Dressing & Stuffing a Turkey

I know I’m going to get stuff under my nails….

Originally, this was going to be two separate videos. Cameraman Ken suggested just making it one video both for content and my sanity. I also got a new toy that we were playing with throughout this video–it’s a light ring. Let me know if it helps the lighting at all? I don’t normally watch my own videos until a lot later, so commenting or, if you’re a Patron, pinging me on Discord is the way to go.

First of all, what is the difference between stuffing and dressing? Technically, stuffing gets stuffed into whatever you’re stuffing and dressing is baked on the side or in its own container. The recipe in this video is, obviously, stuffing from Primal Palate, one of my go-to websites for Paleo/Primal dieting. We’ve been stuffing meats since the medieval times, honestly. I had stuffed tilapia the other night for Fish Friday. It’s not a new concept. Dressing is simply how a meat is prepared. Salting, peppering, and dry rubbing a steak are how you dress the steak. When did this get confusing? The Victorian era. Everyone was so prudish–which was funny because Queen Victoria herself, was not. They also, apparently, had the humor of a 9-year old boy and found the term “stuffing” to be mildly offensive–especially when it came to birds. If you need a little help with that one, I’ll just leave this post here and say no more.

So, “stuffing” became “dressing,” despite it still being shoved into the carcass of a bird. They really confused everyone, but now it’s more of a regional thing. Some place–I think the South–refer to stuffing as anything with bread in it and dressing as anything else. I think? I don’t know. I use the terms to indicate if the dish has been cooked inside the meat or if it’s been casserole’d, basically. So, you’ll notice in this video, I talk about the stuffing inside the chicken, but the dressing in the casserole dish. That’s just for clarity. For me, they’re pretty interchangeable. Especially since I can’t have regular bread and any bread I make molds before it goes stale.

When it comes to dressing a bird, there’s so many different things you can do. I’m using a chicken for this video because I don’t have room for a turkey in my fridge. Truth be told, I barely had room for the chicken! I don’t like skin. I can’t think of a single animal whose skin I eat. I don’t like the texture and it’s just… icky. So, I have Cameraman Ken remove it for me while I prep up other things I’m going to need for dressing my fowl. So, if you like skin, my recommendation is to peel it back and put small cubes of butter under the skin to help keep the bird moist and crisp up the skin. Rub it down with salt and pepper and any other spices you’re using, and make sure to get the inside of it, as well. Stuff your bird, and then tie its legs together. I was struggling, mostly because my brain shut off almost completely and I couldn’t figure out how to tie the legs. Cameraman Ken says to do a Figure-8…which I then had to figure out how to do because my brain was just done.

I can’t remember if I said this, but you’re going to roast your chicken or turkey for 20 minutes per pound (so a 6lb bird goes for 120 minutes, or 2 hours) at 325F. Please note, your bird is not done until it reaches an internal temperature of 165F at the thickest part of the meat. The USFDA doesn’t recommend stuffing turkeys or chickens because of “Food Safety,” meaning a lot of people just take out the bird when the timer goes off instead of verifying it’s safe to eat. Get yourself a meat thermometer and use it. Clean it off after each use to avoid bacteria and transfer.

Make sure to stay tuned for more Thanksgiving-related cooking and projects, and if you’re not already a Patron, consider becoming one and, as always, thank you for your support!

PS: It’s my parents’ 54th Wedding Anniversary today! Congratulations, Mum & Dad!

Paleo/Keto Pumpkin Chili

All Hail CAThulhu!

When other people talk about how it’s “Pumpkin Spice” season, I’m just talking about pumpkins because I love pumpkins. I’m not even sure why. They just make me incredibly happy. Which is why I bought 3 sugar pumpkins a few weeks ago so I could make some of my favorite pumpkin treats! We’ve made, pumpkin purée, pumpkin shortbread, and now, pumpkin chili! I still have a pumpkin left and I plan on making pumpkin pie with that! Though, I also want to make pumpkin butter. Hmm. We’ll see. I’ll probably have plenty of purée left over from my pie to make some pumpkin butter.

I found this recipe back in, I want to say 2011 or 2012, when I first decided to do a Paleo diet and start powerlifting. I’ve made it many times over the years because it’s my favorite chili. This time, I made modifications to the recipe by omitting the sweet potato and adding bell pepper and jalapeños; I also omitted the fresh basil, oregano, and cilantro and, naturally, added hot sauce.

