Category Archives: My Favorite Things

The Wheel Turns to Lughnasadh 2018….

 

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Merry Meet my friends!  I hope that this post finds you all well.  It’s been a HOT Summer here in Ohio…many days over 90*.  We had a good amount of rain for a while, but now we’ve been much more dry.  However, the forecast shows both some cooler temps and rain in the next week which is most welcome.  As much as I love gardening, the garden beds are looking poor from the heat and lack of rain and watering from a hose just doesn’t do the trick as much as natural water.  But tomatoes are ripened and sooo good, my herbs will give me a huge harvest and the bees, birds, and butterflies are happy.

I know I’ve been absent again…..losing my daughter has just taken the wind out of my sails. But the writing bug has bitten me a bit so here I am. I’ve focused a lot on my home..doing necessary cleaning as we all do, but also purging every drawer, closet and cupboard, nook and cranny of unwanted, unneeded and unused items.  From books, to clothes, to even knick knacks etc.  It’s very freeing and I’m feeling my life falling into better organization and less stuff…which is a good thing.  I’m also finding comfort in my family and spending time with them as much as possible.  We all miss Sara so it helps us.  My grandkids are so busy and so fun and they bring me great joy as well. My daughter Kate and her husband include my husband and I on so many events in their life and we’re grateful for our time with them.  As they live so close, we see them often and it’s fabulous.

I dream of Autumn…as you all know, my favorite season.  But I will have to admit, losing Sara in October..my most favorite time of year…may temper my feelings on the month this year…..but not on the season.  I will always love Fall.  I’m not a fan of hot weather, and we’ve had a very hot season so far, so of course I’m perusing my Fall recipes, gathering fresh supplies for my pantry like flours and yeast for breads, fresh spices and seasonings, I’m freezing things like tomatoes and peaches, and chopped veggies like peppers. Casseroles will be made as well.  I often send food to my elder in-laws and my own parents and of course try to help any friends out from time to time.  I have a lovely neighbor who I often talk to over the fence, and we pass yummy things back and forth to each other as well. So having things in the pantry and readily available really makes that easier.  And of course, I’ve now discovered ordering groceries for delivery!  Or to pick up which makes me very happy!  And the farmer’s markets are in full swing which is wonderful.

Last week, my daughter and I were gifted with a big bushel of fresh Georgia peaches right off the truck.  We decided to make peach pie filling to freeze so we can make pie or cobbler or ice cream topping to enjoy in the Fall/Winter.  We came across a delicious recipe and got busy.  I decided to share it here as my most commented on posts are often the ones that contain recipes.  I hope you can get your hands on some peaches and give this a try.  You don’t have to “can” these….they can be frozen in freezer containers or even freezer bags.

Quick and Yummy Peach Pie Filling

*recipe is enough for one pie.

1 cup water

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1 cup sugar

1/4 cup cornstarch

1/4 tsp vanilla

1/8 tsp almond extract

1/8 tsp ground cinnamon

4-5 large fresh peaches, peeled, pitted and sliced thin

In a large deep skillet over medium heat, stir together the water, lemon juice, sugar and cornstarch.  Cook until thickened and bubbly about 5 minutes.  The Cook another 3 minutes as it simmers, stirring constantly.

Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and almond extracts and cinnamon.

Add the peaches and mix until peaches are well coated and combined.

Cool filling to room temperature then use right away, store in refrigerator a few days or freeze in containers or bags.

This recipe is seriously yummy.  You’ll love it! So much better than the canned stuff!

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I love having prepared foods in the freezer to make my life a little easier, and cooking these foods with someone you love, sharing them, sharing recipes to try etc makes it even more great!

Lughnasadh comes very soon…August 1.  I love this Sabbat because it’s heralding the coming of Autumn, the harvest season and cooler weather…eventually.  It’s also all about good food, the harvest, grains and breads, herbs and oils…..it’s a fun time when it’s too hot to be outside, you can be cooking yummy things in the kitchen to share or to save for yourself later.  In my past blogs I’ve posted many recipes for herbed oils, breads, fresh veggie dishes and fruit desserts.  Be sure to check them out.

