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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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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 Imbolc 2016……

“Winter is the time of promise because there is so little to do – or because you can now and then permit yourself the luxury of thinking so.” 
–  Stanley Crawford

 

imagesMerry Meet!  I hope this writing finds you doing well.  There has been some crazy weather everywhere.  Big snowstorms, flooding, earthquakes, tornadoes..you name it..it’s been out there.  We’ve had none of that lol.  As a matter of fact, we’ve had very little snow, still, which is unusual for Ohio and we are warming up into the 50’s for the next few days.  But, still, I know Imbolc comes.  If you truly watch nature..the rising and setting of Moon and Sun, the habits of birds and critters, the trees and plants…you know.

I have been a very busy Witch preparing for Imbolc.  It’s been all about a serious purging of un-wanted and un-needed items from this house.  It feels so good to have less things taking up space in drawers, closets and cupboards. Even knick knacks, things hanging on the walls, and old throw rugs and blankets are going.  I can’t recommend this enough.  I’ve talked about it before, and I’ve done it many times.  But this is the MOST I’ve ever done.  I truly believe I could become almost a minimalist lol.  It’s a great way to cleanse and clean to prepare for Imbolc and well…just Spring cleaning if you prefer.

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I’m unfortunately having that surgery Monday, so I’ll be celebrating Imbolc on Sunday. Imbolc by the way is February 2.  There will be a fire, lots of candles, a feast, and offerings.  I do honor Brighid for this, Her Sabbat, and will do both altar work and another ritual I’ve talked about before.  Before midnight I turn off all the lights in the house and have lots of candles going throughout.  At midnight, I throw open the doors, invite Brighid to come in and bring all the good things that She does…protection, craftsmanship, prosperity, inspiration, healing, growth, renewal and light.  She is always welcome on my Path and in my home.  I then use my broom to sweep out all the negative, old, stale energy from my home and turn on lights as I go along to each room.  It’s such a lovely ritual, gives me a sense of peace and joy. I will often read a bit of poetry, be sure to wear my silver jewelry, and send out healing energy to those I love in need.  Brighid is an amazing Goddess.  If you aren’t familiar with Her, you might want to be.  I’m reading the book “Tending Brighid’s Flame” by Lunea Weatherstone and highly recommend it! You’ll learn a LOT!

The foods that represent Imbolc are seeds like pumpkin, sunflower, poppy, flax, sesame. Also raisins, dairy foods, spicy foods, pork, lamb, spiced wines, breads, cakes, muffins, pancakes, scones etc. I would add anything made with milk as Imbolc means “ewe’s milk.”   I’ve posted lots of recipes for all the Sabbats, including Imbolc.  To find them, just use the search box on the right side of this page and type in Imbolc recipes or Imbolc.   I thought I’d share a few more here.

 

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Oatmeal Buttermilk Muffins

1 cup quick-cooking oats
1-1/4 cups buttermilk
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 cup raisins

Preheat oven to 400*. In a small bowl, combine oats and buttermilk. In a small bowl, combine the egg, brown sugar and oil; stir in oat mixture. Combine the dry ingredients; stir into batter just until moistened. Fold in raisins.
Fill greased or paper-lined muffin cups three-fourths full. Bake at 400° for 15-18 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack.

Yield: 1 dozen.

 

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Slow Cooked Hot Spiced Wine

2 cinnamon sticks (3 inches)
3 whole cloves
2 bottles (750 milliliters each) dry red wine
3 medium tart apples, peeled and sliced
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon lemon juice

Place cinnamon sticks and cloves on a double thickness of cheesecloth. Gather corners of cloth to enclose seasonings; tie securely with string.

In a 3-qt. slow cooker, combine remaining ingredients. Add spice bag. Cook, covered, on low 4-5 hours or until heated through. Discard spice bag. Serve warm.

