Wednesday, March 1, 2017

SEASONAL LIVING AND TIMELESS TRADITIONS MARCH 2017

March musings... This month always makes me want to play hookie and play outside all day...in my garden.. or taking walks...blowing bubbles...and just having fun. Call it Spring fever if you like...all I know is I cannot get enough of the sky...the Earth...and the gentle whisper of renewal that is in the air this lovely month of March.

My garden awaits me this month... calling to me...to weed...rake pine needles...and then plant a few new Rose bushes...one of them being a really pretty climbing Rose bush I bought for my hubby on Valentine's Day...a symbol of my love for him...to keep growing...year after year.

Of course...there is my herb garden...which I tend to each day...as they need constant watering and looking after. I use them almost daily in my cooking...and I love to add fresh Rosemary sprigs to my flower arrangements...and add to a bath to soak in. I am studying right now to become certified in medicinal herbs...so I do spend hours each week in class and then preparing herbal mixtures...which my course demands as part of my study and homework.  I am loving this course so much...something I have wanted to do for many years...and am finally able to give myself.

There are still photos to take this month...of all my antiques I offer each Friday on my social media page...and with the light now brighter... in March...it will make picture taking so much easier. Hopefully...my on-line shop will get yet closer...to opening...if my photos turn out well...and the March light continues to shine through my windows.

My Seasonal Living e-course is almost complete... and I will continue writing and working on it's pages this month.  This has been a year long writing project...my baby so to speak...and a project dear to my heart...as I am a firm believer in living by the changing seasons...for personal  well-being and balance.. as well as a wise... resourceful means of living....and I am so excited to share it with you. Look for it when it launches on my website this Summer.

I am really wanting March to be a month of creativity for myself...as you can see. I am in a wonderful season in my life...where I want to renew that spark within myself... of my creative self...more. Perhaps like you...there are certain things I have longed to do...from my heart...and soul...that I put on a back burner...or denied myself...because I was too busy raising kids...or raising myself for that matter...that I never allowed myself the space or time... to pursue goals or creative projects that my inner spirit kept nudging me to start....until now.

That my heart called me to do.

I am sharing with you...my story...and my wonderful creative pursuits and yes dreams with you...that will fill my days this month... not only because I am excited...that I will be doing them...but because I also want to encourage you...to give yourself permission to pursue your own dreams...your own goals...that you have pushed aside...or not allowed yourself to have or begin.

Life ...your life...is meant to bring you joy...and happiness...and you have gifts and talents that no one else has...to express not only for yourself...but to share to the world. Just begin them...one creative step at a time...one day at a time.

Renew your life this March...embrace your creative self...and shine your light.

Because you are worth it...your life is worth it.

And you are needed in the world!

To your renewal,
Victoria



POEM...

" The afternoon is bright
   with Spring in the air,
   A mild March afternoon
   With the breathy of April stirring,
    I am alone in the quiet patio
    Looking  for some old untrue illusion-
    Some shadow on the whiteness of the wall
    Some memory asleep
    On the stone rim of the fountain,
    Perhaps in the air
    The light swish of some trailing gown."

by  Antonio Machado


PRAYER..." I ask for the courage to open myself to renewal of my body...mind...and spirit."


WORLD TRADITIONS AND CELEBRATIONS FOR THE MONTH OF MONTH...March 1st...Ash Wednesday... March 3rd...World Day Of Prayer...March 8th...International Woman's Day... March 12th...Jewish Purim... March 17th...St. Patrick's Day...March 21st...Spring Equinox.

FACTS ABOUT MARCH... The month of March was named for the Roman god of war...because in ancient Rome this was the month to resume military campaigns that had been interrupted by Winter.

FOLKLORE ABOUT MARCH... So many misties in March...so many frosties in May.

GARDENING TIPS FOR MARCH... Plant your potted trees and shrubs...and use a root starter after you plant them...to help them not go into shock. Fertilize your lawns. Plant your Spring flowers and veggies. Mow...rake...and pull any weeds.

HOMEMAKING TIP...Spring clean your whole house. Clean out your kitchen cupboards...wiping them down with pure Lemon or Orange Essential oil...dry...and then put down new shelf paper.

FULL MOON FOR MARCH...March 12th

FLOWERS FOR MARCH...The Daffodil is one of the flowers this month...and this pretty and sunny looking flower stands for unequaled love. The Jonquil is another flower for this month of renewal...it is a symbol of affections returned...as well as being a flower expressing sympathy.

GEMS FOR MARCH... The lovely aquamarine

TEACHINGS...This is the month to make a promise to yourself to renew yourself in body...mind...and spirit...bringing more balance...harmony...and well-being into your daily life. Start your new goals and projects after the Spring Equinox.


JUST DO THIS ONE THING BLESSING CELEBRATION...

It is so easy to get stressed...because it seems as if our daily lives are full of work...chores...tasks...dealing with grumpy people...and often feeling rushed...which all leaves us...feeling disconnected from our hearts...and  others.

