Monthly Archives: March 2015

Ostara Recipes 2015………..

IMG_0857Merry Meet everyone and Happy Sun day!  It’s been a busy day here today.  My hubby is working on projects around the house and I had the laundry and the grocery to do.  Also, yesterday we had our ugly beige hallway and guest room painted in beautiful shades of green and “Vast Sky” blue, respectively.  So I had to put pictures back up on the wall, put everything back in it’s place etc.  The boring beige in the whole house is GONE and my home is warm in color as I like it 🙂  The Sun has been shining and we were in the mid 50’s…a lovely day but a bit chilly when the winds blow.  Tomorrow however we can look forward to hitting 70*! How wonderful!

Spring has sprung here..I believe it truly has!  Our bird and squirrel feeders are active.  I’ve seen cardinals, finches, mourning doves, and even two gorgeous male blue jays!  The squirrels are having a feast as well lol. There are tulips coming up in some areas, snow is all gone, and of course the days are getting longer.  I don’t see trees budding quite yet.  Now I live in Ohio, and I KNOW that we can see snow yet in April lol…but I think we can put Winter to bed pretty much 🙂  How about where you live?

I was perusing a few Spring issues magazines today.  I just love them don’t you?  There are always flowers and green and pastels on the covers.  So light and airy.  While I was looking thru them I found a few recipes I thought would be perfect for Ostara and thought I’d share them with you. They would be great to put in jars and take to the park for a picnic on a Spring day, great for your family gathering, and well, just for something light and healthy for every day!

 

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Fresh Fruit Salad with Lime Syrup

1/2 cup sugar

2 Tbs lime zest

1/4 cup fresh lime juice

1/4 cup water

3 cups fresh orange segments

2 cups fresh strawberries, sliced

1/4 cup fresh mint leaves, chopped

1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted

In a small saucepan, combine sugar, and next 3 ingredients.  Bring to a boil over medium high heat, stirring occasionally until sugar dissolves.  Remove from heat, strain through sieve into a small bowl.  Let cool completely.

In a large serving bowl, combine fruits and mint.  Add lime syrup, stirring to combine.  Cover and chill for at least an hour. Sprinkle with almonds before serving.

 

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Spring Pasta Salad with Dill Vinaigrette

8 oz package orecchiette pasta

1/4 pound asparagus, trimmed, cut into into 1 inch pieces and blanched

1/2 cup diced carrot

1/2 cup diced yellow bell peppers

1/2 cup Dill Vinaigrette *see below

Garnish:  Fresh dill

 

Cook pasta according to package directions.  In a large bowl, stir together asparagus, carrot and peppers and pasta.  Add Dill vinaigrette stirring gently to coat.  Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour.  Garnish with chopped dill.

 

Dill Vinaigrette

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

3 Tbs white wine vinegar

1/2 tsp sugar

1/4 tsp kosher salt

1/4 tsp ground black pepper

1/4 tsp Dijon mustard

In a small bowl, whisk together all ingredients.  Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours or up to 3 days.

*I happen to think this recipe would be great with a greek or italian dressing too 🙂

 

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Lemon Cupcakes with Lemon-Lime Glaze

*makes 12 cupcakes

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 cup sugar

1 egg, room temperature

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 Tb lemon zest

Juice of 1 lemon

1/2 cup buttermilk, divided, room temperature

Lemon-Lime glaze *see below

Preheat oven to 350*  Line a 12-cup muffin tin with cupcake liners

In a small bowl, combine flour, baking soda and salt.  In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3-5 minutes.  Add egg, and mix until blended.  Add vanilla, lemon zest and lemon juice, and mix until well blended.

*be sure to read this closely before starting 🙂  Working in batches, add 1/3 of flour mixture. Beat until combined, scraping down sides of bowl.  Add 1/4 cup buttermilk; mix completely; scraping bowl.  Add second batch of 1/3 of flour mixture; scraping down sides of bowl.  Add remaining 1/4 cup buttermilk.  Finish with last of flour mixture, scraping down sides of bowl until all is fluffy!

Pour batter into baking cups, filling each about 2/3 full.  Bake for 18 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.  Let cool completely.

Lemon-Lime Glaze

1 1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar

2 tsps fresh lemon juice

2 tsps fresh lime juice

In a small bowl, whisk together all ingredients.  Pour by spoonfuls over cupcakes.

Don’t they all sound wonderful….so fresh and reminding of Spring 🙂  Hope you give them a try! Remember to stir in some magick while cooking!