Yield: 8 servings

 

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Honey Wheat Sunflower Bread

2 cups warm water (120° to 130°)
2-3/4 to 3-1/4 cups all-purpose or bread flour
2 packages (1/4 ounce each) active dry yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup old-fashioned oats
1/3 cup nonfat dry milk powder
1/4 cup butter, melted and cooled
1/4 cup honey
2 teaspoons salt
1 cup unsalted sunflower kernels

In a bowl, combine the water, 2 cups all-purpose or bread flour, yeast and sugar. Beat on low speed for 3 minutes. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 30 minutes. (Mixture will be spongy.)
Stir in the whole wheat flour, oats, milk powder, butter, honey and salt; mix well. Stir in sunflower kernels and as much of the remaining all-purpose or bread flour as you can with a spoon. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. Shape into a ball. Place in a greased bowl; turn once. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 30-45 minutes.
Punch down and divide in half. Cover and let rest for 10 minutes. Shape into two loaves; place in two greased 8-in. x 4-in. loaf pan. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 30 minutes. Bake at 375° for 20 minutes. Cover with foil; bake 15 minutes longer. Remove from pans and cool on wire racks.

Yield: 2 loaves (16 slices each).

My recommendation…make soup with the breads!  Especially nice on a snowy day, or your Imbolc cleaning day or even just for the day itself.  For some great soup recipes, you’ll find them in that search I talked about for Imbolc 🙂 There is nothing better than the scent of soup and warm baked bread on a Winter day…truly.

I wish you all a very blessed Imbolc for you and your loved ones.  May the rest of Winter be kind to you, may you find peace and joy in the quiet times, and know that Spring isn’t too far away.

 

“I stood beside a hill
Smooth with new-laid snow,
A single star looked out
From the cold evening glow.
There was not other creature
That saw what I could see,
I stood and watched the evening star
As long as it watched me.”
– Sara Teasdale, February Twilight

 

Blessings and Love, Autumn

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Welcome 2016!……..

download (10)Merry Meet my friends!  It’s a gloomy and chilly day here today in Ohio.  We had several days of rain to the point of flooding in some areas…including my own backyard!  The rain is gone for now, but the gloom remains.  I’m home today, at least until this afternoon.  I have Blackmore’s Night playing, a fire in the hearth, laundry going, and decided I had time to do a blog post.

How were your holidays?  I hope that Father Christmas/Santa was good to you and that your family and friends had a blessed time together.  I had a very nice holiday.  My family enjoyed each other, the food was delicious, and Santa was good to us.  My grandkids, especially, made the festivities fun for us all.  Seeing Yule/Christmas through their eyes is a wonderful thing to experience.  Brings back memories of my own childhood and my own children’s as well.  And more memories were made I’m sure 🙂

Now, we head into a new year!  For us Pagans and Witches, Our New Year officially started at Samhain, but having said that, there is much to celebrate about a new calendar year!  There is something about counting down the last of 2015 and knowing that 2016 is here.  For many, it’s time to re-evaluate our lives.  Many of us look back on the last year and see things that were great and things that can be improved on.  Some of us set goals or resolutions for the new year.  Maybe we want to improve our health, our relationships, our jobs, our attitudes, our love life etc.  Maybe we are still healing from illnesses or losses.  I do all these things.  But I do them kind of constantly, not just at the new year.

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I don’t set resolutions, but I always have goals in mind.  I think most of us do.  After all, we grow stagnant and boring if we don’t have something we are striving for!  Don’t you think?  The start of a new year is like having a a brand new clean calendar of days ahead of us.  We can jot in, fill up our days with whatever we want!  You choose whether they are filled up with empty days of daily drudge, unhappiness, inactivity, and anger etc.  Or…we can fill them with joy, love, happiness, activity, learning, and finding time to do the things we love.

 

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I’ve talked about this before.  Years ago, I read a book about changing one thing in your life to start yourself off on a better way of Life.  It was a profound thing for me.  Think how easy it is to take that first step….just change one small thing to start!  For instance, you want to be healthier in 2016.  If you need to exercise, try walking to the end of your street and back to make a start.  Or sign up for a yoga class or look one up on Youtube.  Or get a step monitor and pay attention to how many steps you’re getting in each day.  Want to lose weight?  Maybe stop drinking sugary drinks first….or cut down on bread and sweets, or don’t eat after 7:00 at night.  Want to improve a relationship?  Invite that person to have coffee with you, or make a long overdue phone call.  Want to get a better job?  Make a list of what works with the job and what doesn’t. Is there one thing on there that you can change to make it better?  Or maybe take a class ..something that will lead you to your dream job. Tired all the time? Figure out how to get 30 minutes more sleep..in a bed! Not in a chair in front of the tv! (a mistake many of us make lol)  These of course are just basic ideas, but you get the picture.

