Cydira's Country Corner.

A potpourri of country wisdom, kitchen witchery, and random thoughts from yours truly. Take a gander, you may find a new interesting recipe or a funny little tidbit to bring a smile to your day.
Hi there!

I'm available for chat readings right now! I will be posting up a recipe for Tasty Tuesday in a little bit. I've been making soup and thought I should share one of my latest creations.

Hi everybody,

I've not been avoiding you. It turns out that I've had the flu. So, I have been resting and trying to get better. I'm doing much better than I was last week. It seems I also have developed a sinus infection/ear infection, but after I see the family doctor tomorrow, I will be on the mend from that as well. When I reach the point that I'm no longer coughing terribly, I will be available for calls.

I will be available for chat in an hour. I have to finish cleaning off my desk and stuff. Because housework waits for no person. It just grows and gets worse when you're not looking. In other news, I will be posting tarot outlooks for 2018 on the first of December. There will also be pay-to-view buttons for more detailed tarot outlooks by sign. The pay-to-view buttons will be at a reduced rate versus the regular email readings of the same style for the first two weeks of December.

I'll post more details about this promotion later today.



PS: The title of this post references a rhyme I learned as a girl. "I have a little birdie. Her name is Enza. I opened the window and influenza." It dates back to the era of the great Spanish Flu epidemic during WWI. Every time I get the flu, that is what comes to mind.
Hi folks,

I'm still pretty sick. I spent the last two days sick in bed. It was pretty rotten because of migraine level pain from sinus headaches. Thank goodness for Sudafed. I'm at the point where I'm upright and doing stuff. I am still really worn out and I am going to take the weekend to focus on getting over this thing. I'm sorry I haven't been available. On the plus side, I am getting caught up on sleep I missed because of anxiety over everything last week. (Coming off of one medication and starting a new one can do weird things to your brain.)

I'll see you all Monday.

Hi folks,

My feeling a little unwell last week has turned into a full blown stomach bug. It has been unpleasant but at least I got a full night of sleep last night. I'm not sure when I'll be over this. It may be a few more days. Ginger ale and tea with some dry toast have been helpful. With luck, I'll be over this soon. Or, it may go as it did for a friend of mine and I'll be over it by Saturday. Either way, when I am feeling better, I will be back to do calls. I'm not doing chat right now because I don't want my feeling sick to interrupt our chat session.

It figures this happens right before Samhain. Beloved may be the one taking the kids out to trick or treat tomorrow. This could be hilarious or horrible. I'm not quite sure which.

Hi folks,

I finished those tarot peeks. Here's the complete list of buttons. Choose your sign and for $5.00, you will get a quick overview of what the final three months of 2017 has for you.

Aries

Taurus

Gemini

Cancer

Leo

Virgo

Libra

Scorpio

Sagittarius

Capricorn

Aquarius

Pisces

If there are any questions, send me a message referencing which reading and which month. I'll be giving anyone with questions free minutes so that we can discuss things in greater detail, if that is what you wish to do. Because there are only three sections to this reading, four question requests are free for this promotion. After question four, the cost for clarification reads is reduced from $5.00 per question to $3.00. It is only for these quick readings, though. And I'll still send my thank you free minutes too.

Hi folks,

I'm a little under the weather right now. I"ll be available for calls in a few hours. I'm hoping some rest will help me feel better. This coughing like it is going out of style business is just not that cool.

Hi folks!

If you are stuck on what to have for dinner, I may have the solution. Pot roast is one of the cheapest cuts of meat, especially if you go with something like a chuck roast. Slow cooking the roast turns it into something that falls apart when your fork hits it. This is not a bad thing at all in my household's opinion. (And that fork tender meat can have the leftovers used to make amazing beef enchiladas. Seriously, you haven't had beef enchiladas until you've had them with pulled beef in them. Amazing!) I use a very basic recipe when I'm cooking up beef pot roast. This put the meat in the position where it is the real star of the meal.

