Category Archives: Gardens

Blessed Samhain 2015 and Recipes!…………

Merry Meet my friends!  It’s Thursday morning and Samhain is Saturday. I can’t believe how fast October has flown by! Too fast!  I’m sitting in my family room, listening to a Halloween Radio staA-BLessed-Samhain-To-Yoution on Pandora, watching leaves blowing around my yard, the Sun shining and birds at the feeders and chipmunks and squirrels gathering.  It’s a gorgeous day after two days of much needed rain.  Quite cool, quite autumnal, and I’m feeling happy and blessed.

My gardens are a wild mess. The last of the Autumn flowers are spent.  The tall grasses are brown and dry.  Some herbs have re-bloomed like parsley, thyme and lemon balm.  (I’ll be grabbing those yet)  My rosemary and lavender are still healthy and useful as I trim some rosemary for my ancestor altar and Ancestor Supper table. There are dried leaves gathered in the beds that will remain to keep warm the plants over the long Winter, and fresh, bright colored leaves are still falling, littering the ground and beds with reds, oranges, and golds. I took a walk in my favorite park that has a beautiful pond.  Watching the geese fly over under blue, clear skies,  the leaves floating in the pond, the bright trees and Sun casting mirror images on the water, I’m reminded of how Mother Earth is winding down to the dark, stark season in a blaze of color and beauty. I never have the feeling it’s a death and dying thing..but a show of how beautiful the seasons are.  No matter the season, they each have their own beauty.  While Autumn to me is the most beautiful, Winter too can be stunningly filled with beauty and I am not sad that Winter comes.

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I have enjoyed the energy of the Full Moon these last few nights, even though I couldn’t see Her the night she was at her fullest.  The foggy, rainy days reminded me of the thinning veil. The mystical, quietness of this time of year, if you’re still enough to notice it.  I’ve been having strong, vivid dreams and vacillate between sleeping hard and feeling restless in the night. How are you feeling? Perhaps tired and restless?  Or calm and filled with energy? I find I’m energized most of the time in Autumn, but an evening by the fire can make me feel drowsy and content.  I find my loved ones who have passed on are very much on my mind and I’m trying to be aware of any messages they may be bringing for me, to be aware of their being close to me, and to leave myself open to any other guides/spirits who may be needing my attention as well.  I keep a dream journal and I’m jotting down anything I remember when I awake. My scrying mirror, tarot cards and candle and fire flames are readily available to such purposes of receiving any messages. As I said in my last post, I find being still and meditative, even drowsy, can bring me closer, easier to my loved ones.

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My coven gathers tomorrow night. Always such a high energy, loving, magickal night. We’ll be doing an ancestor ritual, welcoming in the New Year together, with feast and fire. While we enjoy every Sabbat gathering, and every other gathering, Samhain is always just the best one.  The energy of Samhain is very much within us as a Tribe.  I love my sisters!

I have been visiting some books lately for the Season.  Classics like Edgar Allan Poe poems and “The Halloween Tree” and getting ready to read “The Picture of Dorian Gray”.  I also have been enjoying movies like “Hocus Pocus”, “Sleepy Hollow”, and “The Good Witch” movies.  My daughter, our friend and I saw “The Goosebumps” movie last night and enjoyed it very much!  I love both books and movies during this entire holiday season, from Samhain to Yule.  Music too.  They just put me in the mood!  What are your favorite spooky books or movies?

Cooking and Baking also is such a big part of the holidays for me.  Autumn is especially lovely with warm soups and breads, apple and pumpkin desserts, and hot drinks with cinnamon and spice.  If you do a search in the box on the right here —–> you can find previous Samhain recipes for the last 5 years.  I’m going to add a couple more today.  Also, if you saw my last post, you may have been checking out Samhain’s Sirens and The Sunday Stew for other recipes from myself and others for the Season.  For many, All Hallow’s Eve will bring to mind a witch stirring her cauldron 🙂 Well, yes, that’s me!  Conjuring in my kitchen! I may have a soup or hot cider in my cauldron, or I may have herbs and a smoking charcoal just as easily. If you don’t have a nice cauldron to actually use in your kitchen..I highly recommend a Potje pot.  They come in all sizes and are wonderful!

As a reminder of the foods for Samhain, they are :  Apples, pumpkin pie, pomegranate, pumpkin, squash, hazelnuts, corn, bread, ale, apple cider and herbal tea. Here are a couple of new recipes to fit the bill. One is healthy and one is just sweet and yummy!

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Spinach Pomegranate Salad

3/4 cup unsweetened pomegranate juice
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
5 ounces spinach leaves (about 2 lightly packed qts.)
3/4 cup finely shredded radicchio (from 1 head)
1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
1/2 cup coarsely chopped toasted hazelnuts
1 large firm-ripe Bartlett pear

In a small saucepan, boil pomegranate juice until reduced to 1/4 cup, 5 to 6 minutes. Let cool. Whisk in lemon juice, oil, salt, thyme, and pepper.
In a salad bowl, gently mix spinach, radicchio, pomegranate seeds, and hazelnuts with dressing. Divide among 6 plates.
Quarter pear and core. Thinly slice crosswise, then stack slices and cut in matchsticks. Arrange pear on salads.

*To make this salad a full meal, add grilled chicken strips onto the salad and a good crusty bread!

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Sour Cream-Apple Pie

a 9″ pie crust…your own homemade or refrigerated store bought

2 cups apples, peeled, cored and chopped (use your favorite baking apple)

1 cup sugar, divided

1/3 cup plus 2 Tbs all-purpose flour, divided

1/4 tsp salt

1 cup sour cream

1 egg, beaten

1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1 Tb ground cinnamon

2 Tb butter

Place pie crust in a 9″ pie plate; arrange apples in bottom of pie crust.

Combine 2/3 cup sugar, 2 Tbs flour and salt in a large bowl; stir to mix.  Add sour cream, egg and vanilla.  Beat with an electric mixer at medium speed until smooth.  Pour mixture over apples.

