Saturday, January 29, 2011

Make Your Own Butter

Imbolc is a Sabbat that often focuses on dairy -- after all, the very word Imbolc is derived from Oimelc, or "ewe's milk." This is a great time of year to make foods that come from a dairy source, and few are more representative of dairy than butter. Homemade butter is great because it's got a fuller flavor - mostly because you make it with pure cream instead of diluting it with oils and water like commercially produced butter. Although back in the old days, people used to spend hours at a churn, you can put together your own batch of fresh butter with just a little bit of effort.

When I was a small girl, one of my best friends had a slumber party and her mother had us do this as an activity.  We all sat on the floor of the kitchen and rolled the jar back forth between us until we'd made the cream into butter.  We were so very proud of ourselves.  We then gorged on homemade waffles with our homemade butter and maple syrup..YUM!  Looking back, I now realize that my friend's mother was a witch and followed the craft.  She always had neat and fun activities like these for us to participate in.  She was a wonderful woman and I missed her and my friend very much when they moved away.  May the Goddess bless you and keep you happy, loved and safe.  I thank you for the wonderful memories you blessed me with as a small girl.

So here is what you need.

* Heavy whipping cream
* Glass jar with a lid that seals tightly

Prep time :  30 minutes

Allow the whipping cream to sit at room temperature overnight to let it ripen. Don't leave it out more than 24 hours, or it will spoil.

Pour the whipping cream into the jar. Tighten the lid so it's sealed - I like to use a Mason jar for this, but you can use any kind you like. Shake the jar for about twenty to thirty minutes. If you have more than one kid, let them take turns so no one gets bored.

Check the jar periodically -- if the contents are getting too thick for you to shake easily, open the jar and use a fork to stir things up a little. Eventually, the cream will start to form yellow clumps. These clumps are your butter, which means you're done.

If you're not going to eat all your butter immediately, keep it in the jar, refrigerated. It will last about a week before it begins to spoil.

You can add flavor (and help prevent early spoilage) by adding a bit of salt to your butter. If you like, add herbs or honey. Experiment a little, to see what sorts of flavors you enjoy best. Also, if you allow your butter to chill after mixing it, you can shape it into blocks for easy cutting and spreading.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Easy Creamy Mushroom Meatball Soup

1 2lb bag frozen meatballs
4 cans cream of mushroom soup
2  ½ cups milk
1 cup water
10 to 20 sliced mushrooms sautéed
2 cups cavatappi pasta (or other curly macaroni)
2 tsp dried onion
2 tsp Italian herbs
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp salt
Parmasean Romano Asiago shredded cheese mix

Heat the meatballs in a large microwave safe dish in the microwave based on directions on the package.  While these are heating, put the 4 cans of cream of mushroom soup in a large pot and add the 2 ½ cups milk and 1 cup water and bring to a boil.  While this is heating to a boil, in a large skillet with 2 tablespoons of butter sauté the mushrooms.  Season the soup with the Italian herbs, dried onion, garlic and salt.  When the meatballs have finished heating through place meatballs in the soup along with the sautéed mushrooms; add the 2 cups of pasta and stir.  Cook on low heat for about 30 minutes or until past is tender.  Soup will become very thick.  Garnish with cheese and serve.  

Balm of Gilead

A follower of mine has asked a wonderful question in regards to my recent post on the Peaceful Home Spell Bag.  They want to know more about Balm of Gilead and if there is a substitute that can be used.  First I want to give you some background information on Balm of Gilead and then I will provide you with a substitution.

Balm of Gilead - Populus balsamifera, Populus spp, Populus trichocarpa and poplar buds.

Balm of Gilead or Poplar buds come from our predominant Cottonwood Poplar trees in the United States which produce a resinous, stick and tight bud that is highly aromatic. "There is a balm in Gilead," the old Black spiritual says, "to soothe the sin-sick soul." The Biblical allusion refers to two contrasting references to the herb in the Old and New Testaments of the Christian bible, suggesting a time when healing would be available to all who seek it. The dried, unopened buds of the poplar tree have been used in ointments and skin treatments for at least 3,000 years.