How has your summer been?  I’d love to hear.  How do you celebrate Lughnasadh?  My coven will be gathering just a couple days ahead.  I always look forward to that.  We’ve had some amazing Moons this Summer huh?  Part of what I DO love about Summer, is basking under the Moon without being cold, or needing shoes and coats etc.  lol.  Barefoot in the grass in my jammies works great this time of year.  New protections and witch jars are always put into place this time of year..between Solstice and Lughnasadh for me and my coven.  Again..it’s so easy and nice to do it in the warmth.  Often I’m accompanied by the sounds of the crickets, lightning bugs, bees buzzing, and soft winds rustling through the trees.  Those are the great things about Summer.

I’ll be back soon, I’ve been giving thought to recipes I can share here along with other ideas of things to talk about.  I want to thank so many of you for your kind words about the loss of my daughter.  It’s appreciated more than you know and touched my heart.  I do know she’s with me, always in my heart, and she’d be proud of how I’m doing my best to take care of me and my loved ones, remembering her in great love and being comforted by our memories of her.  I know I’m not alone in loss and life must move on.  Thank you again for the love and support.

Make your remaining Summer days fantastic!  And for those like me who love Autumn, it won’t be long!!  The old Wheel turns very fast!

“When summer opens, I see how fast it matures,

and fear it will be short; but after the heats of July and August,

I am reconciled, like one who has had his swing, to the cool of autumn.”

– Ralph Waldo Emerson

Love and Blessings,

Autumn

 

 

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Filed under Autumn, Bits of Magick, Cleaning & Organizing, Daughters, Family, Flowers, Friends, Gardens, Grandchildren, Gratitude, Herbs, Holiday, Lammas/Lughnassadh, Mother Earth, My Favorite Things, My Writing, Nature, Pagan, Protection, Quote, Recipe from my Kitchen, recipes, Sabbat, Seasons, Summer, Summer Solstice, Thank You!, Uncategorized, Witch

My heartbreak……

Merry Meet my friends.  I hope this post finds all of you and yours well and happy. I have been away from my blog and writing for many months.  To write why is very difficult but I felt it was time. I’m writing this as part of my healing process and hope that you all will understand my need to do so.

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This is my beautiful daughter Sara.  Sara passed away October 20, 2017.  She was my heart, my brave, kind, generous, darling oldest daughter.  Her death came unexpectedly and shockingly on the day it occurred.  Though we knew she’d lived beyond all expectancy, and over the last few years had become more frail….we were not prepared to lose her and it hurts beyond belief.

Let me tell you a little bit about her.  Sara was 35 when she passed away.  At the age of 6, we were in a terrible car accident that left her a quadriplegic, from the neck down and dependent the rest of her life on a ventilator to breathe 24/7.  She could only move her eyes and face.  We had to read her lips when she spoke.  She had multiple surgeries in the beginning to repair all the damage to her body, but her mind was sharp and intact.  We brought her home after several months in the hospital and there she stayed with the help of home nursing care, wonderful nurses (friends) over the years and with me, her constant caretaker.

Now you would think that sounds very sad and it was.  But over the 29 years she survived each day in that condition, she went to school graduating with honors.  We lived life as normally as possible.  She went everywhere with us.  Whatever it was, we found a way.  She’s been in the mountains and on beaches.  She shopped, traveled, saw movies and broadway shows, museums and bookstores.  She read with a passion. She was a collector of fairies, nutcrackers, keychains, and souvenirs.  She journaled her life every day.  She adored our pets, her niece and nephews, her sister, brother-in-law, extended family and myself and her dad.  She was kind, considerate, so very patient. She was a worrier about everyone but herself.  She was a Nature lover, a healer, a keeper of secrets and had a smile that lit up a room.  Everyone said she was an angel on Earth and I too believe that was true.

She was a one- of- a- kind spirit.  No one who knew her will every forget her.  Or the lessons she taught us.  As her mom, I couldn’t be more proud of the person she was.  And as her mom and full-time caretaker, my life has been drastically changed with her loss.  She is greatly missed, but my Path tells me she is with our Goddess, in Summerland, whole and happy and well again.  My other daughter Kate and I picture her with our rainbow pets, in her huge library comfortable and happy, having tea with our ancestors and waiting for us.  This comforts us greatly.  I wish you could have known her.  You would have loved her as we did.