Normally, I do this recipe in the crock on low for 8 hours. This time, however, I’d had this idea that I’d fill the pumpkin shell with it, but that turned out to be a bad idea, so I just did it on the stovetop. It’s not all that long of a recipe to make–probably about 45 minutes. I would not walk away from your chili, though. It has a serious potential to burn onto the pot, and you do NOT want that! Stay vigilant!

Thanksgiving is coming up soon and I guarantee I will have at least two videos about Thanksgiving foods! They will be low-carb, gluten-free, and delicious! I’ll even have a video (on a Thrusday) about how to dress a turkey (using Cornish game hens because there’s only two of us and I have no need–or place to store–a 12+lb turkey). Patreons have some videos just for them already posted–and we may even do a special Thanksgiving Patron-only video for a from-scratch, gluten-free green bean casserole! If you’re not already a patron and you want to see these videos, the $5 is where you want to be! You’ll get exclusive content in addition to what you find here!

Regardless of what you choose, thank you for your support! We’ll see you next time!

Hypocras & Mulling Spices

Jazz Hands!

As the weather turns colder, our drinks turn warmer–whether through heating them (like hot chocolate) or adding spices to them (like mulled apple cider or mulled wine). Mulling spices are a good and simple gift for people who like the taste of the fall and winter holidays. This recipe calls for about a cup of mulling spices, 12 9-inch circles of cheesecloth, 4-ish 9-inch lengths of a natural fiber yarn (such as cotton or bamboo), and two 8-ounce mason jars. There’s no set amount of each spice to use in your mulling spices. You’ll just need to break up your cinnamon sticks and, likely, your star anise. Everything else is perfectly fine as it is.

You’re going to put about 2-3T of the spice blend in the center of your 9″ circle, then pull up the edges and tie them up to make a little pouch. Put that into your mason jar and do it again! Make sure you’re tripling up on the cheesecloth! Stuff these little bags of heaven into your mason jars and then you can cut out a piece of cardstock to write your message of cheer on and stick it over the lid, under the band (to hold it in place). You can add a ribbon with bells and mini pinecones if you want, but it isn’t necessary. Voila! The perfect, simple gift for the holidays!

But, how do you use it?!

Easy. If you want to add some spice to your apple cider, simply pour your cider (about 1 quart should be plenty) into a pot, add your bag of spices, and let it simmer for about 10-15 minutes. Discard the bag and enjoy some mulled cider. The same can be done with wine or grape juice.

Speaking of spiced wines… Hypcoras is a medieval spiced wine that actually dates back to at least the Roman era! My friend over at Tasting History has a great video on the history and making of Hippocras (better than this one, for sure)! Romans enjoyed spiced wines, but the recipes weren’t always written down. The oldest extent recipe for a spiced wine dates to approximately 1340. It was called a piment and is what Hippocras developed from. There are many, many, many recipes about on the web for Hippocras. There are some that are very complex and some that are quite simple–like the one I made here. Hippocras/Hypocras/Ipocras/etc. is only as good as the wine you use. Mine is a very inexpensive Cabernet Sauvignon that is a bit sweeter than other Cabs I enjoy. To that end, I only used 2T of Swerve sweetener–and even then was hesitant! You should let it stand for at least two hours before straining and the preference is that it stands overnight. Despite the amount of sweetener in it, the Powder Douce is the stronger flavor and makes this drink a good mix of spicy and sweet. Hippocras can also be made with grape juice, but you will definitely want to adjust the sweetener for that (or just eliminate the extra).

Normally, I reserve my alcohol videos for my Patrons. If you’re not supporting me there, head over now and select your level of support! If you want to just tip me, $1/mo will get you access to my Discord server and the live streams I do there. If you want more content, $5 will grant you access to videos and blogs specifically for my Patrons! You may even get to see Cameraman Ken, too, on air!

That’s all for now. Merry meet, merry part, and merry meet again. Blessed be.

Enchilada Meatball Casserole

This is not my final form…

I hope everyone had a blessed Samhain. I know that, at this point, that was two weeks ago, but life comes at you fast!