Balm of Gilead is mentioned in the Bible as a great comforter.  It is said to ease the plight of the Broken-hearted, to soothe the pain engendered by quarrels, argument, and lovers’ spats, and to ease problems caused by jealous co-workers and false friends who are trying to trouble your marriage or love-life.  Some folks place a pinch of Balm of Gilead in the four corners of the bedroom to bring Peace to the Home and put an end to marital and sexual problems.  Others tell us that they carry Balm of Gilead in a pocket or conjure bag for reconciliation with an estranged lover, friend or spouse, or that they burn it on charcoal with myrrh to open the heart of a lost lover to renew contact. 
Essential oil and salicylates.                          
Parts Used
Unopened flower buds, dried before use.
Typical Preparations
Balm of Gilead buds are added to ointments, typically in a ratio of 1 part buds to 5 parts cream. It is also used in conjuncture with white pine and wild cherry bark (among other variations) as a cough preparation.
Balm of Gilead have been effectively used in compounds for its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory actions. Creams containing Balm of Gilead buds are used to treat frostbite, sunburn, superficial injuries of the skin, and external hemorrhoids. Of special note is that Balm of Gilead buds have been approved by the USDA for use in alcoholic beverages, but not in any other food items.
If you are highly allergic to aspirin, you may be mildly allergic to Balm of Gilead buds. Recommended for external use only. Not to be applied to broken or abraded skin.

I have several online herbal resources that I purchase from Sacred MistsMountain Rose Herbs and Penn Herb.  I prefer to purchase most, if not all, of my spell crafting and ritual supplies from Sacred Mists.  Lady Raven Moonshadow, the proprietress is also my Arch High Priestess and I trust all the items that I purchase from Sacred Mists Shoppe and can highly recommend the shoppe.  I also like both other stores and they have quality herbal products and are a great resource for herbs and herbal remedies and supplements.

Now, for the substitute, if you cannot purchase Balm of Gilead you can use rose buds in place of it.  I hope that you find this information helpful and as always, I am happy to answer your questions, so please feel free to ask away.  In Love and Light

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Peaceful Home Spell Bag

Is there too much stress and discord around the house these days? A little magick charm bag will help bring peace and quiet back into your life. You will need the following supplies

 One hair from each member of the household

 Blue thread or fine string
 A piece of angelica root
 Chamomile oil
 Balm of Gilead buds
 Lavender blossoms
 Chamomile blossoms

 Small blue fabric bag

Twist and braid the hairs together with the blue thread, then tie them around the piece of angelica root. Rub a small drop of chamomile oil over the bundle.

Put the tied root along with the Balm of Gilead, chamomile and lavender into the bag and sew it closed. While sewing the bag shut envision a home filled with peace and tranquility.  Place it in a central spot in the house, like the kitchen or living room. It will help diffuse any tensions and negative energy flowing in the house.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Mexican Dinner Night

Mexican Dinner Night

Cheesy Creamy Enchiladas with easy Spanish rice

Ingredients Needed:
4lb to 6 lb whole chicken
Water (enough to fill stock pot)
2 stalks celery
2 medium carrots
1 medium onion (or dried minced onion)
3 cans cream of chicken soup
1 cup sour cream
1/3 cup milk
1 can green chilies
2 cups shredded cheese
1 bag flour tortillas
Spanish Rice ingredients:
2 cups long grain rice
1 cup chicken stock
1 cup water
½ can tomato sauce
½ can diced tomatoes
1 small onion minced
2 tbsp garlic salt
1 tsp cumin
2 tbsp cooking oil

I don’t know about you, but my life seems continually busy and hectic and I am always challenged to come up with easy and nutritious meals for my family.  As a kitchen witch it is very important to me that I provide healthy meals imbued with all the love, positive energy, and harmony I can invoke.  One of my husband’s and my favorite things to do is cook together.   We both have a natural love for food, spices, herbs and all the delicious aromas cooking elicits in our home.   

This recipe is wonderful for many reasons, one it is easy and inexpensive (yay!) and you also are able to make your own healthy chicken stock where you control the amount of sodium and herbs that go into it.  The enchiladas also freeze well, so this a wonderful dish to make ahead and freeze for another night.
First off you will need a 4 to 6lb whole chicken; depending on the amount of servings you want, water, salt, pepper, 2 stalks of celery (with leaves) and 2 carrots, and 1 onion or dried minced onion and a large stock pot.

One of the most important things to do with chicken before cooking is to wash it off.  This is a very healthy practice as chicken can sometimes have salmonella.  So begin with rinsing your chicken, checking the inside to see if there is a bag with the gizzards in it and remove if there is (some chickens will have this, some not).  Rinse the chicken thoroughly, including the inside then place into your stock pot.  Fill your stock pot with water (and chicken stock if you have any on hand, just adds more flavor) until just covering your chicken.  Season with salt (I prefer Kosher salt), pepper and dried minced onion.  One of the biggest tips I could offer here is it is better to under salt than over salt.  You can always add more salt later.  I usually use about ½ teaspoon of salt.  Rinse your celery and carrots off, no need to peel, and rough chop them including the leaves of the celery and place into your pot.  If you are using fresh onion, peel and rough chop and add to your pot.  Turn burner on high, bring to a rapid boil then turn to a medium low heat and cook for an hour to an hour and a half, depending on the size of your chicken.

