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The Wheel turns to Mabon 2019…..

Blessed MabonMerry Meet and good afternoon!  I hope this post finds you all well and enjoying a great weekend.  In my time zone, Mabon or the Autumn Equinox is during the night tonight at 3:50am.  It’s officially Autumn, and the time of equal balance of day and night.  My favorite time of year, as those of you who know me or have followed me any length of time, know! I’m normally squealing with glee, but here in Ohio we have had incredibly hot, dry days for way too long, with no real end in sight.  Upper 80’s and even 90’s are in the forecast clear up into October.  This is not normal and I for one feel really disgruntled by it.  I need Summer to be gone!

The dryness especially will effect our Autumn color.  The leaves are seriously just turning brown and crunchy and falling off the trees like crazy.  Garden beds look dismal or empty as people have given up on watering and just yanked everything out.  Including me.  My last herbal harvest will be pretty pitiful.  It’s just been too hard to keep them watered and growing.  People seem to be grumpy and dragging in energy etc….me too. It’s all very sad and disheartening.

However, despite all this, I’ve decided to pretend it’s Fall.  Candles are lit instead of fires.  I’ve Fall cleaned my house.  I’m decorating the house this week, and will go buy my mums, pumpkins and apples and just try to pretend it’s in the 60’s instead of the 80’s.  The flannel sheets will have to wait but otherwise this house is going to be all Autumnal, damn it!  LOL! I also am doing some baking, some crockpot cooking and of course, preparing to celebrate Mabon.  My sweaters are ready to be worn as well!

Some of my discouragement has been that I’ve injured my left knee pretty badly.  It’s been about 8 weeks now and despite resting, elevating, icing, x-rays and cortisone shots there’s no real improvement.  I can hobble around ok but too much of it puts me down for too long!  So now I’m off for an MRI this week…..some talk it may be a torn meniscus, or seriously torn tendons/ligiments that aren’t healing.  But, being laid up in this heat isn’t the worse thing.  I’ve read, crocheted, caught up on shows, organized, purged, worked on my BOS and also just seriously rested….all of that is a good thing.  See…..you can always find the positive in most situations 🙂

So Mabon is here and it’s pretty shocking in my older age how fast that wheel turns.  Though we’re hot and dry, I can still see all the signs of Fall.  Mostly in the cooler nights, and mornings.  The critters are gathering like crazy.  Birds gather and feed at feeders.  Kids are settled back in school and all the after school and weekend sports are in full swing.  The Sun and Moon and have moved their positions in the sky.  The winds have changed. There’s some color on some trees.  This brings me hope that soon temps will drop and I’ll have those lovely crisp, Fall days and cool, inky dark nights. I can’t wait!

My Mabon Altar 2019

My coven isn’t gathering for this Sabbat but we will meet up soon just to visit with each other.  Too many of us couldn’t make it or had other plans.  So my celebration will be solitary.  I’ll greet the Sun which will start slowly spending less time with me each day.  I’ll greet the lovely Moon Goddess who will spend MORE time with me.  I’ll make an apple dessert and plan on a good healthy meal.  Altar work will recognize that it’s the Witch’s Thanksgiving.  I’ll thank Goddess for the blessings in my life, and despite my complaining about life right now, I am very blessed and know it.  As I come up on the 2nd anniversary of my daughter Sara’s passing, I also send my love to her in my altar work as well. Goddess carries those messages to her often. How do you celebrate this lovely Sabbat?

So I promised you all a recipe.  This is a new recipe to me I tried and it’s yum.  Mabon and September just scream apples and this fits the bill! It’s super moist and the streusel topping is to die for!

ApplePieBread

Apple Pie Streusel Bread

½ cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
¼ cup buttermilk
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
2 cups shredded, peeled apple (about 4 medium)
1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
½ cup raisins
1 Recipe Streusel-Nut Topping

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease the bottom and 1/2 inch up the sides of an 9x5x3-inch loaf pan; set aside.

In a large bowl, beat butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Beat in sugar until combined. Add buttermilk and baking powder; beat until combined. Add eggs and vanilla; beat until combined. Add flour and salt; beat until combined. Stir in apple, nuts, and raisins.

Spoon batter into prepared pan; spread evenly. Sprinkle Streusel-Nut Topping over batter. Bake for 60 to 65 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.

Cool in pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove from pan. Cool completely on wire rack. Wrap and store overnight before slicing.

*Um…I did not let it cool completely and did not wrap and store overnight before slicing lol.  It just was a bit soft and didn’t do a firm slice….but who cares!

Makes 1 loaf

Streusel-Nut Topping
¼ cup packed brown sugar
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons butter
⅓ cup chopped walnuts or pecan
In a small bowl, combine brown sugar and flour. Using a pastry blender, cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in walnuts or pecans.

