Category: Food and Recipes


Blessed Summer Solstice!

I usually party like a rock star for solstice (fire dancing, anyone?). But, since I’m fighting a pretty wicked migraine right now – and I can tell it’s only going to get worse – my partying will be pared down to baking.

Here’s one of my favorite solstice cookie recipes…. It’s sort of a lemony sugar cookie deal. I’m hoping to bring some in to share on Monday.

AND … I’m in the process of converting it to GF (my sister has a good flour mix).

Happy Summer, everyone!

Summer Solstice Cookies

3/4c softened butter
2c brown sugar
2 eggs
1T lemon juice
2T grated lemon rind
2c sifted flour
1c finely chopped pecans. (optional; walnuts or dried cranberries work, too.)

Cream butter in a large non-metallic mixing bowl.
Gradually add the brown sugar, mixing well.
Add eggs, lemon  juice, and rind, then mix well until mixture is well blended.
Cover the bowl with a white or yellow towel or cloth napkin, and refrigerate overnight.
The next day, shape dough into 1″ balls and place 3″ apart on a greased  cookie sheet.

Bake at 375 degrees for about 20 minutes.
Cool on racks.
Approx. 36 cookies.

Over on my other blog, I made a list of dance-related blogs that I follow and enjoy, and think my readers would enjoy, as well.

So, here’s the partner blog to that one:
Blogs You Should Follow, Non-Dance Edition.

Adventures and Musings of An Arch Druidess

Druid Life

Mama Sheri’s Blog

Fiona Grows Food (this is, actually, the blog that brought me to WordPress)

The Templar Night

Ozark Pagan Mamma

Weeping Into Dance

In the Garden 

Katrina Labra

The Dancing Professor

Cassie Being Cassie (note: this blog is no longer current, see next link)

Devil’s Advocate (Cassie’s new blog)

———

More bloggy goodness coming soon.

But not tonight.
I had a long, but awesome, night in the studio. I’m tired, sore, and kinda smelly.
And I need a beer.
Sprecher Black Bavarian sounds good.

Good night, friends.

Ostara Approaches

Now that my St. Patrick’s Day festivities have passed, and I can relax a little – and get back to my normal schedule – I can plan ahead for Ostara.
While the Christian religion celebrated the return of the crucified Christ, pagans will celebrate the return of spring.
All will enjoy the pastel and chocolatey goodness that occurs for the holiday. Brightly colored eggs, fuzzy lambs, squee-dorable bunnies… it’s all one holiday, celebrated differently.

Let’s all get along, celebrate a renewal, a revival, a darn good thing. Let’s eat. Let’s mate. Let’s enjoy the warm sunshine and return of above-40 temperatures. 🙂

Also, I really enjoy the chocolate.
And hard-boiled, brightly-decorated eggs.

Yay spring!

Natural egg dyes

Hot-Cross Buns

Fudgy Truffle Eggs

Seed Blessing & Indoor Plant Ritual

If you like swearing – which I truly enjoy, btw – and you like cooking, you will LOVE this tumblr.

Oh. My. Gawd.
I couldn’t stop laughing.

But you know what?
There are some really good recipes in there.

Excuse me while I go cook some fucking awesome shit.

 

It looks like cocaine, but it’s only powdered sugar, which is so much better!

Now that that’s over….

I am soooooooooooooooo hungry.
All day, I’v been craving food. Not anything in particular, just food.. Whatever I had in front of me.
English muffins, cookies, applesauce, enchilada casserole.

I feel like I ate every 40 minutes, but I can’t get full.

I know that, in some of those cases, I wasn’t full because of the type of food. But it has been ALL food. Nothing seems to satisfy.

I just don’t want to be hungry.

I need to find a good, healthy snack that will fill me up.
Any thoughts?
Send me your recommendations and recipes!

I celebrate Christmas with my family, as they are all some for of Catholic or another. But Christmas is not so different from Yule; much symbolism is shared between the two.

Yule, also known as the Winter Solstice (the longest night of the year) is on December 21st and celebrated as the rebirth of the sun. The Christians turned this holiday into their Christmas, but many of the sentiments and traditions remain the same whether celebrated by Pagans or Christians.

