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October 2012……..

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

Merry Meet my friends!   Happy October!!!   October..what a beautiful Month..my favorite..as those of you who know me..know 🙂    October..the Season of the Witch!!

It was a wonderful Mabon at my house and the Harvest Moon has been Full, and bright  and big and filled with energy and magick!  Tonight is the first night I haven’t been able to see Her…it has been raining gently for a few hours now. A lovely Autumn rain!

I’m sitting in my favorite chair..a glass of Witch’s Brew spiced wine in my hand, a fire in the fireplace, listening to music and relaxing.  I am in Bliss with the fact that my favorite time of year is here…Autumn…in all her splendor.

October…immediately brings to mind woodsmoke and fires, crisp air nights and blue sky days, mums, pumpkins and the last of our garden’s bounty, sweaters, colorful leaves falling in brisk, cool air.  Birds flocking and critters gathering, apple pickin and eatin and bakin, warm spiced cider, raking and burning leaves, black cats and ghostie spirits and trick or treats.  Halloween parties, Ancestor altars, and Dumb Suppers.  I could go on and on with the things that bring me great Joy this time of year!

My Witchy friends are all happy right along with me.…planning for the Witch’s greatest night of the Year….Samhain!  Our New Year!!  A Most glorious, wondrous, magickal, mysterious Night!  I can’t wait!!!

I look forward to sharing this wonderful Season with you all!

“Listen! the wind is rising,
and the air is wild with leaves,
We have had our summer evenings,
now for October eves!”
Humbert Wolfe

Blessings for a beautiful Fall!!!

Love and Light, Autumn

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Filed under Autumn, Full Moons, My Favorite Things, Quote, Samhain, Seasons

The Wheel turns to Ostara 2012……..

Merry Meet dear friends.  I hope you’ve all had a wonderful weekend.  I know I did.  We have enjoyed a few days of seeing the Sun shining!  It’s been wonderful after several gloomy ones.   Though it’s cold out, the Sun makes me feel all warm inside.   I’m sitting by a warm fire, stocking feet up on an ottoman, laptop on lap and glass of Baileys by my side.  I’m listening to my Ipod, hubby is snoozing in his chair next to me, and my daughter went on to her room for the night.  It’s peaceful and quiet and my mind turned to the next Sabbat…Ostara…so I decided to write a post. 

First, feel free to do a search here on my blog for Ostara…that will bring up all the previous posts I’ve written over the last 2 years.  That way you can find the correspondences, recipes, pics of altars, rituals etc again.  I don’t want to keep repeating myself every time I write on the same subject 🙂  As we all know, Ostara is the first day of Spring!  The days are longer and starting to get warmer.  Depending on where you live, you may see grass starting to green, spring flowers starting to shoot up from the ground, critters and birds getting more active, and people getting out a bit more, shedding their heavy winter coats.  Garden Centers are filling up with seed packets, spring bulbs and flowers, patio pots, and all the goodies us garden Witches love. The stores are filling up with Easter candy, stuffed rabbits, and Spring clothing.  Everybody’s mood gets just a bit lighter and a bit more energetic..a Spring in their step so to speak LOL. 

 

 

It’s spring fever.  That is what the name of it is.  And when you’ve got it, you want –

 oh, you don’t quite know what it is you do want,

but it just fairly makes your heart ache, you want it so! 

 ~Mark Twain

 

Now here in Ohio…March can often have us with snow on the ground still.  But sometimes, we see balmy weather and an early Spring too.  Either way, I can still feel Spring coming in my soul….and it feels great!  As much as I love Winter, Spring is a wonderful time of year too.  My mind turns to cooking lighter, planning out my gardens and herb pots, finishing up any Spring cleaning that didn’t get done (I always save carpet cleaning and window cleaning for this time of year) and planning some outdoor fun.  Taking nature walks this time of year is so wonderful!  While on a walk, pay attention to what you see around you.  The trees may be budding, spring ground cover blooming, mushrooms may be growing and you might see some baby critters too.  Take a big old sniff of the air and the dirt….you can smell Mother Earth waking up, stretching, blooming…..ahhhhhh!  If it’s really warm, take off your shoes and walk in the grass and dirt…or sit up against a tree, Sun shining on your face and feel the Earth’s vibrations..you can literally feel Her humming….vibrating….coming alive!  Let the energy surge thru you….feel the quickening in your heart and soul.  It’s magick!!

 

Right around Ostara is when I start picking up the things I need to start my herb seedlings.  I buy the organic pots, organic soil and good seeds.  I like to get them planted and growing right around the first day of Spring.  I bless them with a magickal spell (you’ll find it in last years post here) and keep a close eye on them for the next 6 weeks.  I love doing that..watching them sprout and grow.  Some seeds do better then others…but I try every year to see how they do.  Then right around Mother’s day…into the ground and/or pots they go!  I love the whole process..it makes me happy! 

My family celebrates Easter as well with members of our extended family who are Christian.  So we do the family ham dinner, dye eggs and hide them for the grandkids, dress up in pastels etc. There are bunnies and tulips and colored eggs on my pastel- colored altars too.  Yes, Easter is a nod to our Ostara, though Pagans don’t celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ….a Christian belief.   Ostara…… is more about recognizing the lengthening days, the awakening of our Mother Earth, the work to come in our gardens, and the long dark spell of Winter being over! It is the turning of the Wheel…then end of one season and the start of the next.  I still like to have beautiful meal of good food with my family for Ostara too.  Being outdoors is a must and I like to do a ritual to welcome Persephone back from the Underworld..bringing Spring with her!   As a Mother, I can imagine the joy Demeter must feel everytime her beloved daughter comes back.  Think of that joy and find it yourself in your celebration of this beautiful Sabbat. 