I wish for each of you a beautiful, magickal Mabon.  May Autumn be in your heart if it hasn’t yet arrived in temperatures.  Fall WILL come.. even if it’s only a few of those glorious, crisp, blue sky, colorful days.  Relish them when they arrive!  Blessings to you all!

Autumn Fires

by Robert Louis Stevenson

In the other gardens
And all up the vale,
From the autumn bonfires
See the smoke trail!
Pleasant summer over
And all the summer flowers,
The red fire blazes,
The grey smoke towers.
Sing a song of seasons!
Something bright in all!
Flowers in the summer,
Fires in the fall! 

 

autumn fire

 

Blessings and Love,

Autumn ❤

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Altars, Autumn, Autumn Equinox, Bits of Magick, Gardens, Goddess, Gratitude, Holiday, Mabon, Magick, Moon, My Writing, Nature, Poem, Recipe from my Kitchen, recipes, Ritual, Sabbat, Seasons, Sun, Uncategorized, Witch

The Wheel Turns to Lughnasadh 2018….

 

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Merry Meet my friends!  I hope that this post finds you all well.  It’s been a HOT Summer here in Ohio…many days over 90*.  We had a good amount of rain for a while, but now we’ve been much more dry.  However, the forecast shows both some cooler temps and rain in the next week which is most welcome.  As much as I love gardening, the garden beds are looking poor from the heat and lack of rain and watering from a hose just doesn’t do the trick as much as natural water.  But tomatoes are ripened and sooo good, my herbs will give me a huge harvest and the bees, birds, and butterflies are happy.

I know I’ve been absent again…..losing my daughter has just taken the wind out of my sails. But the writing bug has bitten me a bit so here I am. I’ve focused a lot on my home..doing necessary cleaning as we all do, but also purging every drawer, closet and cupboard, nook and cranny of unwanted, unneeded and unused items.  From books, to clothes, to even knick knacks etc.  It’s very freeing and I’m feeling my life falling into better organization and less stuff…which is a good thing.  I’m also finding comfort in my family and spending time with them as much as possible.  We all miss Sara so it helps us.  My grandkids are so busy and so fun and they bring me great joy as well. My daughter Kate and her husband include my husband and I on so many events in their life and we’re grateful for our time with them.  As they live so close, we see them often and it’s fabulous.

I dream of Autumn…as you all know, my favorite season.  But I will have to admit, losing Sara in October..my most favorite time of year…may temper my feelings on the month this year…..but not on the season.  I will always love Fall.  I’m not a fan of hot weather, and we’ve had a very hot season so far, so of course I’m perusing my Fall recipes, gathering fresh supplies for my pantry like flours and yeast for breads, fresh spices and seasonings, I’m freezing things like tomatoes and peaches, and chopped veggies like peppers. Casseroles will be made as well.  I often send food to my elder in-laws and my own parents and of course try to help any friends out from time to time.  I have a lovely neighbor who I often talk to over the fence, and we pass yummy things back and forth to each other as well. So having things in the pantry and readily available really makes that easier.  And of course, I’ve now discovered ordering groceries for delivery!  Or to pick up which makes me very happy!  And the farmer’s markets are in full swing which is wonderful.

Last week, my daughter and I were gifted with a big bushel of fresh Georgia peaches right off the truck.  We decided to make peach pie filling to freeze so we can make pie or cobbler or ice cream topping to enjoy in the Fall/Winter.  We came across a delicious recipe and got busy.  I decided to share it here as my most commented on posts are often the ones that contain recipes.  I hope you can get your hands on some peaches and give this a try.  You don’t have to “can” these….they can be frozen in freezer containers or even freezer bags.

Quick and Yummy Peach Pie Filling

*recipe is enough for one pie.

1 cup water

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1 cup sugar

1/4 cup cornstarch

1/4 tsp vanilla

1/8 tsp almond extract

1/8 tsp ground cinnamon

4-5 large fresh peaches, peeled, pitted and sliced thin

In a large deep skillet over medium heat, stir together the water, lemon juice, sugar and cornstarch.  Cook until thickened and bubbly about 5 minutes.  The Cook another 3 minutes as it simmers, stirring constantly.

Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and almond extracts and cinnamon.

Add the peaches and mix until peaches are well coated and combined.

Cool filling to room temperature then use right away, store in refrigerator a few days or freeze in containers or bags.

This recipe is seriously yummy.  You’ll love it! So much better than the canned stuff!

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I love having prepared foods in the freezer to make my life a little easier, and cooking these foods with someone you love, sharing them, sharing recipes to try etc makes it even more great!