Remove your chicken from the stock and set aside in a bowl to let cool. Make sure and let your chicken cool thoroughly before deboning and skinning as you don’t want to burn yourself.  Set your stock aside to let it cool.  Once your stock is cooled, use a sieve (a very fine meshed strainer, like what you would use to sift flour or powdered sugar) to strain all the veggies and seasonings from the stock.  You can either place your stock in freezer proof containers or pour into ice cube trays to freeze or use quart size freezer bags.  If you use the freezer bags a great trick is to take a casserole dish, fill your bags with the cooled stock and place the bags in the casserole dish into the freezer (laying them flat on top of each other).  The casserole dish just helps in case any of the bags leak.  Once frozen remove from casserole dish and you can easily place in your freezer for later use.

Take your cooled chicken and start to remove the skin from the meat, placing the meat into a separate bowl, making sure there are no small bones.  Remove all of the meat from the bones and dispose of the bones and skin.  Then make sure and go through the chicken and shred apart any large pieces.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

After shredding all the chicken in a separate bowl mix together the cream of chicken soup, milk, sour cream and chilies.  Reserve half of the sauce to pour over the top of the enchiladas, pour the remaining sauce into the shredded chicken and mix to coat the chicken.

Take the tortillas and spoon mixture onto one end of the tortilla then roll up and place into 9 x 13 or two 8 x 8 casserole dishes; continue process until all mixture is gone.

After placing all the rolled enchiladas into the pans then cover with the reserved sauce, spreading sauce over the tops of all the enchiladas and top with shredded cheese. Place in oven at 350 degrees and bake for 30 to 40 minutes.

While the enchiladas are cooking assemble your ingredients for the Spanish rice.  Heat your skillet over a medium-high heat add 2 tablespoons of cooking oil and then your 2 cups rice; brown rice.  Next add the onion, tomato sauce and tomatoes; mix well but do not over mix.  Add chicken stock, water, garlic salt, and cumin.  Taste for appropriate seasoning; add more if needed (everyone’s tastes are different).  Bring to a boil, cover and cook over medium-low heat for about 20 minutes or until liquid is absorbed.

Plate your dinner with some lettuce for garnish and some sour cream, guacamole and salsa if everyone likes those and you are ready for your Mexican feast.

My little familiar loves enchiladas!!  Tip: if you are making your own guacamole here is an easy way to remove the pit from an avocado.  Take a knife and thump it into the pit so that it embeds into the pit and remove.
I hope you enjoy the recipes.  Feel free to leave comments if you make the recipes and if you changed it at all to make it more to your liking.  I love feedback!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

What Kind Of Empath Are You

While reading one of the many blogs I follow I came across a link to a quiz you can take to find out what kind of empath you are.  It is rather fun, so take it.  What Kind of Empath are You

Here are the results I got from my quiz:

You Scored as Precog
You are a Precog Empath. You are a visionary & a human thermostat. You can predict outcomes and see where paths may lead. You are a good scout and a guide to others. Be careful of your dreams. Your sight penetrates the veil that hides the truth from mankind. (from "The Book of Storms" by Jad Alexander at




Fallen Angel




I enjoyed the post very much that I read and you can find it at Jasmeine Moonsong.  It is a very informative and helpful post about empaths.  I have never thought of myself as one, but after reading my fellow Sacred Mists Sister's post, I am beginning to wonder if I am.  It is something that I will definitely be researching.

Enjoy the quiz and post.

Blessed Be!

Origin of Cayenne Pepper

One of my readers asked me a very important question, of which I would love to respond.  I was asked "Do you know where the cayenne pepper originate?"...

Capsicum frutescens
Fam: Solanaceae
Cayenne pepper takes its name from its supposed centre of origin - the Cayenne region of French Guiana, Cayenne deriving from a Tupi Indian name. It is now grown largely in India, East Africa, Mexico and the United States, in fact most tropical and sub-tropical regions. Chiles originated in South America, where they have been under cultivation since prehistoric times. The seed's long viability facilitated the rapid spread of the plant throughout the tropics and sub-tropics by the Spanish and Portuguese, the spice becoming as popular there as vine pepper. Chiles were long known as 'Indian' pepper - meaning 'of the New World' rather than 'of India'. Despite its specific name, and the supposed use of special chiles for it, there is little to distinguish cayenne from ordinary pure chilli powder, except that commercial 'chilli powder' usually contains other spices such as garlic or cumin, and is rougher in texture.

