Friday, December 28, 2012

Pagan/Christmas Cooking Show

Hello all,
last week I was watching a rerun of one of y favorite cooking shows Good Eats with Alton Brown. I used to watch this show with y mom when I was little, and now I watch reruns every once and a while to get some good cooking tips and ideas.
Anyway, This episode is a Christmas episode, but there are so many Pagan themes I just had to share it.
I am posting the whole episode. I hope you enjoy it! And I wish you all a Happy New Year!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Yule Fruit Cake

Blessed Yule Everyone,

I am sorry I haven't posted in a long time. this past year has been a very busy one for me. I planned a wedding, got a job, got married, went on a honeymoon, got promoted in my job to assistant manager, worked more hours, got promoted to Manager and moved to a different store (45 minute commute) and I have been super busy with the holidays. But I am back today to post my Homemade Fruit Cake Recipe for this special Yule blog post.

This Fruitcake is Gluten Free, Vegan, and Refined Sugar Free, and it stays moist. I don't know how long it lasts after baking because it doesn't stick around my house very long. The longest I have had any fruitcake left was three days, and it was a small piece left that I snatched for breakfast. Still moist and delicious!
Plus it's really easy to make.

Kat's Yule Fruit Cake
Wet Ingredients:

  • 2 Cups Unsweetened Mixed Dried Fruits (I used Raisins, Golden Raisins, Cranberries, Cherries, and Prunes)
  • 1/4 Cup Agave Nectar (Can substitute with Maple Syrup)
  • 3/4 Cup Unsweetened Applesauce
  • 1/2 Cup Chopped Pineapple with Juice 
  • 1 Tsp Vanilla Extract 

Dry Ingredients: 
  • 1-1/2 Cups Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free all-purpose flour (or your favorite GF flour blend)
  • 1/2 Tsp Baking Powder (Gluten Free)
  • 1 Tsp Baking Soda
  • 1 Tsp Sea Salt (Can substitute with table salt)
  • 2 Tsp Ground Cinnamon
  • 1 Tsp Ground Nutmeg
  • 1 Tsp Ground Allspice
  • 1 Tsp Xanthan Gum
Optional Ingredients:
  • Nuts to decorate the top (I used whole Almonds) 
  • Dried Fruits (Preferably cherries or prunes so you can decorate the top) 
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Mix all wet ingredients in a large bowl.
  3. Let it sit for at least 1/2 hour so the dried fruits can soften a little. If you have really dry fruit you may need to let the mixture sit longer to soften it a little bit. 
  4. Sift all dry ingredients into the wet, stirring to combine.
  5. Grease a loaf pan with non-stick spray.
  6. Pour or spoon the batter into the loaf pan and smooth down with the back of the spoon.
  7. Decorate the top with some fruit and nuts if desired.
  8. Bake for 50-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  9. Let sit in the loaf pan for 10 minutes before removing, then remove and let it finish cooling on a wire rack.  
  10. Once cooled you can slice it and enjoy plain or spread on some jam, peanut butter, or buttery spread.  Enjoy! 

Blessed Yule and Happy Solstice!

Monday, October 15, 2012

The Importance of Chanting

This is a topic I haven't covered before (and admittedly, don't know much about), but was suddenly inspired to look up.
This Video is one of my Favorite Wiccan Chants. The Earth, The Air, The Fire, The Water

Lately I have been feeling off balance or haggard. I have had many stresses in my life this past year including Starting a New Job, Planning a Wedding, Getting Married, Bringing our Kitten to the ER after he ate a Tiger Lilly, Money Issues, Gaining Weight, etc.
Needless to say this has left me feeling Tired, Unmotivated, Stretched in Every Direction, and Generally Off Balance. Until today, I spontaneously remembered how I felt last year when I joined the Witches Circle in Salem on Samhain. I felt like a new person after that, The Drumming and the Chanting realigned everything inside me, and I was left with a feeling of wholeness, and renewal. And it made me feel closer to the Divine Spirits the Goddess and the God, as well as gave me another perpose in life.
Anyway, While thinking about that I decided to look on youtube ad watch some of my favorite Wiccan Chant Videos, and I almost instantly felt better.