Traditionally, a Yule Altar is placed facing north, as that direction aligns with the season of winter. Use a red, green, or gold altar cloth. Set a cauldron or other bowl in the center, and place a solar candle (red, gold, orange or yellow) inside it. The cauldron or bowl is the symbol of the Goddess, and the candle represents the Sun God and his rebirth. Rub the candle with cinnamon oil, and leave it until the evening of the Winter Solstice.

Time to Decorate!
When decorating for Yule, make sure to include lots of greenery such as ivy, holly and the boughs of evergreens either through the use of wreaths or garlands. These can also be decorated with red ribbons or sprinkled with red glitter.

Hang mistletoe over your doorway. Although this is a common practice today among non-Pagans, it definitely has Pagan roots!

We all know that flowers have meaning. Two particular flowers stand out during the season.
Holly is used for protection, anti-lightning, luck, and dream magick.
The poinsettia is for rebirth, and rejuvenation.

While I am not a huge advocate of artificial fragrances (scented candles, air “fresheners”), the use of natural scents can be a pleasant and welcome addition to your holiday scene.
Violet: Protection, luck, love, wishes, peace, and healing.
Patchouli: Money, fertility, protection, divination and physical energy.
Rose Geranium: Invites protection, fertility, love, and health.
Frankincense: Protection and spirituality.
Myrrh: Protection, along with healing and spirituality.
Lilac: Protection, and beauty, love, purification and to help see past lives

Colors are a BIG element in decorating and celebrating.
Green:
Abundance, growth, healing, prosperity (and more!).
Red:
Love, passion, fire, willpower, courage, energy, strength, anger, blood, life cycle, desire and war.
White:
Cleansing, peace, protection, healing, truth, divination, tranquility, purification, childhood and innocence.

Animals and Birds
The mouse symbolizes attention to details.
A deer symbolizes gentleness and innocence, a gentle luring to new adventures.
The horse stands for travel, power and freedom.
The bear symbolizes the awakening of the power of the unconscious mind.
A robin celebrates the spread of new growth.
The Snowy Owl stands for silent wisdom and nocturnal vision, healing and magical powers.

Other Symbols
Bells were originally rang throughout the dark and cold time of the year to chase away demons.
Candles are an important aspect of Yule as the fire melts away the chill of winter and encourages the sun to come back again. Lights have been used for years to frighten away negative energies and to encourage the sun to shine.
The sleigh represents the chariot used by Freyja, the Norse Goddess who delivered gifts to her friends during the 12 days following the Winter Solstice.
The snowflake is a winter symbol of love.
The wreath, in the shape of the circle represents everlasting life – the eternal cycle of birth, life, death, and rebirth. It is also used to represent the sun.
The Yule Log is lit on the Winter Solstice and burnt continuously for 12 days. A portion of the wood is saved to start the fire at the next Winter Solstice. Some people save several pieces of the log to light different festival fires throughout the year. The Yule Log is a symbol of the Celtic Oak King and it decorated with evergreen (which represent the Holly King). It signifies the death of darkness and the return of the sun, light and warmth.

Wassailing is a practice similar to caroling but directed at nature instead of at other people. Prepare a wassail drink with ale and apples and pour into bowls to take outside with you as you go from tree to tree (especially fruit and nut trees) “anointing” each with some of the wassail. Wassail, along with wassail songs, are used to help ensure a good crop in the coming year.

Yule Log  
There are several ways to make a Yule Log. The first type of log we will go over is for those who do not have a fireplace to burn a log. With this kind of Yule Log, we will make holes to insert candles to burn instead of burning the log itself.

What you need:
A birch log about twelve to eighteen inches long
Holly
Candles (at least 3) The candle size depends on the size holes you want to cut into the wood. You can cut smaller holes and use tapered candles, or larger holes and use either votive, or tea light candles.
Red Ribbon
Glitter
Any other items you would like to use to decorate the log with.

What you do:
First the log must be prepared – it either needs to be sawed lengthwise to make a flat bottom while the top remains rounded, or it must be nailed to a flat service to prevent it from rolling.
Next the holes must be drilled for the candles – make sure you drill the holes to the size candles you want to use.    Add the candles and any other decorations you would like to use.
This type of Yule log can be used over and over.

Gifts!
Homemade baked goods   This can include more than just cookies and candy. Try breads, jams, butters and spreads too. Go for something unique!

Bath salts   Combine sea salt and Epsom salt along with your choices of essential oils. Mix well and spread out thinly on a cookie sheet to dry. You may also add just a hint of coloring to give off different hues. Put the salts into pretty decorative jars, which you can also make yourself from empty glass jars. Use paint, glitter or ribbons to decorate the jars.