Yankee pot roast is my typical choice for a beef roast. A small 2-3 lb roast can make enough for 4 people and some leftovers. I prefer to cook this in my slow cooker. But you can get the same result cooking it in the oven at 350 deg F for a half hour per pound of meat for your roast. So, my little 2 lb roast would cook up in an hour and the 3 lb will be done in an hour and a half. I cook my yankee pot roast with salt, pepper, and a bunch of basic veggies around it in the pan. This would be carrots, celery, new potatoes, and a parsnip (if I can sneak it past the boys, they're a little picky. White carrots are gross according to my 8 and 10 year olds.). I cut up the veggies roughly into 1 inch long pieces. I will peel my carrots and my parsnip. The potatoes I cut into quarters and leave them unpeeled. Just because I like how it looks in the pot and on the plate. If you prefer to peel them, go right ahead.

I'll drop this glorious mess into my slow cooker mid-morning. And then pour a half cup of water into the pot to keep things from drying out. I cook it on low heat seven to 8 hours. This means that dinner will be done around 5pm. If I am using a larger roast, like an 8 lb roast, I start it around 7 am. The crucial thing about this roast is you have to keep the lid on the pot you are using. The lid keeps the moisture in, which helps your meat cook up so tender. Some people will use a baster to put the drippings over the roast as it cooks. If your pot lid is not a nice, tight fitting one, this may be a good idea. I have converted to cooking roasts in my dutch oven because it simulates the environment of a slow cooker in the oven. I highly recommend it. Just remember that you are cooking a half hour for each pound of meat.

When everything is done, you can (if you are deft of hand and careful) lift the roast out of the pot and set it on a platter for serving. Then nestle all of those good veggies around it. It'll look pretty and save you a serving dish.
Good morning, you beautiful souls!

I'm taking calls until 12pm Eastern time. After a break for lunch, I will be taking calls from 1pm Eastern time to 2pm Eastern time. I will be on chat at random times through out the day. I will post a note up here when I am on chat. At the moment, I am not on chat because I have some cleaning to take care of. But, I will drop my work for calls. It's easier to sit down with the phone right now. I'm sure you've all had days like that too.

Now, all of this talk about calls and such, I'm sure you're wondering what else is going on right now over in my neck of the woods. We have big doings happening here. My eldest started band this year. He is learning to play the drums. His dream is to play the kettle drums as part of Paul McCartney's band, Wings, or start his own band named the Beetles. His little brother wants to be just like him, so we have two kids basically learning to play the drums, with the eldest teaching the youngest after school as he is practicing. Fortunately, the neighbors have decided this enthusiasm is endearing.

I have been busy learning new recipes and making big changes to my diet. Since I developed lactose intolerance, I have just been making huge changes to everything in my diet. I guess that was the push I needed to get serious about eating healthier. Since I started doing this back in late August, I have dropped two pants sizes. I also have found that I have far less stomach upset. Who'd have known this was going to happen? Certainly not me. I may be psychic but I can't predict everything, and feeling like your guts are going to form a militia and go after you gets in the way of a lot of stuff too. Now, however, I feel better and, weirdly, have more energy.

My diet is what some would call 'flexitarian' where I base most of my meals around vegetarian dishes. Then I add in meat at various intervals to keep my protein up. I also have cut my carbohydrate consumption in half. I have been struggling to drop soda from my diet. It's a comfort food when I get stressed out. And life has been stressful for the last few weeks. It is, however, starting to calm down. I am doing my best to only drink water at meal times. I also have cut waaay back on my coffee consumption. This seems to help some with my headache issues, which isn't a big surprise. Where I was doing around 6 cups of coffee on a given day, I am now down to two. Well, I do drink decaffeinated coffee, but I feel that it doesn't count because it is the caffeine that I'm trying to limit. Coffee became a comfort food of mine when I was stressed out too. Decaffeinated isn't quite the same, but I still get the warm comforting goodness of coffee with a splash of creamer in it. (I've been making a point to measure out 2 tbsp of creamer to add to my big mug of coffee and I think this is having positive results because my creamer is actually lasting all week instead of 3 days.)

So, I've got a bunch of stuff I'm working on over here. And I'm getting ready for National Novel Writing Month too. (I am going to be finishing book seven of a fantasy series I am writing. I may post an excerpt up here for you to enjoy.) My pile of notes is teetering precariously on the table by the couch. I'm working on getting all of that organized but it's a bit harder than I thought it was going to be to begin with. Ah well, if it is worth doing, it is worth doing well, right?

