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The Wheel Turns to Litha..the Summer Solstice 2014..

 

“it’s a smile, it’s a kiss, it’s a sip of wine … it’s Summertime!”
― Kenny Chesney

 

IMG_0918Merry Meet my friends. I hope this night finds you and yours well! The Full Strawberry/Honey/Mead Moon (whichever YOU call Her) was absolutely incredibly beautiful and powerful. After all, with it being Friday the 13th and Mercury being in retrograde…She had to be! I spent extra time under Her influence…still am!.. as She’s still beautiful tonight. The energy is palpable if you sit quiet and soak Her in. Crystals and tools have been re-charged, Moon water made and rituals done. House was smudged too. 🙂

The Summer Solstice, Litha, MidSummer….it’s just a week away on the 21st! The longest day of the year..but also the start of the days shortening. That’s so amazing to think about..especially since Summer is just starting! But at my age LOL..the Wheel turns fast, so I’ll be enjoying every minute of those daylight hours, Hot Sun, warm breezes, green grass, blooming flowers and herbs, lightning bugs, summer rain showers, etc etc. All the perks of Summer. Even though the HEAT is not my favorite thing..I will enjoy it 🙂

This year, Litha will be a quiet, solitary celebration on the day. My Circle won’t meet til the following weekend. However, my family leaves for the Smoky Mountains the day after..the 22nd. To know I’ll be in my favorite Mountains for the Solstice is just…well…Magickal to me. I can’t wait!! When I travel, I carry a portable altar kit..mostly candles, incense, small crystals to bury, my pendulum, lavender oil, etc. Whatever strikes me I might want or need. Taking a walk into the Mountain woods, results in a bit of Magick for me! My soul just sings when I’m in those Mountains and the woods there.

The Solstice is when I always put out new Witch’s protection bottles on my property, set up and re-fresh my wards and barriers, and make offerings to the Fae…though I do that ALL the time while gardening, I am always sure to do it again. Also, my herbs are usually ready for their first harvesting. That is one of my favorite things to do! Smelling, touching, talking to, harvesting, tying and hanging my herbs just makes me so happy. AND I know most of them…will bloom again one or two more times before the end of the season. They are growing leaps and bounds in our wonderful weather. It’s not been too hot and we’ve had good amounts of rain, which is sooo much better then watering with a hose 🙂 It will be a good harvest!

If you want information on how to do a Witch’s bottle..just type it into the search box on the right. It should come up with how I do it. Also, if you type in Litha and/or Summer Solstice..you will find previous years postings of recipes, correspondence and other info etc. I thought I’d share this recipe with you for now….it’s refreshing and uses healthy produce and herbs that are abundant this time of year!

 

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Strawberry Balsamic Salad

1 (7 ounce) package Baby Spinach or 1 (7 ounce) package baby romaine lettuce
2 cups strawberries, sliced
1/2 cup goat cheese or 1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
Balsamic vinaigrette
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh basil leaves, chopped
crushed salt and black pepper

Whisk vinegar and olive oil in small bowl. Add basil and season with salt and pepper.

Combine spinach or romaine and strawberries in large bowl.

Add vinaigrette; gently toss to evenly coat.

Divide salad among 4 plates. Sprinkle each salad with cheese and pine nuts

*Personally, I’d double the the oil and vinegar for the dressing..leaving the basil in the same amount give….if you like  a bit more dressing.  But I like it with JUST balsamic too 🙂
This would be lovely with some crusty bread and a glass of wine..a perfect Solstice feast!
However YOU celebrate the Solstice, I hope you have a beautiful, longest day of the year and enjoy every moment of it. Be lazy, be active, walk barefoot, swim, catch lightning bugs, eat watermelon, take a long walk in the cool woods…Connect and enjoy the Sun! I’ll be back again soon!  Be sure to check out the Sunday Stew again (just click on the Sunday Stew Chef cauldron on the right column.)   My recipe for Carmelite Water..using lemon balm will be posted.  A great sipping drink to enjoy with medicinal value as well! Also lots of other great Solstice recipes and writings and info.  Have a great week and leave me a message about YOUR Solstice plans..I’d love to hear!!
swing-seat-in-garden-country-homes-and-interiors-housetohome-co-uk
It was June, and the world smelled of roses.
The sunshine was like powdered gold over the grassy hillside.
~Maud Hart Lovelace

Blessings and Love, Autumn

 

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Filed under Bits of Magick, Faeries, Flowers, Full Moons, Garden, God, Goddess, Herbs, Holiday, Litha/Summer Solstice, Mother Earth, My Writing, Nature, Photography, Protection, Quote, Recipe from my Kitchen, Ritual, Seasons, Smoky Mountains, Summer, Sun

Beltaine Blessings 2014…….

thCA8K56D9Merry Beltaine Eve my friends.  It’s been a rainy few days here with afternoon hours of Sun and warmth and gentle breezes.  Really nice!  I am ready for my celebration of this fun Sabbat and almost ready for my Circle’s celebration on Saturday night.