Beginning March 1st...each and everyday... bless everyone you encounter...even on social media and the news. Yes...bless them...no matter what your thoughts or judgments might be towards this person or persons...whether you like them or not...just say "I bless you." You do not have to say it out loud...a whisper will even do...or silently to yourself. It just matters that you "bless" them and mean it,

"I bless you"


SPRING EQUINOX CELEBRATION

The Spring Equinox is March 21st...The very first day of Spring. The Spring cycle is a time of deep renewal...new life...and creating balance in your life.

With renewal of your spirit or heart...the most important gift you can give yourself...a few days before the Spring Equinox...ponder deeply...where you are out of balance living from your heart...or your inner spirit.

This Spring Equinox...celebrate living from your heart or spirit more...by lighting a candle...closing your eyes...and ask your heart...what you can do to be a more positive...loving...and caring human being from this moment on. Just sit in silence for how ever long you feel is right...and be in your own energy...listening to your heart what you need to do.

When you are complete...gently open your eyes...say a blessing or express gratitude...for what message you received...and then write down what it is you must now practice in your daily life to live from your heart or spirit. Hold the piece of paper...and make a commitment over it to live your heart or spirit renewal each and everyday...and be open and notice the positive changes that will begin to happen in your life...because there will be.




SEASONAL LIVING AND TIMELESS TRADITIONS...

...FOR YOUR HOME

Place a bowl of pretty moss as your centerpiece for your kitchen and dining room tables. It looks so pretty...and will represent the season of Spring perfectly.


...FOR YOUR HEARTH

Oh my goodness...if you have never eaten a slice of buttermilk pie...then you are in for a real treat! This recipe is so easy...and it makes 2 pies...which will go very quickly!

BUTTERMILK PIE
Makes 2 pies

Blend 1 3/4 sticks softened butter with 3 3/4 cups sugar and 1/2 cup flour. Add 6 eggs at room temperature...1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla and 1 cup buttermilk. Pour this blended mixture into 2 unbaked pie shells. Bake at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes...or until set...and a knife comes out clean when inserted in the middle of the pie. Allow to cool completely.


...FOR YOUR HEART

The Easter Bunny...  knows that grown-up folks love to receive Easter Baskets too...so be sure to get adult loved ones treats this Easter too. Tuck into a basket for them... . organic chocolates...candies...and other organic treats. Adding a nice soy candle...organic hand lotion...or soap... or even a nice bottle of organic wine or beer is a nice and thoughtful addition to their Easter Basket.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

SEASONAL LIVING AND TIMELESS TRADITIONS FEBRUARY 2017

FEBRUARY musings... I like to be prepared for things...I always have. When other folks wait to the last moment to get things done...most often creating stress and mistakes with that last minute crazy rush...I have been ready and finished for weeks.

Being prepared...keeps me calm...and centered...no matter what task is before me. It eliminates stress...feelings of frustration...and that panic one feels when you race around trying to get that "something" done...you haven't done...because of procrastination.

Life is wonderful...and a gift...but it also takes awareness...responsibility...planning...and being prepared. It is the way life works.

Nature follows this simple truth of being prepared. Trees loose their leaves...and stand dormant during the Winter cycle...to prepare for new growth in the Spring season. Squirrels...hoard nuts...stashing them away...for the sparse food supply that occurs during the cold months...so they can survive. Flocks of birds fly south...avoiding the harsh cold months...of the North. They teach us as humans...that we too must be wise...and get prepared...for what is next...because as you know...life does indeed throw curve balls and detours...we never plan for...in our lives...whether we like them or not.

Being prepared... and laying a solid foundation...for whatever you desire in your life...in any area of your life...is indeed a wise lesson to follow...and is the teaching of this month of February.

Take the much needed time and space to get clear on what you want in your life...write it down once you have clarity...and then write down...the steps you need to take to make it happen...and then do it.

Work on getting prepared each and everyday...this is how you lay a foundation for what you want...and prepare yourself for your future.

Be aware that as you prepare and lay your foundation...you will change on the inside too. Because you are taking responsibility for your life and what you want your life to become...and sticking to it...your trust and confidence in yourself will grow too. Your understanding of your self-worth will flourish...and a new sense of pride will fill you up.

But most of all...when you prepare for your life...feelings of hope...faith in yourself...and a more positive attitude towards life...your life...will be your new reality...because you know you will be ready...for anything in life.

And that is something to celebrate.

May this month of February find you prepared... well and centered,

Victoria


POEM... " Surely as cometh the Winter, I know there are Spring violets under the snow."
by R.H. Newell

PRAYER..." I ask for guidance...and wisdom...as I prepare for new opportunities and possibilities in my life."

WORLD TRADITIONS AND CELEBRATIONS FOR THE MONTH OF FEBRUARY... February 1st...Feast of St. Brigid...February 2nd...Candlemas...February 10th...Chinese Festival Of Lights...February 14th...Valentine's Day

VALENTINE CARD FACT... The tradition of sending Valentines cards began in Victorian England...and in 1847 a Massachusetts woman by the name of Esther Howland developed a successful business producing hand-made Valentine cards...and thus began the practice and tradition of Valentine cards in America.

FACTS...The modern name for the month of February is only about 100 years old.
The word February comes from "februa" which means cleansing and purification.