I'll be around. Give me a call. I'll be delighted to chat with you over the phone this morning.

Good morning!

Here's a few motivational quotes for you this morning. I am available for calls right now. If you call, you will get a thank you mail with 3 to 5 free minutes, depending on the length of our conversation. Now, on to the quotes!

Life is a banquet. And most poor fools are starving to death. - Mae West

Tu ne cede malis sed contra audentior ito. - Virgil (Translation: Yield not to misfortunes but advance all the more boldly against them.)

Dum vita est spes est. - Horace (Translation: While there is life, there is hope.) Have a beautiful day, you lovely people.

Hi folks!

Tomorrow, I start taking calls as per my new schedule. I'm still trying to relearn the html stuff to update my page here on Keen. That said, as of 9 am tomorrow, I will be available for calls. I will also be available for chat. Chat readings will be available during the times I am free for calls. It will also be available at other random times outside of my schedule as per when I have the opportunity to get my self set up for that at the desk here.

I look forward to chatting with you all again. Thank you again for your patience with all of this. Life has been challenging of late but it seems to be improving as we go along. Having a new working headset helps a lot with all of that.

Hi folks,

Here's this week's tarot peek (on time for the first time in ages, yahoo!).

Sunday: Queen of Swords The first day of the week is going to be a day of challenges. It will be particularly difficult for communication requiring us to be careful with our words. We are cautioned to be mindful that words are like swords with sharp edges and can be used for good or ill. And when used carelessly will hurt someone.

Monday: King of Swords The warning of Sunday is carried forward to Monday. Greater emphasis is placed on taking care to communicate clearly and carefully. We are encouraged to consider the wisdom of what we say and if it passes Socrates's sieve: is it good, true, or necessary?

Tuesday: 5 of Swords This card is reversed, which negates some of the darker aspects of it. We are going to find arguments narrowly avoided. Careful planning and consideration of the full weight of our speech is going to help ward off major problems, though minor communication problems are going to pop up. Technical glitches are going to be a problem, but will not cause complete breakdowns of communication.

Wednesday: 3 of Rods The focus on good communication brings the entire community to a place where we can see our plans and good intentions unfurling as we hoped. Hard work behind us lays the foundation of the safe harbor that our ships are coming into. Though the work is not complete, a good beginning has established much of the future good.

Thursday: 2 of Cups This typically benevolent card arrives reversed. Partnerships are going to enter a rocky period. Harmony will be disrupted and feelings of togetherness will be questioned. At the same time, however, this does not indicate a breaking of partnerships. Miscommunication and failure to inform each other of their needs are the biggest challenges for partners to overcome this day. Heed the lessons of earlier this week to make this day smoother.

Friday: The Emperor The elder members of Keen will find today an auspicious day. Their wisdom and guidance for more junior members will be greatly appreciated and respected. This card also indicates that focusing on the present work and making practical plans for future progress is a very good task to engage in this day. Favorable lunar influences will be at play here with the waxing moon.

Saturday: The Fool This card shows up reversed but it is reading as upright for me right now. (The Fool will do this for me from time to time just to remind me who is in charge.) Good beginnings are happening this day. Solid ground work leads to a leap of faith. We are encouraged not to allow doubt to keep us back and trust in the wisdom of our Spirit.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Note: The sheer number of swords in this week's reading is unusual. The high number of court cards and major arcana is also unusual. It is my feeling that this serves to underline the importance of listening to those cards and the general message from them. Doing my gut check 3 card reading just plays out the same thing as the rest of the cards. General message is be careful with your words; make a point of treating communication breakdowns as situations where we are not getting the full message; and this care will set us up for a good period of new beginnings at the end of the week.
Hi folks,

I made this for dinner last night. The guys loved it. And that says something considering that they don't typically like chicken in just about any form (except for enchiladas for the husband and nuggets for the kids). Now, I confess, I did cheat here. I used a store bought rotisserie seasoning mix. It was, however, the seasoning mix that Beloved loves the most which was why I used it.

