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Blessed Samhain 2015 and Recipes!…………

Merry Meet my friends!  It’s Thursday morning and Samhain is Saturday. I can’t believe how fast October has flown by! Too fast!  I’m sitting in my family room, listening to a Halloween Radio staA-BLessed-Samhain-To-Yoution on Pandora, watching leaves blowing around my yard, the Sun shining and birds at the feeders and chipmunks and squirrels gathering.  It’s a gorgeous day after two days of much needed rain.  Quite cool, quite autumnal, and I’m feeling happy and blessed.

My gardens are a wild mess. The last of the Autumn flowers are spent.  The tall grasses are brown and dry.  Some herbs have re-bloomed like parsley, thyme and lemon balm.  (I’ll be grabbing those yet)  My rosemary and lavender are still healthy and useful as I trim some rosemary for my ancestor altar and Ancestor Supper table. There are dried leaves gathered in the beds that will remain to keep warm the plants over the long Winter, and fresh, bright colored leaves are still falling, littering the ground and beds with reds, oranges, and golds. I took a walk in my favorite park that has a beautiful pond.  Watching the geese fly over under blue, clear skies,  the leaves floating in the pond, the bright trees and Sun casting mirror images on the water, I’m reminded of how Mother Earth is winding down to the dark, stark season in a blaze of color and beauty. I never have the feeling it’s a death and dying thing..but a show of how beautiful the seasons are.  No matter the season, they each have their own beauty.  While Autumn to me is the most beautiful, Winter too can be stunningly filled with beauty and I am not sad that Winter comes.

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I have enjoyed the energy of the Full Moon these last few nights, even though I couldn’t see Her the night she was at her fullest.  The foggy, rainy days reminded me of the thinning veil. The mystical, quietness of this time of year, if you’re still enough to notice it.  I’ve been having strong, vivid dreams and vacillate between sleeping hard and feeling restless in the night. How are you feeling? Perhaps tired and restless?  Or calm and filled with energy? I find I’m energized most of the time in Autumn, but an evening by the fire can make me feel drowsy and content.  I find my loved ones who have passed on are very much on my mind and I’m trying to be aware of any messages they may be bringing for me, to be aware of their being close to me, and to leave myself open to any other guides/spirits who may be needing my attention as well.  I keep a dream journal and I’m jotting down anything I remember when I awake. My scrying mirror, tarot cards and candle and fire flames are readily available to such purposes of receiving any messages. As I said in my last post, I find being still and meditative, even drowsy, can bring me closer, easier to my loved ones.

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My coven gathers tomorrow night. Always such a high energy, loving, magickal night. We’ll be doing an ancestor ritual, welcoming in the New Year together, with feast and fire. While we enjoy every Sabbat gathering, and every other gathering, Samhain is always just the best one.  The energy of Samhain is very much within us as a Tribe.  I love my sisters!

I have been visiting some books lately for the Season.  Classics like Edgar Allan Poe poems and “The Halloween Tree” and getting ready to read “The Picture of Dorian Gray”.  I also have been enjoying movies like “Hocus Pocus”, “Sleepy Hollow”, and “The Good Witch” movies.  My daughter, our friend and I saw “The Goosebumps” movie last night and enjoyed it very much!  I love both books and movies during this entire holiday season, from Samhain to Yule.  Music too.  They just put me in the mood!  What are your favorite spooky books or movies?

Cooking and Baking also is such a big part of the holidays for me.  Autumn is especially lovely with warm soups and breads, apple and pumpkin desserts, and hot drinks with cinnamon and spice.  If you do a search in the box on the right here —–> you can find previous Samhain recipes for the last 5 years.  I’m going to add a couple more today.  Also, if you saw my last post, you may have been checking out Samhain’s Sirens and The Sunday Stew for other recipes from myself and others for the Season.  For many, All Hallow’s Eve will bring to mind a witch stirring her cauldron 🙂 Well, yes, that’s me!  Conjuring in my kitchen! I may have a soup or hot cider in my cauldron, or I may have herbs and a smoking charcoal just as easily. If you don’t have a nice cauldron to actually use in your kitchen..I highly recommend a Potje pot.  They come in all sizes and are wonderful!

As a reminder of the foods for Samhain, they are :  Apples, pumpkin pie, pomegranate, pumpkin, squash, hazelnuts, corn, bread, ale, apple cider and herbal tea. Here are a couple of new recipes to fit the bill. One is healthy and one is just sweet and yummy!

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Spinach Pomegranate Salad

3/4 cup unsweetened pomegranate juice
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
5 ounces spinach leaves (about 2 lightly packed qts.)
3/4 cup finely shredded radicchio (from 1 head)
1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
1/2 cup coarsely chopped toasted hazelnuts
1 large firm-ripe Bartlett pear

In a small saucepan, boil pomegranate juice until reduced to 1/4 cup, 5 to 6 minutes. Let cool. Whisk in lemon juice, oil, salt, thyme, and pepper.
In a salad bowl, gently mix spinach, radicchio, pomegranate seeds, and hazelnuts with dressing. Divide among 6 plates.
Quarter pear and core. Thinly slice crosswise, then stack slices and cut in matchsticks. Arrange pear on salads.

*To make this salad a full meal, add grilled chicken strips onto the salad and a good crusty bread!

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Sour Cream-Apple Pie

a 9″ pie crust…your own homemade or refrigerated store bought

2 cups apples, peeled, cored and chopped (use your favorite baking apple)

1 cup sugar, divided

1/3 cup plus 2 Tbs all-purpose flour, divided

1/4 tsp salt

1 cup sour cream

1 egg, beaten

1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1 Tb ground cinnamon

2 Tb butter

Place pie crust in a 9″ pie plate; arrange apples in bottom of pie crust.