FOLKLORE...If it thunders in February,it will frost in April.

GARDENING TIP...Browse and order from seed catalogs...prune trees and shrubs...repair fences...remove dead trees shrubs...branches and twigs.

HOMEMAKING TIP... Begin your Spring cleaning...including kitchen drawers. Go through all your utensils...and if you do not use them...donate them...or give to friends. Clean out your pantry...and organize all food and spices there.

FULL MOON... February 26th

FLOWERS...Violet...Primrose

GEMS...Amethyst

TEACHINGS...February is the month to cleanse and purify your thoughts...words and actions...as well as your home...with clearing out unwanted items...Spring cleaning...and practicing a Home Blessing...to renew and cleanse your living environment. This month is also the month to plan and prepare for new goals...projects...and hopes for the coming Spring cycle.  

TO ORDER SEASONAL LIVING AND TIMELESS TRADITIONS...HOME BLESSING..

Just click on the button for Seasonal Living And Timeless Traditions...At the right sidebar...and then click on TRADITIONS.


INSPIRATION CELEBRATION...

Keep your inner inspiration...hopes and faith in yourself...alive each and everyday...by writing down all things...including other people that keep you inspired...give you hope...and show you ways you can have continued faith in yourself...even in the darkest of times.

All you will need is a journal or notebook...and begin. Your INSPIRATION CELEBRATION...can have just your written words of inspiration...faith in yourself...and hopes...or you can cut out pictures from magazines...quotes or poetry from other folks who inspire you...or any other visual or written script that feels right to you...just as long as it inspires your soul...to add to your journal or notebook.

Look at this special journal or notebook you have created just for you...often...to keep you inspired...give you hope...and continue to grow your faith in yourself!


SEASONAL LIVING AND TIMELESS TRADITIONS

...FOR YOUR HOME

Put red tied ribbon around your doorknobs...to remind you of Valentine's Day this month. Scatter rose petals on your kitchen table...as well as place dried rose petals in pretty jars..and then place them in different rooms in your house.


...FOR YOUR HEARTH

February can still be a cold weather month...and a soup simmering on the stove for dinner...is perfect!

SPICY TOMATO SOUP
serves 4-6

1 tablespoon butter
1 medium onion sliced
2 cups tomatoes...fresh or canned
2 cups chicken broth
dash of ground cloves
1 teaspoon paprika
pinch of sugar
1 bay leaf
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons each finely chopped fresh basil leaves...parsley...chives
1/2 cup heavy cream

In a large saucepan...melt butter...and saute the onion until tender. Add next 8 ingredients...cover and simmer 30 minutes. Discard bay leaf. Puree all ingredients in a food processor...or blender. Pour soup mixture back into saucepan...add the fresh herbs...and the heavy cream and reheat. Adjust any seasonings and serve!


CHEESE ROUNDS
yields 50

These tasty morsels go perfect with your homemade soup...as a snack...or appetizers.

1/2 cup butter...room temperature
6 ounces Cheddar cheese...grated
1 pound ricotta cheese...well drained
2/3 cup flour
2 tablespoons minced fresh basil leaves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 egg

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Blend together butter and Cheddar cheese. Stir in remaining ingredients. Place by teaspoonfuls on baking sheet and bake 10 minutes. Allow to cool a bit and then serve warm or at room temperature.



...FOR YOUR HEART

Treat yourself to a massage...or take a class you have always wanted to take...to affirm your self-love this month.

Buy your honey flowers...because truth is...everyone deserves and loves flowers.


Sunday, January 1, 2017

SEASONAL LIVING AND TIMELESS TRADITIONS JANUARY 2017

January...Happy New Year to you! It is so hard to believe that today is the beginning of a whole new Year...and a new chapter in your life.

If there is one thing I have learned as I age is this...life is too short...too sacred...and way to wonderful to continue to drag around old baggage...hates...anger...and fears. Leave them behind you this New Year...and strive to become a more happy...and centered human being. Do fun stuff...creative stuff...just for the sheer joy of it all.

You have everything to gain...by leaving your old patterns and baggage behind.

Begin today... as a new way of looking at life...and start to create a new you!

A common theme we all seem to adopt is that we have all the time in the world...fact is...we don't. It is so easy to fall into the trap of always working...always striving to be more...to accomplish more...we forget or bury...the part of us...that needs to lighten up...fun up...and experience our creative self.

Make time each day... to do..."doing nothing"...daydreaming...napping...walking barefoot in the grass...blowing bubbles...acting silly...just because it is okay to be silly...no matter what your age is.

When you create the space and energy to play...and have fun,..you are in fact creating a more relaxed...creative and balanced life...as well as recharging your body...mind...and spirit. Your attitude will become more positive...and uplifting too...because you have made time for yourself...to just relax and have fun.

Make a promise to yourself this New Year...to lighten up...fun up...and embrace that child within you...because life is too short...way to awesome...to just work...worry...and waste your time...on anything but...a more positive...uplifting and balanced life.

Happy New Year,
Victoria


POEM...

