Monday, November 25, 2013

How does a Witch celebrate the Season?

I LOVE this time of year!

Autumn is my favorite, I get to pull out my boots & sweaters, and the FOOD! It makes me happy!

It is a few days before Thanksgiving, and you have surely noticed the GIFT messages everywhere. Gifting season is here!

I have made a Goddess Holiday Gift Guide this year, incorporating wonderful gifts, made with love, for your favorite Kitchen Witches, treasure hunters, vintage fans, or green witches :).

Much love,

Monday, November 4, 2013

Quick, & very fattening. The best Cheesecake ever!

Many, many moons ago I visited New Orleans. During that stay I bought a fundraiser cookbook off of a nice lady I met :).

I LOVE this cookbook! It is about a million years old, a bit stained, a bit tattered, but it is still one of my favorite. Everything in there is SIMPLE :).

Everyone one in my house has a birthday cake favorite. Yesterday was my husband's birthday, and he wanted cheesecake.

Here is the recipe, hold on to your buttons!

3 large packages of soft cream cheese
4 eggs
3/4  cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 pint sour cream
1 box zwieback or ginger snap crumbs

Cream cheese and add 3/4 cups of sugar and eggs one at a time. Add vanilla. Pour into greased spring pan lined with zwieback on bottom. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes. Whip 1 pint sour cream 1/4 to 1/2 cup sugar and pour over cake. Return to same oven for another 10 minutes. Put in refrigerator for a least 3 hours and chill before serving.


The original recipe says 2 hours chilling, but you will see in my pictures that 2 hours just does not set the cheesecake enough. Over night is what I usually do, but I was not on schedule yesterday and we could not wait any longer to dig in :).

Serve with strawberry sauce, or like us, plum sauce (that is actually supposed to be jam, but it did not set. Tastes fabulous!!)


Friday, October 11, 2013

Super Salad, Healing Wonder

The nights are getting longer, the days are getting a bit chillier.....I LOVE this time of year!!

Lots of opportunity for making "healing" foods :). Foods that nourish the body & the soul.

This is one of my favorite salads. It is raw, healthy, easy & quick to make, and tastes better the next day. So make a big bowl!

You will need:
red beets
fresh ginger
olive oil & apple cider vinegar
salt & pepper

You can determine your own ratio, but for this large salad I used 4 medium beets, and 6 large carrots. We like ginger, so I used about a 2 inch piece of fresh ginger cut small.

If you have a KitchenAid, grate the ginger and carrots. Transfer into a large bowl. Add ginger and chopped parsley. I usually just pour olive oil & vinegar over everything, add salt & pepper, and MIX!
You can make the sauce separately, if you wish.

This salad is crunchy, and is great as a side to pasta, or I just made it to along side of chicken curry.

It tastes even BETTER after it has soaked overnight. You can add feta cheese, mix it with salad greens, or even pour over pasta.


Tuesday, September 17, 2013

GIVEAWAY!!! Pickle it!!!

I love fermented foods, especially sauerkraut. Fermented foods offer so many health benefits, they are yummy, and they extend the shelf life of veggies without having to can them.

I have tried various ways to ferment my own kraut. I even bought a beautiful stone crock must for making mounds & mounds of sauerkraut. Unfortunately, my crock does not come with a fitted top, so I had to improvise. Let me tell you the kraut story I will never live down:

One day, kept smelling "gas" in my kitchen. I live in an old house, built in 1950, so gas smells are always taken seriously. I called PG&E, and they had someone out within the hour to check. He came and smelled it too, but could not pinpoint a leak anywhere. After checking all the pipes and deeming the house safe, he left. I returned to the kitchen, and while walking into my pantry, I got a whiff again! I looked over,  and there stood my crock with kraut in it. I lifted the towel, and realized it was the benign, but smell culprit!

