Monday, November 12, 2018

Anna Sultana’s Spices, and the North Taurids and The Leonids Meteor Showers

Now that the holiday season is in full swing it’s time for some serious baking.
And that, of course, also includes using more and different spices.

Don’t be afraid of buying spices in bags. 
Along with being quite a bit cheaper than the spices in those small, pretty bottles, the larger bags of spices are also a good buy for making your own spices blends, which is a lot cheaper than buying the prepared blends.

Ma had a few favourite blends she kept on her kitchen shelf throughout the year.
The sweeter ones were really handy during the holiday season.
Pumpkin Spice on everything is not a new idea!

                                   Pumpkin Pie Spice Blend

1/4 Cup ground cinnamon
1 Tablespoon ground ginger
2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
1 teaspoons ground cloves
1 teaspoons ground allspice

Makes a scant 1/2 Cup
Pumpkin Pie Spice also goes nicely on mashed sweet vegetables and onions.

                                   Sugar & Spice Christmas Blend

1/2 Cup granulated sugar
4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Makes a scant 2/3 Cup
Sugar & Spice Blend is perfect for topping rice pudding or egg nog.

                          Homemade Seafood / Chicken Spice Blend

2 Tablespoons ground allspice
1 Tablespoon celery seed 
1 Tablespoon salt
2 Tablespoons powdered mustard 
1 Tablespoon ground ginger
1 Tablespoon paprika
3/4 teaspoon cayenne (ground red pepper)

Makes 1/2 Cup

                        Homemade Meat and Poultry Seasoning Mix

2 Tablespoons ground black pepper
2 Tablespoons onion powder
2 Tablespoons paprika
2 Tablespoons salt
1 Tablespoon garlic powder
1 Tablespoon ground thyme

Makes a scant 2/3 Cup


Here are some links to give you more ideas on how to best use spices:



About the sky, thanks to the folks at The Farmers' Almanac

November 12-14 - North Taurids Meteor Shower peak, with the best viewing, is from 12 – 2 a.m. local time; and good news, the sky will be nice and dark due to the tiny waning crescent Moon. 
The Taurids are actually two annual meteor showers created by the dust left behind from the comet Encke. They are named for constellation Taurus, where they are seen to come from in the sky (near the Pleiades). But they can be spotted anywhere - simply look up!

November 15 - First Quarter Moon, 9:54 a.m. In this phase, the Moon looks like a half-Moon in the sky. One-half of the Moon is illuminated by direct sunlight while the illuminated part is increasing, on its way to full.
Look to the south in the evening to see the First Quarter Moon paired up with Mars.

November 17-18 - The Leonids Meteor Showers peak. Best viewing time is between midnight and 5:30 a.m. local time. This meteor shower, named for the constellation Leo, is typically one of the more exciting showers of the year, producing an average of 20-30 meteors per hour. 
The radiant for the Leonids is near Algieba, one of the stars of the “sickle” or “backward question mark” within Leo. This shower may be hindered by the glow of the bright waxing gibbous Moon.

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