Candles   There are all kind of different candles you can make. I save all of my wax drippings throughout the year and then make brown pillar candles at the end of the year. (Mixing different colored waxes together will give you brown). I also add ground cinnamon and a few drops of cinnamon oil to give them a nice scent that matches the color. Candle molds can be found at your local craft store or online.

Potpourri   Make homemade potpourri with pine needles, orange rind, vanilla bean, cinnamon sticks, nutmeg, ginger, dried apples or cloves. Potpourri can also be stored in glass jars you decorate yourself. You can also use these same items but put them through a grinder to make incense.

Personalized scented pillows   Personalize the pillow with colors and patterns reflective of the person you are making it for. Also personalize the pillow with scents appropriate for that person by sewing herbs into the pillow or by dropping a few drops of essential oils into the padding. Store these in resealable type freezer bags to keep them full of their aromas – and to not “give away” what the gift is!

Herbal Kitchen Wreath   Use the same method described earlier for the evergreen wreath, but instead of evergreens, use bunches of herbs such as rosemary, thyme, sage, parsley, lemon balm, or mint. You can even make a bedroom wreath out of dried lavender.

Elfkat has a great (and super simple) recipe for Yule Cookies here.
Mocha Bûche de Noël-Recipe from Good Housekeeping.

Midwinter Gingerbread (Recipe from Confessions of a Kitchen Witch)
This spicy-sweet bread is also wonderful sliced, toasted, and buttered for an afternoon tea, accompanied by a warm, cozy throw and a good book.

½ stick butter or solid margarine
½ cup molasses
1 large free-range egg
½ cup brown sugar
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons ginger
¼ teaspoon cloves
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ cup boiling water
½ cup orange marmalade or good apricot jam
½ cup finely chopped pecans or walnuts (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a small saucepan, gently melt the butter with the molasses and set aside. In a mixing bowl, combine the egg and brown sugar and beat well. Pour in the melted butter/molasses mixture and beat with an electric mixer to blend well. Then, by hand, stir in the flour, spices, and salt, just enough to blend.
Add the baking soda to the boiling water and stir well. Pour this soda water into the batter and gently mix. Add the marmalade and pecans, again, stirring just until mixed in.
Pour the gingerbread batter into a lightly greased 8-by-8-inch or 9-by-9-inch pan. Bake for about 30 minutes. The gingerbread is ready when a toothpick inserted into the center emerges clean. Let the pan cool for 10 minutes, then insert a knife around the edges of the pan to loosen the bread. Gently invert, placing it onto a plate.
Serve simply as squares dusted with powdered sugar or topped with a spoonful of fresh whipped cream.
Serves 8.
Blessed Yule!

Blessed Yule!

 

I made a batch of slightly-modified soul cakes for today.

3/4 cup butter
3/4 cup extra fine/caster sugar
3 egg yolks
4 cups sifted flour
1 tsp mixed spice (recipe below)
1 tsp allspice (recipe below)
3 tbsp currants or raisins
1/2 to 1 cup milk

Cream the butter and sugar together until pale in color and fluffy in texture.
Beat in the egg yolks.
Fold in the sifted flour and spices.
Stir in currants.
Add enough milk to make the dough soft.
Form into flat cakes and mark each top with a cross. **I chose to roll out the dough and cut out circles**
Bake on a greased or non-stick cookie sheet until golden brown.

When I got this recipe, there were no instructions as far as bake time. my guess was 350 degrees for about 25 minutes.
The time will definitely depend on how thick you make these cakes.
And, really, why cakes? These really came out more as cookies than anything.
Despite the misnomer, these turned out great. They were much like a hybrid gingerbread/shortbread cookie, and they go great with coffee, tea, or hot chocolate.

Allspice
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground clove
1/4 tsp ground ginger

Mixed Spice
1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp ground cloves

Bonus recipe: Pumpkin Brownies!
This is a quicky for folks like me who don’t always have time to be in the kitchen.

1 box of your favorite brownie mix
1 15oz. can of pumpkin goo (puree)
1 tsp allspice
1/2-1 cup of heavy whipping cream

Mix the brownie powder with the allspice.
Fold in the pumpkin goo
This gets super-thick, so as it gets more difficult to mix, slowly add the cream until the mixture gets smooth.
Follow the box directions for time and tempurature. If they box calls for a 9×13 pan, though, use something slightly smaller (unless you want really thin brownies).

