"One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness visible." C.G. Jung
Yes, well, it customary for some Witches and Celtic Pagans to use the term "Imbolc" when referring to the mid-winter Sabbat between Yule and Spring Equinox. The term, which most people really don't know how to pronounce, is believed to be loosely translated to mean "ewe's milk", something not too common in northern Idaho. (Cow-elk milk, on the other hand, is not too far off.) I say, bring on the feta!
But "Candlemas" I can relate to, even if the custom was usurped by "The Church"... what the heck, it usurped all the other holidays, and Pagans still celebrate Yule at Christmas...
Yes, Candlemas, the blessing of light, the holy-day of St. Brigit, mid-wife to Mother Mary... the centuries-long flame burning at the holy site of Kildare... the recognition and celebration of the Goddess Brid/Brigid in all her glory... Goddess of smithcraft (fire), healing (water) and poetry (air)...
Let me share with you the following poem (earth) inspired by this time of year.
So, here's my first experience using this cute recipe book for dog biscuits. It's called SNOOPY'S ORGANIC DOG BISCUIT COOKBOOK KIT -- yes it was a kit that included 3 biscuit cutters, a bone, a silhouette of Snoopy's head, and I can't find the third cutter! The book is published by Cider Mill Press in cooperation with the folks at the Bubba Rose Biscuit Company, which is a cool fancy bakery for dogs. I told them I'd review their book and try out a recipe, so this is the first recipe I tried, and the first recipe in the book, Berry Crunch. I'm feeding my dog more cranberries for a healthy urinary tract. As is my usual, I substituted a couple things because I didn't have the form called for in the recipe; those changes are shown in brackets. Otherwise the procedure is the same. As is my usual, I made it easy for myself and used the food processor, which made the work a snap. As is my usual, I didn't think to photograph the ingredients and the mixing, I didn't think to photograph at all until the bikkies were in the oven! The little gem biscuits are decorated with a piece of dried cranberry (apple juice-sweetened).
"Plenty of Cranberry Goodness in these Cookies"
1-1/2 c. oat flour
1-1/2 c. brown rice flour
1/2 c. dried cranberries [1/2 c. dried cranberry powder]
1/2 c. unsweetened carob chips [1/2 c. carob powder]
1/2 c. water
[1/4 c. honey]
Preheat oven to 350-degrees.
Combine all the ingredients (except the water) together. Add water slowly and mix until a dough forms (if too dry, add more water, too wet, add a bit more flour). Roll out on a lightly floured surface to 1/4" thickness. Use a cookie cutter to cut into shapes. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper (for easy clean up), and place the cookies on the sheet (they can be rather close together as they don't grow much while cooking).
Bake 22-27 minutes or until golden brown. Transfer and let cool completely on a wire rack. Store the cookies in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
As for the book itself, I have looked at several homemade dog food cooking books in the last year or two, and they seem to come in a couple versions. One is either very over the top in terms of number of ingredients, reading more like a complicated curry than a recipe for dog food (maybe I was missing the point), and then, rarely, as in the case of this book, you find recipes that make sense. The creators of SNOOPY'S stress whole organic food for dogs, and so do I. There's even a biscuit recipe using venison! With one recipe to a page, each page also includes a comic from the one and only Charles M. Shultz, starring Snoopy of course. A survey of pantry and refrigerator staples for making biscuits, equipment needed to make the recipes, and helpful ideas throughout make this book very useable and one I will reach for over the others with styled and propped photographs. This book, oh do I dare say it, will easily become ... DOG-EARED ... with favorite recipes ...
I was recently able to spend two nights with my sweetie at Alameda's Hot Springs Retreat on Spring Street in the not-so-bustling town of Hot Springs, Montana, just a pretty mountain pass north from Plains - sometimes called Wild Horse Plains - and a good hour south of fabulous Flathead Lake. Beautiful, open, sagey, hilly country with views of the Mission Mountain range of the almighty Rockies, located on Flathead tribal land. I love this part of the country. We usually see wild Rocky Mountain Sheep on the way over to Hot Springs, and this trip was no exception. Sorry, no pix!
It's amazing what a little hot water can do. Hot water from the healing waters of Hot Springs, Montana, that is.
I've been to Hot Springs to partake of the silica-rich healing waters many times over the past 30 years (not often enough for my liking) and there are a few soak-houses where you can go, some with lodging, some not. A couple places have mud soaks too, but I've never brought myself to climb into a hot mud pot.
We've discovered that driving two hours to soak for a couple hours and then turn around and drive home was a hassle. This was the first time we'd been to Alameda's, and it was very quiet, peaceful, quaint, and clean. Clean. From the inviting tablecloth in the kitchen to the luminous shower curtains surrounding the claw-footed tub, little touches made us feel very comfortable. I liked the glass-covered breeze way where the begonias were blooming! The price for one weeknight we/kitchen was $72, plus $5 for our dog.
Hot Springs is a very eclectic town, with a sweet little health food store called Camas Natural Foods; funky junk shoppes and inspiring Indian Art galleries; an obvious "wellness community" with yoga teachers, massage therapists, and the Zen Organic Cafe; and of course the healing waters of the natural hot springs, which is why we were there. Eclectic as it may be, the poor economy has certainly touched this little town, and it appears that some have given up a long time ago in terms of pride of place. But not at Alameda's.
Fancy? Not really. Comfortable? Oh yes. Eclectic? Definately, in a rustic Victorian way. Funky? Not unless you call a geodesic dome in the yard for social gatherings funky. I call it following one's calling, and there's no small amount of tenacity required to keep going when things around you look shaky.
Uptight? Take a soak. Tired? Take a soak. Happy? TAKE A SOAK !!! See what it did for me?!?
Oh yeah, and the coffee was great! (Thanks Momoya.)