Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Accept Your Fate.

I'm moving from this site to a stand alone site, Charmed Finishing School.  Please update your RSS feed accordingly.

Monday, April 16, 2012

[Retro Recipe Monday] Beef Bourguignon

Beef Bourguignon


  • 1 tablespoon good olive oil
  • 8 ounces dry cured center cut applewood smoked bacon, diced
  • 2 1/2 pounds chuck beef cut into 1-inch cubes
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound carrots, sliced diagonally into 1-inch chunks
  • 2 yellow onions, sliced
  • 2 teaspoons chopped garlic (2 cloves)
  • 1/2 cup Cognac
  • 1 (750 ml.) bottle good dry red wine such as Cote du Rhone or Pinot Noir
  • 1 can (2 cups) beef broth
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves (1/2 teaspoon dried)
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature, divided
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 pound frozen whole onions
  • 1 pound fresh mushrooms stems discarded, caps thickly sliced

For serving:

  • Country bread or Sour Dough, toasted or grilled and rubbed with garlic clove
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley, optional


Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F.
Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven. Add the bacon and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the bacon is lightly browned. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon to a large plate.
Dry the beef cubes with paper towels and then sprinkle them with salt and pepper. In batches in single layers, sear the beef in the hot oil for 3 to 5 minutes, turning to brown on all sides. Remove the seared cubes to the plate with the bacon and continue searing until all the beef is browned. Set aside.
Toss the carrots, and onions, 1 tablespoon of salt and 2 teaspoons of pepper in the fat in the pan and cook for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions are lightly browned. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Add the Cognac, stand back, and ignite with a match to burn off the alcohol. Put the meat and bacon back into the pot with the juices. Add the bottle of wine plus enough beef broth to almost cover the meat. Add the tomato paste and thyme. Bring to a simmer, cover the pot with a tight-fitting lid and place it in the oven for about 1 1/4 hours or until the meat and vegetables are very tender when pierced with a fork.
Combine 2 tablespoons of butter and the flour with a fork and stir into the stew. Add the frozen onions. Saute the mushrooms in 2 tablespoons of butter for 10 minutes until lightly browned and then add to the stew. Bring the stew to a boil on top of the stove, then lower the heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Season to taste.
To serve, toast the bread in the toaster or oven. Rub each slice on 1 side with a cut clove of garlic. For each serving, spoon the stew over a slice of bread and sprinkle with parsley.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Things You Need to Know

I have an article out today on WitchVox called I'm Not Clergy and You Can't Make Me.  Hello new readers!

I meant to have some kind of sparkling new entry scheduled for early AM today so you would be sucked in and instantly want to be my blogosphere friend forever but I have a head cold and I can't feel my face.  I didn't even have a cocktail at brunch (mon Dieux!).  

Instead, a list in no particular order:

1.  I offer a free course called New Year, New You: An Experiment in Radical, Magical Transformation. The first part can be found here.  The second part you need to sign up for in the little box on my blog page.

2. If you aren't familiar with my writing, Just as Long as We're Together: Amazon Rites New Jersey Style,  I Am Who I Am and Etiquette Lesson: How to Conduct Yourself When Someone Dies will give you the lay of the land.

3.  I cuss.  Sometimes a lot.

4. Every Monday that I have my shit together enough for, we do Recipe Monday.  Currently, I'm doing Mad Men era recipes because it's Mad Men season and I have a fascination with food from that time.  Also it's easy and I'm overworked right now.

5. I have a shop where I sell yarn and magical wares.  My non special edition oils are now labeled like my special edition oils are but I haven't had a chance to update the pictures as it's craft season and I have a day job and am finishing writing the eCourse because I like juggling chain saws and being constantly on the verge of a complete and utter nervous breakdown apparently.

6. I'm getting married in September of this year to my Husband Elect, Jow.  My Platonic Euro Husband (PEH) Gordon will be in attendance.

7.  I'm pre-selling a special edition oil currently called Unveiled.  I'm only making 10.  There are 6 left.

8. I'm 33 years old and I live in New Jersey with Jow and our two cats in a condo.  I consider myself a Hearth Witch which is fancy for dilettante.  I suck at meditation.  Currently I'm a nanny in my day job which is great when I don't want to bang my head against a wall until I stop moving.  I'm a published author, I specialize in smut (or "romantica" if you want to be polite), freelance articles on travel to places I've never been to, tents I'll never use because I hate camping and what to feed your pregnant mini pony as well as a contributor to Pagan sources such as Witchvox and Witches & Pagans.  I'm working on getting my craft business off the ground, I have contentious relationship with my body and I watch terrible terrible reality television.  I like St. Germain liquor and typewriters.

