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Imbolc is mostly celebrated in Celtic lore, and symbolizes the passing of winter into the spring, marking the midpoint between the Winter Solstice and Vernal Equinox. It’s tradition is celebrated on the eve of February (January 31st), with festivities lasting through February 2nd. It’s a time where the sun begins to appear higher in the sky and we notice the longer days. I wanted to shed a light on it, because why not!? It gives us something to look forward to: spring is almost here!
It was historically a time where people depended on the lactation of ewes to sustain them via milks, cheeses, and butters, to get them through the season if the harvest was not enough. It also was a time to honor fire and water – as the ice from the winter is starting to melt, and fire helps to keep us warm. The water also brings a sense of clarity as we move into the new season. Finally, it celebrates new life, not only from the womb, but the early spring flowers and seeds start to sprout and pop up, and farmers begin to sow.
The symbolic ingredients in this dish are the chives because these are typically grown at the beginning of the spring season, and signify the first of the spring crops. Sunflower seeds represent seeds of all types, as we gather them for planting our new crops for the year. The dried cranberries (more typically raisins) represent the sun, and it’s growing strength as the season progresses. Rosemary represents clarity as we move forward into a new season.
Intentions for the Season
Now is a great time to set your intentions, as it seems as if life is beginning anew with the warming of the land, and the new growth happening all around us. You may be starting a new business venture, a new workout program, a new personal goal – whatever it is, now is a great time to set your intentions and make a plan!
As for me, I’ve got a lot on my plate as always. An announcement will hopefully follow soon, along with planting my seedlings for our garden this season. Additionally, starting the new Body Shred challenge that Nita Strauss puts on, and overall just paying more attention to what I put into my body along with making a commitment to plan more meals.
I would love to know what your intentions are for this spring! Let me know in the comments!
Wild Rice with Balsamic Mushrooms
- Sheet pan
- Lidded Saute Pan
- Large Bowl
- 2 Cups Wild Rice
- 1½ Teaspoons Salt divided
- ¾ Cup Dried Cranberries
- 24 Ounces Cremini Mushrooms stemmed and quartered
- 2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1 Teaspoon Fresh Rosemary
- ½ Cup Fresh Chives finely sliced
- ¼ Cup Balsamic Glaze
- ½ Cup Sunflower Seeds divided
- Get the oven ready: Preheat the oven to 375°F.
- Bring the rice and water to a boil: Add the rice, 1 teaspoon salt, dried cranberries, and 8 cups of water to a large, lidded sauce-pan, and bring to a boil over high heat.
- Roast the mushrooms: While the rice is coming to a boil, de-stem the mushrooms, and cut them into quarters or bite sized pieces for the larger mushrooms. Toss the mushrooms in a large bowl with the olive oil to coat. Reserve the bowl for future use. Place the mushrooms on an un-lined sheet pan, and roast in the oven for 20 minutes, tossing midway through. The mushrooms should have released their liquid and have turned golden brown.
- Reduce to a simmer: While the mushrooms cook, turn the saucepan’s heat down to low, and cover with a lid.
- Cook the rice: Let the rice simmer for 45 minutes, test the rice to make sure it’s done, then strain out the remaining liquid, and turn off the heat. Return the rice to the sauce pan to dry out and steam for 5 minutes. Fluff with fork.
- Season the mushrooms: Return the cooked mushrooms to the original bowl used when they are done cooking, and add ½ teaspoon of salt, balsamic vinegar, and rosemary. Toss to coat.
- Season the rice: taste the rice to see if it needs more salt, and add accordingly. Add in the chives, and half of the sunflower seeds. Toss well.
- Plate your dish: Divide the rice among 4 plates/bowls. Top with the seasoned mushrooms in the middle of the rice, and remaining sunflower seeds. Enjoy immediately!