Now I have discovered  a fantastic, and non-smelly, way to make kraut. I love it because I do not have to worry about my kraut creeping out of the brine. All you need is a Mason Jar, and you can go from cabbage to kraut in 4-5 days! It also looks real cool, and fascinates little (and big) scientists, watching the bubbles as the concoction ferments!

I wanted to take a picture of our finished kraut, but this little bowl is all we had left when I went to take pictures. My kids ate it already. We are on our third batch.

 I was so excited to share this with you, I contacted Kayleigh, the fabulous owner of "Pickle-Biotic", and now you have a chance to win your own fermentation kit!! Just enter the Rafflecopter below!

You can find all kinds of cool recipes on Kayleigh's website. I just cut up the cabbage, pounded it into a 1/2 gallon Mason Jar, added the brine water, and 5 days later we have crispy kraut. I put my jar in a bowl to catch any overflow.

You know how much I love SIMPLE.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Kitchen Floor Therapy

The first time my kids saw me on my hands and knees, with a bucket next to me, wiping the floor.....they asked if someone had puked :). Now, they know to leave me alone when they see me wiping.

When I ditch the mop, and get back to my roots, either:
1. I am bonding with my Oma. She lived, and I grew up, in an old browstone. There were 10 apartments in her building, and each week one apartment was responsible for wiping down the stairwell. Yep, all flights of stairs and entry lobby. And don't you DARE not do it! My Oma was a neat freak. When she got older, I would take over her wiping when I visited. I would also wipe her floors where she did not have rugs.  I never used a mop until I got to the U.S., we did it with a bucket, and a rag :). Her picture hangs in my kitchen, and she is watching me with a smile on her face. I think we could have done surgery on her floors.

2. Need thinking time. When I scrub my kitchen floor, I think. The kitchen is "my place". It is the heart of the house, this is where I brew & stew, and this is where I go to ground. When I scrub that floor, I don't listen to music or talk, I just silently scrub & ponder.

When I am done, I feel happy. Yes, my knees hurt, as I am not 18 anymore, but it doesn't matter. I have tried to meditate for many years, completely failed. This is how I meditate. If I really need some grounding and simmer down time, I do the whole house (this is when the family flees).

I use hot water and vinegar, and throw in some essential oils and a few sprigs of rosemary. My favorite scents are rosemary, peppermint, lemon, lavender, or today I used Super Immune, a mix I purchased :). The EO's clear my mind as I scrub.

Before the floor dries, the dog trapses across it to say hello, and at least one child will instantly poof away if they don't immediately get some water or food. It is never ending :).

I always finish with a happy sigh and an ice cold brew. Perfect ending.

Much love,

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Squash is taking over the world, are you ready?

Fresh from the garden :)
This year I thought ahead, and planted only TWO squash plants :). Plus, I chose a mediterranean squash (sounded mysterious :)...), and a spaghetti squash instead of our standard zucchini & yellow crookneck. I know I will get both left in anonymous baskets on my front porch not too long from now.

The funny round squash is already bursting. One day I will go out and there is nothing, and the next day there will be a few of fabulous little green pumpkin looking surprises.

I love to ferment, and when I googled, sure enough, I found a Lacto-Fermented Summer Squash recipe. If you’re wondering what to do with it all why not ferment it which improves flavor, digestibility, and keeps for months in cold storage. Quick & simple too, my favorite. And friends, this is what you are getting for Christmas & Yule, as my magic squash plants are promising with lots of flowers......

Lacto-Fermented Summer Squash from
(original recipe here)

  • 1-2 medium sized summer squash, cut into 1/2″ chunks (just enough to fit in a quart jar)
  • 3 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
  • a few sprigs of flowering cilantro.
  • a couple of mesquite, oak, or grape leaves (to keep them crunchy)
  • 1 quart of filtered water
  • 2 tablespoons sea salt

