Friday, August 31, 2012

Blue Moon

For Wiccans full moon nights are a time worship, giving thanks for the fullness of blessings in our lives, spelling for something to come to fruition. This can be done in a coven, like going to church or a prayer group to worship with like-minded individuals; or as a solitaire, similar to a Buddhist's individual mediation practice. Spells are the Craft's prayers...we ask the Divine for guidance, assistance, respite, hope, give thanks for answers received, unexpected blessings.

Another full moon habit is cleansing and recharging crystals & stones used as focal points. All faiths rely on symbols, focus objects, and ritual to help shift our consciousness from the whirl of day to day. For some Wiccan's crystals are held in hand during a spell or placed on the altar by a lit candle as locus for the practioner's intentions. ie. smokey quartz crystals are associated with prayers for deceased loved ones. Tonight crystals will be gently washed with salty water, patted dried, and set on the window sill to rest in the moonlight. Others will simply be set in the moonlight. For newly acquired & heavily used crystals the cleansing ritual can be done for three nights in a row, full moon eve-full moon-waning full moon.

A Blue Moon is the second full moon in a calendar month. They happen every couple years. Various Pagan and Shamanistic lore classifies Blue Moons as a time of greater energy...a bigger spiritual spotlight. Sharing my faith, and my kitchen knowledge is what I'm seeing highlighted in my life. From the August 2nd full moon to tonight's, friends of friends are popping up in emails and in social networks with questions about going gluten free and one who is considering the Witchy Way. These opportunities to share a good dish or a book to light a path, are wonderful gifts they each give me.

My hope for you is tonight you'll walk with the moon, soak up the beauty of our world bathed in moonlight, a count the myriad of limmed blessings.

Thursday, August 30, 2012


If there is one thing all food allergies seem to have in common is it the loss of simplicity. Simply grabbing a meal from a drive-thru, or a chain restaurant is gone. Chinese delivery - gone. Pizza delivery - gone. Most pre-packaged staples become a distant memory... like that blue box of Mac-n-Cheese. But our desire and need of simple food isn't gone. Whether from lack of time, lack of energy due to health, or a comfort craving, simplicity persists.

The most common question I hear from those newly diagnosed with food allergies is how can they retain basic dishes-recipes-favorite foods. So as I ease back into blogging I'm going to focus on items I keep in my pantry, my freezer, tools that make kitchen life easier, and simple recipes.

Personally, the past eighteen months illness and mending a broken arm & wrist has ruled my life, most notably my kitchen life. If it couldn't be prepped with almost no chopping, stirring, or other effort it didn't happen. The good part is it forced me to focus reclaim nutritious versions of basics. Smoothies, raw nut & dried fruit blends, rice & bean dishes, and pasta. This month in particular I've been craving pasta, and thanks to Tinkyada, Lucini and Applegate Farms, fulfilling my cravings.

There isn't a photo because I ate it all.

Tinkyada makes brown rice pasta that passes for semolina pasta. No added starches or gums, no weird texture, just good pasta in a multitude of shapes.

Lucini Italia has wonderful pasta sauces in jars and small bags that can be heated in the bag. The Spicy Tuscan is my current favorite. As a singleton I especially enjoy the bagged sauces, sized for three servings it means no jars going stale in the fridge. They are a dedicated gluten-free and vegan producer using BPA free tomatoes.

Many sausages contain gluten, corn syrup, casein, and other things that induce anaphylaxis. Applegate Farms is another dedicated gluten free producer. Their Sweet Italian is a natural for tossing together a quick pasta dinner.

I top mine with a vegan Parmesan recipe I found on the internet about a decade ago. A batch makes a quart size jar. For everyday use I refill a shaker top jar from Penzey's Spice Shop. It requires blending your own seasoning salt, as I've yet to find one that doesn't have a corn-based anti-caking ingredient or some other allergen. The rest of  seasoning salt goes into its own shaker jar.

Vegan Parmesan
Ingredients :
  • 3 cups raw cashew pieces
  • 2 cups nutritional yeast
  • 3 Tblsp seasoning salt
  • 3 Tblsp garlic powder (NOT garlic salt)
  • 3 Tblsp of onion powder (NOT onion salt)
  • 8 Tblsp of arrowroot powder

Using a VERY dry food processor, blend the nuts till they are very fine, but not too much or you'll have cashew butter! The end goal is a texture similar to the Parmesan in a pizza shop shaker jar.Then, blend in everything else until thoroughly mixed.

Seasoning Salt
Ingredients :
  • 6 tablespoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon marjoram
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon dill weed
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery seed
Put all ingredients into a food processor or small blender container and pulse on low until thoroughly combined. 

Now you're set for tossing together a dish of pasta:

Boil a serving of pasta, brown a sliced sausage, warm a serving of sauce with the sausages for lunch or dinner in 15 minutes. Simple. Enjoy.