Daily Archives: December 9, 2014

Full Moon – Long Nights Moon Crests

We watched the moon come up on Saturday night.
That was when the moon was full, this time ’round. (Long Nights Moon will be nearly gone by the time Solstice rolls around – a long, dark night, indeed).
I’m having a lot of trouble finding my Get Up And Go. All I want to do is (a) sleep – because the bed is warm and cozy and nest-like, (b) watch Laura Jane Grace videos on youtube, and (c) eat store-bought lasagna & other stuff that I didn’t have to cook myself.
I’m rapidly coming to the conclusion that I am Just Not going to get the baby blanket, let alone the baby blanket AND a coordinating scarf-for-daddy AND the knitted bats (for my wife) done in any kind of a timely manner. The baby blanket doesn’t matter so much, since the sprog isn’t due for another 3 months or so. BUT it would have been nice to get the rest done.
I’m at the point where I’m hunting through 2nd hand book stores to find appropriate gifts for Various People and, while books make great gifts, I’m feeling a bit like I’m betraying my Make All The Things mentality quite a bit by doing so.
It’s a struggle to just make dinner. Let a lone make bread, candles, breakfast muffins; let alone the kind of seasonal stuff that turns up on top of that (shortbread, ginger snaps, truffles, cranberry curd… plus knitwear and jewelry and other goodies that can be handed around to people as need arises).
I feel like I’ve been looking at my kitchen counter – which continues in its usual “we have no space to work because every surface is covered with dirty dishes” state – and feeling demoralized and defeated for months. Like the 6 weeks during-which we moved from one place to another and, particularly, the three weeks that overlapped the move and during-which I was working full-time, I feel like I had an excuse to be exhausted and miserable and escapist at that point, but by now – five weeks after completing the move – I should (a) have all the boxes unpacked, and (b) be back into my routine of cooking everything from scratch (in a timely fashion), making a lot of household supplies on my own, doing regular yoga, writing 1000 words every day (rain or shine!), and reliably lighting my altars every Friday.
I told my wife I’d make bread today. And breakfast muffins. If I do dishes, then mix up bread dough, then make muffins, then knead & proof bread dough, then bake bread & do more dishes while its baking… I can have this dealt with before 5pm, when I need to start the wild rice (stove-top) and the buttercup squash (oven) so that everything can be ready for 6:30 when my girl gets home.
I applied for a half-time, work-from-home job yesterday. I hope I get an interview. I hope I get the job. (And, yes, I can – maybe even will – dress and burn an ensorselled candle to that effect, since today’s the closing date and they’ll be going through the resumes starting tomorrow). It would open a lot of doors for us, and maybe give me a chance to feel a lot less useless about myself. Heh. My We’Moon horroscope has suggested that 2015 is my year to “learn how money works” which… I kind of feel like I’m starting from Zero on that front, so how hard can it be to make some progress there?
Anyway. That a whole lot of personal stuff, and not a lot about the time of year. The snow is sticking around now – even though we’ve had a few melty days – and we’re due to get a whole lot more before Friday. The days feel really short – I mean, they are really short, but when dusk starts falling a little, and the light’s already slanting towards night at 3:35 in the afternoon… It’s hard to get things done.
I think I need to break out the sweet orange essential oil, breathe in the scent of it, and stir up a little bit of joy.

Lesbian Pot Luck Pumpkin Brownies (Recipe)

So, as-you-know-bob, I’m a dyke. A bi-chick. A queer femme resident of Lesbonia (offical flower = Kale). We are people of pot-lucks and we are also people who, as a population, have a LOT of dietary restrictions, some-of-which conflict with each other in horrible/hilarious ways.
As such, it behooves us to have a couple of handy, easy-to-throw-together recipes for one-pot-meals and finger foods that can, somehow, manage to cover the basic bases of:
Vegan (also coveres vegetarian & lactose intollerant)
Gluten Free
Nut Free
and, around here at least,
Paleo (which, I gather, frequently makes things easier for the Fibro folks as well)
Good luck with that.
Yeah. So. The other day, I threw the following brownie recipe together. It’s not Strictly Paleo – it contains chocolate chips, for example, which contain refined sugar, and it contains tapioca “flour” which… might or might not qualify. None the less, I think it works and doesn’t manage to hit any major allergins in the process, so:
Chocolate Pumpkin Brownies
½ C chocolate chips
2 tsp grape seed oil
2 C pumpkin butter[1]
1 tsp vanilla
1 C cocoa powder
¼ C tapioca starch
¼ C maple sugar
¼ C tahini[2]
¼ C raw (or roasted), hulled pumpkin seeds (unsalted)
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
Pinch each: nutmeg, cloves
Put the chocoalte chips and the grape seed oil into a small pot on the stove and cover with a lid.
Melt the chocolate chips over LOW heat for about 2-3 minutes[3]
While the chocolate chips are melting: Mix everything else together in a bowl
Add the melted chocolate to the bowl and stir until well incorporated
Scrape mixture into a well-greased 9×9 cake pan
Bake at 350 for 30 minutes
Allow to cool COMPLETELY[4] before serving
These brownies are tasty when the chocolate is still soft, and you can serve them with a little chocolate sauce and ice cream and call it lava cake if you want to, but as a brownie, it needs to be fully cooled. As such, make them a day in advance (if you can wait that long) and let them sit out (possibly covered with a tea towel or something else that breathese) overnight before serving them. They are quite rich – in the way of flourless chocolate cakes – so be aware of that when you’re cutting them. Smaller servings are a good place to start.
NOTE 1: I made mine with nutmeg and cloves (far more than indicated above – I used, like, half a tsp each), and found it a little overpowering in the spice department. But a pinch each should be lovely.
NOTE 2: If you want them to be a little more on the solid side, you can throw in a quarter cup of arrowroot flour as well, to help sop up any moisture in there.
NOTE 3: Given that these rely on solidifying the melted chocolate, some of you may be inclined to think of them as fridge brownies and just not put them in the oven. You’re welcome to give this a shot, but I used the heat from the oven to evaporate a little more moisture from the mixture, so I’m not sure how well they’d work done in the fridge. Probably fine, but no guarantees.
Anyway. So that’s my Pumpkin Brownie recipe. I will probably make a second batch of them (once I’ve re-stocked on cocoa powder) for my Winter Solstice Shindig, but I’m glad that my experiment worked. 🙂
Meliad the Birch Maiden
[1] I used my home-made pumpkin butter, which is sweetened with maple sugar and maple syrup, BUT you could also do this with: mashed tinned pumpkin from the grocery store (Add an extra 2 tbsp maple sugar in this case), left-over mashed sweet potatoes (ditto re: sugar), OR canned (home or otherwise) pears that you’ve mashed with a fork (though, in this case, you will probably need to add an extra quarter-cup of cocoa OR tapioca flour, because mashed pears are a lot more liquidy (and a lot sweeter) than mashed squash or sweet potatoes.
[2] I actually would prefer to use pumpkin-seed butter here, but tahini is what I had in the fridge. Hazelnut butter on sunflower-seed butter would both work, too, particularly if you’re going the mashed pears route for the fruit content.
[3] You really do need to melt the chocolate. The recipe relies on re-solidified, well-incorporated chocolate to hold it together – as such, the chocoalte is acting as a binder for the rest of the ingredients. DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP.
[4] And by “cool” I mean “put it in the fridge, or even the freezer, if you need to.