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Happy New Year

No video today. Once again, I was sick…and Dad’s funeral was this morning. I was there via Zoom, which was great, but I would have rather been there in person.

It was surreal, saying goodbye virtually. Wear your masks. If not for yourself, then for people like my Dad. People like me who had to say goodbye too soon.

Have a safe and happy New Year.

Mincemeat Tartlets, Pt. 2

You may remember the previous post and video about mincemeat. It was two weeks ago and a lot has happened since. I sort of went over the most major thing in the very brief post last week. And I know I mention it in the video.

The month of December has not been kind. It started with me in intense intestinal pain of unknown cause (i.e., it was not gas because it was the same spot all the time; gas moves), then progressed to a muscle spasm in my left shoulder that lasted for about 7-10 days–then came back with a vengeance on December 18, which is the day I found out my Dad was in hospital with Covid-related pneumonia and not doing well. Cameraman Ken’s eldest son, youngest son, and youngest son’s girlfriend (responsibly) came to visit us that weekend and I spent most of it drugged and in bed. Monday morning, I noticed my skin was somewhat jaundiced, but my endocrinologist didn’t, so I thought maybe it was just me. By Wednesday, my eyes were definitely showing jaundice and I decided to go to Urgent Care–who then sent me to the ER for a liver work-up.

That’s 9 hours that will not return to me and a firm decision I will not go to an ER unless I am bleeding out, having a heart attack, or have a broken bone. 

Everyone keeps insisting I must have severe liver damage, yet the only thing I presented with was jaundice (obviously, my liver enzymes were high). I had no pain, no chills, no fever, nothing. Just a sickly yellow tinge to my being.

When you have nothing else to do for 9 hours, you start thinking things like, “I can’t be an anomaly, here. This has had to have happened to someone else before…” So, I decided to see what else could be a problem, just in case it was something I thought I should mention to a doctor.

Y’all, when you’re in intense pain that makes you nauseated for 3 weeks straight, you don’t eat food; you don’t drink a lot of anything. Nothing stays down and/or you’re asleep. Do you know what happens when you barely drink 8oz of water a day for 3 weeks?

Your liver goes bonkers because you’re severely dehydrated.

I’m back to a normal shade of pale and feel fantastic. Plus, a friend of mine gifted me a weighted blanket. I have not slept so well in a very long time. I’m still dealing with my normal fatigue, but it is nothing like before. Which means I was able to finish the mincemeat tartlets for you! Hooray!

Obviously, this video isn’t all that long. There’s not much to making the shells. It’s a bit frustrating, but we got it worked out. They are absolutely delicious and worth the effort. I hope you enjoy them!

In new news, I’ve managed to hit my target weight (which is what happens when you don’t eat or drink much for 3 weeks straight) and am beginning to transition from a strict keto diet into a Mediterranean diet lifestyle. There will be more posts and such in the future on this diet, but there’s going to be a lot more veggies, incorporating fresh fruits, and eating things like lentils and fish and chicken a lot more than beef (which, I sort of already do). Stay tuned for more!

As January approaches, we’ll be gearing up for Imbolc, February 1-2. Get ready! The Spring is coming fast!

No videos

I apologize that there is no video for Tuesday.

I have been having a shoulder spasm since Friday when I found out my Dad wasn’t doing well. He’d been in the hospital for two weeks with Covid-related pneumonia.

He passed away tonight.

My Dad who was supposed to hood me at graduation and get to call me Dr. Mackey.

Please have a safe and healthy Christmas. Hold your loved ones dear. And wear your damn masks.

Keto-friendly Mincemeat

This is the beginning of a very bad two weeks…

Mincemeat has never been part of my personal Christmas traditions. I grew up in Harrisburg, PA, with a maternal grandmother who was PA Dutch and very poor for most of her life. The first time I had it, I think was after I’d moved to Los Angeles and it was from a jar. Because I was curious.

It was gross. 

It was super sweet and that was all I could taste. But, I’m not one to give up on a food until I’ve made it myself. Plus, I know that mincemeat has its roots in Medieval Europe. I like a lot of medieval dishes, so I thought I’d see if I could find something that was low-carb/no sugar and create something magical.

I was not prepared for my back to spasm, then put me out of commission for 5 days. Yes, that’s right, 5 days

I started learning fire fans for another project I have. And I am used to shooting archery–or, at least, was used to shooting archery every weekend for 4-5 hours, in the Before Times. It’s a lot of the same muscles. My fans weigh about 7oz each. So, I was practicing for only an hour a day for two days. I woke up Friday morning and my back between my shoulder blades was tight, but I didn’t think anything of it–but, it was tight enough that I didn’t want to risk injury practicing fans. By the time dinner rolled around, my shoulder area felt like knives were being driven into it, and my ribcage felt like it was being pulled apart. I took two Tylenol to reduce inflammation, went to bed; I’d be fine in the morning.

