Friday, October 25, 2013

V is for Vulva #paganblogproject

So here is one of my biggest pet peeves...

People referring to the vulva as a vagina. I am NOT annoyed by people calling it various slang terms for it as much as vagina because those other folks KNOW they aren't calling it what it is. But folks who call it a vagina think they're doing it right and get annoyed when you tell them otherwise. People who think they're doing it right always get annoyed when you tell them otherwise. People who know they aren't, don't, though they might roll their eyes at you and mock you.

The vagina is a hole. It is where the penis goes in and the baby (and menses in absence of said baby) comes out. The whole thing, labia, clitoris and all, is a vulva. And this is important because when we are talking about pleasure, you're missing a whole lot when you are just talking about the vagina. Also, girls especially need to understand that there is more to their womanhood than just a hole for things to go in and come out of.

And, you know, I think that's all I have to say about that. After all, I haven't set this blog to adult content...

So if you want to know more...
(note: As of my creating this post these pages are safe for work.)

What does this have to do with Kitchen Witchery, Sacred Homemaking, Paganism? I don't freaking know. But I know it relates somehow.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Eat More Fruits and Vegetables #myheartdayresolution

It's not that I've fallen off the Heart Day Resolution wagon. It's more like the wagon flipped and rolled over me. I moved, you see, and it kinda sucked. I mean, the house is awesome and the new town is very cool and I've got a nice big yard to practice edible landscaping in next year, but we've been trying to move since May. We promised to be out by August, school started the beginning of September and we didn't close on the house until the end of September. So the last few months have been alot of time in the car, sleeping in campgrounds and on floors and lots of fast food and other junk. Yea, it kinda sucked. Then after we moved in there was problems with the electricity and then the internet and we still don't have heat (space heaters, our electric bill will be catastrophic) or a stove (the steamer, crock pot and electric frying pan are feeding us fine for now) so my diet hasn't been the best, but now that the dust is settling I'm back in the groove. I think.

For this installment I resolve to eat more fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables are lower in calories and fats (but not sugar) than grains and meats, loaded with anti-oxidants and other lovely nutrients and fiber which helps you feel full. Raw fruits and veggies absorb more slowly than cooked and keep you full even longer. Most importantly, the more fruits and veggies I eat, the less space there is for chips and bread, which are my biggest diet issues, unless there are chocolate covered pretzels around, but luckily, they're rare.

Here are some tools from my veggie-eating toolbox:

Door to Door Organics
Door to Door Organics is a service that delivers fresh fruits and vegetables to my home every week (or every two weeks). I have this box of stuff I have to eat or it will be wasted. So I eat it. It's also gorgeous stuff and if it's not, they credit your account with no hassel. I love them!
(If you're interested, I can send you an invite and you'll get 50% off your first order and I think I get a prize too. So just shoot me an email with your email if you want.)

Farmer's Market
The thing about the farmer's market is that I have to get off my butt and go there, but I really enjoy it while I'm there. Also unfortunately the prices tend to be pretty high and there tends to be just as much pie and artisan bread as fresh, delicious veggies and fruits. At farmer's market prices, you better believe that stuff isn't going to go to waste.

My Local CSA
Okay, so I don't belong to a CSA anymore, but I used to and it was pretty cool. Unfortunately, it ceased to exist after I was a member for only two years and there were no other options where I was. I am in a new location and will be looking into my CSA options for spring, though it'll probably be temporary as I hope to grow most of my food on my new property. What is a CSA, you ask? CSA stands for community supported agriculture. Basically you, the community, pay a membership fee to a farm and then you get a share of the crop as it happens through the year. The one I used to belong to offered a discounted "work" membership and my coworkers and I each got one and we would go by after work a couple days a week to weed & such. Great fun and good exercise. I don't think most CSAs run like that though. They can be pricey and there is an element of risk involved. But again, you bring home that bushel of veggies, you gotta eat em. To find a CSA near you, check out Local Harvest's CSA page.

My Garden
I don't have a garden yet. But I will. I am hoping that the majority of my food will come from my garden over the next few years. Next year my garden will probably contribute minimally to my diet, but thereafter I hope it will be a major contributor. When it's just easier to run outside to grab a bunch of veggies than it is to run to town for a burger and fries, the veggies just might win.