Interested, I did a little research on the topic of chanting and I am going to share some of what I found.
The AAH sound, a primary sound to humans, is found in the many ways we invoke the Divine: Amen, Allelujah, Allah, Brahma, Ahtma, Shekina, Wakan Tanka, Pacha Mama, Gaia, Da, Jah, Jehovah, Amitaba Buddha, Kuan Yin, Ofunga. Medicine Men & Women, Shaman, Yogis, Sages, Healers and Mystics in all walks of life have stressed the importance of chant for deeper spiritual awareness, healing and a way to clear the mind. Everything in the universe emanates from vibration and its essence-energy. Vibration, which translates to us as sound, ranges from the gross to the subtle.

Native Americans have a deep tradition of healing with chants that clear physical ailments as well as remove emotional trauma and evil spirits.  Many of these songs have been passed down through generations and are in effect today.  The Medicine Man or Woman chants to the ailment and sends it on its way to the Light.

In India, the energy system known as Pranamaya Kosha, is comprised of the Nadis and Chakras (subtle channels through which energy flows) which are receptors of vibration.  These Chakras are highly influenced by sound which is why music has such a strong impact on us. It is believed that sound vibrations created by the voice can refine and attune the bodily systems, Nadis, mind and intellect. When music is practiced to transform the personality or ego into total absorption with the Divine, then it becomes Nada Yoga.  In North Indian Classical Raga, the note “Sa” is equated with Brahma (God), the sound wave that created the universe. From this one note all others arise, the way all beings are made manifest from the One Divine Being.

Chanting is very good for the health, and also leads us eventually to "peace of mind".

To explain the importance of chanting for spiritual growth, let's first look at the human brain. There are two different sides to our brain. The left side controls the rational, calculating mind - this is the part of the brain that allows us to think mathematically, scientifically and logically. It breaks down ideas into a step-by-step process. Our whole modern society is based mainly on the achievements and point of view of rational thinking.
The right half of the brain controls our intuitive mind. This gives us the human ability to appreciate art, music, poetry, and religion. The intuitive mind perceives things holistically - we appreciate a piece of music or a beautiful sunset, we have a flash of insight, or we feel spiritually inspired. These feelings come from our intuitive mind, in contrast to our rational mind.
Chanting is also good for our health, for a number of reasons:
  • The very sound of chanting helps to heal our bodies and minds. Parents have been singing lullabies to their children through the centuries. We all know that when we feel tired, it helps to listen to some soothing music. Scientists have taken this a step further through the study of plants. If you take a greenhouse full of plants, and play the music of Bach or Handel, which is very regular and rhythmical classical music, the plants flourish. But if you play discordant, disorganized, erratic music or sounds, the plants respond - by failing to grow. Plants fail to thrive in an atmosphere of disorganized sound. Discordant sound makes us nervous, and harmonious sound, such as chanting, heals us. Chanting is one of the most healing sounds in the world.
  • When we chant, it also acts to regulate our breathing. In to-day's world of "fast lane lifestyles" whatever we can do to slow down and regulate our breathing helps us. The automatic thing to do when we become frightened or uptight is to breathe in a shallow way, and that makes us feel more tense. Do you notice, when chanting, that your breathing rate goes down? And if your breathing rate goes down, then your heart rate goes down. And if your heart rate goes down, then your blood pressure also goes down. Chanting brings a general "cooling-down" of your whole body.
  • If done wholeheartedly, Chanting acts to release negative emotions. As you know, holding on to the emotions of anger and frustration over time makes us sick. We can clear out stress and irritation in several ways: by vigorous exercise, by singing, by shouting, and by chanting. Chanting is a physical exercise for the body that empties the lungs and muscles of toxins created by frustration and stress.
  • Another health benefit of regular chanting is that it brings us to a steady rhythm. The movement of the sun, the movement of the plants, the changes of season, our heartbeat, the movement of the tides - all these are done in rhythm. Balanced and healthy people are people who have balanced rhythm.
  • Chanting also acts to clean our mind. The nerve pathways of the brain are like a road map in a densely populated region. Some pathways, the ones we use all the time, are like major highways; others are like countryside unpaved roads. The action of Chanting gives healthy variety to our brain activity, using different pathways and mixing up the brain signals for a while. This gives a rest to the regularly used pathways of the brain, and promotes cleaning of the mind.
  • Chanting also focuses our thoughts. Group chanting is really group meditation. When we put all of our attention and all of our emotion on one word at a time as we are chanting, we are learning how to focus our mind.
Chanting exercises our intuitive mind; it soothes our nervous tension; it regulates our breathing. It focuses our mind, and teaches our body steady rhythm.
This video is one of my favorite Wiccan Chants. The Triple Goddess Chant.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Pumpkin Magic & Recipes

