Meatless Monday - New Year's Black-eyed Peas

In preparation for a prosperous new year tonight I’ll be making a traditional southern dish.  First thought of as a dish for livestock or a dish for the poor, Black-eyed peas is seen as a dish for luck into the New Year.
Served with collard greens or with cornbread, it’s thought that the origin of eating black-eyed peas for luck comes from the Civil War. 

After hubby and I moved here from California we were invited to my Grandma’s house for Black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day.  She proceeded to tell him all about how you would get one penny for every pea you ate.  From that day till this we eat them every New Year’s day.

You don’t have to limit this great legume to only a holiday meal.  Black-eyed peas are low in fat, low in sodium and have no cholesterol.  They are very high in iron, fiber and potassium.  ½ cup serving has as much protein as one ounce of lean meat.

½ bag of black-eyed peas
1 small onion
1 containers of vegetarian vegetable broth (I make the distinction here because they do have veggie broth that contains animal products so check your label to confirm)

*NOTE* Soak the peas for about 2 hours in water before starting them to cook

Now on to the recipe!
Finely dice 1 medium onion
Add 2 tbsps. butter to a large sauce pan on medium heat
Add the onions to the melted butter and sauté
When onions are clear strain the water out of the peas and add them to the pot
Add 1 container of Vegetarian vegetable broth
Add about 3 – 4 cups of water – to fill the pot bring to a boil
Cook until tender
Salt and Pepper to taste

Some people serve these as I mentioned previously with collard greens or corn bread. 

Wishing all of you a joyous and prosperous new year!
Namaste & Blessed Be

Pagan Blog Project 2012 - Z is for Zealot

Z is for Zealot

A Zealot is defined by as:

1: Capitalized: a member of a fanatical sect arising in Judea during the first century a.d. and militantly opposing the Roman domination of Palestine

2: A zealous person; especially: a fanatical partisan <a religious zealot>

I've been a zealous advocate of many things.  For example, I fight for LGBT rights with zeal but I can listen to others and not be closed minded.  When I think about the word zealot my mind automatically goes to those of the religious nature.  I've met Catholic zealots, Protestant zealots and even Pagan zealots. 

To me, a zealot is someone who is so immersed in their own religious views that they have no room to allow others to have their own views.  They do not allow for any open dialog or discussion.  They are the “It’s my way or the highway” crowds.

One of these would be the folks out at Westboro Baptist Church (WBC).  Classified as Independent Baptists, WBC is listed as a hate group with the Southern Poverty Law Center.  This group was founded in 1955 by Fred Phelps and holds a hard and fast line on interpreting the Bible.  Known for picketing the funerals of everyone from the military to LGBT children, WBC has one other call to fame.  Recently it was published that a petition on the White House site “We the People”, to legally recognize the church as a hate group became the most populate petition to date with 297,566 signatures at the time of this writing.

However I’d like to point out that in my opinion these are not the only type of zealots out there.  As I mentioned above I believe Pagans can be zealots to.

Take Z Budapest for example.  The action of banning all female identified trans* from her Dianic Wiccan rituals led to outright protests.  If I understand her logic, she believes that due to some of the rituals of Dianic Wicca being led skyclad; the members of her group would be offended if trans* members did not have bottom surgery.  A post by Teo Bishop on outlined the events he witnessed at the protest.  It is indeed a powerful review of the events.  Many bloggers took on the story and wrote about the event.  I wrote a piece here.

After this I started to be concerned with Z’s non-inclusion and felt that maybe this was not the kind of energy that I wanted to be associated with.  Then I saw the announcement on her Facebook page that she would put a hex on anyone that changed the words of “We All Come from the Goddess” to include men/male energy.  I was shocked.

I understand feminism.  Feminism is not male hatred, its female loving.  To me if you do not have the ability in your heart to care for others, you cannot care for yourself.  That was it for me.  I changed my ritual playlist to INCLUDE the version with “Hoof and Horn” and I do indeed think about being open, understanding and inclusive when I hear it.  I removed Z from my Facebook friends and stopped following her on Twitter.  That type of energy is something I do not need in my life.