 

I want to talk about one more thing real quick.  I have a dear friend, Deb Sunshine Hillman who has written a wonderful book…a small book filled with beautiful tales relating to Women and the Goddess.  As a follower of Goddess, and I’m a woman…..lol…these stories speak to me.  I hope you check it out…I’m so proud of you dear Sister Deb for making one of your dreams come true….publishing a book!

Here is the link for my readers if you’d like to check it out!

http://www.amazon.com/Cauldron-Full-Tails-Such-Stories/dp/1508600775/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1426463556&sr=8-1&keywords=A+cauldron+of+tails

 

 

I hope that you all have had a great weekend…..we are just 5 days from Ostara!  Have a very Blessed Ostara and may Mother Earth awaken and Spring break forth soon if it hasn’t already where YOU live! ❤

 

“March bustles in on windy feet
And sweeps my doorstep and my street.
She washes and cleans with pounding rains,
Scrubbing the earth of winter stains.
She shakes the grime from carpet green
Till naught but fresh new blades are seen.
Then, house in order, all neat as a pin,
She ushers gentle springtime in.”
– Susan Reiner, Spring Cleaning

 

Love and Blessings, Autumn

*All pictures are either my own or creative commons images.

 

 

 

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Filed under Books, Books I'm reading, Flowers, Goddess, Holiday, Mother Earth, My Writing, Nature, Ostara, Poem, Recipe from my Kitchen, Seasons, Spring, Uncategorized

I <3 Basil……….

Merry Meet my friends!  It’s a gorgeous day here in Ohio!  A Spring-like day!  It started out chilly and extremely as foggy as Avalon but later in the morning the Sun burned off the fog, it warmed up into the 50’s, there is a gentle breeze, the skies are blue, the birds are singing…LOL…well, you get the picture!  I was out running errands without a coat and when I got home I opened up a couple windows to let in the fresh Air!  It’s just wonderful and my spirits are joyful in it!  I sure hope you’re getting a taste of Spring too!

Of course my thoughts are turning more and more to my garden beds….and planting my seed starters as I talked about in my last post.  It’s also almost Irish day..March 17…..and it made me think of leprechauns and gold coins and then money….and I knew I would share info on basil for you all 🙂  Basil is an herb that starts great as a seed indoors…and it has amazing magickal properties, including drawing money 🙂  Now you see where I’m going with it right? lol.  Who knows, maybe it will draw gold coins your way!

Basil, one of the oldest herbs, is believed to have originated in India and spread to Europe by the Middle East. Throughout history it has been regarded as having extraordinary powers in the realms of religion, medicine and cooking. Its name is derived from the Greek ‘basileus’ which means ‘king’. It’s also associated with the snake, the basilisk, because it was used to treat snake bites!

Basil: Ocimum bacilicum is part of the mint family. There are many species of basil….wild, sweet, bush or greek, lettuce leaf, ruffles, and even a purple variety..my favorite!! It also comes in many wonderful scents and flavors like lemon, licorice, anise, camphor and cinnamon. May also be called sweet basil, common basil, garden basil, Luole {chinese}, St. Joseph’s Wort, Tulsi, devil plant and my favorite, Witch’s herb.

Basil is an annual and is easily grown from seed. You can start the seeds indoors in a sunny place for 3-4 weeks, then transplant it in warm weather (after the last frost) to a sunny spot in your garden or a pot on your sunny patio. Grows well indoors in your kitchen too if you have a sunny window sill or counter to set it on.

 

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Culinary Use
Its culinary uses are many. It’s used in Teas, Soups, Stews, Sauces, Salads, Pastas, Vinegars, Dressings, Meats and Fish. Great on pizza too! It’s a key ingredient in many Asian and Italian dishes.  I also love, at Lughnassadh, to make a basil infused olive oil for cooking and for salads. It’s a great way to use the last of my basil in my garden at the end of the growing season. Basil is best used fresh in most recipes. That’s why having it in your own garden or kitchen is so wonderful.