"January is here,with eyes that keenly glow,
 A frost-mailed warrior
 Striding a shadowy steed of snow."
by Edgar Fawcett

PRAYER... " I ask for the courage and strength to let go of my past...and create a better...more loving self this New Year."


WORLD TRADITIONS AND CELEBRATIONS FOR JANUARY...January 1st...New Years Day...January 6th...Epiphany...January 16th...Martin Luther King Jr. Day...January 19th...Greek Epiphany...Blessing of the Waters

FACTS... New Year ceremonies are designed to get rid of the past...and to welcome the future...and January is named after the Etruscan word janua which means "door".

In order to set the calendar right...the Roman senate in 153 BC declared January 1st to be the beginning of the New Year.

During the Middle Ages the Church remained opposed to celebrating New Years Day.
January 1st has been celbrated as a holiday by western nations for only about the past 400 years.

FOLKLORE...Fog in January brings a wet spring. If grass grows in January it will grow badly the whole year.

NEW YEAR'S FOLKLORE...On New Year's Eve...kiss the person you hope to keep kissing.

GARDENING TIP... Protect tender plants from frost. Sharpen and oil all gardening tools. Prune all leafless trees and shrubs.

HOMEMAKING TIP...Keep your home neat and tidy this month by reorganizing cupboards and closets. Put cedar blocks in closets and cupboards too...to keep pests at bay.

Simmer fresh orange slices and cinnamon sticks in water on your stove...to keep your home smelling fresh.

FULL MOON... January 12th is the Full Moon...the first one of the New Year.

FLOWERS...The beautiful snowdrop and crocus.

GEMS...The garnet...and onyx.

TEACHINGS...Go inward and get clear on your personal problems...and work on solving them. Strive to connect to your faith and spiritual nature...so you can be a better person. Spend time daydreaming...and journal your hopes and dreams...for the new year.


DREAM AND HOPE JAR 2017

SUPPLIES...jar with a lid...ribbon...items to decorate your jar...tags or small pieces of paper...pen...an open heart.

It is so easy with our busy lives to forget about our hopes and dreams...but it is so vital to keep in touch with those dreams you have always had deep within your soul.You know those things that make you feel with wonder and passion... you just KNOW you are meant to do!

Don't ever give up on yourself...or your hopes and dreams ever...they are part of who you are...and those hopes and dreams were given to you for a purpose...YOU are meant to have them. With focus...action steps and belief in yourself they can come true.

Here is a very sweet way for you to see in writing...your hopes and dreams...that you long for...each and every day. Make yourself this DREAM AND HOPE JAR. Find a large glass container...tie a pretty ribbon around the top...and decorate it if you want.

Find little white tags at a hobby store...or cut pieces of paper yourself...and then find a quiet time to connect with your heart...and write on the pieces of paper or tags...all your hopes and dreams. Really go for it...without  judging or monitoring what you truly dream for for your life.

When you feel pleased with what you have written out...hold all the pieces of paper or tags in your hands...and bless them with a prayer. Now place them in your jar...sprinkle some glitter or dried flowers on top...seal it with a lid...and then place it where you can see your DREAM AND HOPE JAR...each and every day...reminding you...that you so deserve to have your dreams and hopes come true.



SEASONAL LIVING AND TIMELESS TRADITIONS

...FOR YOUR HOME

Be sure to carefully wrap up all your holiday ornaments...in tissue paper and put away. Vacuum up tree needles...and other holiday messes. Homes can get stuffy during the Winter months...so be sure to mop your floors with pure Orange essential oil...and add a few drops on your light bulbs ( be sure they are cool and off before you do this) so when you turn your lights on the scent of Orange citrus...fills your home.

...FOR YOUR HEARTH

Who says a picnic has to be in the warmer months? January is the perfect month...because of colder weather and your family indoors...to have some unexpected fun...and this of course involves good food!
Spread out blankets...and let the fun begin! Here is a fried chicken recipe to make for your indoor January picnic!

PICNIC FRIED CHICKEN
Serves 6

1 cup all purpose flour
1 tablespoon paprika
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 3 to 3 1/2 pound cut up whole chicken
vegetable oil

In a shallow dish...mix flour...paprika...salt...and pepper. Coat chicken pieces with the flour mixture.
In a 12-inch cast iron or nonstick skillet heat oil that is ( 1/4 inch) deep in the skillet over medium-high heat. Fry chicken in the oil...until browned on all sides. Next after chicken is nicely browned reduce heat to low...and continue to cook...uncovered for about 20 minutes...without turning...until juice of chicken is clear...when the thickest part of the chicken is pierced with a fork. Drain chicken on paper towels. Sprinkle lightly with salt. Serve and enjoy...at your indoor picnic!

...FOR YOUR HEART

Begin self nurturing rituals this month...by taking time each and every day...to sit for a few minutes and just be with yourself and have a nice cup of tea...or a glass of pure water. Take your time enjoying your beverage break...and give yourself this time to recharge yourself.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

SEASONAL LIVING AND TIMELESS TRADITIONS DECEMBER 2016

December...is so much more than Christmas or the month for other religious holidays...which of course is very important to most of us...so I am not trying to discredit or diminish these sacred holidays in any way...because they are important. But I feel the spirit of Christmas...that of giving...and living from your heart and inner spirit ... needs to be embraced...not only at this season...but kept alive...and practiced each and every day... by everyone...not just during the holidays.