I’ll start the morning off tomorrow greeting the Sun..I hope…then I’ll wash my face in the dew of the Beltaine morning to help me show a fresh face for the day and to bring light and beauty to my skin for the year 🙂  I’ll have coffee and a simple breakfast.  At some point of the day, I’ll take a walk and make offerings along the way to the Fae and the Goddess.   In the evening, a nice meal of fresh foods and a ritual to honor the Goddess and God as they meet and create and help the Wheel to continue to turn.  A simple way to celebrate the day in a solitary way.

On Saturday eve, my Circle gathers. We will feast, make May Day baskets, have a fire where we’ll burn wishes and herbs, and we will have a small, simple ritual.  The May Day baskets will go to elderly neighbors or family members to cheer them for the day. I can’t wait!

 

I thought I would share a wonderful salad recipe with you..perfect for Summer and warmer weather. Nice and light!

 

Strawberry Avocado Salad with Honey Lime Dressing

4 cups mixed greens/chopped lettuce

1 cup sliced strawberries

2 kiwi, sliced

 1 avocado, sliced

2 tablespoon sliced almonds

1/2 cup plain greek yogurt

zest of ½ a lime

juice of 1  lime

pinch of salt

2 tablespoon honey

Arrange the lettuce, strawberries, kiwi, avocado and almonds in a salad bowl.

Whisk together the remaining ingredients to form the dressing and drizzle over salad.

*Serves 2

Whether you’re going to a Pagan Beltaine Maypole festival, gathering with friends and family, or spending it more quietly and solitary….Beltaine is a Sabbat to celebrate.  Officially….We are into Spring, and Summer is coming!  Think flowers, gardens, bare feet, less clothes, being outside MORE!!  For many, their favorite time of year!

‘But I must gather knots of flowers,
And buds and garlands gay,
For I’m to be Queen o’ the May, mother,
I’m to be Queen o’ the May.’
–  Alfred Lord Tennyson

 

I wish you all a very Blessed Beltaine!  May the Sun God shine upon you always and May the Goddess always dance with you!

Blessings and love, Autumn

*Don’t forget to type Beltane or Beltaine into the search box on the right to find the last 4 years of info there…recipes, correspondence, rituals etc.

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Happy Bunny Day……….

IMG_0857Merry Meet my friends!  It’s Friday afternoon, a bit overcast here, breezy and in the 60’s.  I’ve been busy today….cleaning house, grocery shopping, laundry etc….getting ready for my family (well some of them) to come over Sunday for our Easter celebration. I think I have 13 family members coming…there are 5 not going to make it.  We will miss them!

Now some may say, why is a Witch celebrating Easter?

Well, for me…it’s all about being with family, putting together an egg hunt for my three grandkids, and celebrating Spring and being outdoors etc.  But I DO have members of my family who are Christian and celebrate it for the reasons all Christians do.  I’m ok with that of course.  We all love each other and it doesn’t really matter why we are together..as long as we are 🙂  Don’t forget, Easter is just the Christian way of celebrating Ostara….so it’s easy for me to enjoy the bunnies, eggs, flowers, being outdoors etc 🙂

For our meal, we are keeping it extremely simple.  We are doing a meat and cheese tray to make croissant sandwiches, my wonderful potato bacon salad, deviled eggs (of course), fruit, a relish tray of veggies, olives, cheese and dill dip and a couple of desserts.  The focus will be on the egg hunt and watching the kids have a blast 🙂  Luckily, our weather is going to be amazing!!

I thought you all might like my Bacon Potato Salad recipe…it’s great all year long but especially for the Summer and cook -outs! I am not kidding you..I’m known for this potato salad and expected to make it all the time 🙂 It’s really good!  I may have posted this here before but it’s been a while if I did. So here you go!

 

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My own picture…fresh made today!

 

Best Ever Bacon Potato Salad.

5 lbs potatoes, cooked, peeled and cubed

1 dozen hard boiled eggs, peeled and chopped

1 green pepper, chopped

onion if you like…but I don’t.

1 lb bacon, cooked and crumbled…reserve the hot oil

Mix all these ingredients in a large bowl that you can cover.

The Sauce….

Ok..here’s where it gets tricky…cause I don’t really measure.

2 cups or so of Hellman’s mayo (maybe a bit more )

3-4 TBs yellow mustard

2 tsps. sugar

1 tsp salt

pepper to taste

and 6 tbs bacon oil (warm is good!)

Blend everything together and pour over the potatoes, eggs and green peppers in a large bowl.  Mix well.  Refrigerate….though I will say it’s good warm too 🙂

Hope you like it..let me know if you make it!!!

 

I just want to wish you all a beautiful Easter holiday…however you celebrate it.  If you don’t…well,  have a beautiful Spring day!!  And for us Witches…Beltane is just around the corner!!! 🙂  Also, my Birthday is Monday…and for my birthday…I want to just thank you all so much for following this blog, being my friend and making my Life brighter and happier…as I hope I do for you too!!

