Make-ahead Breakfast Sandwiches!

I made an amazing discovery – did you know that you can freeze and reheat breakfast sandwiches!? So of course I had to try it! I made eight of them and froze six. I just ate the first one and aside from the fact that I over-toasted the top of the muffin it worked out quite will!

This will help to ensure that I have food for the upcoming week. How did I make them?

  1. Caramelized some onions with sage, thyme, and pepper. I didn’t add salt because the bacon and cheese will do that for me later. I poured a dozen eggs (beaten)* on top and baked that whole concoction for about 20 minutes. Who knew that it took such a hot oven (450F) to bake eggs?

*although next time I will use 10 eggs.

2. It takes a slightly lower oven to cook bacon (375 F) but takes about as long. Bake it and put it on a paper towel to drain. That’s what’ll crisp it up. Also, do this on the top rack of your oven for greater success. I had to do some re-arranging mid-way through. You may prefer vegan bacon, (coconut bacon, tempeh bacon), peameal (Canadian), or none at all. All are fine. They’re your sandwiches, after all.

3. Toast your English muffins just a little bit. You can use the lower rack in your oven while you cook the bacon up top.

4. Assembly. Each muffin contains: 1/8th of the onion-egg (is this a frittata?), a slice of bacon broken in half (some got a bit extra) and a couple slices of cheese. Layer in standard sandwich format.
 Sorry for the weird perspective here! (I had to wedge in beside the fridge to take this picture).

Wrap each sandwich individually in tinfoil, put them together in a (clear) bag, and freeze. To reheat them take the tinfoil off and put your muffin on a paper towel. I microwaved it for 90 seconds but I think I’ll try reducing that to 75 or even 60 seconds the next time. I toasted the top half of the muffin in the toasted oven. I thought that I’d like the crunch but the texture was too different. I need to reduce the time there, too.

Pretty delicious, though! And now my breakfast woes are solved!

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Pancakes!

Specifically, banana-buckwheat pancakes (or buckwheat-banana pancakes). I used this recipe with modifications; firstly I doubled the recipe so that I’d have enough for the freezer (so that I can have breakfast during the week). And because I had two bananas that were going. I also used more milk than she suggests (possibly up to 1/3 more – not entirely sure as I went by eye) and I replaced the last cup of buckwheat flour with whole wheat flour instead.

I ate them with jam on top. Success!!

Pot Roast: day two

 

 

Now it’s time to add the vegetables!

After cooking all day I added potatoes, carrots, and pearl onions. This is where the weakness of my cookbook was really apparent. I thought that 45 minutes in a slow cooker wasn’t quite long enough for potatoes – and I was right! Both they and the carrots were hard even though I gave them extra time. Veggie fail! In the future I will pre-cook my vegetables. That’s a tip, kids.

At the very end I added peas and corn. The corn needed to be added because it was going bad; I’d gotten 5 corn for a dollar at the grocery store for that reason. The rest will go into the chili that I want to make in the next few days.

This is what it looked like before I added the gravy:

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Ready to eat

And then, with gravy on my plate and ready to go:

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My first attempt at making meat and potatoes!

American Pot Roast

 

For some reason my cookbook differentiates between American pot roast and Italian. The difference seems to come down to pancetta (Italian) vs mirepoix (American – who knew! I thought it was French!) as the main seasoning. So I started it tonight, because pot roasts were 30% off at the grocery store. Which, when you find meat at the store that’s 30% off, you need to cook it post haste. So I started tonight. I’ll finish tomorrow. Thus far it looks like this:

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Would you believe that there’s a pot roast under there?

Thus far you’re looking at a pot roast (hidden underneath the gravy) which after being dredged in flour, salt, and pepper, was browned in butter for ten minutes. Then the mirepoix was cooked in the same browned butter with a teaspoonful of thyme and sage (I love these two!) and a pinch of rosemary. Then more flour as a thickening agent and three cups of veggie broth. I was supposed to use beef broth but I don’t keep that lying around. So that’s the gravy.

Tomorrow it’ll cook for eight or nine hours (can you overcook a roast? I hope not as I have some errands to do) and have pearl onions, potatoes, and peas added to it at the end. Planning ahead for post-work dinners!