In the next week or two..I’ll be posting a few recipes, pics of my altar, and I’ll post pics of Mother Earth coming to life around me.  Don’t forget if you want to…to look for my posts from last year and the year before for MORE recipes and more information.  We have about a month until Ostara…I’m sure we will have more Winter weather in the meantime.  But now….you can start thinking about what you’ll be doing when this next month or so is over and Spring has arrived.  A wonderful way to while away the cold Winter days that are left 🙂  It won’t be long til you’ll see this……:) 

  

And Spring arose on the garden fair,
Like the Spirit of Love felt everywhere;
And each flower and herb on Earth’s dark breast
rose from the dreams of its wintry rest.
~Percy Bysshe Shelley, “The Sensitive Plant

Blessings and Love, Autumn

*Sources..my own writing, all pics from the internet.

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Filed under Easter, Family, Flowers, Garden, Gardens, Goddess, Holiday, Mother Earth, Nature, Ostara, Quote, Seasons, Spring, Winter

Imbolc Recipes 2011……

 

“To feel safe and warm on a cold wet night, all you really need is soup.”
Laurie Colwin

Merry Meet everyone!  How are your Imbolc preparations going?  I am in the midst of cleaning!  Drawers, cupboards and closets are getting organized one at a time.  Curtains are taken down, washed, sprayed with lavender water and hung back up smelling fabulous!  “Stuff” that is taking up space or not needed is heading to the thrift shop.  Dusting, cleaning woodwork, grabbing cobwebs off ceiling fans, and vacuuming furniture will all be done soon enough 🙂  Hoping for even some touch up painting to be done.  I have new candles to buy yet and I’m thinking about getting some new pots and pans as well.  I just love this time of year…Imbolc..Spring cleaning.  It feels great to get the house looking and feeling so nice. 

Now all this cleaning is tiring! As I’m sure you know!  Many nights I just want to melt into my easy chair by the fire and not move another inch!  I am most definitely not in the mood to cook after a long day of cleaning, running errands, and doing all the stuff that needs to be done every day!  So I was thinking about this and decided that instead of suggesting recipes to make FOR Imbolc, for the day…I would post recipes…soups and breads…that you can put on in the morning before you start cleaning, while you are preparing for Imbolc!   When you are ready, you can sit down to a good, comforting bowl of soup and slice of homemade bread….without slaving over the stove after a long day of cleaning!

“Good soup is one of the prime ingredients of good living. For soup can do more to lift the spirits

 and stimulate the appetite than any other one dish.”


Louis P. De Gouy, ‘The Soup Book’ (1949)

These recipes are soups I’ve made myself, or new recipes I’ve found I intend on making soon.  They use a slow cooker (or you can cook them on the stove top all day) and a bread machine!  Let’s face it..bread machines and slow cookers are going to make getting dinner ready super simple!!

This first recipe is another favorite potato soup recipe of mine.  This soup takes a little bit of work to make it cause you make it on the stovetop…but once made it can be kept warm in the slow cooker all day.

Baked Potato Soup

6 Potatoes

1/2 cup butter

1/3 cup flour

4 cups milk

1 cup sour cream

Pierce potatoes with a fork; microwave on high for about 20 mins, turning potatoes over halfway thru.  Peel and cube potatoes.  Mash 3 of the potatoes leaving 3 cubed and set aside. 

Whisk butter and flour in a saucepan over low heat until smooth and thick.  Whisk in milk and whisk until thickened.  Heat over med heat for 5-10 more minutes.  Be careful not to burn.  Add in the potatoes; stir in sour cream.  Simmer, without boiling until heated thoroughly.  Transfer to slow cooker and keep on low or warm all day.

*Serve this soup with a salad and bread for a complete meal.  Top with crumbled bacon and shredded cheese to make it extra yummy!  This is a really thick, satisfying soup!  *Serves 4-6

Wild Mushroom Soup

3 TB butter

2 large shallots, diced

1 1/2 pounds mixed wild mushrooms (such as cremini and shitake) sliced

1 TB chopped fresh thyme

3 TB flour

7 cups low sodium chicken broth

3/4 cup heavy cream

1/4 cup dry sherry (or use 1 cup heavy cream)

2 tsps salt

1/8 tsp black pepper

1/4 cup chopped parsley

Melt butter in a large lidded pot over med heat.  Add shallots and saute for 2-3 mins until softened.  Add mushrooms and thyme and cook 8 mins.  Sprinkle in flour and cook 2 mins, stirring constantly.  Add stock and bring to a boil.  Turn down to a simmer, cover and cook 15 mins.

Stir in heavy cream, sherry, salt and pepper and bring to a simmer (not boil).  Mix in parsley.

*Again, this can then be transferred and kept warm in a slow cooker for the day. 

Chicken Noodle Soup

3 carrots, peeled and cut into large chunks
1 large onion, quartered
3 stalks celery, cut into large chunks
3 boneless skinless chicken breast halves
2 to 3 soup cans of water
2 cans chicken broth
2 TBS dried dill
2 TBS dried parsley
1 tsp garlic powder
8 ounce package egg noodles

Put carrots, onion, and celery into crock pot.  Add the chicken, then pour in the broth and water. Sprinkle parsley, dill, and garlic on top.

 Cover and cook on low 6 – 8 hours.