  1. Combine water and sea salt, stir well and set aside.
  1. Add the crushed garlic and one sprig of flowering cilantro to the bottom of a quart jar. Fill jar halfway up with chunks of summer squash. Add a bit more garlic and cilantro and fill the jar with squash chunks up to 1-2″ below rim.
  1. Pour salt water brine over the squash. At this point you want to weigh the squash down in order for it to remain below the level of the brine and ferment evenly. This isn’t an ideal solution, but I like to use a narrow-mouthed lid in my wide-mouth quart ferments. Just press it down until enough brine covers it that it weighs the squash down. You could also use a cabbage leaf or a cleaned rock.
  1. Cover tightly with a canning lid and ring. Allow to sit out at somewhere near room temperature, ideally 60-80 degrees. Check your jars and burp them every 12 hours or so by loosening the lid and allowing some gas to escape.
  1. Let ferment 2-5 days, depending on temperature and then transfer to cold storage (refrigerator, root cellar, etc.).

P.S. If you are in the need of grape leaves, and live in Sacramento, I am happy to share. I have LOTS. Not sprayed either :). Stuffed grape leaves is next....

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Easy DIY Laundry Soap

I do a lot of laundry. Trust me, detergent is put to the test in this house, especially the laundry of my 11yr old son.........

About a year and a half ago, I came across an easy recipe for laundry soap. Bonus: it WORKS! Once you do this, you most likely will never go back to buying detergent.

1. It is easy, grating the soap is the most tedious part, and that is what we all have children for.
2. It is cheap, and if you do as much laundry as I do, you will appreciate that.
3. You can be rest assured that there is nothing in your laundry soap that will slowly diminish you.
4. If you forget the laundry in the washing machine for a few hours, or even overnight, it will NOT smell like moldy socks!!

Our water tends to be hard, so I put white vinegar in the rinse cycle (when I remember). Also, if the laundry is SUPER DIRTY,  I will add a scoop of OxyClean.

Recipe: (you will see why it is so easy to remember, you won't even have to save this post!)

1 bar of Fels Naptha soap.
This is what I use, but some people use Ivory soap. If you are very sensitive, you could use Dr. Bronner, but that would make it costly. Grate the soap with a cheese grater. The smaller the pieces, the better they will dissolve. I bought a grater at the thrift store just for soap. Don't use your kitchen stuff, your cheese will ever taste the same.....

2 cups Borax
2 cups Super Washing Soda
2 cups Baking Soda

Layer it all in a big gallon size jar (old pickle jar?) and SHAKE. You can add some essential oils to this if you like. The soap is pretty smelly, so I don't. You will need between 3 and 5 tbls of detergent per wash, depending on your wash load & water. Experiment and see what works best. I get my supplies at my local ACE Hardware most of the time, but if I am ordering something from Amazon, I use them. Great deals on bigger sizes. Costco has a great price on a 13.5lb bag of Baking Soda, which I use everywhere, so BIGGER is BETTER!

Friday, May 10, 2013

Nettle & Garlic LOVE

Sometimes,  a recipe catches my eye because it looks pretty :), and sometimes because my favorite foods are in the title.

In this case, the nettles & garlic reeled me in. Nettles is the "all wonder" herb in my book, and I try to get as much of it as I can.

You can find the original recipe on Mountain Rose Herbs blog. I made a few switches to accommodate what I had in the house, and my biscuits look a little different. I copied the original recipe, and made my switches below.

Talk about YUM!!! Just the smell of them baking had us all drooling!

Nettle Garlic Buttermilk Biscuits

• 2 cups organic spelt flour (I only had the whole wheat kind, would normally use white spelt flour to make them a bit lighter)
 • 1⁄2 teaspoon sea salt
• 1 1⁄2 teaspoons baking powder
• 1⁄2 teaspoon baking soda
• 4 cloves fresh garlic, crushed
• 5 tablespoons organic unsalted butter
• 1 cup 1.5% organic buttermilk
• 1/2 cup dry nettle leaves, soaked for 10-15 in the buttermilk. You can buy dry nettles here.

