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.
Dear Reader,

You may have noticed for the last few weeks I have been doing readings by chat primarily. Tomorrow, I will not be available at all due to family related tasks. Also, Saturday through next Monday, I will not be available. This is because we have a big whopper of a storm coming in and a pretty good chance we might lose power if it tracks the way they think it will. Last snow storm, the power for our building blinked and we didn't have much weight on the tree out front. If we're all lucky, it will track a bit south and we'll avoid the worst of it.

I will start being available for calls next week, provided we don't have power issues. Until then, please don't hesitate to send me an e-mail reading. I can do a very through reading for just $20. That's a reading that could be 30 minutes or more over the phone or chat. E-mail readings do require you to give me a topic to read on and allow me 24 hours to get the reading done for you.

Thank you all so very much for your support as I am working on getting back into the swing of things here. Your encouragement and kindness is deeply appreciated.

Dear Reader,

I had a cat when I was younger named Spooky. Well, they want to be called Spooky now, but their name before was Sandy. Spooky was my familiar while alive and is still my familiar since crossing the rainbow bridge. Spooky is an orange tabby cat that is very friendly and likes to see people happy. Spooky has helped me and other people by leading them to where they needed to be and by bringing people who needed to be there to us.

Spooky headbutted me a few times this afternoon and then started licking my wedding rings. That's when it hit me, he wanted to help people find their love. So, we put together this spell to help you out. Signs that it is working is seeing cats and evidence of cats around you. The more cat signs you see, the closer you are to your Love meeting you. This spell will start to manifest pretty quickly because Spooky is a very determined feline blessed by Freyja (Norse goddess of love).

Give it a shot. It's just $5.00 and really simple. Just don't forget the potato chips, because Spooky LOVES his potato chips. (He guards the potato chips at my house and steals crumbs if they're left anywhere near the altar.)

Dear Reader,

Here's a short and sweet little spell to help smooth out life's bumpy ride. It manifests in a week, so it is a quick acting one. As long as you have the key, your luck will run a bit sweeter than usual. I've lowered the spell rate to $5.00 because it's the New Year and everyone needs a little luck.

Dear Reader,

Some of you may be familiar with the Led Zepplin song Communication Breakdown. If you're not, I suggest looking into it if you're a fan of classic rock and roll. But communication breakdown is more than just a Led Zepplin song. It can be a very real problem in relationships, work, and education. In the art of communication, the process goes through four stages. The first stage is the speaker thinks of what they'd like to express. Then they state it (this part has the fancy name of encoding). The listener hears what the speaker says. And then they interpret it (this part has the fancy name of decoding). Most communication problems come in the decoding side of the exchange but there is a lot to be said about the problems on the encoding side too.

Sometimes, we may make a mistake in what we're saying or use an expression that isn't the right fit for what we're trying to express. That would be an encoding problem. And sometimes we may hear the speaker say something that sound different from what they were trying to say (like when the phone has reception problems and you only catch half of what the speaker is saying) or the speaker may phrase things in a way we're not familiar with. That would be a decoding problem.

The trick is neither person may be aware that there is a communication breakdown until the next statement is made. Or one may have a strong emotional response to incorrect information and not hear the follow up statement (which only makes the communication breakdown even worse). So, how does one resolve a communication breakdown? The answer is simple - ask questions to clarify what is being said if you are having a decoding problem and rephrase your initial statement in greater clarity if you're having an encoding problem.

It is easy to assume that what you hear is accurate. Most of the time, communication flows pretty well and communication breakdown is fairly minor. Often, misstatements are ignored. Sometimes, however, they can have disastrous consequences. This is why, I personally, take the approach of whenever I suspect that I have misheard someone to always ask for clarification. And whenever I misphrase something, I make a point of pausing the conversation and repeating myself in a clearer fashion.

Some good expressions to use when asking someone to clarify what they have said are:

  • I'm sorry, I didn't catch what you said. Could you please repeat that?
  • Excuse me, did you say [repeat what you believe the speaker said]?
  • I do not understand. Are you saying [repeat what you believe the speaker said]?

In the case of you having difficulty phrasing something so that your listener can understand you clearly, here are a few tips to help you out.