 

Blessing and Love, Autumn

*Pictures are my own photography

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Filed under Easter, Family, Holiday, Photography, Recipe from my Kitchen, Seasons, Spring

Happy Irish Day!………….

thHello my friends! How are all of you this fine day? All is well here…it’s warmed up a little..into the 40’s and it’s been overcast but the Sun is trying ever so hard to make an appearance. I had errands to run and was able to do them in just a heavy  (my Irish sweater actually!) so that was very nice. The Full Moon was hiding mostly..I got glimpses of Her as She was first ascending the Sky then no more. Hoping for better views tonight!

As you may or may not realize, if you’re seeing lots of green today…..that today is St. Patrick’s Day! 🙂 Now, I don’t celebrate St. Patrick, he’s not a favorite guy of mine at all. But I do take this day to celebrate my Irish-ness, my Irish/Scottish ancestors, and the wearing O’the Green! To celebrate, I popped some Irish Soda Bread into my oven, and while it’s baking, I thought I would drop by here and give you my recipe. It’s easy and quick and makes two loaves which is nice for sharing. I plan to pass a loaf over the fence to my wonderful backyard neighbor Jane. If you’ve never had Soda bread..you should try it. It’s not overly sweet and it’s perfect with a cup of tea or coffee. I also think butter and jam make it really nice and sweet!

 

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Irish Soda Bread

4 cups all purpose flour

1 cup sugar

2 tsps. baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

3 eggs

2 cups sour cream

1 cup raisins

1 TB caraway seed

Preheat oven to 325*.  Grease two loaf pans 8″ x 4″.

Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl; add eggs and sour cream and mix just until moistened. (this will be sticky..use floured hands if you need too)  Fold in raisins.

Spread batter evenly in 2 pans. Sprinkle with caraway seeds.  Bake at 325* for one hour or until raised and golden brown,

I was able to remove them from the pan right away by turning out onto a cutting board.

My house smells amazing and you’ll love it!

Hope you all have a great day however you celebrate it..rather it be baking, or drinking green beer or visiting your favorite local Irish pub.  I’ll be taking some time over an Irish whiskey or Bailey’s to send love to my ancestors who watch over me and guide me.

May your heart be warm and happy

With the lilt of Irish laughter

Every day in every way

and forever and ever after!

-Irish Blessing-

Slainte!

Autumn

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Filed under Full Moons, Happy Irish Day, Holiday, My Favorite Things, Quote, Recipe from my Kitchen, Spring

The Wheel Turns to Ostara 2014…………

No matter how long the winter, spring is sure to follow.

~Proverb

Merry Afternoon my friends. Hope that you are all doing great this blustery March day?! Well, we had a taste of Spring for a couple of days here in Ohio. It was in the 60’s and the Sun was shining! It was the kind of day that I had my daughter and grandkids over to play outside, windows were open and letting the house air out of old stagnant Winter weather, and we even grilled out for dinner! Today? A whole different day LOL. Winter has come back with snow flurries, freezing cold weather and blustery winds. *sigh* Well, it was nice while it lasted….and it will be back and SOON!! 🙂

I have spent some time today getting ready for Ostara. My Circle has decided to meet for brunch on the Sunday after Ostara ( Ostara is the 20th by the way!) We will have pastries and fruit and lavender lemonade! I’m working on my altar as well. I love the Ostara altar..it’s one of my favorites. Pastel colors, eggs, rabbits, tulips or daffodils, and baskets just lift my spirits in it’s brightness and lightness! I’ll also set up a kitchen altar as well!

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                                                        *Part of my Ostara altar from 2011

Some of the things I love to do for Ostara is to, of course, color eggs and bake breads. Egg recipes are popular for light lunches and breakfasts as well. Egg salad, deviled eggs, quiches, and omelets especially! Another thing I’m doing is perusing my seed catalogs, garden books and magazines and planning for when I can get outside and start working in my gardens again! For the seeds, I love to do a seed blessing ritual..to bless them to grow strong and healthy and to carry powerful Magick within them as well! You can bless and consecrate your seedlings and young plants as well of course! My hands long to dig in the dirt and my barefeet long to be planted on Mother Earth! Can’t wait!

Ostara is also a great time to finish up any Spring cleaning you didn’t get done at Imbolc. Cleaning windows, curtains, throw rugs and blankets are high on my list of things to do as Spring arrives. Also, carpet cleaning, if you have carpets, is good to do too! I also check the condition of my outdoor bird feeders to see if they need to be replaced for Spring/Summer. Winter is hard on them and I often invest in new ones this time of year. I’m also shopping for a new bird bath this year! 🙂

I thought that you all would enjoy my recipe for Lavender Lemonade to enjoy for your own Ostara feast. It is also posted in the Sunday Stew I told you about last time I wrote. I hope that you have gone and checked it out! It is well worth your time.

lav lemon

                                                         *picture courtesy of Simply Recipes

 

 

Lavender Lemonade

2 1/2 cups water
1 cup sugar
1-2TB dried lavender flowers (organic, chemical free)
*chopped fine

2 1/2 cups water
1 cup fresh lemon juice

In a large saucepan, bring water and sugar to a boil until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat. Add lavender flowers. Cover and let stand for one hour.