So now, nearly 6 months later, life moves on.  I miss her constantly, light candles and incense every day for her.  I write notes to her and send them off with fire, smoke and ash.  Every holiday, birthday, family event without her is hard.  But we remember her and can smile now.  Talking about her is good for my family.  As Spring arrives (very slowly here in Ohio) I plan a memory garden for her as she loved the outdoors, watching the birds, butterflies, seeing the flowers grow. A dear friend is sending rose bushes in her honor, another a beautiful fairy wind chime, and I’ll plant her favorite flowers as well….sunflowers. Another friend has given us a gift card to plant a tree in her honor.  All these things will be done.

Her bedroom was such a place of loss and sadness.  But with help of family, we painstakingly went through her things.  We’ve kept all that meant so much to her…fairies, wall art, her books, bookmark collection, family pictures etc.  We saved her t-shirts to make into a quilt one day.  Family members and friends took small things to remind them of her and her journals will be with me until they pass to her sister one day.  I then turned her room into a beautiful library filled with the things she loved, and it’s become a place of comfort, serenity, and we know she’d have approved 100%

So now I’m learning my new “normal”.  I am doing okay as time marches on.  I’m about to turn 60 and because of being her 24/7 caretaker there were many things that I couldn’t do easily.  Even taking a walk, or planning an outing etc were difficult at times.  I would have kept doing that to my dying day…..but now that she has gone before me, I’m trying to find my way to care for myself for a while.  To do things I wasn’t able to do before.  To find “me”!  What do I enjoy?  What makes ME happy.  My hubby and I have plans for some travel I think.  I’m probably going to get a job at some point.  But for now, I heal, rest, do things that make me happy, work in my home, my journals, my planners, my crafts.  Dream of my garden beds, walks in the park, books to read and my Path to follow.  I do my best to remember Sara is always with me in Spirit and I know she’d want me to be happy and do for myself.  And of course, I have my other daughter, her husband and 3 beautiful grandchildren who need me, and my husband and extended family.  And I have my sisters in spirit, close friends who surround me with love and concern, and despite losing my darling girl, I know I’m blessed.

So, thank you for letting me talk about my girl.  Hold your loved ones close as you never know what a day will bring.  I’m hoping to write more here again. Perhaps some writing will help me to continue to heal and put one foot in front of the other.  Beltane comes soon… and Spring!

May Goddess bless each of you with great love in your lives.  The love, even when lost, remains forever.

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Blessings and Love,

Autumn

 

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I’m back…..And The Wheel turns to Mabon 2017…

Merry Meet my friends!  I’m back. 🙂  I’ve been very neglectful of writing in my blog due to multwelcome septemberiple reasons.  None of which are important enough to talk about.  I think ultimately, I just lost interest.  I’ve been through a lot in the last year….health issues for my daughter and I, busy being a homekeeper, mom, grandmother.  You all know how you have to set priorities and my blog became much less of a priority.  But recently, the writing bug has bit me again so here I am.

As you all know, this time of year is my very favorite!  My energy, mentally and physically start increasing so much!  I thrive in the cooler weather, the change in the path of the Moon and Sun, in harvesting my herbs, in my kitchen, at my altar etc etc.  I’ve been doing my Fall cleaning…..purging, organizing, deep cleaning.  I’ve been perusing my Autumn recipes and cookbooks.  Pulling out warm throws and pillows, washing up sweaters, coats, flannel sheets…..getting ready for those cozy, cold, colorful days of Autumn.

First off, I must introduce you to a new family member….at least part time. lol.  My sister adopted a darling Maltese pup back in March.  However, she works out of town during the week.  So Yuki (Japanese for snow) has become my part time pup.  He’s a busy boy, adorable and we’ve become quite attached.  And, he keeps me busy too 🙂

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One of the things that was going on with me is that I had another ankle surgery at the end of July. I was in a wheelchair for a few weeks, then crutches, and now a brace and I’m able to walk, though I’m uncomfortable still and it’ll take 3-6 months to be completely healed.  Because of this, my herb bed was very much neglected..the herbs left to their own natural growth as I couldn’t really get to them.  Yesterday, I finally went out there expecting to find lots of dead and overgrown herbs.  But to my great delight, I got a wonderful harvest this year.  They are now hanging, smelling delicious, in my kitchen. I’m so happy it worked out!