I am not sure when or why we as a society stopped caring about each other...the way I know we all should... and could...after all we all are humans...living together on this place called Earth. And I truly believe most people are good and loving...I really do. And to be honest it wasn't that many years ago...that we all in fact...connected more...to our neighbors...to our communities...and to each other. I know this for a fact...because I remember well doing so!

Maybe it is technology... fear...lack of trust of others...world events...the stress we create...the need for constant having more...or the bubble we surround our own lives in... wanting to ignore what is going on around us...that is causing us to retreat...and disconnect more and more from other people. I don't know...maybe it is all of these and more. All I do know for sure...is that within each one of us...is this.We all  have goodness within us...the capacity to care and love...and give to one another...it is part of our story as human beings... our humanity... and encoded in our DNA...that no electronic or machine can ever replace.

Personally...I truly know in my heart that living from a place of the inner spirit or the heart center...is up to each one of us...not our world leaders...or any other institution outside of ourselves. Sometimes I feel that to a certain extent we have all become sheep...you know following what everyone else is thinking and doing...in order to fit in. We all seem to huddle these days in fear and mistrust...and think we are connecting with each other through a computer. Now technology is a good thing......but certainly not the end all to actually connecting to another human being...or giving or receiving a hug...a smile...or extending a listening ear and an open heart heart. It is to some degree...isolation. And making a choice to be distrustful...or live in fear...because everyone else is...is just insanity. If any type of disconnect needs to happen...it is our sheep mentality...fear...worry...distrust...and using technology to relate and connect with others...constantly. When you give in to thinking and behaving like the masses...you are giving away your personal power. This is not in my opinion taking responsibility for your own thoughts or actions...and it certainly is not wise...mature or even emotionally healthy for you or anyone else for that matter.

Make a promise to yourself this month of December...the month of spiritual awakening...of hope and faith...to live from your heart...from this moment on. Reach out to others...stop to talk to others...offer help...listen to how others are feeling...give...lend a hand...care again...like your life depends on it...because in truth it does...everyone's life does. Refuse to get caught up in fear...worry...and distrust of others...because truth is...these negative emotions are a cancer...to your body...mind...and spirit...and to the world.

GIVE...CARE...CONNECT

From this moment on...because no matter what is going on...or what isn't...living from your heart...is the highest calling you will ever have...or hope for.

Live from your heart.

Happy holidays to you,
Victoria

POEM

"From December to March,
there are for many of us
three gardens-
the garden outdoors,
the garden of pots and bowls in the house,
and the garden of the mind's eye."

by Katherine S. White

WORLD TRADITIONS AND CELEBRATIONS...

December 10th...International Human Rights Day...December 12th...Feast Of Our Lady Of Guadalupe...December 13th...St. Lucia's Day... December 21st...Winter Solstice...December 22nd...International Arbor Day...December 25th...Christmas Day... December 25th...Hanakkah begins... December 26th...Boxing Day...December 31st...New Years Eve



FACTS FOR THE MONTH OF DECEMBER...

The Anglo- Saxons called this month 'Winter Monath' or Yule Monath because of the custom of burning the Yule log this month.

FOLKLORE... Deep snow in Winter; tall grain in Summer-...Estonian Proverb

A fair day in Winter is the mother of a storm- English Proverb

GARDENING TIPS...
Prune back any grape vines...as well as pruning your evergreens. Plant any bulbs...and also plant onions and garlic this month. Be sure to remove dead or dying trees and shrubs.

HOMEMAKING TIP...Be sure to wax all your wood furniture this month...as having the heat on and the fireplace lit...can really dry out wood. Clean out your fireplace..before you light that first fire of the season.

FULL MOON...December 13th

FLOWERS...The Holly and Narcissus

GEMS... Blue Topaz and Turquoise

TEACHINGS... Connecting to your inner spirit and opening yourself to live a more heart centered
life.


WINTER SOLSTICE CELEBRATION

Light candles throughout your home...on this longest and darkest night of the year...as a symbol of your own inner light. Find a time at some point during the evening...to sit in silence and pray for others...the planet...and all areas of the world where there is conflict and strife. If you know of anyone who is ill...grieving...or having any problem of any kind...pray for them...too. By praying...you are coming from your heart...and sending "light" and goodness out to the world...in times of darkness.



LIVING FROM YOUR HEART  NEW YEARS EVE CELEBRATION

It really is up to you to make changes in the world and also make a positive difference in the world...and that means living from your heart...instead of the ego driven mind. One of the easiest and most simple ways you can begin to live more from your heart...is to think about what you are going to say...before you say it...allow your heart to guide you on how you treat people...and making choices based on compassion and love.

This of course does not mean...when you live from your heart...that you let others hurt you... stop expressing how you feel...or have feelings of anger or sadness...what it does mean is that you respond differently...not from your ego mind that wants to hurt back or lash out at others...but rather from a place of wisdom...and grace.That is...responding in a heart space of of expressing how you feel in a calm...but firm way...without attacking the other person. It also means...treating others...the way you want to be treated...that timeless but always truthful...living by the golden rule.

