A College Girl's Guide to a Happy, Healthy Lifestyle!

Tag: summer

The Hottest Day of Vacation So Far | Spanish Style Gazpacho | One Cook, Two Books

Well my friends… This is it. Thursday, August 17th was the hottest day of the Summer so far. Or at least, that’s how it felt.   I’m guessing it’s because we have had guests over for the past week and we’ve been spending the majority […]

I Think My Taste Buds are Changing | Spicy Chickpea Stew | One Cook, Two Books

One of two things is going one. One: Crushed Red Pepper Flakes, one ingredient that I use very sparingly, is not as spicy as it used to be.

Two: Crushed Red Pepper Flakes are no longer as spicy because I am more accustomed to spicy food, so I am able to use more of it in my cooking.

 

I’m thinking it’s closer to the second option, because even with the jalapenos in all of Mina Stone’s recipes it is not uncomfortably spicy the way jalapenos used to be. Now, both Red Pepper Flakes and jalapenos do not add so much uncomfortable heat to the dish, but add a gentle heat with a wonderful flavour.

 

I’m pretty okay with that.

 

So today we had a lovely family day. My brother (for once) hung out with us, so he got to choose the movie.He chose The Last Samurai. Ever seen it? It’s pretty good.

 

I decided that I was going to make Mina’s Spicy Chickpea Stew today because it was a comforting day, and a comforting day calls for a comfy stew.

 

The process to create this dish was actually very interesting. Even after I soaked my chickpeas overnight, the recipe called to soak them again for a bit of time. This time, they were to sit while being coated in baking soda. Apparently, the act of letting them sit with the baking soda actually softens the chickpeas even more. When I did some research as to why this is a thing, the name Yotam Ottolenghi kept showing up, because apparently this method was created by Yotam. Overall, this process ends up making the chickpeas much softer at the end, which is why many do this when making hummus.

I loved the stew when it was all done. The texture of these extra soft chickpeas was something that I had never experienced before. I was nervous because the title has the word Spicy in it but, honestly, it soup was not that spicy even after having both a jalapeno and hot red pepper flakes in it.

 

I’m definitely going to be making this recipe again. There was a lot of inactive cooking time so I was able to continue to be with the family while it cooked, and the texture reminds me of something I would love to have on a cool day snuggled by the fire.

 

Next time I’m going to try and make it a bit spicier!

RECIPE | S’Mores Bites | Happy National S’Mores Day!

Ah, S’mores. Along with watermelon, ice cream, and BBQ, S’mores is (are?) a summer staple. What better day to make them then on National S’mores Day? Who even comes up with these holidays?   If you haven’t heard of s’mores, then I am very sorry. […]

Dinner Party Round Two | One Cook, Two Books

After yesterday’s meal prep, I was quite terrified to dive into tonight’s cooking. Though the family explained it was okay for us to eat out, I was determined to cook them yet another delicious dinner. I knew that nothing would match up to how laborious […]

Celebrating Midsummer as a Busy, Broke College Student

Celebrating Litha, the Pagan Summer Solstice: My Adventures in Finding My Spirituality as a College Student.

 

Hey guys! Before I start, I want to share with you a playlist I made for celebrating Litha and the summer season. It’s a unique playlist that I’ve been cooking to, walking to, and dancing to for the past few days! I hope you give it a listen and like it as well! Check out the playlist on Spotify here.

 

Without any fuss, let’s move on!

 

I remember growing up that I used to think I was so cool for being agnostic. Like, too cool.

 

Over the past few months, on the other hand, I am the complete opposite. I find comfort in knowing that my beliefs actually have a place, and that what I believe other people believe as well.

 

I used to know of the Summer Solstice. It’s the day of the year with the most light, and the least amount of darkness.

 

There is also a seasonal legend of Litha. it is said that during this time was the great battle between The Oak King versus the Holly King. One of the two kings rule for half of the year. These two constantly battle for the favor of the Goddess. When one loses, he retires to nurse his wounds for the next six months. After that? Another battle commences. In the case of Midsummer, the Oak King (ruler between winter and summer) is defeated by the Holly King (ruler between summer and winter.)

 

If you know me, you’d know that I’m a semi-practicing witch, and a Pagan. Working, going to school, and maintaining relationships with friends and family leaves little time for me to spend actual time practicing. Even with all of these barriers, I told myself that I would actually spend time to celebrate Litha.