Before I explain this video, I want to say that on November 5, I did my oral defense of my dissertation proposal. My doctoral work is in the field of Industrial/Organizational Psychology, with an emphasis on training and development. My study focuses on skill transference from playing games (in this case, Dungeons & Dragons) to working life. I’m very excited and by the time you read this, I’m hoping to have been granted approval to submit my study application to the Institutional Review Board (IRB).

Also! Happening this week on Thursday, I will be debuting my burlesque act! Tickets are still available (and if you use the code LAVINIA at checkout, you’ll get $5 off your tickets) and I’m also very excited about this particular endeavor, as well. Don’t worry, I’ll still be doing videos and such for cooking and witchery. You’re not getting rid of me that easily.

So, this video. This was a last-minute decision to record and my ADHD brain did not plan well. I started blocking another burlesque act and was way too into the blocking and lost track of time. I had a Halloween thing to do at 7pm, and it required a costume–a costume I’d planned on wearing all day! I just started my video too late, so I ended up having to finish the video as Dawn from Cry for Dawn by Joseph Michael Linsner. Pretty sure no one minds, but it was a cross-over I had wanted to avoid. Oh, well!

The casserole was really good. It was something that came across my Facebook feed the other day and I decided to give it a try. I still had the nightshade-free enchilada sauce from a while back (which was still good), so I used that and went from there. Cleanin’ out the fridge.

This post is kind of short. I apologize for that; I’m quite a bit distracted. I’ll try to remember to let you all know how the defense turned out and I hope to see you at my virtual burlesque debut!

Oh! Be sure to check out my Patreon for even more content and features!

Eggnog – Low Carb & Dairy Free

“We can lay a trap for him and then we’ll have him, 1-2-3!”

‘Tis the season. Apparently. Because I was seeing Eggnog in the grocery store even before Samhain. It’s usually a Yuletide or Christmas drink. There are brands out there that are really good, but with my recent acquisition of intolerance to most tannins in things like whiskeys, spiced & dark rums, and gold & anjeo tequilas, I’m leery of store-bought eggnog.

Plus, I don’t really like eggnog, so why buy it?

I’ve made plenty of eggnog from scratch before. And it’s all been okay. This recipe, though. This one is the best. Naturally, I screwed up the first batch in the video, but my Lestie and her girlfriend were super giddy over it because they like sweeter drinks. So, I mean, no harm no foul. The one I taste at the end of the video is made with Swerve granulated sweetener and Heavy Cream because I do not have a problem with dairy. The filmed version is made with Truvia blended with cane sugar & stevia, and coconut milk. Both are tasty.

The hardest part is tempering the eggs. It was awkward for me to do it myself simply because a) I’m in the middle of a flare because of the weather change; and b) I was trying to stay out of the way of the camera. Behold, the silken hands of Cameraman Ken.

This concoction will last up to 3 days in the refrigerator, if you don’t just down it all in one night. If you’d like to spike it, you can add 3/4c of bourbon, spiced rum, or brandy to the entire quart of eggnog and have some fun! Just drink responsibly, please.

As is, this is a great drink for those who do not indulge in alcohol–y’know, like kids, those in AA or another sobriety program, people who just don’t like alcohol, etc. This is something I could confidently make for my parents that they may actually enjoy. Maybe heat it up, add some hot chocolate mix to it, and have a really creamy hot cocoa! Add it to your coffee as a substitute for your regular creamer. If you’re a Patron at the $5 tier or higher, you’ll have access to a video to show you what I chose to do with my eggnog!

Let me know what you think of this recipe! It’s a flavor of the holiday and it doesn’t take all that long to make. I’d love to hear your ideas about how to mix it up for the holidays!

Until next time, my Witchlettes! Blessed be!

Pumpkin Shortbread

I really like this shirt…

Remember when we made pumpkin bisque and made our own pumpkin purée for that? Well, I ended up with an extra 1-1/2 cups of purée that I need to figure out what to do with! So, I started with the pumpkin shortbread because, I love shortbread!