So you see, you can have zealots all over the spectrum.  In this case I’ve addressed only religious zealots.  There are lots of others.  PETA for example.  I believe they are zealots for animal rights. 

Any time a person takes a cause and closes their eyes to the ability to see others as the true life energy that they are.  You my friend are a zealot.


This is my last post for the Pagan Blog Project 2012.  It’s been amazing! I’m looking forward to 2013.

Namaste and Blessed Be

Meatless Monday – Collard Greens

Every southern knows you cannot have a holiday meal or get together without this awesome dish.  Collards are a leafy plant in the same family as cabbage and broccoli.  They are usually cooked with pork fat.  My grandma made them with something called “strick of lean, strick of fat” also known as pork belly.  Many people believe that you cannot cook a decent post of collard greens without the meat, however I can honestly say that these are the best collard greens I've ever had.

Here are your ingredients.

One half of a large white onion
Two bunches of collard greens
Salt and Pepper to taste
Apple Cider Vinegar

Just a quick note:
The first thing I do is buy the collards on the day before I want to cook them.  That way they’re fresh and I have time to toss them in the freezer.  Collards can be bitter if you eat them before the first frost of the season.  Because many of our veggies are not being grown traditionally and most are in hot houses and so on, I like to toss my collard greens in the freezer.  This can be done overnight or even just for a few hours.  You’ll need to be careful here because the collard greens will get very brittle.  If you drop them on the floor you’ll be finding shattered collards around the kitchen for days.

Now on to the process…

Dice ½ of a white onion

Photo Credit - Renee Olson

Melt about 3 tablespoons of butter in a pot large enough for your collards

Photo Credit - Renee Olson

Add the onions to the pot and lightly sauté
Remove the collards from the freezer and break off the larger stems

Photo Credit - Renee Olson

Add to the pot
Add enough water to the pot to cover the collard greens
Allow to softly boil until tender

Photo Credit - Renee Olson

Drain off all the water; I literally squeeze the moisture out of them
Chop finely

Photo Credit - Renee Olson

At this point you can add salt and pepper to taste.  Some people add other things like hot sauce.  I add a capful of apple cider vinegar after I've plated mine. 

Photo Credit - Renee Olson

That’s all there is to it.  I've found that a sweet onion can be the vegetarians best friend.

What traditional “meated” food have you turned into vegetarian?  Love to hear your feedback!

Namaste and Blessed Be

Pagan Blog Project - Z is for Zoomancy

For returning visitors to my blog you all know that I am extremely interested in divination in one form or another.  I've studied all types of scrying.   I've researched the tarot and dream interpretation.   I really believe that I do have some connection to “seeing the future”.  There are times I’ll dream what hubby is dreaming or I’ll know someone is going to call before they call.

Sort of an intuition if you will.  I have a tendency to experience insomnia when my kid does.  I do believe that in some way, I know when things are happening.  Earlier this month for example hubby and I were in Wilson at the Harris Teeter and I looked at him and said, someone is talking about me.  A few minutes later we get a message from my uncle about a stove he wants to give us.

Those little things help me know that I am indeed connected to a spiritual energy.  With my connection to animals I was really surprised that I hadn't heard about Zoomancy until I was researching a “Z” word for the Pagan Blog Project 2012.

Checking out the website Occultopedia, I found some really awesome info on Zoomancy.  For instance many cultures around the world practiced one form of Zoomancy or another.  Babylonians studied sleeping oxen’s reaction to having water tossed on them.  Hittites watched eels and Etruscans watched the movements of hens and roosters.

As I was reading this article as soon as I read that in medieval times howling of dogs was said to mean death was coming I immediately thought of Hecate.  Howling of dogs is said to signal her presence and as we all know she is the Goddess of the Magic and Necromancy.  We know that she stands at the crossroads with the keys to guide newly departed souls to the next realm.