1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Combine flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda in a large mixing bowl and stir thoroughly. Using two butter knives or a pastry cutter, add the butter until the mixture resembles a crumbly meal.
2. In a separate bowl, combine buttermilk with finely chopped garlic and Nettle leaf. Add this liquid mixture to the dry ingredients and gently fold together to form a soft dough.
3. Form small balls, smoosh them flat to resemble biscuits (I did not roll them out, like to save dishes and time).
4. Bake the biscuits for 14-16 minutes or until light golden brown. (watch your biscuits. I find spelt flour often needs less time than regular flour.)
5. Remove from the baking sheet to avoid over crisping your biscuit bottoms and serve warm fresh from the oven with butter.
Makes 10-11 biscuits.

Served with chili :)
I warmed these up in the oven, wrapped in some alu foil, the next day, and they were delicious. A bit
more crumbly than day 1. My daughter requested that I make them with cheese next time, which sounds like an excellent idea, and makes me think of quiche.

Bon appetit!

Monday, April 8, 2013

1 chicken = 3 meals

Until recently, I did  not know you can "roast" a chicken in a crockpot.

I know, right?? Where have I been?

Now that I know, a chicken has a hard time escaping my crock pot, one of my FAVORITE kitchen utensils.

Just in case I am not the only who has been devoid of the chicken secret, I am posting this fabulous way to make 3 meals out of one chicken......while shooting the breeze (or reading a book, or playing on Facebook...).

First meal:
Cut one onion, cover the bottom of crock. Wash chicken. Remove any gizzards, and put them in the
crock. Stuff chicken with an organic lemon, and any herbs you have. I love rosemary, thyme, and marjoran, and they love me by growing abundantly here :). Rub chicken with salt & pepper, or garam masala. Cook on high for 6-8 hours. Check with thermometer for doneness.....poultry should reach at least 165 degrees.

Eat wonderful, juicy chicken, but keep all the bones. Put any chicken left overs in a glass jar in fridge for tomorrow!


yummy stock
Put all your bones back in the crock, with whatever is left in there (lemon, gizzards, herbs). Add some garlic and celery. Put in some wine, if you like.  Fill with water to top, and let cook on low overnight at least, longer is ok.

Third, and second meal:
Strain fabulous chicken stock. Give your dog any gritty knuckles and gizzards :).

Heat in pot with some cream and make thickish sauce. Add chicken leftover meat. Add some kapers, salt n' pepper, and fresh parsley. Serve over rice, noodles, or make dumplings. Server with green salad. Mmmmmm.

Fourth, and third meal:

Saute' some onions. Add turmeric and let soak into onions a bit....before everything burns, fill up with rest of chicken stock. Add some sliced carrots, green onions, and noodles (we like rice vermicelli from the Asian store :)..). When everything is done, whisk up 2-3 fresh eggs, and add to boiling soup. Stir quick until eggs 'shreds". Sprinkle with some fresh parsley or cilantro, and a side of fresh bread.


1 chicken = 3 meals. Can't beat that!


Wednesday, March 27, 2013

This magic stings!

Stinging nettles is one of my favorite herbs. It is one of those magic plants that just gives!

Especially beneficial for women, here is a "short" excerpt from Dr. Christopher:
"Stinging nettle is an astringent, diuretic, tonic, anodyne, pectoral, rubefacient, styptic, anthelmintic, nutritive, alterative, hemetic, anti-rheumatic, anti-allergenic, anti-lithic/lithotriptic, haemostatic, stimulant, decongestant, herpatic, febrifuge, kidney depurative/nephritic, galactagogue, hypoglycemic, expectorant, anti-spasmodic, and anti-histamine. 

Nettle leaf is among the most valuable herbal remedies.  Because of its many nutrients, stinging nettle is traditionally used as a spring tonic.  It is a slow-acting nutritive herb that gently cleanses the body of metabolic wastes.  It is one of the safest alteratives, especially in the treatment of chronic disorders that require long-term treatment.  It has a gentle, stimulating effect on the lymphatic system, enhancing the excretion of wastes through the kidneys. 

