Monthly Archives: July 2011

Blessed Lughnasadh 2011…..

Merry Meet my friends!  Chances are there are some of you out there having the same weather I’m having here in Ohio!  Sweltering heat for a few weeks now! It is Hot Hot Hot!!  Though we’ve had some rain, our grass is brown and burnt from the heat.  My gardens…well some of it’s doing well and some of it not so much.  Even with watering, things are dying out.  I’ve never been a big fan of Summer because I don’t like it when it gets too hot, but this Summer has been one of the hottest I can remember for a while.  Because of this, my thoughts have turned to Autumn, my favorite time of year.  I’m dreaming of cool crisp mornings, leaves falling, pumpkins, apple picking, and warm things coming from the oven and the slow cooker 🙂 

Well…Lughnasadh, the first Harvest festival is upon us on August 1 and that just makes me smile!  Though we are in the midst of this heatwave and the peak of Summer…I can feel a bit of a shift around me.  The Sun is rising later and setting earlier, corn is tall and ready in the fields, the breeze feels different and our gardens are full and ready for harvest.  Stores even have their Autumn/Halloween decorations out on display! *sigh*  I love it!!

Today I was able to get my Lughnasadh altar ready.  I love the Autumn themed altars..more than any other.  The I kept in mind the Correspondences for Lughnasadh when putting it together and I was happy with the simplicity of it and how pretty it looked. 

Oh…the sunflower plate will hold my cakes of course! The crystals are any that are of the colors of Fall!  Green, gold, orange…aventurine, citrine, carnelian!  I have gold, orange and brown candles.  I wanted sunflowers but not luck finding them around here unless I raided somebody’s yard! LOL.  So I picked out some soft orange, purple, & yellow flowers and I LOVE the ornamental cabbage they stuck in the bouquet! The crow…well, crow’s and corn just go together 🙂  My “cakes and ale” will be homemade honey oatmeal bread, or corn bread, and a nice glass of red wine to represent the grape harvest.  I can’t wait to work at this altar.

Today I also put together a couple of herbed oils and an herbed vinegar.  I did a rosemary/olive oil, a basil olive oil, and a lemon balm/apple cider vinegar.  I lightly warmed the oils since I was using fresh herbs from my own garden.  I can’t wait to use them.  I’m going to use the basil olive oil on tomato/mozzarella stacks, the lemon balm vinegar in salad, and the rosemary oil will be great on grilled veggies and meats.  Yummy!  I really need to get more of these bottles too..I think they’re so pretty, inexpensive, and look great sitting on the counter.  Would make nice gifts as well. 

Now I’m going to be upfront and tell you that I do NOT have a formal ritual for Lughnasadh.  I’d like to write my own and frankly just haven’t had the time.  If you research it online, you will find the same 2-3 rituals written over and over again.  Scott Cunningham’s being one of them of course.  Though I don’t have one to share here with you, I can most definitely give you some ideas.  Doing a Blessing and a prayer of thanks for the bounty and abundance of the Harvest would be a perfect quiet celebration.  You can do this while eating the bread you have baked or even while mixing the ingredients to make it.  You can Honor the Sun God who is dying, to be born again by his lover, the Goddess, who is pregnant with him.  A great time to do that would be as the Sun is setting on Lughnasadh night.  Light a fire, burn some of your harvested herbs..and reflect on your year so far.  What bad habits would you like to let “die”?  What new things would you like to manifest..to grow in your life…as the Goddess is growing the God?  Smudge your house and throw open windows to allow good energy in and the negative out.  Really, I smudge for every Sabbat!  Harvest your herbs and can your veggies from your garden or make jams from the bountiful fruits that are ripe like berries, peaches and plums.  Go take a walk, enjoy the Sun while it’s still hot..you’ll remember the warmth in the dead of Winter.

I have decided to bake my breads on the weekend and I’m looking forward to it.  There is nothing better then the smell of bread baking and the taste of it warm, slathered with sweet butter…it makes my mouth water just thinking about it 🙂  I’ll be making the crab dip and the pear salad for sure as well.  Don’t forget to check out my recipes I posted in a previous post..let me know if you try them what you think! 

I wish each of you a Blessed Lughnasadh and May the Sun God shine on you and the Goddess surround you with Love. 

Autumn

*Sources…my pictures.  🙂  My words.

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Filed under Altars, Autumn, God, Goddess, Herbs, Lammas/Lughnassadh, Photography, Ritual, Summer, Sunrise/Sunset

The End of an Era?………..

