For those of you who don’t know, I am not really into sports, at all. Physical activities like competitive sports has always been a nemesis of mine. However, I do connect to it, just in a different way. For me it is about the food and the gathering together of friends and family. No surprise then when I can be found in the kitchen during the Big Game, usually missing the most important play! This year is different though. Now that my kids are grown, I don’t have to make all the food, so I am taking this year off. No need to be stuck in the kitchen when I can be doing something I really enjoy instead. Hope you all have fun hanging out with your tribe. I will be back soon with more kitchen tips, tricks, and magick to enlighten you way soon! Bright Blessings!
The Kitchen Witch
An old family favorite for at least three generations in my family is homemade spaghetti. I’m not talking about making noodles or sauce from scratch, because really? Who has that kind of time these days? I certainly don’t. But does that mean my spaghetti can’t be just as good? No. So let me take you on one of my more simple spaghetti journeys.
I start with fresh vegetables. A whole green pepper diced up small (and smaller if you have picky eaters). Add 1/2 of a large yellow onion diced small as well. These are the two consistent ingredients that I always add to my spaghetti. I begin by sautéing this in a skillet or deep pot. Crumble in one pound of lean ground beef and one pound of Italian sausage. We will explore other options later on in more complicated recipes, but for now, I will stick to the basics. The truth is my spaghetti is never the same, it varies depending on my mood, and what I have readily available to use. Get your water for your noodles going in another large pot. I like to get the water going to a good roiling boil then add about 2 tbsp. of olive oil to the water before adding the noodles. The trick to spaghetti is to stir the noodles as soon as you have them all in the pot. Then continue to stir them every couple of minutes to prevent them from sticking to each other in a big uncooked clump.
Add garlic next to the beef-vegetable mix. One-two cloves diced or thinly sliced. You can also use pre-minced in a jar kind. Whatever you have or prefer will work fine. Finally, add mushrooms. I prefer fresh already sliced, but you can save a few cents by buying them whole and slicing them up yourself. Also, for picky eaters you may want to chop them up small so they aren’t recognizable. Sauté until hamburger and sausage are cooked thoroughly and there is no pink left when you chop a piece in half. Also, you are going to want the mushrooms to cook down some to get the water out of them.
Strain the beef mixture to drain of the fat and excess juices. I usually run hot water and drain down the sink, but be sure to run the hot water for at least a minute after draining grease to be sure it has run out of your pipes. Put the mixture back into the pot and add one can of drained diced tomatoes. You decide what size can depending on your personal tastes. Add the jar of spaghetti sauce as well and stir thoroughly on a medium to low heat. Once this starts boiling again, turn the heat down to a low simmer and cover.
Turn your attention back to the noodles and continue to monitor, stirring frequently until your think they are done. If in doubt, taste test one or have someone else taste one to be sure. Another trick I learned a kid was to throw one at the wall, if it sticks it is done, if it falls it needs to cook longer. Kind of messy, but a fun way to teach kids about gravity. Once the noodles are done, drain off the water completely but do not rinse the noodles! Stir in the sauce until thoroughly mixed.
Garlic cheese bread can be found in nearly every major supermarket in the frozen bread section. It literally takes five minutes in the oven! Can I make it from scratch? Yes! Some day I will discuss how to do that. But right now, we will just stick to easy! From here you can probably figure out the rest. Scoop a portion onto a plate, add a slice or two of bread and sprinkle shredded or grated parmesan or Romano cheese on top of the spaghetti and serve!
Okay so I am a little late posting this, but in my defense, I was distracted by cuddles from my grandchildren, which is a perfectly acceptable excuse! This is a hot drink I have concocted to fight off the winter weather blahs. According to those who have tried it, it works really well. Before I begin though, I just want to share that I am not a cook, or professional chef. I am just a woman who loves to cook for her friends and family, and who infuses her dishes with a bit of magick. Love is the most important ingredient in any dish, and it is the most abundant in every dish I make.
I am going to go through this with a step by step style, so you can follow along. To begin, get a large pot and fill it at least halfway with clean water (I just use tap water). Turn your flame (heat) up to a strong flame. Add 4-6 tea bags, just regular ole cheap teabags, nothing fancy because this is the base for our drink. Once it begins boiling turn down the heat to a slow simmer and remove the tea bags, the flame should be very small after you have adjusted it. We will leave the heat at this setting for the rest of the cooking time.
Then slice 2 very sweet apples, 2 persimmons, 3 tangerines or 2 oranges into regular slices (cut out the core for the apples). Add to the pot of tea. Add 2 cups of sugar and stir (clockwise because we are stirring in positivity) until sugar is completely dissolved. Add to this about 2 cups of frozen cranberries and let simmer until gently boiling. Grate fresh lemon zest of a whole lemon into the pot, slice the rest of the lemon and set aside for a garnish. Sprinkle in some apple pie seasoning (cinnamon and nutmeg will do just fine), a few dashes of ground ginger, 3-4 whole cloves or a couple dashes of ground clove, and a sprinkle of rosemary. Sample to determine desired sweetness, add more sugar if needed. I don’t often use measuring spoons, but I am going to estimate a sprinkle to be about 1tbsp. and a dash is about a tsp.
If you are planning on serving to minors skip the next step. If you are legal to drink, then here we go. Add 3-4 shots of your favorite bourbon whisky. For this drink, I really like to use Gentlemen Jack. Let simmer for at least one hour, it will take this long for the flavors to blend. Stir and sample frequently. After at least an hour of low simmering it should be ready to serve. Strain the fruit out of the drink and ladle into coffee cups, garnish with a lemon wedge and enjoy! For an added bonus, add one shot of whisky to each fresh cup. Be warned though, it will get you drunk in a hurry, but you won’t feel that winter chill for a while! Merry Yule!
So you want to make good food with magick and you don’t have a large budget to do it on? Well you have come to the right place! Let’s start with some things you need to know and use to begin making part of your routine immediately. First, always start with a clean workspace. A cluttered, dirty kitchen is just a breeding place for illness. So do the dishes, clean the stove and oven, wipe down all the counters and prep space. To ensure the bacteria is gone you can use cleaning wipes with bleach or a water/bleach solution in a spray bottle. I use one capful of bleach and fill the rest of the bottle with water. After cleaning everything with a cleaning agent (soap, cleanser, etc.) spray a light mist over all the workspace and allow to air dry for at least 30 minutes before beginning any new projects. Be sure all the bleach/water solution has all dried, you don’t want your food to taste like bleach. Next, make sure your hands are clean. Wash them thoroughly with warm water for at least two minutes, and scrub up to the elbows. I know that seems excessive, but we are going to be handling raw foods! As important as cleanliness is for the physical body, cleansing the mind before performing any spell or form of magick is just as important. I use the time when I am cleaning to clear out the junk in my head and to prepare and focus on the work I am about to perform. For me, it is a form of meditation. While my hands move automatically to the rhythm of cleaning my kitchen, my mind is free to regenerate and go over what my intention is for that particular dish. As you will learn, this is when I determine and set my intention, which may vary from dish to dish, and depending on who I am preparing it for. For example, when I make chicken noodle soup from scratch because there has been sickness in my household, I set the intention of healing and driving out negative energy and infusing with positive energy. But when I make my famous spaghetti for my family, the intention is love and togetherness, to help strengthen our familial bond. Try it out for a few days and see how it works for you. I incorporate this into every dish I prepare, because I believe the most powerful magick happens in the kitchen!
This space will be used to add afterthoughts, make corrections, and make updates about previous posts.