Cayenne pepper is a finely ground powder prepared from the seeds and pods of various types of chilli. The cayenne variety is commonly called 'Bird Chile', and the botanical name variously given as C. minimum or C. baccatum. As most powders are blends, the names of the varieties used are not very important. The capsicums used are the small-fruited varieties: thinnish tapered seed pods up to 12cm (5in) long and 2.5cm (1") in diameter. Cayenne is made from the ripened fruit, varying from red to yellow. The powder is red or red-brown in colour. Some cayennes include the ground seeds and are hotter than those which exclude them. Cayenne pepper is well known and easily available in the West. It should not be confused with the vine peppers which yield common black pepper.
Bouquet: Dusty but slightly aromatic.
Flavour: Hot, pungent and biting, although not as powerful as the hotter chillies. 
Hotness Scale:  8-9

Thank you Ponderosa Pagan for your question and comment!  I enjoy very much receiving comments and questions, so please feel free to comment away.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Sneak Peek for My Blog Followers!

Early this month I announced that I have been published in Metaphysical Monthly and that I had been asked to write a monthly article based on a different herb each month.  Well for those of you who follow my blog I decided to give you a sneak peek at next month's article.  I hope it inspires you to check out the magazine and all the wonderful articles they have.  It truly is a great magazine.  So without further adieu here is the "peek"

Cayenne Pepper

Cayenne Pepper’s (Capsicum minimum or Capsicum fastigiatum) health benefits are many, varied and truly astonishing.  I was never aware it had so many wonderful healing properties until I started to study herbs.  You, like me, may have just thought of cayenne pepper (or also known as chili powder) as a great cooking spice.  There are many different types of pepper spices made from red peppers, varying in strength from the mild paprika to the hottest cayenne.

Where does cayenne come from? The fruit or body of the peppers are dried then ground down, pulped and baked into cakes, which are then sifted to make the spice known as cayenne pepper. In case you may be slightly confused, red hot chili peppers are sometimes referred to as "cayenne peppers" as well.

Some may argue that cayenne is simply a spice and cannot be classified as an herb. So let's touch on that. Yes, certainly cayenne is a spice that is self-evident. And, to food preparation professionals, it is thought of as solely a spice. In its strictest definition, it is a spice as I referred to it above. ... 

...don't forget to check out Metaphysical Monthly in February for the rest of the article!!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Winter Wonderland Chocolate Cookies

Makes 8 dozen

40 Individually wrapped peppermints
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 large eggs
1 cup Hershey's or Ghirardelli cocoa
1 1/2 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 bag white chocolate chips
1 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  While the oven is preheating, unwrap mints and place in a ziploc bag, use a rolling pin or meat tenderizer to crush into fine pieces.  The mints should fill 1 cup after being crushed; set aside.

Mix sugar, brown sugar, butter, vanilla, eggs and cocoa in a large bowl or your Kitchenaid Mixer.  If using a handmixer put on medium speed and mix until well blended, scraping sides of bowl if necessary.  Set the chocolate mixture aside.  

Tips and Tricks:  If you are using a Kitchenaid or similar mixer, when adding dry ingredients to the wet, place a dishtowel over the top to prevent any of the dry being spilled out.

see the powder on the counter, if you use the towel it will prevent this from happening.

Mix flour, salt and baking soda (I usually sift together so there are no clumps and a good blending) in a medium bowl; set aside.  Slowly add the mixed dry ingredients to the chocolate mixture a little at a time until they are completely mixed.  Add the crushed mints, white chocolate chips and chopped walnuts, mixing until everything is well distributed and well blended.  Chill dough for 20 to 25 minutes.

Using a small cookie dough scooper (or regular spoon, if you don't have a scooper.  I love my scooper, keeps the fingers clean and less dough in my mouth...LOL) get a scoop of dough and place on cookie sheet, fill cookie sheet leaving enough space between cookies for expanding; place remaining dough back in the refrigerator.  Bake cookies at 350 degrees for 8 minutes.  Remove from oven and let cookies cool.  Repeat with remaining dough.

Eat and enjoy.  If you make these at Christmas time and give as presents you will be loved by all.  Trust me!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

My First Published Article

The start of 2011 for me has brought some wonderful news!  I was contacted by Tee Gregory of Metaphysical Monthly about an article I submitted in response to their writer of the month application.  They enjoyed it so much they decided to have an herb of the month article, of which they asked if I would like to be the monthly writer.  Yes!  I responded, so wonderfully excited by this offer.  Herbs are my passion, other than my family and my animals and I look forward to sharing my articles with you.  Please visit the magazine at Metaphysical Monthly.

Love and Light