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The Wheel Turns to Samhain 2014……….

imagesCA0GN85BMerry Meet my friends.  I have been so busy I’m very late coming to my blog to write about my favorite Sabbat!  It should come as no surprise to anyone that it’s my favorite.  I’m a Witch after all!  Samhain is the Witch’s New Year, the night the veil between the worlds is the thinnest, the night we can commune with our ancestors who have passed on, and of course, it’s the night many Witches love to put on all of their witchiest clothes, jewelry and of course our pointy hat! For me, this year, it’s also Beggar’s Night. Little ones will be coming to my door looking for candy (my grandkids will be doing that here too!)  The leaves are falling, the nights are cold and crisp, the wind blows, pumpkins are lit, adults and kids alike shiver with both a little bit of excitement and a little bit of something magickal!

For Samhain night, my family will gather here  for dinner, a fire and of course to pass out candy and for the grandkids to go trick or treating in my neighborhood.  After the little goblins have gone home with their parents, I will do my own quiet ritual. Divination to hopefully have my ancestors come thru to me will be done.  Also, an offering to Mother Earth as she slowly quiets and goes to rest for the Winter.  I also always express my gratitude to God and Goddess for the abundant Summer and beautiful Autumn season of growth and harvest both in my garden beds but within me as well.  As the Wheel turns, I too change and grow…no matter how old I am…I still do.

On Saturday night, my Circle will gather in full Witch regalia for fire, feast, and ritual.  Dressing the part is such fun for Samhain, as of course, we don’t walk around in black dresses, striped socks and pointy hats on a regular basis 🙂  We will honor our loved ones who have passed on, including our beloved pets. We also will have quiet discussion together on what the past year has brought for each of us, and what we look forward to in the next year.  On Sunday evening, my hubby and daughter and I will have a Dumb Supper or Ancestor Supper. This will be a quiet and introspective evening for me especially.  I always look forward to the fun and busyness of this Sabbat…but it’s the quiet times that have depth of meaning.  The quiet can bring messages from our ancestors, from Goddess and from our own conscience.  Always find time to be quiet and still and to listen.

One of my most popular blogs here over the years, has been my Samhain Recipes.  I’d like to go ahead and give you a few this year too.  If you have been following Samhain’s Sirens this year (button on the right side here) you will have already seen these recipes…but I will share them again here for those who haven’t.

 

cider

 

Autumn’s Spiced Apple Cider

*The perfect Samhain drink….add rum or vodka if you wish 🙂

 

1 gallon apple cider

15 whole cloves

10 whole allspice

1 TB candied ginger

12 cinnamon sticks

1 cup packed brown sugar

Combine all ingredients except sugar and bring to a boil in a large pot on the stove.  Lower heat, add sugar and simmer 15-20 minutes.  Strain and serve or place in a thermos for your picnic or drive.  You can keep it warm on the stove or crockpot all day long.  Store the leftovers in the fridge.

*If you like, place orange slices in the pot too..adds a sweet bit of tang!!

 

finished

 

Apple-Brie Crostini

These little toasted Crostini are a wonderful appetizer to serve for any Samhain gathering!   They are sweet and wonderful.   Great for an after dinner treat too!

 

1 loaf French bread, thinly sliced

1/4 cup butter, melted

1/2 cup brown sugar, packed

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

13.2 oz pkg Brie cheese, thinkly sliced

3 Granny Smith apples, cored and sliced

Arrange bread on an ungreased baking sheet; bake at 350* until lightly toasted. Set aside.

Mix together butter, sugar and walnuts.  Top each slice of bread with a cheese slice, an apple slice and a teaspoonful of butter mixture.

Return to baking sheet; bake briefly until cheese melts.  *Makes 24-30

**Variations….a sugared pecan with a drizzle of honey to top it…or a nice dollop of apple butter!

 

Farmer’s Market Autumn Stew

*A great way to finish up your Summer harvest or that last visit to the Farmers Market veggies!

 1/2 lb stew beef, cut into small cubes

2   1/2″ thick boneless pork chops, cubed

1 TB olive oil

2 carrots, peeled and chopped

2 parsnips, peeled and chopped

2 potatoes, peeled and chopped

1 stalk celery, chopped

2 apples, cored, peeled and cut into small cubes

2 TB quick-cooking tapioca, uncooked

1 cup apple cider

1 cup water

2 tsps beef bouillon granules

1/4 tsp pepper

1/4 tsp dried thyme

1/4 tsp dried rosemary

Salt to taste

Brown beef and pork in oil in a large skillet over medium heat; drain.  Place vegetables and apples in a slow cooker; sprinkle with tapioca. Add beef and pork.

Combine remaining ingredients in a small bowl; pour over beef and pork. Cover and cook on low setting for 8-10 hours or on high for 4-5 hours. Add salt to taste before serving.

