a new year and a recipe

hi readers, it has been so long since i lasted posted (almost two months!). now i write to you on the first evening of the new year, sipping a cup of herbal tea and watching the sky fade grey to dark out the window. 2018 was a crazy year for us, but a good year that found my cup full to the brim.

2018 was the first full year of running root lore goods, my small herbal business. i took a few months off and shut the shop down in the middle of the year while we traveled, but otherwise i stayed quite busy on the business front. the reason i haven’t been posting is that november and december were so hectic with the holiday season and craft shows that i simply didn’t have time to blog! year by year i learn to put less on my plate, say no more often, and give myself space to relax. now that the holidays are behind us though, i intend to return to posting more, because writing is my first true love and sharing information is the core of my mission with root lore.

usually in the days surrounding new years, i plan a few days of total alone time that i use for meditation, self-care rituals, and planning. in the past i have done end of the year tarot spreads and yoga retreats, which i have found helpful in ushering in the new year. i’m not one for making resolutions. this is because my mind loves new ideas and will run wild with a list of all the things i’m [never] going to accomplish in the new year [because there isn’t enough time]. i’ll have myself resolving to learn a new language, read 50 books, start multiple new exercise programs, try new involved cooking styles … it goes on and on! that being said i do like to mark the new year with a sort of “special occasion” energy that focuses on reflection and listening to my inner voice.

this year however, we were travelling and this sort of space was unavailable to me. i worked all day on new years eve and found myself napping all afternoon. but when i woke up, i felt alive and it was like my body knew exactly what to do to usher in the new year. i made my bed neatly, and started cleaning. deep cleaning. i took everything off my nightstand and dusted, then put all the items back neatly. i dismantled my altar which i keep on my dresser and wiped down all my rocks and antlers and bones, and dusted up all the cat hair that had accumulated in hard to reach places. i washed my floorboards and vacuumed under the bed and dresser.

i put my altar back together carefully and everything felt so clean, energetically too. i poured a dish of sea salt, and made a hole in the center of the salt. in the hole i placed some homegrown sage i’d had on my altar, and then i lit it on fire and let the smoke fill all four corners of the room. when i was done, my room felt amazing – welcoming, warm, neat, and tidy. when i was done, i practiced yoga briefly in a way i can only describe as joyous.

i sat quietly for just a few moments. i thought about how powerful a small ritual like this is, much more powerful that anything i could have read in a book. and that’s because it was intuitive to me. it belonged to me. for me, cleanliness is an act of self love. cleaning isn’t just about the physical cleaning, but also reflects cleaning out my mind and organizing my thoughts. becoming composed and centered.

then andrew and i enjoyed and incredible indo-nepali meal at a hole in the wall restaurant in the not-so-nice part of town. here, on the “wildest” party night of the year, we fawned over black chickpeas cooked with fresh tomato and cilantro, fried okra, and the flakiest naan i’ve ever had. it was quiet and lovely and again just felt right. we came home and watched a silly movie, never even turning on the times square madness.

today we started the new year off by visiting the herd of american bison that live in one of our regional metro parks, then going for a quiet peaceful hike through prairie, oak savannas, and cedar forest. and we’re ending the evening with our little tradition of making cabbage rolls on new years day – my ultimate comfort food. i want to share my recipe with you here.

christine’s cabbage rolls

  • one large cabbage with outer leaves in tact
  • two small/ one large onion, chopped
  • a small head of garlic, minced (or just a few cloves for the faint of heart)
  • 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 TB sugar
  • 1 TB apple cider vinegar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 lb tofu or meat
  • 1 cup cooked basmati rice

carefully remove 10-12 of the out leaves from the cabbage, being careful not to rip them. it’s fine if they are dark green, that’s actually better. bring a pot of salted water to the boil, and boil the leaves until tender making sure not to overcook them. this could take anywhere from 3-10 minutes depending on the cabbage. set the leaves to dry on a towel, and when dry take a paring knife and cut off the thick rib from the back of the leaf.

shred the rest of the cabbage and saute in olive oil and a pinch of salt for 5 minutes, until it starts to cook down. spread in the bottom of a rectangular baking pan.

saute onions for 5 minutes in olive oil and a pinch of salt until soft. add garlic and saute another couple minutes. scoop half of this mixture into a bowl and leave half in the pan. to the half in the pan, add tomatoes, sugar, and vinegar and simmer 10 minutes until warm. spread half of the sauce over the cabbage in the pan.

add eggs, tofu, and rice to the onion/ garlic mixture in the bowl. season with salt and pepper. now it’s time to roll.

take each leaf, add filling, and roll up making sure the sides are rolled in. set the rolls in the pan on top of the shredded cabbage and sauce, and cover with the rest of the sauce. cover pan with foil.

bake at 375 for 40 minutes. i like to grate parmesean cheese over the pan as soon as it comes out of the oven, but that’s optional.


i am wishing everyone a lovely 2019. i can’t wait to start writing again here and sharing my life with y’all. thank you ALL for your continued support of the root lore project – it means the world to me ❀

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