9. I'm almost done moving from this site to my new site, Charmed Finishing School because Gordon says I have to.  I didn't want to because I'm tired and lazy and I knew inevitably I would need an adult to sort it out to look the way I wanted it to look and that it would be a lot of time and aggro.  But Gordon knows what I'm supposed to be doing so I grudgingly complied.  It was a lot of time and aggro (a three hour baby nap to be exact - which never happens - and I could have been doing something productive like watching hours of Next Top Model or pinning) and I did need an adult to sort it out (thank the Goddess for Dossy.  If you need help with your website, go to him.  He's a local god).  So after this Recipe Monday I will be moving to the new site permanently.  Accept your fate as I've accepted mine and update your RSS Feed accordingly.

10.  I tweet fairly frequently if you're into that.  Expect a lot of #shen hashtags in the coming weeks for the Stag and Hen party.

11. I'm writing a book just like every other blogger.  My sole motivations on this are guilt and shame like every other writer.

Now you know everything you need to know to read my blog and I'm going to take a nap.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Even Sorceresses Have Blond Moments

Sooooo . . .a price for Unveiled would probably help, right?  I like that a few readers just gave it their best guesses!  It will be $15 plus shipping.  Already sold a few!

Shipping costs will be:

$3 USD - US

$5 USD - Canada

$7 USD - Europe

Unveiled Limited Edition Oil

Since everyone was most interested in a fragrance oil to help lower the veils, I will be making 10 Limited Edition Oils called Unveiled.  I will be consecrating them on the New Moon (April 21st) and releasing them for sale on Monday, April 23rd.  If you pre-order, I will ship your oil on Monday, April 23rd. 

This will be a unisex fragrance with notes of loamy juniper berries, fresh green grass, earthy cedar, exotic saffron and sensual absinthe.

If you would like to purchase this as a presale:

The oil is $15

Shipping costs will be:

$3 USD - US

$5 USD - Canada

$7 USD - Europe

For pre-ordering, go to Paypal and send payment and shipping to with the subject line "Unveiled".
My Limited Edition Oil Man in Black has (1) left.  There are (6) Goddess of the Hearth Limited Edition Oils left.  My regular oils Lucy's Lavendar Healing Oil, Rowan's Rose Love Drawing Oil, Britana's Basil Money Drawing Oil, High John and  Aurora's Mojo Hand Oil are now labeled in a similar manner to my Special Edition Oils but I haven't had a chance to put new pictures up yet!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

[Glamour Guest Post] Dressing Your Worst - The Dark Side of Glamour

Want to be part of the glamour discussion? Once a week, I have a guest post spot for people from all magic-y/gender-y/sexual orientation/personal glamour orientation walks of life to talk about what glamour means to you both mundanely and magically. Any spellwork or personal revelations are welcome! Essays should be between 500-1000 words and be sure to include a brief bio about yourself and any links (blog, Etsy shop, etc) that you would like included.

Send it to me in the body of your email with the subject "Glamour" to
corvaxgirl [at] gmail [dottie] com
A lot of articles and blog posts I've read about glamour often goes into the hows and whys of enhancing ones self. There are practical benefits to learning the basics of image, what your image says to others and how to tweak it to say what you want. Glamours can be really empowering if you work with them.

But are you dressing to highlight your best - or hide it?

Into her college years, one of my best friends wore her hair very long until it overpowered her features and constantly dressed in a child-like manner. Despite repeatedly moaning about how people never took seriously as an adult and artist, she refused to even consider changing her appearance to present a more mature image. Any attempts to convince her to try were met with the argument that she didn't want to change "who she was" or inhibit her "style". However, I doubt she would have described her personality or style as timid and childish! Her fear, insecurity and lack of confidence was dictating how she dressed - resulting in a glamour that made her forgettable and easily dismissed. It wasn't until after she had graduated school and was living on her own that she began to shed that glamour - dressing more appropriately for her age and even trying an adorably cute short haircut (the first time I had ever seen her cut her hair).

I dressed that way as well for many years. I wore baggy and bland clothing designed to blend into the background. Growing up, I always felt singled out and ostracized in my neighborhood, so I dressed to avoid further attention (and consequently, danger). I was dressing from fear, my glamour was to become invisible. As I became older and more confident in myself, I felt more free to choose clothing items that displayed my personality instead of hiding it (still working on it though).