Strain lavender from sugar water and discard lavender as you wish. Stir in additional cold water and lemon juice. Pour into a pretty pitcher and add ice and sliced lemons.

Makes 6 servings

Don’t forget to type in Ostara or Spring Equinox in the search box on the right here to find all my past posts and recipes..there are a LOT!  I’ll be back soon too.

As much as Winter still has a grip on us, there has been some Spring in the Air for most of us I think.  Enough to remind us that it’s coming and soon!  In the meantime, do some spring cleaning,  set up your altar, buy some seeds to start in your Sunny window, and color some eggs.  Soon it will be Spring in your heart and you will feel lighter!  Honest! 🙂

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

 

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Filed under Altars, Flowers, Gardens, Herbs, Holiday, Mother Earth, Nature, Ostara, Quote, Recipe from my Kitchen, Seasons, Spring, Winter

The Wheel Turns to Yule 2013……..

Perhaps the best Yuletide decoration is being wreathed in smiles. 

imagesCAHWQBRT~Author Unknown

Merry Meet my friends.  I am very late to writing a Yule blog I’m afraid.  Just like all of you, Life is a bit busy right now and time seems to escape me some days.  Winter has settled in early here in Ohio. Right now, there is about 8-9 inches of snow on the ground and we will be in the single digits tonight with a negative wind chill factor!!   But I LOVE Winter!  I love the beauty of the snow, the quiet of the nights, the starry skies, the scent of woodsmoke, and seeing your breath on the Air.  Despite this busy time of year, I find time most every evening to be quiet by the fire, light candles, rest and reflect on the dark months ahead.

Yule is on Dec. 21 this year and it’ll be a quiet celebration as always here at my house.  A nice meal, some time outside, some time at my altar and some time by the fire.  My greens have been brought in just today and adorn bowls and my mantle.  Yule..the Winter Solstice…the longest night of the year.  I find it a beautiful Sabbat…a time in all the hustle and bustle of the holiday celebrations..to focus on what Yule means to us Pagans and Witches.  It marks going into Winter..into the dark time of the year. Mother Earth is at rest and I try to do the same for the Winter months.  It’s a quieter time of year (after the holidays of course!).  Time to read, relax, perhaps work on a project I’ve put off, crafts, organize my home, write etc.  Whatever it is you like to do when you are forced to be inside more.  Now I know that of course life is still going on…work, responsibilities, cooking and cleaning etc…yes…but there is more time at home, more hours of dark to spend nesting and finding time to rest.  Even getting some extra sleep!

I am in search of the perfect Yule log from our woodpile. I’ll dress it with greens and herbs..bless it and burn it!  One of my favorite things to do for Yule is to write down a list of my wishes, hopes, and dreams for the next year. Also, to write down those things I want to let go of…to get out of my life.  After doing the list, I burn it with the Yule log..and know that my wishes go out with Air..by Fire and Earth.

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This year, in our new home, we have a darling little spruce tree we planted over the summer.  My husband put lights on it and it makes a magickal little Yule tree.  This weekend, I’ll be making outdoor ornaments for the tree,  I use yarn or raffia to string cereal and dried fruits.  I use bagel halves, cover them in peanut butter and dip them in birdseed..and even apples and orange cups can be put out there.  My grandkids love this project too!  and of course the birds and squirrels love it too 🙂  Makes me feel good to help our feathered and furry friends over the cold Winter.

Thought I’d post a couple of favorite recipes of mine for this time of year!

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Autumn’s Shortbread Cookies

1 lb butter, softened …salted or unsalted doesn’t really matter

1 cup sugar

4 cups all purpose flour

These are a huge hit at my house and so simple!

Cream butter and sugar until creamy.  Add 2 cups at a time of the flour and blend.  If the dough is a bit dry, add a tablespoon of water.  Spread dough into a jelly roll pan with your hands ….spread it even.  Prick the dough every so often with a fork.

Bake at 350* for about 25 minutes until golden brown.  Remove from oven and cut immediately into squares….then let it cool in the pan.  Enjoy!

*For Yule, I like to sprinkle with green or red sugar crystals before baking!

Gingerbread Pancakes

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground ginger

1 egg

1 1/4 cup milk

1/4 cup molasses

3 TB vegetable oil

Sift together first 6 ingredients in a medium bowl and set aside.  In a large bowl, beat egg & milk until well blended.  Stir in molasses and oil.  Add flour mixture to egg mixture, stirring til moistened.  Pour batter by 1/3 cupfuls onto a lightly greased hot griddle.  Cook until bubby on top, flip and cook til golden brown.

Great with Lemon Sauce!!

1/2 cup sugar

1 TB cornstarch

1/8 tsp ground nutmeg

1 cup water

2 TB butter

1/2 tsp lemon zest

2 Tb lemon juice

Stir together sugar, cornstarch and nutmeg in a small saucepan.  Add water and cook over medium heat until thick and bubbly.