 Remove chicken and vegetables from crock pot, add noodles and turn to high.  Dice the chicken and vegetables. Return vegetables and chicken to the crock pot for an additional 20 minutes.

This is so good for those days when someone in your house has a cold or flu.  Comfort food at it’s best!

Snowy Day Beef Stew

1 medium-size onion, finely chopped
2 medium-size carrots, cut into 1/4′ thick slanting slices
1 pound red potatoes, scrubbed and cut lengthwise into quarters
8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
2 to 2 1/4 pounds lean boneless beef round, trimmed of fat and cut into 1″ cubes
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 tsps dried thyme
1 can (about 14 1/2 oz.) stewed tomatoes
1/4 cup red wine or beef broth
1 package frozen peas, thawed
salt to taste

In a  slow cooker, combine onion, carrots, potatoes, and mushrooms. Coat beef cubes with flour, then add to cooker and sprinkle with thyme. Add tomatoes and wine. Cover and cook at low setting until beef is very tender when pierced (8 to 10 hours).
Skim and discard fat from stew, if necessary. Stir in peas. Increase cooker heat setting to high; cover and cook until peas are heated through (10 to 15 more minutes). Season to taste with salt. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Cream of Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

 4 cups chicken broth
2 cups water
2-3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 package of Long grain and Wild Rice ( Rice-a-Roni)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup butter
2 cups milk
1 cup grated carrots
1 cup diced celery

Combine broth, water, carrots, celery, chicken and rice (along with seasoning packet) in a large slow cooker.
 Cover and cook on LOW for 4-6 hours.
Remove chicken and shred with two forks and then add back into slow cooker.

 In a small bowl combine salt, pepper, and flour. In medium saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Stir in flour mixture by tablespoon to form a roux. Whisk in milk, a little at a time, until fully incorporated and smooth.
 Stir cream mixture into slow cooker and then let cook on LOW for 15 more minutes.

Beautiful soup, so rich and green
Waiting in a hot tureen!
Who for such dainties would not stoop?
Soup of the evening, beautiful soup!
Beautiful soup! Who cares for fish
Game, or any other dish?
Who would not give all else for two
Pennyworth of beautiful soup?”

Lewis Carroll, ‘Alice in Wonderland’

Again, all these soups are wonderful with a salad and a slice of fresh hot bread and creamy sweet butter!  Don’t forget toppings….crumbled bacon, grated cheeses, crackers, sour cream, croutons etc.  Ok…now on to a couple of my favorite bread machine bread recipes!  Be sure and follow YOUR bread machine’s guidelines for what order to put the ingredients..some put liquid in the bottom and dry and top and some do vice versa…Mine puts liquids in first….Oh and the recipe I’m putting here is for a 2 pound loaf.

One of my very favorite breads and it goes so great with the soups..or to make up into sandwiches on the side!  So so good!

Herb and Crunch Wheat Bread

1 1/2 cups water

2 cups bread flour

2 cups whole wheat flour

2 TBS sugar

2 TBS dry milk

2 TBS butter, softened

2 tsps salt

2 tsps dried basil leaves

1 tsp dried thyme leaves

2 tsps bread machine yeast

2/3 cup dry roasted sunflower seeds

Place all ingredients except the sunflower seeds in your bread machine pan, in the order recommended by YOUR bread machine.  You will add the sunflower seeds at the Raisin/Nut signal.

Select Basic/White cycle and Medium or Light crust color.  Remove from pan immediately when cycle is finished and cool on wire rack. 

I promise you will love this bread!!

“If thou tastest a crust of bread, thou tastest all the stars and all the heavens.”

Robert Browning, English poet, (1812-1889)

 

Parmesan Sun-Dried Tomato Bread

1 1/4 cups water

4 cups bread flour

3/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese

2 cloves crushed garlic

3 TBS sugar

1 1/4 tsps salt

2 1/4 tsps dried oregano leaves

2 1/4 tsps bread machine yeast

2/3 cup sun-dried tomatoes (packed in oil) drained and coarsely chopped

Place all ingredients, except tomatoes, in bread machine pan in order recommended by YOUR machine.  You’ll add the tomatoes at the Raisin/Nut signal.

Select Basic/White cycle. Use medium or light crust color.  Don’t use delay cycle with this bread.  Remove bread immediately after cycle is completed and cool on wire rack. 

“Good bread is the most fundamentally satisfying of all foods;

 and good bread with fresh butter, the greatest of feasts.”

James Beard, American chef (1903-1985)

 

So..think about how much your slow cooker and your bread machine can work for you…do your cooking in the morning when you are more energetic.  By evening, after a long day, you’ll be glad you did.  And OH the way it will make your house smell all day long…Yummy!!  You will be a happy little cleaning machine with those delicious soups simmering away and the smell of fresh bread permeating the house.  It will be a good “tonic” to help you keep your energy level up to get everything done you want to do!  Having a lazy day?  You’ll still be glad that you made your meal in the morning! It will aid you in your laziness LOL. 

Humm….I think tomorrow I will be baking that herb and crunch bread..just writing the recipe and thinking about it has made me want it..now!! 🙂   I’ll be back soon…pics of my altar to come etc.  I send you power energy and blessings to help you get thru all your cleaning and I hope you’ll send some to me! 

Blessings and love, Autumn

 

 

 

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Filed under Cleaning & Organizing, Imbolc, Poem, Quote, Recipe from my Kitchen

Countdown to Imbolc 2012…….

