Wednesday, October 30, 2013

End of the Road - But Not!

I've been thinking about this for awhile, and as is so often the case, my actions told me what decision I was making well before I consciously chose.

As some of you may know, I also post over at the Cauldron Born, with my husband Michael.  It is there were discuss our spiritual and religious ideas, and because we are pagan, I thought those subjects might not be particularly welcome by those who come here to enjoy recipes and crafty things - and likewise thought those who read there probably weren't interested by such 'mundane' concerns.

Well.... that's just silly, isn't it?  ALL of it is about the life we live and it is increasingly beyond me to be able to pick out where the separations are.  So enough of that.  I am going to end this blog, but the things I post here will be happening over there.

I do realize that some may be challenged by reading religious matters, for any number of reasons.  I hope that won't be too large a problem, but for those for whom it is, go in peace and be well!  For the rest, I hope you'll join us at The Cauldron Born, where the hearth is warm and all are welcome.

Thank you so much, all of you, for your kind words over the years!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

October Decor & What's Cookin' Oct 14 - 20

My menu last week worked for about half the time -- my nemesis was (and has been since the dawn of time) getting things thawed!  Whole chickens, even small stewing chickens, always take much longer than I think it should, necessitating a last minute scramble to adjust dates and sometimes upending plans totally.

So, trying again this week!  Next week, we're heading up to Boston/Salem for a few days to enjoy our honeymoon, so I'm being a little cautious about having too many perishables to deal with.  I'm leaving Sunday's plan open in order to finish off anything that won't keep.

I didn't manage any pictures/recipe entries last week - I will try to do better this time.

Monday Oct 14
Taco Salad (no chips)
Salsa, Guacamole

Tuesday Oct 15
No-Grain Pumpkin Waffles
Stewed Apples

Wednesday Oct 16
Pork & Veggie Stir-Fry

Thursday Oct 17 (Meeting tonight)
Cottage Pie with Mashed Sweet Potato Topping
(prepare early to be cooked for dinner by Michael)

(thaw short ribs early, to be slow cooked tomorrow)

Friday Oct 18
Slow Cooked Short Ribs and Mushrooms

Saturday Oct 19
Curry Meatballs
Spaghetti Squash

Sunday Oct 20
Leftovers / Clean out the Fridge Day

Because of our trip, I am going to leave my Calendula Oil to infuse until I return, and work on the next stage of that project then.

Autumn Mask - Renee Olson
Spring Mask - Renee Olson

I had some exciting news yesterday - I won a pair of masks from Samhain's Sirens - aren't the beautiful?  Here's the best part - the maker of these beautifies, Renee Olsen, also posted a tutorial for making  them.  I am looking forward to trying my hand as these, next time I get myself to a craft store, and of course playing around with some Summer and Winter motifs!

I think the Autumn mask is going to do quite nicely added to our Samhain shrine, don't you?

 Today's Samhain's Sirens entry is a literary one - you'll find a recipe for spiced apple cider (yum!), just perfect for reading the posted short story, or dipping into today's giveaway: a novel by Wendy L. Callahan called "The Pain Maiden.  There is also a blog makeover on giveaway, so stop by today.  This contest ends tomorrow morning.

Head over to Pagan Culture as well, for the So Good So Grim Blog Party, going on from October 13th - 21st.  All sorts of spooky stories, artwork and other delights that speak to the good hiding in the darkness, along with some amazing seasonal giveaways.  I'm spending time over at The Cauldron Born talking about the dark(ish) side of Tarot all this week.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Calendula Oil & What's Cooking, Oct. 7 - 13

We've got some stormy weather and tornado watch today in the DC area - after a little burst of summer, the weather is about to turn firmly to Autumn, and suddenly the trees are a riot of color.

This is my favorite time of year - the colors, the scents.... everything is earthy and smoky and delicious.  And it is definitely time for me to be planning meals to maike sure we get plenty of this season's bounty while it's here.  I find that when I fail to plan our meals, they become decidedly make-do and uninspired.

Here's what's in the works for this week:

Leftover Hash (Tri-Tip Beef, Mushrooms, Potatoes, and Veggies)

 (stew a chicken in the crockpot)
Chipotle Pulled Chicken
Paleo Tortillas

Leftover Chicken and Veggies
Mashed Cauliflower

Bacon and Mushroom Quiche

Pork and Pumpkin Stew
Grain-Free Bread

(Farm & Farmer's Market for meat & produce)

(slow cook a stewing chicken for tomorrow)

Asian Chicken Lettuce Wraps
Stir-Fried Veggies

Today, I started on a project I'll be working on as a part of my Yule gifting - while I'm sure I'll be doing some purchased items, I really am wanting to try to keep most of our gifting handmade and personal.

