Sunday, June 26, 2011

Summer Outdoor Sundries


Clean patio furniture with this fragrant spray mixture :

one teaspoon borax

two tablespoons white vinegar

two cups hot water

1/4 teaspoon essential oil of lavender

five drops of tea tree oil

Add all ingredients to a clean spray bottle and swirl til dissolved.

Apply to chairs,umbrellas,etc.,then scrub & wipe with a damp cloth.

Decorate your yard with seashell ashtray/incense burners :

sifted beach or play sand

baking soda

favourite essential oil blend

large shells,such as clam or abalone

In a large bowl,combine equal parts of sand & soda; then add

several drops of the oil and mix.Spoon into shells and place outside.

Add aromatic herbs,such as dried lemongrass,lavender,or rosemary

to outdoor fires,as it helps banish insects.You can also blend this effective
incense to use on the porch :

2 tablespoons dried lavender flowers

2 tablespoons ground lemongrass

1 tablespoon frankincense resin

1 tablespoon amber resin

1 tablespoon dried catnip

1 teaspoon dried rosemary

1 teaspoon dried thyme

Combine all ingredients in an airtight container.To use : place one

charcoal tablet into a fire-proof vessel,light it,then sprinkle a

generous pinch of the incense mixture over the burning tablet.

Monday, June 20, 2011

~ Summer Breeze Bars ~

This is my version of an old fashioned, lemon bar recipe with an herbal twist in the
    tart filling and a touch of spice to the shortbread crust.Refreshing as a Summer breeze,when served
    cold with a glass of sun-kissed, iced tea!

            Herb~Scented Sugar : Crush a handful of fresh lemon balm or lemon-scented rose geranium
    leaves and stir into 3 cups of granulated sugar.Store in an air-tight container for a week or so,sift the
    leaves from the mixture and use in the following recipe.Any left-over can be used to sweeten tea.

           ~ Summer Breeze Bars ~

              Filling ingredients :   
                                                5 large eggs,gently whisked
                                                6 tablespoons all purpose flour
                                                2 cups herb-scented,organic sugar
                                                3/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
                                                1 teaspoon minced lemon zest

              Shortbread Crust ingredients :
                                                              3/4 cup butter,at room temperature
                                                              1 + 1/2 cups all purpose flour
                                                              1/3 cup organic sugar
                                                              1 teaspoon ground cardamom
               To prepare & bake :
                                                  While preheating oven at 350*F, mix together the four crust
               ingredients.Press firmly and evenly into a 9 x 13" non-stick pan.Brown lightly for about
               20 minutes,then set aside.
                                                   In a large bowl,mix together filling flour and herb-scented
                sugar.Gently add the whisked eggs to the bowl,stir in the lemon juice & zest to
               combine and pour over the pre-baked crust.Return pan to oven for 20 more minutes til
               firm.Cool and store in refrigerator before serving.Cut into squares and dust with powdered
              sugar,if desired.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Summer Solstice Oil Recipe

            Those who practice wort cunning know that the celebration of Midsummer is associated with growth, sunshine, and the magickal efficacy of herbs & plants. The sunny yellow flowers of Saint John's wort are a traditional  association with this potent time of year, and lend their mid-June blooms to this healing oil infusion used for treating Summer skin conditions (burns,insect bites,bruises,and inflammations) :

                                  Gather fresh St.John's wort blossoms early on a dry & sunny morn. Fill a clean
glass jar with them and then fill it to the rim with organic oil : cold-pressed olive oil, sunflower, sweet almond, jojoba,or coconut are all good choices. Cover the flowers entirely to prohibit mold growth which will spoil the preparation. Push them down to release any air bubbles from the jar. Cap the jar tightly and sit on a sunny porch or window sill for one to two weeks ; swirling occasionally. Upon the oil's attainment of a deep red coloration, strain through cheesecloth, and into another sterilized,dry jar. Store the bottled midsummer sunshine in a dark & cool place.


Sunday, June 5, 2011

Receipt To See the Fey

          As Midsummer's Eve approaches, the ability to glimpse the Faeries is heightened. The following "receipt" is dated 1600 :

                                          To enable one to see Faeries :
                                         A pint of sallet oyle and put it into a vial glasse; and first wash it with rose water and marygolde water; the flowers to be gathered towards the east. Wash it til the oyle becomes white, then put into the glasse, and then put thereto the budds of hollyhocke, the flowers of marygolde, the flowers or tops of wild thyme, the budds of young hazle, and the thyme must be gathered neare the side of a hill where the faeries used to be; and take the grasse of a faery throne; then all these put into the oyle in the glasse and settle it to dissolve three dayes in the sunne and then keep it for thy use. (mischievous giggle*)

                                         * To make the oil to see the Faeries, you have to know where the faeries are.

Cup o' Sunshine Tea

Make this festive tea to quench thirst and gladden the heart. This blend is especially efficacious if made when the herbs are at the peak of their essential oil content. Use fresh-from-the-garden herbs,if possible : if not, buy organic ones at the Farmers' Market or local natural food store. It's perfect to serve in a punchbowl,into which you can float an iced ring that is graced with the leaves of the same herbs that are used in the brew :

                                                 ~ Cup o' Sunshine Tea ~

                                                    three parts lemon balm leaves
                                                    one part borage, flowers & leaves
                                                    one part chamomile leaves
                                                    one part lemon verbena leaves
                                                    one part St.John's wort leaves

                        Combine all herbs and put into a clean glass vessel. Pour boiling water over the mixture (about one cup herbal blend to one pint water ratio ; use more herbs to strengthen flavour,if desired).
Cover & steep for at least half an hour. Strain and sweeten with honey or agave syrup to taste, then pour over cups with ice & lemon wedges. Sip,savour, & smile!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Faith,Trust, & Pixie Dust

  Being the mother of three lends itself to many introspections. In regard to religion, I have chosen not to lead my children through an obstacle course of blind convention. I am proud to have raised a trio of individuals : ages 20, 15, and almost 13. In my opinion, faith is an exquisitely personal facet of a human being. It should bloom from within the psyche, and be nurtured by one's life experiences. I have planted seeds of faith for my children by raising them with a broad-minded perception of the world's religions. An analysis of all finds a common thread of "golden rule" (remember being taught about that as a child?) that runs throughout its' many
forms : the essence of which is to treat others as you would want to be treated yourself. Does that theme not herald the most important aspect of parenting; which in my esteem is fostering kindness,respect,and tolerance for all living things within the mindset of the next generation? Our society does not practice what it preaches and I believe that children learn best by example.

   The incorporation of ancestral roots greatly influences a child's perspective of faith. Those who are fortunate to be raised with elder family members can be taught to appreciate their beliefs and contributions. Those who do not have any living relatives can be guided on a journey of the past to
open the doors of distant credence. Religions are integrated by all cultural aspects : enrich a child's world by sharing ethnic folklore and traditions. Explore together the links of food and seasonal observances within your faith and make relevant these associations by preparing a holiday meal in a family-friendly kitchen environment. Open their eyes to the mysteries of life : explain all the possibilities and not just the dogmatic ones. Show them that quiet contemplation and/or prayer will augment patience,insight,and acceptance of life's difficult circumstances. Teach them to believe in themselves, as well as a higher power.