Lughnasadh comes very soon…August 1.  I love this Sabbat because it’s heralding the coming of Autumn, the harvest season and cooler weather…eventually.  It’s also all about good food, the harvest, grains and breads, herbs and oils…..it’s a fun time when it’s too hot to be outside, you can be cooking yummy things in the kitchen to share or to save for yourself later.  In my past blogs I’ve posted many recipes for herbed oils, breads, fresh veggie dishes and fruit desserts.  Be sure to check them out.

How has your summer been?  I’d love to hear.  How do you celebrate Lughnasadh?  My coven will be gathering just a couple days ahead.  I always look forward to that.  We’ve had some amazing Moons this Summer huh?  Part of what I DO love about Summer, is basking under the Moon without being cold, or needing shoes and coats etc.  lol.  Barefoot in the grass in my jammies works great this time of year.  New protections and witch jars are always put into place this time of year..between Solstice and Lughnasadh for me and my coven.  Again..it’s so easy and nice to do it in the warmth.  Often I’m accompanied by the sounds of the crickets, lightning bugs, bees buzzing, and soft winds rustling through the trees.  Those are the great things about Summer.

I’ll be back soon, I’ve been giving thought to recipes I can share here along with other ideas of things to talk about.  I want to thank so many of you for your kind words about the loss of my daughter.  It’s appreciated more than you know and touched my heart.  I do know she’s with me, always in my heart, and she’d be proud of how I’m doing my best to take care of me and my loved ones, remembering her in great love and being comforted by our memories of her.  I know I’m not alone in loss and life must move on.  Thank you again for the love and support.

Make your remaining Summer days fantastic!  And for those like me who love Autumn, it won’t be long!!  The old Wheel turns very fast!

“When summer opens, I see how fast it matures,

and fear it will be short; but after the heats of July and August,

I am reconciled, like one who has had his swing, to the cool of autumn.”

– Ralph Waldo Emerson

Love and Blessings,

Autumn

 

 

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The Wheel Turns to Lughnasadh 2016……

 

IMG_5855Merry Meet my friends.  I know…you are probably thinking..where have you been?  I know I know!  I’ve been very neglectful of my blog and I’m sorry.  I could tell you everything that has been going on in my life…..but frankly, there’s so much going on in the World these days..it would just sound like petty reasons. I have missed writing but at the same time I tossed around the idea of not writing here for a while.  I guess I accomplished that…a needed break.  But I’m back I think and look forward to writing here again.  I thank you for your patience..if you have indeed been wondering 🙂

I HAVE been busy …as many of you have been, I know.  My gardens are keeping me happily busy….planting, mulching, weeding, watering, thinning, deadheading etc etc. ….but I find that a lovely chore 🙂  My in-laws have moved from California to be near us, as my FIL is developing dementia and my MIL requires more help.  This has been a challenge I won’t go into, but we are managing to the best of our ability.  I’ve been still recovering from two surgeries in February that rocked my world too.  Suffice to say that I don’t think I’m going to get back all the way to where I was, but I’m doing as good as it gets lol.  Nothing serious, just irritation stuff.  I have a lot of irons in the fire, and that is why, mainly, that I haven’t written.  It was just an iron I let go for a while.

Let’s see, I haven’t written since Ostara.  Wow.  So I missed Beltane and Midsummer postings but to my delight, I see that many have still come to read my posts and snatch up some of my recipes etc.  I’m glad!  There is some great info there in the last 6-7 years.  I plan to continue sharing recipes as those seem to be my most popular posts.

Now, we are moving quickly toward Lughnasadh or Lammas on August 1st. I so love this Sabbat as it’s that first sign that my favorite season, Autumn, is coming fast!  The first Harvest festival! It’s been so hot here lately with way more high temps coming yet, that it especially makes me long for cool, crisp days and knowing they are coming soon makes me happy!  I have already been perusing recipes..mostly recipes for breads, fresh veggies, canning, and uses for my herbs in oils and vinegars.

Many of us are harvesting yummy produce from our own garden beds.  Red tomatoes, green peppers, peas, beans, zucchini, squash, melons etc etc.  Also, I don’t know about you, but I’ve harvested some of my herbs more than once already!  Big bundles of lemon balm, fever few, catnip, oregano, mint, parsley, sage etc are hanging and scenting my kitchen in a lovely way.  My coven sisters have benefitted a bundle or two as well 🙂  For those who don’t have big gardens of veggies, like me, a farmer’s market is the perfect place to stock up!  They are abundant around your town I’m sure and farm stands dot the corners as well.  Be sure to indulge yourself this time of year.

I have already made a couple of new recipes I’d like to share.  One is for a simple yummy bread that I’m now calling biscuit bread!  The other, a delicious cheese-filled mushroom appetizer, however, it would make a lovely light lunch too.  I think you’ll like them!