  • Excuse me, I misspoke. [Rephrase your statement in simpler language.]
  • I'm sorry, I didn't say that quite right. [Rephrase your statement in clearer language.]
  • Pardon me, I made a mistake. What I meant to say was [Rephrase your statement in a more direct fashion.]
These communication tricks work best as soon as you are aware there is a communication breakdown. It can stop an argument before it even begins. It can also help solve problems, make sure that everyone in the situation has correct information, and possibly save a relationship if applied for every communication challenge that comes up. This is what's helped my husband and I maintain a 30 year relationship with only one or two big fights. Those happened early on before either of us figured out how to use these tools. Take it from me, it works really well.
Dear Reader,

The movies make happy relationships look like either only for the lucky few or something that happens by way of hollywood magic and always carry some dark secret that ultimately leads to disaster. My guides have some advice for you if you want to have a relationship that is actually happy.

Point number one: Always think before you speak. Remember, just because you have been with someone for what feels like forever, you don't know exactly what is going on. Pause a moment and ask yourself if what you have to say is kind, true, and helpful. And remember that everyone, even your partner, is going through challenges in life you are not aware of.

Point number two: Be willing to be vulnerable. Admit when you are feeling unsure of yourself and ask for reassurance. Go out on that proverbial limb and confess your heart's deepest yearnings to the person closest to you. You will find that in a happy relationship, things may not always look happy but honesty and openness always will keep you in a place where happiness can find you. Even when things are hard.

Point number three: Remember that you are your own unique person with their own unique special needs and traits outside of the relationship. And remember the same is true for your partner. A relationship always grows stronger as you encourage your individuality and respectively unique wonderful traits to grow and flourish. This allows you to have water to draw from to fill that relationship bucket because you are replenishing the well with self care.

Point number four: Communication, communication, communication. Share with your partner what is on your mind. Ask what is on their mind. Check in with each other to make sure that everything is going ok. If there are some rough spots, talk them over and plan how to work together to resolve them.

Have a beautiful day.

Here's the current list of dessert and sweets recipes that I have up here. I will update this list and repost it as I add more. Most of this list is not diabetic friendly because they're from before I developed diabetes. I am working on trying to come up with diabetic friendly versions. (The experimentation process is not going as well as I would like it to but I will keep trying.)

Cydira's #1 cookie recipe (No bake pb cookies – Grandma's recipe)

Cydira's #2 cookie recipe (pb cookies – mom's recipe)

Cydira's #3 cookie recipe (scottish shortbread)

Cydira's #4 cookie recipe (great-grandma's chocolate chip cookies)

Cydira's #5 cookie recipe (sugar cookies)

Cydira's #6 cookie recipe (thumbprint cookies from Aunt Shawn)

Cydira's #7 cookie recipe (chocolate kisses from great-grandma's recipe)

Cydira's #8 cookie recipe (caschew gems/russian teacakes from Aunt Adrian)

Cydira's #9 cookie recipe (southern rum balls from mom)

Cydira's 10th cookie recipe (aggression cookies from Grandma)

Apple crisp

Shaker Christmas Pudding

Beltaine Fruit Fool for Lovers

Tasty Tuesday: Ting-a-lings

Tasty Tuesday: Slow Cooker Apple Cranberry sauce

Tasty Tuesday: Slow Cooker Rocky Road Bread Pudding

Tasty Tuesday: One Person Apple Pie

Tasty Tuesday: German Apple Cake

Tasty Tuesday: Mystery recipe (stollen?)

Dear Reader,

In my on going quest to make it easier to find the recipes you want on my blog, here's some for easy dinners. Some of these feature the slow cooker and others are one pot meals. Any way you slice it, these dinners have made my life simpler and I really hope they will do the same for you. Recipes noted with a ♥ are diabetic friendly. I'm sorry I haven't figured out html code well enough to make the titles into links, but if you copy-paste the link it will take you right to the recipe.

Crockpot chicken soup

Crockpot Cooking! Spinach & Squash soup

Crockpot Cooking! Cider stew

Odds and Ends soup, or a great way to use up leftovers. (version one)

Summer's Cookin! Let's have some Pulled Pork BBQ!