On New Years Eve...set your intention to living a more heart centered life...by lighting a candle...and then sit in silence...prayer or meditation...pondering within your heart...how you treat other people in negative or hurtful ways. When you are clear on this...write it out on paper...being totally honest with yourself.

When you are complete...read over your written list...and make a promise to yourself...that you will let go of treating others in negative ways...and begin to live from your heart. Ask for guidance from your understanding of God or the Higher Power...for your desire to be a more loving and heart centered human being. Blow out your candle...and then carefully fold your written list...placing it it a place where you can you take it out and read it each day...as a loving reminder of how you want to live from your heart.



SEASONAL LIVING AND TIMELESS TRADITIONS...

...FOR YOUR HOME

Keep candles lit this month throughout your home...to remind you of your own inner light. Use fresh natural pine cones...and evergreen branches to decorate your home with...instead of plastic items.


...FOR YOUR HEARTH

I know you have ham or turkey leftovers...so here is a quick and tasty potato recipe to freshen up those leftovers...in style.


MUSTARD ROASTED POTATOES
Serves 6

2 1/2 pounds small red potatoes
2 yellow onions
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons whole-grain mustard
 2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Cut the potatoes in halves or quarters...depending on their size...and place them on a sheet pan. Remove the ends of the onions... peel them and cut them in half. Slice them crosswise in 1/4-inch-thick slices to make half-rounds. Toss the onions and potatoes together on the sheet pan. Add the olive oil...mustard...2 teaspoons salt...and the pepper and toss them together. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes or until the potatoes are browned on the outside and tender on the inside. Toss the potatoes from time to time with a spatula so they brown evenly while cooking. Serve hot sprinkled with the chopped parsley and a little extra salt.


PARMESAN ROASTED CAULIFLOWER

Here is another easy and very good side to go with those leftovers. And it has cheese!
Serves 6

1 large head cauliflower
3 tablespoons olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup freshly grated Gruyere cheese

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Remove the outer green leaves from the cauliflower and cut the head into florets...discarding the stems.Place the florets on a sheet pan. Drizzle with the olive oil and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Toss well. Bake for 30 minutes...tossing once...until the cauliflower is tender and starts to brown. Sprinkle with the Parmesan and Gruyere and bake for 1 or 2 minutes or just until the cheese melts. Season to taste and serve hot or warm.


...FOR YOUR HEART

Make hand-make thank you cards for your received holiday gifts...tucking a piece of Rosemary in the envelope.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

SEASONAL LIVING AND TIMELESS TRADITIONS NOVEMBER 2016

NOVEMBER... I love this month! Very much! I get really excited about buying our turkey... and go to several local resources before I make up my mind...which one will come home with me.I must admit...I do poke them...and pick them up...and of course read everything that is printed on the packaging...just in case...some strange and unwanted ingredient is added to our possible Thanksgiving turkey. I am very careful about the food I buy...and eat...because I care about my family's health and mine too.It is not just buying the turkey that I carefully select...but the mindfulness I put into all the details of this holiday...because it matters.

My Thanksgiving turkey shopping has become a very special yearly tradition for me...something that brings me great pleasure. Traditions matter...they are the common thread of humanity...that always brings us closer together. And make good times and wonderful memories.

As I set my Thanksgiving table with my yellow and gold china...and silver...handed down to me from my husbands mom...I feel connected to all the women...and men...who are doing exactly the same thing as me.. setting their holiday table with the very best...they have...because they too value the beauty...the soul...of following and keeping traditions.And they also know how vital it is to pass these traditions on to their daughters and sons too.

In this season of my life...with grown children...and a grandchild...and seeing our lives becoming more and more about technology...social media...fast...and cheap... I feel now more than ever...the value of traditions and the gifts that they give us to live a more grounded...enriched life...needs to be held on to.

Technology can't and never will replace the sharing of family history or traditions...or the gathering of family and friends around the table for a good meal. Or the pleasant hum of meal preparation from folks in the kitchen cooking together...or the sound of laughing children...playing together while they wait to eat.

And most importantly...taking this one day...when hopefully we need to be practicing it in each moment...the sight of bowing heads and grateful hearts...expressed through a prayer of thankfulness for all each one of us...really has to be grateful for.

We are all so blessed.

This Thanksgiving no matter if it is just you...or a gathering of 2 or 20...make it special...create a day of tradition...of mindfulness and care...that each and everyone present will remember always...close to their hearts...and want to return to...year after year.

Because traditions have soul

And that makes life worth living.

Keeper of Traditions,
Victoria


Thanks for time to be together, turkey, talk, and tangy weather.
For harvest stored away, home, and hearth and holiday.
For Autumn's frosty art, and abundance in the heart
For neighbors, and November nice things, new things to remember.

For kitchen, kettles' croon kith and kin expected soon.
For sizzles, sights, and sounds, and something special that about.
That spells thanks for joy in living and a jolly good Thanksgiving.
by Aileen Fisher

PRAYER...

