Saturday, April 5, 2014

Peas!

I just started some heirloom sugar peas for my garden. We're going to try growing them in pots because the kids and I love peas (and because I found  a neat way to use them for shade). I had never stopped to think about them in a magical sense, though.

I pulled out my copy of Cunningham's Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs to check. Then I laughed. Peas, according to him, are good for love and money.  I can see the love part, and I would have expected them to be a good choice for fertility spells (you know the old phrase about peas in pods, right?). Nine peas in a pod is supposed to be an aid for finding a woman's future husband. If she hangs the pod over the door, the next man through it will be her husband. Money was unexpected. Peas are excellent for business, especially if you shell them.  Lexa Rosean's Encyclopedia of Magickal Ingredients recommends eating raw peas for beauty and using peas to relieve domestic concerns, particularly revolving around money.  Remember "The Princess and the Pea"?  That little pea was separating the impostors form the real princesses, which would be a domestic concern for the royal family, obviously. I'm reasonably certain that peas had some other meaning for the story, but I haven't dug it up yet.

Anyhow, if you are looking for love or money (and really who among us isn't looking of rat least one of those?), add some peas to the menu.  If you have a garden, you might try growing them yourself, and reaping the full force of this vegetable's magic. They are easy to add to spring recipes (Fettuccine Alfredo with prosciutto and peas is a common spring meal for us), can be eaten raw (I like them on my salads), and are readily available in the freezer (Frozen peas are a favorite snack for my little monsters and were one of the first table foods they got as babies) section of the grocery store year round.  Enjoy!




Sunday, February 2, 2014

Happy Imbolc!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Comfort food- 30 minute chicken and dumplings

Comfort foods can be very, well comforting, and sometimes, especially when we're sick, depressed or in need of some  emotional support, comfort foods can help us feel better.  We all have our favorites, our recipes that elicit an emotional response when we cook, serve and eat them.  In my case, most of my favorite comfort foods take forever to make, so on a weekday evening, they aren't a likely candidate for dinner.  Heather's mom used to make fabulous chicken and dumplings, and one day, Heather will have time to retrieve the recipe from her parents' storage unit to give to me.  In the mean time, I did some research on the internet and found a 30 minute chicken and dumpling recipe that I have tweaked to make my own.  On chilly week nights, this can be thrown together in half an hour (no really, I timed it last time I did it) and my family loves it. It's also one of those meals that feels cozy and cheerfully homemade.

On a magical level, carrots bring clear sight. Golden broth warms us like the sun, peas represent fertility. Celery promote peace. Sage in the seasonings provokes thoughtfulness, and dumplings can be cut into shapes that reflect what we need (small cookie cutters work great for this and make it fun for kids to help).

Soup
16-24 ounces cooked chicken (this depends on how carnivorous you feel)
4-5 stalks celery, sliced
4-6 carrots, peeled and sliced in to disks
1- 16 ounce package of frozen peas
1 tablespoon Better than Bullion (I love this stuff) or three bullion cubes
4 cups water (if using broth omit water and bullion and add four cups of broth)
3 cups milk
1 tablespoon cooking sherry
1-2 teaspoons poultry seasoning
salt and pepper to taste

Dumplings
2 cups flour
1 T butter softened
1 T baking powder
1/2 t salt
1 cup milk

Add all soup ingredients, except milk and peas, together in a large pot. Cook on medium heat until veggies are tender. add peas. Add milk and reduce heat.

I find that making dumplings takes about the same amount of time as getting the soup ready for them to be added, so start this step as soon as the soup is set to simmering.  Combine dry dumpling ingredients and whisk together.  Add butter and blend with a pastry cutter. Add milk and continue blending until all ingredients are combined.  Heavily flour a surface for rolling out and cutting dumplings. Sprinkle flour on top of dough (the extra flour works as a thickener, and this dough is really sticky, so be generous) Roll out until dough is about 1/2" thick (if you are in a huge hurry, go a little thinner). Cut into whatever shape you like (for winter solstice, I did stars, but squares work great, too- just be warned they warp during cooking), and drop into the simmering soup.  Cook until dumplings are not doughy inside. Serve immediately.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Coffee scrub

Magic and cosmetics have a long history together.  So it is no surprise that you can use your time set aside for your beauty routine to work on some magic.  This scrub is an excellent way to get rid of some dull, dead skin cells and promote a energetic glow while also focusing our magical intentions on loving ourselves and promoting self confidence.  The caffeine in the coffee is used in many high end masks and scrubs to make skin appear refreshed and awake.

2 tsp Coffee for dispelling negativity (it's more mundane use is for caffeine to wake of the skin)
2 tsp Sugar for love and sweetness (it's also a really great, cheap exfoliant)
1 tsp Honey for healing (it's got a number of medicinal properties such as reducing dryness, redness, and being antimicrobial, which is important if your skin is acne prone like mine is)
1/4 tsp Cinnamon for success and healing (reduced inflammation and is antibacterial, again great for acne)
2 capsules Evening Primrose oil for attracting love-  (It is used in a number of cosmetics due to it's anti- aging properties)
1/2 tsp Salt for protection (another great exfoliant, as well as attracting excess fluid from cysts and swollen areas)

Mix the dry ingredients together in a small jar, then add the honey and begin mixing slowly. The mixing process takes time and it will seem like you need more honey at first- keep mixing. I found working the ingredients together with two small spoons was helpful.  At the half way point, at the liquid from one evening primrose capsule, add the the second when everything looks pretty mixed together.  This will create a ball of sticky, black paste.  You will only need a small amount to scrub your face with, so the rest could be stored in a sealed container in the fridge for few days, or you can splurge and exfoliate from head to toe.

Ask you scrub, focus your thoughts on absorbing the love and energy from the scrub while releasing negative thoughts about yourself.  See the old, attitude falling away to reveal a new one that is healing, loving and positive about yourself.