Tasty Tuesday: Dutch Oven Chili & Homemade Bread

Tasty Tuesday: Slow Cooker Leftover St-upe

Tasty Tuesday: Chicken and Rice Bake

Tasty Tuesday: Reuben casserole

Tasty Tuesday: Pulled Pork BBQ from the Slow Cooker (includes bbq sauce recipe)

Tasty Tuesday: Fix and Forget It Chili Dogs

Tasty Tuesday: Dutch Oven Roast Chicken

Tasty Tuesday: Yankee Pot Roast with Potatoes

Tasty Tuesday: Pulled Steak Fajitas

Tasty Tuesday: Odds and Ends Soup (version 2)

Tasty Tuesday: Pulled Pork Enchiladas

Tasty Tuesday: Chickepea Casserole ♥

Tasty Tuesday: Sheet pan Chicken Fajitas ♥

Dear Reader,

Tuesdays are usually taco night at my place. Some times, however, I just have to take a break from tacos. Sheet pan chicken fajitas cook up relatively easily in the oven. If you line your sheet pan with foil, clean up is a breeze. Since getting diagnosed with diabetes, I've had to step away from tortillas. What I do for myself instead is make a salad and have the chicken fajita fixings on top of it with a moderate amount of dressing.

I use a 9 x 13 jelly roll pan. I line it with foil which is hit with a quick spray of pan spray (I forget the name of the brand I use but it's canola oil based) so that the goodies don't stick to the foil. Then I cut up two boneless chicken breasts into bite sized pieces and place them on one end of my pan. I sprinkle them with a little salt and pepper. With a clean knife and cutting board, I then slice up one red, one yellow, and one green sweet bell pepper. I lay these down beside the chicken. Because I like the visual aesthetics of it, I lay each color down with its own row. After that I slice up one large, sweet onion into half moons. I layer these in the space left after the chicken and the peppers. I then wrap foil over the top of it all so that everything retains its moisture as it cooks. Pop the whole mess in the oven at 350 deg. F. for 30 minutes and you'll have dinner ready as soon as you're done washing up the dishes.

Some folks like to squeeze a bit of lime juice over the veggies and chicken. You can do this either right before you cover it up and put it in the oven, or right after everything comes out of the oven. My family are not big fans of limes so I skip this step. Other folks like to toss their chicken in taco seasoning before placing it on the sheet pan. This can add a lot of intense flavor. How ever you like your chicken, even if that means tossing it with rotisserie seasoning before cooking, make sure you cook it long enough that when tested with a meat thermometer it is fully done. Some ovens cook a little faster and other cook a little slower. Always check your poultry when you take it out.

I hope you're having a beautiful day.

Dear Reader,

Last week, I shared with you the chain stitch. It is the foundation of most every crochet project you can think of. This week, we are looking at the single crochet stitch. It is noted in patterns as 'SC' and is the second most basic stitch used. To practice and learn single crochet, today, I am sharing with you a simple washcloth pattern. To begin, we will chain stitch thirty one stitches, not counting the one loop on the hook. Now, here's the tricky bit, insert your hook into the second chain stitch from the hook and pick up a loop of yarn. Pull this loop through. There will be two loops of yarn on your hook now. Pick up a third loop of yarn and draw it through both of the other loops. Ta-dah! You have made your first single crochet stitch.

Work across your row in this fashion. After your final stitch in the row, make one chain stitch. This is an important chain stitch because it allows you to turn your work and go in the other direction. It is known as your turning chain in some patterns. After working your turning chain, flip your work over. Working into the second stitch from the hook (not counting the loop on the hook but counting the turning chain), single crochet across your row. As you work, count your stitches. You should have thirty stitches in your row. Repeat the process for twenty eight more rows and you will have a square washcloth that is thirty stitches wide and thirty rows tall.

So, you have this washcloth and a trailing end of yarn going back to your ball. How do you separate it and make sure all of your work doesn't come undone? This is as easy as pie. Pull that turning chain stitch at the end of row thirty into a nice, snug slip knot. With a pair of scissors, nip the large loop that is wrapping around the hook in half. Then pull on the end of the yarn going to the ball on the OPPOSITE side of where you have been working to pull that cut end out. After this, you can take a yarn needle and weave in your ends to finish your washcloth.

