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Merry Yule/Winter Solstice 2015 and Recipes!…….

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Where I’m sitting right now!

Merry Meet my friends…I’m sitting by the fire on this the longest night of the year, in my pj’s with a glass of mulled wine at hand.  My daughter and I are watching “A Christmas Story” and I suddenly remembered that I hadn’t written my post yet for Yule!  I’m so sorry, but better late than never 🙂  I really did want to share some recipes with you that will come in handy the next 10 days or so.

It’s pouring rain, gloomy and windy here and we are on another week of unseasonable temperatures! Record highs in the mid 60’s are expected!  I so wish it was snow and not rain!  I ran my last couple of errands to do today and I have about 10 packages to wrap and I’m officially all ready for the holidays….. except for a trip to the grocery early tomorrow morning. I’m hoping I can avoid some of the crowds doing that.  I’m looking forward to a more quiet Christmas as my family gatherings will be over the weekend rather than the eve or the day of.  So reading and relaxing is high on my agenda lol.  And yes, those who know me, know that I do gather with my family for Christmas.  It’s not a religious holiday for me at all, but it is for many of my family members that I love, so I celebrate with them, but in my own way.  As a family time together, celebrating with gifts and food and love and joy!

Tonight, I will do some altar work, use my hearth fire to burn that which I wish for, and those things I wish to let go, and I will make time to honor my favored Goddess Hekate.  Tomorrow morning, I’ll be up early, toasting the rising of the Sun (whether I can actually see  him/her or not) and make my offerings to Mother Earth.  The day will be spent partially with family, and then quiet and introspective tomorrow evening. The fire is burning merrily. The house is smudged and candles are lit. I have bayberry, frankincense, pine, orange, clove and cinnamon scents going with the help of incense, candles and a simmering potpourri.  Our feast, which we’ll have tomorrow night, will just be soup, salad and bread. Simple and good.

Foods for Yule are traditionally:  Nuts, apples, caraway cakes soaked with cider, pears, ginger tea, roasted turkey, fruitcake,  cookies, eggnog, mulled wine, and pork dishes.  But there are other foods as well associated with the season such as gingerbread, ham, cranberries, pomegranates, mince pies, and frankly, whatever else your family tradition is!  What are your foods that your family just MUST have on the table for your Yule/Christmas/New Year’s feast?  Well, I’ll share a couple of recipes here with you that my family loves, as I have in past postings.  I see through my blog stats that MANY of you are checking out all my previous posts for Yule/Solstice and I so appreciate that.  Thank you!  Hope you like these too!

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Red and Green Pear Salad

1/3 cup walnut pieces
3 Tbs cider vinegar
1 Tbs honey
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp freshly ground pepper
2 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil
8 oz mixed baby greens
2 pears, such as Bartlett, cored and sliced
1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
1 oz  blue cheese, crumbled

Toast walnut pieces your favorite way. Pour onto a plate to cool and set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the vinegar, honey, mustard, salt and pepper. Add the olive oil in a thin stream, whisking constantly until the dressing is smooth.
Add the greens, pears, pomegranate seeds and walnuts to the bowl with the dressing and toss gently to coat. Divide the salad among 4 plates, garnish with the cheese and serve immediately. Serves 4.

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Merry Yule Fruitcake Bars

*even if you hate fruitcake..try these!

3/4 cup butter, softened
1-3/4 cups packed brown sugar
3 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3 cups coarsely chopped walnuts
1-1/2 cups coarsely chopped candied pineapple
1-3/4 cups red and green candied cherries, halved
2 cups pitted dates, halved

In a large bowl, cream the butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each. Stir in vanilla. Add flour and walnuts; mix well. Spread evenly into a greased 15-in. x 10-in. x 1-in. baking pan. Sprinkle with pineapple, cherries and dates; press lightly into dough.
Bake at 325° for 45-50 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool on a wire rack. Cut into bars.

Yield: 8 dozen.