Bake at 425* for 15 minutes; reduce heat to 350* and bake 30 more minutes.

Combine in a small bowl the remaining flour, sugar, cinnamon and butter. Sprinkle over top of pie.  Increase heat back to 400* and bake 10 more minutes.  Remove and cool.  Of course, eating it warm is perfect!

*If you’d rather use thinly sliced apples, that is okay too.

Well there you go for a couple of great new recipes.  Again, you can find so many more of my recipes in previous postings.  Whether you’re looking for a simple soup meal, a big feast or just something sweet, you’ll find it here 🙂 Enjoy!

I want to wish you all a very Blessed Samhain and Happy Witchy New Year.  May your ancestors be blessed by how you live YOUR life, how you honor them and how you loved those you knew who have passed beyond the veil.  And may YOU be blessed with a full new year of wonderful things ahead!  Remember to let go that which no longer suits or has meaning or purpose, and find joy in what is to come.  Make it GREAT!

“Between the heavens and the earth
The way now opens to bring forth
The Hosts of those who went on before;
Hail! We see them now come through the Open Door.

Now the veils of worlds are thin;
To move out you must move in.
Let the Balefires now be made,
Mine the spark within them laid.

Move beyond the fiery screen,
Between the seen and the unseen;
Shed your anger and your fear,
Live anew in a new year!”
– Lore of the Door

Blessings and Love, Autumn

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Filed under All Hallow's Eve, Altars, Autumn, Books I'm reading, Correspondence, coven, Full Moons, Gardens, Halloween, Herbs, Holiday, Mother Earth, Movies, Music, Pagan, Photography, Quote, Recipe from my Kitchen, recipes, Sabbat, Samhain, Seasons, Winter, Witch

The Wheel Turns to Mabon 2015 (Autumn Equinox) ……….

imagesCA3138JFMerry Meet!  It’s a beautiful Sunday afternoon here in Ohio.  While last week we had very HOT weather for September, this week we are having lovely days of seasonal, Autumn-like weather.  Today the Sun is bright, there is a light breeze and we have some leaves starting to change color.  The garden beds are pretty well done, except for the Fall plants like sedum, hydrangeas, mums and such.  The birds are still content at the feeders, I’m still seeing hummingbirds, bees and butterflies, but the squirrels and chipmunks are busy collecting now.  Autumn is on the Air for sure.

I have been busy in my garden beds, cutting back the spent flowers, harvesting the last of my herbs, and planning to plant my Spring bulbs next month.  Cutting back what was once so beautiful and gave me such pleasure, is a little bit sad. However, I know that Spring always returns and I just enjoy the process, the scents, my hands again in the dirt. My herbs hang happily drying, and scenting my kitchen with the amazing scents of spice and mint and the green outdoors.  Sigh..I just love it!  They will continue to give me joy throughout the Winter as I make my tinctures and teas and incenses.  The abundant harvest gives me great pleasure and pride in the work I did over the Summer.

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My last herb harvest happily in place!

Mabon is upon us, the Autumn Equinox, on Wednesday the 23rd.  It promises to be a beautiful day here. There will be equal day and night and then our days start shortening, our nights lenthening.  We come into the dark season of the year.  This is a good thing for many who love this time of year. Many of you mourn the loss of the warmth of the Sun, being outdoors constantly and the long days. I feel for you if you are one of them.  Way deep down I do lol, but I’m very happy for those like me!  For me, Autumn, Winter and the dark time of the year is the best time of year.  As Mother Earth ages into her beauty of the season with the brilliant color of her foliage, as her green grass turns gold then brown, as her trees grow alive with color then down to bare, stark trees, it reminds me that is time for me to enjoy the lovely, last days outside, and prepare to come indoors for the long, dark, cold nights. I love the comfort of home, a fire in the hearth, the feel of warm, cozy, dark nights. Winter will be here soon and there is much to do to prepare for it.

A bit of color!

A bit of color!

But first, we have beautiful Autumn!  Most of my witchy friends will tell you it’s their very favorite time of year!  Of course it is!  We are heading to Samhain, the very best Sabbat! The adjectives to describe this season are some of my favorite words in the dictionary…..cool, crisp, woodsmoke, fires, colorful leaves, pumpkins, apples, sweaters, boots, scarves, jackets, crunch under feet, black inky nights, harvest, Harvest Moon, stars, simmering soups, apple cider, cinnamon and spice, blankets, hayrides, haunted houses, Mabon, Samhain, thinning veil, ancestors, and on and on the joys of the Season go.  What are some of your favorite words to describe this time of year?  I know there are so many more!  I find myself as I take a walk or take a drive, looking for signs…a bit of leaves turning on some of the trees, some trees and bushes are forming berries, burning bushes are turning red, farm stands are changing from corn and tomatoes, over to apples, pumpkins and gourds. The stores are filled with Autumn and Halloween decorations (next to Yule decorations ugh) .  The apple picking farms are bustling.  Shops have their summer clothes on sale and racks filled with cold weather clothes.  Hobby shops are selling yarn like crazy as needle-workers start making new scarves, mittens, hats and such. You know that song “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year”?  yep…..that songs fits this wonderful time of year! 🙂  🙂

I spent some time setting up my altar the last couple of days…I plan to go out tomorrow to my beautiful park/pond to look for a few items from nature such as leaves, greenery, seeds and nuts etc.  But I’m happy with the altar I created to represent this Autumn Equinox.  Here is a peek 🙂

My Mabon Altar, 2015

My Mabon Altar, 2015

My coven has decided not to meet for Mabon this year. Instead, we are going to attend our local Pagan festival together. I think it’s so important to support our community by attending.  Some of us have been before and report a good time had by all.  Those of us who are attending for the first time, are really looking forward to it.  I haven’t attended yet because I’m usually out of town that weekend.  This year, I made sure I’m in town to go.  I look forward to communing with those who walk the same Path as I. Do you attend your local events?  If you haven’t, perhaps this is a good year to do so!