Depending on your choice of yarn, you may have a luxurious cotton washcloth for a nice spa day or a sturdy pot scrubbing masterpiece out of acrylic yarn. Either way, you have made something from a bit of string and a stick. Welcome to the world of crochet. Just be careful, that yarn collection tends to double when you're not looking.
Dear Reader,

Sometimes my family gets bored with chili. I like to serve this in place of it with cornbread. If you are like me and you have to watch your carbs, I'm pleased to let you know that a single cup serving of chickpea casserole is approximately 30 carbs. It makes a nice warm dinner that can be waiting for you in the slow cooker after a long day out working in the cold. This is a very filling recipe and simple.


2 15 oz cans of chickpeas
1 lb bulk sausage, browned and drained
4 strips of bacon, crisped and crumbled
1/2 cup cooked ham, diced fine
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tbsp parsley
2 tbsp red pepper flakes
2 tbsp Italian seasoning

Combine all of your ingredients in your slow cooker and let it run on low for 6 hours.

If you decide to make it on the stove top, cook over medium heat for 30 minutes, covered, and stirring often. Then cook on a simmer for another 30 minutes, uncovered, and stirring often. It may seem like a long time for it to all cook but the long cooking time on the stove top can be turned into a slightly shorter cooking time in the oven. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and cook your casserole in a covered dutch oven, stirring occasionally, for 45 minutes. This way lets you make that tasty cornbread right alongside it.
Dear Reader, I do more than just cook in my kitchen. It is where I do a lot of magic too. I keep a journal of my magical experiments as well as a recipe book. Sometimes they overlap. My most recent overlap between magical work and old fashioned cooking was making a pot of soup to help the whole family get over the flu. Now, some people swear by canned chicken soup as a cure all for the cold and flu season. If you have a little time, however, you can get something just as fantastic out of some odds and ends you have leftover in the pantry with a little magic thrown in to the mix.

First you need the carcass of a roast chicken picked most clean of the meat. You'll need to put that in your stock pot and cover it with just enough water so that the whole carcass is submerged. To this, add a pinch of salt. The salt serves two purposes. First it is for magical purification and grounding. It helps kick the unhealthy energy of the illness out of the body. second, it raises the boiling temperature of the water so that every thing cooks a little faster. Next, you want to add the cut up ends of two carrots. Carrots have a long history in magical cooking as being good for eyesight and the problems that come with eyesight issues. In the case of having the flu, magically the carrots help relieve that achey eyes feeling and the headache that causes.

Next, chop up a stalk of celery and toss that in your soon to be healing broth. The celery encourages strength and a cooling sensation in the body. This addresses the mild fever that goes with a bad cold or the flu. After this, you want to add the cut up ends of onion to drive the toxins out of the body. Garlic is also good for this. Use a generous portion of either. Add bay leaves to encourage good luck in the healing process. Add a touch of pepper to combat 'fire with fire' on the fever front. Thyme is a good herb to throw in the pot too because it encourages the body to expel toxins and it soothes sore throats.

You have a few different options for how to cook this down. One is to use that wonderful miracle of modern technology and set it all up in your slow cooker. Set it to cook on low for six to eight hours and you'll have a wonderful broth by the end of that time. Just remember to keep track of your liquid levels and add more as needed. You want to keep the bird submerged. The other method is a little more labor intensive but faster. That is cook all of it down in a stock pot on the stove top. You'll first want to get things to a rolling boil and skim off any foam that rises. After that, drop it down to a slow simmer. Simmer for three hours, adding liquid as needed to keep the bird under the waterline. If you are simmering this on the stove, you'll want to stir it occasionally to make sure nothing sticks to the bottom of your pot.

Honestly, I feel that I get better results out of babysitting a pot of bubbling stock and stirring my intentions into it frequently than I do from my slow cooker. I, however, am a very hands-on kind of person when it comes to my magical work. After your bits and bobs have simmered long enough, line a colander with cheese cloth and set it over the biggest bowl you have. Then carefully ladle your broth into it. The cheese cloth lined colander acts to collect the sediment and pieces leaving you with a nice clean bowl of broth.