" Help me be aware in each moment...how much I have to be thankful for."


WORLD TRADITIONS AND CELEBRATIONS FOR NOVEMBER...

November 1st...Day of the Dead...All Saints Day...November 5th...Guy Fawkes Day in Britain ...November 11th...Armistice Day in Belgium...France...November 11th...Remembrance Day in Canada...November 11th...Veterans Day...United States...November 24th...Thanksgiving Day in America...November 30th...St. Andrew's Day in Scotland


FACTS ABOUT NOVEMBER... Throughout much of history November has often been thought of as a somber month...because it signaled the start of Winter. Folks would spend the whole month storing the harvest and preparing their food and homes in order to survive the Winter.


FOLKLORE...

" Dull November brings the blast,
Then the leaves whirling fast."


GARDENING TIP...

Place your cold sensitive potted plants in protected areas or indoors. Plant bulbs now. Reduce your watering on your lawns.


HOMEMAKING TIP... Clean your woodwork in each room...and wipe down your doors and doorknobs with pure Lavender essential oil...it will kill bacteria...will not harm your doors...and leave each room smelling fresh with the scent of Lavender

FULL MOON... Is on November 14th

FLOWERS...The chrysanthemum is the lovely flower of this month

GEMS...The Topaz is the gem of this month


TEACHINGS...This is the month to really see clearly how much you really do have to be grateful for in your life...and make a promise to yourself to always be aware of this truth each and every day. Practice giving more this month...because it is the right thing to do...without expecting in return.


THANKSGIVING GRATITUDE JARS

This Thanksgiving get your family and friends involved in a wonderful creative craft...by providing them all the supplies...to make their own Thanksgiving GRATITUDE JAR. After they have decorated their jars...be sure to tell them...that the purpose of their decorated GRATITUDE JAR is for them to place small pieces of paper...that they have written what they are grateful for each day...and place it in the jar.Also let them know...that they can begin practicing what they are grateful for...by writing their first gratitude slip of paper...that Thanksgiving Day...and then each and every day after that...until the next Thanksgiving day...giving each person a full 12 months to fill their GRATITUDE JAR.

Ask them to bring their decorated GRATITUDE JAR...the following Thanksgiving...to share with everyone.

SUPPLIES...
markers
tags to write GRATITUDE JAR on
empty clean jars with lids
glue gun or tacky glue
different colored ribbon
gem stones...decals...stickers...dried flowers
glitter



DAY OF THE DEAD...

Day Of The Dead is practiced on November 1st-November 2nd in many cultures throughout the world...including gaining in popularity in the United States.I t is a celebration of taking a day and evening to honor one's families who have passed away...with family altars...the cleaning of grave sites...placing flowers and food out for the deceased family members...including the painting of sugar skulls.

Below is a simple and loving honoring way you can honor family that has passed away...but please feel free to add your own way of celebrating and honoring their lives.

Set out a small table...or use an area on any table... with family pictures of relatives that have passed away. Place a small vase of flowers or Rosemary...an herb that is a symbol of remembrance...on the table...and include a white pillar candle...that you can light throughout the day or evening.

Keep the candle lit...and when you feel it is right...take a few moments to pause...look at their pictures...and recall happy times and memories with them. Bless them and thank them for being in your life.

If you like...share stories about your relatives who have passed away with your family around the dinner table that evening...keeping those you loved...and lost alive in your hearts and minds.


SEASONAL LIVING AND TIMELESS TRADITIONS


...FOR YOUR HOME

Keep your November home decorating simple...and natural by setting out trays and bowls of beautiful apples. They look so pretty in any room in the house...and they can also be eaten by family and guests.


...FOR YOUR HEARTH

I am sure by now...you are so over any recipe that has to do with turkey...or pumpkin...so I wanted to give you some tasty and old-fashioned side dishes instead to cook up this month. Enjoy!

CREAMED CORN
Serves 4-6

5 large ears fresh corn or frozen ears of corn work just as well
2 cups whole milk
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 chopped onion
2 teaspoons cornstarch
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

Cut kernels from corn into a medium bowl (about 4 to 4 1/2 cups kernels). Using the dull side of knife... be sure to also scrape milk and pulp from cobs into bowl too...as it adds flavor to the recipe. In a blender...or food processor puree 1 cup of the corn kernels and the milk. Set aside.

In a 10-inch cast-iron skillet...melt the butter over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and the remaining 3 1/2 cups corn to the pan...and cook until the onion begins to soften...approximately 7 minutes. Add pureed corn mixture to skillet...bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium low and cook...stirring occasionally...until tender...about 15 minutes.

Add cornstarch...the fresh thyme..salt and pepper to corn mixture...stir well. Cook...stirring frequently...until thickened about 5 minutes. Serve...and enjoy!


BACON BALSAMIC BRUSSELS SPROUTS
Serves 4-6

You say no one likes Brussels sprouts in your family? Put bacon in it and they will!

4 slices thick-cut bacon...chopped
1 pound Brussels sprouts...ends trimmed off and then cut in half
1/2 chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper

Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the bacon and cook until crisp...about 5-6 minutes.Remove the cooked bacon...and let cool...then crumble and set aside. Keep the bacon fat in the pan.