I was in the mood to make a warm/sweet treat, but I didn't want to wait a long time while something baked in the oven, so I started searching online for an easy pumpkin custard. I figured I could use some of the leftover roasted pumpkin from my Autumn Cooking - Mabon Feast Though I also have a few cans of pumpkin in the basement that I could use as well... though using roasted pumpkin that I spent a lot of time and energy cutting and peeling and cooking felt more meaningful.
Anyway, I was not finding anything that quite peaked my fancy, so I decided to just throw a few things together and hope for a delicious result.
This is similar to how I approach magic and spell-working.
I like to use whatever I have on hand, and most of the magic is in the intent, well I had roasted pumpkin, spices, almond milk, and sweeteners on hand, so I decided to throw them together in the belnder and taste the final result.
After I tasted my concoction I thought it would taste better warm, so I put it in the microwave for a minute or two and gave it a good stir. And WOW! This was some kind of Kitchen Pumpkin Magic.

I had to stop myself from eating it all so I could take a quick picture. I also had an idea to make a warm drink using some of the delicious pudding.
So I scooped some of the pudding into a mug and added some almond milk. Warmed it in the microwave and gave it a few good stirs... Wow again. Pumpkin must be my magical food this season. lol

Anyway, I am going to share the rough recipe with you (I do not have percise measurements because I just tossed things together and added whatever amount felt right to me.... sounds a lot like how I make spells as well) ;)
Pumpkin Pie Pudding:
Vegan, Gluten Free, Refined Sugar Free
  • 1-2 cups roast pumpkin cubes (or about 1 cup pumpkin puree)
  • Ground Cinnamon to taste
  • Ground Nutmeg to taste
  • Ground Ginger to taste
  • Dash Vanilla Extract
  • 1 Packet Stevia
  • About 1 Tbsp Pure Maple Syrup
  • Up to 1/2 Cup Almond Milk (I used unsweetened)
Put all ingredients into a blender or food processor and blend until smooth and creamy. Add more milk if it is too thick.
Pour into a bowl and microwave for 1-2 minutes. Make sure to stir it well before enjoying.
Warm Pumpkin Spiced Milk
  • 1-2 Spoonfuls of the above Pumpkin Pie Pudding
  • Up to 1 Cup Almond Milk (I used unsweetened, but if you like a sweeter result you can use sweetened)
Mix the ingredients in a mug and microwave for 1 minute. Take it out and stir it before microwaving for an additional minute.
You can top it with whipped cream if you so desire.

I think this would taste really good mixed with a Pumpkin Chai Tea or Pumpkin Spice Coffee!

Anyway, Since I have made/consumed these delicious pumpkin concoctions I have felt much better. I was feeling a bit down and chilly (it's been raining on and off all day today, and I'm feeling the chill in my bones) and my pinched nerve in my shoulder has been acting up again, but now I feel much better!
I thought I'd write this blog and Share some of the magical properties of the wonderful ingredients I used:

Pumpkin: Fertility, Contacting the Spirit World, Represent Abundance, Wealth, Divination, Love, Prosperity, Good Luck, Attract Money, Mysterious, Healing, Honors the Moon.