 

Every gardener knows that under the cloak of winter lies a miracle … a seed waiting to sprout, a bulb opening to the light, a bud straining to unfurl. And the anticipation nurtures our dream.”
– Barbara Winkler

Merry Meet on this beautiful Sun day.  Hope your New Year is going well so far.  I have been sick with a virus that has had me down for some time now but I’m pulling up my bootstraps and telling myself I’m OVER it now 🙂  I do feel a bit better today and hope it continues.  As I’m having a quiet day I decided to post on my blog…about Imbolc….as I was making notes and lists to get ready for this wonderful Sabbat.  Imbolc has always been special to me because it was the first Sabbat that I celebrated.  It always feels hopeful and full of magick to me. 

As I am writing this, I’m sitting in my chair with the window cracked open, allowing the cool air to come in and cleanse out my house a bit.  Though it’s in the low 40’s here, the Sun is beautiful and warm and it feels a bit like a Spring day.  That’s what Imbolc is all about..the return of the Spring, the warmth, the Sun….Mother Earth re-awakening!  We have had a rare Winter so far here in Ohio.  Only one snow that amounted to anything, lots of days above normal temps and it’s been delightful!  But though I’m thinking about Spring already, we have much more Winter to go I’m quite sure 🙂 

 Imbolc, known also as Imbolg, Candlemas, the Festival of Brighid, and the Feast of Lights. The word Imbolc means “in the belly,” or in the womb of Mother Earth, as well as “in milk,” which refers to ewes coming into milk for the first lambs of the season. This Sabbat marks the return of spring, even as winter continues its reign. Imbolc is February 2nd and is of course, in modern times, also known as Groundhog’s Day.

Imbolc, for me,  is a time of cleansing and purification. It’s all about Spring Cleaning!  It is time to throw out the old and bring in the new. This not only means the “stuff and clutter” in your home, but also your old thoughts, anger, hurt feelings etc. To Sweep out negatitive and stagnant Air and bring in fresh, clean positive Air.   To re-new my home and myself. After a thorough Spring Cleaning on my home, I Cleanse and Bless my home and those who dwell here, and cleanse my body and my soul as well.   Imbolc is when I re-dedicate myself to my path every year.  Though it’s not necessary to do, it re-energizes and re-connects me to my path, my Goddess, my way of life.  

The customs of Imbolc include ritual “spring cleaning” of the house, to banish the last of winter and hasten the coming of warm, sunny days.  Some things I do while cleaning…..I  use lavender and rosemary in a pot of boiling water to wash floors and walls, vinegar and mugwort for windows and mirrors. Burn sage to cleanse the psychic energies, and replace old protection and prosperity charms. I wash all my curtains and linens and give them a good spritz with lavender water before re-hanging them.  I clean out drawers, closets, cupboards. Sweep high and low.  Replace burnt out light bulbs, anything that’s broken, throw out that is which is no longer of use or pleasure.  The house will smell and feel amazing when you’re done!  Oh, I like to replace all my old candles that may not be finished yet…just to have a fresh start! 

I also spend some time on myself.  Taking a ritual bath scented with your favorite herbs/oils or sea salt is always cleansing and renewing.  As you soak, meditate to clear your mind and heart of any thoughts or emotions that no longer serve you. This is all to “start a-new” in mind, body, spirit and home. Anoint your chakra points with Blessing oil after and spend some time meditating and focusing inward on yourself.  Let go what needs to go and open yourself to new possibilities, Joy, Peace and Love only.  Let the negative go and the positive take over.  You will feel so great afterwards.

On Imbolc Night, in ancient times, The Goddess Brighid was honored in her Maiden form.  One way to honor her is this.  Home hearth fires are put out and re-lit, and a besom is placed by the front door to symbolize sweeping out the old and welcoming the new. Candles are lit and placed in each room of the house to honor the re-birth of the Sun. Just before sunset, turn off all the lights in the house. Carrying  a single white burning candle,  to represent Brighid, knock three times on the front door and invite the Goddess to enter, asking that she bestow health, success, abundance, and love upon everyone in the house. Then slowly begin turning on the lights, moving room to room, until every light in the house is on.  This is really magickal to me..symbolizes the Darkness of Winter changing to the Light of Spring.  If you have made a Brighid cross, have it on your altar or hanging near your front door or fireplace to represent Her as well. 

Imbolc Correspondences

*Element/Gender-Earth/female

*Threshold- Midnight

*Symbolism-First stirring of Mother Earth, lambing, growth of the Sun God, the middle of winter, Purity, Re-newal, Fertility, dispensing of old and making way for the new

*Symbols/Tools/Decorations-Brighid’s Crosses, Brideo’gas, Besoms, white flowers, acorn wands, candles, Brides bed, milk, evergreens, daffodils, grain/seeds, snowflakes

*Herbs-Angelica, basil, bay laurel, blackberry, heather, iris, myrrh, violets, clover, willow, and all yellow flowers.

*Incense/Oils-Basil, bay, wisteria, cinnamon, violet, vanilla, myrrh, jasmine, rose, sage lavender,

*Colors-Gold, light green, green, blue, yellow, pink, white, red, brown and pastels

*Crystals/Stones-Amethyst, bloodstone, garnet, ruby, turquoise, onyx, moonstone, red jasper

*Customs/Activities-Candle lighting, seeking omens of spring, cleaning house, bonfires, indoor planting, stone collecting, hearth re-lighting, storytelling

*Foods-Pumpkin, sesame and sunflower seeds, spicy foods, dairy, raisins, poppyseed bread/cakes, muffins, scones, breads, pancakes/waffles, spiced wines, herbal teas

*Gods- Pan, Cupid/Eros, young Sun Gods

*Goddesses- Brighid, Venus, Diana, Virgin Goddess, Maiden Child Goddess, Aradia, Athena, Inanna, Vesta, Gaia, Selene, Februa

*Spellworking/Rituals-Cleansing, purification, renewal, creative inspiration, purification, initiation, candle work, house & temple blessings, welcoming Brigid, feast of milk and bread, Self-dedication

To aid you in your house cleansing, here is a ritual I love to do after all the Cleaning is done….