I used a 5lb roasting bird. I put the seasoning all over the outside. Obviously, I took out the gizzard, neck, and related bits in their paper bag. When I popped it into my dutch oven, I added a 1/4 cup of water, just in case the juices from the bird were not enough to keep it moist. I cooked it in the center of my oven at 350o F for two and a half hours. (Remember that old rule half an hour roasting time per pound of meat, it works really well for poultry too!)

By the time it was done, that bird was fork tender and falling apart. Just like what you'd get out of a crock-pot. Now, one may wonder why it was like this when if I cooked in a regular roasting pan it would have been drier. The answer is simple. It's the dutch oven. If you get yourself a nice dutch oven with a well fitting lid, you create an environment that is quite similar to what you have inside your crock-pot. It has high humidity and even heat. This is what gets your roast chicken to that perfect state for making pulled chicken sliders (my plans for the leftovers one of these days when I actually have enough left to do so). It also gives you a little bit of chicken stock on the base of the pan in the drippings.

I save the drippings and the bits of the chicken that fall off as I am taking the rest out. Then I toss all of that into my slow cooker with the ends of vegetables I had been using over the week and a generous amount of water. I cook that on low for 8 to 10 hours. In the end, you have a nice chicken stock. If you strain it into a bowl, you can pick out the bits of chicken left and add it to your stock. You can also save the bones to make a bone broth later. Can you guess my plans for the remnants of this bird?

I hope you get the chance to enjoy a nice home cooked chicken. If the dutch oven is too much, just season it as you'd like and then put it in your crock-pot on low for 8 to 10 hours. You'll get that same effect with even less effort. (Also chicken drippings from this can make for AMAZING instant mashed potatoes if you use them in place of butter. It even cuts down on the amount of salt you have to add to them.) Have a great afternoon, y'all.

Hi Folks,

My weekend was utter chaos. The boys were into everything. I think it was because we had some rainy weather and they got bored. I lost count how many fights I had to split up. Thank goodness they're back at school for the week. Today was a rough morning because my migraine from last night lasted into today. Now, I think it is done and I can get to doing stuff with the cards. It's amazing how much easier it is to do stuff when your vision isn't a little bit funny.

Monday: 8 of Swords - Many of us feel trapped in a bad situation. We are encouraged to remember that there is away out of this 'trap' and all we need to do is calm down, take a full assessment of the situation, and choose how we are going to move forward.

Tuesday: 10 of Cups - For many of us, this will be a day filed with great happiness and love. There is success here but more than success, there is the realization of dreams and fulfillment of the heart's deepest wish.

Wednesday: 9 of Swords - Sleep problems are going to be very difficult for quite a few of us, readers and clients alike. In some cases, they are fueled by anxiety. In others, it is just stress and life getting in the way. We are encouraged to remember that the nightmares are not in truth what we are dealing with. And that despair may be tempting, but there is always something that can be done.

Thursday: 5 of Cups - The stress that prompted sleep problems the day before encourages us to look back on the past. We are warned not to dwell on what is lost and what mistakes we have made. Please remember, we also made a lot of good decisions and have a great deal to hope for in the future. All is not lost.

Friday: 10 of Rods - Hard work will bear fruit. The work of this day is a bit harder than usual. It is going to lead us to a position where we are well prepared for the challenges of the future. It is, however, going to be very tiring work with some frustration and possibly feelings of being underappreciated.

Saturday: 3 of Cups - We are going to find rest from the hard work of the week (both emotional and physical). We are encouraged to find comfort in our friendships and families. We are also encouraged to allow ourselves to drink deeply from the cup of joy and find bliss in the moment.

Sunday: 3 of Pentacles - This is to be a day of preparation for the work of the next week. In many cases, the preparation work will be almost as hard as the work that is done on a given day. I also see here that much of this effort will be solitary. The cards show that the old expression "Work well begun is half done." is going to really bear fruit next week on the basis of this day's efforts.

This is what the cards show me for this week. I'm considering switching the day I post the tarot peeks for the week up to Mondays. Let me know if this is a good day for you. In the meantime, if you want a reading you can find me on chat. My voice is still a bit shot from all the coughing I've been doing as I recover from this sinus infection. I'm almost healthy again. Hopefully our wacky weather won't make me lose my voice again.