This came full circle for me because last night I went to the hospital to visit my grandma of 97 years.  She’s frail and tired looking.  Her eyes, though filled with youth are shown with the weight of a long long life.  She talked to me going back and forth from present to past about farming and her beloved husband. 

Photo Credit - Renee Olson

She said it was foretold that if your husband builds you a house, he will only live six years following.  That’s what happened to her.  Her husband passed away at 57.  I never met him.  He died well before I was born.  She told me last night that it was a long time ago.  I could see the sadness come over her face.  She is ready I believe.  I made peace with myself as I left the hospital.  She’s looking now, standing at the crossroads waiting for Hecate to arrive.  She wants to move on and be with her beloved Joe.  I know he’s there.  In her mind her peace will come when they are together again.  She has lived a long full life.  She’s raised ten children alone and even managed to end up raising two grandchildren as well.  She is our matriarch and when she is gone I believe our family will finally part ways.

Photo Credit - Renee Olson

She taught me about wives tales and animals.  My first salt was tossed over my shoulder at her direction.  She told me about Joe coming to visit her at the end of her bed the night he passed and I've always believed that on her last night, she will come to let me know as well.  I believe my since of responsibility, understanding, fairness and my gift of sight comes from her.  I will miss her dearly.

Photo Credit - Nadine Going

I still continue to find my divination source.  I will certainly look more into the art of Zoomancy.  With all the animals I have around me, perhaps this is my calling.

Namaste & Blessed Be

Sosanna's Closet Shop Launched

Good Afternoon Everyone!  I have wonderful news.  Over the past week I've been working diligently on my webpage. That's right, I finally got up and running.  I've been able to add much of my content and even got my on storefront up and going.

I had hoped to be able to open a physical shop within the next few months but it does not appear that I'm going to be able to do that.  So instead hubby and I will continue attending vending events locally as well as getting the online shop open.

I've created several pages to outline the type of work I do, from jewelry to wreaths to clay.  Slowly I'll be limiting what I sell on Esty and cycling over to my online shop and my Facebook page.

I'm so exciting to be sharing this news with you today.  As part of this special I'm offering free US shipping on all the items currently listed in my online shop.  Head over and check it out!!

Meatless Monday - Homemade "Cheddar Roo" Biscuits

Ok, no one panic.  Biscuits are not that hard.  A few tips before we get started.  Make sure that your flour is self-rising OR add about a tablespoon of baking powder to help keep your biscuits from being hockey pucks.  On other thing to keep in mind is that if you are going to use salted butter do not salt the flour, if you’re using unsalted butter, add about a ½ teaspoon to the dry ingredients.

I’m going to show you a basic white cheese biscuits; you can leave out the cheese and make some gravy.  It’s a very easy recipe.

Photo Credit - Renee Olson

2 Cups Self-Rising Flour
8 tsps. Salted Butter
½ cup Milk
Block of White Cheese

Slice about six thick slices of the cheese
Start with 2 Cups of flour in a bowl

Photo Credit - Renee Olson

Chop the 8 teaspoons of butter into little pieces about the size of a pea; add this to the bowl of flour
Use your fingers to incorporate the butter into the flour, a little at a time add the milk to the flour mixture.

Photo Credit - Renee Olson
Using your hands mix the two together until it forms a soft dough, if it gets crumbly, just add more milk a little at a time until it's smooth.

Photo Credit - Renee Olson

Roll the dough a few times until it is no longer “sticky”

Photo Credit - Renee Olson

Pinch off the ends of the biscuit and form into round biscuits

Photo Credit - Renee Olson

Photo Credit - Renee Olson

Place into a baking dish and pop in a 350 degree preheated oven

Photo Credit - Renee Olson

After about 10 minutes check the bottoms to see if they are brown, if so remove the pan from the oven and carefully split them open.

Photo Credit - Renee Olson

Add the sliced cheese and put back in the oven.
Keep a watch on the biscuits and remove when the cheese is melted

Photo Credit - Renee Olson


Photo Credit - Renee Olson

I really love making things from scratch.  Sure I could use canned biscuits but just look at the ingredients:

My biscuits have:
Butter – Cream and salt
Check your labels, if it has things like MSG, HFCS or “Modified” items you’ll want to avoid it.