Merry Meet!  Today is Sun Day…my favorite day of the week.  It marks the end of the week for me, a time to relax, rest, and spend time with family.  Today it is extremely HOT and HUMID, So…. we headed out to a cool dark theater to see the final Harry Potter movie.  The Deathly Hallows Part 2!

The movie was Awesome!…really well done.  I jumped, I cheered, I cried.  But what I did most was marvel at the fact that I have followed JK Rowling’s vision since my youngest daughter was the same age as Harry, Ron & Hermoine were in the first book..11 years old.  I first heard about the Harry Potter books while watching a Rosie O’Donnell show.  She was raving about the books, how wonderful they were, how imaginative and she had JK on her show.  Now,  my girls already  loved books and loved to read series books.  I believe that the first book had been out for a bit and the 2nd book had just come out at this time.  The very next day I went out and found them on a table in the kid’s section…they were just paperback at the time.  I bought the first two books and brought them home.  Sara read them and was hooked!  She then gave them to her sister to read …and she loved them too.  Then the 3rd came out…and so forth.  At that point, I decided to read them myself and was hooked as well.  Oh how I wish I had the creativity to have thought of someone like Harry Potter and the world he lives in….to me the books were pure magick!  We all have our own set now too! LOL

*CORRECTION! LOL  My youngest, Kate, reminded me that it was she who read them first…and I remembered then that she had to really talk her sister into reading them…Sara had no interest in reading them at first.  LOL   But of course, once she read them, she loved them too.  Sorry Kate! hahah! 🙂

We attended midnight Book release parties at Barnes & Noble after that, dressing up in our Gryffindor gear and round glasses like Harry’s. Of course we waited with bated breath as the first movie came out…and were NOT disappointed at seeing the characters and the story come to life on the big screen!  The characters looked as they were described in the books, the quidditch field was pure magick, Hogworts was a dream come true…..for me even the soundtrack was perfect.  The wait between books and movies seemed too too long.  A fond memory of mine is the day the 7th book came out, my whole family would be arriving in Hilton Head for a week’s vacation.  As soon as we realized that, I found the Barnes & Noble there and pre- ordered 5 books!  One for myself, my two daughers, my son in law, and a friend who was with us.  Before we even arrived at our beach condo..we stopped and picked up our prized books.  What a fun time it was…we all spent the week reading our books by the pool or on the beach.  Some of us finishing faster then others…teasing each other about what we had read that they hadn’t yet…sometimes caught with tears in our eyes or letting out a loud gasp…which would result in “Don’t tell me..I’m not there yet”!!!  LOL  I will always remember that trip because of that book!

Having read the books multiple times, I’m reminded of how these wonderful books spurred on the love of reading again for a whole generation of children.  Whether they were old enough to read it themselves, or have them read to them….they brought families together in the common love of the books.  Never had such a phenomena been seen…at least not in my lifetime.  The movies of course enhanced the experience.  In a time where kids are glued to the TV or playing  games on the Wii and Playstation, how wonderful it was to see them reading again.  My grandmother was a 2nd grade teacher for over 50 years..I give her full credit for giving me my love of reading…She would have been thrilled to have seen children reading with great joy again.  For my kids, the love of reading  has continued..for me too.  My granddaughter Lily, who is 2 1/2..already loves books too..she will sit for an hour and bring multiple books to be read to her…and will often finish the sentence for us…I just love seeing that!!

Now that my girls are grown, I look forward to the day that Harry, Ron and Hermoine and all the lovely characters are introduced to my grandchildren.  Is the last book and last movie the end of an era?   Well, I don’t think so….I think that they will continue to give great joy to young minds (and their parents) for ages to come.  I am quite sure that there are many more books out there.. some yet to be written..that will bring joy to children and aid them in their love of reading ….but I truly believe that it will take something really special to equal what the Harry Potter books did.  Do you still remember the books you loved as a child?  Did you pass that love to your children and grandchildren?  I still have the books my children owned and even some of the books that I owned as a child.  There is no end to a good story….it just continues for generations..as long as we see to it that they do. 

So THANK YOU JK Rowling and Harry Potter for your wonderful world of imagination.  A whole generation has loved and enjoyed it…… and many more in the future will as well.  Pure magick!