I’ve been perusing my recipe books and will be back, maybe tomorrow with some Mabon recipes.  In the meantime, you can search Mabon or Autumn Equinox in the search box on the right to get previous years recipes. There are some excellent ones.  You can also find Mabon recipes on the Sunday Stew…see the link on the top right to go there.

I have to add a note here as I haven’t said anything in my blog about this.  This time of year was the favorite for a dear Witch sister of mine.  However, she isn’t here to celebrate it this year.  Snow Moon (Susan Herman) passed away unexpectedly in her sleep a few months ago. She was a fellow writer for the Sunday Stew and Samhain’s Sirens. As  Samhain’s Sirens is about to launch again on October 1, and Mabon brings our favorite time of year, I can’t help but think of her with great sadness.  She was a bright star that went out too soon. One of the most thoughtful, selfless people I had ever meant.  She made everyone feel they were her best friend..including me.  She is very much missed.   Snowy..I love you and miss you very much. ❤ ❤ ❤

For my readers, if you want to see what Samhain’s Sirens is all about, just click on the link on the right for a month of Samhain fun..from my recipes to some wonderful crafts, blog posts, music, great give-aways and so much more.  It’s a gift to the Pagan community from some very dedicated witchy writers.  You will love it!

So I’ll be back in the next day or two with a recipe or three. In the meantime, enjoy these last couple of days of Summer, and prepare for another wonderful harvest celebration!  May the Goddess bless you on this day and always.

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Love and Blessings, Autumn

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Filed under Altars, Autumn, Autumn Equinox, coven, Flowers, Gardens, Goddess, Herbs, Holiday, Mabon, Mother Earth, My Favorite Things, Nature, Pagan, Photography, Sabbat, Samhain, sisters, Sun, Winter, Witch

The Wheel Turns to Lughnassadh 2015…………..

imagesCAO8O6RVMerry Meet my friends!  It’s a very relaxing Sun day here at my house.  We had a wonderful rainstorm early this morning which gave way to sunshine.  Now, it is overcast but it looks like no more rain on the radar for now.  That’s actually a good thing! We have had a LOT of rain. To the point, some of my plants are suffering.  Too much water, yellow leaves, less blooms.  I have completely lost a catmint and several geraniums. But other plants are thriving on the water!

We have also had a lot of cool weather..many days not out of the 70’s with very cool nights.  This..I have loved! Those who know me or read me often enough, know I’m not crazy about really hot weather!  It’s been quite Fall-like on some of the days.  Speaking of Fall, Lughnassadh/Lammas is upon us…this August 1…the First Harvest Festival! The Wheel turns fast does it not?

“The grain to harvest’s cutting falls
to make the bread for banquet halls.
We’ll save some seeds where life’s waiting,
and plant a new field come next Spring.
We shared the work we needed to do,
and now we’ll share the eating too!
Thank you, fruit, and thank you bread,
for making sure that we are fed.”
–  Ashleen O’Gaea,
Celebrating the Seasons of Life

Believe it or not, the days are getting shorter and Autumn is on it’s way. This Sabbat marks the ending of summer and the first harvest of the grain. It was known as the time when the plants of Spring wither and drop their fruits or seeds for our use as well as to ensure future crops. This time of year, though it’s still hot and sultry, it’s also a very busy time of  year for harvesting. For gardeners and farmers alike! We are reaping what we sowed in the Spring.  Our bounty is coming in and needs to be taken care of.  On Facebook, I’m seeing wonderful pictures of veggies, fruits and herbs that my friends are harvesting from their gardens.  The Farmer’s markets and roadside stands are abundant in products from the local farms as well.  Corn is growing to full height and tomatoes are everywhere! It’s wonderful to see.  But I also always keep in mind  our ancestors, and how it wasn’t a hobby, but a necessity of life.  It was their food that would get them through the long, cold Winter months.  Harvesting, putting up, canning, preserving were all very much necessary and hard work!  I always remember this as I give thanks for my small harvest and for the local farmers around me.

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I love that we still can our bounty from our gardens. I love when I hear of someone “putting up” the veggies and fruits, making jams, jellies, sauces and preserves.  Freezing what can be frozen and preserving for Winter’s use.  It takes me back to my childhood when I helped my grandmother do this.  I was a very happy little girl when it was canning day.  I do some of it to this day, but not like she did.  But I believe there are still many of us who do this, despite the fact food is readily available at the store.  There is nothing like the freshness of something we grew, harvested, preserved. Way better in most cases than what can be found in a store!

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There are so many ways to celebrate this wonderful Sabbat.  Have a feast with your family and friends..outside while the weather is still nice.  Fix lots of fresh veggies and fruits, they are great grilled on the grill 🙂  Have a bonfire, drink wine!  Go to a medieval fair or craft show..this time of year they are everywhere.  Have a picnic!  Lay on a blanket under the stars and find the constellations, watch for shooting stars.  Catch fireflies and let them go. Listen to the crickets, hug a tree and enjoy the fresh taste of a warm-off-the-vine tomato!

If you don’t have a garden of your own, offer to help a friend harvest or can..I bet you’ll be sent home with lots of goodies.  Or visit a farmer’s market and stock up on veggies and fruits there to do your own canning and freezing. I love to make flavored oils and vinegars from my homegrown herbs. They will give your salads, meats, egg dishes etc  that fresh herbal taste all winter long. Baking bread is a huge part of celebrating Lughnassadh/Lammas. Have a bread baking day with your family. Put grains, fruits and nuts in the bread  and send a loaf home with everyone.  Make corn dollies or Brighid’s crosses from corn stalks. Have a family game day with the kids and grandkids.  Plan a “tournament” of corn hole for the kids, or croquet, or kickball…playing games is just what the Celts did for Lughnassadh…called the Lugh games. So so much to do for this first wonderful Harvest festival!

