Posts Tagged ‘potluck’

Vegetarian Beef and Guinness Stew Photo by Grey Catsidhe, 2015

My protogrove’s Imbolc potluck theme was “get creative,” so I decided to do just that and play with a recipe for beef and Guiness stew in the Irish Traditional Cooking book.  To make it vegetarian, I first had to get the extra stout variety of Guinness brewed in North America.  It’s the only vegetarian variety.  Then, to be creative, I made seitan from scratch.  I used this recipe which is normally used for making vegetarian “ribs.”  The seitan comes out nice and chewy!  I chopped it into little cubes and added it to my stew of carrots, onions, and potatoes.  The book’s recipe said to serve with potatoes, so I just went ahead and made them a part of the pot.

It was a hearty dish with enough to share at a modest potluck.  I’m really happy with how it came out, but my husband, who never seems to get enough salt, felt it needed more of a savory flavor.  Definitely something to play with, but I generally try to limit the sodium we consume.

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Yesterday was spent with some wonderful friends, old and new. We honored An Cailleach and Angus, feasted, and celebrated the winter season.

2014 Winter Solstice Celebration | Northern Rivers Protogrove, ADF.

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Homemade Watermelon Juice.  Made and photographed by Grey Catsidhe – 2012

Although it’s hot today in the North Country, the nights keep feeling cooler and I’ve even noticed some color on the trees.  Children are preparing to go back to school and pumpkins are ripening on the vine.  The wheel of the year is turning, folks.  Take a moment and feel it!  While you’re doing that, don’t let summer slide out of your grasp just yet!  Enjoy the last few weeks of summer with some kitchen magic using local ingredients.  I picked up a watermelon from a local organic farm to make one of my favorite things – watermelon juice!

I highly doubt I’m the first one to think of this.  Plenty of people have been juicing longer than me!  I first decided to juice watermelon after a party late July.  We had a ton left over, and I have been experimenting with the juicer I purchased several months ago.  That purchase was not in vain since I’ve had so much fun playing with food using it!  Watermelon seemed like a perfect candidate since it’s already deliciously juicy and, being made mostly of water, would produce little waste*.  This fruity summer potion is perfect for potlucks and sun worshiping in the pool.  It’s also a fun virgin drink for people who can’t or choose not to drink alcohol.


  • One medium to large watermelon (preferably local and/or organic!)
  • A large serrated knife
  • A large cutting board
  • An ice cream scoop, melon baller, or thick spoon
  • A medium or large bowl
  • Either a second bowl, a small pitcher, or a large measuring glass to catch the juice from the juicer
  • A large pitcher
  • A juicer **
  • Wooden spoon
  • Glasses for serving
Making Juice – Photo by Grey Catsidhe – 2012


  1. Cut the watermelon in half.  Thinly slice a small section off to save for garnishes if you desire (see top photo).
  2. Using the melon baller, scoop out the watermelon.  Put the pink “meat” into a bowl.  It’s easier to juice it all at once.
  3. Plug your juicer in and put it on the low setting.  Since watermelons aren’t very tough, extra power isn’t necessary.  Make sure you have another bowl or small pitcher below the spout to collect the juice.  Start putting your watermelon into the juicer.
  4. You’ll probably have to stop to empty your bowl or smaller pitcher into the larger pitcher.  Watermelons make a lot of juice!
  5. Stir with a wooden spoon.  This is a great time to incorporate some magic.  Pull in the Two Powers and visualize them going into the drink with the intent to refresh, to inspire, or to energize during the heat.
  6. Refrigerate when done.  You’ll probably want to stir again when chilled.
  7. To enjoy the pink glow, serve in wine glasses.  Garnish with small slices of watermelon if desired.
  8. If you really want, you could stir in some sugar but I haven’t done this and don’t recommend it.  Enjoy the natural sweetness of the watermelon!  So delightful and healthy as is!
*Fret not about the waste!  It can go right into the compost heap!  You can also use the waste for other concoctions.  If I’m making carrot juice, I do the carrots first then empty the juicer bin into a bowl, saving the finely shredded carrot for cake.  Provided you don’t have big seeds in the mix, much of the waste can be turned into filler for soups, homemade fruit rolls, or even crackers using a dehydrator!
** If you don’t have a juicer, you could use a blender or food processor – but it will be thicker.  A juicer separates the liquids from the solids.  You will also have to take the seeds into account if you do not have a juicer.  Either pick them out by hand or find a seedless variety.

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