Nettle’s iron content makes it a wonderful blood builder, and the presence of vitamin C aids in the iron absorption.  As a hemetic (an herb rich in iron), this is an excellent herb for anemia and fatigue, especially in women.  It “promotes the process of protein transanimation in the liver, effectively utilizing digested proteins, while simultaneously preventing them from being discharged through the body as waste products.” 

WOW! Right?

There are many creative ways to incorporate the beautiful Nettle into your body, I prefer infusions. Simple. I put a handful of dry nettles in a quart size mason jar and cover with boiling water. Cover and let stand overnight. Strain the next morning and drink throughout the day. Voila!
P.S. The only place I get dry nettles is at Mountain Rose Herbs.
When you purchase dry nettles, make sure they are DARK green, and smell earthy. Anything that is grayish, or does not smell is usually old. It will not have the same healing properties. You can get a huge bag at Mountain Rose for under $10.

You can be adventurous and pick your own Nettles. Yes, I think that is crazy, but I have done it and it is also very fulfilling to talk to Nettle and ask her to spare you the sting, thanking her for her healing as you pick :). Make sure to educate yourself before you go, and wear thick gloves!

I love Nettles during the spring. It is a wonderful spring tonic, but my biggest secret is that she saves us from allergies. Yep. When the first blossoms come out, we Nettle up. 

I even give my fabulous Rex dry nettles. Last year, my dog started shaking his head violently, and licking his paws. I ended up taking him to the vet, as his ears and paws were bothering him and getting raw. The vet noticed that I had been there the same time of year (almost to the day) a few years back, with the same symptons. Why not the years in between? Duh! I was giving Rex Nettles RIGHT at the beginning of allergy season. $150 later, equipped with chemical war fare to help him heal, I swore to put him on a regime.

So, I simply put a handful of dry Nettle into about a cup of wet dog food. He will gulp it down because he never gets canned food and this is a treat :). You can put it in anything wet: egg, make your food, etc.  Start with a little first to see if your dog will tolerate it.  It is worth a try, and has saved me lots of $$'s!


Friday, March 8, 2013

NO WHEAT! Banana spelt muffins

I have given up wheat! It is a dramatic adventure, as I live & breathe baked goods, bread, and pasta. I am experimenting, and often, the experiments are so bad not even the dog wants to eat it. BUT, every once in a while, I have a winner! These muffins are healthy, and SO yummy!

I found this recipe on fannetasticfoods originally, but altered it a bit. Here is my version.

 I usually get about 8 nice sized muffins out of this.

  • 2 C spelt flour
  • a good swig of maple syrup
  • 1/2 C finely ground flaxseed
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 3 very ripe bananas, mashed
  • 3/4 C  milk
  • 1/2 C plain nonfat Greek yogurt
  • Optional add ins: 1/2 C each of: walnuts, sunflower seeds, chopped almonds, chia seeds (which I put in the muffin in the pic)
1. Preheat oven to 300 (spelt bakes more quickly than regular flour!). (I actually set my oven to 350. Experiment!!)
2. In two large bowls, separately mix dry (flour, sugar, flax, cinnamon, baking powder/soda, salt) and wet (bananas, milk, yogurt, add-ins) ingredients.
3. Add wet ingredients to dry, stirring until mixed.
4. Spoon into a cooking-sprayed or nonstick muffin pan.
5. Bake for 25 to 35 minutes. Time varies every time I make them. Do a sticky test for doneness. These muffins are moist, so do not overbake.

Now spread with a thick slab of butter, and enjoy!

Monday, February 11, 2013

SLEEPY OWL Dream Pillow Giveaway!

OWL  DREAM PILLOW -  Bringing back sweet dreams
OWL  DREAM PILLOW -  Bringing back sweet dreams OWL  DREAM PILLOW -  Bringing back sweet dreams OWL  DREAM PILLOW -  Bringing back sweet dreams OWL  DREAM PILLOW -  Bringing back sweet dreams OWL  DREAM PILLOW -  Bringing back sweet dreams

Here's your chance to win one of my limited edition SLEEPY OWL Dream Pillows!