*Makes 6 servings

 

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Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Cake

 

1 15 oz can of pumpkin

4 eggs, beaten

1 cup vegetable oil

2 cups sugar

3 cups all-purpose flour

2 tsps baking powder

2 tsps baking soda

2 tsps ground cinnamon

12 oz bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips

 

Preheat oven to 350* In a large bowl, mix together pumpkin, eggs, oil and sugar.  Mix in flour, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon.  Stir in half the chocolate chips.  Pour batter into a greased and floured Bundt pan.  Sprinkle remaining chips over batter.

Bake at 350* for one hour, or until golden brown and inserted toothpick tests clean. Cool then remove from pan.  Top with fresh whipped cream to serve if you wish.

*Makes 12-16 servings.

Hope you enjoy the recipes if you try them.  I think you will!

 

I have gotten my Samhain altar done finally today. I particularly love Samhain altars.  This one literally gives me goosebumps.  Most of the time my altars are outdoors…simple and only a few necessities, but for Samhain, I love to go all out!  As you can see 🙂

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I’m working on writing up the rituals for my Circle gathering, and have a few cards to do yet.  But I am also very relaxed, using the fire in the fireplace to help me meditate, and again…..finding quiet time.  I hope you’re doing the same.  What loved one do you hope to hear from? What will you decide to let go in the old year and bring forth in the New Year?  Think on these things my friends.  Witch or not!

And finally, a favorite poem….I’ve posted it before but wanted to share again. Can’t you just feel the magick when you read it?   Blessed Samhain to you all…..Happy New Year!

 

The wheel has turned, the wheel of light

 stoke the fire and make it bright

Samhain call, Samhain come

 feel the rhythm , hear the drum

The veil it thins, the veil it shrouds

 the spirits rise upon darkened cloud

The time of orange , time of black

 time to move forward and not look back

Pumpkin lit , with candle burn

 away dark spirits this guardian turns

Night of the ancients, night of the olds

 remembered in stories now to be told

The Crone doth rise upon this night

 look into the shadows without a fright

Rituals and rites across the lands

 empowers the soul where they stand

 Trick or treat, heal or curse ,

 the hand should be crossed from a silver purse

The Wheel begins its time anew,

 the release of the old for the knowledgeable few

The time to scry to see the path we must take

 and of the choices we need to make

She comes to us in many guises

 the Crow and the owl her favourite disguises

The Earth gives us her last to give

 the bountiful harvest so we can live

We feast and drink in a sacred space

 behind samhain masks to hide our face

Through darkened day and moonlight night

 All hallows Eve is a beautiful sight!

(C) Copyright Phiona Hutton July 2010

Blessings and Love, Autumn

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Filed under Altars, Autumn, Bits of Magick, Family, Friends, Goddess, Grandchildren, Holiday, Mother Earth, My Favorite Things, My Writing, Nature, New Year, Photography, Poem, Recipe from my Kitchen, Ritual, Samhain, Seasons, Winter

October and Samhain’s Sirens……….

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Merry Meet everyone!  I hope that you all had a very Blessed Mabon and that Autumn has finally come to your neck of the woods.  I love October! It’s my very favorite month of the whole year lol..as all of you who know me or have read anything here know.  My name ought to give it away as well.  I come so alive when Autumn comes…my heart is brighter, my steps are lighter, my energy level is high and I relish every moment of this most wonderful time of the year! How does it make you feel?  Are you loving every minute or are you just dreading that Winter is coming?  I sure hope that you are all loving it!! Most of my Witch friends of course, are loving it! 🙂

“Crispy air and azure skies,
High above, a white cloud flies,
Bright as newly fallen snow.
Oh the joy to those who know October!

Scolding sparrows on the lawn,
Rabbits frisking home at dawn,
Pheasants midst the sheaves of grain,
All in harmony acclaim, October!

Brown earth freshly turned by plow,
Apples shine on bended bough,
Bins o’erflowed with oats and wheat,
And satisfaction reigns complete. October!

Radiant joy is everywhere.
Spirits in tune to the spicy air,
Thrill in the glory of each day.
Life’s worth living when we say, October!”
–   Joseph Pullman Porter

Here in Ohio we are finally having Fall weather.  Nice days with cool nights.  We were very dry but finally, yesterday and today, we got some rain.  The leaves are changing color…brilliant reds have started and some trees are losing their leaves like crazy already.  We are having fires in the fireplace (so so cozy!), the crockpot is in action and I’m in the mood for homemade breads, baked goods with apples and pumpkin, and soup!  Today, it didn’t get out of the 40’s and I had to wear a sweater!! Yay!!  I have decorated the house for Fall, my spice scented candles are lit often, and wood is stacked at the back door, ready to give us cozy, warm fires for the next few months.

