elaby: (Half Acre - Crack the sky)
[personal profile] elaby
Happy Solstice and Yule! I wish love and warmth and happiness to all of my friends as the days start to lengthen again and midwinter takes hold <3

Rachel and I had a really nice weekend. On Saturday, we visited some friends in Boston and had a really, really happy and fun time. Our friends down there are such awesome, kind people <3 We drove home in the evening to host a Call of Cthulhu gaming session (Cthultide! :D) and the campaign was predictably insanity-inducing. My character died horribly – run over while trying to get into the escape vehicle, then put out of my misery by my friends-turned-brainedwashed-cult-followers – but there was so much hilarity that I didn’t mind in the least. My character was lots of fun to play: she was a published paranormal nonfiction author who’d had some really creepy shit happen to her, and she was also a technophobe, so I had all sorts of fun pretending not to know how to work the digital camera the GM brought (complete with local photographs as clues!). She also had inherited her grandmother’s pendulum and I used it mostly to my advantage, although for the first hour or two I don’t think I ever rolled under a sixty no matter which dice I used XD

The next morning, we slept until 11:30 (!!! That’s what happens when you’re up until half past two gaming with a tableful of awesome friends and load of delicious desserts :3) and then we ventured out to Trader Joe’s to pick up food for Christmas Eve, which we’re hosting at our house. We were happily surprised to find the mall area much less jam-packed than we expected, but we got our couple of groceries and beat a hasty retreat nonetheless.

When we got home, Rachel worked on sewing projects for Christmas presents and I started making our Solstice feast. Our original plan was potato soup, which we changed to corn chowder thickened with Rachel’s famous Best Mashed Potatoes Ever. I started by washing and peeling the potatoes.

Potatoes for Solstice soup!


I’m really enjoying cooking lately, especially when there’s space and all the right ingredients are to hand. It was fulfilling and relaxing to wash and peel the potatoes with the intent of getting rid of the past year’s grime and unpleasantness.

Then I boiled the hell out of those mofos!

Potatoes boiling to be mashed

In the middle of mashing them, I noticed all these weird little black fibers that kept showing up in the potato. We finally determined that the non-stick coating is coming off the bottom of our soup pot :\\\\ Rachel researched it and the fibers aren’t toxic (phew). Luckily, we’ve been participating in this “get stickers toward free merchandise for every $10 you spend at the grocery store” promotion thing (the cashiers also give us stickers from people who don’t want them XD) and we’ve got enough by now to get a new stock pot. Woo!

Rachel helped me mash them and I added the requisite half-stick of butter, half-package of cream cheese, cup of whole milk, and seasoning salt. BEST MASHED POTATOES EVER, I tell you.

Mashed potatoes

After that, it was time to make the soup! I was DONE WITH CHOPPING so Rachel volunteered to take a break from sewing to chop carrots, celery, and more potatoes for the soup while I cut up an onion. I made the base with water and “Better than Bullion” veggie stock paste, boiled the potatoes, and then we added the corn and mashed potatoes.

Boiling veggies

Adding the potatoes!

The mashed potatoes really thickened it right up and gave it even more creaminess than we expected. We added some ground pepper and some milk, let it simmer for a while, and then it was done!

We’d bought some take-and-bake ciabatta rolls and Rachel baked those in the oven while I set the table. We used bowls from my grandmother’s house, Spoons of My Childhood, and plates decorated with sunbursts <3 The sparkling clementine juice was delicious and perfect for welcoming back the sun.

Our Solstice feast spread <3

Freija sat with us! She wanted to help us celebrate the Solstice.

Freija at the table

I don’t have a picture of Beatrix, but she was curled up in her shelf/cubby above the coat rack, watching us.

Afterwards, we cleared the dishes away and set the table for our Solstice ritual. It was very simple and calm: we lit candles for the four directions and their associated elements and I read out loud a few words about the Solstice. Then we lit our central candle and from it we each lit yellow tapers that we had dedicated to a purpose for the new year. Then we sang “Here Comes the Sun” n___n We shared a clementine and popped a gold-wrapped cracker to finish the ritual. There was a plastic noise-maker inside, the kind you blow into and it sounds kind of like a chibi motorcycle XD Freija was not impressed. (She remained in her chair the whole time, sitting up attentively, to help with the ritual.)

Solstice ritual table

Freija helping with the ritual

Well, maybe not so attentively toward the end :)
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March 2016

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