Cook and stir an additional 2 mins

Remove from heat.  Add remaining ingredients and stir until butter is melted

Serve warm over gingerbread pancakes or waffles, or cake!

Hope you enjoy these!  For more recipes and Yule info and correspondence etc..be sure to type in Yule or Winter Solstice in the search box on the right side of this blog. There are many past years of postings!

For now I leave you all with the hopes that you are finding time to BREATHE, RELAX, and be QUIET now and then during this busy time of year.  It’s so easy to get caught up in the hectic hustle and bustle….but pause now and then and remember what the Season is really all about.  The Solstice..the longest night…..the passing of the Holly King and the Re-birth of the Oak King…and Mother Earth frozen and slumbering.  But it means that already the days will grow longer and the Sun will strengthen and warm, and Earth will begin to stir!  Blessed Be!

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

Blessings and Love,  Autumn

Wreath picture from the internet..unknown source.  Other two pictures are my own.

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The Wheel Turns to Samhain 2013……………….


 

“Between the heavens and the earth
The way now opens to bring forth
The Hosts of those who went on before;
Hail!  We see them now come through the Open Door.

Now the veils of worlds are thin;
To move out you must move in.
Let the Balefires now be made,
Mine the spark within them laid.

Move beyond the fiery screen,
Between the seen and the unseen;
Shed your anger and your fear,
Live anew in a new year!”
–   Lore of the Door

     

Merry Evening dear readers!   Has Autumn arrived in your neck of the woods?  The Season of Autumn I mean *giggles*  (yes, I LOVE my name this time of year…it’s so much fun!!)   Well, Fall has arrived here big time.  We are near peak in color..though I will say it’s not the most brilliant color I’ve seen.  We have cool, breezy days, and cold nights. We’ve had some rain and some crisp, blue skies…and OH the Nights! Inky black with twinkling stars and  the Blood Moon has been brilliant…big and bright and beautiful!  It’s been cold enough for the heat to go on, the fireplace to have a roaring fire, and sweaters and jackets pulled out of closets.  My crockpot and oven are hot most of the time, and I constantly want to go for a walk, or cook something with apples, or pick up perfect leaves to press and save.  I’ve got a stack of books on one side of me, and a basket of crochet on the other.  I am one happy Witch!  After all, it IS my Season! 🙂

Samhain is coming upon us fast. The Witch’s New Year…the night we all anticipate all year long.  It is the Most magickal, the Most emotional, and the Most busy night of the year for many of us.  There are gatherings to plan, rituals to prepare, feasts to cook, fires to tend, ancestors to await a visit from, and quiet introspection and divination to be done.  For many, there is also trick or treat night, costume parties, houses to decorate to the delight of children and adults alike, and finding the perfect Witch hat or cape to please ourselves!  Whew….no wonder October…the best month of the year..flies by so fast!!   They say Time flies when you’re having fun…and October is proof of that!

Last year, my Samhain was a bit thrown together and scattered…..because I was in the process of selling our home.  This year, I’m working and planning ahead.  I have a Circle of Witches now who will gather here on Nov 3 for our fire gathering and feasting.   I have Beggar’s Night on the 30th which I’ll spend with hubby, daughters, son-in-law and grandkids and whoever else happens along. There will be soups in the crockpot, bread in the oven and a yummy apple dessert to share.  Samhain night is our Ancestor Supper and a solitary ritual for myself. Oh and of course a fire!!  Speaking of desserts..I have to share a new recipe I came across!!  So simple and soooo yummy!!

Picture courtesy of Allrecipes.com

Picture courtesy of Allrecipes.com

Country Apple Dumplings

2 baking apples of your choice, peeled, cored and wedged into 8 wedges per apple ( 16 total)

2 cans of crescent rolls

1 cup butter

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 tsp cinnamon

12 oz can of Mountain Dew or Sprite  (yep..you got it) LOL

Preheat oven to 350*  Grease a 9″ x 13″ baking dish

Cut each apple as above and set aside.  Separate the crescent roll dough into triangles. Roll each apple wedge in the dough starting at the smallest end.  Pinch to seal and place in the baking dish.

Melt butter in a small saucepan and stir in the sugar and cinnamon.   Pour over the dumplings.  The pour the citrus soda over the dumplings.

Bake for 35-45 minutes until golden brown.

*I understand this recipe is All over Pinterest! LOL.

For me, what really represents what Samhain  is all about…. Is the thinning of the veil..the chance to communicate with those who have passed thru the veil….The Ancestor Supper, Soul Supper, Dumb Supper.  Whatever you call it, it represents a meal with your ancestors.  Lighting candles and setting a place at the table, and inviting those who have passed over to come and partake with you,  is a lovely and meaningful ritual.  If you are truly quiet in mouth and mind, you may hear what they have to say to you….they DO want to communicate.  They want to know how we are doing as much as we want to know how they are doing.  It’s our chance to express that they are missed, that they are still loved, that they will never be forgotten.  They may have words of wisdom for us as well.  One of the things I do, is place Rosemary in pots at their place setting.  Rosemary is for remembrance.  Another thing to do for yourself, write them a note or letter and place it at their seat.  Often, one seat at my table, represents All my ancestors..those recently passed and those long gone.  What is your practice? Do you have a Dumb Supper, divinate or scry at your altar, burn letters?  All are wonderful ways to honor our Ancestors on this night.

