Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Beltane with the Kitchen Witch!

Greetings and merry meet! I can’t believe how quickly time has gone by and we return, once again, to Beltane, a major Sabbat and fun holiday. 

At Beltane we celebrate the marriage of the God and Goddess so our celebration is all about love. Romance definitely fills the air, playful faeries are out and about, the Earth’s fertility is evident everywhere we look. Our holiday table is festive with the beautiful blooms of spring, and our Sabbat meal is full of the flavor, color and variety that is beginning to show in our local markets. The mood of the celebration should be fun and lively as we laugh, dance the maypole and feast in honor of our Lord and Lady. This is the theme that is reflected in our Beltane menu… it’s a party! A wedding reception, only more fun. 

Foods known for their romantic nature are perfect for the Beltane feast. This meal should delight all of your senses; foods should not only taste good, but look beautiful and be wonderfully aromatic as well. Herbs such as rosemary, coriander and mint fit right in to our meal as they all enhance romance and love. Oatmeal is another important ingredient in attracting love and good fortune. Other delights such as strawberries and chocolate are fabulous here too. Similar to Ostara, dishes that use eggs and/or custards fit in with the fertility theme as well. Be creative and enjoy! Here’s what we've got cooking for Beltane: 

1/4 cup of water 
1/4 cup of white sugar 
1 tablespoon of chopped fresh mint leaves 
2 cups of crushed ice 
1/2 cup of prepared lemonade 
Fresh mint springs, for garnish
In a small saucepan, combine the water, sugar and 1 tablespoon of chopped mint. Stir, and bring to a boil. Cook until the sugar has dissolved, then remove from the heat and set aside to cool. After about an hour, strain out the mint leaves. Fill two cups (even better if you can freeze the cups in advance!) with crushed ice. Pour 1/2 of the lemonade into each glass and top with a splash of the sugar syrup. Garnish each with a mint sprig. 

3 cups of fresh baby spinach 
1/2 cup of washed, sliced strawberries (hulls removed first) 
1/4 cup of sliced honey-roasted almonds 
1 tablespoon of cider vinegar 
1 tablespoon of honey 
1 1/2 teaspoons of sugar 

In a large bowl, combine the spinach, strawberries and almonds. In a jar with a tight-fitting lid, combine the vinegar, honey and sugar. Shake well. Drizzle over salad and toss to coat. Serve immediately. 

4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves 
1/2 cup of grated Parmesan cheese 
1 clove of garlic, finely chopped 
4 teaspoons of butter 
4 ounces of thinly sliced prosciutto 
10 ounces of sliced whole milk mozzarella cheese 
1/3 cup of white wine (or use chicken stock if you wish) 
1/4 cup of olive oil 
1 pinch of freshly ground black pepper 

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Between two sheets of plastic wrap or wax paper, pound the chicken breasts flat so they are of an even thickness. Lay the chicken on a work surface. Sprinkle generously with Parmesan cheese on both sides. Place a pinch of the minced garlic and 1 teaspoon of butter in the center of each breast. Cover each breast with a layer of prosciutto and mozzarella, keeping some of the prosciutto for later, to top the chicken. Roll up each piece of chicken tightly, with the filling in the middle. Secure each piece with toothpicks. In a 9 x 13 baking dish, combine water, wine (or stock) and oil. Arrange chicken rolls in the dish. Place a small piece of prosciutto over each one and sprinkle with pepper. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes, or until chicken is no longer pink and juices run clear. 

3 pounds of red skin potatoes, quartered if large, halved if small 
3 cups of hot water 
1/2 cup of freshly squeezed lemon juice 
1/3 cup olive oil 
1 1/2 teaspoons of dried oregano 
2 teaspoons of salt 
1/2 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper 
2 cloves of garlic, minced 
1/4 cup of chopped fresh parsley 

Preheat the oven to 475 degrees. Place the potatoes, water, lemon juice, and olive oil into a 9x13 baking dish or roasting pan. Season with oregano, salt, pepper and garlic. Toss to coat the potatoes evenly. Roast, uncovered, in the oven until the potatoes are tender and golden brown, about 45 minutes to an hour. Stir the potatoes every 20 minutes as they bake, adding more water as necessary to prevent sticking. Allow the water to evaporate during the final 15 minutes of cooking but be careful not to let the potatoes burn. Stir in the chopped fresh parsley and serve. 

1 tablespoon of butter 
3 tablespoons of olive oil 
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and sliced thinly 
1 pound of fresh green beans, ends snipped (or can use frozen) 
Salt and pepper to taste 
1/4 cup of grated Parmesan cheese 

Either steam the green beans in the microwave or boil them until crisp-tender, then run them under cold water to stop the cooking and preserve the beautiful green color. Skip this step if using frozen beans! In a large skillet set over medium heat, melt the butter and olive oil together. Add garlic and cook until just fragrant but don’t let it get brown, stirring frequently. Stir in green beans, season with salt and pepper. Cook until beans are heated through, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. 

