November Goals

Ah November….the beginning of the food orgy that doesn’t end until after my birthday in January! It’s the start of three months worth of holiday parties, potlucks, Thanksgiving dinners, Christmas parties, Christmas dinners, New Year’s Eve. I really wish that they would have spread out the holidays. Why can’t Thanksgiving be in August? I vote for a change in the calender! Who’s with me?

October was a decent month. I made simple goals I knew I could accomplish because of all the traveling I had planned. Why set myself up for failure, right?

October Goals:

1. Reign in my eating after this traveling is over. Get back on track! I did okay in this department. 

2. Get back to consistent weight lifting. Yes, I did.

3. Try a Spin class at the gym. Sort of. I’m going the last week of October so technically November. 🙂

The end of October brings my favorite holiday–Halloween! The last few years Michael and I would stay home, watch scary movies, I’d make something fancy for dinner, and we’d pass out candy to the adorable kids in the neighborhood. This year we did something a little different. We went over to my friend Star’s house for dinner.

Star had a bunch of friends over for dinner–Navajo Wishing Soup. She makes the base and then we all take turns adding in handfuls of veggies and rice while we all make a wish for the New Year. I love the Wishing Soup and it’s a fun little tradition to do.

While the soup was cooking we had some fun with these:

And then we did some exercises in positive thinking. First we all wrote down some things we want to banish from our lives–things like negativity, insecurity, work problems, health issues–whatever has been plaguing us this year that we want to get rid of from our lives.

Then we each took turns burning the piece of paper. Be gone from our lives negativity! Be gone!

After the banishing we meditated on positive things we want to bring into our lives. I had lots of meditating to do.

Then dinner was ready. The soup was fantastic, and full of our wishes. I brought a green salad and had some of that, and a few deviled eggs. It was a really nice holiday. Goodbye October!

With November here I am faced with a few facts:

  1. There’s no avoiding The Food Months, so I have to just be strong about it and try and make BETTER choices and
  2. It’s also The Rain Months. That means my activities are limited to inside. I’m just not gonna bike or run in the rain. No thanks!

Fitness should be fun, not a soggy, wet, miserable mess! No thank you! So for November I’m taking my goals inside.

November Goals

1. Continue weight lifting consistently. Try new things with weights.

2. Do another Sugar Detox in preparation for the holidays. Minimum: 1 week long.

3. Spin Class!

Bring it on November!

QUESTION: What are your goals for the month of November?

What’s Brewing in My Cauldron

Eye of newt?




Beef Burgundy!

(adapted from Rachael Ray’s recipe for Sirloin Beef Burgundy)

  • 3 slices bacon, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 16 white mushrooms, medium in size, wiped with damp cloth to clean, thinly sliced
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 cup frozen pearl onions, defrosted and drained
  • 2 pounds lean sirloin, 1-inch thick, trimmed and cubed into 1 inch pieces
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup burgundy wine
  • 1 1/2 cups store bought beef stock
  • Bouquet of 3 or 4 sprigs each sage and fresh thyme, tied with kitchen string
  • Season with salt, pepper, marjoram
  1. In a large stock pot over medium/high heat, heat the oil and add the beef pieces. Sprinkle the flour over the beef. Brown the meat on all sides.
  2. Pour in broth and red wine. Sprinkle in salt, marjoram, thyme and black pepper.
  3. Bring to a boil. Cover, and reduce heat. Simmer for 1 1/2 hours or until beef is tender, stirring occasionally.
  4. Add mushrooms and onions to the pot. Liquid should just cover everything. If necessary, add some more wine to cover. Cook until onions are limp.

There were parts of her recipe I wasn’t wild about so I sort of combined her recipe with another one I found on I skipped the mushrooms (of course) and added more bacon.

First I cooked the defrosted Pearl Onions and the bacon in some butter.

It smelled so good cooking in the skillet. Butter, onion and bacon? Yum.

I dumped the onions and bacon into the cauldron while I prepped the meat.

I rinsed it, dried it and then browned the meat in the skillet with butter. Next, I poured the red wine into the skillet.

Adding the flour made the wine and butter thicken up. I guess I added it too quickly because it was a tad on the lumpy side. Oh well.

I added the beef broth and let it boil. Next up: tying together some sprigs of sage and thyme.

I let the herbs simmer in the broth.

While dinner was brewing in the cauldron for 2 1/2 hours…

I got the CANDY ready for the kidlets!

Yes that is a huge Costco bag of goodies. I also bought some toys at the Dollar Store to pass out with the candy.

I LOVE Halloween!

The “appetizer” before dinner was Pomegranate seeds.

Bloody Pomegranates!

In ancient lore, Persephone was tricked into eating Pomegranate seeds from Hades, the King of the Underworld. He kidnapped her and brought her to the Underworld. Persephone’s mother, Demeter, negotiated with Hades for her return. They agreed that she would spend 6 months in the Underworld and then when it was time for Spring, Persephone could return to the land of the living for 6 months. Thus began the Season changes. Halloween traditions include eating Pomegranate seeds and last night was no different. They were sweet and delicious!

Dinner turned out great. I cooked brown rice in a mixture of leftover beef stock and water. I served the Beef Burgundy on top of the rice.

I loved how tender the onions and carrots were. (The carrots weren’t part of the recipe but I’m glad I added them.)

I made an offering plate for my ancestors that have passed (another Halloween tradition) and set it on the back porch.

Michael and I settled in to watch movies while the trick-or-treaters came. We watched “From Dusk til Dawn” and then the premiere of “The Walking Dead”–which was amazing!

Fat Kitty became glued to my side. But that’s understandable…I was a witch after all. What witch doesn’t have a Familiar? 😉

My other cat, Maya, even made a visit! She’s usually hiding. She decided to come out and join us (and chase the fly in the house).

We didn’t have as many trick-or-treaters as we did last year. 🙁 Kind of a bummer because I love seeing the cute costumes (AND we have tons of candy left over!).

All in all it was a great Halloween!

QUESTION: How was your Halloween? What was the cutest costume you saw?