herb harvest 2017

I also had the great joy of going to my beautiful, magickal Smoky Mountains with my entire family last week.  A great way to end the Summer and welcome in Fall.  It was fabulous being with my hubby, daughters, son-in-law and grandkids and two dear friends there together.  We feasted, visited an animal rescue petting farm, went up the mountains for some fabulous time there and picture taking, and relaxing at the cabin where I was able to read, crochet, and rest my ankle.  It was a great time.  Here are some of the pictures I captured of the beauty of the mountains.  Those who know me and have read my blog for a while, know how much these mountains hole my heart ❤

 

Now that I’m home again, we’re experiencing Fall weather.  Days in the 60’s and low 70’s, and nights in the 50’s.  The Full Moon was brilliant, casting such a glow and so much energy.  We’ve had fires already, enjoying our new gas logs.  Burning wood was just getting too expensive and hard work stacking wood etc.  And frankly, I like the idea of saving trees!  The process of cutting back our garden beds is started too..flowers spent and dead, or overgrown and no longer pretty and vibrant.  There are leaves turning, Fall clothes, mums, pumpkins, and decorations in all the garden centers, craft stores and shops.  My mind turns to baking and cooking good hot meals..done with grilling and cold salads etc. The scent of spices, apples, pumpkins, nuts, breads etc are kicking in at my house lol.

My coven has added a new member and still gathering for Sabbats.  I’m still a ghost hunter and looking forward to another hunt soon.  I shared some recipes for a surprise this October I’ll talk about soon.  And I’m preparing for Mabon as are all my witchy friends and sisters.  I’ll be back soon with some recipes for Mabon, and some ideas on how I celebrate it.

I’m in the process too of putting out new wards and protections, burying witch bottles, setting up my Mabon altar and working on my BOS.  I have to say too…I’m lighting candles day and night and sending out protection with all I’ve got for those of you in the line of harm from fires, floods and hurricanes.  Our poor Mother Earth is being ravaged right now and yes, climate change is real!!  Many of my witchy friends are talking about feeling edgy, jittery, nervous and unsettled.  Many feeling something is coming..maybe something dark and bad.  I’m feeling this too.  With the chaos in the world right now, both politically, in the division of the people, nature releasing chaos etc…..I hope that those who pray are doing that.  I send out my own prayers of safety and love to those in need.  It’s all we can do but ride the ride and do our best not to add to it in a negative way.  Keep being kind to others, caring for others and for our Mother Earth.  I’m speaking to the choir here because I now that you all feel as I do.  Whatever is coming….we have support for each other.

In the meantime, thank you for those who let me know you missed my writing.  And thank you to my loyal readers who have continued to visit here.  I appreciate it and will vow to get back to my writings.  May Goddess bless you and keep you safe and give you comfort in the tumultuous days.

 

 
“Spring scarce had greener fields to show than these
Of mid September; through the still warm noon
The rivulets ripple forth a gladder tune
Than ever in the summer; from the trees
Dusk-green, and murmuring inward melodies,
No leaf drops yet; only our evenings swoon
In pallid skies more suddenly, and the moon
Finds motionless white mists out on the leas.”
–  Edward Dowden, In September

 

Blessings and Love,

Autumn

*Pictures are my own.

 

 

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The Wheel Turns to the Winter Solstice 2016……

 

Chill December brings the sleet, Blazing fire, and Christmas treat.

Sara Coleridge

 

Merry Meetcandlehands_1500 dear friends!  It’s Sun day evening.  I’m in my jammies by a roaring fire with some coffee and Bailey’s next to me, some soft holiday music playing, and I felt the muse come over me …… so here I am writing in my blog 🙂

Winter is here!  I would swear that I heard the actual “click” of that old Wheel turning into place.  We had such a warm, long Autumn season and it was really lovely.  But Winter is here in all her glory!  It’s flurried snow a few times now but still no real accumulation.  But it’s very cold, brisk, breezy, dark…all the things I love about this time of Year.  My boots, sweaters, hats, coats and gloves are getting good use.  Jammies go on as soon as it’s dark..and yes…that’s quite early lol.  Candles are burning late into the nights and the woodsmoke hovers over the yard scenting my outdoor Moon-viewing jaunts so wonderfully!  Something is almost always stewing on the stove or slow-cooker.  Warm drinks are at hand always and I have to say that my Yule shopping and preparations are nearly done…..except for wrapping of course.  I did my Yule cards as well and they’ll go out in the next day or two.  Do you still do cards?  I know so many don’t anymore.  I get why, it’s a job, not that cheap, and many don’t reciprocate or send out at all.  But for me, there’s something about doing them that just feels right.