But I was not fine in the morning.

Nor was I fine the next morning.

Friday to Saturday, I ended up sleeping on the cold, hard tile of the bathroom. Why? Because a) it was the only place I could comfortably lie down that my back didn’t instantly hurt, and b) this pain is so intense it makes me nauseated, so being near the toilet was ideal. But, because I didn’t sleep well, the pain intensified…and Saturday to Sunday, I also slept on the bathroom floor. Between about 6pm Saturday and 6pm Sunday, I had taken 10 Tylenol, 2 Naproxen, 1 Cyclobenzaprine (muscle relaxer), 1 Gabapentin, 5mg Hybrid, and 10mg Sativa. None of it worked. Monday, I had to go have my blood work re-done from my RA appointment two weeks ago. I took some Tylenol so I could drive and function and I was feeling somewhat better, but still not even 50%. I expressed to my nurse that I was pretty confident the results would be the same because of the pain I was in. This video was shot Monday afternoon and all I wanted to do was lie down and sleep. I still have to make the tart shells.  That night, I took a Percocet and a hot bath so I could sleep. 

Tuesday, I woke up feeling somewhat okay, but when I moved, all of the pain came back to my ribs and diaphragm and I spent Tuesday in bed. Wednesday was somewhat better. I filmed the other video that day and felt pretty good. I was wearing real clothes and was pretty happy–except that also included a real bra and that did not make my back happy. I ended up taking a couple Tylenol and switching to a sports bra. Today, I just started with the sports bra and I’ve been pretty comfortable.

Which just means I may film a Part 2 video this weekend to show you how to make the tart shells for your mincemeat pies! Excitement!

So, back to mincemeat.

Originally, mince meat had actual meat in it. It was a way of preserving the meat. It was a combination of sweet and savory flavors, usually a mix of spices and dried fruits such as figs and dates, in a very thick crust called a “Coffin.” The coffin was usually tossed because it was just a vessel in which to cook the meat, fruit, and seasonings. One of the earliest recipes for a mince meat tart can be found in a 14th Century book “Forme of Cury” and is a recipe for Tart of Flesh (c. 1390CE).

By the Victorian era, the meat ingredients for mincemeat pies began to disappear and the pies focused, instead, upon the fruits and spices. They also shrank in size from being the type of food one would use to feed a family to a more individual treat. 

Fun fact: According to the Chicago Reader, “Canned mince pie filling during Prohibition-era Chicago saw its alcohol levels spike to more than 14%.”

If you like boozy foods like I do, this is the recipe used for this video (and the potential “Part 2” video when I make the crusts). I used a chayote squash instead of the apple and I opted to use blackstrap molasses because I much prefer the slight bitterness of blackstrap. 

What are your favorite mincemeat recipes? Have you tried any from the Medieval period? Let me know in the comments below! If your a Patreon supporter, then hit me up on the Discord!

Video Post

The video is posted; the accompanying blog will come in the next couple days. I’m suffering with a severe back spasm that’s been going on for going on 5 days…

The post & video are about mincemeat!

Magickal Dream Pillows

We’re back with another Yuletide gift idea to make for yourself or your loved ones! The Magickal Dream Pillow!

There’s a lot that can be said about these pillows–everything from “they’re just placebo” to “they work wonders” to “…haven’t these been around since the middle ages?” And all these statements are correct!

In this application, the herbs and flowers you’re using inside the pillow are chosen for their magickal or spiritual properties, rather than their medicinal ones. So, in a way, if you believe they will work, they will work (which is like the placebo effect). Some people are greatly affected by dream pillows; some are slightly affected. 

As for the Middle Ages…

In an herbal I have that is a collection of recipes involving roses, one of the recipes was for a sweet bag (aka sachet or dream pillow), originally published in 1606 in Little Dodoen:

“Take dry rose leaves keep them in a glass which will keep them sweet and then take powder of mints, powder of cloves in a grosse powder. Put the same to the Rose leaves then put all these together in a bag and take that to bed with you and it will cause you to sleep, and it is good to smell unto at other times.”

This particular blend works well for anxiety, as well. This is one of the items I made and sell for SCA re-enactment folks. Apparently, it works for dogs, too, as a friend of mine had a couple of very anxious pups who loved having the sachet near them.

You can really use just about anything in the pillows. You can also make them any size; just remember, you’re filling them with herbs.