Medicinal Use
Basil has a plethora of medicinal uses as well. The leaves, seeds, and its essential oil are used and occasionally the root. It’s reported to contain many healing properties including antiseptic, antidepressant, a carminative, stimulates the adrenal cortex, expectorant, soothes itching, prevents vomiting, and reduces a fever. It’s also an antispasmodic, stimulant (breast feeding), tonic, diaphoretic, carminative, vermifuge and can be used as a mouthwash/breath freshener.
An oil infused with basil is good for tired, overworked muscles. A tincture or tea can be used as a mouthwash for mouth sores and infected gums. An infusion made with basil is good for chest infections and digestive problems. Oil of Basil is a wonderful treatment for acne and warts. Basil leaves in a sleep pillow will aid insomnia and depression. A basil balm will help heal skin wounds as well. Also said to cure warts. An infused tea of fresh or dried basil is good to aid in allaying nausea, vomiting and indigestion. Add basil leaf tea or a few drops of basil essential oil to a warm bath to help reduce stress and relax.
If you are outside, and the insects are bothering you, rub crushed leaves on your skin to repel insects and on insect bites to relief the itching and inflammation. If you need a quick breath freshener, chew on a couple of leaves to freshen your breath. Chewing fresh leaves may also help to calm a cough. According to Mountain Rose Herbs: “The essential oil is antibacterial, and drops of basil oil may relieve ear infections.”
*Warnings: Basil is safe in food amounts, and it seems to be safe in medicinal amounts when used by adults short-term. Long term medicinal use could cause health issues. In some people basil can cause low blood sugar.
Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Basil seems to be safe for pregnant and breast-feeding women in food amounts. But larger medicinal amounts might be UNSAFE.
Children: Basil seems to be safe for children in food amounts. But larger medicinal amounts might be UNSAFE.
*reference WebMD

Aromatherapy
Basil has a warm, earthy scent. Lemon basil is wonderful in citrus potpourri. Blends well with bergamot, lavender, orange, lemon, neroli and verbena. A blend of basil, orange and lavender essential oils in a base oil is wonderful! (in my opinion) 

Magickal Use
There are just as many magickal properties in basil as there are medicinal and culinary. Here are just a few I came across in my research and my own BOS.
Planetary: Mars
Astrological: Scorpio
Gender: Masculine
Element: Fire
Gods: Vishnu, and Krishna
Goddess: Erzulie

Magickal Properties: Love, Exorcism, Wealth, Flying, Protection, Visionary, Fertility, Funeral, Consecration, Immortality and Purification
~Basil added to vinegar water is a wonderful herbal cleanser/purifier for floors and walls. (perfect for your Imbolc cleaning!)
~Plant basil in your yard for protection and good fortune.
~Witches were said to have drunk a half a cup of basil juice before flying into the air.
~ Give a potted basil plant to a friend to bring them good luck
~Put a bundle of basil or a plant on your altar for Imbolc..for renewal
~Use basil tea or drops of essential oil in your cleansing bath before a ritual, initiation, or ceremony.
~ It may be burned as an offering to the Salamanders or fire breathing Dragons
~Stick some leaves in your pocket when on a date or with a loved one to bring good feelings and love to the night
~Grind it into a loose incense recipe
~Drink an infused tea before meditating or divining
~Sprinkle basil leaves or dried basil in the four corners of your home, your car, your place of business etc..for protection.
~Add it to a mojo bag for protection
~Add it to a sleep pillow to aid in astral travel
~Put leaves in your wallet or place on your altar with a green, lit candle to aid monetary needs
~Use it in your magickal potions/oils for love, money, health and protection
~Cook with basil  to keep your Lover at your side and infuse the feelings of love and happiness
~Make holy water with basil and use it to aspurge your altar, or sacred space. Many believe that basil consecrates burial sites as well.

 

 

Recipe

Here’s a delicious recipe for Pesto….it’s refreshing and green and you’ll love it!  And how much fun is it to pick your own basil out of your own herb garden to make it? Delicious on pasta and bruschetta!

CLASSIC BASIL PESTO

 

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2 c. fresh basil leaves
2 lg. garlic cloves
1/2 c. freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 tbsp. freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese
1/4 c. pine nuts or walnuts
1/2 c. olive oil
Salt & freshly ground pepper
Combine the basil, garlic, cheeses and nuts in a food processor or blender. Process to mix. With the machine running, slowly add the olive oil. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper and process to the desired consistency. Add more olive oil if it’s too thick. Let stand 5 minutes before serving. Makes about 1 cup. Blend into Pasta of your choice and top with Parmesan cheese!

As you can see, the magickal ways to use Basil is endless. I know you’ll find ways to use it..any of the ways listed above. So this Spring, as your planning your garden, be sure to have a plant or two or three of basil at your disposal. I especially recommend the purple basil..it’s just gorgeous!

Blessings and Love, Autumn

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Filed under Gardens, Happy Irish Day, Herbal How To, Herbal Recipe, Herbs, Nature, Ostara, Recipe from my Kitchen, Seasons, Spring

The Wheel Turns to Ostara 2015………..

imagesCAJTX5KXMerry Meet my friends.  It’s a cold and very snowy day here.  We’ve gotten about 4-5 inches of new snow! It was beautiful when we woke up this morning and just stopped in the last hour or two.  We have a roaring fire going, chili in the crockpot, racing is on though my hubby has fallen into his 2nd nap of the day (he has a cold) and I’ve been writing recipes up for the Sunday Stew and Imramma Magazine this morning in my jammies 🙂  Gotta love Winter Sun days like that!

