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First tea of the day: Iced Chai (I totally took myself to Panera Bread on the way to the grocery store)

Theme song of my week: Stand, by REM, was suggested by a new PF member, as a sort of “Spiritual Bioregionalist Anthem”…I think I like it!

And…its time to be thinking about Imbolc.  Or, as we call it in our house…Candlemas.  Ugh…still too soon, I’m not feeling it yet.

Moving on now.

Thal’s PBP Reads of interest for the letter B:

B is for Breath
B is for Baddies
Blogging is hard
Buddhism has a place in Paganism
B is for Bona Dea
Boredom
B is for Book
Bear, companion of winter
Brigid–finding our fire
Book of Shadows
Binding Spells
B is for Books and Blogs
Learning to Walk in Beauty

…and more to add next week!

#firstthrityone update! (please excuse the photos taken on my cell phone…I’m sure you can figure out which ones those are!!)

14-Frost So...we hadn't had real frost yet, but luckily, with the help of liquid nitrogen and a squirt bottle of water, we got to make some at work!!

14-Frost
So…we hadn’t had real frost yet, but luckily, with the help of liquid nitrogen and a squirt bottle of water, we got to make some at work!!

15- BundledYou might noticed I'm totally not bundled up here...at this point, it was still in the 60's

15- Bundled
You might noticed I’m totally not bundled up here…at this point, it was still in the 60’s

16-Change Let's face it...there is something off about blooming roses in January.  Climate change anyone?

16-Change
Let’s face it…there is something off about blooming roses in January. Climate change anyone?

18-Slumber

17-Slumber

18-Close-up Some washed up stuff, close up.

18-Close-up
Some washed up stuff, close up.

19-Fur Lots of animals have fur...but this one doesn't.  What can I say, I live by the beach, and you don't argue with what the Ocean sends your way.

19-Fur
Lots of animals have fur…but this one doesn’t. What can I say, I live by the beach, and you don’t argue with what the Ocean sends your way.

Random Recipe to try: Alton Brown’s Chewy Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookies

8 ounces unsalted butter
11 ounces brown rice flour, approximately 2 cups
1 1/4 ounces cornstarch, approximately 1/4 cup
1/2-ounce tapioca flour, approximately 2 tablespoons
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 ounces sugar, approximately 1/4 cup
10 ounces light brown sugar, approximately 1 1/4 cups
1 whole egg
1 egg yolk
2 tablespoons whole milk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Melt the butter in a heavy-bottom medium saucepan over low heat. Once melted, pour into the bowl of a stand mixer.
In a medium bowl, sift together the rice flour, cornstarch, tapioca flour, xantham gum, salt and baking soda. Set aside.
Add both of the sugars to the bowl with the butter and using the paddle attachment, cream together on medium speed for 1 minute. Add the whole egg, egg yolk, milk and vanilla extract and mix until well combined. Slowly incorporate the flour mixture until thoroughly combined. Add the chocolate chips and stir to combine.
Chill the dough in the refrigerator until firm, approximately 1 hour. Shape the dough into 2-ounce balls and place on parchment-lined baking sheets, 6 cookies per sheet. Bake for 14 minutes, rotating the pans after 7 minutes for even baking. Remove from the oven and cool the cookies on the pans for 2 minutes. Move the cookies to a wire rack and cool completely. Store cooked cookies in an airtight container.

Thoughts about wheat: I’ve been trying trying TRYING to be gluten free for the past month or so now, in a sort of allergies experiment.  I’ve managed to get to about 80%.  I can do really really well for a week, and then something comes in as I backslide for a meal or two.  Like brownie making with the kids, and Chinese buffet (I love steamed dumplings).  And then there is crap like GLUTEN IN SOY SAUCE.  Seriously?  WTF!  And, I guess…since I haven’t noticed any asthma-allergies difference, I’m sort of ambivalent about it.  I *want* to do this, but it sucks so much.  And I don’t HAVE to (like my Dad who has Celiac disease).  But then again, my tummy and guts are so much happier when I lay off the bread and the pasta and the pizza and the brownies.

If I am going to survive this, I must find a brownie recipe.

Herb of the Week: Wax Myrtle

Wax myrtle (AKA southern bayberry or candleberry), or Myrica cerifera,  is one of my favorite local plants.  It is an evergreen shrub native to the mid-Atlantic and southern Atlantic coasts of the US (also in the Gulf) that prefers saltwater marshes and freshwater wetlands.  The wax myrtle is an early colonizer in a disturbance regime, and is also a major winter food source for birds in this area.  The root bark of bayberry has historically been used as an herbal treatment for fever, diarrhea, gum problems, and infection (and is to be avoided during pregnancy).  Early colonists used the wax myrtle to make bayberry candles (it takes about 15 lbs of berries to make 1 lb of wax).  Magically speaking, the wax myrtle is a feminine herb, corresponding with Jupiter and useful in rituals and spells dealing with prosperity and luck.

Tarot Card of the Week: Nine of Wands

In a nutshell, this card comes down to one thing–persistence.  If you’ll forgive the mixed metaphors, the Nine of Wands is about keeping your chin up and hopping back in the ring for another go, no matter how battle weary you might be.  Depending on the placement and position, this can be positive–resilience and hope for success in the willingness to try again…or it can be negative–getting beat up, for what is ultimately no good reason.  When you get the Nine of Wands, it is important to figure out which is which!

A prayer for the day: The Homeric Hymn to Gaia

Parting thought:

Earth (Gaia) is a goddess who teaches justice to those who can learn, for the better she is served, the more good things she gives in return.

~Xenophon

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