Samain or Samuin was the name of the festival marking the beginning of winter in medieval Ireland. It is attested in some of the earliest literture, dating back as far as the 10th century. It was one of four Gaelic seasonal festivals: Samhain (~1 November), Imbolc (~1 February), Beltane (~1 May) and Lughnasadh (~1 August). Samhain and Beltane, at the opposite sides of the year from each other, are thought to have been the most important.

Samhain was one of the four main festivals of the Gaelic calendar, marking the last harvest and beginning of winter. It was a time to take stock of the herds and food supplies. Cattle were brought down to the winter pastures after six months in the higher summer pastures. And it was also the time to choose which animals would need to be slaughtered for the people to survive the winter. This custom is still observed by many who farm and raise livestock because it is when meat will keep since the freeze has come and also since summer grass is gone and free foraging is no longer possible.

Samhain is known by most folks as Halloween, but for Wiccans and Pagans it’s considered a Sabbat to honor the ancestors who came before us. It’s a good time to contact the spirit world with a seance, because it’s the time when the veil between this world and the next is at its thinnest.

By Sanhain, the Goddess has entered her incarnation of Crone. She is the Old One, the earth mother, the wise one we turn to when we need advice. She teaches us that sometimes we must let go in order to move on. The God, at Samhain, is the Horned One, the stag of great antlers, the god of the wild hunt. He is the animal that dies so that we may eat, and the grains and corn that once lived in the field before our harvest. We can honor these late-fall aspects of both the Goddess and the God in one ritual.

How To Celebrate the Cycle of Life and Death

  1. For this ritual, you’ll want to decorate your altar with symbols of life and death. You’ll want to have on hand a white candle and a black one, as well as black, red, and white ribbon in equal lengths (one set for each participant). Finally, you’ll need a few sprigs of rosemary.

    Perform this rite outside if at all possible. If you normally cast a circle, do so now.

  2. Say:
    “Samhain is here, and it is a time of transitions. The winter approaches, and the summer dies. This is the time of the Dark Mother, a time of death and of dying. This is the night of our ancestors and of the Ancient Ones.”

    Place the rosemary on the altar. If you are doing this as a group ceremony, pass it around the circle before placing on the altar. Say:
    “Rosemary is for remembrance, and tonight we remember those who have lived and died before us, those who have crossed through the veil, those who are no longer with us. We will remember.”

  3. Turn to the north, and say:
    “The north is a place of cold, and the earth is silent and dark. Spirits of the earth, we welcome you, knowing you will envelope us in death.”

    Turn to face the east, and say:
    “The east is a land of new beginnings, the place where breath begins. Spirits of air, we call upon you, knowing you will be with us as we depart life.”

  4. Face south, saying:
    “The south is a land of sunlight and fire, and your flames guide us through the cycles of life. Spirits of fire, we welcome you, knowing you will transform us in death.”

    Finally, turn to face the west, and say:
    “The west is a place of underground rivers, and the sea is a never-ending, rolling tide. Spirits of water, we welcome you, knowing you will carry us through the ebbs and flows of our life.”

  5. Light the black candle, saying:
    “The Wheel of the Year turns once more, and we cycle into darkness.”

    Next, light the white candle, and say:
    “At the end of that darkness comes light. And when it arrives, we will celebrate once more.”

  6. Each person takes a set of ribbons — one white, one black, and one red. Say:
    “White for life, black for death, red for rebirth. We bind these strands together remembering those we have lost.”

    Each person should then braid or knot their three ribbons together. As you do so, focus on the memories of those you have lost in your life.

  7. While everyone is braiding or knotting, say:
    “Please join me in chanting as you work your energy and love into your cords:

    As the corn will come from grain,
    All that dies will rise again.
    As the seeds grow from the earth,
    We celebrate life, death and rebirth.”
    When everyone has finished braiding and chanting, take a moment to meditate on the cycle of life, death, and rebirth. Is there someone you know who reminds you of a person you’ve lost? Have you ever looked into a baby’s eyes and seen your late grandfather looking back?

  8. Finally, ask everyone to take their knotted ribbons home with them and place them on their personal altar if they have one. That way, they can be reminded of their loved ones each time they pass by.