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Solstice Mulled Wine

2 (750 ml) bottles of dry white wine
2 oranges, sliced into rounds
1/2 cup brandy (optional)
1/2 cup honey or sugar
16 whole cloves
4 cinnamon sticks
4 star anise
optional garnishes: citrus slices (orange, lemon and/or lime), extra cinnamon sticks, extra star anise

Combine all ingredients in a non-aluminum saucepan, and bring to a simmer (not a boil..it will boil the alcohol right out of it!) over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low, and let the wine simmer for at least 15 minutes or up to 3 hours. Strain, and serve warm with your desired garnishes.

Yum!  Sounds warm and cozy doesn’t it?!

I hope you give these a try over the holidays.  Don’t forget, you can do a search in the box over there ——> under Yule or Winter Solstice to find more from previous years.

Remember that tonight and tomorrow night if you wish, is all about the longest night of the year and knowing that the Sun returns and the days will lengthen once again.  Think about what our ancestors were thinking on this night.  They were hoping they had enough food put away for the long, hard Winter.  Winter was hard, no doubt!  Isolation, hard work, chopping wood for warmth, and making sure that their livestock survived the long, cold, dark season..along with themselves, had to be a scary time for them.  We are so blessed these days. But for tonight, perhaps pretend what it was like to be them.  Light a fire and keep it stoked.  Light candles all over the house. Turn off the tv, get off the electronics (which I will do as soon as I’m done with this writing 🙂 and perhaps just sit quietly and think, ponder, remember, cherish or make new memories.  What do you wish for yourself and your loved ones in the coming months? What do you need to let go of to be happy and content in your life.  Are there relationships to repair or depart from?  Is there a project you want to take on over the Winter?  Do you have a huge stack of books you’ve been dying to read?  (I do! )  Well, now you will have the time…most likely.

Blessed  Yule/Winter Solstice my dear friends.  May Winter be kind to you, may Goddess bless you with all the good things in Life, and I thank you so much for your friendship and interest in reading my little blog and letting me know you enjoy it.  I so much appreciate it!

I share this poem most every Solstice time because I love it so much.  This year is no different! Enjoy!

The Shortest Day

by Susan Cooper

So the shortest day came, and the year died,
And everywhere down the centuries of the snow-white world
Came people singing, dancing,
To drive the dark away.
They lighted candles in the winter trees;
They hung their homes with evergreen;
They burned beseeching fires all night long
To keep the year alive,
And when the new year’s sunshine blazed awake
They shouted, reveling.
Through all the frosty ages you can hear them
Echoing behind us – Listen!!
All the long echoes sing the same delight,
This shortest day,
As promise wakens in the sleeping land:
They carol, fest, give thanks,
And dearly love their friends,
And hope for peace.
And so do we, here, now,
This year and every year.
Welcome Yule!!

 

Love and Blessings, Autumn

 

 

 

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Filed under Altars, Books, Christmas, Correspondence, Family, Friends, Goddess, Gratitude, Holiday, Mother Earth, My Favorite Things, My Writing, Nature, Pagan, Photography, Poem, Recipe from my Kitchen, recipes, Sabbat, Seasons, Sun, Thank You!, Uncategorized, Winter, Witch, Yule, Yule/Winter Solstice/Chrismas

Lughnasadh Recipes………

 Merry Meet my friends! We are having a beautiful sunny and HOT day here in Ohio. This morning it was really quite lovely..not too hot yet..I went out and watered the gardens and just had a cup of coffee and listened to the birds for a bit. Here we are past 4th of July already and for me Summer seems to be going quite fast. I am..yes..already thinking about Autumn..as it’s my favorite time of year…as those who know me already know that 🙂 Lughnasadh or Lammas is approaching quickly also. I have my altars to do, some bread baking to do, I want to make some herbal oils and vinegars also. I plan on making rosemary infused olive oil to use on salads and to marinate meats etc. It’s delicious and I can use my own rosemary thats growing in my own pots.

Ok..on to the recipes…I always like to post my magickal recipes for Sabbat oil and loose incense first…so here is the recipes for those….

Lughnasadh Oil Blend

2 drops Peppermint

3 drops Pine

1 drop Fir

1 drop Hazelnut

Use 1/8 cup Corn Oil for Base

*If you can’t find these oils..just substitute for other scents you like…you can use my Correspondence to find other scents that are great for this Sabbat!

