of us)
  • Waste less
  • Be seasonal
  • Up the intent in the cooking - more love energy, more positivity, etc.
  • Eat well (tasty and healthy, or tasty and not terribly unhealthy)

I plan to do as much shopping at Save a Lot as I can, except for a few things that they either don’t have or things that suck. I bought a can of coffee there once. Not doing that again. The meat is usually okay. You just have to check dates and make sure you use it or freeze it the day to buy it. We have an Aldi not too far away. I can’t live without goat cheese. Thank goodness for their prices.

I’m home all day. I have no real excuses for not cooking. It’s 4:17 a.m. and I’m blogging to take a break away from washing dishes. They pile up quickly, don’t they?

And that’s another area of spirituality in which I’ve really let myself go. The kitchen is like my temple. I need to take better care of it. Seriously, what do I do all day? Uhhh...sit in front of the computer and watch Bob’s Burgers. Seriously, get off your ass, Nar, and do some cleaning!

I’ve decided to go with menu rotation for now. I have to admit that I feel a little strange about it because I will basically be sticking to the same types of things, but I have plenty of opportunities to get creative with the basics ideas. What I have done in order to get this idea rolling, is to create a list of dinner menus for two weeks. I figured two weeks at a time would keep us from getting too bored. I mean, we both love spaghetti and tacos, but we probably ought to have a teensy bit of variety. There could be a mutiny. I’ve also left preparation methods open. “Potatoes” means “whatever kind of potato dish you feel like”, for example. Pasta Night could be mac and cheese, or it could be spaghetti and meatballs. Whatevah.

I want to utilize leftovers as much as possible. My boyfriend will be able to take some things to work for lunch. I’m going to hit Save a Lot later in the day and see if I can shop for the first few days that I’ve mapped out. We don’t have to have the same meal on the same night of the week. Thursdays don’t have to be pasta, but it will happen at some point during the two weeks. I put together a table so I can record what date I made each meal, and two nights are set aside as “use up all the leftovers omg!” nights.

Winter is for hearty dishes, spicy dishes, lots of root vegetables, cruciferous vegetables, stews, casseroles… Those are the types of things I am going to work on. It’s time for comfort food.

In no particular planning order, here are my menu ideas:

Menu Rotation Meal Ideas

  1. Pinto beans, cornbread, fried potatoes and cabbage, smoked sausage
  2. Stir-fry - chicken or beef, rice
  3. Meatballs with gravy, noodles
  4. Leftovers or homemade pizza
  5. Pork and sausage and cabbage, noodles
  6. Taco Night
  7. Roast Dinner - chicken, turkey breast, or duck, potatoes, gravy, sprouts (or creamed spinach or roasted broccoli), Yorkshire pudding
  8. BBQ ribs (slow cooker), roasted corn salad, baked beans or potato salad
  9. Pasta Night - garlic bread, green beans, broccoli, spinach, or kale (mac and cheese, spaghetti with meat sauce, lasagna…)
  10. Meatloaf, potatoes, broccoli
  11. Curry Night - chicken or vegetable, rice, samosas, chutney
  12. Breakfast for dinner: eggs, bacon, sausage, toast, home fries, Dutch baby
  13. Burger Night - beef or vegetarian, oven fries
  14. Leftovers or Dinner Salad (greens, vegetables, meat, cheese…)

The next few days here are going to bring beans & cornbread, ribs, a roast dinner, curry night, and pasta night.

And to help me keep myself in line:

Two-Week Menu Rotation


So, yeah. This is what I’m working on right now. I’m trying to stop worrying about the job/money/insurance situation, but devoting some time to my path helps reduce stress, as does cooking. We’ll see where it goes! I would love to hear your thoughts and experiences.