One thing I changed for myself was that I realized I didn’t have enough time to myself.  Just quiet, by myself time.  What one thing did I do to fix that?  I got up earlier to have time in the morning to myself.  Then I decided NOT to get on facebook first thing, but to journal or read, or practice my Craft in a simple way.  Now, it’s a regular thing with me that I look forward to and very much need in my Life.  It has improved my mood and my day immensely.  And it was just realizing what I needed, and devising a way to get it!

No matter how wonderful our life is, or how not wonderful it is for that matter, we can improve our lives by making choices.  My next step, to make time to get that herbalist class done..to make it a part of each day or a few days a week to get that certificate I’ve been wanting for too long!  Also, I have been losing weight for nearly 10 months now and I have a bit more to go..but I’m getting there!  Adding in better exercise will be a priority as well. I know that is something I NEED to do to get all the way healthy!

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I am 57 years old, heading to 58.  I’ve learned a lot in those years, and still learning.  The main wisdom I’ve garnered?  We make our life what it is.  We can not blame other people or circumstances for what is right or wrong in our lives.  It’s up to us not to allow that to happen. If your life isn’t as you want it…change it.  Other things I’ve learned…always be grateful, find happiness in the small things, take time for our loved ones and relish every moment of every day!  There is beauty all around us if we look for it, and listen to your inner Goddess/Spirit/Guide always!

Let’s look at 2016 as the year we’re going to do something wonderful in our lives!  I’d love to hear what it is you would like to do?  And by the way, it’s a goal, not a resolution that gets broken immediately.  A goal is a long-term thing..at least that’s my take on it.  We strive to meet a goal, no matter how long it takes or how many set-backs we have along the way.  It’s the working to get there that leaves us happy and satisfied.

While I’m at it, let me thank my 748 followers who have visited my blog over 201,000 times!  Wow!  I very much appreciate anyone taking an interest in my writing or what I have to say.  I love your comments and feedback as well and some of you have become dear friends.  Thank you Thank you!   Happy New Year to you and yours! May it be filled with all the good things Life has to offer!! ❤

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Blessings and Love,

Autumn

 

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Filed under Discussion, Family, Friends, Goddess, Grandchildren, Happy New Year, Holiday, My Writing, Pagan, quotes, Seasons, Thank You!, Uncategorized

Blessed Lughnasadh, Recipes and a Blue Moon………

3265027486_3541061edf_oMerry Meet!  What a beautiful day it is!  We have had a couple of gorgeous weather days.  Less humidity, sunshine, and nice breezes.  And the Moon…the bright Blue Moon!  She has been amazing!  I’ll be spending a lot of time under Her tonight..absorbing the energy, collecting and energizing Blue Moon water, charging crystals and tools, and drawing Her down.  All by a fire!  I’ll also be putting up fresh wards and protections too, again, using that energy.  I hope you’re taking advantage of it! After all, there won’t be another for some time!

My plans for Lughnasadh are in place.  Tomorrow, I’ll be baking bread and making herbed oils as I do every year. I’m planning on making rosemary olive oil and lemon balm olive oil.  They are my favorites! I’m also going to make my own perfume oils and charge them up under that Blue Moon.  Wearing them will give me that added boost of energy!  If I have time, I’ll be harvesting herbs again as well.  If not, I’ll do that on Sun day.  My grandkids are coming to spend the night on Lughnasadh night, so I’ll have to see how time goes in the morning 🙂  It’s been a while since they’ve spent the night at Nana’s house and we are planning lots of fun stuff to do.  So love having them over, making memories.

I promised I’d be back with a couple of recipes and I found a couple I’ll be trying as well.  You can find all the correspondence relating to Lughnasadh/Lammas if you use the search box on the right here on my blog.  But as a reminder, the foods for Lughnasadh are wheat, oat and corn breads, barley cakes, corn, potatoes, nuts, squash, berries, apples, pears, crab, grapes, beer and cider.  These recipes fit the bill just great!