“A blessed companion is a book, – a book that, fitly chosen, is a lifelong friend,… a book that, at a touch, pours its heart into our own.” ~Douglas Jerrold

Blessings and Love, Autumn

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Filed under Books, Daughters, Discussion, Family, Grandchildren, Movies, My Favorite Things, Quote

Lughnasadh Recipes………

 Merry Meet my friends! We are having a beautiful sunny and HOT day here in Ohio. This morning it was really quite lovely..not too hot yet..I went out and watered the gardens and just had a cup of coffee and listened to the birds for a bit. Here we are past 4th of July already and for me Summer seems to be going quite fast. I am..yes..already thinking about Autumn..as it’s my favorite time of year…as those who know me already know that 🙂 Lughnasadh or Lammas is approaching quickly also. I have my altars to do, some bread baking to do, I want to make some herbal oils and vinegars also. I plan on making rosemary infused olive oil to use on salads and to marinate meats etc. It’s delicious and I can use my own rosemary thats growing in my own pots.

Ok..on to the recipes…I always like to post my magickal recipes for Sabbat oil and loose incense first…so here is the recipes for those….

Lughnasadh Oil Blend

2 drops Peppermint

3 drops Pine

1 drop Fir

1 drop Hazelnut

Use 1/8 cup Corn Oil for Base

*If you can’t find these oils..just substitute for other scents you like…you can use my Correspondence to find other scents that are great for this Sabbat!

Lammas Incense

1 part basil

1/2 part cinnamon bark

1 part coriander

2 parts goldenrod

1 part heather

1/2 part rosemary

2 parts Sweet Annie (you can use dried apple blossoms if you don’t have Sweet Annie)

1 part yarrow

*Again, substitute if you don’t have all the ingredients or just use some of them 🙂

Ok, now on to the stuff that is Yummy for our Tummys! Remember that this is the first Harvest Festival..so you want to use lots of your fresh veggies from your gardens..start thinking about Autumn and apples and pears …warm breads from the ovens…late summer squash etc.

Spiced Apple Cider

2 qts. apple cider

1/2 cup orange juice

1/4 cup lemon juice

2 tb sugar

2 tsp whole cloves

3 cinnamon sticks

1 tsp allspice

1 tsp nutmeg

1 cup Captain Morgan’s Spice Rum (or more! )

Warm up all the ingredients except the rum…add the rum at the very end so that you don’t cook away the alcohol….(that would be very sad)…This makes enough for several mugs….enjoy!

Oat Nut Bread

1 cup rolled oats

1/4 cup honey

1 tb butter

1 tsp salt

2 cups boiling water

4 cups unbleached flour, divided 1 packet dry yeast

1/4 cup water, 90 degrees temp

1 cup pecans, broken

Place oats, honey, butter, and salt into a large mixing bowl. Pour 2 cups of boiling water over them and stir well. Stir in 2 cups of flour. While this mixture cools, dissolve the dry yeast in 1/4 cup of 90-degree water. After about 10 minutes, stir the yeast mixture into the oat mixture, mixing thoroughly. Stir in 1 cup of pecans. Work in 2 cups of flour. Turn the dough out onto a floured board, and with floured hands, knead the dough for 8 – 10 minutes. Keep enough flour on the board and your hands to prevent the dough from sticking. Place the dough in a greased bowl and cover it with a damp cloth. Let the dough rise in a warm, draft-free place for 1-1/2 hours, or until it has doubled in bulk. Punch the dough down, and turn it out onto a floured board, this time kneading it for about 5 minutes. Shape the dough into two equal-sized loaves, place them in two greased loaf pans. Let the loaves rise, covered with a damp cloth, in a warm place until they have doubled in bulk, about 1 hour. Bake in a pre-heated 375-degree oven for about 45 minutes. Turn out onto wire racks to cool. Let loaves cool completely before wrapping to store.

Sweet Corn Bread

1 cup all purpose flour

1 cup yellow cornmeal

2/3 cup white sugar

1 tsp salt

3 1/2 tsps baking powder

1 egg 1 cup milk

1/3 cup vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Spray or lightly grease a 9 inch round cake pan. In a large bowl, combine flour, cornmeal, sugar, salt and baking powder. Stir in egg, milk and vegetable oil until well combined. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake in preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean.

Raspberry and Pear Salad with Candied Walnuts

For Candied Walnuts:

2 tsp butter

1 tb sugar

1/2 tsp salt

1/8 tsp cayenne pepper

1 tb water

2/3 cup walnuts, halved

For Salad Dressing:

3 tb raspberry vinegar

1 tb honey

1 tb cooking oil

2 tsp sesame oil

For Salad:

3 bunches of lettuce

2 asian pears, cubed

8 oz rasberries

1/4 of a red onion, chopped

8 oz blue cheese, crumbled

In a small skillet, melt butter. Add sugar, salt, pepper and water and stir til smooth. When it’s bubbling, add walnuts and stir until well coated. Cook for about 5 minutes until walnuts are carmelized.  Set aside and cool before putting on salad.

Whisk honey and vinegar until until smooth. Add oils and stir until creamy.