 

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Butter Crust Beer Bread

2 cups self-rising flour

3 Tbs sugar

12 oz regular beer (not light)

1/4 cup butter, melted

 

Preheat oven to 350* In a bowl, mix flour, sugar and beer until well blended and a sticky dough forms, about one minute.  Spoon dough into a greased 8″x 5″ loaf pan. Bake at 350* for 30 minutes.  Remove from oven; pour melted butter over the top. Return to oven and bake 30 minutes more, until lightly golden. Cool bread in pan before removing.

 

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Cheesy Mushroom Caps

8 oz pkg cream cheese, softened

1 cup grated Parmesan Cheese (the good stuff, not shaker)

1/4 cup whipping cream

1/2 tsp garlic salt

24 large mushrooms, stems removed and cleaned (I used baby portabello)

1/2 cup butter, melted.

Preheat oven to 350*  In a bowl, combine cheeses, whipping cream and garlic salt; blend well.  Fill mushroom caps with mixture.  Dip bottom of mushrooms in melted butter and place on an ungreased baking sheet.  Bake at 350* for 15 minutes.

*The cheese mixture would fill more than 24 of the baby portabellos.  If you use a larger mushroom, it may fill less than 24.

Enjoy!!

I have put together for the most part my Lughnasadh altar.  The harvest altars are always my favorite to do.  I love the warm colors of browns, golds, rusts, reds, and oranges.  This is my altar this year. 🙂

 

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Lughnasadh or Lammas is all about the last days of Summer, the coming of Autumn, the first harvests, the days shortening, and a reminder for us to appreciate the warmth of the Sun, while it may be too hot some days to be out under that same Sun.  Our ancestors had more to do and worry about…putting “up” food for the winter, praying that Mother Earth, the Goddesses and Gods smiled on their crops and brought abundant enough food for them to survive the long, cold Winter. A good crop and storing said crops was hard work and meant life or death!  For us, putting “up” food perhaps reminds us of our grandmothers or mothers who fantastically canned tomatoes, sauces, veggies, jams/jellies, pickles etc and filled their pantry with colorful jars all in a row.  I sure have memories of my grandmother, in her ever constant apron, doing just that…with grandchildren underfoot trying to help and learn.  To this day, I still like to do some canning…..even if it’s just apple butter or strawberry jam.  It’s lovely sitting on the shelf, to pull out in the middle of a cold Winter day , and slather onto a piece of homemade, hot bread.  Sigh..so good.

Don’t forget to use your fresh herbs to make lovely flavored oils and vinegars.  Baking bread is a big part of Lammas/Lughnasadh as well.  Watch the sunrise or set, sit under a tree and watch the Sun dapple through the trees.  Garden and feel the warmth on your back.  Have a picnic with your family.  Take a walk and enjoy the brilliant flowers in full glory. Heck…even play Pokemon Go if you want…just be sure that you’re walking to catch those little monsters and enjoying being outdoors.  There will come a time when you’ll be indoors watching it snow and you’ll be glad you enjoyed that warm Sun!

Blessed Lughnasadh my friends.  May the Sun warm you. Oh and Blessed Full Moon too!  May She shine on you also. Also, if I may say a word, in this very angry, sad world we seem to be living in right now…..open your heart to others, spread love, be kind…don’t judge.  Be part of the cure, not the problem.  We are all just here to live our lives, in our way, with respect and love for others.  Blessed Be.

“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, August’s Crown-

 

Blessings and Love,

Autumn

 

 

 

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The Wheel Turns to Ostara 2016……..

IMG_0857Merry Meet my friends!  I have been terribly re-miss on writing here in my blog and I’ll tell you why shortly.  It’s a cloudy day, and warmish, hitting 60* right now.  Earlier the Sun was out and there was a gorgeous crescent Moon last night to enjoy and draw energy from 🙂  Rain is coming in later..which we DON’T need!  Our backyard is flooded!  But there are signs of Spring everywhere in our yard.  From the animal and bird activities, to the greening of the grass, and the shoots popping up out of the ground from lots of our flowers and herbs! I love it!

First of all, I want to say thank you so much for being a reader and a friend of this blog.  I just celebrated my 6th year writing here. I started out thinking it would be a way for me to keep a journal of sorts.  But it evolved into something more over time.  I have had over 207,000 views and nearly 780 followers.  It’s amazing to me that anything I have to say is of interest to people.  And yet, it seems some are interested and I really appreciate it 🙂  I keep it mostly because I enjoy writing, and I enjoy sharing, and I enjoy learning too.  So thank you very much!  I hope my readers continue to enjoy what I write.