Lughnasadh is a great time to start your Autumn cleaning.  There are things to do to get your house ready for Winter now while it’s still warm out. Clean your carpets, curtains, and windows. Have your furnace checked. Clean your coats and winter clothes and hang them out on the clothesline for that yummy fresh, clean scent. Wash your linens and hang them on the line too! Get your fireplace checked so it’s ready for the wonderful fires you’ll have soon. Order a cord of wood and get it stacked. I actually LOVE Fall cleaning…I call it nesting 🙂  Preparing to be indoors, while you can still be outdoors, just makes sense.

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But for now, Summer is still in full swing. Spend time outside.  Feel the warmth, feet on the ground, back against a tree.  Feel the breeze, hear the birds, watch the squirrels, daydream, doze….rest.  They say summer days are lazy, hazy and crazy.  I say that sounds wonderful too!  But yes, bring on the harvest and the Autumn..my favorite time of year!

“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

Oh, July 31 is a Blue Full Moon!  Be sure to use that power! A Full Moon so close to a Sabbat always means lots of energy is swirling! I’ll be back soon with a couple recipes.  Also, be sure to check out the Lughnassadh issue of Imramma Magazine on July 26th! You can click on the icon on the right of this post. I’ll have some recipes posted there too. In the meantime, have a wonderful week!!

Blessings and Love, Autumn

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Filed under Autumn, Blue Moon, Cleaning & Organizing, Family, Flowers, Gardens, Herbs, Lammas/Lughnassadh, quotes, Sabbat, Summer

Summer Solstice Recipes 2015………..

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I question not if thrushes sing,
If roses load the air;
Beyond my heart I need not reach
When all is summer there.
~John Vance Cheney

Greetings my friends and readers.  As I write this, it is pouring rain.  Has been all day!  I was out this morning for a hair appointment. Made a quick stop at Costco..then I decided the rest of the errands could wait until the rain stops! lol.  So I just had lunch and I’m listening to some Blackmore’s Night while watching the birds and ground critters, and my gardens that are lush, green and wet..and decided to go ahead and write a blog post with those recipes I promised.

You will find in previous posts (just search Litha or Summer Solstice in the search box) that the foods that represent Litha are  Fresh fruits…especially citrus and in-season fruits, all vegetables, summer squash, honey, fresh herbs like thyme and lavender, pumpernickel bread, ale and mead.  Fresh seasonal foods as you can see 🙂

I’m going to start the recipes out with a wonderful mojito recipe to use up all of that peppermint herb growing like crazy in my herb bed.  I bet many of  you have a plethora of it too!  This recipe makes a glass but you can make a pitcher too!

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Classic Mojito

10 mint leaves, more for garnishing

2 ounces white rum

1 ounce simple syrup

2 tablespoons lime juice

soda water

For the simple syrup

1⁄2 cup water

1⁄2 cup sugar

Make the simple syrup. Mix sugar and water in a sauce pan and bring to a boil. Stir until sugar gets dissolved. Remove from heat and store in the fridge until ready to use.

For Mojito:

Pour lime juice and 1 ounce simple syrup into a tall glass. Add mint leaves and muddle it together.

Add rum and muddle a little more. Add ice and a splash of soda.

Serve garnished with fresh mint leaves and a slice of lime.

*I discovered how good these were just last year and just love them!  You can control the sweetness by how much of the simple syrup you use as well…use less if it’s too sweet!

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Strawberry Spinach Salad with Honey-Lime Dressing

5 cups fresh torn spinach, about 1 pound

2 cups sliced strawberries

2 ounces Gouda cheese, cut into thin strips

1/3 cup toasted pecans

Dressing:

1/4 cup fresh lime juice

2 tablespoons honey

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

Toss together spinach, strawberries, cheese, and toasted pecans. Whisk together dressing ingredients in a small bowl.  pour over spinach mixture and toss just before serving. Serves 4-6

*Feel free to substiture the gouda cheese for blue cheese crumbles or feta cheese and the pecans for walnuts or almonds….you can play with this recipe 🙂

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Cucumber Pumpernickel Sandwiches

1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 envelope Italian salad dressing mix
36 slices snack rye bread
1 medium cucumber, sliced

In a small bowl, combine the cream cheese, mayonnaise and salad dressing mix.. Refrigerate for 1 hour.

Just before serving, spread over rye bread; top each with a cucumber slice.

Yield: 3 dozen

*Adding a little fresh dill would be really good too!

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Roasted Pineapple with Honey-Orange Glaze and Pistachios

1/2 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
1/2 cup orange juice
3 tablespoons honey
1 medium ripe pineapple, peeled, cored, cut lengthwise into 8 wedges (I like to do the rounds)
1/4 cup crème fraîche or plain yogurt
1/3 cup  unsalted pistachios, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons torn fresh mint leaves

Preheat oven to 450°F. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Stir first 3 ingredients in a large bowl until sugar dissolves. Add pineapple; toss to coat. Let marinate, tossing occasionally, for 10 minutes. Place pineapple, one flat side down, on prepared sheet; reserve marinade.

Roast pineapple for 15 minutes. Turn, brush with marinade, and roast until tender and caramelized, 10-15 minutes. Drizzle remaining marinade over; let cool slightly.

Divide pineapple among plates. Spoon crème fraîche alongside. Garnish with nuts and mint.

*while you can do this in the oven..I highly recommend you do it on the grill!  Yummy!  Also, you can use a vanilla yogurt or even vanilla ice cream if you’d rather..I highly recommend the ice cream! 🙂

Well, that should add to your list of possible recipes for the Solstice.  Or anytime throughout the Summer!  Don’t forget to do a search over here on the right ——>  for more recipes and more from me about the Solstice.

If it ever quits raining, I will post some pictures of my gardens, as I promised, for you. My herb bed is overflowing and I will most definitely be harvesting this weekend!  I love harvesting my herbs to dry…then watching them grow again!  Not to mention using them in my recipes, in my spells and rituals as well.

Yesterday was the New Moon……what new projects are you starting?  What old negative things are you banishing?  I hope you’re using the energies to your advantage.  Not to mention we are out of Retrograde! lol..can you feel a difference?