But negative glamours aren't just about baggy, bland clothes and hiding behind your haircut. Overly revealing clothing can be a negative glamour as well - plunging necklines, non-existent clothing and skirts too tight to walk in draw attention to your body - not your personality or character. If someone is staring at your chest, they aren't looking you in the eyes and giving you the respect of their attention to your words. This can be an intentional glamour, just like dressing invisibly can be, but just as often negative glamours can be the unintentional result of unresolved issues. The difference is awareness.

It's good to get a basic idea of what various images you may be projecting by taking a good look at yourself (and your closet) and asking yourself a few questions. This is by no means a complete list, but some good starter points may be:

What are your favorite colors? Why? How do they make you feel or what images/memories do they evoke? For example, my favorite color is a bright electric blue- it makes me feel energized, but calm and makes me think of high mountain tops under clear skies and roaring winds. Yes, blue reminds me of Peppermint Patty commercial, so sue me.

How much of your favorite color(s) are in your wardrobe? If they aren't, why not?
What is the dominant color in your wardrobe? For me, my pants fall into two categories: blue jeans or black slacks. Casual and professional. I tend to avoid bright pants because a) black pants are supposed to be slimming and b) I can't cover up bright pants with a jacket. For tops, I lean heavily towards the cool color end of the spectrum: greens, purples, blues and muted versions of them.
What clothes do you wear over and over again? How do they make you feel? You'll probably find that you have "power" clothes- clothes that you really love wearing- and "comfort" clothes- the ones you throw on and run out with because they are simple, easy standbys.
How do they make you look? Really? For this one, you might want to take a photo. No, not one with a cute pose or at a flattering angle- a straight-on full-body shot in clear light. Try to imagine that you're looking at yourself walking down the street - do those "casual" clothes really look sloppy?
How is the condition of your hair? Do you have rampant split ends, dryness or other chronic problems? Do these come from not taking care of your hair- or taking too much care of it (blasting it with heat and chemical treatments for example)?

How long have you had your current hair cut? If you can't remember ever changing your hairstyle, ask yourself why. I've had my hair cut short for a few years and have kept it this way for very specific reasons - it's thin, so I keep it layered and short hair makes styling and maintenance a breeze. For me, the convenience outweighs the fact that the cut might not be the most flattering for my round, chubby face.

Would you be willing to throw away all your clothes and radically change your hairstyle? If just reading that question made you grit your teeth, ask yourself why you're so attached to how you currently look/dress. TLC's show What Not to Wear is a great example of people who really cling to their own narrow ideas of how they should look, so I recommend watching it.

Get your friends in on it. It can really interesting to have an impromptu fashion show and see what impressions your friends and family get from your look.

Of course, not everyone is going to be affected the same by your clothing or accessories. While you might feel sleek and polished in a pant suit, it's guaranteed that someone else will see it as typical corporate zombie wear, so don't drive yourself crazy trying to project specific images to the world. A red scarf or tie might help you stand out and be more memorial during a job interview, but that might be because your interviewer hates red and thinks you're an arrogant blowhard for wearing it (instead of appearing bold and confident like you intended), so at some point you'll have to just let the dice fall as they may. It can be more fun to treat it all like a game and experiment with different clothing personas (How would your superhero self dress? Or your zombie apocalypse survivor self?).

Remember, it's just clothing - not the definition of who you are.

Bio: ApocalypseGrrl is a writer and creative mercenary living in New York City. She currently is studying up on urban agriculture and quick and easy house building in anticipation of the coming apocalypse

Monday, April 9, 2012

[Retro Recipe Monday] Salmon Mousse

Salmon Mousse


  • Butter or mayonnaise, for greasing mold
  • 1 envelope unflavored gelatin
  • 1/4 cup cold water and 1/2 cup boiling water, for gelatin
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon grated onion
  • 2 drops hot sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups flaked and small diced poached salmon
  • 2 tablespoons capers, drained
  • 1 cup whipped cream
  • Lemon slices
  • 1 bunch parsley, washed and dried
  • Special equipment: fish mold


Grease a 6-cup fish mold with butter or mayonnaise.

Soften the gelatin in 1/4 cup cold water. Add 1/2 cup boiling water and stir well, until the gelatin has dissolved. Add the mayonnaise, lemon juice, lime juice, onion, hot sauce, paprika, and salt and mix well. Fold in the salmon and capers. Add the whipped cream and continue folding until everything is well combined. Pour the mixture into the prepared mold. Cover with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for 8 hours or overnight.

When ready to serve, un-mold the mousse onto a large plate. Take the lemon slices and create a "tail" on the back of the fish. Surround the mousse with parsley.

Serve the dill sauce in a glass bowl next to the salmon mousse.

Dill Sauce:

  • 1 English cucumber, peeled, grated, and drained for 1 hour
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 small clove garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup fresh dill, finely chopped