Pumpkin Seeds (I didn't use them, but I did eat a few homemade seeds while cooking): Improves Bladder Function, Helps Depression, Promotes Bone Health, Divination, Healing.

Cinnamon: Promotes Dreaming, Love, Protection, Business Success, Purification, Spiritual Growth, Overall Healing, Increasing Psychic Powers, Gain Knowledge.

Nutmeg: Prosperity, Love, Clarity of Mind, Divination, Luck, Protection, Healing, Uplifting, Psychic Awareness.

Ginger: Protection, Healing, Prosperity, Love, Luck, Money, Power, Sexuality, Courage, Success.

Vanilla: Love, Sexuality, Pleasure, Emotional Growth, Good Fortune, Energy.

Almond Milk: Success, Wisdom, Prosperity, Healing, Money, Stimulates Intuition,

Maple Syrup: Love, Luck, Prosperity, Money, Long Life, Abundance,

Stevia: Magical Properties are Unknown...
I have included a spell I found online and thought was interesting. (from This Website)
Sarah’s Pumpkin Seed Prosperity Spell

You will need:

A tall Glass of Water

A Bag of Salted Dried Pumpkin Seeds

My friend Sarah, herself a Wiccan High Priestess, learned this spell as a child from her grandmother who is a powerful kitchen witch in the New England tradition.  I have learned from various sources that this particular spell was in common use as early as the 1920’s and quite possibly before.  This ritual confers a double blessing since it acts as a spiritual cleansing in addition to attracting wealth and prosperity to the individual that performs it.

Sit in a place where you can meditate quickly for a few minutes.  Open your bag of pumpkin seeds and count out 9 seeds.  Eat the first seed.  You may choose to break the seed open with your teeth and eat the soft inner seed, personally I like to eat the salty hard shell as well.  Slowly chew the first seed and wash it down with a drink of cool water.  Repeat the process until you consume all nine seeds. After you swallow the last seed say to yourself aloud or silently may the seeds of this holy gourd cleanse me of all negativity and fill my life with wealth and blessings.  You will be surprised at how effective something so simple can be!  I have heard of people winning jackpots at casinos and encounter long lost friends after performing this easy ritual.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Autumn Cooking - Late Mabon Feast

I am back from my honeymoon in Maine. My wife and I had a wonderful time, and enjoyed our stay in one of my favorite places on earth... but now we are back and getting back into reality.
Anyway, Mabon came and went while we were on our honeymoon, and I didn't really do much to celebrate the day, so I vowed to celebrate when I came home and that is what I did today.

While we were on our honeymoon, my wife and I went Apple Picking, and we brought home a bag of apples to enjoy... I have been eating several apples a day... (They are sooooo goood!!!!)
Anyway, I woke up this morning with the urge to bake something with some of the apples, so I decided to surprise my wife with freshly baked Apple Crisp for breakfast!
Apple Crisp (Gluten Free, Vegan, Refined Sugar Free)

  • 6 Medium Apples (cored and sliced) (I used McIntosh because those are my favorite)
  • 2 Tsp Lemon Juice
  • 2 Tsp Cinnamon
  • 1/2 Tsp Nutmeg
  • 1/4 Tsp Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 5 Tsp Pure Maple Syrup

  1. Preheat Oven to 375 Degrees F.
  2. Spray a Square Baking dish with Non-stick Cooking Spray.
  3. Toss apples with lemon juice and place into baking dish.
  4. Sprinkle cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, and maple syrup over the apples and stir to coat well.
  • 1/2 Cup Gluten Free Oats (I used Bob's Red Mill)
  • 1/2 Cup Gluten Free All Purpose Flour (I used Bob's Red Mill)
  • 2 Tsp Cinnamon
  • 1/2 Tsp Nutmeg
  • 1/4 Tsp Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 5 Tsp Pure Maple Syrup
  • 1 Packet Stevia
  • 1 Tbsp Vegan Butter Spread (I used Smart Balance. You can use semi solid Coconut Oil i f you prefer)
  1. In a medium bowl mix the flour, oats, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, and stevia.
  2. Drizzle in the maple syrup and stir well to combine.
  3. Cut in the butter spread one tsp at a time until it becomes a crumbly topping.
  4. Sprinkle topping over the apples and bake for 30-40 minutes.
  5. Serve warm.
YUM! It was delicious.