Hope you all have a great rest of the week!  I’ll be back in a day or two or at least by the Solstice!  Until then….Much love and may the Sun be shining on you and yours!

Blessings and love, Autumn

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Filed under Gardens, Herbs, Litha/Summer Solstice, Midsummer, New Moons, Quote, Recipe from my Kitchen, Summer

The Wheel Turns to Litha..the Summer Solstice 2015…………

11178300_890425127667564_7474087168739454152_nMerry Meet my friends!  I have been writing all afternoon….in my journal and doing my recipes for both Imramma Magazine and The Sunday Stew Magazine.  I thought while I was at it, I’d go ahead and write a blog post too.  Our weather has been crazy lately!  We’ve had a LOT of rain…which the gardens love, but we’ve had very little Sun which they also would love.  We also have been quite chilly the last few days….unseasonably cool weather..requiring us to go straight from using the A/C to turning the heat back on lol.  But that is Ohio for you..and many other states have the same issues right now 🙂  But no matter the weather, Summer is coming fast!

I have finished all my planting!  However, hubby and I are still wanting to have two trees planted.  A Bradford Pear in our front yard that we’ll plant ourselves, and an Autumn Blaze maple tree which we’ll  have planted by the garden center where we’ll buy it. We want that to be a good sized tree right from the start so we’ll have it done for us.  But all of my flowers, herbs and veggies are in and we are now just enjoying watching them bloom and grow, and of course watering (not much needed with all the rain this past week) and even deadheading already!  I’m so pleased with them..they’re just so grounding to me, magickal, beautiful…and I take great pride in the work I did to get them that way!  I’ll post a few pictures soon..when it’s sunny and they are all standing and beautiful again..the rain has made them all look a little tired already 🙂

Those who know me, know I’m not a huge fan of Summer…but it’s not really Summer..it’s just the heat!  I love many things about these months of summer.  Getting to hang clothes out on the line, the warm evenings for hanging outside, listening to  and watching the birds in the early morning while I sip my coffee on the patio, taking walks, grilling, fresh fruits and vegetables, the Farmer’s Market, the smell of fresh mown grass and my herbs, and that electric scent of storms coming in.

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I love the picnics, watching the kids swim and play or catch fireflies, an ice cream cone from time to time, picking my own mint to make a mojito, lightening up on my clothes, the more carefree days, sitting under the stars and Moon, leaning up against the tree, playing with the faerys, the lazy days of it being too hot to do anything but lay around and read….sigh..I truly love all those things.  I just don’t like being sweaty while I do it LOL.  I know many women my age feel the same way about it! 🙂

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One of my favorite memories of my childhood of summer, was spending the week at my grandmother and grandfather’s house.  They owned 10 acres and had a huge garden that kept them very busy over the Summer.  I loved helping grandma pick whatever was ready….then help to “put it up”.  Whether it was snapping beans, shelling peas, making applesauce or rhubarb sauce, canning tomatoes, making strawberry jam or crabapple jelly (my favorite)..I was right there helping her..with great pleasure.  I remember her in her housedress and apron..almost always in the kitchen, garden, or sitting outside with us while we played.  The first day we’d be at her house, she would take my cousin and I off to the library, where we would stock up on books for the week. She would set up hammocks for us under her biggest trees..and we would lay there reading for hours.  The evenings were spent talking on the porch, having a 7 course meal (I’m not kidding..so much food!).  Then it’d be bathtime with a smack from her wonderful powder puff and to bed early. Waking up to the mourning dove calling in the early morning …well …to this day when I hear a mourning dove’s call….I think of her.  I miss her still.  It was such a simple time..very little tv was watched, no electronics, etc…it was spent together..working hard, playing hard..enjoying life’s simple pleasures. This is what I wanted my kids to remember..and now my grandkids too..it’s so so important!

Sunday in summer.

The Solstice..the longest day is June 21 this year. It’s also Father’s Day which will make it either more fun for us Witches and Pagans, or it will interfere with our Litha plans. LOL.  In my case, it will be fine either way. We will most likely celebrate with my father on another evening, and same with my son-in-law!  My hubby will be able to do as he pleases for his day,  and so will I 🙂 My Litha celebration will consist of  a welcoming toast at Sunrise that morning, some time tending gardens, fresh wards and protection put around my house, a simple, fresh feast, and then a fire outside, under the stars and moon, to finish up the evening. My daughter and my husband will enjoy the fire and the feast right there with me 🙂  I often do a re-dedication to the Goddess for Litha as well.  A simple ritual reminding Her and myself that I am of Her..with Her..from Her.  It’s always so beautiful and affirming to me.  Fills me with peace and joy.  My coven will gather the following Sunday for Circle, fire, feast and fun!

I hope that you don’t mind my walk down memory lane.  Perhaps you should take one yourself?  Put a blanket under a tree, lay down and feel the breeze, see the beautiful play of light in the leaves,  close your eyes and daydream a bit.  Are you taken back to carefree summer days?  Try to recreate them again…summer is for playing, being a child at heart, throwing cares to another day…..just try it!!  You’ll be rejuvenated by it!

I’ll be back again soon with some new recipes for Litha for you to try.  And of course whatever else pops up I want to talk to you about or share with you.  Until then, Enjoy these last days of Spring..no matter the weather….for they will be a year coming back again!

Then followed that beautiful season… Summer….
Filled was the air with a dreamy and magical light; and the landscape
Lay as if new created in all the freshness of childhood.
~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Blessings and Love, Autumn

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Filed under Books, Discussion, Faeries, Family, Friends, Gardens, Litha, Midsummer, Mother Earth, Pagan, Quote, Summer, Summer Solstice, Witch

Beltane Recipes 2015………

“Sweet May hath come to love us,
Flowers, trees, their blossoms don;
And through the blue heavens above us
The very clouds move on.”
– Heinrich Heine, Book of Songs

 

Merry Meet my friends and readers!  It’s a beautiful sunny Sun Day afternoon here in Ohio.  Having said that, it’s been quite cold and quite windy!  This past week we had a small tornado hit a street in my neighborhood, just 3 blocks away!  We also had freezing temps at night and heavy frost 2-3 mornings. So Spring is still….well…2463875500_7b6e892984_olike it always is here in April. LOL.  It’s been cold enough we’ve had fires going in our fireplace for several evenings..which of course, I Love.