I do want to say a word before going on about my beloved Smoky Mountains.  You all who read here or know me, know how much those mountains mean to me.  They are my heart and soul…my home away from home….and watching the horrific fires tearing through them just broke my heart.  The loss of of nature, human and animal lives and the loss of homes and businesses was just so overwhelming. I couldn’t stop crying.  Too many lost loved ones.  I’m just going to say that the damage could have been even worse as bad as it was already.  I am heartened to see that many acres were not burnt and I know that Mother Earth heals Herself and the mountains will recover.  Please think of donating to Dolly Parton’s My People Fund, or to the Friends of the Smoky Mountains.  and Pray and light candles for those who lost so much.  Thank you…..

Yule or Winter Solstice is coming fast and I relish it arriving.  While the holidays are all about the hustle and bustle, Yule is a quiet time for me.  And I always relish it and usually really need it!  In recent years, my holiday shopping has been scaled down and I focus on a few quality things for each person in my family.  But I DO have three wonderful grandchildren and have so much fun buying for them.  But we do our best to focus on being together and appreciating those Hygge moments.  Hygge….a Danish concept of coziness, joy, family, food and a complete sense of comfort and wellbeing.  That is what my Yule is all about!  It’s searching inward for that sense of joy and peace and comfort in the midst of what can be chaotic..Christmas.  It’s looking back on your year and deciding what is kept or thrown out.  Of what can be made better, or what can be cut out, what can be better done, and what didn’t get done at all that should have!  It’s connecting with Mother Earth, Goddess and/or God.  Of being still and listening.  Very Hygge.

 

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If you aren’t familiar with the word Hygge. (pronounced Hoo gah) ..you should look it up and read about it.  I did for a very good reason, as I had never seen or heard the word before!  I recently had my DNA done and discovered to my great surprise that I’m very Scandinavian!  I truly had no idea!  40% Scandinavian at that!  The 39% British/Scottish/Irish I knew about and the 21% Southern Europe was a little surprising , but I really had NO IDEA I had so much Scandanavian blood in me.  Who knew…I’m  a Viking! lol.  So of course, being me, I now have lots to learn.  I have immediately ordered books from History, Lifestyle, Cooking and even Christmas books.  While researching books I came across the word Hygge, looked it up and thought “well now, THAT explains my need to nest, be cozy, keep my home warm and pleasant and comfortable.”  Apparantly it’s in my DNA! 🙂  I’ll talk more about this in future posts I’m sure.  For now,  Back to Yule…..

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I love to walk in the Winter.  Bundling up against the cold, putting on my winter boots and mittens and off I go.  Wish I could get more walks in but again, we make our choices and one of mine is to make time to do this more often!  I love the bare, stark trees, the sounds of the birds and watching the ground critters digging for and burying food away for the Winter.  I like to collect things along the way…..bits of greenery, pine cones, feathers, rocks etc etc.  I have a big wooden bowl that holds my treasures when I get back home.  Then coming home to a warm home, warm blankets, warm fire and warm drink…well it’s just Bliss!

This is how I’ll spend my Winter Solstice night.  Quiet, peaceful, contemplative and cozy.  I’ll relish the longest night of the Year….and I’ll look forward to the return of the Sun and knowing the days will lengthen again.  But not yet…we have lots of Winter to go…and for that I’m grateful!!

I’ll be back soon with recipes and more. I suggest you enjoy the holidays..all parts of it you may celebrate.  Keep it simple, happy, peaceful.  It doesn’t have to be materialistic, chaotic, or even dare we say…awful!  LOL.  Make good choices, change things up, re-evaluate what traditions you love and discard those you don’t.  And I will say, I know many families face challenges this time of year…. especially THIS year.  The presidential election has been especially polarizing.  I have seen friends and families torn apart by their differences.  If this is the case..make the decision that you will embrace the differences and love them anyway OR keep your distance this year until things calm down.  Perhaps a rule…no talk of politics when you’re together ?  🙂  Whatever works for you to stay positive and joyful is OKAY!

Have a fabulous week and remember to take time for yourself!

“Happy, happy Christmas, that can win us back to the delusions of our childhood days, recall to the old man
the pleasures of his youth, and transport the traveler back to his own fireside and quiet home!”
–  Charles Dickens 

 

Blessings and Love,

Autumn

 

 

 

 

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Blessed Samhain 2016….and recipes!