3/4 cup of heavy whipping cream, keeping 1/4 cup of it aside to add in later if the fondue becomes too thick 
4 bittersweet chocolate bars, each 3 1/2 ounce, chopped 
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Yummy things to dip: marshmallows, sliced bananas, strawberries, cubed pound cake, pretzels, orange sections, use your imagination! Graham crackers are my favorite! 

 Heat 1/2 cup of the cream in a heavy non-reactive sauce pot over moderate heat until cream comes to a low boil. Remove pan from the heat and add chocolate. Let the chocolate stand in the hot cream for 3-5 minutes to soften, then whisk chocolate together with the cream. Stir in vanilla. Transfer the mixture to a fondue pot if you have one, or into a heat-safe mixing bowl set over a small lit candle. Make a beautiful arrangement of the items to dip on a platter alongside the fondue, and serve with fondue forks, bamboo skewers or forks for dipping. **If the fondue becomes too thick while it sits, stir in the reserved cream, one tablespoon at a time, until it reaches the proper consistency.

by Aviva
Art by Sue Miller

Friday, April 24, 2015

Worts and All ~ Spring Tonic!

Greetings, Broomstix readers! It's your wortcunning friend Airmid back with you again on this happy, happy day. Why so happy? Because the green is finally returning to the meadows and woods, fields and hills, and even to your own backyard. Spring is here!

Imbolc was a time for cleansing and cleaning. Some of you may have burned the last of your Yuletide greens as a trusting affirmation that more green is on the way. In my coven, one tradition we always follow on Spring Equinox is to go looking for Lady Spring. It's like a game of hide and seek. The youngest girl, dressed all in green, goes off to find a good hiding place. Then the rest of us must find her. We sing to her and call to her as we search, and when we find her, we know Spring is officially here and the celebration begins.

You can go looking for Lady Spring too. She can be found in anything that's new and green. And She gives us gifts when we find Her. If you know how to recognize these green gifts, you can use them for Spring tonic potions.

What is a Spring tonic? It is a plant remedy that helps your body get rid of some of the heavy stuff that built up while you were spending the Winter indoors, in front of your television, or sitting at the computer. You'll need a lot of energy to enjoy the good-weather activities coming up, and spring tonics will help you to bounce back from the Winter blahs.

If you go out looking for Lady Spring's good green gifts, one of the first ones you may find is chickweed. This helpful little plant pops up on the first warm days. It grows very low to the ground, often so thick that it forms a kind of mat. The leaves are small and shaped like diamonds, and you'll know the flowers because they look like tiny white stars. Chickweed is loaded with nutrients, the perfect Spring tonic ingredient. Pick some and make a juicy, crisp salad. It tastes like mild, sweet lettuce. Enjoy it now, because chickweed grows best in Springtime and Autumn. It doesn't like very hot or very cold weather.

Chickweed. Photo by NatureServe via Flickr Creative Commons
Another early green you may find on your hunt for Lady Spring's gifts is nettle. This plant likes to live in rich, moist soil. It looks like an overgrown mint, but if you look closely you'll see small prickly hairs on the stems and leaves. And if you find one nettle, you're in luck because there will probably be a whole patch of them growing. Nettles love company, so its rare to find just one plant. Wear gloves or wrap something around your hand when you pick these, and take only the tender new leaves from the top of the stalk. Don't worry about having to eat the pricklies. They soften when Nettle is cooked. Nettle builds healthy bones, teeth, hair and skin, and will increase and balance energy levels.

Nettle. Photo by benketaro via Flickr Creative Commons
The third gift of Lady Spring is--of course--the sunny dandelion! Dandelions may be hard to recognize before the familiar yellow flowers appear, but if you look for them hard enough, you'll recognize the spear-shaped jagged leaves. Look for the toothy leaves that are hairless. Pick the leaves while they are still young and tender and use them as salad greens, cook them like spinach or make a tea. Dandelion is very high in Vitamins A and C, potassium and calcium, which energizes you and gives your liver and digestive system a good tune-up.

Dandelion and friend ♥ photo by steve p2008 via Flickr Creative Commons
For thousands of years, wise people all over the world have been looking for Lady Spring's green gifts and using them as Spring tonics. When you find some, please don't forget to thank Her!

Till next time, bright blessings and good health to you, worts and all--from Airmid.

PS--Kids, remember to check with a parent or guardian before eating anything!

By Gillian Green, Airmid by Morgaine du Mer Green

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

LapiDairy ~ Amber!

Hi, everyone, Rua here!