My fabric was about 5″ to 6″ squares. I use about 1/4″ seam allowance and just a straight stitch. The grey pillow contains 2T each of lavender and chamomile (and it resides under my pillow). The gold and red pillow contains about 1.5T each of cloves, rosemary, and mugwort (and it resides under Cameraman Ken’s pillow).

The lavender pillow is just to help with sleep. It seems to work alright for me. It’s not an overpowering scent, either, so it’s not giving me allergy issues. The mugwort pillow is for “inspired dreams,” meaning it’s meant for relaxation and divination. You’ll remember from the blog about the Divination Tea for Samhain that mugwort is used to elevate your psyche. Cameraman Ken hasn’t mentioned any of his dreams to me, so I will simply assume it’s doing what it’s supposed to and his dreams just aren’t insane like mine, so he doesn’t remember them.

You could make a dream pillow with the recipe for the sweet bag and set it in your pet’s bed if your pet is prone to anxiety. Let me know how it works if you decide to do that. Also, I will require pictures of your pet with their pillow. Or just your pet. 

That’s all for this week. Next week, we’ll have another couple of videos, one of which will be a Yule ritual, so make sure you’re following me all the places!

Zucchini Roll Ups

Hello, my Witchlets! 

Today, we’re talking about zucchini, Meatless Monday, and why Meatless Monday is a good idea for the environment.

This is the second time I’ve made this dish. I made it per the recipe here the first time I made it. This is the second time. This time, I used a kale alfredo sauce, ricotta (instead of cream cheese like I did the first time), and white wine vinegar because I do not currently have any white balsamic. We really enjoyed this version–possibly even more than the regular version!

I try to do Meatless Mondays and Fish Fridays every week. Not because I’m trying to be special or whatever, but because I really am trying to eat more fish and help the environment by reducing my carbon footprint through the food choices I make.

What do I mean by this?

First, we can all agree that ultra-processed foods can have a negative health impact on our bodies. The Laborers’ Health & Safety Fund of North America has a really good article on ultra-processed foods, as does Medical News Today.

Second, we can agree that greenhouse gasses are a threat to our environment through global warming. According to Gerber, Steinfeld, Henderson, et. al (2013), 15% of greenhouse gas emissions come from the production of meat and dairy. I worked on a dairy farm for a few semesters in my undergrad, and I’ve seen just how much energy goes into milking and feeding the cows. Also, as a side note, baby cows are adorable, but their noses are made of slime. It’s a serious detractor from their adorableness. Anyway, the mass production of meat and dairy contributes significantly to not just greenhouse gasses, but also deforestation, species reduction/decline, water usage, and more.

I am not at all saying we must all be vegetarians or vegan. I would probably die because I wouldn’t get enough protein from plants. What I am saying, however, is that if we had one day a week where we didn’t eat meat, we would be helping the environment. Here is some more information about Meatless Mondays that you can read over. If we want a sustainable future, we need to make choices now to achieve it.

I have trouble giving up dairy, though. I like my cheese. And my heavy cream. 

Regardless, I do try to have Monday as a completely meatless day. I don’t always succeed, but I do make sure that if we’re eating meat, it’s leftovers. I have Linda McCartney’s “Home Cooking” vegetarian cookbook and I’ve made many things from it. I have several Keto Vegetarian dishes that are my go-to’s. Impossible Ground is my friend. I make a really good vegetarian loaf with Impossible ground. I have learned to make tofu and actually enjoy it. I have TVP (total vegetable protein) that I haven’t figured out how to use yet; and nutritional yeast that I can make taste like cheese. There are so many different things you can do to not have meat for one day a week.

I challenge you to try it out: Meatless Monday.

Maybe we’ll talk more in-depth about Fish Friday.  I know it’s a religious thing for a lot of people (not really sure how or why); I just chose Friday as my fish day because a) alliteration and b) it’s a night where I have nothing scheduled, so if I end up not liking the fish, I can make something else or order takeout. Fish really isn’t my thing, but I’m getting better at it.  

Join me for Meatless Monday and Fish Friday! Let’s enjoy awesome food together, but apart. Wash your damn hands! 

Fathead Burger Busn

So, I have a new website and you’re supposed to be able to log in from Patreon to it. I had trouble logging in, personally, with that plugin. If anyone cares to give it a whirl and give me feedback, that would be great! 

I’m also trying to see if I push posts from my site to Patreon (I don’t, apparently) or if I need to push from Patreon to my site (I do, apparently). So, here’s today’s video and blog, as a link, because I’m very behind and didn’t copy pasta my stuff. I’m sorry. Growing pains. I’ll get it all worked out!