While the apple crisp was baking I prepared a whole chicken and put it in the crock pot to roast. I added cracked pepper, pink salt, and garlic, and set the crock pot for 7 hours. MMM, by this tine the house was smelling like Fall with the Cinnamon Apples and the Garlic Chicken... YUM YUM YUM.

Later in the day I went grocery shopping and picked up a Sugar Pumpkin, and with the help of my wife we chopped it up and peeled the skin, and I popped the cubed pumpkin in the oven with a sprinkle of salt and pepper.
While the pumpkin was roasting I sorted through the guts and put the seeds aside to roast (My wife has been begging me to make pumpkin seeds lately, so I was going to surprise her with them when she got home from work.)

When the pumpkin was done we enjoyed a delicious dinner of Roast Chicken and Pumpkin, as well as Green Beans (I was going to roast Brussels Sprouts, but I didn't have enough time). And Apple Crisp for dessert.

I placed the chicken carcass back into the crock pot with the leftover meat and juices, and I added 5 cups of water, celery, carrots, bay leaf, and some herbs, and I am cooking that on low overnight to make chicken stock (later to become chicken/vegetable soup).

While my wife was at work I tossed the pumpkin seeds with some cooking spray and some salt, and I roasted them at 400 Degrees until they were brown and crispy. YUM!

Then, while I was trying to figure out what to bring for my work lunch tomorrow, I decided to make Pumpkin Soup with some of the leftover roasted pumpkin. I tossed 2 cups of pumpkin into the blender with some of the chicken stock and some unsweetened almond milk, and I also added minced garlic, cracked pepper, pink salt, onion powder, celery salt, and celery flakes. I blended it until smooth and creamy and now I have a delicious soup to enjoy at work tomorrow along with some crispy pumpkin seeds and a fresh apple.

What a glorious day. I hope you all had a wonderful Mabon, and I hope my cooking has given you all some ideas for delicious Fall meals.
Blessed Be!
My little helper 'Sage' loves being in the kitchen with me when I cook. No matter where he is in the house, once I start cooking he comes and lays on the floor behind me. He likes to follow me around the house when I clean too. :)

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Carpe Diem

How I turned a potentially bad day into a great day.