Easy breezy biscuits, let me know how you make out!

Namaste & Blessed Be

Sosanna's Log - Supplemental...

So this has been an amazingly crazy weekend.  Friday around late morning the first reports were coming out about the shooting in Connecticut.  The message was, possible shooting as an elementary school.  One teacher, one child injured.

Sad.  Then as the day progressed the enormity of the event began to unfold.  First, three then four.  Next we learn that the gunman was dead on the scene.  Finally by the end of the day I watched with complete and utter dismay at the final count. Twenty-seven people.  Twenty of those where children under the age of six at Sandy Hook Elementary School. (Washington Post)

We struggle to make sense of this kind of thing.  We sit here and wonder, why did this happen.  The fury that followed over the social media networks was startling to say the least.  I sat and watched friends, neighbors and family members say things at I really believed at someone point they would end with "LOL".

Reading the news reports this morning I found out several interesting things.  First, Adam Lanza, 20, first killed his mother, who was not a teacher at the school as previously reported.  Second, he busted into the school by force because the school had a newly installed security system.  The semiautomatic weapons he had he had taken from his mother's collection.  She was a legal gun owner who enjoyed target practice.  She was killed in her own home, with her own gun.

Adam then went to the school and sprayed the classroom with hundreds and hundreds of rounds of ammunition from semi automatic weapons that were legal in this country.  He then turned the gun on himself.

This morning I sit looking at the posts on Facebook about how, we need stronger gun laws or we need to allow prayer in school.  One page "One Nation Under God" actually has a graphic of our founding fathers kneeling before a picture of white Jesus.  The post things like "Liberals blame the Guns" or "Allow Prayer in Schools".

Here are a few facts:

Adam was not a gun owner.  So his mental state, age, or religion would not be a factor in gun ownership.  Adam did not attend that school.  His mother was not a teacher at the school and in fact according to current reports that school was chosen at random.  Prayer or lack thereof played no role at all in the events that took place at Sandy Hook Elementary.  Only one had control of the events of that day.  And that my friends, was Adam.

I understand we area all struggling with how to understand, process and recover from this.  It I'm sure will go on record as one of the worse school shootings in US history to date.  However, we have to watch that we don't become completely reactionary here.  Laws are created out of debate and examination.  Not knee jerk reactions.

I'm sure you may be wondering, Sosanna I saw you post on Facebook about this yesterday, what prompted this supplemental.  This morning my hubby kissed me goodbye as he left our house for his job at a gas station.  A place where people come and go daily.  There's a hundred dollars or so in the drawer and some cigarettes.  A few months ago several of these stores were robbed and the cashier killed in the process.  As he returned for his forgotten keys on the nightstand I woke briefly and the words that automatically escaped my lips were ....  "be safe".

You see, he's my world.  Without him I'd be lost.  He keeps me sane when the manias start.  He brings me up when the lows hit.  He keeps me on an even keel.  He brings home litters of worm infested sick puppies for us to nurse back to health.

 He gives shirt off his back so that some one else will not be cold.  He is indeed one of the kindest, gentlest people I have ever known.  He has never raised his hand in anger or intentionally hurt me in any way.  You know what else he is.... He's an atheist.

On that very page I mentioned above, the "Christian" people preceded to say how atheists are nothing and should be put on a island somewhere. As I sit and read the comments on these pages, I'm so glad he' not Christian.  These are some really vile people.  Saying that these lives were a sacrifice for allowing marriage equality in Connecticut.  Saying that it's because they're not praying in school.  I am completely sickened by the responses here.

As I sit here trying to cope with this, my phone lights up with text messages from him.  He's saying just filter them out honey.  Here someone is blaming a national tragedy on him and his first thought is for my well being. He is indeed an amazing individual.  Without religion.