 

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A beautiful “Autumn Blaze” Maple

 

Our garden beds are cleaned up of all the flowers that are spent or ready to be cut back.  I harvested the last of almost all my herbs.  Fennel seeds are still maturing and I always leave some lavender and rosemary for my Samhain altar and Ancestor supper table. I got more then three harvests from my herbs this year. I so loved it and will miss my herb bed over the long Winter.  But I have lots of dried herbs for cooking, my herbal potions and products and of course, for Magick!

 

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My wonderful last harvest of herbs!

 

I’m late doing this but I wanted to let my readers know that it’s time for Samhain’s Sirens!  An online blog written by many wonderful Witch friends of mine.  It started on October 1 and will continue through Samhain.  You will find lots of wonderful Witchy things…blog posts, crafts, music, drink recipes, Remembrances, altar pictures etc etc…and oh….lots of recipes from ME!  I dug out some of my best and favorite recipes to share with you!  Come follow the fun and try to win a give -away too!  The link is on the right here on this blog…look for the icon that says Samhain’s Sirens. Just click on it and it’ll take you there. Once there, you can sign up to follow it so you see the post each day.  You’ll love it! It’s all about putting us in the mood for this wonderful Sabbat!

Mercury has gone retrograde today (uh oh) and we are waxing to the Full Blood Moon.  The veil is thinning..can you feel it?  The wheel is spinning fast to Samhain.  Too fast!  September flew by and I want time to slow down now so I can savor every moment of this delicious Season.

 

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I’ll be back soon to talk about Samhain, share some recipes and have a visit.  In the meantime, throw on a sweater and go outside. Breathe in the crisp air and scent of woodsmoke,  listen to the wind through the beautiful colored leaves of the trees, look for that waxing Moon, feel the Earth beneath your feet before She’s covered with snow, and have a taste of tart cider or apple.  Be grateful for the beauty of this time of year!  Mother Earth is giving us quite a show before She goes quiet to rest.  Blessed Be!

 

Blessings and Love, Autumn

*All the pictures are my own.

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Filed under Autumn, Full Moons, Gardens, Herbs, Mabon, My Favorite Things, My Writing, Nature, Photography, Poem, Samhain, Seasons

Samhain Recipes 2012…….

 

 

Happy Sun day my friends!  My favorite day of the week…especially in the Fall 🙂  It’s been a busy day here. I got dinner in the crock pot..a yummy roast.  Then I spent some time packing up boxes for our move.  Got 10 boxes packed from pantry and kitchen and a few other things that don’t require a box.  They’ll go off to the storage room tomorrow.  After that…I have been reading, watching Miss Marple movies (Sara and I love them!) and crocheting a bit.   I’m about to start a fire as well. 🙂

We had a gorgeous day!  Woke  up to thick fog, the red leaves on the trees had an eerie glow.  Eventually the Sun came up and burned off the fog and we now have beautiful blue skies, an early Moonrise, and a bit of a breeze.  Leaves are lazily blowing here and there, birds bathing in the pond and feeding at the feeders and a deer walked across our yard a bit ago…enjoying the weather too.  A day to remember and enjoy!

Now for those recipes…I have been perusing the Fall magazines and my cookbooks and came up with a few I thought you all would enjoy.  So here we go!

Hot Spiced Cider

*I love the citrus and maple flavors of this cider!

1 gallon apple cider or apple juice

1 cup orange juice

1/4 cup maple syrup

1/2 teaspoon orange extract

1/2 teaspoon lemon extract

4 cinnamon sticks

2 teaspoons whole cloves

1 teaspoon whole allspice

In a Dutch oven, combine the first five ingredients. Place the cinnamon sticks, cloves and allspice on a double thickness of cheesecloth; bring up corners of cloth and tie with string to form a bag. Add to the pan. Cook, uncovered, over medium heat for 10-15 minutes or until flavors are blended (do not boil). Discard spice bag. Yield: 4-1/2 quarts

Harvest Pumpkin Soup

2 TB unsalted butter

1 large potato, peeled and chopped

1 large onion, chopped

4 1/2 cups chicken broth

1 15-oz can pumpkin

salt and freshly ground pepper

1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

1/2 pint heavy cream

In a large pot over medium heat, melt butter.  Add potato and onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is translucent, about 8 mins.  Add chicken broth and bring to a boil.  Cover, reduce heat to low, and cook until potato is tender, 10 to 12 mins.

Stir in pumpkin.  Using an immersion blender, puree mixture until smooth. (You can use a blender too) Stir in 1/2 tsp salt, 1/8 tsp pepper and nutmeg. Increase heat to medium-high and bring mixture to a boil.  cover, reduce heat to low, and cook for 10 mins. Stir in cream and heat thoroughly.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Serve hot.