My Soul Supper Table 2011

My Soul Supper Table 2011

So you busy Witches, smile while you’re busy flying around on your brooms preparing for this most magickal of Nights!  Whether your Night is solitary and quiet, or a huge gathering, or something in between….there is no doubt that you will Feel your most Witchiest, your most magickal, and your most Joyful!  For the muggles, it’s just about costumes and candy…for Us!  It’s sooooo much MORE!!!  Many Blessings for a wonderful Samhain.  May your Path be filled with Mystery and Magick!

*oh…no drinking and flying  LOL!!

Blessings, Autumn

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Filed under Autumn, Family, Full Moons, Holiday, New Year, Poem, Recipe from my Kitchen, Ritual, Samhain, Seasons

The Wheel Turns to Imbolc 2013…..

imagesCAGEYQRXMerry Meet my friends. I’m having a quiet evening by the fire on a very cold, Moon-lit night and thought I’d write a post..catch you all up on a couple of things. The best thing I have to tell you is that my new grandson Henry came into the world this past Sunday..healthy and beautiful! Mom and baby both doing great and our family is overjoyed he is here. There is nothing like the miracle of birth and holding that precious soul in my arms..feeling him and smelling him…pure Bliss!

After a month now in our new home, we are more or less settled in. There are still some boxes in storage to go get and unpack but in general we are in 🙂 We love this home and it will be a good one for us. We are happy and content! We have done a LOT of work to make it ours…make it beautiful..make it magickal! With good results I’d say :))

Now Imbolc is just around the corner. Those who know me or have followed me here know that Imbolc is one of my favorite Sabbats..simply for the fact it was the very first Sabbat I truly celebrated as a Witch. I mean instead of just reading about it..I got up and DID something! When I got that feeling..that magickal feeling I get when I connect with my Craft..well that was it for me. I found ways to celebrate not only all the Sabbats, the Full Moons and New Moons, but made a point to bring magick into my Life and home every day!!

For me Imbolc is about looking forward to longer days of Sun and getting ready for Spring. But it’s also about enjoying what’s left of the Winter. I get my house sparkling clean, smudge it, use herbal washes on floors and windows, put something good to eat in the oven or on the stove, and do a project that will allow me to enjoy a cozy night by the fire, knowing that the early dark evenings won’t be with us much longer. I might work on pages for my Book of Shadows, do some studying on a subject like herbs or tarot. I might pull out garden books and seed catalogs and plan for my Summer garden, or make poppets for spells, or crochet something for someone I love. Of course, on Imbolc eve I will do a ritual at my altar or under the Moon (I love bundling up and going out to see the Moon and absorb Her magick and energy on a cold, see-your-breath night!).

My celebrations of the Sabbats….over time…have become simpler. Doing something to honor the day…the turn of the Wheel..can be as complex and simple as you want it to be. Depending on my mood I could do either..but I have found the simpler, deeper meaning moments to bring more magick into my Life and more Joy as well. A nice meal, candles lit, incense burning and quiet time with Goddess can be all that I need most of the time. Meditation..something I haven’t been taking the time to do here lately…can also be a lovely way to open yourself to what the Goddess wants you to know..to listen..to feel. I DO love..just after Sunset..to invite in the Goddess Brighid to bring health, love and abundance to my home and hearth..that is something I’ve done for years and I always feel Her presence when I do. Try it….just light red and white candles all over your house…take a candle with you to your door..throw it open and invite Her in!! See what happens!! Imbolc, after all…is Her Sabbat!

I came across a recipe I’d thought I’d share with you. I intend on making it for Imbolc.

 

lemon poppy seed loaf

 

Lemon Poppyseed Cake

2 1/4 cups cake flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 tablespoons lemon zest

4 1/2 tablespoons poppy seeds

1 1/8 cups white sugar

1 1/3 cups unsalted butter, softened

5 eggs

3/4 cup white sugar

3/4 cup lemon juice

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour a 9×5 inch loaf pan.

Stir together the flour, salt, lemon zest and poppy seeds using a wire whisk. In a medium bowl, cream together the butter and 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Then stir in the dry ingredients. Pour into the prepared loaf pan.

Bake for 60 to 75 minutes in the preheated oven, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

To make the syrup, combine 3/4 cup sugar with the lemon juice in a small saucepan, bring to a boil, then remove from heat and set aside to cool. When the cake is done, place the pan on a wire rack with a cookie sheet underneath. Prick the top of the cake several times with a toothpick or fork. Brush the top of the cake with the syrup, allowing lots of it to run down the sides and soak into the cake.