Combine 2/3 cup sugar, 2 Tbs flour and salt in a large bowl; stir to mix.  Add sour cream, egg and vanilla.  Beat with an electric mixer at medium speed until smooth.  Pour mixture over apples.

Bake at 425* for 15 minutes; reduce heat to 350* and bake 30 more minutes.

Combine in a small bowl the remaining flour, sugar, cinnamon and butter. Sprinkle over top of pie.  Increase heat back to 400* and bake 10 more minutes.  Remove and cool.  Of course, eating it warm is perfect!

*If you’d rather use thinly sliced apples, that is okay too.

Well there you go for a couple of great new recipes.  Again, you can find so many more of my recipes in previous postings.  Whether you’re looking for a simple soup meal, a big feast or just something sweet, you’ll find it here 🙂 Enjoy!

I want to wish you all a very Blessed Samhain and Happy Witchy New Year.  May your ancestors be blessed by how you live YOUR life, how you honor them and how you loved those you knew who have passed beyond the veil.  And may YOU be blessed with a full new year of wonderful things ahead!  Remember to let go that which no longer suits or has meaning or purpose, and find joy in what is to come.  Make it GREAT!

“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 End of an Era?………..

Merry Meet!  Today is Sun Day…my favorite day of the week.  It marks the end of the week for me, a time to relax, rest, and spend time with family.  Today it is extremely HOT and HUMID, So…. we headed out to a cool dark theater to see the final Harry Potter movie.  The Deathly Hallows Part 2!

The movie was Awesome!…really well done.  I jumped, I cheered, I cried.  But what I did most was marvel at the fact that I have followed JK Rowling’s vision since my youngest daughter was the same age as Harry, Ron & Hermoine were in the first book..11 years old.  I first heard about the Harry Potter books while watching a Rosie O’Donnell show.  She was raving about the books, how wonderful they were, how imaginative and she had JK on her show.  Now,  my girls already  loved books and loved to read series books.  I believe that the first book had been out for a bit and the 2nd book had just come out at this time.  The very next day I went out and found them on a table in the kid’s section…they were just paperback at the time.  I bought the first two books and brought them home.  Sara read them and was hooked!  She then gave them to her sister to read …and she loved them too.  Then the 3rd came out…and so forth.  At that point, I decided to read them myself and was hooked as well.  Oh how I wish I had the creativity to have thought of someone like Harry Potter and the world he lives in….to me the books were pure magick!  We all have our own set now too! LOL

*CORRECTION! LOL  My youngest, Kate, reminded me that it was she who read them first…and I remembered then that she had to really talk her sister into reading them…Sara had no interest in reading them at first.  LOL   But of course, once she read them, she loved them too.  Sorry Kate! hahah! 🙂

We attended midnight Book release parties at Barnes & Noble after that, dressing up in our Gryffindor gear and round glasses like Harry’s. Of course we waited with bated breath as the first movie came out…and were NOT disappointed at seeing the characters and the story come to life on the big screen!  The characters looked as they were described in the books, the quidditch field was pure magick, Hogworts was a dream come true…..for me even the soundtrack was perfect.  The wait between books and movies seemed too too long.  A fond memory of mine is the day the 7th book came out, my whole family would be arriving in Hilton Head for a week’s vacation.  As soon as we realized that, I found the Barnes & Noble there and pre- ordered 5 books!  One for myself, my two daughers, my son in law, and a friend who was with us.  Before we even arrived at our beach condo..we stopped and picked up our prized books.  What a fun time it was…we all spent the week reading our books by the pool or on the beach.  Some of us finishing faster then others…teasing each other about what we had read that they hadn’t yet…sometimes caught with tears in our eyes or letting out a loud gasp…which would result in “Don’t tell me..I’m not there yet”!!!  LOL  I will always remember that trip because of that book!

Having read the books multiple times, I’m reminded of how these wonderful books spurred on the love of reading again for a whole generation of children.  Whether they were old enough to read it themselves, or have them read to them….they brought families together in the common love of the books.  Never had such a phenomena been seen…at least not in my lifetime.  The movies of course enhanced the experience.  In a time where kids are glued to the TV or playing  games on the Wii and Playstation, how wonderful it was to see them reading again.  My grandmother was a 2nd grade teacher for over 50 years..I give her full credit for giving me my love of reading…She would have been thrilled to have seen children reading with great joy again.  For my kids, the love of reading  has continued..for me too.  My granddaughter Lily, who is 2 1/2..already loves books too..she will sit for an hour and bring multiple books to be read to her…and will often finish the sentence for us…I just love seeing that!!

Now that my girls are grown, I look forward to the day that Harry, Ron and Hermoine and all the lovely characters are introduced to my grandchildren.  Is the last book and last movie the end of an era?   Well, I don’t think so….I think that they will continue to give great joy to young minds (and their parents) for ages to come.  I am quite sure that there are many more books out there.. some yet to be written..that will bring joy to children and aid them in their love of reading ….but I truly believe that it will take something really special to equal what the Harry Potter books did.  Do you still remember the books you loved as a child?  Did you pass that love to your children and grandchildren?  I still have the books my children owned and even some of the books that I owned as a child.  There is no end to a good story….it just continues for generations..as long as we see to it that they do. 

So THANK YOU JK Rowling and Harry Potter for your wonderful world of imagination.  A whole generation has loved and enjoyed it…… and many more in the future will as well.  Pure magick!

“A blessed companion is a book, – a book that, fitly chosen, is a lifelong friend,… a book that, at a touch, pours its heart into our own.” ~Douglas Jerrold

Blessings and Love, Autumn

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