Would you believe that I’m about as organised as a real grown up?

Taco Salad Skillet

Tacos are one of my favourite foods. But I’m spoiled and the hard shells from the grocery store just don’t do it for me. Unfortunately for my taste buds ever since I moved away from having a tortilleria a mere two blocks from my house (now it’s almost two kilometers away!) I eat them less frequently. Enter the amazing budget bytes and her wonderful Taco Salad Skillet! I’m saved!

Mine ended up being vegetarian because I didn’t feel like going to the store. So it had pinto beans and corn (you can see them peeking out the bottom) and was topped with avocado, tomato, a shredded romaine heart, and green onion.

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I ended up adding a lot more spices, too. I hadn’t yet gotten around to getting chili powder (that whole not going to the store thing that I mentioned earlier) so instead I used cumin, and a bit of oregano. A jalepeño helped as well.

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Oh, and as a final embellishment, sour cream! I needed it for that jalepeño.

Deck Interview with the Housewives’ Tarot

Housewives

I find it telling that this is a domestic deck (as in, it’s one based on the late 40s/early 50s idolization of the home and the women who run them) and 4 Pentacles showed up. Pentacles are the suit of the homestead. They’re rooted in how we’re brought up and what we create with ourselves from that history. They’re akin to Candide’s garden that we must cultivate before we can move on to someone else’s. This deck knows that about itself. That it can also reference Candide shows that it has a depth that belies its cheeky countenance.

1. Tell me about yourself. What is your most important characteristic? Eight of Pentacles

This is the card of the master. This deck is the master of its abode, and it knows it. The Eight of Pentacles shows artistry and finesse in all that it creates. It’s learned the lessons and now it’s showing off its talents and what it can do. This deck does similarly. Where it shines, it excels.

2. What are your strengths as a deck? Queen of Pentacles, reversed

This Queen can be generous to a fault. Reversed, she hasn’t yet learned her lesson to be selfish when she needs to be to look after her own health. Instead, she gives and she gives and she gives beyond her abilities to do so. This causes her stress and strain. Similarly, this deck won’t indicate when to stop, the way that some will by getting cheeky. Because the whole deck is cheeky it keeps going. It’s up to me (the reader) to set the limits of where we need to stop.

3. What are your limits as a deck? The Empress

Like the Queen of Pentacles above, the Empress will be generous and nurturing beyond her abilities. Because the cards won’t stop making sense I risk driving myself to exhaustion trying to extract the meanings. But they’re there, being freely given. I need to remember to not look too hard for them.

4 What are you here to teach me? The Star

This deck is here to teach me to be open to possibility. The Star needs to be vulnerable in order to succeed (if you were unable to be vulnerable then you wouldn’t enter your pie in the baking contest for fear of losing). It’s that ability to be vulnerable that leads us to great heights. This deck is here to show me how to do that. Because it’s deceptively novel it can encourage me to let me guard down in a way that other decks don’t.

5. How can I best learn from and collaborate with you? Two of Pentacles

This card recognizes that, as I already have other decks, the key to working together is being able to juggle the different demands of various studies. Further, because I’m going to school I won’t be able to dedicate as much time to my decks as I may desire to. This deck understands that life is a balancing act and yet asks me to participate regardless (rather than giving up in frustration).

6. Potential outcome of our working relationship? Ace of Pentacles

The Ace itself signifies the pure potential of its suit. There is a lot of potential here! The outcome is that I learn more not only about the Tarot, but about this era in American history as I get sucked into the imagery. I can also learn more about myself the more that I read with it.

7. What card would you like to show off? Six of Wands

This is the card of victory and success: see how the house cleans itself, freeing us to do whatever else we would like to do? See how we are the envy of all of the neighbours? That’s the wonder of this deck. It can help lead me to that success.

New moon spread

The format for this spread comes from Little Red Tarot. My goal is to become more disciplined with these moon spreads. They provide a good framework for self check-ins that I otherwise would quite simply never accomplish. I usually try to avoid being introspective in such a manner, so it’s reassuring to see that I’m on the right track. Maybe it’s encouragement to try again at the next new moon.