I woke up early this morning from a very bad nightmare. You know the ones where you are screaming and screaming in the dream but in reality you can’t move or make a sound? Yes, I woke up from one of those and my fiancĂ© wasn’t in the bed next to me. I was stricken with panic, but luckily she was just getting dressed at the foot of the bed and was able to come help me calm down. I told her about the nightmare (She said it was a night terror) and I cried in her arms. Then I realized that she had to go to work (a 14 hour shift, so I would be alone all day) and I curled up in the bed and tried to fall back to sleep while I was still creeped out by the dream. I was able to get back to sleep, but I woke up feeling off and not in the best mood. I could just tell it was going to be a bad day for me.
I stumbled out of bed and made my way to the bathroom to brush my teeth and get ready for the day, but I was hit with a thought. Why did I decide to have a bad day? That’s Right, by resigning myself to having a bad day I was making a choice to go along with whatever the day had in store for me. I was not going to just sit by and let negative things happen to me all day long, I was going to take the fate of my day into my own hands and make it a good day. No, a Great Day!
With my new positive attitude I thought of things I’d like to do with my free time today. Besides the few chores I had to do such as washing and folding laundry, cleaning the litter box, and washing dishes, I had a nice chunk of free time to work with.
The first thing I did was call my fiancĂ© and talk to her while she was at work. It’s always a great pick me up being able to talk to her, so I called and we talked for a few minutes. Feeling slightly invigorated, I looked around the room I was in and realized I hadn’t been wearing my wedding heals for a while. I am supposed to wear them a few times a week so I can get used to them before the wedding. Well, I pulled the box over to me and I put on my shoes and admired them. I love the way these heals make my legs and bum look sexy, and they make me so tall. Putting these on instantly changed my perspective by not only making me physically see everything from a different angle, but also because they make me feel attractive, and when you feel attractive you look attractive, and that helps improve your mood and your outlook on life.
With my heals on, I decided I’d make myself a special breakfast as a treat, so I clicked over to the stove and started making my new recipe for Peaches & Cream Oatmeal. It’s the much Healthier, Gluten Free, Refined Sugar Free, Vegan version of the peaches & cream oatmeal that comes in those variety boxes of instant oatmeal. With my yummy and healthy breakfast in hand I sat outside on the back porch and enjoyed the peaceful morning. I don’t often get to relax and eat a leisurely breakfast because usually I have work or errands to do, so today I sat back and relaxed while enjoying the beautiful Autum-y weather we have been having recently.
Being outside made me want to go for a long walk since I have been too busy or too tired to go for a long walk this year, so I cleaned up my morning dishes and I changed into my workout clothes. I used to walk from our house to Horn Pond and walk around it and back. It’s about a 3-4 mile walk, but I haven’t had a chance to do it at all this year because of my new job and planning the wedding. So I got excited for the chance to go. ‘This was going to be fun!’ And after I said that to myself I realized, I have already changed my outlook on the whole day, just by doing a few simple things I had already turned a negative thought into a positive one!

It was getting close to lunchtime so I packed a picnic bento (a few of my favorite things, picnics and making bentos) and I went out for a 2 hour and 45 minute walk. While I was out I took my time to look at my surroundings and enjoy being in nature. I ended up taking a lot of pictures and taking a lot of paths/trails I have not taken before. It was amazing. The weather was warm and there was a wonderful breeze that just washed away all my cares and concerns.

 As I was heading home I noticed my brain/body urging me to move faster and get home sooner so I could get things done, but I stopped myself and took a few deep breaths. I ignored the urging to hurry up and I took my time. I kept telling myself ‘this is my time, and I do not need to rush home because I have plenty of time to get things done. They are not important at this very moment’. And instead of taking the quickest route home I took a path that was slightly longer but was more woodsy and away from the street. On the path I saw a small bunny with a white diamond on its forehead. I felt so blessed to have seen such a beautiful sight. I would have missed it if I had rushed home.

When I did get home I was getting hungry for dinner so I decided I’d make myself a big healthy dinner to round out my day. I wanted to try making an alternative bun/less burger, so I grabbed the eggplant that has been sitting in the refrigerator and I sliced it into thick pieces. I tossed them and my veggie burger on the grill and ended up making a super delicious, satisfying, and very filling dinner.
Anyway, I am now sitting and relaxing while writing this out because I wanted to share how my potentially bad day was turned into a wonderful day. All I did was change my attitude and slow down. It’s that easy. Instead of getting frustrated over my camera not working properly, I took my time to figure out how to fix the issue. Instead of stressing out over the unfinished chores, I took my time and I got to the chores when it was time for them (Right after I finish writing this.). Instead of complaining about being in pain from my long walk I did some stretches, took a Tylenol and I sat down to relax.
Now I realize that you cannot take a whole day off from life every time you feel stressed out. That is impractical and improbable. But what you can learn from this is to slow down and things will get done. If you are rushing to get things done they will not be done properly, and end up taking longer to fix it. Also, don’t resign yourself to having a bad day. If you expect bad things to happen, then they will happen. But if you start your day off expecting great things then great things are more likely to happen.
I hope my story inspires you to Seize the Day, and to be more Positive. :) Blessed Be!