Have a lovely day, you wonderful people! ♥
Hey there,

I forgot to mention, I'm available for chat readings until 3pm Eastern time. I'm not doing calls today because wearing the headset makes my head hurt. Stupid sinus infection doing sinus infection things. I'm always available for email readings.

Hi folks!

It is cold season. I don't care what the calendar says, everyone in my household over the last month has caught a cold. Half of my neighbors are fending one off. Therefore, it is cold season. And, like some of them, I had my cold turn into a sinus infection. I guess I have my answer for my bad headaches of late.

I don't know what remedies you use for terrible colds and sinus pain. I have a few that I use that I thought I'd share with you.

  • The first one is the simplest. Take a bowl and fill it up with hot water. Then drape a towel over your head and sit with your face over the steam. The towel will form a little tent that will keep the steam from escaping. Obviously, be careful not to have your face in the hottest steam. You want something as warm as you can tolerate. Then sit with that towel over you until the steam turns cool.

    This does a few things for you. The steam encourages your body to relax the muscles of your face and head. This can ease tension headaches as well as sinus headaches. It also encourages all of that gunk to drain out of your sinuses. This can be somewhat disgusting and gross, but it actually does a whole lot to help me feel better because it relieves the pressure in the sinuses. The steam also gives your face all the benefits of a facial, for free. If you want that benefit to stick around when you are done, wash your face quickly with cold water.


  • My second solution for feeling terrible from a cold is to gargle with salt water. If your throat is raw from coughing, this is likely going to be uncomfortable. To make it a little less so, I use warm water. I add a half teaspoon of salt to an 8 oz glass of water. I gargle with it for about 30 seconds. It feels like forever, but afterwards, my throat is less sore. It also works to kill the germs causing your sore throat for that cold. It have found it especially helpful when I have had strep throat in the past.


  • I will drink warm broth when I am having sore throat problems. It acts a lot like the salt water gargle to help soothe the scratchy/sore throat. It also encourages tension in my throat to relax. This is another solution that works well to ease the ache in your sinuses because you get a little bit of that steam benefit. I prefer chicken broth. Homemade is the best, but just about any broth is going to work for you.


  • I will suck on peppermint candies to help with a sore throat. The mint helps 'cool' the throat which relieves the pain. It also has a similar, though more limited, effect on the sinuses. My favorite are the ones that come in the metal tin. I ran out last week and I can't remember the name of the brand. But they're quite strong and work the best, I think.


  • Equally soothing in place of cough drops are butterscotch candies. They coat your throat and taste pretty good. After choking down disgustingly flavored cough syrup, you don't particularly want equally gross cough drops. My great-grandmother started that whole process of using butterscotch to treat a mild sore throat in my life. I was a little kid visiting her and I had a sore throat. She gave me a piece of her homemade butterscotch and told me to suck on it. I was amazed that it worked. Now I think of that every time I go to have some butterscotch. The happy memory may be part of the reason why this method helps me too. The placebo effect is not something to ignore.


  • A humidifier is my best friend when things get dried out. It is like having the steam treatment but you don't have to worry about burning yourself. Also, you're not stuck in one place all afternoon. It does a fantastic job of helping keep my sinuses moist. (Does anyone else experience the weirdness of having a cold and your sinuses feel dry because everything drains down your throat? Isn't that the weirdest thing ever?) It also makes it a little more comfortable for me to breathe when I have chest congestion, if the mist is cool.


  • Lest I forget, warm and cool compresses are a huge help too. They can help soothe swollen sinuses and lymph nodes. They can help soothe achey chests from lots of coughing and congestion. Also, they can just be comforting and help break a fever.


They're all really simple solutions. But they work really well to support what the cold medicine does. And they bring comfort and soothing when you're just not feeling well. Two really big things that I think everyone could benefit from. For my part, I've been using compresses for the sinus pain. It's a bit of a mixed bag on how effective they are right now. But I also haven't started my medication yet. I think after a couple days of having proper medicine in my system for this thing, all of these techniques are going to be super helpful.

I hope you are all feeling well. And if you're not, I hope these little things help you out some.

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