  1. Where you stand: Ace of Swords
  2. Something to leave behind: 3 of Coins
  3. Something to receive: 5 of Swords, reversed
  4. Something to learn: 10 of coins, reversed
  5. Something to give: 4 of coins, reversed
  6. Your Hopes and dreams: 7 of coins
  7. Your secret, special, skill: Queen of cups, reversed

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Half of this spread is reversed which leads me to believe that I have a very significant energy block in my life right now. I find it interesting that, of seven cards, four are coins. I’m not generally very grounded but I must be getting better as only 50% of them are reversed. There are no wands here at all, however. So while I’m moving forward it’s with trepidation, rather than with enthusiasm.

I’m standing on the cusp of something new. I wonder if the Ace of Swords is referring to my starting school in september (still a moon away). After all, school will definitely require some thinking prowess. The Ace seems to suggest that I’ll be starting a new project soon.

I’m leaving behind the world of art to embark on a new adventure. This three is one of craftsmanship and artistry. I’m leaving that world. It seems to be telling me that I’ll go back to amateur art, rather than making art professionally. Right now I’m okay with that.

In its place I’ll be getting something with the characteristics of a fox: cunning, deceitful, and a meaningless victory. I wonder if this is referring to my headspace right now. After all, it’s really been a slog to get myself going and I seem to fight every step forward with three steps back. I’m really my own worst enemy at times, and I wonder if this card is addressing that.

I need to learn how to balance difficult odds with the impossible. I know that I’ve set myself a challenging goal (to see if I can get my Masters’) and it’s doubtful that I’ll actually get there. I need to temper that expectation that I can do whatever it is that I’ve set my mind to. This card is telling me that I need to be better about anticipating failure so that I’m not continually disappointed. Not all gambles can pay off, and I shouldn’t expect that.

I can give generosity, emotional freedom, and offer connection with others. I have a rich inner life that I rarely let others see, let alone participate in. I can allow others to participate in that and in so doing warm their lives up as well. However, I know that that’s a challenge for me and it will be a work in progress for a while yet. That’s okay. If I manage to switch careers to what I want, however, that’s exactly what I’ll be doing. Because it will be in a professional capacity it will be easier for me.

My hope and dream is to become proficient at what I’ll be doing at school. I hope to be good at it and to make a difference. I want to be good at what I do not only so that I don’t cause further harm but so that I can actively reduce the pain in others’ lives. The Tarot suggests that I need to keep this in mind going forward. The more that I can name it and aspire to it directly the more likely that I am to have it manifest.

My secret, special, skill, is that I can flourish in spite of the repressive Queen of Cups that’s been in my life. It means that I am free to do what I want regardless of what she says. That freedom is very powerful and is my secret ally. I’m not bogged down anymore. I can manifest my own dreams and turn them into realities. No one can take that away from me.

This lunar cycle is really about laying a solid foundation from which I can progress into the future. I’m still in a holding pattern but I’m starting to see my aspirations take shape and come together. I’m on the edge of a new adventure but, unlike the Fool, I’ve got the opportunity to plan and to get it together in advance. I should make the most of it over the next few weeks.

Pickled Garlic Scapes

I made pickles. Here’s the finished product:   image

These ones are pickled garlic scapes. It was brought to my attention that some people don’t know what garlic scapes are. They’re green shoots that sprout out from the garlic bulb in early spring. They take energy away from the bulb which, when you’re growing garlic to eat the bulb, is undesirable. They used to be scraped and fed to pigs  (or turned into compost). But they’re really quite yummy.

Some of these jars will be traded for things. I traded for the scapes in the first place and I promised the man who gave them to me a jar of pickles. I’ll also give a jar to my brother-in-law, as he seemed interested. The rest will either become gifts or an incentive for me to make more salads. And caesars. I bet that they’ll be delicious in caesars.

Buckwheat Pancakes

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I’ve been told that buckwheat flour is very hard to find in the US – if that’s true please let me know! I buy it at the local food co-op and then keep it in my freezer for sudden pancake cravings.

It’s strawberry season now. I don’t like to eat out-of-season berries. They’re too sour as they don’t develop their sugars when they’re forced to ripen against their will. Yes, even berries have free will and they don’t want to be eaten out of turn. So that means that when the berries are in season I have to eat as many as possible to make up for the 11 months of the year that I haven’t been eating this particular kind. The yellow is mango because I’m worried that I’m catching a cold. I’ve spent way too many days riding through rainstorms on my bicycle these past few weeks.

