Category Archives: Midsummer

The Wheel Turns to Lughnasadh 2016……

 

IMG_5855Merry Meet my friends.  I know…you are probably thinking..where have you been?  I know I know!  I’ve been very neglectful of my blog and I’m sorry.  I could tell you everything that has been going on in my life…..but frankly, there’s so much going on in the World these days..it would just sound like petty reasons. I have missed writing but at the same time I tossed around the idea of not writing here for a while.  I guess I accomplished that…a needed break.  But I’m back I think and look forward to writing here again.  I thank you for your patience..if you have indeed been wondering 🙂

I HAVE been busy …as many of you have been, I know.  My gardens are keeping me happily busy….planting, mulching, weeding, watering, thinning, deadheading etc etc. ….but I find that a lovely chore 🙂  My in-laws have moved from California to be near us, as my FIL is developing dementia and my MIL requires more help.  This has been a challenge I won’t go into, but we are managing to the best of our ability.  I’ve been still recovering from two surgeries in February that rocked my world too.  Suffice to say that I don’t think I’m going to get back all the way to where I was, but I’m doing as good as it gets lol.  Nothing serious, just irritation stuff.  I have a lot of irons in the fire, and that is why, mainly, that I haven’t written.  It was just an iron I let go for a while.

Let’s see, I haven’t written since Ostara.  Wow.  So I missed Beltane and Midsummer postings but to my delight, I see that many have still come to read my posts and snatch up some of my recipes etc.  I’m glad!  There is some great info there in the last 6-7 years.  I plan to continue sharing recipes as those seem to be my most popular posts.

Now, we are moving quickly toward Lughnasadh or Lammas on August 1st. I so love this Sabbat as it’s that first sign that my favorite season, Autumn, is coming fast!  The first Harvest festival! It’s been so hot here lately with way more high temps coming yet, that it especially makes me long for cool, crisp days and knowing they are coming soon makes me happy!  I have already been perusing recipes..mostly recipes for breads, fresh veggies, canning, and uses for my herbs in oils and vinegars.

Many of us are harvesting yummy produce from our own garden beds.  Red tomatoes, green peppers, peas, beans, zucchini, squash, melons etc etc.  Also, I don’t know about you, but I’ve harvested some of my herbs more than once already!  Big bundles of lemon balm, fever few, catnip, oregano, mint, parsley, sage etc are hanging and scenting my kitchen in a lovely way.  My coven sisters have benefitted a bundle or two as well 🙂  For those who don’t have big gardens of veggies, like me, a farmer’s market is the perfect place to stock up!  They are abundant around your town I’m sure and farm stands dot the corners as well.  Be sure to indulge yourself this time of year.

I have already made a couple of new recipes I’d like to share.  One is for a simple yummy bread that I’m now calling biscuit bread!  The other, a delicious cheese-filled mushroom appetizer, however, it would make a lovely light lunch too.  I think you’ll like them!

 

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Butter Crust Beer Bread

2 cups self-rising flour

3 Tbs sugar

12 oz regular beer (not light)

1/4 cup butter, melted

 

Preheat oven to 350* In a bowl, mix flour, sugar and beer until well blended and a sticky dough forms, about one minute.  Spoon dough into a greased 8″x 5″ loaf pan. Bake at 350* for 30 minutes.  Remove from oven; pour melted butter over the top. Return to oven and bake 30 minutes more, until lightly golden. Cool bread in pan before removing.

 

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Cheesy Mushroom Caps

8 oz pkg cream cheese, softened

1 cup grated Parmesan Cheese (the good stuff, not shaker)

1/4 cup whipping cream

1/2 tsp garlic salt

24 large mushrooms, stems removed and cleaned (I used baby portabello)

1/2 cup butter, melted.

Preheat oven to 350*  In a bowl, combine cheeses, whipping cream and garlic salt; blend well.  Fill mushroom caps with mixture.  Dip bottom of mushrooms in melted butter and place on an ungreased baking sheet.  Bake at 350* for 15 minutes.

*The cheese mixture would fill more than 24 of the baby portabellos.  If you use a larger mushroom, it may fill less than 24.

Enjoy!!

I have put together for the most part my Lughnasadh altar.  The harvest altars are always my favorite to do.  I love the warm colors of browns, golds, rusts, reds, and oranges.  This is my altar this year. 🙂

 

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Lughnasadh or Lammas is all about the last days of Summer, the coming of Autumn, the first harvests, the days shortening, and a reminder for us to appreciate the warmth of the Sun, while it may be too hot some days to be out under that same Sun.  Our ancestors had more to do and worry about…putting “up” food for the winter, praying that Mother Earth, the Goddesses and Gods smiled on their crops and brought abundant enough food for them to survive the long, cold Winter. A good crop and storing said crops was hard work and meant life or death!  For us, putting “up” food perhaps reminds us of our grandmothers or mothers who fantastically canned tomatoes, sauces, veggies, jams/jellies, pickles etc and filled their pantry with colorful jars all in a row.  I sure have memories of my grandmother, in her ever constant apron, doing just that…with grandchildren underfoot trying to help and learn.  To this day, I still like to do some canning…..even if it’s just apple butter or strawberry jam.  It’s lovely sitting on the shelf, to pull out in the middle of a cold Winter day , and slather onto a piece of homemade, hot bread.  Sigh..so good.

Don’t forget to use your fresh herbs to make lovely flavored oils and vinegars.  Baking bread is a big part of Lammas/Lughnasadh as well.  Watch the sunrise or set, sit under a tree and watch the Sun dapple through the trees.  Garden and feel the warmth on your back.  Have a picnic with your family.  Take a walk and enjoy the brilliant flowers in full glory. Heck…even play Pokemon Go if you want…just be sure that you’re walking to catch those little monsters and enjoying being outdoors.  There will come a time when you’ll be indoors watching it snow and you’ll be glad you enjoyed that warm Sun!

Blessed Lughnasadh my friends.  May the Sun warm you. Oh and Blessed Full Moon too!  May She shine on you also. Also, if I may say a word, in this very angry, sad world we seem to be living in right now…..open your heart to others, spread love, be kind…don’t judge.  Be part of the cure, not the problem.  We are all just here to live our lives, in our way, with respect and love for others.  Blessed Be.

“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, August’s Crown-

 

Blessings and Love,

Autumn

 

 

 

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Filed under Altars, Autumn, Family, Flowers, Full Moons, Gardens, God, Goddess, Herbs, Holiday, Lammas/Lughnassadh, Midsummer, Mother Earth, My Favorite Things, My Writing, Nature, Ostara, Pagan, Photography, Quote, Recipe from my Kitchen, recipes, Sabbat, Seasons, Summer, Sun, Sunrise/Sunset, Uncategorized, Witch

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