Hello?

Yes, hello to you! It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything non-tea related… though for the millionth time, I LOVE THE TEA… πŸ˜‰

Well, I suppose there isn’t too much to talk about actually. I’ve been pretty busy with blending teas, filling out spreadsheets, using a cool app to do my accounting, and planning for Yule. Spiritually, it’s been quiet because so much focus is going into the teas. There’s been too much being tired to have enough energy to really hang out with my Gods other than asking Them for advice concerning tea. A fact which is not so happy, however, They are ever supportive.

I have forgotten once again that vitamin D is such a help for me during the winter months (duh). It’s funny because this summer, my brain finally started working more normally again for the first time in a few years (especially in remembering things & focus). Well, I spent quite a bit of time outside… in the sun… yep. Thankfully I still have enough brain power for me to realize a few weeks ago that I definitely need the vitamin D for the dark months. I’m feeling better since I started taking them, still tired, but not in the brain department. No signs of SAD yet, though I didn’t have much last winter (to which I thank the very bright snow, and sunny weather that usually begins in January and runs through till the end of March, the occasional storm breaking it up).

Anywho… There are plans for gingerbread cookies, Scottish shortbread, custard tarts, butter tarts… and the man and I (and whoever else wants some) got our Yule duck to nom on come Christmas day. I have yet to decorate our side of the house, but perhaps tomorrow?
I’m also excited to gift tea to my family and friends here, likely Butterbeer, Yule Father, and Mad Hatter’s Party Blend, unless I come up with a couple other blends before gifting commences!

I am just feeling very content since I began to offer the teas in my shop. I’m always thinking of what kinds of blends I might work on next, and I adore that I can be inspired and guided by my and other Gods to create blends to share with Them. Honestly, I think that’s the best part of making teas. It is so satisfying to create things for Them, to work with Them on something delicious and something that provides such a lovely connection to Them.

❀

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It’s Bread Season!

We’ve been having quite a warm autumn, here in southwestern Ontario! This week’s daytime temperatures are 15Β°C + when most years, it had already snowed on Halloween. I wouldn’t mind the warmth so much if it wasn’t for the fact that climate change isn’t actually good.

But enough of spoiling the joy of this post!

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Buns…. Oh, glorious buns! I don’t know how it happened, but last year, after years of bread making, I found a recipe that totally works for me and my sourdough starter! Fluffy, delicious bread to be had without fail it seems! To be noted, while I do enjoy a good sourdough, I haven’t armed to find the right flour mix to create the best sourdough flavour, so I use the started to make actually target bread since I hate homemade bread that’s made without it, much too bland!

It’s also nice having a bread maker too to handle the initial knead and first rise! Especially since my right wrist and forearm seems to likely have some sort of repetitive motion issues happening.

So although today the windows were open for the warm breeze, I just had to have this deliciousness! It reminds me of my memΓ¨re’s bread, and my childhood. Also, life yeast culture! Who doesn’t love the frothy goodness of yeast?! OK, I realise I’m biased… Mead maker and all…

I hope you all are treating yourself to good food as the days grow colder (maybe?).

❀

Sale Reminder

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Hello, dear gentle readers! I hope your day is as nice is mine is (well, only because I’m cooking a delicious dinner for the Man since it’s his birthday and all! Lemon potatoes, marinated pork chops, and a pumpkin pie… with ALL the whipped cream :D).

Just letting you know you have until this Saturday (the 31st of October) to get 20% off ANY reading in my shop, The Forest Witch! Type SAMHAIN into the coupon bar at checkout and voila!

Busy

I’ve been busy making things while contemplating some heavy stuff.
Having to focus on something very precisely, like making jam and following the recipe to a t helps to quiet the mind for a while. It also gives you delicious jam πŸ˜‰

fresh picked

We picked these Cornelian Dogwood Cherries, and the taste is fantastic! It’s a mix of cherry and rhubarb, with a hint of cranberry. I’ve saved a few pips to plant my own next year. I have a feeling a bit of espalier training will take place!

Breaking down

I just added one of the cups of sugar required to the fruit to get it to soften so that I could easily take out the pips. Or so I thought!
I spent almost an hour with a potato masher pushing the fruit through a strainer while the pips stayed behind.

Sugary mush

What resulted was a lovely paste, and more sugar was added to it! For four cups of cherry like fruit, you add 7 cups of sugar. They say you’re supposed to take the pips out first, but I tend to make my own rules.

Silver sparkle jam

The end result tastes like heaven. The reason why this batch of jam was so urgently made late at night is because I have a craving for crepes. So tomorrow morning will be a delicious one with fluffy, thin crepes with a spoonful of this heavenly jam, all rolled up with powdered sugar lightly dusted on top.

What I love the most about this jam is that I will never find it in a store. The flavours will only grace the pantries of a small amount of people in the whole world who are fortunate enough to have some of these trees around, and interested in making home made preserves.

risen

Oh, have I mentioned I’ve been bread baking?

Oh yes indeed. I’ve delved into what makes a delicious bakery bread delicious. Mostly we think of French bakery bread when we imagine those still warm, lightly buttered slices of bread. I’ve looked into how the French were baking their bread before the advent of packaged or bottled yeasts.
So what’s missing? Eggs? Butter or oils? Milk? What gives it that fantastic flavour?
Two words:
Sour dough.

sponge

So if you’re planning on making an actual sour dough bread, then you’ll use more sour dough starter, but if you’re looking for a delicious French bread taste, then you use much less. Right now, I’m playing around with how much the man and I like in the bread. Mostly I’m just eye-balling it because I always use the same amount of flour for our bread tin.