Imbolc House Cleansing Ritual

-Light a smudge stick and walk around the rooms of your house to replace old protection and prosperity. I smudge around all my windows and door and throw them open to allow in the fresh, cold Air!  You can also go around with a representative of each element…salt, incense or sage, a lit candle etc….or you can use a Blessing oil and anoint your doors and windowsills with a pentagram or sigil of protection.  While you are doing so, say something like:

“May the goddess bless this home

make it safe and secure

so that nothing but love and joy

shall enter here.

When you are finished with every room, close the windows, step back and take a deep breath.  Feels good doesn’t it? I usually do this House Blessing…then light all the candles and turn off lights and welcome in Brighid as written above.  Then I sit with a nice glass of Bailey’s or Wine and enjoy the feel of my Clean, Cleansed and Blessed home!  I’m ready to deal with the rest of Winter and my heart knows that Spring will be here soon!

Winter, a lingering season, is a time to gather golden moments, embark upon a sentimental journey,

 and enjoy every idle hour.”

 

– John Boswell

During this next couple months when we can only dream of Spring and our gardens, being outside.  Do that…Dream!  Pore over your garden catalogs and magazines and dream of planting your gardens, herbs, veggies.  It’ll do you heart some good.   Thats what I will be doing too.  I have big plans this year to expand my gardens 🙂

In winter’s cold and sparkling snow,
The garden in my mind does grow.
I look outside to blinding white,
And see my tulips blooming bright.
And over there a sweet carnation,
Softly scents my imagination.

On this cold and freezing day,
The Russian sage does gently sway,
And miniature roses perfume the air,
I can see them blooming there.
Though days are short, my vision’s clear.
And through the snow, the buds appear.

In my mind, clematis climbs,
And morning glories do entwine.
Woodland phlox and scarlet pinks,
Replace the frost, if I just blink.
My inner eye sees past the snow.
And in my mind, my garden grows.”
– Cheryl Magic-Lady, Winter Garden

I will post more about my altar and my Imbolc celebration in the coming days. If you haven’t already started thinking about this beautiful Sabbat, then do. There is alot of work involved with this one. The clearing out of the old is not for the faint of heart! LOL Be brutal in both your home and yourself! Really clear out the stuff that needs to go. You will feel so much better about your home and you will feel lighter and happier with yourself as well. Spring is coming and I know that makes many of your heart’s soar!! Start it out with a clean, uncluttered great smelling home and a clean slate full of positivity, lightness and joy for yourself! The Magick of Imbolc is upon us!

Oh, tonight is the Full Wolf or Cold Moon.  Her energy is amazing as I visited with Her last night and will again tonight.  Doing some healing work for myself and some friends of mine, making Moon water, cleansing and energizing some new crystals, tools etc.  Blessed Full Wolf Moon to you all!  Make the Most of your time with Her!

 

Blessed Be, Autumn

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Filed under Cleaning & Organizing, Correspondence, Full Moons, Gardens, Goddess, Herbs, History, Holiday, Imbolc, Mother Earth, My Writing, Nature, Poem, Protection, Quote, Ritual, Seasons, Spring, Winter

Blessed Thanksgiving!……

Merry Evening my friends.  After a busy day of errand running, house readying, cooking and baking, I’m stopping by to post my wishes to you all for a Happy Thanksgiving Day!  I know how busy those of you who are hosting the day are …. and how ready Everyone is to enjoy the day with their family and friends, good food and good cheer! and of course Football! 🙂  No matter how simple or fancy your meal, whether you are two or twenty-two at your table…don’t forget to give thanks to the Universe…whatever you call the Divine….for the blessings in your life.  It will make your day even better. For me, I thank the Goddess for the Blessings in my life and Mother Earth for her bounty that will be on my table this year. 

In these economic times, many of us are struggling more, may have lost jobs etc.  There may have been a loss in your family or you feel alone or ARE alone. I know sometimes it is very hard to find anything to be thankful for.  But even if things aren’t as you wish them to be…there are things you can find, I’m sure!   Most of the time being grateful is the last thing on our list of what’s on our mind…but try, for this day at least, to think about it.  Your soul will be soothed when you do.  If you are blessed like I am to have a wonderful family, loving friends, a roof over your head, food to eat, and maybe a furbaby or two who loves you uncondtionally..then you are wealthy in all the ways that are important! 

I am most grateful to my family, my friends and my facebook family…I love you all!  I’m going to leave you  with a few quotes that are amongst my favorites, for both Thanksgiving and thankfulness.  I use them as reminders to myself to be grateful…to find something everyday to be grateful for..no matter how bad the day may be going.  I hope, however, your Thanksgiving is a marvelously happy day, that it is fun and drama- free and that you have to unbutton  your pants because  you are so full of great food!  

 

“Thanksgiving Day comes, by statute, once a year; to the honest man it comes as

frequently as the heart of gratitude will allow.”

 ~Edward Sandford Martin

 

“Thanksgiving Day is a jewel, to set in the hearts of honest men; but be careful

 that you do not take the day, and leave out the gratitude.”