So, as a part of that, I want to make up some healing salve that includes calendula as part of its properties.  Calendula is a variety of marigold, and is one of those herbal powerhouses that make a good addition to any all-purpose salve.  It is anti-inflammatory, soothing for burns and irritated or chapped skin and has some bug repellent properties.  It is gentle enough for those with sensitive skin and children to use.

Today's step was easy - I'm infusing some dried calendula petals (I got mine from Mountain Rose Herbs) in olive oil for the next couple weeks.  The ratio is easy - 1 part dried petals to 2 parts olive oil.  I used 1 cup of petals to 2 cups of oil - in a couple weeks, I'll be straining this out and making up some salve with it.  The oil itself could also be used as is, and it will keep for about a year.

The jar I used was a bit larger than necessary, so I used a baggie (weighted with some water) to hold down the petals below the surface of the oil.  After taking the picture, I moved the jar to a dark place until it's ready for the next step.

Before I go for today, I want to point you all over to Samhain's Sirens - today's lovely giveaway is two pairs of October themed earrings - one set is an adorable pair of witchy hats, and  the other a pair of pumpkins - just the thing for the Halloween fashionista!  Both of these were handcrafted and donated by Tess from "A Witch By Any Other Name".  Today's entry also includes a delicious medley of roasted veggies. Go check it out!

~ Lynda

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Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Happy October!

I didn't actually intend to take a long summer vacation from blogging here, but that is what has happened!  I'll be writing a 'What I Did On My Summer Vacation" entry here soon (hint: Michael and I got married!), but today, I'm taking advantage of an opportunity to kickstart myself back into updating by sharing with you Samhain's Sirens, a fabulous month-long Samhain celebration, chock full of music, recipes and giveaways.  Every single day between today and November 1st!

Today's kickoff is awesome!  Head over for a sweet Autumnal granola recipe, and enter for two fantastic giveaways - a $200 weblog makeover by PIP Designs and a stunning handmade blank book made by Lapulia Studios worth $332.98.

Come join in the fun!

~ Lynda

Monday, June 3, 2013

What's Cookin' June 3 - 9

Summer's definitely here in the DC area, and with it, plenty of humidity!  We've been spending more time outdoors and we have the bugbites (me) and the poison ivy rash (Michael) to show for it.

Meals have been, well, a little bit 'meh' between temperatures too hot to want to cook, end of the month pantry blahs, and just general busy-ness, and I never even got around last week to even posting a plan.

So here's what we did eat:

Monday May 27 (Memorial Day)
Attended a fish fry at Davies Memorial UU Church, so didn't cook dinner - 
nibbled on cheese and liverwurst with some wheat-free crackers.

Tuesday May 28
Homemade Beef and Vegetable Soup

Wednesday May 29
Leftover Soup
Grain-Free Quick Bread

Thursday May 30
Take Out from Dogfish Head Tavern

Friday May 31
Hash (Homemade Pork Sausage, Sweet Potatoes, and Mushrooms

Saturday Jun 1
Cheese Quiche

Sunday Jun 2 (My birthday)
Ate dinner at a brewery/restaurant in Baltimore
(great service, food was fine, beer was blah and can't recall name)

No pics, no recipes because really, the only thing that was interesting was the hash and I failed to snap a picture.

On the upside - with Saturday we entered a new month and took a trip to the farm to replenish our freezer with good, locally raised meat, and also headed off to the Farmer's Market for veggies.  We came away with some salad fixings (romaine, tomato, cucumber, radishes- lots of delicious radishes!), collard greens, spring garlic and onions, the last of the season's asparagus, some cauliflower and cabbage, as well as some potted herbs: horehound (on a whim, to see if I can grow it), mint, lemon balm, and a couple varieties of basil.

Top: mint, lemon balm, horehound, lemon basil, Thai basil. Bottom: Impatiens, Dahlias, Fuschias.

We do still have to make a trip to a grocery store for a couple items, but I feel re-energized for some summer cooking now!

The plan for this week:

Monday Jun 3
Taco Salad

Tuesday Jun 4
Grain-Free Cheeseburger Pie

Wednesday Jun 5

(make cole slaw for tomorrow)
*get grocery shopping done tonight*

Thursday Jun 6 (Stitch n Bitch)
(Michael cooking)
Cole Slaw 

Friday Jun 7
Artichoke and Spinach Stuffed Mushrooms
Spring Garlic and Potatoes

Saturday Jun 8
Roast Whole Chicken
Collard Greens
Vegetable Sticks

Sunday Jun 9

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Almond Flour Coconut Waffles

Yesterday was one of those days - I woke up to discover a tick burrowed into my back. Now, I don't have any critter phobias, but ticks wig me out (and for just cause!), both for what sort of diseases they can cause, and for the whole nasty way they go about acquiring their lunch.