Looking outside though, the green is vivid, trees are bloomed or blooming, plants are coming up and some people have jumped the gun (in my humble opinion) and already planted new flowers in their beds.  At my house, a new garden bed is going in by the end of the week, at least, the sod will be pulled up and it will be mulched.  NO planting until closer to Mother’s Day or we risk losing the plantings.  My perennials are coming up nicely..most of them anyway.  I will have to do some replacing here and there.  I have garden ideas spinning in my head and I’m aching to get on it…but I must be patient.   One thing I was excited about…I finally got a rain barrel!  It’s from http://www.greatamericanrainbarrel.com company and it’s hooked up already.  Thanks to recent rains, it’s already got 60 gallons of fresh rainwater ready to go! I also love these particular barrels because they are recycled olive barrels..what a great way to use them.  It makes me feel great to be conserving water and nothing is better for plants than rain water 🙂  I’m a very happy Witch about that!

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I have been perusing recipes for Beltane and thought I would of course share a couple.  If you want more recipes, just do a Beltane Recipe search over on the right and you’ll find more.  Also, as you may know, I also am the Kitchen Witch for Imramma Magazine (link to the right) and there are more Beltane recipes there.  The issue just came out today.  AND every week, I also do recipes for The Sunday Stew (link on the right).  The Stew is out every Sunday except the Sabbat issues of Imramma. Okay?  Be sure and check both out ……there are a lot of great writers, bloggers, news stories, info etc in these publications.  I’m proud to be a writer for them.

Foods that correspond to Beltane are: Dairy, honey, oats, red fruits, herbal salads, May wine, red/pink wine, fruit punch, large round oatmeal cakes, and sweets. Keeping those in mind, here’s a couple recipes for you to consider making for you feast!

 

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Oatmeal Cake with Caramel Icing

For Cake:
1-1/4 cups boiling water
1 cup quick-cooking oats
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
For Icing:
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup butter, cubed
1/4 cup fat-free milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar

In a small bowl, pour boiling water over oats; let stand for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a large bowl, beat butter and sugars until crumbly, about 2 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in applesauce and vanilla. Combine the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, salt and nutmeg. Gradually add to creamed mixture. Stir in the oats. Pour into a 13-in. x 9-in. baking pan coated with cooking spray.  *You can use a bundt pan too!
Bake at 350° for 18-22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out with moist crumbs. Cool completely on a wire rack.
For icing, in a small saucepan, combine brown sugar and butter. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Cook and stir for 1 minute. Gradually whisk in milk. Return to a boil. Cook and stir 1 minute longer. Transfer to a small bowl. Stir in vanilla and salt. Gradually beat in confectioners’ sugar until smooth. Immediately spread icing over cake. Let stand until set.

 

This next recipe isn’t really a recipe, but a wonderful way to get in some fruits and dairy for a Beltane treat.

Fruit and Cheese Skewers

6 Bamboo skewers

12 miniature balls fresh mozzarella cheese

12 small basil leaves

12 large blackberries

Balsamic vinegar

Thread each of the 6 skewers from the bottom to top with cheese ball, basil leaf and blackberry and repeat again so there are 2 of each item on the skewer

Serve cold, drizzled with small amount of balsamic vinegar.  Delicious!

*You can of course change this up however you like.  You use other berries like strawberry, blueberry, or raspberry.  You can use a different cheese too if you like.

 

And for something good with honey 🙂

 

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Cold Lemon Honey Tea

4 cups water

3 inches fresh ginger, thinly sliced

1/4 cup loose-leaf Darjeeling tea or other loose-leaf black tea

1/2 of a 12-ounce can (3/4 cup) frozen lemonade concentrate, thawed

1/3 cup honey

Ice cubes or crushed ice

Lemon slices and fresh mint for garnish

Vodka, gin or bourbon (optional)
In a medium saucepan, bring the water and ginger to boiling. Remove from heat. Add tea. Cover and let stand for 10 minutes. Pour tea mixture through a fine mesh strainer; discard ginger and tea leaves.

Transfer tea to a 1 1/2-quart pitcher. Stir in lemonade concentrate and honey, stirring until honey is dissolved. Cool for 30 minutes. Cover; chill for at least 4 hours or up to 24 hours. Stir before serving.

Serve punch in glasses over ice. Garnish with lemon slices. Chill remaining tea for up to 1 day.

For a single cocktail, pour vodka, gin, or bourbon (to taste) into a ice-filled glass; then add the lemon honey tea.

*I most definitely add a bit of vodka 🙂

 

I am hoping you’ll try these recipes and if you do, please let me know!  Your family/friends will love them.  I wish for all of you to have a very Blessed Beltane.  May you dance by the fires with the fairies!

 

Blessings and Love, Autumn

 

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Filed under Beltane, Correspondence, Faeries, Family, Flowers, Friends, Garden, Gardens, Herbs, Mother Earth, My Favorite Things, My Writing, Nature, Poem, Recipe from my Kitchen, Seasons, Spring, Sun

The Wheel Turns to Beltane 2015……….

Forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet

and the winds long to play with your hair.

-Khalil Gibran

download (3)Merry Meet and Happy Spring on this beautiful April day.  I love April, always have. Not only because it’s the month I was born, but because it brings in Spring!  The weather is a bit unpredictable…we can have snow one day, near 80* temps another with lots of wind, rain, storms and tornado warnings thrown in for good measure.  The last few days it’s rained and stormed here a lot! But it’s been a good thing for Mother Earth as she is greening more and more every day.  I love the color green and it’s everywhere!  Our grass is really green and lush, trees are budding, spring bulbs and flowering bushes and trees are bloomed, and my summer plants have green sprouting up.  In my herb bed, cilantro and garlic are up already and my lavender is greening too!  I so love it!  Today, I woke up to a chill in the Air but it’s warming up to 60* and the Sun is shining so it’s a beautiful day!

