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2015-10-14 13

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!

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Oregano

From wikipedia.org

From wikipedia.org

Latin Name: Organum vulgare

Common/Folk Names: Kekik (Turkish), wild marjoram, winter marjoram, Mediterranean oregano, Mexican oregano, mountain mint, wintersweet

 

From FoodUniversity.com

From FoodUniversity.com

Medicinal Uses:
It has been shown to be most likely effective for riding oneself of intestinal parasites.

Oregano has proven to be high in antioxidants, and in tests, it has shown antimicrobial activity against certain strains of listeria.

In traditional Austrian medicine, oregano consumed as a tea or used topically as an ointment  is used to treat respiratory tract, gastrointestinal tract, and nervous system disorders. This hearkens back to Hippocrates’ use of oregano as a cure for stomach and respiratory ailments, along with use as an antiseptic.

From homegarden-journal.com

From homegarden-journal.com

Magical Uses:

Ruled by the planet Venus, the element of Air, and associated with Aphrodite.

Work with it for luck, happiness, tranquility, health, and protection. It can aid you in letting go of a loved one, or deepen existing love.

A crown of oregano worn during handfastings will bring happiness to the partnership. If also worn on the head whilst sleeping, it is said it will aid in psychic dreaming.

Because of oregano’s ability to bring joy, work with it to celebrate joyful occasions, or to bring more joy into your life. Wreaths or bundles of oregano can be left upon the recently deceased’s grave to ensure they find joy in the next part of their journey.

Of course, with all culinary herbs, use it in your food to impart the joy and happiness of oregano to your friends and family. Being easily recognizable as an important ingredient in Greek and Italian cuisine, it conjures up images of large family dinners, all are laughing and telling stories to each other, enjoying each other’s company. Keep these images in mind as you stir that pot of spiced tomato sauce, or as you mix together that olive oil, lemon juice, and oregano dressing.

Delicate Breakfast

As you know, I made that delicious jam last night so that we could enjoy some crepes this morning.

mixed

 

I warmed up the yummy jam in the pot. The smell was amazing. This is probably my favourite jam so far!

jammin

 

Next came the pouring. I had to do it a few times before I got the consistency of the batter right and the speed of making the circle. After came figuring out how long to wait until I flipped it.

browned

 

Next was painting little lines of jam on the inside of one side.

slathered

 

Then rolling and dusting with powdered sugar.

rolled

 

Then watching the jam ooze out when the fork was pushed in to make bite sized morsels.

2013-09-07 11.17.38-1

 

All in all, it was a delicious breakfast. There’s something fancy and frilly and fun about making foods that take time, are probably a little more complicated than they have to be.

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 😉

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.

Pagan Blog Project – H is for Hearth

215836865_b5a5535729

 

The hearth is the heart of the home, and it has become an increasing part of my practice’s focus. I am growing quite mindful of the sacred duty of keeping the hearth, and how my upkeep and time spent cleaning, cooking, baking, creating beautiful things to decorate our home, taking care of the animals, and the man, is integral to the feminine side of my spirituality.

I will outright say that I do not believe that “a woman’s place is in the kitchen”, not in the anti-feminist sort of way anyhow. I feel that the traditional gender roles are acceptable, and noble to pursue if that is the path that draws you; the same way it is acceptable and noble to pursue gender roles that are not traditional to your gender. In my case, I am very feminine, and enjoy the traditional feminine roles. “A woman’s place is in the kitchen” should really be “a person’s place is in the kitchen if that is where they find joy”. I enjoy creating a loving, welcoming, warm environment for family and friends. I have kind of always been the mama in my group of friends. That’s just the way I was made.

The hearth to me symbolizes the place where you can always return to to be safe, no matter what else in the world is going on. “Home is where the heart is,” and never a truer thing was said. The physical and spiritual energy (whether thought about or no) put into creating a home that harbours health, nourishment, joy, and love makes it inherently a sacred space. With this in mind, a happy home is naturally protected from outside negativity and harm. That doesn’t mean stop spiritually cleansing by smudging and the like, or never create protection charms to hang up, or never ward your home; do so when you need that extra bit of shielding. For the most part, however, your home is protected by the energy put into making it a warm and happy place.

I’ve been playing with an idea in my head for a little while of keeping a candle lit at all times in my home to symbolize the warmth and light of the hearth (seeing as there is not an actual fireplace in here), and to keep me mindful of keeping my home warm and light. I will obviously have to extinguish it when I leave the house, but otherwise, I’m thinking this will be a good thing for me. I am the lady of this house, and I enjoy the sense of duty and purpose within that role, and a reminder of that when I’m not enjoying it so much is in order, I think.
I’m also pretty sure the man enjoys the effort I spend making nummy foods, so it’s not a role that goes unappreciated! Speaking of which, he has said a few times recently that managing the household is my job, in lieu of reminding him of his chores and things that need to be taken care of by him in the house.
While sometimes there is frustration with having to remind him about things, I took on this role automatically when we moved in together almost six years ago. And I have to admit that my memory and observation skills are much better than his when it comes to the things that must be done, and are not necessarily fun. In a way, it’s also nice that I am relied upon in such a way.

To sum it all up for me, simply, there is more to homemaking than just the outward, or tasty, appearances.

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 🙂 So here are some pics of lovely foods.

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

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).  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!

Mmmm, Shepherd’s Pie

Last night, I decided to make some Shepherd’s pie with the unthawed hamburger that was supposed to be used for quesedillas the night before (but we had sadly run out of salsa). I was finished cutting up the onion and garlic and about to start the potatoes, when I thought, mmm, I love sweet potatoes, maybe I should cut some up and put them in too! And I did, and do you know what? It was so delicious!

Mia’s Shepherd’s Pie
1 lb hamburger                                       1 med onion, chopped
2-3 garlic cloves, minced salt & pepper to taste
3 medium potatoes, chopped          2 medium sweet potatoes, chopped
1/2 cup peas                                            3/4 cup green beans
1/2 cup corn (not shown)                  1 medium bay leaf
1 tbsp chili powder                                1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tbsp Italian seasoning (sage, oregano, thyme)
3/4 to 1 cup butter/margarine
half and half mixture of flour and water

1. Place 1 cup of water into a deep pan. Add salt and pepper, chopped onions, and garlic. Let simmer on med heat until onions are soft. Add hamburger and make sure it is mashed up so there will be no huge pieces. Let it brown, while occasionally stirring/mashing with spoon. Add in chilli powder, cayenne pepper, and Italian seasoning. When it is done browning, add the peas, beans and corn and let simmer for a while.


2. Cook potatoes.


3. When meat is done, make sure there is some water still there to make enough gravy. Add the half and half mix of flour and water (I like to start with about 1/2 cup of each). You’ll want the burner on about med-low for this, as flour will easily make little dumplings, lol. After it has desired thickness, salt and pepper once more to taste.

4. With the oven warming at 350 F, drain potatoes and mash with butter or margarine.


5. Place meat on bottom layer of a casserole dish (a bigger one is best suited), then carefully place the potatoes on top.

6. Cook in oven for 35 minutes, then serve after the boiling has stopped.

And as always, cook with intent. Infuse your positive energies into every meal.