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Fresh Apple and Pear Salad

4 medium apples, leave peels on and slice thinly

2 medium pears, leave peels on and slice thinly

1 medium cucumber, seeded and chopped

1 medium red onion, halved and sliced thinly

1/4 cup apple cider or apple juice

1 Tb snipped fresh dill

1 Tb olive oil

1 Tb spicy brown mustard

2 tsp brown sugar

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

In a large bowl, combine apples, pears, cucumber and onion.

In a small bowl, whisk remaining ingredients until well blended. Pour over apple mixture and toss to coat well

Refrigerate.

*Makes 6-8 servings.

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Hot Baked Crab Dip

1 (8oz) pkg cream cheese, softened

1 cup sour cream

1 Tb lemon juice

1 tsp ground mustard

1 tsp seafood seasoning

1/8 tsp garlic salt

3 (6oz) cans lump crabmeat, drained

1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1/8 tsp paprika

assorted crackers

Preheat oven to 325*

In a large bowl, combine the cream cheese, sour cream, lemon juice, mustard, seafood seasoning and garlic salt.  Fold in the crab.

Transfer to a greased 9″ pie baking dish.  Sprinkle with cheese and paprika.

Bake at 325* for 20-25 minutes or until bubbly. Serve warm with crackers. Refrigerate leftovers.

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Honey Whole Wheat Oat Bread

*makes 2 loaves

2 cups whole milk
1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats  plus additional for topping
1/2 cup warm water (105-115°F)
2 tablespoons active dry yeast
1/2 cup honey
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, melted and cooled, plus additional for buttering pans
3 cups whole-wheat flour

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon salt
Vegetable oil for oiling bowl
1 large egg, lightly beaten with 1 tablespoon water
Heat milk in a 1 1/2- to 2-quart saucepan over low heat until hot but not boiling, then remove pan from heat and stir in oats. Let stand, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until cooled to warm.

Stir together water, yeast, and 1 teaspoon honey in a small bowl; let stand until foamy, 5 minutes. (If mixture doesn’t foam, discard and start over with new yeast.) Stir yeast mixture, melted butter, and remaining honey into cooled oatmeal.

Stir together whole-wheat flour, 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, and salt in a large bowl. Add oat mixture, stirring with a wooden spoon until a soft dough forms. Turn out onto a well-floured surface and knead with floured hands, adding just enough of remaining all-purpose flour to keep from sticking, until dough is smooth, soft, and elastic, about 10 minutes (dough will be slightly sticky). Form dough into a ball and transfer to an oiled large bowl, turning to coat. Cover bowl loosely with plastic wrap and a kitchen towel; let rise at warm room temperature until doubled in bulk, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

Lightly butter or spray loaf pans. Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead several times to remove air. Divide dough in half and shape each half into a loaf, then place 1 loaf in each prepared pan, seam side down, tucking ends gently to fit. Cover loaf pans loosely with a kitchen towel and let dough rise in a draft-free place at warm room temperature until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.

Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 375°F. Lightly brush tops of loaves with some of egg wash and sprinkle with oats, then bake until bread is golden and loaves sound hollow when tapped on bottom, 35 to 40 minutes. (Remove 1 loaf from pan to test for doneness. Run a knife around edge of pan to loosen.)

Remove bread from pans and transfer to a rack to cool completely, about 1 1/2 hours.

I think you’ll love these recipes!   I can tell you the crab dip is delicious and so is the bread! The apple-pear salad is a new recipe for me but I’ll be trying it and it sounds delicious!

As the grain dies, it transforms to bread,
and brings us life through the winter.
We bless this bread, and it blesses us in return,
and we are thankful for the gift of the harvest.”
– Patti Wigington

I want to wish you all a very Blessed Lughnsadh and may the Blue Moon shine Her very special energy on you and yours  tonight!  I also want to again thank my readers and friends for all the support for my blog over the years.  It continues to amaze me!  It’s so much appreciated.  I love your comments and when you let me know how my blog may have had some impact on your life, whether you’ve tried a recipe etc.  Thank you so much!

Blessings and Love,

Autumn

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