So this morning I woke up and walked to the store to buy strawberries, eggs, yoghurt (I use it instead of milk for these pancakes) and milk for my tea. On the way back I stopped along the way to eat mulberries. This was my reward for my productivity 🙂

This recipe makes enough for two people. If you want to try it too it is:

  • 1 cup yoghurt
  • 1 egg
  • 1tsp vanilla
  • 3 tbsp melted butter

Combine these in a small bowl. Start preheating your frying pan (especially if it’s cast iron like mine). In a slightly bigger bowl combine:

  • 6 tbsp flour (I used whole wheat because it’s what I had on hand)
  • 6 tbsp buckwheat flour
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • pinch salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • dash cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, or other savoury spice that you like in your pancakes
  • I added in 2 tbsp of wheat germ because I think that wheat germ is important. This is optional. If you do this add a little bit of extra yoghurt to make up for the dryness.

Make a well in the bowl of ‘dry’. Pour the yoghurt mixture into the well. Using a scoop-stir method combine the wet and the dry. Do not overmix!

Melt some oil (I use coconut) in your frying pan. Using a 1/4-cup measuring scoop (or a very large spoon) dollop out the pancake batter into the pan. The trick with these is that they don’t seem to bubble around the edges the way that normal pancakes do to say “flip me!” so just keep an eye on them every few minutes. While they’re cooking chop your fruit. You will be much happier with fruit on your pancakes.

I keep mine warm in the toaster oven while I wait for the rest of the batch to cook. That way I have warm pancakes when it’s time to eat!

Interviewing the Ghost and Spirits Tarot

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This is the Ghost and Spirits Tarot, from Lisa Hunt.

I got the spread format from Little Red Tarot  (with some modification, of course). My previous one was way too long! I much prefer keeping spreads to a limit of seven cards. Anything more is just exhausting.

Of 7 cards this spread has 2 majors. It will speak to me very deeply at times.It is a grounded deck that is comfortable with vulnerability and that doesn’t shy away from strong emotion. It will challenge me and get me thinking. It wants me to succeed but it is content to be on the sidelines at times. It will let me know when it’s needed.

1. Tell me about yourself. What is your most important characteristic? 7 of Swords. 

Are you here to steal me away from other decks? You’re going to show me the path – not the one most travelled, nor the most glamourous. In fact, it may very well be a slog. But you know the way. You have what it takes to say the unpopular opinion and you don’t mind being sneaky to do so as required.

2. What are your strengths as a deck? 8 of Pentacles, reversed. 

You’re not quite the full artisan (you’re still learning) but you have no qualms about admitting it. You know that you’ve got a solid foundation behind and below you. You need a good reader to take you from reversed to upright. 

3. What are your limits as a deck? 4 of Cups, reversed.

You struggle with getting bogged down in mixed messages. You are so clued in to a sense of community that sometimes it’s overwhelming. You’re mired in what you can’t so so it’s easy for you to lose track of what you can. 

4. What are you here to teach me? Justice.

You’re here to help me find balance and to tap into my inner self. You’re here to help me find my own internal sense of Justice: what I need and what I can discard moving forward. You’re here to shine a light for me on the path ahead.

5. How can I best learn from and collaborate with you? 3 of Pentacles.

I can learn a lot from you. You tell me that I’m not alone and that we’re a team. You tell me that you’re a source of grounding for me and that together we will work towards a route of success. We will have moments of light but you don’t shy away from the dark stuff. You will show me to trust my cards so that we become an even better team.

6. Potential outcome of our working relationship? Ace of Cups.

We will grow and develop together as a team. We are embarking on a new path, in harmony. It won’t always be easy (there may very well be tears as well as joy) but we are a team and will carry each other forward. And yay for starting upon this journey of collaboration!

7. What card would you like to show off? The Star.

You’re not alone, just as I am not alone. Even though forces are hidden, invisible, and beyond our control – so it goes with support as well. Support is out there and if we make ourselves vulnerable enough to receive it then it will show up. Openness and vulnerability are required in order to proceed.