 ~E.P. Powell

 

 

“Small cheer and great welcome makes a merry feast”.

 ~William Shakespeare

 

“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow.”

~Melody Beattie

 

“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation

 is not to utter words, but to live by them.”

 ~John Fitzgerald Kennedy

 

“It is literally true, as the thankless say, that they have nothing to be thankful for. He who sits by the fire, thankless for the fire, is just as if he had no fire. Nothing is possessed save in appreciation, of which thankfulness is the indispensable ingredient. But a thankful heart hath a continual feast.”

~W.J. Cameron

 

Blessings of Love and Light, Autumn

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Filed under Autumn, Family, Goddess, Holiday, Mother Earth, Quote, Thanksgiving

Samhain Recipes……..

Merry Meet my friends!  I’m sitting here with candles lit, listening to a heavy October evening rain and enjoying and Irish Cream!  I am just loving this Autumn!  October has just been beautiful..even a rainy night just soothes my soul.  I have spent the day cooking, spent some time with my daughters and grandkids, and am just relaxed and content tonight 🙂

I have been busy gathering recipes for about a week now to post here on my blog for you all.  I can vouch for several of these recipes as I’ve made them or made them often!  The potato soup picture and the apple pie pictures are from my own kitchen, my own camera and what I spent the day making today! 🙂  You will love both of them..I promise!

Ok…here we go…I always start with the magickal recipes first:

Samhain Oil Blend

*add to 1/8 cup base oil of your choice

3 drops Rosemary

 3 drops Pine

 3 drops Bay

 3 drops Apple

 2 drops Patchouli

Samhain Spirit Incense

2 parts Cinnamon

1 part ground cloves

1 part Dragon’s Blood resin

1 part Hyssop

1 part Patchouli

2 parts Rosemary

1 part Sage

A dash of sea salt

*This is a personal favorite of mine..and I always make a large amount!  If you can’t find Hyssop..just leave it out or substitute for something else….Try allspice or Star anise to keep with the spicy scent..or add pine or cedar!

 

  “We should look for someone to eat and drink WITH

 before looking for something to eat and drink”  

~Epicurus

 

Apricot- Apple Cider

 1 gal apple cider

1 (11.5oz) can apricot nectar

2 cups sugar

2 cups orange juice

¾ cup lemon juice

4 (3in) long cinnamon sticks

2 tsps ground allspice

1 tsp ground cloves

½ tsp ground nutmeg

 Bring all ingredients to a boil in a Dutch oven; reduce heat, and simmer 10 mins.  Remove cinnamon sticks and serve Hot!  (Makes 21 cups)

 

Cranberry- Brie Cheese Spread

 1 (15 oz) round Brie

1 (16 oz) can whole-berry cranberry sauce

¼ cup firmly packed brown sugar

2 Tb. Spiced rum (or orange juice)

½ tsp ground nutmeg

¼ cup chopped pecans, toasted

 Trim the rind from top of Brie, leaving a 1/3 inch border on top.  Place Brie on a baking sheet

Stir together cranberry sauce and next 3 ingredients; spread mixture evenly over top of Brie.  Sprinkle evenly with pecans.

 Bake at 500* for 5 mins.  Serve with assorted crackers, apple and pear slices.

 

Spicy October Morning Pumpkin Bread

3-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1-1/3 cups packed brown sugar
3/4 cup  milk
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin
Cooking spray
1/3 cup chopped walnuts

 
Preheat oven to 350º.

 Combine flour and the next 7 ingredients (flour through cloves) in a large bowl; make a well in center of mixture. Combine sugar and the next 5 ingredients (sugar through pumpkin) in a bowl, and stir well with a whisk until smooth. Add to flour mixture, stirring just until moist.

Spoon batter into 2 (8 x 4-inch) loaf pans coated with cooking spray, and sprinkle with walnuts. Bake at 350º for 1 hour or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool loaves in pans 10 minutes on a wire rack; remove from pans. sprinkle a little natural sugar on the top. Cool loaves completely.

 

Sweet Potato Biscuits

 1 large sweet potato

2 cups self rising flour

¼ cup sugar

3 Tbs shortening

2 Tbs butter, cold and cut up

1/3 cup milk

 Bake sweet potato at 350* for 1 hour or until tender; cool slightly.  Peel and mash; and cool.

 Combine flour and sugar in a medium bowl. Cut shortening and butter into flour mixture with a pastry blender until crumbly; add mashed sweet potato and milk, stirring just until dry ingredients are moistened. 

 Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead 3 to 4 times.  Roll dough to ½ inch thickness; cut with a 2 inch biscuit cutter.  Place on a lightly greased baking sheet.

 Bake at 400* for 15 mins or until golden brown. 

 *These are great with my potato soup!  You can slice them, add country ham and honey and they make delicious sandwiches on their own or with the soup!

 

 

Kate’s Slow Cooker Bacon- Potato Soup

 *Got this from my daughter and it’s probably one of the best and easy soups I’ve had!

 1 (5 lb bag) potatoes..cut into small cubes

1 lb bacon, cooked and crumbled.  ½ goes in the slow cooker, ½ save as a topper

3 (14.5oz) cans chicken broth

1 can cream of chicken soup

8 oz sour cream

 

Put all ingredients in crockpot..cook for 8-10 hours on low.

*Great topped with shredded cheddar cheese, bacon crumbles and crackers!

