Friday, May 29, 2009

Yogurt making


Okay, no 'news' in that news, is there? One of the distributors of our (home business) product has been slow in paying us at the same time we've been doing more 'prep for future' than 'immediately paying work'. We knew that our choices would reduce income for a while, so it's okay.

But it means that I'm doing even more cooking from scratch, at the same time that my husband wants to buy more goodies at the local Farmers Market. We're compromising - he gets to buy 1 loaf of artesian bread (UpTown Bakers rock!) but we have to make cookies/muffins/etc at home, as well as the rest of our bread.

Today I'm baking a lovely loaf of bread and some blackberry muffins. But I don't have all the ingredients that the muffin recipe calls for!


Actually, the husband and spawn want blueberry muffins, but I have blackberries, not blueberries, in the freezer to use up. So that's substitution #1.

Substitution # 2 is for some of the 1 1/2 cups of plain yogurt that the recipe calls for. I don't have that much. If I had planned ahead (as I SHOULD have) I'd have made more yogurt by now. Instead, I've got some sour cream in the freezer left over from something or other, and I'll use that - no need to worry about it separating in baked goods.

Of course, I'm still going to have to make some more yogurt, since I like the stuff and use it for all manners of things.


Making yogurt is incredibly easy. Heat milk to about 115 degrees. Add starter yogurt - some left from your previous batch, or half of cup of plain yogurt from whatever brand you usually buy (so long as it brags about live cultures). Keep the mix warm for a few hours. Poof! It's yogurt!

I'm going to rotate my dry milk for this. Since I mix the powder with hot water (it dissolves better that way) it will heat the milk in the same step. About 1 quart of warm milk, 1/2 cup of starter, tuck it into the hay box cooker, and ignore it till later today.

I'm VERY good at ignoring things.


Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Quick Bean & Ham Soup

First it was hotter than usual for the month, then it got colder than usual. During the hotter time, my freezer was left slightly ajar (thanks, Spawn!). Did I mention that it was HUMID during the hot time?

At any rate, I had to defrost the freezer.

Defrosting the freezer I found amazing items I had not really focused on still being around. I found ham left over from Thanksgiving. I found kidney beans left over from SOMETHING or other. I found more beef stock than I thought I had in there. Having found them, and knowing that the weather was changing, I hauled them out and made soup.

I have GOT to stop feeding the freezer and letting things accumulate in it.


1 1/2 cups left over ham, cut in about 1/3 inch dice
2 cups left over beans, any type really. If using canned, rinse them well.
1 cup diced carrots
1 qt beef stock
1 qt chicken stock

Take a big ol' pot. Put a bit of fat in the bottom and saute' the carrots 'till crisp but cooked. Add rest of ingredients. Simmer. Adjust seasonings. Serve.

Makes about 8 servings.

Brown Gold

Holy Liquid of All Life - coffee prices have jumped while I wasn't looking!

The Spawn went to Costco for me yesterday, as Costco is near his college. Among the other things I had him pick up was coffee since we've gone thru' most of the beans I had in storage. I was shocked at the bill - the coffee alone had gone up almost 15% since we had last bought it.

Why Was I Surprised?
I suppose I shouldn't have been. Maybe I've been suckered by all the recent chatter about deflation due to recession and all. At the very least, I'd not been following comodity prices lately.

Oh, I'd noticed that gas prices were up about 10% lately. Really up 33% over the lows gas hit last year. I'd noticed the jump in the price of oil. But I've not been watching other comodities.

It's a Finite Planet, Folks
I'd forgotten that this is a finite planet. I had become complacent. This has got to change, I have to go back to my paranoid .... er .... prepared ways.

Time for me to finally get the garden in. Even tho' I'm going to have to do it in the pollen (and the pollen led to the sinus and ear infection that stripped my will to blog over the past 10+ days). Time for me to grind my own flour again. Time for me to tell y'all all about it in vivid detail.

I'll bet y'all can't wait [grin]


Saturday, May 2, 2009

Sabbat Energies

I'm still running-off-at-the-mind over Beltane, dates for Pagan High Days, and ideas about 'what and who) rituals are for'. I'm going to try to limit this post to most of the 'dates for High Days' issue

Unintended Consequences of My Ritual Date Setting
There is at least one unintended consequence of using local conditions as the basis for neoPagan High Day rituals. It will affect the amount of energy/unity on this plane for that ritual.

[Oh, Gods, this might expand to a discussion of raising energy vs tapping energy, too. Let us all hope I don't run-off-at-the-mind THAT much!]

Ever spend a season to a year making sure that you are deep in meditation at the EXACT TIME that the moon goes full and dark? Some of my friends and I have, and we've uniformly been able to tell the exact time of the shift in energies. The same ort of enery is available for the solar quarters (with quirks thrown in due to northern vs southern hemisphere issues). Astrological and astronomical based energies are strong and time-specific. OTOH, even with their strength they still are shaped by where you are on the earth - thus the strong Equinox energy is going to manifest totally differently north and south of the equator.

I'm not convinced that the astrological or astronomical energies are available for the cross quarters at all - I think that those high days work on a different power-grid.

But doing things based on local conditions means that the group mind and intent is lower due to just plain lower numbers of humans doing ritual and lighting up 'intention beacons' in the Other Worlds. If EVERY NeoPagan did their Samhain ritual the same night, at the same time, that would be some kick-ass energy. But we neopagans are a contentuous and squabbling lot, and we do most group celebrations at a time and date that is most convenient for most members of our groups - and most folks in the southern hemisphere are going to celebrate Beltane at that time. So at the VERY least Samhain gets celebrated over a 24 hour period - and really, it gets celebrated by small groups over a two-week period. That two week period is WITHOUT most neopagans celebrating it based on local conditions!

The Other Worlds don't have linear time as we do, so I'm not sure of the level of impact on THAT side. Ideally we're tapping into energy from the ancestors for our High Days and that energy has left huge trails on the Other Sides, so once there maybe we just travel down the well-worn way.

That said, I'm in a Wiccan tradition where at least one of our Elders (Ivo Dominguez, Jr) times rituals very carefully in accordance to astrological movements. When the coven I am in was having it's formal creation ritual we had an 8 minute window of opportunity to start the ritual in, between ... I THINK it was the end of a Mercury Retro and ... something else. I'd have to look it all up in the journal for that year, and I'm not doing that right now. But since we were manifesting something on THIS plane that was new to ALL the plane, and we were only the 5th or 6th coven in the Assembly of the Sacred Wheel, we weren't treading a very well-worn path. In cases like that trying to tie more things together, from all sources, is a Good Thing.

Buzzing on....
Okay, I AM going to go on a bit on Beltane and this Southern/Northern hemisphere thing. IF we decide dates of things by the calendar, AND we stay earth-focused, then the fact that it's Samhain in one hemisphere when it's Beltane in the other is enough to convince me that Beltane is 'another new year' day, AND that the veils MUST be thin then, too. I just can't see spiritual veils being thin ONLY in ONE hemisphere.

So, would Beltane be a good time to scry and see what we've planted will bring? Dunno! What say ye?

Catch you later!