Imagine yourself drifting away, falling into deep sleep....running wild & beautiful in your dreams...and remembering your dream with a smile in the morning!

These hooty owls are hand crochet by me :). The yarn is a snuggly soft acrylic yarn, and the eyes have been sewn on. Each owl has a separate dream pillow inside (fill weight approx. 3 oz, all herbs), that can be removed when the herbs need to be renewed.

These dreamy pillows are filled with:
*Chamomile: Calming, relaxing, and said to keep bad dreams away.
Cloves: Brings warmth and an exotic feeling to dreams.
Hops: Relaxing and peaceful.
*Mugwort: Greatly enhances lucid dreaming and helps with remembering of dreams.
*Rosemary: Traditionally used to bring deep sleep and keep away bad dreams.
(coming soon: Sleepy blend with lavender, chamomille, sweet marjoran, & rosemary)

ENTER NOW via Rafflecopter :). Share with your friends :)
Have a hooty day!
Good luck,
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Chickweed ~ Eat your weeds & ZAP those fat cells!

As the name implies, Chickweed is often considered a "weed" :).

It aids against inflammation , bacterial infections, eliminate waste, and even zap fat cells. FAT CELLS! Yes, ma' am! :) I love Susun Weeds "Chickweed is a Star"...she explains chickweed so well, no need for me to it again.

Best thing is, you can  get it free. Chickweed grows abundantly in the beginning of spring. .Just look down for the beautiful green mounds of green graceful leaves and gorgeous little white star flowers. They are remind me of fairy glens :).  Here in my parts, well, it grows in my backyard! I am blessed. Somehow, it found its' spot, and grows there every year.  In the drain out area, right where the non-existant pipe is.  Chickweed loves warm, damp (not wet) places. The PH level has to be right, so it is quite miraculous that it just GROWS. There is lots of chickweed by the river right now too. I always climb up a bit, you don't want to pick the chickweed the dogs have marked :). You can Google "chickweed" for images to make sure you pick the right thing. Watch for the flowers.

The magic of chickweed can be incorporated into your meals many ways:

1. Chickweed infusion - Stuff a mason glass with chickweed, cover with boiling water, and drink the next day.
2. Vinegar - again, stuff a glass, cover with apple cider vinegar, and let sit at least 6 weeks. Strain & enjoy!
3. Tincture - STUFF  a GLASS!! Cover with vodka, wait 6 weeks. Strain.
4. EAT IT! yes, just eat it. You can chop it into salads, use it with sandwiches...your imagination can go wild.

Here is the thing, Chickweed has a slight "green" taste. Not everyone's thing.

I just made this delicious salad dressing with it, and poured it over Mache' salad with avocados. YUM!
Green dressing

1 giant  handful of chickweed
1 handful of sorrel (if you don't have sorrel, with has a citrusy flavor, use lemon juice)
Olive Oil & vinegar (I use apple cider)
Salt n' Peppa
1 tblsp honey

Mix it all up in the mixer, until all the greens are pureed.


Sunday, January 6, 2013

Boil some nature for beauty

Ages ago women (and men, I assume!) used nature to enhance their looks and take care of their bodies.

Here are some simple recipes for your hair. These are rinses so you don't wash them out. Take the herb and steep on low heat for 30-45 minutes. Then let them sit and cool off in a covered pot. As far as ratios goes :) know my methods are unmeasured :), but here are some basics.

One handful of herbs to one quart of water.

We just cracked lots of walnuts, so I saved the shells. No ratio, just lots of shells in water.

Brown hair = Walnut shells or sage

Red hair = hibiscus flowers

Blond hair = chamomille

Once you concoction cools, you can use the rinse straight on your hair after shampooing. Do not rinse. You can save leftovers in the fridge, but I would use within a week.

Have fun!