Tips:

  1. Rosemary is used in this rite because although it seems to go dormant over the winter, if you keep it in a pot you’ll get new growth in the spring. If there’s another plant you’d rather use, feel free.

What You Need

  • Ribbon in black, red and white
  • A white candle and a black one
  • Rosemary

Soul Cakes

These are part of the traditional English Hallowe’en festivities. Traditionally these were flat round cakes flavoured with saffron, mixed spices and currants. Indeed, during the 19th and early 20th centuries children would go ‘souling’ on All Souls’ Day (November 2nd) where they would request alms or soul cakes with the following song:

“A soul, a soul, a soul cake. Please god missus a soul cake. An apple, a pear, a plum or a cherry, Any good thing to make us merry. Up with your kettles and down with your pans Give us an answer and we’ll be gone Little Jack, Jack sat on his gate Crying for butter to butter his cake One for St Peter, two for St Paul, Three for the man who made us all.”

Soul Cakes were also part of All Saints’ Eve superstitions. It was believed that the spirits of the departed would return to their homes on this night. As a result candles were lit to guide their way and food and drink (including soul cakes) were put out for them.

 

Soul Cakes

A good pinch of saffron
Warm milk
6 oz. butter
6 oz. caster sugar (a sugar that is finer than granulated but coarser than powdered)
3 egg yolks
1 lb. plain flour
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon mixed spice
3 oz currants

Pre-set oven to 350 degrees F. Soak saffron in a little warmed milk. Cream butter and sugar. Beat in egg yolks. Sieve flour, salt, and spices together and add to mixture. Lastly add currants and drained saffron milk. Add more milk if necessary, to make a soft dough. Make into flat cakes, mark each one across top, and bake on a greased baking tray in pre-heated oven for about 15 minutes or until brown. (
_The National Trust Book of Christmas & Festive Day Recipes_, by Sara Paston-Williams.)

The internet is full of really, really useless stuff.
But it also has a lot of great things. LOLcats, for example.

And recipes. Oh boy, are there some great recipes.
I tried a new one tonigh: Pan-seared salmon with leeks and a side of brussel sprouts. Mmmm….

This is the first time I have pan-seared salmon. I usually bake it.
This was also the first time I have ever made brussel sprouts.
I will go ahead and call this a success.

I made a few modifications, though, as I didn’t have the quantity of leeks noted in the recipe. I cannot imagine needing that much.
I had 1 leek and a small handful of green onion from mom’s garden (::drool::)
I also cut the brussel sprouts in half before putting them in the oven. I like smaller bites, so it seemed like a good idea.

These recipes were perfect for the two of us. I was so excited about dinner that I made hubby pause Skyrim just to see it before I dug in.  🙂

If you like salmon, and veggies, you should definitely try these.

Edit to add:

I made cookies, too!
Easy, simple, delicious cookies.
Peanut Butter and chocolate chip ones

1 cup brown sugar
1 tsp baking soda
Mix thoroughly, making sure there are no clumps.
Add in 1 cup peanut butter (I like to use MaraNatha brand chunky style pb)
and 1 egg
and 1/4 – 1/2 cup chocolate chips (or butterscotch chips, or your favorite nut).
Don’t add more than 1/2 cup; it gets very difficult to mix it all together.

Roll out tablespoon-size balls and gently press to shape.

Bake at 375 for 10-12 minutes. If you bake to 12 minutes, they make smell burnt. They aren’t, trust me.
This recipe should make around 2 dozen small-ish cookies.
These are PERFECT with [chocolate] milk.

I want to make these sooooo bad.

Fiona Grows Food

I have a glut of beetroot at the moment from a bumper harvest at the weekend so I’m trying to find lots of different uses for it. Most people have only ever had the pickled type, in a jar, and while this is a lovely way to eat it, there’s a huge variety of ways you can cook it. I’ll be sharing a few ideas over the coming days for great ways to cook with this lovely, versatile crop.

Today, I give you, chocolate beetroot brownies, a yummy recipe for moist chocolate brownies and an unusual way to use up some fresh beetroot from the garden.

image

You will need
250 grams of dark chocolate, at least 70% cocoa, I used 75%
250 grams of butter
150 grams of self raising flour
250 grams of caster sugar
3 large eggs
A pinch of salt
40 grams of chopped mixed nuts
250…

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