 

Autumn Cranberry Chicken

*Slow Cooker

4 boneless skinless chicken breast

1 (16oz) can whole-berry cranberry sauce

1 cup Russian salad dressing

1.35oz pkg onion soup mix

Cooked rice

Place chicken in the slow cooker, cutting pieces in half if desired.  Combine remaining ingredients except rice; spoon over chicken.  Cover and cook on low for 6 hours.  Serve over cooked rice.  Serves 4

 

 

Sweet Apple Acorn Squash

2 acorn squash, halved and seeded

2 apples, peeled, cored and chopped

3 Tbs packed brown sugar

3 Tbs chopped pecans

1 tsp all-purpose flour

¼ tsp cinnamon

2 Tbs butter, softened

 Place acorn squash halves cut side down in a greased 13” x 9” baking pan.  Bake at 350* for 30 mins.  Combine remaining ingredients.  Turn squash over and fill with apple mixture.  Bake, uncovered, for another 15-30 mins until squash is soft when pierced with a fork.  Serves 4.

 

Ok..so Halloween is after all about the “sweet” treats too…so these are some favorite recipes just for the sweet toothed!

 

 

Halloween Poke Cake

 1 package (18-1/4 ounces) fudge marble cake mix

2 packages (3 ounces each) orange gelatin

1 cup boiling water

1/2 cup cold water

1/2 cup butter, softened

3-1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar

1/3 cup baking cocoa

1/4 cup milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

12 to 15 candy pumpkins

 Prepare and bake cake according to package directions, using a greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking pan. Cool on a wire rack for 1 hour.

In a small bowl, dissolve gelatin in boiling water; stir in cold water. With a meat fork or wooden skewer, poke holes in cake about 2 in. apart. Slowly pour gelatin over cake. Refrigerate for 2-3 hours.

For frosting, in a small bowl, cream butter until fluffy. Beat in the confectioners’ sugar, cocoa, milk and vanilla until smooth. Spread over cake; top with candy pumpkins. Cover and refrigerate until serving. Makes 12-15 servings.

 

 

Spice Cookies with Pumpkin Dip

1-1/2 cups butter, softened

2 cup sugar

2 eggs

1/2 cup molasses

4 cups all-purpose flour

4 teaspoons baking soda

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon each ground ginger and cloves

1 teaspoon salt

 PUMPKIN DIP:

 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened

2 cups pumpkin pie filling

2 cups confectioners’ sugar

1/2 to 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

 For Cookies:

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs and molasses. Combine the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and salt; add to creamed mixture and mix well. Chill overnight.

Shape into 1/2-in. balls; roll in sugar. Place 2 in. apart on ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 375° for 6 minutes or until edges begin to brown. Cool for 2 minutes before removing to a wire rack.

For Dip:

 Beat cream cheese in a large bowl until smooth. Beat in pumpkin pie filling. Add the sugar, cinnamon and ginger and mix well. Serve with cookies. Store leftover dip in the refrigerator.

Makes about 20 dozen cookies and  3 cups of dip.

 

Autumn’s Amish Apple Pie

Ok, those of you who are my facebook friends, Know that I think this is the best apple pie I’ve ever had! Try it..let me know what you think!!

 Make Streusel topping:

 1/3 cup sugar

¼ cup brown sugar

½ cup plus 2 Tb all purpose flour

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp nutmeg

Speck of salt

½ cup (1 stick) butter, cold

½ cup coarsely chopped English walnuts

 In a food processor bowl, mix the first 6 ingredients.  Add the butter and process until the mixture is crumbly; it should still have a dry look to it..don’t overprocess.  Stir in nuts and set aside.

 

 Apple filling:

 4 large apples like Granny Smith, McIntosh or Cortlands (which I love!)

1 cup sugar

3 Tbs all purpose flour

½ tsp ground cinnamon

1 egg

1 cup heavy whipping cream

1 tsp vanilla

 Preheat oven to 350*F.  Peel, core and thinly slice the apples;  there should be 4 cups.  Place the apples in the pie shell.  In a small bowl, mix sugar, flour, and cinnamon.  Set aside.  Beat the egg in a medium bowl, and add the cream and vanilla.  Add the sugar mixture to the egg mixture and blend.   Pour over the apples.  Bake for 1 hour in the lower 1/3 of the oven.  After 20 mins of baking, sprinkle the streusel over the top of the apples and continue baking approximately 40 mins longer, or until the top puffs and is golden brown.

 Crust:

 Ok..you can of course just buy a pie crust ready made and there is nothing wrong with that at all.

 However…I have a great recipe for a Pat-in-the-Pan crust that is easy and awesome!  It will fit an 8” or 9” pie pan.   You’ll love it!!  It is flaky and delicious!

(Oh this is can only be used for a single crust pie…you can’t double it and try to roll it out for a top crust…its too soft to do that)

 2 cups all purpose flour

2 tsps sugar

1 tsp salt

2/3 cup vegetable oil

3 Tbs cold milk

 Place the flour, sugar and salt in the pie pan and mix with your fingers until well blended.  In a measuring cup, combine the oil and milk and beat with a fork until creamy.  Pour all at once over the flour mixture is completely moistened.  Pat the dough with your fingers, first up the sides of the plate, then across the bottom.  Flute the edges.  It’s now ready to be filled with the apples!

