Tag Archives: Halloween

Family Recipes & Simple Magic

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Scrolling my social media today, I saw a photo of absolutely delicious looking meatballs in a saucy gravy. Someone had already asked for the recipe share.

“Sorry, It’s a secret recipe.”

When it comes to simple witchery at my house, most of it is in the kitchen. Literally, cooking is alchemy—a seemingly magical process of  combination, transformation and creation.

If you want an example, try combining milk, butter and sugar over heat. Depending on the temperature reached and briefly maintained, you’ll be rewarded with smooth caramel sauce, soft chewy caramels, melt in your mouth toffee, or (if you let it get too hot for too long), a hard-as a-rock, burnt mess and a pan you may as well recycle into a planter.

But there is something else that goes into the preparation of food, the final element of magic if you will, and that is the intention and energy of the cook. As with all magic, the more thought and mindfulness you give it, the better the results.

If you’ve made chicken soup for a soup-562163_640sick friend or family member, you are practicing kitchen magic. And why? Because even if all you do is open a can, add water and heat it up, you approach it with the intent to make somebody feel better. If you have a secret recipe,  add things like garlic, extra pepper and a dash of lemon juice—oh baby, there is no denying you are a kitchen witch!

That magic in cooking is especially present in traditional recipes handed down through generations, secret or not.

My grandmother’s peanut butter cookie recipe turns out delicious cookies every time, tender like shortbread (as opposed to soft and chewy), just the way I like them. Recently I wanted to make a batch and didn’t have all the ingredients I needed. I decided to practice a little kitchen magic of my own.

I was short on flour, but I had some finely ground almonds I’d processed for a paleo pancake I tried out. I added the almond meal to my flour to get me up to snuff. I was also short on butter, so I added some coconut oil. The batter seemed a bit loose, so I pulverized a cup of potato chips in the food processor and tossed that into the mix.

The potato chip magic is one I learned from my best friend’s mother as a young girl. They add a bit of bulk, a hint of salt, extra fat, and starch. Yeah, I know—but cookies aren’t exactly health food to begin with.

Talk about magical, those cookies disappeared!

Honestly, I have to say the little bit of tweaking, the personal energy I put into those cookies, elevated them beyond good to exceptional. I can’t give you the recipe because I didn’t accurately measure anything. If you have a peanut butter cookie recipe you like, and you consider yourself a kitchen witch, you’ll figure it out.

Chicken soup, pot roast, spaghetti sauce, bundt cake, and even Jello salad with tiny marshmallows; the meals you bring to your table, that once graced the tables of your ancestors, are magical. The act of preparing and partaking of them unite you through time and place.

Near the end of October and early November we have special days to honor our deceased loved ones—Samhain, All Hallow’s Eve, All Souls Day and Día de los Muertos.  Try cooking up some of your traditional family favorites, and set an extra place at your table in remembrance of the generations that came before you and their love that created you. Honor them, and the nurturing and nourishing that has sustained you thus far.

~ Blessed Be Your Journey

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Living Dangerously

It’s my wedding anniversary today—16 years. That’s right, I chose to get married on the 13th, throwing superstition and caution to the wind. If that’s not enough, every so often our anniversary falls on Friday the 13th!

I suppose this tells people a lot about my character. Though appearance might suggest otherwise, I am not conventional. Caution has to come to me late, thanks to the laws of nature and physics requiring more prudent thought before action, for my own wellbeing. But that’s new for me.

I don’t conform. I like to be the odd duck, the square peg, the devil’s advocate. “But what if . . . ” is probably one of my favorite things to say. I like to challenge people and I like to be challenged. When I told my father I was going to be a writer (at age 22 with a husband and two small children in tow) his comment to me was, “You can’t even spell, how are you going to be a writer?”

I flirt with tempting fate. My father was right. My spelling prowess is mediocre at best. I seem to get tangled up in double consonants all the time. If I double them, chances are it’s wrong. When I don’t, that’s wrong too. Lately I’m having trouble with vowels—I had to look up consonant. My sister and I both begrudge menopause for eating away at our language skills, but that’s another story.

Anyway, hoping for a career in which spelling skill is essential (remember, this was before spell check) doesn’t seem like the best bet, but my father’s comment was the challenge I needed to succeed. He probably knew that. I don’t think there was any single person more proud of my success. I only wish I’d finished my novel before he died, especially since he inspired so much of the characterization of Pops.