Secondly, I have had a rough few weeks.  I had surgery on Feb 1 as I believe I talked about a bit in my previous posts.  That surgery was a nightmare.  It did not go well.  Something I won’t go into was done in a way that a nerve was damaged.  I was in extreme pain..I mean truly excruiciating with no relief except when I laid perfectly still.  Long story short, a week later I was in the OR again having that fixed.  The excruciating pain was relieved mostly, but the pain of two surgeries is just now starting to alleviate.  I’m told to expect another month or so to feel normal again.  I am glad that the original health issue is fixed…but it’s been a heck of a recovery.  Funny..I told myself while I was laid up, I’d be reading, writing, and working on a couple projects. But I found it was hard to focus on all of those things.  Thus, the lack of writing here in my blog.  But I’m reading and journaling and yes, now writing here too now.  Thank you for your patience!

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There is much going on! Ostara is next Sunday!  I’m blessed that a dear Witch sister is coming to stay with me for a few days.  Deb has been a friend for years now but she lives in SC and we have only met face to face once..and that was way to brief of a time and quite some time ago.  We talk on the phone all the time and I look forward to having her within hugging range for a change. 🙂  My coven will gather for Ostara Sunday morning and she will be here for that as well. Everyone is looking forward to meeting their long- distance sister! We will do a ritual, have brunch and a fire. It will be magickal and filled with love!  Breakfast casserole, muffins and pastries, fruit salad, coffee and juices are on the menu.  Yum!

For Ostara, we often meet in the morning as I love greeting the Sun with a toast.  After all, Ostara is the return of Spring, the return of longer days, of warmth, and green and flowers and leafed out trees.  Mother Earth awakens! Now, I live in Ohio….and we’ve been pretty warm and Spring-like lately. But snow could come back anytime yet lol.  Yesterday, I took a stroll around the yard and discovered lots of my plants and herbs blooming green shoots!  It’s early for sure, but wonderful!  One thing I did do while laid up, was flip thru garden catalogs and magazines, and I have lots of plans to add to our flower beds. We’ll be adding new plants, thinning some, moving some etc.  We’ll be planting new trees, flowering bushes and new flowers to fill new beds.  I so can’t wait!  Right now, all I can do is look.  I’m not healed up enough yet to clean up the beds etc….but I got my hands dirty a bit yesterday and it made me smile.  There is nothing more grounding than digging in the dirt 🙂

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My Spring cleaning was delayed due to the surgeries, but I had worked very hard on serious purging and organizing beforehand.  I’ve started back up again the last day or two.  I’m down to one cupboard, one closet and a couple kitchen cupboards to go thru yet.  It feels so great to do this.  Purging unwanted, unneeded, and unused items is very freeing 🙂  It won’t be long and my clothesline will be up again, and clothes, linens and so on will be flapping in the sun and wind! I love that!

I’m going to go ahead and post a couple of recipes for Ostara, since it’s here so fast!  I’m going to be very busy this next week getting ready for our gathering and for my dear company coming, so I’m not sure I’ll be back to write until after.  Foods for Ostara are: Leafy green vegetables,  sunflower and pine nuts, dairy,  fish, hot crossed buns, sweet breads, hard boiled eggs or eggs fixed any way,  honey cakes, and seasonal fruits.  Here’s a couple recipes that should fit right in there!

 

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Rich and Moist Honey Cake

 

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 1⁄2 teaspoons baking powder
1⁄4 teaspoon salt
1⁄2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon orange zest
3⁄4 cup butter
3⁄4 cup white sugar
3 eggs
1⁄4 cup milk
1 cup chopped walnuts

Honey Sauce
1 cup white sugar
1 cup honey
3⁄4 cup water
1 teaspoon lemon juice

Preheat oven to 350*  Grease and flour a 9 inch square pan. Combine the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and orange zest. Set aside.

In a large bowl, cream together the butter and 3/4 cup sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Beat in the flour mixture alternately with the milk, mixing just until incorporated. Stir in the walnuts.
Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake in the preheated oven for 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Allow to cool for 15 minutes.  Cut cake then Pour honey syrup over the cake.
For the Honey Syrup: In a saucepan, combine honey, 1 cup sugar and water. Bring to a simmer and cook 5 minutes. Stir in lemon juice, bring to a boil and cook for 2 minutes.

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Bacon Spinach Quiche

4 eggs
2 cups milk
1-1/4 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
4 bacon strips, cooked and crumbled
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground mustard
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1 package (10 ounces) frozen chopped spinach, cooked and drained
1 unbaked pastry shell (9 inches)

Preheat oven to 400*

In a large bowl, beat eggs; whisk in milk, 1 cup cheese, onion, bacon, salt, mustard and paprika. Add spinach.

Pour into pie shell.

