Careful What You Wish For

Standard

Recently I’ve been praying to my goddess more than usual. I’ve been really unhappy in aspects of my work life and have been wanting to decrease my jobs from two to one. I’ve told my goddess that I wanted to have this happen by the end of summer and recently I put a date on it-August 31st. Because I know the Gods and Goddesses are less “Jesus take the wheel” and more “I’m not carrying you through life, you have to make it happen,” I’ve been making strides to cut hours at one job order to work more at the other.

Well, you know what happened, don’t you? My goddess heard my prayers, saw my efforts and decided to give me a shake up. I got canned from my stressful job. No notice, no nothing. I panicked. And sobbed. And then everything was made right. My other job is letting me take on more hours. In mere hours after getting told to clear out my desk, I was given the gift of solid work hours at one job and at the company I could see myself at for years to come.

So remember when you are praying- be careful what you ask for, you might just get it. Just not in the way you thought!

Advertisements

How to Freeze Basil Without Oil

Standard
How to Freeze Basil Without Oil

It happens every summer- you plant a basil plant or two and before you know it, you are overrun with fresh basil, burnt out on eating it and have no idea how to preserve it for the winter. Most tip articles recommend using olive oil but I’m not comfortable using that much oil at the end of my meal when I typically add basil.

So I tested out using just water and it worked! Now I used about 3-4 cups of loosely packed, fresh basil leaves and about 1/4 cup of water, so plan on using 1 tablespoon of water per one cup of basil leaves. (I have not tested this out with any other herbs yet, so I don’t know how this method works on other plants.)

How to Freeze Basil Without Oil

 

How to Freeze Basil Without Oil

Start by pruning your basil plants to promote growth. If you have an outdoor plant, I recommend doing this outside only because of all the little bugs that may call your plant home will scatter and you don’t want them in your kitchen. Give your trimmings a good inspection before bringing them in to the house in case any bugs stuck around (I don’t spray my plants with anything other than a little soap mixed with water to keep the bugs at bay. It does a good job with caterpillars and ants but not so much with grasshoppers.)

Back in the kitchen, give your basil a good rinse. I like to submerge mine and swish it around to get all dirt off. I’ll do this a couple of times. Then pluck off the leaves. (Do this with intent. You will be using these herbs in the future, don’t accidentally spoil your meal in 3 months with ill-intent today.)

Fill your food processor with the leaves and water (ratio 1 cup of loosely packed leaves to 1 tablespoon water) and pulse until you have everything chopped and mixed. Spoon the mixture into ice cube trays. (I do about 2-3 teaspoons per cube.) Freeze until firm and use like you would fresh in sauces and soups.

I’ve been told you can freeze whole leaves in freezer bags but have not tried it yet.

I hope this method helps another basil lover who wants fresh basil taste year-round!

Until next time, blessed be.

Using Fresh Herbs

Standard
Using Fresh Herbs

I love my herb garden even though it’s not as big or full of as much variety as I’d like. I keep everything in pots so I can easily bring them indoors when the weather is too harsh for them. I used to have dozens of plants but having moved around so much, I now only have basil, rosemary and thyme. These guys play a huge role in my daily cooking and despite their small numbers, produce a lot of leaves. The tips I offer today help me prevent herbal burn out or waste.

Add herbs to your salads

Add fresh herbs to any salad for a punch of flavor. I just tear up basil leaves and strip thyme & rosemary stems after rinsing them. Pop them right into your dinner salad, pasta salad or even potato salad for that extra bite of flavor. (This can be done with any herbs you love or edible flowers.)

Make an herbal tea

Pour hot water over your herbs and let steep to brew a delicious (and often healing) tea. 

Add to any slow-cooked or prepackaged meal

Adding fresh herbs and/or a squeeze of fresh lemon or lime juice to any slow-cooked or prepackaged meal at the end will add a pop of flavor and freshness lost from slow-cooking or processing. I even like to sprinkle them over a store bought roasted chicken when I bring it home and then pop it in the oven to stay warm. I feel like it gives new life to a potentially dull bird.

Dips, dips and more dips

Pesto is an obvious choice for using up a lot of basil, but go one step further! Any time you make a meat dish, potatoes or roasted vegetable, grab a handful of your favorite herb or herbs, toss them into a blender or processor, and pulse while adding in some olive oil, salt & pepper and anything else you want. Personally I like to use either lemon infused oil or garlic infused oil, but use what you like and have on hand. Once it tastes perfect, drizzle over your food or set on the table for everyone to drizzle themselves. Leftovers can be tossed in with hot pasta for a delicious but easy meal.

Freeze or dry the extras

If you aren’t going to use up all your herbs before they turn, either freeze them with a bit of oil or dry them in a dehydrator or in your oven then store in an airtight container. Once winter hits and you can’t locate fresh herbs, you will be grateful for your stockpile! Take it up a step by drying your leaves whole then add them to a grinder. When you go use them, you will grind them up, releasing a lot of flavor in the process that pre-ground herbs can lose.

I hope you like my tips and put them to use in your own kitchen!

Until next time, blessed be everyone!