Allow cake to cool slightly before removing from the pan to the wire rack to cool completely. When completely cooled, wrap the cake if foil or heavy plastic wrap and let it sit for 1 day before serving

 

Let me know if you try it and like it.   I’ll let you know too.  I’ll peruse my recipe books and magazines and may be back with some more recipes soon 🙂  Until then, I  hope you all have a wonderful weekend.  Make it a good one!!  There is a quarter Moon out there…check Her out!

 

Blessings and Love, Autumn

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Filed under Family, Full Moons, Gardens, Goddess, Grandchildren, Grandson, Holiday, Imbolc, Recipe from my Kitchen, Seasons, Spring, Winter

My favorite Comfort Food recipe…..

Merry Meet everyone!  Hope that all of you are safe and sound….there is some bad weather hitting some of the states tonight.  I’m in a watch area myself.  But so far..it’s just pea-soup foggy out there.  I have been a very busy Witch!  My Imbolc cleaning is going on strong!  I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.  I cleaned like a crazy person for 3 days…did some cupboard organizing today but I took it easier and relaxed more today.  I’d say about 2 more partial days of cleaning and I’ll be all done.  The house feels and looks great!  The great thing is that our weather is warming up a bit too..so I’ll be able to open windows and air out things before I give the house a good smudging!  Then I can relax the rest of Winter and just snuggle in and enjoy it!

So as I was so busy working all week, we ate quick meals and picked up carry out a bit too many times this week.  I was in the mood for a good hot meal for me and my family.  So I turned to my very favorite comfort food…my meatloaf.  Which not to toot my own horn….is the best meatloaf and really the only meatloaf I like 🙂  I grew up on this meatloaf..though I have tweaked the recipe a bit from what my mom used to make.  There is no catsup in this recipe..at all!  That’s why I think it’s the best.  It makes it’s own gravy while cooking..a tomato gravy..that is made very simply with a can of tomato soup.  🙂  Now don’t wrinkle up your nose..give it a try.  I promise you will love it!  My hubby and I have a joke..about if you were going to have your last meal..what would you choose.  Well for me..this would be it..hands down!

Autumn’s Best Meatloaf with Tomato Gravy

2 lbs ground chuck

1 package of meat loaf seasoning..doesn’t matter which one..I use Krogers

1 cup quick cooking oatmeal

2 eggs

1/2 cup milk

1 Large can tomato soup

 

Preheat oven to 350*  Mix all ingredients except tomato soup together well.  (I use my hands!)  Form into a loaf and place in a casserole dish.  You can use an oval deep casserole dish or a 9″ x 13″ dish.  Pour the can of tomato soup over the loaf.  Bake in oven at 350* for 2 hours.  The last 30 mins or so I cover it loosely with foil to keep the soup from burning.  When you take it out of the oven, you may have to skim a bit of the soup that will have hardened during cooking.  Underneath there will be a delicious gravy that is made from the soup and the meat juices. 

 

I always make this with mashed potatoes (the gravy is delish on the potatoes too!), corn or green beans and whole wheat bread or rolls.  Obviously this is not a healthy dish..it is fattening, full of carbs and so so good!  Comfort food all the way.  Also, the meatloaf, if you have any left over, warms up wonderfully or makes great meatloaf sandwiches!

Comfort food…such lovely words.  It brings to mind cozy Sun days at home, by the fire, with a good movie or music or football game on.  It reminds me of my grandma’s house at dinner time and the love she spread at her table.  It makes me think all is right with the world.  It soothes..it comforts 🙂  I have many other comfort food recipes too..I’ll post them her and there over the Winter 🙂  Try this recipe and let me know if you like it!  Oh and for you health nuts..you might be able to do 1/2 ground turkey and 1/2 ground chuck.  I’ve not tried it that way but I’m sure it’d be great! 🙂 

 

“A recipe has no soul. You, as the cook, must bring soul to the recipe.”

~Thomas Keller

 

I’ll be back in a day or two with pics of my altar and a bit more about Imbolc.  I must say too..I’ve heard from many that they just don’t have the energy or the gumption or the will to do their Imbolc cleaning.  You know what….don’t worry one bit about that at all.  I have had that happen to me too..just couldn’t get into the cleaning until Spring actually got here.  That is perfectly ok..perfectly fine.  Celebrate Imbolc however you see fit.  Maybe all you want to do is smudge the house, light some candles and incense, or go out and eat. Maybe you just spend some time meditating, some altar work, or go outside and breathe in the fresh, cold air.   That is just fine!   Do what is right for you!  Always listen to what is in your heart and your mind.  You’ll never be wrong!  Have a good night..be safe..stay warm…and have comfort food!

Blessings and Love, Autumn

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Filed under Cleaning & Organizing, Family, Imbolc, My Favorite Things, My Writing, Photography, Quote, Recipe from my Kitchen, Winter

More Ostara Recipes……..