Sprinkle with the remaining cheese. Bake at 400° for 40 minutes

Yield: 6 servings.

 

There you go…something sweet and something savory 🙂  Enjoy!

 

I want to wish you all a very happy Ostara….happy Spring…..and have a great week!  Oh, Happy Irish Day as well this week!  It’s a fun week for seeing green…whether it be in your garden beds, or your Irish showing!  Slainte!!

 

Oh, Spring is surely coming,
Her couriers fill the air;
Each morn are new arrivals,
Each night her ways prepare;
I scent her fragrant garments,
Her foot is on the stair.
~John Burroughs, “A March Glee”

 

Love and Blessings

Autumn

 

 

 

 

 

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The Wheel Turns to Imbolc 2016……

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

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Oatmeal Buttermilk Muffins

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

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

Yield: 1 dozen.

 

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Slow Cooked Hot Spiced Wine

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

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

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

Yield: 8 servings

 

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Honey Wheat Sunflower Bread

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

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

Yield: 2 loaves (16 slices each).

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

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

 

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

 

Blessings and Love, Autumn

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Wheel Turns to Samhain 2015……

“Suddenly the day was gone,
night came out from under each tree and spread.”
― Ray Bradbury  “The Halloween Tree”

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMerry Meet my friends!  It’s been a bit too long since I’ve posted anything here on my blog.  As you all know, Autumn is my favorite time of year and I’ve been very much enjoying all the pleasures of this beautiful, magickal season!  We’ve had temps anywhere between cold, frosty mornings to unseasonably warm afternoons..like today! We went from 32* a couple mornings ago, to 74* today! It’s typical here for Ohio though lol.  I love it either way.  We are at peak color or close to it and it’s a brilliant year for color.  The skies have been clear, with star-filled, Moonlit nights that I love so much!   Crisp, autumn days with leaves crunching underfoot and falling in colorful waves upon the ground, pumpkins grinning from porches, and you gotta love sweaters and scarfs coming out again! I’m in my element that is for sure!.  I’m energized and content!

I hope that you all are enjoying the lovely season too!  Whether you are coming into spring in the southern hemisphere or the fall here.  I also hope that you have been reading and enjoying Samhain’s Sirens this month!  You will find amazing bloggers, music, information, pictures, recipes, crafts, give-aways and so much more!  My recipes are there on most days, so if you’re looking for wonderful Samhain recipes, you need only look there.  The link is on the right side of my post over there —–>  You’ll love it!

The veil is thinning as all witches and pagans know.  Our ancestors and loved ones wait to connect with us, to share with us, to impart knowledge and love to us.  We have only to listen.  I have many friends who have lost loved ones recently, as I have, and I know they look forward to feeling them close again.  Even our beloved pets.  It’s what Samhain is all about for me.  That connection to our family, friends, ancestors, and guides.  There are many forms of divination of which to use to this gain….but I find a quiet flame and quieting my mind, opening myself to them, is all it takes.  What is your best way?  Scrying? Tarot? Meditation? ….There are many.  I’ll be setting up my altar with many tools for that purpose, but being quiet and listening is the main thing for success, I have found.  I hope that you are so blessed with a visit from those you seek the most….and maybe you’ll discover someone else who is trying to reach you too!  Be open to all possibilities!

Samhain is also the Witch’s New Year!  We wind down a year of Sabbat celebrations, of Moon phases from new to full to dark. We have gone from cold, long nights to hot, long days.  We’ve had meteor showers, eclipses, Blood Moons, Supermoons and all the magick that we bring to our lives each and every day.  The New Year is a time to celebrate our past year, let go of those things unwanted..both physically and mentally, and look forward to planning our next year.  It’s a time for looking back and looking forward.  I find myself getting ready to nest in.  Even with the upcoming holidays, it’s knowing the dark season is upon us. Being by hearth and fire during long, dark, cold nights can be cozy, introspective, productive and filled with comfort and joy.  Even if you don’t have a fireplace, fill your home with the warmth of candlelight, bake and cook things that scent your home with goodness, have warm blankets and cozy jammies you love, a stack of books by your chair, a project or two you’d like to get done, and maybe something new to learn too.  Your winter will be wonderful.  I always look at it as a time to work on myself, my home and a time to increase my knowledge on something I want to learn!

Yesterday, my daughters and grandkids and I did something together that was so simple and so fun. We made homemade applesauce.  A really, yummy, cinnamon-y applesauce.  The kids got involved by learning how to use an apple slicer, stirring in brown sugar, measuring out cinnamon etc. They loved it as did my daughters and I.  It so brought to mind for me doing that very thing with my grandmother when I was a child. And while I don’t remember making applesauce with my girls when they were young, we certainly did a LOT of baking and cooking together.  Seeing my daughter teaching her children what she learned from me…well…it’s a special thing.  I can’t wait to tell my grandma, when I hear from her through the veil on Samhain night, all about it!  ❤

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I thought you might enjoy trying the recipe too since apples are abundant right now…. so here you go!  This is not the canning type of recipe.  This is for immediate use. Jarred up, it should last a while in your fridge.