Almond flour is a good 1-to-1 substitute for a shortbread recipe. Of course, so is gluten-free all purpose flour. Once I’m not meticulously counting carbs and trying to stay under 20g of net carbs per day (something I’ve been failing, recently), I’ll probably go back to my standard flours. I’m still going to be super carb conscious because–and this is the bizarre part–of the three of us kids, I’m the one with the most health issues. My body just really doesn’t like me, so it’s making my life complicated. I’d like to lose another 5lbs. Maybe 10lbs. Between 5 and 10. We’ll call that 7lbs. I’d like to lose another 7lbs. That will put me snuggly between 140 and 145lbs, which is where I’d like to be. I’m not unhappy with my current 150lbs; I would just like to have a little more wiggle room on weight gains which happen with new medications and flares and New Symptoms(TM) that end up being new disorders. To continue on the health trend, though, Cameraman Ken and I have discussed transitioning to a Mediterranean style diet. I need to do oodles of research on that and it’s not likely I’ll give up my chaffles or fathead dough, but it would be nice to bake with something other than almond or coconut flours.

Regardless, these shortbread cookies are actually really good and got better after they completely cooled. The texture wasn’t as bad as what was shown in the video. Overall, this was an okay attempt for my first time making it. I don’t think I got enough moisture out of the purée, which meant I had to add more flour which is what contributed to the texture issue.

Still, do make sure to try it for yourself! Also, make sure to head over to Patreon and consider supporting me. The public blog posts there are the same as they are here; however, there is some Patron-only content and announcements that go to my Patrons first before releasing to the rest of the world!

Pumpkin Time!


It’s pumpkin time!

No, not pumpkin spice. I mean, pumpkin spice is fine and dandy and if that’s your deal, you go! I prefer the Gingerbread Lattes to Pumpkin Spice, but I just love pumpkin! So, I bought 3 sugar pumpkins (the kind you use for pumpkin pies) to make various things. One of them got heat damaged from being next to one of my burners, so I decided to roast that right on up and make pumpkin puree! The pumpkin weighed about 2lbs and yielded ~2.5 cups of puree.

A note on the puree: If you decide to use a blender, you will need to cut the large chunks down. You will also need to gauge the water that you add. You don’t want to make it too liquidy, but you need enough liquid to keep the blades from seizing. Pumpkin is notorious for bulking up when you blend/puree it.

The recipe is from the Samhain book from Llewellyn’s Sabbat Essentials library. The entire series is a great resource for each of the Sabbats, honestly. It’s where I get a good number of my ideas for videos. I celebrate very differently from many of the traditions, but if you’re just starting out on your path, these books are a really good overview of everything. I especially use them for the Sabbats I don’t personally celebrate so I can help others celebrate those sabbats!

Samhain is one of my sabbats, if you hadn’t guessed. This entire month, I’ll be featuring recipes and crafts/rituals/etc for the sabbat. I may see if I can live-stream something on Samhain eve/Halloween for everyone, since… we have to be socially distant. Maybe I’ll host a Zoom event. Would that be of interest? I’ll post information, obviously, for the event! Video/audio is not required, unless you want to.

Anyway! Make sure you’re subscribed to the YouTube channel for the video updates and make sure you’re subscribed to the blog for other updates and while you’re subscribing, considering popping over to Patreon and subscribing there so you can be notified of special events and such (and, maybe even get early access to stuff)!

Blessed be!

Keto Meal: Shrimp Scampi, Creamed Spinach, & Cornbread

I am quite ambitious.

It was #FishFriday. I’m not a huge fan of shrimp, but I promised Cameraman Ken I’d make shrimp scampi if he ordered shrimp in our Imperfect Produce box. He was excited for scampi, but I didn’t feel like making noodles or making two separate batches of noodles for him and myself. So, I asked if I could make something else to serve it with. He agreed, and so I chose to make creamed spinach and cornbread, as well. Because the scampi recipe suggested those as side dishes.

Y’all. This was a frantic thing. I had an hour to prepare everything because I had a Zoom meeting to co-host. So, I cooked and filmed this entire meal in one hour. It is a new record. Also, you can hear me curse if you listen closely (sorry, Mom). I was very overheated, very frustrated, very hungry, and very stressed. So, I ended up channeling my inner Nadia Bolz-Weber. Regardless. Everything came out almost exactly on time with each other.

If you decide to make the cornbread, don’t skimp on the butter. I used a coconut oil cooking spray and it really did not help keeping the bread from sticking to the glass dish. Butter will likely make it release better. I, personally, like sweet cornbread. It’s what I grew up with. Oddly. Because I grew up in Central PA, not the South. YMMV.