“I see the turning of a leaf dancing in the autumn sun,

and brilliant shades of crimson glowing when a day is done

-Hazelmarie Mattie Elliott-

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Merry Morning and Blessed Samhain my friends!  The glorious day is finally here! The Witch’s favorite Sabbat!  Our New Year!  Here in Ohio it’s a cool, blue sky, sunny day.  We’ve had some overly warm days here lately…too warm in the upper 70’s for my taste, but today it feels like Fall again.  The skies are inky black as we’re in our New Moon which adds magick to our new year and new beginnings!  Winds are brisk and leaves are falling fast, chipmunks and squirrels gather food for the winter, birds are busy at the feeders, pumpkins are grinning from porches  and children ready their costumes for trick or treat!  The veil thins and there is a mystical feel to the Air! Autumn is in full glory!

My coven gathered Saturday night.  We had soups, breads and desserts. As it was warm, we spent time outside.  A few of our sisters didn’t make it this year and the rest of us were more quiet and subdued. Perhaps the thinning veil making us not feel up to par, tired and moody I think.  Speaking for myself, that was the case.  How does the thinning veil affect you?  I’ve had times of high energy, and times of melancholy and low energy too.  Today, I feel great!

I’m harvesting the last of my herbs today. Then tonight is our Beggar’s Night.  This year we’ll be home passing out candy as we spent time with my grandkids yesterday.  Keeping dinner simple with soup and sandwiches.  I’m also burying new witch’s protection bottles, making an offering to Mother Earth and tonight a fire and spending time with my ancestors. I am a journaler and I’ve been journaling my thoughts and wishes for a wonderful new year to come.  I look back on this last year with fondness and feelings of how blessed I am. and forward with the same.  What will you be pleased about in your past year

and what changes will you make in this next year to improve on it?  These are the things I think about today.

I promised some recipes and better late than never.  So here a few new ones!

cider

Samhain Spiced Cider

1/4 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon whole allspice

1 teaspoon whole cloves

1 cinnamon stick

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 pinch ground nutmeg

1 large orange, quartered with peel

2 quarts apple cider

*use a gallon of cider and double the rest!

Place in a dutch oven on the stove on low heat or a slow cooker on low all day! So yummy!  I made this for my coven saturday night and they loved it!

pumpkin soup

Butternut Squash Soup

1 Tb butter

1 Tb olive oil

3/4 cup chopped onion

3/4 cup chopped carrot

2 garlic cloves, minced

4-5 cups cubed, peeled butternut squash

4 1/2 cups chicken stock

1 tsp dried sage

3/4 tsp salt

pepper to taste

a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes (optional)

In a large saucepan, heat butter and oil over medium heat.  Add onion and carrot; cook and stir until tender.  Add garlic and cook one minute longer.

Stir in squash, stock, sage, salt and pepper and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat, simmer, covered 20 minutes or until squash is tender.  Remove from heat; cool slightly.

Process in a blender until smooth.  Serves 6

Apple Caramel Cheesecake Bars

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

3/4 cup cold butter, cubed

2 pkgs (8 oz each) cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup plus 2 Tb sugar, divided

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 large eggs, slightly beaten

3 medium tart apples, peeled and finely chopped

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

Streusel topping

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

3/4 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 cup quick cooking oats

1/3 cup cold butter, cubed

1/3 cup hot caramel ice cream topping

Preheat oven to 350*.  In a small bowl, combine the flour and brown sugar; cut in butter until crumbly.  Press into a well-greased 13×9 inch baking pan.  Bake 15-18 minutes or until lightly browned.

In a large bowl, beat cream cheese, 1/2 cup sugar and vanilla until smooth.  Add eggs; beat on low speed just until combined. Spread over baked crust.

In a small bowl, toss apples with cinnamon, nutmeg and remaining sugar; spoon over cream cheese layer.  In another bowl, mis streusel topping until crumbly.  Sprinkle over apple layer.

Bake 25-30 minutes or until filling is set.  Drizzle with caramel topping; cool in pan on a wire rack for 1 hour.  Refrigerate for 2 hours at least.  Cut into bars and serve.

Yummy…I love Autumn baking especially.  Don’t you?