 Cinnamon Applesauce

6 pounds of apples, peeled, cored and sliced into 8 slices (use your favorite kind..we used cortlands)

1 cup apple juice or apple cider

3 Tbs lemon juice

1/2 cup packed brown sugar. (we added 2 Tbs more)

2 tsp ground cinnamon

Combine all ingredients in a large pot and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 25 minutes.

Use a masher to mash down any chunks.  If you like it super thin, run it through a blender or food processor (we liked the texture without doing that)

Store in covered jar or plastic container.

So easy and you will love it!  Would be great in recipes calling for applesauce as well!

I am in the process of working on getting my altar set up.  I got my Mabon altar taken down, cleansed and cleaned my table and it’s ready to set up.  Samhain is my very favorite altar to do..well, I think it is. I love most of them. I’ll post a picture here as soon as it’s done.  I’ll also be back in a few days with more recipes as my recipe posts are my most popular 🙂

My coven of wonderful sisters will be gathering on the 30th.  Samhain night is Beggar’s Night here…so we have chosen the night before so we could be with our families for Trick or Treat with our kids and grandkids.  We will have a feast, a hearth fire, a ritual for our loved ones who have crossed the veil, and we will be in full Witch regalia which is so so fun!  I so love celebrating Samhain with them.  That includes those sisters I hold dear that live in other states….they know who they are ❤

Samhain is a magickal time. To me, the most wonderful time of the year.  (now that song is going through your head right? LOL!)  However you celebrate it, whether quietly or with full All Hallow’s Eve celebrations…enjoy it!!  I’ll be back soon!

Blessings and Love,

Autumn

*All pictures are my own.

 

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I <3 Basil……….

Merry Meet my friends!  It’s a gorgeous day here in Ohio!  A Spring-like day!  It started out chilly and extremely as foggy as Avalon but later in the morning the Sun burned off the fog, it warmed up into the 50’s, there is a gentle breeze, the skies are blue, the birds are singing…LOL…well, you get the picture!  I was out running errands without a coat and when I got home I opened up a couple windows to let in the fresh Air!  It’s just wonderful and my spirits are joyful in it!  I sure hope you’re getting a taste of Spring too!

Of course my thoughts are turning more and more to my garden beds….and planting my seed starters as I talked about in my last post.  It’s also almost Irish day..March 17…..and it made me think of leprechauns and gold coins and then money….and I knew I would share info on basil for you all 🙂  Basil is an herb that starts great as a seed indoors…and it has amazing magickal properties, including drawing money 🙂  Now you see where I’m going with it right? lol.  Who knows, maybe it will draw gold coins your way!

Basil, one of the oldest herbs, is believed to have originated in India and spread to Europe by the Middle East. Throughout history it has been regarded as having extraordinary powers in the realms of religion, medicine and cooking. Its name is derived from the Greek ‘basileus’ which means ‘king’. It’s also associated with the snake, the basilisk, because it was used to treat snake bites!

Basil: Ocimum bacilicum is part of the mint family. There are many species of basil….wild, sweet, bush or greek, lettuce leaf, ruffles, and even a purple variety..my favorite!! It also comes in many wonderful scents and flavors like lemon, licorice, anise, camphor and cinnamon. May also be called sweet basil, common basil, garden basil, Luole {chinese}, St. Joseph’s Wort, Tulsi, devil plant and my favorite, Witch’s herb.

Basil is an annual and is easily grown from seed. You can start the seeds indoors in a sunny place for 3-4 weeks, then transplant it in warm weather (after the last frost) to a sunny spot in your garden or a pot on your sunny patio. Grows well indoors in your kitchen too if you have a sunny window sill or counter to set it on.

 

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Culinary Use
Its culinary uses are many. It’s used in Teas, Soups, Stews, Sauces, Salads, Pastas, Vinegars, Dressings, Meats and Fish. Great on pizza too! It’s a key ingredient in many Asian and Italian dishes.  I also love, at Lughnassadh, to make a basil infused olive oil for cooking and for salads. It’s a great way to use the last of my basil in my garden at the end of the growing season. Basil is best used fresh in most recipes. That’s why having it in your own garden or kitchen is so wonderful.