Habits to develop to eat more fruits and vegetables:

Start each meal with a salad:
This is hard for me, but it doesn't have to be. Salad is so easy. It's just some lettuce and chopped up variables in a bowl, right? You can buy it almost ready made. But it is hard for me and this is something I will have to work on.

Fruit and Veggies for breakfast
It's not a big deal to add some chopped spinach, peppers, onions and tomatoes to your scrambled eggs in the morning, and it's quite tasty. I also enjoy mashed carrots or sweet potatoes added to my pancake mix. And of course there's potato pancakes with applesauce. Yum. And of course oatmeal gets walnuts, raisins and apples.

Prepare a plate of crudites 
I love veggie platters and I consider them a must have at any get-together. But why wait for company? If I keep a platter of cut up vegetables; broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, zucchini, cucumbers, snap peas, asparagus spears, cherry tomatoes and maybe some pickles and olives for flair with a bowl of delicious homemade hummus or ranch dip ready for snacking at all times, believe me, I will snack. And it'll be good for me. In fact, if I have this ready to go, I will choose it over more fattening options like a sandwich or a cookie every time a snack attack hits. Each time I prepare a plate, it last me for about three days before I have to make fresh dip and chop veggies again. If you don't have the time, you can pick up pre-chopped veggies and pre-made dip and if you're really pressed for time and can afford it, you can pick up a crudite platter all ready to go at most grocery stores with a deli.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Power Outage Prep #prepping

We moved into our new home two weeks ago and our first weekend in the house we had the privelege of experiencing a power outage, quite unprepared. Everyone we spoke to at the electric company told us something different, but I think what happened was that they scheduled the turn off for the previous owners after our turn on date and so turned us off thinking they were turning them off and when we called to say "Hey!" they tried to turn us back on and broke us on Friday and couldn't get a repair crew out till Monday. So we got to spend our first weekend in the house with no heat, no lights and no water because all of these things run on electricity. And of course we couldn't find any of our flashlights or camping gear because we were moving and it was dark. Oi.

So what did I learn from this experience?

1. Our well is useless without power.
The purchase of 3 2-1/2 gallon jugs of water kept us hydrated through the weekend, but we had to travel for bathing and eating. Those three jugs, now emptied, will be filled with tap water for emergency flushing and washing and four more fresh, sealed jugs will be stored in the basement for emergency drinking. They aren't in the basement yet because the repair men have only just vacated. The power outage slowed them down too.

2. Getting a generator isn't just a simple trip to the hardware store.
Oh no, we tried. And we were thoroughly confused. And there was nobody around to ask. Customer service simply doesn't exist anymore. Of course we would normally go online and look at reviews, but without electricity this was not an option. This weekend (payday is Friday) we will be buying a generator or an emergency battery to use for the well pump and/or furnace (which has an electric ignition) and I will post reviews as soon as I've had the opportunity to experiment. If you have any recommendations, pass them along!

3. My emergency food stash was largely useless.
It wasn't useless when we lived in a house with a gas stove, but this house is rigged for electric. Rice and beans do no one any good if they can't be boiled. We did eat a lot of cereal and fruit. My emergency stock will consist mostly of canned food from now on. The dry goods are still good for different types of emergencies, like money emergencies, but when you can't boil water you need something you can eat out of hand or cook up on the grill.

4. The lower level is as awesome in the cold as it is in the heat.
A major selling point for this house was the sub-level family room where we can retreat from the stifling summer heat without using the AC. I suspected that it would be just as handy in the winter and was proven right when we had our first hard frost while without electricity. The temperature downstairs barely dropped while the upstairs rooms were only bearable while snuggling.

5. The electric company sucks.
Since we don't get to choose our electric company and can't simply take our business elsewhere I guess it's no surprise that we couldn't get any decent service and nobody gave a shit that my children had to sleep three nights in an unheated house with no water because they screwed up. Apparently their repair crews don't work on weekends. This is really important information that I wish I had had before I moved in. I would have moved in with a generator.

In summary; our power outage prep list-
A generator and/or emergency battery
About a dozen flashlights, one to be placed in the top of each closet and the top drawer of each dresser for handy access
Several cans of veggies, fruit, beans
Nuts, granola bars & cereal
4 2-1/2 gallon jugs of purified water for cooking and drinking + several additional jugs of questionable tap water for washing and flushing
Several cartons of shelf stable milk/soy milk/coconut milk

Anything to add?