Now, you can use this broth as is. Which is very good for someone who has a tender tummy that can't handle solid food like my guys the week of Christmas. Or, you can add diced cooked chicken, some cut up veggies (save those ends and bits for your next pot of soup fixings) and a little bit of noodles to it and reboil everything until it is nice and hot and those noodles are al dente. This broth keeps well in the freezer for up to three months. In the fridge, it will gell up a little bit but it will still be good for use for up to a week.

Oh, in case you were wondering what I do with the remainders of everything solid after I cook it down, this is one of the things I don't compost. Because there are meat products in it and we have raccoons and other critters that get into the compost bin if that goes in there, I just put it in the garbage. If I'm making just plain vegetable stock, the left over solids go into the compost bin.
Dear Reader,

I'm in the process of collecting all of my recipes on here into one post that I will be boosting on a weekly basis with each week's new recipe added. It will take me a few weeks to go back through the list of recipes to get all my links correct. But once I have it done, it should be much easier to find the recipe you want instead of sifting through a little over ten years of posts to find it.

I am going to organize them in groups by category. Main dishes in one group, sweets in another. I will mark the diabetic friendly recipes with a ♥ beside the link. This massive blog post of links should be up at about the end of the month. I will still be posting new recipes on a weekly basis. I look forward to making this blog easier to use for everybody. Because sometimes I misplace my cookbook and I have to dig through old posts to find that one recipe the kids loved a while back for dinner. That's madness and I have decided to correct it.

I am also embarking on the process of adapting recipes to be diabetic friendly. So, some of my Tasty Tuesday posts are going to be sharing with you some of what I have learned. For example, you can not fully substitute granulated stevia for baking 1:1 for sugar in baking recipes. You have to use the stevia for half of your sugar for it to bake properly and the other half of the sugar needs to stay in the recipe. I learned this the hard way while I was attempting my holiday baking this year and using old family recipes. A batch of peanut butter no-bake cookies turned into fudge instead of cookies by using just the stevia. It was still tasty but they didn't firm up very well, except for when I put them in the freezer for a little bit but then they got soft again at room temperature. (And yes, Beloved helped me make the evidence of that cooking experiment gone wrong vanish with great joy. LOL)
Dear Reader,

This week's theme is New Beginnings! It's a new year and a prime time to start something new. Here's a few quotes to help you move forward with confidence.

You are unrepeateable. There is a magic about you that is all your own [...]. - D.M. Dellinger

Great thoughts reduced to practice become great acts. - Wm. Hazlitt

We will either find away or make one. - Hannibal (Carthinigian General)

Have a beautiful day!

Monday: 8 of Wands - The Keen community are working very hard to manifest their dreams. There is some anxiety about the process and some communication gets challenging this day. But keeping your eye on the goal is the way to get through the challenges.

Tuesday: The Devil - Temptation lies waiting. You could give in and have some fun while it lasts. Or you can choose to resist and reach for your goals. Either way, the hardest part is going to be the suggestion that something better lay elsewhere.

Wednesday: 9 of Cups - Deep contentment and happiness with where the Keen community stands as a social group will be present this day. This will be a very good day communication wise and a lot of positivity will be shared around.

Thursday: 7 of Coins - This is a day of digging deep and doing hard work. For some, financial work is the rule of the day. Prudent planning and budgeting should be the focus here to reap the rewards of your efforts in their proper season. Just remember, as grueling as the work can be, it is worth it in the end.

Friday: Queen of Cups - Nurturing emotional needs and spiritual support will be the focus this day. The caregivers shine this day and really shower everyone with love.

Saturday: King of Wands - Strong communication and the ability to delegate responsibilities will be the focus this day. Leadership figures will be in the spotlight and helping the community at large to reach success.

Sunday: 6 of Wands - Transitional discussions will be happening this day. Readers and their clients will find themselves each learning more about themselves and where they want to be in the future. The focus today is clarifying what your goals are and how you want to get there.

Have a great week everybody! I'll see you Monday.

Dear Reader,

I'm not yet quite over this cold, though copious amounts of hot tea has helped quite a bit. I'm doing chat readings because I've a very raspy voice right now. Also, the boys are getting home from school soon and it is going to be fairly noisy in short order. So, to make sure we can communicate clearly, I'm on chat today.

Hope we'll chat soon!

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