I have been Spring cleaning like crazy as well.  The winter linens are put away, winter clothes being put away to make room for our Spring/Summer clothes.  My clothesline is back up.  I have taken each day a trash bag and gone around the house just pitching stuff.  Drawers, cupboards and closets are all checked for items no longer needed. It is so freeing to de-junk!  You’d be amazed what’s in your home that no longer serves a purpose. Whether it be paperwork, knickknacks, clothes, shoes, dishes etc…there are things in your home that can go I’m sure!  My home feels lighter and simpler with everything that goes out the door.  Add fresh flowers to mason jars on your window sill, open windows to air out your house and wash windows and you’ll feel like Spring has arrived INSIDE your home too!

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My seedlings so far this year!

Beltane is approaching fast! One of my favorite Sabbats..probably because it’s one of the first ones that I can celebrate outside without being cold!  I’ve written in the past 5 years all the many ways to celebrate this Sabbat and for me, that hasn’t changed.  I still have an outdoor fire, weather permitting, and burn any of the last of my dried herbs that have grown old and dusty hanging in my kitchen.  The scent is incredible!  I plant my seedlings in their outdoor beds, make offerings to the Fae of honey and bread, set out new wards and protection for my home and yard, and spend as much time barefoot in the grass with my hands in the dirt as I can!  A wonderful feast of fresh veggies, fruits, and grains are had by whoever decides to come by for dinner. And I never forget to gather the morning dew to wash my face in…to bring youth and beauty to this aging face of mine 🙂

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My Coven will gather, if not on Beltane shortly after.  Last year we made up May baskets (in jars really) to distribute to our elderly neighbors and loved ones. It was a lot of fun and I imagine we’ll do it again this year 🙂  We then welcome the Sun God…rejoicing in the return of the longer days, warmer weather, and Mother Earth blooming forth in all Her glory.

Other things I enjoy doing in the Spring….walks are a must.  I now have a gathering bag, a wildflower reference book and a good knife for gathering wild herbs on my walks. It’ll also hold acorns, pinecones, feathers and stones and whatever else I might come across on my walk that calls to me.  A walk by a pond, in a woods, on a beach, in a meadow…..whatever place I can find that allows me to enjoy being under the Sun again, outdoors.  Attending a pagan festival or maypole gathering, drum circles which usually move outdoors now, picnics in the park, drives out into the country to find early farm stands, visiting a botanical garden or butterfly house, going fishing, planting a tree and whatever else you can think of to do outdoors will help you to celebrate the change in the season, the turning of the wheel….Beltane!

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Remember too that Beltane is about the God and Goddess coming together in love and lust for each other.  Whether you have a partner or not, find a way to spread some love.  For yourself and others. Do something for yourself..whatever it is you need.   Be kind, be joyful, be peaceful and spread Love.  You will gain back much in return.  There is so much un-kindness in our online experiences and in our real life.  We see bad news everyday, people being mean, judgemental, non-accepting….that we can get discouraged from it.  But spreading LOVE starts with each of us.  I know so many of you do just that…all my friends do…or they wouldn’t be my friend! lol.

So my friends….Spring and soon, Beltane, have arrived here in the Northern Hemisphere.  It’s a beautiful time of year and I for one will be taking complete advantage of every moment!  Enjoy the greening, blooming, warming of Mother Earth.  Enjoy lightening up on your clothes and foods. Enjoy the Sun on your head and the grass under your feet.  Make love, grow flowers, and dance under the light of the Moon!

I’ll be back soon with some recipes of course, along with pics of my gardens as they bloom and whatever else I find I’d like to tell you about.  I’ll have a new herb posting very soon too.  So for now, I wish you all a very Happy weekend! Make it magickal!

Blessings and Love, Autumn

*All photos are either my own or creative common license.

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Filed under Beltane, Cleaning & Organizing, Faeries, Family, Flowers, Friends, Garden, Gardens, God, Goddess, Holiday, Mother Earth, My Favorite Things, My Writing, Nature, Photography, Protection, Quote, Seasons, Spring, Sun

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

 

BasilkumPesto
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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I <3 Lavender………

Merry Meet my friends!  It’s a cold  day here in Ohio after a warmer day yesterday…and it just started snowing! I love watching the snow, love Winter, but I am the first to admit that by the end of February my thoughts are turning to Spring and to my herbs and flowers and garden beds!  I can picture them in my mind’s eye…all green, and colorful and lush and growing!  And the scents…so wonderful!  So I thought I would pick back up on my herb postings while I dream of getting my hands in the dirt again soon 🙂  I’m sure there are many of you that are dreaming out there too!

 

lavender

Picture courtesy of Peaceful Acres Lavender Farm

*this place is near me and I intend to get there this year!

 

Lavender (Spikenard) is one of the most beloved herbs of all time. Well, to me it is…it’s a personal favorite! Its scent is unmistakable…. pleasant and mellow, sweet and earthy.  It’s immediately recognizable.  Lavender can put you into a complete state of relaxation and bliss with one whiff!

There are approximately 30 different varieties of lavender around the world. It has been prized as perfume by the ancient Greeks and harvested in France for its essential oils.  Lavender attracts butterflies, is drought and heat tolerant and grows well in gardens and containers. Both flowers and foliage are fragrant. The blue-purple flowers on silver foliage make this a must-have plant in any garden bed and especially in a Witch’s garden! I love planting it along a sidewalk and near the front door….it is such a lovely, scented introduction to your magickal home. I defy anyone to walk past it and not run their hands thru it then smell their hands….everybody does it!! J

Plant it in warm, sunny spots.  Lavender can grow 12 to 24 inches tall depending on the variety…..there are annual and perennial varieties as well.  I like to plant the perennial and watch it grow bigger and spread more each year. Sometimes a plant will get leggy and unattractive..that is when it’s time to pull it out and plant a new one.  To dry lavender, just cut the stalks, tie the stems and hang them to dry.