 

So, how is it possible for a busy someone to celebrate Litha with such little time in a day? Even on the longest day of the year, it can be a challenge to fill it with fun. This year I did a few things.

 

I decided that I was going to celebrate Litha both on the 21st as well as the 22nd. Why? Because I had both school and work on both of these days. That left a small slot of time to actually celebrate, so I thought I would put the celebration on two days!

 

Celebration Day 1: Wednesday, June 21

 

Sun Salutation Yoga

I started off my day super easy with a Sun Salutation Yoga session. I used to do Sun Salutations all the time, but it was nice to follow along with a specific Sun Salutation yoga video. I followed along with “Sun Salutation Yoga – Yoga with Tim Sensei” which I found here. I did it just as the sun was rising at my house. You could see that it was just starting to hit the tips of the trees. By the time I was done, the sun was starting to hit my back, causing an extra warming feeling to run through me as I ended. That worked out relatively well, because the purpose of Sun Salutations is to gain the heat and energy needed for other yoga postures. I was going to use this heat and energy to help me get through the day!

Just look at how beautiful this morning was! The sun was just beginning to hit the trees when I stepped outside. Couldn’t help but snap a pic!

 

Solar Water

The next thing I did was create solar water. It is water charged by the sun, and is great for rituals and cleansing. It can be used to help increase self-confidence, improve leadership abilities, and also a great offering to sun deities. I let it sit out all afternoon in the sun with a little salt ring around it to keep it nice and safe.

The added Himalayan salt as a protective circle. It looked so beautiful against the rocks in the bright afternoon sunlight!

 

Sun Tea

What else could I do with the power of the sun? I made some sun tea! I took some black tea bags along with African Outback, a delicious herbal tisane, and steeped it in the sun all afternoon. The combination of the black tea and the tisane is absolutely delicious!

After it steeped all day my mom and I finished the ENTIRE batch of tea. Astonishing.

 

Lavender Lemon Loaf

What is a celebration without Annie cooking something? I mean really. Cooking is my absolute favourite. I couldn’t go without making something for this special occasion! I baked a Lavender Lemon Loaf cake, which turned out absolutely delicious! The recipe is from Spice in the City. I highly recommend you all trying it out.

 

That concluded the activities for Day 1, but Day 2 had some pretty wicked activities as well!

 

Celebration Day 2: Thursday, June 22

Candle Spell for Welcoming Midsummer

Today was my second official spell for the year. I’ve been so incredibly busy with school and life and every part of it that I never made time for spells or rituals, but I made sure that today there would be time! It was actually quite simple, a spell that I used from Skye Alexander’s book The Modern Guide to Witchcraft: Your Complete Guide to Witches, Covens, & Spells. It was very straightforward with minimal supplies needed, perfect for this girl who happens to be on a tight budget as of late! Anyways, I did the spell. It only took me about six minutes due to my lack of focus (there were lots of construction and landscaping sounds coming from the neighbor’s house as well as my dad’s TV blasting) so I did not want to go on too long and get annoyed. Even so, I felt rather successful afterwards!

 

Tarot Reading

Okay, so this is where I got excited. I’ve only ever gotten my cards read once before at a party that a town was hosting (yes, you heard me — a town hosted a halloween party!) I went in super skeptical, scared to believe anything she was saying. Having the reader interpret my cards was quite interesting, but the woman was missing her mark. The cards did not seem to relate much to what was happening to me at that time.

So being a past skeptic, I was excited to finally read the cards for myself and be able to interpret them in my own way. My mom gave me her old deck (seriously, these date back to 1969) and I began the process!

I followed along with Ethony’s five card Litha spread. Every card I read seemed to resonate with what was actually going on in my life, but it was when I read the final card that I officially bowed to the power of Tarot Cards. It could not be more spot on!

 

So there you have it. I did six simple things in the span of two days to celebrate Litha. I feel that spreading it into two days was an incredibly smart idea, something I may even follow for the next celebration, Lammas!

 

I’ve got a lot more spiritual fun to plan. I may even consider going to a local Litha Celebration that’s being held tomorrow, if I can find the availability! We shall see, we shall see….

 

Until then, I wish everyone a happy Midsummer. I hope it was as fun and adventurous for you as it was for me!