Lammas Incense

1 part basil

1/2 part cinnamon bark

1 part coriander

2 parts goldenrod

1 part heather

1/2 part rosemary

2 parts Sweet Annie (you can use dried apple blossoms if you don’t have Sweet Annie)

1 part yarrow

*Again, substitute if you don’t have all the ingredients or just use some of them 🙂

Ok, now on to the stuff that is Yummy for our Tummys! Remember that this is the first Harvest Festival..so you want to use lots of your fresh veggies from your gardens..start thinking about Autumn and apples and pears …warm breads from the ovens…late summer squash etc.

Spiced Apple Cider

2 qts. apple cider

1/2 cup orange juice

1/4 cup lemon juice

2 tb sugar

2 tsp whole cloves

3 cinnamon sticks

1 tsp allspice

1 tsp nutmeg

1 cup Captain Morgan’s Spice Rum (or more! )

Warm up all the ingredients except the rum…add the rum at the very end so that you don’t cook away the alcohol….(that would be very sad)…This makes enough for several mugs….enjoy!

Oat Nut Bread

1 cup rolled oats

1/4 cup honey

1 tb butter

1 tsp salt

2 cups boiling water

4 cups unbleached flour, divided 1 packet dry yeast

1/4 cup water, 90 degrees temp

1 cup pecans, broken

Place oats, honey, butter, and salt into a large mixing bowl. Pour 2 cups of boiling water over them and stir well. Stir in 2 cups of flour. While this mixture cools, dissolve the dry yeast in 1/4 cup of 90-degree water. After about 10 minutes, stir the yeast mixture into the oat mixture, mixing thoroughly. Stir in 1 cup of pecans. Work in 2 cups of flour. Turn the dough out onto a floured board, and with floured hands, knead the dough for 8 – 10 minutes. Keep enough flour on the board and your hands to prevent the dough from sticking. Place the dough in a greased bowl and cover it with a damp cloth. Let the dough rise in a warm, draft-free place for 1-1/2 hours, or until it has doubled in bulk. Punch the dough down, and turn it out onto a floured board, this time kneading it for about 5 minutes. Shape the dough into two equal-sized loaves, place them in two greased loaf pans. Let the loaves rise, covered with a damp cloth, in a warm place until they have doubled in bulk, about 1 hour. Bake in a pre-heated 375-degree oven for about 45 minutes. Turn out onto wire racks to cool. Let loaves cool completely before wrapping to store.

Sweet Corn Bread

1 cup all purpose flour

1 cup yellow cornmeal

2/3 cup white sugar

1 tsp salt

3 1/2 tsps baking powder

1 egg 1 cup milk

1/3 cup vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Spray or lightly grease a 9 inch round cake pan. In a large bowl, combine flour, cornmeal, sugar, salt and baking powder. Stir in egg, milk and vegetable oil until well combined. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake in preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean.

Raspberry and Pear Salad with Candied Walnuts

For Candied Walnuts:

2 tsp butter

1 tb sugar

1/2 tsp salt

1/8 tsp cayenne pepper

1 tb water

2/3 cup walnuts, halved

For Salad Dressing:

3 tb raspberry vinegar

1 tb honey

1 tb cooking oil

2 tsp sesame oil

For Salad:

3 bunches of lettuce

2 asian pears, cubed

8 oz rasberries

1/4 of a red onion, chopped

8 oz blue cheese, crumbled

In a small skillet, melt butter. Add sugar, salt, pepper and water and stir til smooth. When it’s bubbling, add walnuts and stir until well coated. Cook for about 5 minutes until walnuts are carmelized.  Set aside and cool before putting on salad.

Whisk honey and vinegar until until smooth. Add oils and stir until creamy.

Mix Salad ingredients together into large salad bowl.  Add walnuts.  Then toss in dressing.

Hot Crab Dip

1 can crabmeat, drained

1 8 oz pkg. cream cheese, softened

1 tb horseradish

1 tb minced onion

1 tsp worchesteshire sauce

salt & pepper to taste

Mix above ingredients together and place in a greased casserole dish.  Sprinkle with paprika. Bake at 325* for 30 minutes or until bubbly.