Perhaps choosing a day for my wedding that many people attach to bad luck was just another challenge to me.

Perhaps it appeals to my shadow side, which is very much out there, alive and thriving.

Perhaps I just wanted to be sure my husband would never forget our anniversary.

Halloween was another consideration, with a masquerade ball for the reception. But I’m a (recovering) Catholic girl who made her first communion on that date, and then years later took her first lover on the same date. October 31 seemed like it had enough going on already.

Screen Shot 2018-04-13 at 12.54.24 PMSo, today, I’ll celebrate my anniversary with dinner and drinks at a very nice restaurant, and then come home in time for a little midnight nosh with Hekate.

Yup, that’s normal for me.

 


Ghourls’ Night In

We all remember the witches from the fairy tales of our youth, or the movies we watched as teenagers. They were generally a pretty frightening bunch of ladies, all seeming to have a score to settle.

Dark and a little bitter might be okay for chocolate but whose got time for the whole bitch-on-a-broomstick thing when there are parties to attend? And what better time to kick up your witchy heels with your like minded ghourl friends than Samhain?

The witching hour is nigh, but have no fear—there’s still time to conjure up these simple party tricks and treats for a covenly night of witchy fun—almost as easily as waving your magic wand.

Calling All Witches

Every good party starts with a great invitation. Choose from dozens of Halloween themed layouts like this one at Punchbowl. Customize with the who, what, where, and when then send by email or social media. POOF — all your friends have the deets.

Where The Witches Live

Witches live in scary houses, so be sure to set the theme for your party beginning at the front door. You could carve up a Jack-o-lanter or two and call it good, but—really? This is the time to show off all your practical magic by creating a truly dramatic entrance.

These witch hat luminaries styled by Melissa at Polkadot Chair will impress your guests right off the bat.

And speaking of bats . . .

Don’t forget to hang a few of these from the rafters, along with glow in the dark spider webs and lots of creepy plastic spiders.

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Finally, add to the sinister ambience by dimming or turning off bright lights. Instead, use plenty of candles (electric versions for safety!) and strings of colorful lights like these, reminiscent of Dios De Le Muerte. Check out the Halloween isle at your local dollar store for all the decorations you’ll need in a hurry.

Bubble Bubble Toil and Trouble
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Start the cackling good time off by providing themed cocktails like this Poison Apple.  Or keep it simple by featuring a punchbowl as the centerpiece of your buffet spread. Check out Pinterest for more tasty concoctions.

You might consider going strictly with mocktails or an alcohol free punch to accommodate the tea-totaling witches. You can always offer alcohol on the side for those who wish to imbibe. Use these free printables from Suzy Homemaker to label your booze with a grave warning.

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Setting the Feast Table

What’s a party of witches without a feast? Justina Blakenley at Jungalow shows you step by step how to lay your dark side on the table for all to see. Best of all, she pulls it off without breaking the bank by using thrift and dollar store finds.

Ladies Fingers

Of course you don’t have to limit your feast to finger foods, but it doesn’t hurt to have some on the menu . . . fingers that is.

These delicious digits are my all time favorite witches’ party treat from Martha Stewart. Making them requires some baking experience and the prep is a bit fussy, but they are so worth it. Your ghourl friends won’t be able to stop licking their fingers. Find more frighteningly fun partie foods, made with every day ingredients at Pinterest.

Sound Effects

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Make sure your witchy guests are feeling your vibe with a chilling play list. No time to curate your favorites? Tune into year-round spooky tunes on Halloween Radio. You can listen live or download for free.

Fun and Games

Where’s that Magic 8 Ball you had as a kid when you need it? Why didn’t you buy that tarot deck you’ve been wanting? What self respecting witch worth her salt can’t provide a little divination for her guests?

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Relax, you don’t have to have a Tarot deck to peer into the fortunes of your guests, a plain deck or a roll of the dice will do. You can also try your hand at reading tea leaves, or scrying. Everything you need is right in your kitchen cupboard.

Merry Meet, Merry Part, Merry Meet Again

When it’s time to say good bye to your witchy sisters, be sure to send them off with a parting gift. Whether a little favor that sits in the palm of their hand, or a bag full ‘O goodies, they’ll know you (s)care a lot.

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