I want to wish you all a very Blessed Samhain.  May your ancestors smile upon you and impart words of wisdom, joy and a sense of peacefulness to you in the coming year.  Goddess Bless you all!

“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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The Wheel Turns to Samhain 2016…..

A brooding calm in all the air,
A dreamy quiet everywhere…
A golden glow to light the day
That fades in purple mists away—
This soothing calm, this presence bright,
October’s sweet and mellow light.
~Phebe A. Holder, “A Song of October,”

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Merry Meet my friends!  How is your Autumn going so far?  Autumn weather has finally arrived here in Ohio in the last week or so, and it’s been re-vitalizing, beautiful and wonderful!  As you all know….my favorite time of year and I seem to just wake up!

I apologize again for a longer -than- usual absence.  My life is really busy these days and I’ve had to prioritize what I can get done.  As much as I love to write, and I do write in my journals etc, I just had to put my blog aside…again.  Between my in-laws moving here, losing my only day nurse that helps me with my daughter, a trip to Sleepy Hollow (which was fabulous and I’ll write about that trip here in a day or two) plus preparing the house for Autumn/Winter, and the usual every day stuff like family, time with my grandkids etc etc.  Please know, I know you ALL are just as busy….but I’m explaining why I’m not writing here as much.

Having said that all, Samhain is coming fast and I wanted to be here with you all to show my enjoyment of this most special Sabbat time of year!  As our summer seemed to linger longer than usual this year, I’m busily jarring dried herbs from earlier in the year, and making room for the last harvest of herbs to hang and dry.  My herbs are still thriving and huge so my last harvest will be abundant!  Hubby and I have been busy cleaning up the garden beds, cutting back, protecting, and preparing the beds for next Spring. Also, things in the house, like washing rugs, curtains, windows, having furnace inspected, fireplace cleaned and a cord of wood ordered so we are ready for the dark months!  Despite all the work, I so love this time of year and take the time for walks, Moon basking, apple and pumpkin baking, and a little shopping for new jackets, and sweaters etc.  I’ve also been busy crocheting scarves and blankets which I find incredibly Zen.  What are you doing to prepare for the dark time of the year?

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The veil is thinning and all Witches can feel it.  My mind often goes to my loved ones who have passed onto the other side of the veil.  I can’t bake without thinking of my grandmother, hear a song on the radio that reminds me of a good friend, or visit the cemetaries, adrift in falling leaves to feel close to those who are still with us in mind and spirit. Witches prepare their altars to honor their ancestors and loved ones during this most magickal season.  But we also look back on the last year, as Samhain is our new year after all.  What worked for us, what didn’t, what we keep and what we throw away/let go.  We make plans for our New Year, knowing that we have the dark time of the year coming, when we may be a little less busy, have more time to reflect by fires, read, organize, dream, learn, and decide what we may do to improve constantly on our lives, our minds, our bodies and spirits.

My coven will gather on the 29th for soups, breads, desserts and a fire.  A ritual to honor the New Year and our ancestors.  It’s a wonderful time of wearing our witchiest garb, and while fun, we are also very dedicated to the night…the time…the veil…..the looking forward and backward…helping each other if needed.  We all celebrate solitarily as well….but our combined energies make it an amazing night!

I’m a true believer in constantly learning and expanding my knowledge base.  So I’ve begun to think about what books I’d like to read over the Winter.  What are some of your favorite witchy books, or learning books you’ve read lately?  I’d love some suggestions!  I have some books on tarot, crystals, reiki, certain goddesses etc I’ll be reading…along with good fiction of course!  Any suggestions most appreciated as I’m always looking for something I don’t know about 🙂

October is crisp days and cool nights,

a time to curl up around the dancing flames

and sink into a good book.

~John Sinor (1930–1996), in San Diego Union-Tribune

I’m off to enjoy a bit of time outside today…perhaps starting to harvest those herbs, or just taking a walk.  I’ll be back in the next day or two with a post about that trip to Sleepy Hollow and as always, some wonderful recipes for Samhain.  Also, a bit of news I should be ready to talk about in the next week.  In the meantime, It’s Autumn!!   That wonderful blue sky, sunny days and crisp nights, woodsmoke and falling leaves, sweaters and scarves, pumpkins and apples, witches and black cats, all things spooky and wonderful, Time of year!!  Autumn passes so fast…enjoy every beautiful moment!!

Blessings and Love,

Autumn

 

 

 

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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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