Medicinal Use
Basil has a plethora of medicinal uses as well. The leaves, seeds, and its essential oil are used and occasionally the root. It’s reported to contain many healing properties including antiseptic, antidepressant, a carminative, stimulates the adrenal cortex, expectorant, soothes itching, prevents vomiting, and reduces a fever. It’s also an antispasmodic, stimulant (breast feeding), tonic, diaphoretic, carminative, vermifuge and can be used as a mouthwash/breath freshener.
An oil infused with basil is good for tired, overworked muscles. A tincture or tea can be used as a mouthwash for mouth sores and infected gums. An infusion made with basil is good for chest infections and digestive problems. Oil of Basil is a wonderful treatment for acne and warts. Basil leaves in a sleep pillow will aid insomnia and depression. A basil balm will help heal skin wounds as well. Also said to cure warts. An infused tea of fresh or dried basil is good to aid in allaying nausea, vomiting and indigestion. Add basil leaf tea or a few drops of basil essential oil to a warm bath to help reduce stress and relax.
If you are outside, and the insects are bothering you, rub crushed leaves on your skin to repel insects and on insect bites to relief the itching and inflammation. If you need a quick breath freshener, chew on a couple of leaves to freshen your breath. Chewing fresh leaves may also help to calm a cough. According to Mountain Rose Herbs: “The essential oil is antibacterial, and drops of basil oil may relieve ear infections.”
*Warnings: Basil is safe in food amounts, and it seems to be safe in medicinal amounts when used by adults short-term. Long term medicinal use could cause health issues. In some people basil can cause low blood sugar.
Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Basil seems to be safe for pregnant and breast-feeding women in food amounts. But larger medicinal amounts might be UNSAFE.
Children: Basil seems to be safe for children in food amounts. But larger medicinal amounts might be UNSAFE.
*reference WebMD

Aromatherapy
Basil has a warm, earthy scent. Lemon basil is wonderful in citrus potpourri. Blends well with bergamot, lavender, orange, lemon, neroli and verbena. A blend of basil, orange and lavender essential oils in a base oil is wonderful! (in my opinion) 

Magickal Use
There are just as many magickal properties in basil as there are medicinal and culinary. Here are just a few I came across in my research and my own BOS.
Planetary: Mars
Astrological: Scorpio
Gender: Masculine
Element: Fire
Gods: Vishnu, and Krishna
Goddess: Erzulie

Magickal Properties: Love, Exorcism, Wealth, Flying, Protection, Visionary, Fertility, Funeral, Consecration, Immortality and Purification
~Basil added to vinegar water is a wonderful herbal cleanser/purifier for floors and walls. (perfect for your Imbolc cleaning!)
~Plant basil in your yard for protection and good fortune.
~Witches were said to have drunk a half a cup of basil juice before flying into the air.
~ Give a potted basil plant to a friend to bring them good luck
~Put a bundle of basil or a plant on your altar for Imbolc..for renewal
~Use basil tea or drops of essential oil in your cleansing bath before a ritual, initiation, or ceremony.
~ It may be burned as an offering to the Salamanders or fire breathing Dragons
~Stick some leaves in your pocket when on a date or with a loved one to bring good feelings and love to the night
~Grind it into a loose incense recipe
~Drink an infused tea before meditating or divining
~Sprinkle basil leaves or dried basil in the four corners of your home, your car, your place of business etc..for protection.
~Add it to a mojo bag for protection
~Add it to a sleep pillow to aid in astral travel
~Put leaves in your wallet or place on your altar with a green, lit candle to aid monetary needs
~Use it in your magickal potions/oils for love, money, health and protection
~Cook with basil  to keep your Lover at your side and infuse the feelings of love and happiness
~Make holy water with basil and use it to aspurge your altar, or sacred space. Many believe that basil consecrates burial sites as well.

 

 

Recipe

Here’s a delicious recipe for Pesto….it’s refreshing and green and you’ll love it!  And how much fun is it to pick your own basil out of your own herb garden to make it? Delicious on pasta and bruschetta!

CLASSIC BASIL PESTO

 

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2 c. fresh basil leaves
2 lg. garlic cloves
1/2 c. freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 tbsp. freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese
1/4 c. pine nuts or walnuts
1/2 c. olive oil
Salt & freshly ground pepper
Combine the basil, garlic, cheeses and nuts in a food processor or blender. Process to mix. With the machine running, slowly add the olive oil. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper and process to the desired consistency. Add more olive oil if it’s too thick. Let stand 5 minutes before serving. Makes about 1 cup. Blend into Pasta of your choice and top with Parmesan cheese!

As you can see, the magickal ways to use Basil is endless. I know you’ll find ways to use it..any of the ways listed above. So this Spring, as your planning your garden, be sure to have a plant or two or three of basil at your disposal. I especially recommend the purple basil..it’s just gorgeous!

Blessings and Love, Autumn

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