The Facebook page Being Liberal posted an awesome graphic today.

We really should remember, things happen sometimes.  No matter what you do, no matter what you say.  At this time we should be embracing each other.  Encouraging each other to use whatever method we use, be it Jesus or Hecate or WHATEVER to find some comfort.  We need to continue to remember those lost lives.  We need to celebrate their passage on to their next realm and take solace in the fact that according to the news reports they passed quickly.  (For those interested there's a website called "" that has online memorials to those lost.)

With that I leave you with the following thought.  No matter who you are, where you are or what you believe:

"I honor the place within you where the entire Universe resides; I honor the place within you of love, of light, of truth, of peace; I honor the place within you, where, when you are in that place in you, and I am in that place in me, there is only one of us." ~ Gandhi

Namaste & Blessed Be

Pagan Blog Project 2012 - Y is for Yggdrasil

In Norse mythology, there is a giant ash tree, Yggdrasil, supporting the universe.  This tree roots travel from the underworld, Niflheim into the land of the giants, Jotunheim and a third into the Gods home, Asgard.

Urdarbrunnr or the Well of Fate, Mimibrunnr or Well of Wisdom and Hvergelmir or Roaring Kettle.  These three wells at the bottom was said to give the knowledge of Odin.  It is said that Odin gave one of his eyes for this knowledge.  

Sometimes depicted as a tree with large branches and roots that mirror them, Yggdrasil is often used in pendants and tattoos.  I’ve seen it with the words of the Wiccan rede around it and “As above so below”.

This is Yggdrasill, the World Tree, Tree of Life or Laerad.

Photo Credit - Elijah Olson - Tattooist

Within the tree four deer live in the branches and eat the buds representing the four winds.  Also in the tree is a snake (Vidofnir) a rooster and a squirrel (Ratatosk) noted for gossip. The roots of the tree are chewed upon by Nidhogg.

In the myth, demons are trying to destroy Yggdrasil this represents the constant power struggle between good and evil.  

On the day of Ragnarok, or the end of the world, a fire giant named Surt will send fire in all directions and the nine worlds held up by Yggdrail will burn causing the earth to fall into the sea.

I had read this several years ago and even played an online role playing game that referenced this story.  We always had to get back to the tree!

Namaste and Blessed Be

Meatless Monday – It’s Breakfast for Dinner!

 Lots of time I use breakfast for dinner as a way to keep my diet “meat” free.  This particular recipe has eggs, so again, not strictly vegetarian but still not really meat.  I don’t use commercial eggs.  I have a hen house in the back yard with 3 hens. 

Photo Credit - Renee Olson

We pay about 15.00 a month on feed.  Now you can say, heck I can buy a lot of eggs at the store for 15.00 a month.  Yeah, you can.  However the way commercial hens are treated is horrible.  

As chicks the hens have their beaks burnt off.  This stops them from pecking each other in the close quartered cages.  They never have their feet touch the ground. They are kept in tight little cages their entire life.  The words ‘free range’ and ‘cage-free’ are all the rage right now, however I urge you to do your homework.  Those words do not mean what you think it means.

Now on to the recipe.

Photo Credit - Renee Olson

Organic French Toast
Organic Syrup
Organic Bread
2 tbs Cinnamon
1 tbs Vanilla
4-5 Eggs

Take the eggs and crack them into a pan.  I use a glass bread pan.
Beat the eggs, cinnamon and vanilla together

Heat your pan to medium high and add a little butter
After the butter melts dredge your bread (which I cut in half) into the egg mixture

Photo Credit - Renee Olson
Place the bread in the hot pan
Grill on both sides

Photo Credit - Renee Olson


Photo Credit - Renee Olson

If you don't have room to raise your own chickens, or you live in an area that wouldn't take kindly to early morning clucking check your local paper, farmer's market or Craig's List to find someone that raises them in your area.  There is nothing better that fresh eggs.  They taste better and are actually the correct size and color.  It's really the only way to go.

Hope you enjoy!

Namaste and Blessed Be