Makes 8 servings

Harvest Salad

1 large butternut squash

2 TBs olive oil

2 Tbs honey

1 tsp kosher salt

1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper

1 8-oz bottle poppy seed dressing

1/4 cup fresh or frozen cranberries

8 oz mixed greens

4 oz goat cheese, crumbled

3/4 cup pecan halves, toasted

6 bacon slices, cooked and crumbled

Preheat oven to 400* Peel and seed squash, cut into 3/4 inch cubes.  Toss together squash, olive oil, honey, salt and pepper in a large bowl.  Place in a single layer in a lightly greased, foil lined jelly roll pan.  Bake 20-25 mins until squash is tender, stirring once halfway thru.  Remove from oven and cool in pan for 10-15 mins.

Meanwhile, pulse poppy seed dressing and cranberries in a blender 3-4 times or until cranberries are coarsely chopped.  This will be your dressing.

Toss together squash, salad greens, goat cheese, bacon and pecans in a large serving platter.  Serve with dressing.

Makes 6-8 servings.

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread

3 cups all-purpose  flour

2 teaspoons ground  cinnamon

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking  soda

4 eggs

2 cups sugar

2 cups canned  pumpkin

1-1/2 cups canola  oil

1-1/2 cups (6 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips

In a large bowl, combine the flour, cinnamon, salt and  baking soda. In another bowl, beat the eggs, sugar, pumpkin and oil. Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Fold in chocolate chips.

Pour into two greased 8-in. x 4-in. loaf pans. Bake at 350° for 60-70 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks.    Makes 2 loaves (16 slices each)

Herbed Pork and Apples

1 teaspoon each dried sage, thyme, rosemary and marjoram, crushed

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon pepper

1 bone-in pork loin roast (about 6 pounds)

4 medium tart apples, cut into 1-inch chunks

1 large red onion, cut into 1-inch chunks

3 tablespoons brown sugar

1 cup apple juice

2/3 cup maple syrup

Combine herbs, salt and pepper; rub over roast. Cover and refrigerate for several hours or overnight.

Bake, uncovered, at 325° for 1-1/2 hours. Drain fat. Mix apples and onion with brown sugar; spoon around roast. Continue to roast 1 hour or until meat thermometer      reads 160°-170°. Transfer the roast, apples and onion to a serving platter and keep warm.

Skim excess fat from meat juices; pour into a heavy skillet (or leave in the roasting pan if it can be heated on stove top). Add apple juice and syrup. Cook and stir over      medium-high heat until liquid has been reduced by half, about 1 cup. Slice roast and serve with gravy.

Apple Sweet Potato Side

5 medium sweet potatoes (2-1/2 pounds)

4 cups sliced peeled tart apples (about 4 medium)

3/4 cup thawed apple juice concentrate

1-1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons cold water, divided

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

7-1/2 teaspoons cornstarch

1/4 cup butter, cubed

Place sweet potatoes in a large saucepan or Dutch oven and cover with water. Bring to a boil; cover and cook for 30-45 minutes or until tender. Drain. When cool enough to handle, peel and slice potatoes.

•Place apples in a large saucepan and cover with water. Cover and cook over medium heat for 7-8 minutes or until crisp-tender; drain. Place apples and sweet potatoes in a greased 2-1/2-qt. baking dish.

In a small saucepan, combine apple juice concentrate, 1-1/2 cups water, sugars and salt. Combine cornstarch with remaining water until smooth; gradually stir into apple juice concentrate mixture. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened and bubbly.

Remove from the heat; stir in butter until melted. Pour over potato mixture. Bake, uncovered, at 325° for 30-35 minutes or until heated through.

Apple Crumb Bars

3 cups all-purpose flour

1-1/2 cups old-fashioned oats

1-1/2 cups packed brown sugar

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

1-1/4 cups cold butter, divided

5 to 6 cups thinly sliced peeled apples

1 cup sugar

3 tablespoons cornstarch

1 cup cold water

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a large bowl, combine the flour, oats, brown sugar and baking soda; cut in 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Set aside 2 cups for topping. Press remaining crumbs into a greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish. Arrange apples over top; set aside.

In a saucepan, combine the sugar, cornstarch, water, vanilla and remaining butter. Bring to a boil. Cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thick and bubbly; spread over apples. Sprinkle with reserved crumbs.

Bake at 350° for 35-45 minutes or until top is lightly browned.

Makes3-4 dozen.

I hope you enjoy them, try them.  Let me know if you do! Well, my dinner is ready and I want to start a fire.  The Sun is setting on a beautiful evening.  Nightmare Before Christmas just came on and I want to watch it with my daughter. “This is Halloween This is Halloween!:  :))   I wish you all a Blessed Night!

Blessings and Love, Autumn

Sources:  Recipes from my kitchen, Southern Living and Country Living magazines.

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Filed under Autumn, Holiday, Recipe from my Kitchen, Samhain, Seasons