What I also like to do is to use regular bottled yeast to make sure it rises sufficiently. It can be tricky learning how to wait for wild yeasts to rise, so I’m still experimenting with it. But bread yeast isn’t a huge expense, and it helps with consistent results.

I have a feeling with the mead making and bread making, I’m supposed to work with yeast. It is a most wonderful and magical living organism, full of transformative powers.

I’ve also been planning a garden that will feed us and my parents once we move back to Ontario. I’m trying to implement companion planting, so the plans have taken a long time to finish!

So a busy bee I’ve been.

New Year, New You – Goals

On to the second post!!

Goals…
Ok, some goals for the coming year, magical and mundane:
-move everyday (yoga/walking)
-be mindful of what I eat
-sing everyday
-draw everyday
-give thanks everyday
-keep a tidy house
-hold personal ritual once a week
-read more pagan books
-sing for wedding ceremonies
-bake more

Those are just a few, but the more important ones that I would really like to do. There are more… believe it or not! πŸ˜› I just gotta get myself to not be a lazy bum hooked to the computer and interwebs! Ok, generally, I’m doing research of one sort or another, but that’s besides the point!

I think I mentioned it before, but I already wanted to get some goals in place for this year, and on a continuous basis. This will be an improvement of me year, making me more than I am now, and only for me. That’s the problem with most goals, they’re based on social expectations… and I’m so not about that. Notice I didn’t say I wanted to lose weight above, that’s because I don’t think weight has anything to do with it… I just need to exercise and move around more because I know that I’m not putting a ton of disgustingly bad foods in my body, in fact, I’d say I eat pretty healthfully anyway. And, weight is relative, 120 lbs on one person is going to look very different, and I usually find that 120 lbs is too skinny, unless they’re a petite person to begin with. I know that around 140-150 lbs looks good on me, and that’s fine, it’s something to shoot for, I guess, but not something to obsess about. And I also want to stay curvy and very feminine, so I’ll just move more, not worrying about doing crazy workouts that I can never stick to anyway.

Didn’t mean to go into a rant about weight… but there it is! πŸ˜›

Alrighty! I hope you are making some goals for the coming year, whether you are doing the New Year, New Year experiment, or not! And please, be kind to yourself, if you fall off the wagon, it’s OK!!! Just hop back on. We should allow ourselves to indulge once in a while, so if you ate that whole cake… well, that’s a lot of cake… but it’s not like you do it everyday! And the first time you fall off that wagon doesn’t mean that’s the end of it.

Nummy foods for a headachey day

So I’ve been suffering from a really nasty headache for the last two days that has kept me at home in bed. Today, I got my man to get me some magnesium (I did some research online about headache causes, and it seems like I might not be getting enough magnesium, which means that my body may not be keeping enough potassium to keep me hydrated), I took some at lunch and there hasn’t been any return of the headache! Yay! Not that I think that’s that, but we shall see!
Anywho, so it turned into a “let’s make butternut squash soup and grilled cheese supper!” day πŸ™‚ So here are some pics of lovely foods.

(Also baked the butternut squash seeds for a snack before supper!)

Mead!

So, I wanted to check on my mead babies, took them out of their dark closet and placed them in the light to find that they had clarified! So I decided I’d take them off the lees (the icky yeast husks at the bottom of the bottles). I racked them all and tasted them, and man, I am so excited! They are definitely drinkable now, but I really want to wait a few more months because the alcohol is quite hot, lol.

My medium mead with no other ingredients other than honey, yeast, water, oranges and raisins.

My strawberry melomel.

Mead flavoured with allspice and clove.

A pumpkin spice mead.

After having taste tested the pumpkin mead… I have a strong suspicion it will taste like pumpkin pie! I’m soΒ ecstatic, you have no idea!

So, going along with my productive weekend/Monday… I also made up a big batch of peanut butter cookies last night too! I feel like a busy little bee! All the while… I’m doing my homework and practicing a plethora of musical/witchy things everyday lately! Wee! πŸ˜€

Imagine my surprise and delight at how beautiful and clear these were!

Lughnasadh


Lughnasadh is upon us! The first harvest of the Wheel of the Year, and a time for us to rejoice in the bounties of the earth and our lives.

Lughnasadh
On the 1st of August, we celebrate this first harvest festival of the year. It is named after the Celtic God, Lugh, who dedicated the festival to his foster mother, Tailtiu, who died after having cleared a great forest so that men could cultivate the land. She told the men of Ireland to hold funeral games in Her honour and as long as they were held, Ireland would not be without song.

It is now the time of year when we begin harvesting grain and some fruits (mostly berries). Β Fertility magic is continuously performed to ensure the continued bounty of the land. To celebrate, bonfires, music and dancing is to be had. Magic(k) involving personal fertility (not necessarily of the conceiving babies kind) is also performed that we may continue to grow and be bountiful in our own lives. We are coming to the time of year for personal reflection, and going inwards.

This is a great festival to do some cooking/baking! Make breads, pies, potato pancakes, mmm!

What will you be doing for Lughnasadh?

Blessed Lughnasadh!