Today is March 1 and in 19 days it will be Ostara..the first day of Spring.  It’s hard to see that right now with all this snow and cold, but I can feel it.  There is a change in the pattern of the Sun and Moon, in the winds blowing, in the birds and ground animals.  In the light of the morning, and the darkness of the sky at night.  Oh yes, my friends….Spring is not far away..not just by calendar date but if you pay attention to the signs around you too.

I grew up in a home that celebrated Easter.  We were casually christian I guess…went to church when I was little but after the age of 9-10 for me it was rare and only when my grandma asked us to go.  But the Easter egg hunts were a big deal in our family….the little boys in dress pants, sweaters and bow ties, the little girls in frilly dresses with bonnets and I even remember my dad buying us orchid corsages to wear.  I had 9 cousins and we would all go to my grandmother’s house, or an aunt’s house and have a great pot luck supper and a oh-so-much fun egg hunt.  Many times, my birthday fell on or very close to that day, and there would be an extra gift for me.  Big chocolate bunnies were always the best thing to find 🙂  Such fun for little kids. As I still have christian family members, we continued that practice with my girls and now with my grandchildren.  It’s a family day…not a christian holiday for me, but each family member sees it their own way.  And that is just fine!  Does your family still celebrate Easter?  Ostara?  It’s one of those great Sabbats that can be enjoyed by all without too much discomfort I think for those of differing Paths.

 

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Ostara now, meaning March 20…that is a whole different thing.  It’s still about bunnies and eggs and food and pastel colors lol, but it’s also about knowing the Sun is getting stronger and warmer, the days are lengthening, and Spring will come.  We watch for signs of buds on our flowering trees, shoots coming up from the wet ground, blades of grass turning green, and birds becoming more active. We might see a bunny hopping in our yard, a chipmunk scurrying, a robin or yellow finch, and of course the garden centers are setting out mowers, grills, seeds, pots, early spring flowers etc etc. I love Facebook as the seasons change.  My friends love posting the first signs of the new Season.  When I see my southern friends posting pics of forsythia and cherry trees blooming, I know we aren’t far behind!  I can’t wait to smell that first scent of rich dirt, plant that first plant or seed, check out what’s coming up that was planted last year, and just plain get my hands and bare feet dirty again!

My Circle will gather a few days after Ostara as well.  Last year we blessed seeds and planted them for each of our gardens.  I’m sure we’ll do something like that again this year.  If it’s warm enough, we’ll go outside and give our thanks and gratitude to the Sun God as he brings warmth back to Mother Earth. A feast will be had and always a fire too.  I really look forward to time with my Sister Witches.  Ostara is usually when I plant my seed starters as well.  Blessing the seeds, placing potting soil in little sod pots, planting the seeds and watering with Moon water is such a wonderful way to observe the day.

 

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For now, I still am enjoying Winter.  As a matter of fact, all of a sudden I look back on how fast it’s gone by.  Some of the things I vowed I would work on over the Winter escaped me.  But I spent a lot of time reading, writing, working on my home, cooking and baking, and enjoying the beauty of staying home more, spending time with family and resting more.  So things I didn’t get done..well, they will still get done eventually.   It does bother me I haven’t worked on my herbalist course the way I wanted to….found myself wanting to read instead.  But as Spring approaches, the mood is striking me more so I’ve picked it up today again and have worked on it some and will continue at my own pace until I finally do get that certificate!  I can picture myself on my sunny patio, with an iced drink and warm breezes and the scent of lavender and rosemary while I study and work 🙂  Yes..that sounds perfect!

I can see that many are searching here on my blog for Ostara recipes, rituals etc.  You can do that in the search box on the right hand side here on my blog.  You can also find more of my recipes starting March 22 in the Sunday Stew….again the icon on the right here on my blog.  I’ll be back here soon to post a new recipe or two, maybe a new seed blessing I’m working on and of course something Irish for Irish day!  I’ll also be posting more herbal info very soon.  I want to again thank my readers for being so supportive of me and my blog.   I truly appreciate it.

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Now, I hope you’re all warm and cozy if you’re having your Winter, and staying cool and comfortable if you’re having your Summer.  Either way, have a happy March!

 

Oh, Spring is surely coming,
Her couriers fill the air;
Each morn are new arrivals,
Each night her ways prepare;
I scent her fragrant garments,
Her foot is on the stair.
~John Burroughs, “A March Glee”

 

Blessings and Love, Autumn

 

*All photos are either my own or creative commons unlicensed pictures.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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