Inner Magic

Standard

I love reading about witchcraft. Which herbs are best used for spells, cooking and healing. Which stones are used for meditation, spiritual connection and strengthening your magic. But I find my best magic comes from within. That inner magic. Intuition goes a long way in my Book of Shadows. I wasn’t raised in the craft, I haven’t had formal training, and I miss more Sabbathes than I remember (honestly I only remember the ones with the changing of the seasons since I garden). I suck at being a traditional witch. 

But what I’m good at, where my talents lie, is trusting my intuition to know which herbs to add to my kitchen witchery, which salt on my shelf strengthens my protection spells and when my Goddess is whispering to me. I don’t buy stones and crystals based on what a little info card tells me, I buy what I’m drawn to that day. My spells work for me because I create them for me, not for anyone else. I don’t understand why people buy spells and tools from big publishers or even simple websites. You don’t need them. Your best magic comes from within.

I didn’t mean to ramble so much and I know my thoughts are probably not very mainstream. But as a solitary witch, it doesn’t really matter if anyone else feels this way. But I will say this- if you are new to the craft and feel overwhelmed, just take some time to get in touch with your inner witch and trust in your intuition. The rest will come.

Ramble over and Blessed Be.

Spring is in the Air

Standard

image

The freezing weather is temporarily on hold and the sun has warmed up my little corner of the world. The cat has been especially happy with the extra sunlight warming her spot on the carpet and the dogs extra joyful for longer walks.

This time of year is perfect for opening the windows and getting rid of the stale air and dust accumulating in your home. If you don’t regularly open your windows in the winter, consider it on the next warm day or if you are crazy like me, you can open them for a few minutes every day regardless of the elements. Heaters tend to dry out the air inside which can cause drier skin and painfully dry sinuses. Humidifiers don’t always work to add enough moisture back in or they may add too much. Opening the windows for a few minutes every day welcomes in a little humidity without any extra effort or electricity.

It’s also a great time to figure out this year’s garden. If you are like me, you can’t plant in the ground and have to stick to container gardens. But those little containers have their own rewards. When the cold inevitably returns, you can easily bring your plants inside and when the warm weather returns, pop them back out on the porch.

In the kitchen, I’ve been making more springy foods. Lots of fresh veggies and herbs from the store (the farmers market can’t open soon enough) and lighter meat dishes of grilled chicken breast or pork chops. I’ve even been swapping my afternoon coffee or cacao nibs for a cup of Lady Grey tea. Occasionally I even swap the morning cup for tea.

As Spring approaches, I’ve been focusing my craft and thoughts on the elements and deities that usher in new life and growth. I don’t always leave offerings. I don’t always pray. But in everything I do, I try to be mindful of those I worship, believe in and talk to. Regardless of your beliefs, whether they are pagan, Christian or other, take a moment out of your day to pay respect to our earth and her changing of the seasons. Give thanks to your deity of choice for ushering in the season of new life. Toss out seeds that can feed the birds now while the leftovers sprout into flowers for the honeybees and butterflies in a few months. And while you are at it, spend a few minutes standing in the sun’s warm light and get your daily dose of vitamin D the old fashion way.

I hope spring is on it’s way in your little corner of the world. Until next time, blessed be brothers and sisters.

A Watched Pot Does Indeed Boil

Standard

image

They say a watched pot never boils but we all know that isn’t true unless you forgot to turn the stove on. I make it a habit to watch my pot or kettle every time I am bringing water to a boil. Why? I use this time to reflect on what I’m looking to do after the water boils. Am I making a cup of tea? Then I’m usually seeking calm and relaxing thoughts. Making dinner? I’m usually laughing at the guys talking about sports, so my thoughts are happy and loving. These thoughts in turn work their way into the end product. So always be mindful, even when watching a pot come to boil.

Goddess Diana

Standard

This post is an older one I just read and loved instantly. Enjoy!

Journeying to the Goddess

“Artemis, Goddess of the Hunt” by violscraper

“Diana’s themes are fertility, children, providence, abundance and harvest. Her symbols are the moon, water, forest items and the sun.  This Roman Goddess embodies the moon’s fertility and watery aspects along with the sun’s protective and nurtuirng power over the forests and its creatures. On this day she was celebrated in Rome and She will be remembered in our hearts as the huntress who helps us capture the spiritual ‘food’ we need.

Starting on August 13, the Romans had a weeklong festival for Diana, praying to Her for the harvest’s bounty and to turn damaging storms away. The traditional place to leave an offering of fruit or vines for Her is in the forest, or at a crossroads. As you do, if any stone or leaf catches your eye, pick it up and carry it as a charm that will keep Diana’s…

View original post 933 more words

Happy New Year!

Standard

Just popping in to say happy new year to you and yours!

image

( Saw this pic on Facebook, not sure who the artist is but it’s beautiful. Let me know if you know who the artist is!)

As Samhain Draws Near

Standard

As we near Samhain, I wanted to share a few images I’ve found about the upcoming holiday. They give great info about what it means, which deities it represents, so on and so forth. As this day grows closer, be mindful of your actions, intentions and words. The veil is thinning and our ancestors, both good and evil, are starting to walk among us. Blessed be brothers and sisters!

image

image

image