*Great with grainy crackers, veggies etc.

Corn on the Cob with Basil-Parmesan Butter

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened

1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/4 teaspoon crushed garlic

4 ears corn, husked

In a small bowl, mash together butter, cheese, basil, salt, pepper, and garlic.

Brush about 1 tablespoon of seasoned butter over each ear of corn. Grill directly over medium heat until browned in spots and tender, 10 to 15 minutes, turning occasionally.

Serve warm with remaining butter.

*I think this would be really great with rosemary instead of basil or cilantro!  With cilantro, you can squeeze some lime juice on the corn as well…yummy! I’ll be trying that soon!

Oven Roasted Summer Vegetables

1 med zucchini, sliced

1 med summer squash, sliced

1 med red bell pepper, chopped

1 med yellow bell pepper, chopped

1 lb fresh asparagus,  cut in 1 inch pieces

1 med red onion, chopped

3 tbs olive oil

1 tsp salt

1 tsp pepper

Pre-heat oven to 450*

Put all veggies into large roasting pan and cover with other ingredients

Spread evenly in pan

Roast for 30 min.s, stir occasionally until lightly brown

*Use more oil if you’d like 🙂

Potato/Zucchini Grill Pockets

Using heavy tin foil, tear off however many pieces you need, one for each person, and enough to make a rectangular tin foil packet.

Slice one potato, thin, for each packet

Slice about 1/2 zucchini, thin, for each packet

Slice yellow onion, in thin rings, and put desired amount in each packet

salt & pepper to taste

Top with pats of butter and/or olive oil

Seal packet by closing sides and rolling across the top

Place on a med temperature grill and cook for about 30 minutes..until everything is soft.  Really fresh and delicious.

Grape Salad

2 lbs white seedless grapes

2 lbs red seedless grapes

1 cup sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

8 oz sour cream

8 oz cream cheese, softened

1 cup brown sugar

1 cup pecans, crushed

Wash grapes and remove any stems, and set aside.

Mix cream cheese and sour cream with sugar and vanilla in a large bowl. Mix Well.  Stir in grapes. Top with brown sugar and pecans.  Refrigerate overnight.  Sounds yummy doesn’t it! 🙂

Caramel Apple Walnut Squares

1 3/4 cups all purpose flour

1 cup quick cooking oats

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1 cup cold butter

1 cup chopped walnuts

20 caramels

1 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk

1 21 oz can apple pie filling   * I see no reason why you can’t just thinly slice fresh apples and sprinkle a little sugar on them for this recipe.

Preheat oven to 375*.  In a large bowl, combine flour, oats, sugar, baking soda and salt; cut in butter until crumbly. Reserving 1 1/2 cups crumb mixture, press remainder on bottom of a 13″ x 9″ baking pan.  Bake 15 mins.  Add walnuts to reserved crumb mixture.

In a heavy saucepan, over low heat, melt caramels with condensed milk, stirring until smooth.  Spoon apple filling over prepared crust, top with caramel mixture, the top with reserved crumb mixture.

Bake 20 mins or until set.  Cool.  Serve warm with ice cream if desired. 🙂

All of these recipes either sound delicious..or I know for a fact they are ….as they are from my own kitchen!  Many of these will be just as wonderful in November as they are in August.  Let me know if you try any..I’d love to know if you did.  When I do research online, I often find the very same recipes posted on hundreds of websites or blogs…for my own feasts, I prefer to come up with my own recipes that make sense to me..that work for the season …that are fresh and delicious etc.  Use mine or use your own from your own recipe box..you can’t go wrong.  There is nothing less magickal about doing that then using the recipes everybody else is doing.  Make what YOU like!

I’ll post a ritual and my altar pics soon..until then, continue having a beautiful summer….make the most of it!

“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

Blessings and Love, Autumn

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Filed under Lammas/Lughnassadh, Loose incense recipe, Oil Blend Recipe, Quote, Recipe from my Kitchen, Summer