If you decide to make these dishes, also make sure you use LARGE shrimp. My shrimp were small and they overcooked at 3-4 minutes per side. This was still incredibly tasty–especially considering I don’t like shrimp! I’d love to hear about your experiences making this dish! Leave me a comment below!

Avocado Pesto

Counting avocados…

I love avocados. They are not pre-Columbian, however. So, apologies for the New World foods I’ve been eating and sharing on my pre-Columbian blog/YT channel. But, being on a Keto diet, I have to make some tough choices. Once I get to the point where I can “safely” enter maintenance, I’ll be switching to a low-carb Mediterranean style diet, which I’m hoping can go back to the pre-Columbian things. Of course, I may make exceptions from time to time to make some really awesome 17th or 18th century foods, but, for the most part, I want to keep to the 15th Century or earlier, in The Old World.

Anyway. This is an amazing recipe that Cameraman Ken shared with me. The first time I made it, I didn’t add the almonds, just made it per the recipe (and added the optional ingredients). This time, I added the almonds and it gave it a little extra pop. Obviously, if you have nut allergies, don’t add the almonds.

This is good for a kicked-up avocado toast, a pasta sauce (which reminds me, I should make the Keto Noods again, and use this as the sauce for them), or even as a base for a pizza (be it regular, gluten-free, low-carb, or keto).

Definitely do not leave out the lemon juice from this recipe. Definitely taste it as you mix it, but also wait for 10 minutes after you mix it because the flavors will marry and you don’t want to over-salt it. Unless you’re like me and your lab work comes back saying “Gurl. U got issues!”

Also, my cat bit me two days before I filmed this video. So, that’s what’s going on with my left arm, if you notice the scratches and such. It was my fault; I misread his body language when trying to calm him down from attacking (through a security door) a neighborhood cat. He clamped down on my arm and shook it like a rat, realized it was me, panicked, got two of his fangs stuck, panicked more, and Cameraman Ken had to release his mouth from my arm and help me clean up the blood. It was pretty brutal. Fortunately, I had things like 99% Isopropyl Alcohol and Hibicleanse. It was super swollen for a couple days; now it’s just swollen at the 3 puncture points, which also have lumps where the tissue damage is. Also? It’s itchy A.F.

Lesson learned. (Probably not)

How will you use the Avocado Pesto?

Low-Carb Carrot Cake (for 2!)

It worked! Yay!

I love when I can make single (or double) serve recipes! I love them more when I can make them in the microwave (like the Keto Tiramisu)! This recipe was really tasty and actually satisfies that carrot cake craving. The only thing I would do differently is double up the cream cheese frosting.

The black walnuts are seriously “Elder Millennial” age. Cameraman Ken remembers when they received them from his grandfather (in Boone, IA) back in the early 1980s (no later than 1983. I was 5 in 1983)! They’ve been in the freezer/deep freeze pretty much ever since. His mother, Linda, was a packrat and only used things like those black walnuts on “special” occasions. She passed away in January of 2018; sadly, Cameraman Ken found her after a week on her kitchen floor. There was a lot surrounding it, but it was a super difficult time for everyone. She would have loved this carrot cake! And the crab cakes!

I’m not one for nuts in my food. I like Hershey bars with almonds; I prefer the Snickers with almonds, and my favorite non-chocolate bar is Payday. But, honestly, that’s as far as I go. I don’t like nuts in my cookies (except the macadamia nut & white chocolate chip cookies…which is the only way I like white chocolate), brownies, fudge, etc. And I especially do not like them in my carrot cake!

Except this time. With black walnuts. Those black walnuts really pulled all the flavors together and enhanced the richness and texture of the cake itself. Now, admittedly, the cake was a bit dry, but that could have been fixed with more cream cheese frosting. Which, y’know, when I make them again, we will add to!

As far as my weight-loss is concerned, I have a feeling I’m not going to really lose any more weight. It sort of makes me sad, but at the same time, I’m feeling healthier than I did 7 years ago when I was powerlifting and on a Paleo/Primal diet. Definitely feeling the best I’ve felt since the autoimmune issues hit me 6 years ago. The day I filmed this video, I was having some weather-change/Lupus flare up issues, but none so great as to keep me in bed all day. Just swollen, tender joints.

I hope you all are remaining in good health, washing your hands, and wearing your masks. We’ll get through this pandemic and we’ll be healthier for it.