Mix Salad ingredients together into large salad bowl.  Add walnuts.  Then toss in dressing.

Hot Crab Dip

1 can crabmeat, drained

1 8 oz pkg. cream cheese, softened

1 tb horseradish

1 tb minced onion

1 tsp worchesteshire sauce

salt & pepper to taste

Mix above ingredients together and place in a greased casserole dish.  Sprinkle with paprika. Bake at 325* for 30 minutes or until bubbly.

*Great with grainy crackers, veggies etc.

Corn on the Cob with Basil-Parmesan Butter

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened

1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/4 teaspoon crushed garlic

4 ears corn, husked

In a small bowl, mash together butter, cheese, basil, salt, pepper, and garlic.

Brush about 1 tablespoon of seasoned butter over each ear of corn. Grill directly over medium heat until browned in spots and tender, 10 to 15 minutes, turning occasionally.

Serve warm with remaining butter.

*I think this would be really great with rosemary instead of basil or cilantro!  With cilantro, you can squeeze some lime juice on the corn as well…yummy! I’ll be trying that soon!

Oven Roasted Summer Vegetables

1 med zucchini, sliced

1 med summer squash, sliced

1 med red bell pepper, chopped

1 med yellow bell pepper, chopped

1 lb fresh asparagus,  cut in 1 inch pieces

1 med red onion, chopped

3 tbs olive oil

1 tsp salt

1 tsp pepper

Pre-heat oven to 450*

Put all veggies into large roasting pan and cover with other ingredients

Spread evenly in pan

Roast for 30 min.s, stir occasionally until lightly brown

*Use more oil if you’d like 🙂

Potato/Zucchini Grill Pockets

Using heavy tin foil, tear off however many pieces you need, one for each person, and enough to make a rectangular tin foil packet.

Slice one potato, thin, for each packet

Slice about 1/2 zucchini, thin, for each packet

Slice yellow onion, in thin rings, and put desired amount in each packet

salt & pepper to taste

Top with pats of butter and/or olive oil

Seal packet by closing sides and rolling across the top

Place on a med temperature grill and cook for about 30 minutes..until everything is soft.  Really fresh and delicious.

Grape Salad

2 lbs white seedless grapes

2 lbs red seedless grapes

1 cup sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

8 oz sour cream

8 oz cream cheese, softened

1 cup brown sugar

1 cup pecans, crushed

Wash grapes and remove any stems, and set aside.

Mix cream cheese and sour cream with sugar and vanilla in a large bowl. Mix Well.  Stir in grapes. Top with brown sugar and pecans.  Refrigerate overnight.  Sounds yummy doesn’t it! 🙂

Caramel Apple Walnut Squares

1 3/4 cups all purpose flour

1 cup quick cooking oats

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1 cup cold butter

1 cup chopped walnuts

20 caramels

1 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk

1 21 oz can apple pie filling   * I see no reason why you can’t just thinly slice fresh apples and sprinkle a little sugar on them for this recipe.

Preheat oven to 375*.  In a large bowl, combine flour, oats, sugar, baking soda and salt; cut in butter until crumbly. Reserving 1 1/2 cups crumb mixture, press remainder on bottom of a 13″ x 9″ baking pan.  Bake 15 mins.  Add walnuts to reserved crumb mixture.

In a heavy saucepan, over low heat, melt caramels with condensed milk, stirring until smooth.  Spoon apple filling over prepared crust, top with caramel mixture, the top with reserved crumb mixture.

Bake 20 mins or until set.  Cool.  Serve warm with ice cream if desired. 🙂

All of these recipes either sound delicious..or I know for a fact they are ….as they are from my own kitchen!  Many of these will be just as wonderful in November as they are in August.  Let me know if you try any..I’d love to know if you did.  When I do research online, I often find the very same recipes posted on hundreds of websites or blogs…for my own feasts, I prefer to come up with my own recipes that make sense to me..that work for the season …that are fresh and delicious etc.  Use mine or use your own from your own recipe box..you can’t go wrong.  There is nothing less magickal about doing that then using the recipes everybody else is doing.  Make what YOU like!

I’ll post a ritual and my altar pics soon..until then, continue having a beautiful summer….make the most of it!

“Whilst August yet wears her golden crown,
Ripening fields lush- bright with promise;
Summer waxes long, then wanes, quietly passing
Her fading green glory on to riotous Autumn.”
– Michelle L. Thieme

Blessings and Love, Autumn

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Filed under Lammas/Lughnassadh, Loose incense recipe, Oil Blend Recipe, Quote, Recipe from my Kitchen, Summer