Since the 21st of last month, the sun has been gaining strength, warming the dairy and all who live here. It’s a good time to celebrate the betwixt and between that is the equinox by singing the praises of a stone that isn’t really a stone. How can that be? When is a stone NOT a stone? When it’s amber!

Take a look at this picture of Rua and amber with some 3D glasses!

This incredible gem “stone” is actually ancient, fossilized tree sap from pines. At one point, it was liquid life, flowing through the trunks of trees, encasing pieces of bark, leaves--and bugs. Some of the most precious pieces have such “inclusions” as complete ferns and even bees. The color can be anything from cherry red, to bright orange, to shades of honey.

Amber is not only very light; it is warm to the touch. If rubbed on a piece of silk, it can hold an electric charge. Because of this, it is believed to draw energy to the person who wears or carries it. It can also bring abundance, happiness, and the strength of the sun to whatever you do. It is also immensely protective. Amber turns back bad feelings, blue moods, and even dark magic, and leaves your mind and aura refreshed. One of the best uses for amber is on your altar, where it has been known to make your Book of Shadows and Spell Work even more powerful. In some Wiccan traditions, amber is paired with jet in the High Priestess’s necklace to represent life and death, light and darkness, male and female, and the balance between them.

No 3D glassses? No problem. Focus on the center line of the above photos--they will combine before your eyes and watch them become three dimensional!
Finally, amber is known for its healing abilities. Ancient people would use amber to clean a room of negative vibrations. You can do the same by holding the stone and letting its warmth seep into your hands and body. So, celebrate amber, man and magic’s special energy booster, and enjoy the longer spring days to come. 

by Katharine Clark, art by Robin Ator

Friday, April 17, 2015

Rhythms of Spring

Nature's awakening from her sleep
Spring faeries up the roots they creep.
Bulbs soon burst forth from the earth
Laughing, dancing, filled with mirth.

Blessings on Spring, the bright warm day.
The flower fairies have come to play.
Water well the seeds you sow,
Give them love and watch them grow!

If you wish to see faerie light,
Take a draught this brew tonight,
Sweet alfalfa, sage and elder flowers,
And sit you under starry showers.

by Patricia Obsidian
Art by W. Lyon Martin 

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Treasure in the Cornfield

Do you like to get dirty?

Would you like to discover your own historical artifacts?

If so, then arrowhead hunting may be your new favorite hobby. American Indians hunted and worked with these hand crafted tools all over the land, long before we arrived. Cornfields are the best place to look for arrowheads because the soil is frequently turned for vegetable growth. Before the corn sprouts and after a rainfall are the best times to hunt for your treasure.

Getting prepared for your hunt requires only a few items. You will need knee pads, gloves, a water bottle, and old rag, and a bag. Knee pads and gloves are used for protection while hunting on hands and knees. The closer you are to the ground, the easier you may spot an arrowhead. The water bottle and rag are used to clean any artifacts, and the bag, of course, is to collect all your discoveries. Now you're ready to find a cornfield.

Collect and save your findings--or make things with them, like this stepping stone!

Different arrowheads are made from different rocks, depending on your location. Jasper, relevant in the eastern hemisphere, is an opaque variety of quartz that varies in color from red, brown to yellow. Flint, also found in the east, is a hard gray to black sedimentary rock. Obsidian is more common in the western hemisphere, however it is not a rock; it is volcanic glass. The curved, lustrous surfaces (displayed when fractured) make obsidian easy to identify.

Indians crafted special tools for specific reasons. Thumbnail scrapers were used to take the hide off animals, while bird points were small and sharp to pierce feathers. Larger blades were made for cutting and hooks were made for fishing. Many different shapes and sizes were created, depending on the hunt.

After you've discovered your own historical treasure, you will never look at cornfields the same way again. You can further research Indian artifacts at your local library. Start your own arrowhead collection or simply enjoy the hunt. Cornfields don't only produce corn, but hidden treasure, too.

Happy hunting!

by Laura Beth Shope, photo by Cogdogblog, Flickr Creative Commons

Friday, April 10, 2015

Earth Day 2015

Mark your calendars--because it's only 12 days away!

It's easy to take important things for granted, especially when we're busy. "Holidays" like Mother's Day, Father's Day and Valentine's Day were created (in part to make the greeting-card companies a little richer), but also to set aside a day to honor people that are important to us. We should honor our parents, grandparents and the ones we love EVERY day. We should make an effort to take care of our home planet EVERY day. The Earth Day Network runs all year round and is full of ideas of things you can do to clean up our planet, save resources and leave a smaller carbon footprint EVERY day.

Like us on FACEBOOK and share your favorite green site!

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Meet Miranda...

...the spirit of Spring! Many thanks to Carolina Gonzalez at Camino de Yara for sharing her with us! ♥ CLICK HERE for a PDF file to print out.

an original paper doll by Carolina Gonzalez