Merry Meet!  Hope you all are having a great weekend so far!  It has rained here for 2 solid days!  I have been able to stay inside and out of the weather.  Hanging by the warm fire, crocheting, reading, house puttering.  I had the pleasure of watching my little granddaughter Lily last night while her Mommy and Daddy attended a special family event out of town.  Lily and I had alot of fun.  We read books, built castles and towers out of blocks, watched Care Bears and Cat in the Hat, and I listened to her talk non-stop and marvel at how brilliant she is! 🙂  I’m really not kidding..she is so smart, and adorable and I just love her!  Tonight my family all went to dinner at our favorite pizza place and celebrated my husband’s birthday which is tomorrow.  That was worth going out in the rain for!  Tomorrow I am going to buy my seeds, organic pots and soil so I can start my herbs to growing.  I’m also going to the craft and fabric shop to hunt for an Ostara cloth for my altar and maybe I’ll find some items worthy of my altar as well.  So fun looking! 🙂

I promised to write more recipes as soon as I got one I was looking for from a facebook friend.  I received it this morning so here it is along with a couple of others

Irish Stew …..from Nancy-ann Sorrell (thanks Nancy-ann Hugs!)

4 to 6 servings

1 1/2 lbs Lamb, cut into cubes

3/4 cup sliced onion

 2 sliced carrots 

2.5 Lbs potatoes … sliced or cubed

Put in bottom of a heavy pan a layer of potatoes , a layer of meat , and a few slices of onion …repeat twice , ending with potatoes on top …season each layer with salt and pepper … add to the pot … 1 bay leaf … pour over the layers : 2 cups boiling stock or water … and two tbs.  finely chopped parsley …

Bring to the boil… cover …. simmer gently for 2.5 hours or until meat is tender … Shake pot from time to time to keep potatoes from sticking to the bottom … when done moisture should have been absorbed by the potatoes.

You can also bake in a moderate oven…just watch it closely.
Nice served with fresh green beans / or frozen peas and squash .  Sounds delcious Nancy-ann..can’t wait to try it!

Fish is a perfect food to serve for Ostara to go with all those fresh fruits and veggies.  This is a favorite!

Parmesan Crusted Tilapia

*Feeds 2-3 double if necessary

3 -4 tilapia fillets, depending on size

1/4 cup breadcrumbs or 1/4 cup crushed Ritz cracker

1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

1 tablespoon italian seasoning

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 tablespoon lemon juice

salt

pepper

garlic powder

olive oil

 Thaw and wash tilapia fillets if frozen. Pat dry on paper towels. 
 Combine crumbs, parmesan, italian seasoning and garlic powder on a plate, mixing well.  On a different plate, pour 1 tbsp lemon juice.

 Working 1 at a time, place a fillet on the plate in the lemon juice, sprinkle with desired amount of kosher salt (be careful about how much salt is in your parmesan, crumbs, and other seasonings), black pepper, and garlic powder. Turn the fillet over in the lemon juice and sprinkle seasoning on the other side.

Dredge fillet in the parmesan mixture patting it all over to coat.

 Place in an oiled baking dish, repeat with remaining fillets.

Sprinkle a little lemon juice over fillets and drizzle or spray them lightly with olive oil.  Bake at 425ºF for about 20 minutes or until they easily flake with a fork and edges are browning (you can sprinkle some more parmesan on top if desired).

This is so good with crusty bread and a salad.  Add a baked potato if you’d like! 🙂 

and now for dessert!

Strawberry Refrigerator Cake

1 Strawberry Cake Box Mix

2 (10oz) pkgs sweetened frozen sliced strawberries, thawed

1 pkg vanilla instant pudding and pie mix

1 cup milk

2 cups whipped topping

Fresh strawberries for garnish.

Preheat oven to 350*  Grease and flour 13″ x 9″ baking dish.  Prepare cake as directed, bake and cool.  After it is cool, poke holes in the cake using the handle of a wooden spoon about 1″ apart.

Puree thawed strawberries and their juice in a blender.  Pour evenly over top of the cake allowing the mixture to soak into the holes.

Prepare pudding mix following pkg directions using just 1 cup of milk.  Fold whipped topping into the pudding.  Spread over the cake.  Garnish with fresh strawberries.  Refrigerate at least 4 hours before eating and keep refrigerated until gone.

This cake is really good!  It is very refreshing and light..you will love it!!  I’ll tell you a secret too.  If you want to really simplify it..after putting the strawberries in the holes, just put whipped topping on the cake!  Simple and easy and still delicious!

I have given you enough recipes now to choose something delicious to make for your family for Ostara!  All easy, wonderful recipes.  Set a pretty table. Use pastel colors with white dishes or pastel dishes with a nice white tablecloth.  Make a centerpiece of a basket filled with eggs and bright colored “grass”.  Or fill a vase with daffodils or tulips.  Something I love to do is to put a thin clear glass vase inside of a larger clear glass vase.  Then fill the space between the vases with jelly beans!  Put flowers and water in the inside vase.  It is so cute and will draw rave reviews!

Next time I write about Ostara, I will be posting a ritual and pics and ideas for Ostara altars!  Blessings of Love and Light until then.  Oh, I am most grateful to those of you who not only come and read my blog, but who leave me lovely comments and come back again 🙂 

Blessed Be, Autumn 

 

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Filed under Family, Flowers, Granddaughter, Holiday, Recipe from my Kitchen, Spring