Lavender has been used therapeutically for thousands of years.  Its uses as medicine are many.  Lavender can be used externally or internally.  Internally, Lavender is believed to be of benefit for a multitude of problems, including stress, anxiety, exhaustion, irritability, headaches, migraines, insomnia, depression, colds, digestion, flatulence, upset stomach, liver and gallbladder problems, nervousness, loss of appetite, and can aid in reducing a fever.   Inhaling the essential oil in some cases has been reported to work as well as narcotics for inducing relaxation and sleep, easing symptoms of depression, and reducing headache pain.  Lavender Tea is a great way to take lavender internally.  Just add 1 to 2 tsp. lavender flowers to a cup of steaming hot water. Let it steep for 10 minutes, and sweeten as desired.  You can add the flowers to any of your favorite teas as well.  Also, lavender buds are quite edible in salads and many recipes..a couple I’ll be sharing in my next posting!  A delicious way to get lavender’s benefits internally!

The external use of lavender is the easiest and most popular way to use lavender.  It’s been used in cosmetics, shampoos, soaps, lotions, sachets, bath products, and healing salves and balms since well..forever!  As an herbal shoppe owner, I use LOTS of lavender in my products.  Lavender is used to treat burns, rheumatism, muscle pain, neuralgia, cold sores, insect bites, bee stings, cuts, and bruises.  Lavender has antiseptic and antibacterial properties and even local pain killing action.  It helps with psoriasis and eczema and acne.  Lavender oil..whether the essential oil…or making your own by infusing your favorite carrier oil with lavender flowers is wonderful for skin care.  The essential oil is safe to use straight from the bottle too.   You can make lavender oil into a balm by adding a wax, like beeswax, in a 2 part oil to 1 part wax ratio.  Every Witch should have a lavender oil or balm in their cupboard!

There is an abundance of ways to use lavender therapeutically.  Here are a few. As always, be sure that lavender doesn’t cause you a problem before taking it internally or using it externally!

 

-Rub a bit of lavender oil into your temples for a headache.

-Place lavender buds in a mojo bag under your pillow to aid sleep

-Also to aid sleep, make a linen spray using lavender essential oil and vodka.

-Drop a few drops of essential oil or a handful of lavender buds in your bath to ease achy muscles, calm your nerves and help with a good night’s rest

-Put some lavender essential oil in a pan on the stove with water and breathe in the steam to help a cold

-Make a diluted lavender massage oil to ease sore muscles

-Use lavender essential oil in a vaporizer to help with allergies, sleeplessness, headache, tension and irritability.

-Use lavender water as a face rinse or use a lavender oil infused cotton ball for acne, insect bites, canker sores etc.

-Make a cold or warm compress of lavender water for bruises, sores, arthritis.

-Lavender infused vinegar water is a natural antibacterial for your home

-Make a lavender healing balm for cuts, burns, bruises, scratches and bruises.

– Lavender can be used as a tincture to treat fungal infections such as vaginal yeast.

-Drink lavender tea or food with lavender buds to aid any of the above ailments

-Throw lavender buds on your salad or find recipes using them to eat!

 

In Aromatherapy, Lavender oil blends well with eucalyptus, cedarwood, clary sage, geranium, pine,  nutmeg, rosemary  and all the citrus oils.

 

The Magickal properties of Lavender are abundant as well.  Lavender is cleansing, protective, calming, purifying, soothing, and healing.  It increases mental acuity and focus.  It can be used to bring love, romance and fertility.  It lends itself to clairvoyance, consecration, happiness, Midsummer, money, passion, peace of mind, psychic protection, tranquility, blessings, divination, dreams, energy, gentleness, good luck, grieving, and harmony. Also meditation, ritual, and weddings..especially handfastings!  Whew!

Lavender is Masculine…its element is Air and it’s connected to Mercury.  Attributed by some to Hecate and Saturn.  The elves and fae love it too.   Some ways to use Lavender magickally……

 

-Make lavender infused vinegar water to cleanse your home..great on floors and windows

-Burn lavender incense or throw lavender buds on your fire to clear your home of negativity

-Put lavender in a dream pillow to aid you in remembering your dreams and helping you sleep deeper

-Put lavender essential oil in your bath to cleanse your energy and calm you before spells and rituals

-Use lavender oil to anoint your candles before candle spells.

-Carry some lavender buds in a mojo bag to bring love to you

-Put lavender oil on a cotton ball and sniff it from time to time during a test or anytime you need to be focused (like doing your taxes!)

-Make lavender wands for use at your altar

-Plant LOTs of lavender around your home..especially right by your front door for protection..and of course the added pleasure of it’s scent!

-Add lavender stalks to your sage sticks for added cleansing of negative energy and protection

-Keep cut lavender stalks on your altar when you are practicing divination

-Keep lavender buds in your pocket….for multiple reasons as listed above!

-Dried lavender stalks can be burned like incense….or make up a loose incense using dried herbs for divination, consecration, cleansing….

 

This is just a few things I could think of right now.  There are so many other ways I’m sure you can come up with yourself or are already using. As you can see, Lavender is more than just a pretty, sweet smelling herb.  I’m a firm believer that herbs are such a great way for us to stay healthy in a more natural way. It should be in every Witch’s garden!

I’ll be adding more herbs soon…very soon 🙂  So keep an eye out! In the meantime, stay safe and warm in this Winter we’re having……and dream of Spring!

 

*Some of you may have seen this posting I wrote in the Sunday Stew..the Pagan online blog.  Well good news..the Sunday Stew is coming back soon!  You’ll be able to get to it by clicking on the icon on the right hand side of this blog.  I’ll be the Kitchen Witch again this year..posting amazing recipes!

 

Blessings and Love, Autumn

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Flowers, Garden, Gardens, Herbal How To, Herbs, Mother Earth, My Favorite Things, Nature, Seasons, Spring, Sun