 

 

 

 

A couple of hints..I make the crust first..then put it in the fridge til I have the apples ready to fill it..keeps it from getting too wet.  I halved the nutmeg for myself..but you can put in up to 1 tsp of nutmeg if you love it!…it’ll be strong but great!  This pie can be known to run over the edges of the pie pan..so I always put them on a cookie sheet with some foil on it ..just in case!  You will love this pie..I promise..actually..I’m having a piece right now!! :))

 

I hope that you all enjoy All the recipes.  For me, Autumn and Winter are the best times of the year for cooking good, warm, comfort foods and to bake to your hearts content!  My family so appreciates my efforts and I put lots of magick into my cooking and baking to bring love, abundance, peace and joy into my home. 

Well, I’m off to finish my piece of pie, to listen to the rain, and read for a bit.  I’ll post a favorite Samhain ritual and my altar pics soon!  Until then, I hope you are enjoying this magickal time of year to the fullest!

 

   “There is no sight on earth more appealing than the sight of a woman

      making dinner for someone she loves.”         

                                                 ~Thomas Wolfe

Blessings and Love, Autumn

Sources:  My recipes or from my cookbooks, pictures are mine or from the internet. 

 

 

 

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Filed under Autumn, Loose incense recipe, Oil Blend Recipe, Photography, Quote, Recipe from my Kitchen, Samhain

Thanks so much!…….

Merry Meet my friends!  The heat continues here in Ohio…probably the hottest summer I can remember in a long time.  However, we have one more day of it then more seasonable weather comes in FINALLY!  We will be right around 80 for a few days with very low humidity..that makes me one happy happy witch! 🙂 Maybe we can actually go outside and do something fun LOL!  I will be happy just to sit on my porch in the cooler morning with a cup of coffee..or to go on a picnic or to a park. My grandkids might even be able to be outside, to swim, to play on the swing set.  How wonderful!

 

“We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures.”

 ~Thornton Wilder

 

I am writing to THANK YOU all so so much for following my blog, for reading it, for giving me feedback and commenting,  and for sharing the link on your facebook walls.  I now have 110 followers and almost 21,000 hits!  I am most grateful for your friendship as well for those I feel I’ve gotten to know.  I never dreamed that my blog would be read by anybody at all.  I really just did it for myself, so I’m very pleased and feel in my own mind that it has been worth my time and effort…for others as well  as myself.  Thank you again so much. 

Having said that, I was thinking about Gratitude as I was looking up some quotes and pics to post here. I have talked about it here before.  I am a true believer that living a life in Gratitude gives us a happier, better life.  The benefits to our lives is enormous when we feel thankful for the Blessings in our life.  It is up to each of us to decide what the Blessings are!  Some people only feel thankful for the BIG things..you know…like our loved ones being safe and healthy, that the tornado missed us, that the house didnt’ catch on fire, that we weren’t killed in the shooting that happened somewhere else, that it’s not our dog laying dead at the side of the road.  Those things are so easy to be thankful for aren’t they?  I think though, it’s being grateful for the small, everyday things that helps us to live with a grateful heart.  Be thankful for the waitress who smiles at you and gets her job done well, be thankful for seeing a deer at the side of the road, be thankful for someone holding the door for you or for the cool breeze that cools you when you’re hot.  Keep a list in a journal or beside your favorite chair…think back over your day….what did you see, do, feel that made you feel happy and thankful today???  Write it down…you will find yourself looking for things to be thankful for.  Remember, the opposite of Gratitude, is Ingratitude!  Nobody wants to be un-grateful.  Taking things for granted is a bad way to live.  Especially for a witch or a pagan who wants to live a life of joy.

 

“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words,

 but to live by them.”

– John F. Kennedy

 

Now, to take my own advice.  I have done a lot of griping here lately about the HOT steamy weather.  It has made me grumpy, lazy, tired and I just want the days to pass until we have cooler weather.  When I think about this, I feel pretty bad about it actually.  I have so much going on to be happy about and I’m letting the WEATHER color my day black???  That really is ridiculous when I think about it.  Yes, I want the Hot weather to go..but I should be grateful for each day no matter what!  I have a lovely family I’m blessed to have in my life, daughters who bring me great joy every day.  The sweetest, most adorable grandchildren, a loving son-in-law,  a husband who is hard working and cares for his family, an extended family who is there when needed always.  I have my path, a beautiful home I love, two magickal cats who give unconditional love.  I have food and clothes and books and things I love to do, buy, see.  I am blessed beyond measure.  I should thank the Goddess that I have air conditioning in this heat and quit griping about the heat!   I have friends out there who are not as blessed as me and I know it. I should never take for granted the things I have that other’s do not!

I think of what is going on in the world too.  The economy and so many out of work. The war and the deaths of 20 American Navy Seals. 😦  Riots in London, mothers who kill their children, the cost of living, politicians who can’t work together.  The news everyday seems so depressing and sad and can make me feel helpless and distraught about what’s going on in the world. Makes me want to quit watching the news completely!  But if you have a grateful heart, you can still find the good things in your life and be happy with what you have..the Blessings. 

Now I’m using the weather as a simple illustration of what I’m talking about.  Think about the words that come out of your mouth and creep into your mind.  Are they positive and thankful or are they negative and un-grateful.  Which would make you feel better?  🙂  This is not an easy thing….trust me! I struggle with it too ..as you can see by my sample.  But it’s worthwhile to focus on it and work on finding the things in your life that fill you with Gratitude.  Even if it’s just one thing…it’s a start!

Thank you again for being a reader and a friend.  My heart is grateful for it 🙂

 

“As each day comes to us refreshed and anew, so does my gratitude renew itself daily. 

The breaking of the sun over the horizon is my grateful heart dawning upon a blessed world.” 

 ~Terri Guillemets

Much love and light, Autumn

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Filed under Quote, Summer, Thank You!