So, that was no good start to the day - trying not to panic, I went to go find Michael, who'd already gotten up to get that thing out of me pronto, and he was nowhere to be found. So, holding my panic at bay, I got dressed and went to go look outside for him, and saw his legs about half way up a ladder, looking at something up on the roof.

I went inside to wait (muttering, 'ugh, tick, hurry hurry...' while I waited), and when he came in, I said "good morning, I have a TIIIICCCCKKK...." right about the same moment he said, "Good morning, we have a HOLE IN THE ROOOOOFFFF."

sigh.  He fixed my problem, but the one he uncovered is going to take a bit more doing - a few years back, he'd had some gutter screens installed, and they've been one hassle after another - while they keep large objects like leaves out of the gutter, they allow smaller items - pollen, dirt, whatever small things fall out of the trees onto the roof - to pass through, gunk up the gutter and be nearly impossible to get out due to the screens.  And one of them someone created a hole where it was attached large enough that it's been letting water drain down inside the wall of  the house for who knows how long.


We were definitely in need of something indulgent, so waffles for dinner it was.

I don't need to post this recipe - we used this one from PaleOMG without alteration.  I doubled  the amount so we could have some for breakfast this morning.  I used coconut oil to brush the waffle iron, and this made 5 full waffles - very rich, crisp on the outside, tender on the inside waffles.

I used some cherries and blueberries from the freezer, lightly sweetened with coconut sugar and a drizzle of maple syrup and we had them with fresh whipped heavy cream and some sliced banana.

They. Were. Awesome.

Reheating the next day - in the oven, so they stay crisp - worked perfectly, and I will be doing this again, and often.

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Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Purple Sauerkraut

A couple months ago, I made fermented sauerkraut for  the first time, but never got around to sharing it here - and then we ate it, still without posting about it.  A little bit later, I tried fermented carrots and ginger - also very good (best as an addition to salad, or a bit mixed in with tuna salad), again no post.

So yesterday, I started some sauerkraut again! This time using a red cabbage and a Napa cabbage (because they had no plain green cabbage in stock).

This is a really simple way of getting some fermented veggies on hand, and it takes so much more delicious than storebought kraut.

I think the big key to the process is using Fido jars.  I have a couple Bormioli Rocco blue lidded jars that I just love - they have a great solid seal, and the blue glass lid is so pretty.  The thing about Fido jars is that they let excess pressure leak out, but they let no oxygen in - no oxygen means no molding.

I like not having to worry about things like that.  The other thing that ensures it, of course, is making sure your containers, utensils and work surface are all clean and sanitary.   So, with that out of the way, here's all it takes:

Purple Sauerkraut

1 head Napa cabbage
1 head red cabbage
4 T. salt

Cutting board
Large sharp knife
Large mixing bowl
Food processor
Potato masher
Large serving spoon
Fido jar (50oz or larger)

Wash and dry your cabbage, removing any worn outer leaves.  Cut the cabbage into chunks, removing the cores.  Feed the chunks through your food processor set to grate coarsely.  As processor gets full, turn the grated cabbage into the large mixing bowl, and sprinkle with some of the salt.  Continue to process and salt the cabbage until done.

Cover the bowl loosely and let it sit about 1/2 hour - the salt will start releasing liquid from the cabbage.  Using a potato masher, pound the cabbage for a couple minutes to more completely release the liquid.

Scoop cabbage into Fido jar, mashing it down as you go to fit more cabbage.  Make sure all liquid from the bowl ends up in the jar - the cabbage should be covered with liquid.

Seal the jar and set it aside in a dark place with a moderate temperature (70-80F) for 4-6 weeks, then refrigerate.


I had about a 1 1/2 cups of cabbage that wouldn't fit into my container.  Since I was making stew and hadn't yet salted it, I just tossed the extra into the stew pot, where it disappeared so completely you couldn't even tell it was in there.  I'll check back with you in about a month and let you know how the 'kraut came out!

Shared with:
Allergy Free Wednesday, The Creative Spark, Down Home Blog Hop, Fluster's Creative Muster, Gluten-Free Wednesday, Healthy 2Day Wednesday, Make - Bake - Create Wednesday, Party Wave Wednesday, Penny Pinching Party, Real Food Wednesday, Show & Tell Wednesday, Two Girls & a Party, Waste Not Want Not Wednesday, Wednesday Fresh Foods Link Up, Well Fed Wednesday, Wellness Wednesday, What's Cooking Wednesday, Whatever Goes Wednesday, Wheat Free Wednesday, Whimsy Wednesday, Whole Foods Wednesday, Wicked Awesome Wednesday, Wildcrafting Wednesday, Wonderful Foods Wednesday, Works For Me Wednesday, Wow Me Wednesday.   
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