Add the Brussels sprouts to the pan...and cook until crisp and browned on the outside and fork tender about 10 minutes. Add the parsley...the balsamic vinegar...lemon zest...salt and pepper and stir to combine. Sprinkle in the bacon...and then serve.


...FOR YOUR HEART

Clean out your linen closet...and gather up towels..washcloths...blankets and sheets that you no longer use or want...and pass them out to homeless people you see...or give them to a homeless shelter.




Sunday, October 23, 2016

OCTOBER SEASONAL LIVING SUNDAY SUPPERS 2016

Nothing says home...like the wonderful aroma of food coming from your kitchen. It says to everyone...you are so very welcome to be here.Cooking good...homemade food...also means you care about your yourself... and your family...and friends.

Sunday Suppers is a meal that everyone will look so forward to each week...so make it a special celebration by using your best dishes...silverware and glasses...and add fresh flowers or small vases of herbs to decorate your table with.

Include each family or friend member that is sharing your Sunday Supper with...to share what is going on with them...including their hopes and dreams...and it goes without saying...start your meal with a prayer or a gratitude blessing...for all you have...and being able to spend this time together.

I do not know anyone who doesn't love pasta...or a tasty pasta sauce. It seems to be a universal food...as well as a comfort food...and is my recipe for this Sunday Supper...as well as another apple dessert...as apples are in season this month.

"Because nothing says love...like something homemade."


BEEF MARENGO
Serves 4-6

This recipe calls for veal...but as veal can be expensive...I substitute beef stew meat instead...which is kinder to your budget. It tastes just as good as you will see. You can double or triple this recipe easily.

3 pounds beef stew meat...cut into 2 inch pieces
1/4 cup all purpose flour
salt and freshly ground pepper
7 tablespoons olive oil
1 yellow onion
2 cloves garlic...minced
1 1/2 cups white wine
1 1/4 cups canned crushed tomatoes with juice
1 /2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 wide piece of orange zest...(orange zest is a piece of orange peel)
1 pound white mushrooms quartered
4 tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley ( Italian)
3/4 pound wide egg noodles...cooked according to package directions

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees. Pat the beef stew meat dry. Put the flour in a large zippered plastic bag and season with salt and pepper. Shake to mix well. Place the beef stew meat in the bag and shake until evenly coated.

In a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat...heat 4 tablespoons of the olive oil.Add the stew meat to the pot...and cook until evenly browned on all sides...about 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer the meat to a bowl. Add 2 more tablespoons of the olive oil to the pot and heat over medium-high heat. Add the onion and saute until lightly browned and softened...about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for about 30 seconds. Add the wine and deglaze the pot...being sure to scrape up any browned bits. Add the tomatoes with their juice...basil...thyme...orange zest...and salt and pepper to taste and bring to a simmer. Return the stew meat to the pot...and stir to combine.

Cover the pot...place in the oven and cook until the meat is tender when pierced with a fork...about 1 1/2 hours.

Toward the end of cooking...cook the mushrooms...in a frying pan over medium-high heat...with the remaining olive oil...for about 3-4 minutes or until softened. Season with salt and pepper.

Start cooking your wide egg noodles...according to package directions.

Take the Beef Marengo out of the oven...uncover and discard the orange zest. Place on top of the stove...and on medium-low heat bring to a boil...until it is slightly thickened. Add the mushrooms...and 2 tablespoons of the parsley. Taste and adjust the seasonings. Drain the egg noodles...getting ready to serve. To serve...spoon the Beef Marengo over the egg noodles...garnish with more parsley.  Serve with a nice green salad and garlic bread or rolls if you wish.


EASY APPLE CRUMBLE
Serves 8

Who does not love an apple dessert? Talk about a comfort dessert! This is cooked in a cast iron skillet...a basic cooking pan in my house...and is cooked in the oven just like the main course...very easy and ever so good.

12 cups sliced Gala apples ( about 6 apples)
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar...divided
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 1/4 cup gingersnap cookies
1/3 cup old-fashioned oats
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons unsalted butter softened
1/2 cup walnuts chopped
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Vanilla ice cream

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Using butter or olive oil...grease a cast iron skillet or baking pan. In a large bowl...stir together apples...1 cup sugar...and lemon juice. Set aside.

In a food processor pulse the cookies until finely ground. In a medium bowl...stir together 1/2 cup cookie crumbs...oats...brown sugar...flour...and the salt. Stir in the softened butter and walnuts until mixture is crumbly. Set aside.

Strain apple mixture...discarding excess liquid. Stir in cornstarch...cinnamon and remaining 1/2 cup granulated sugar. Pour into prepared pan...and top with cookie mixture.

Bake until fruit is hot and the top is golden brown...about 40 to 50 minutes. Serve with Vanilla ice cream.

Happy Sunday,
Victoria

Sunday, October 16, 2016

OCTOBER SEASONAL LIVING SUNDAY SUPPERS 2016



Who doesn't love the smell of a chicken roasting in the oven on a Sunday afternoon? Or the aroma of a potato dish cooking in the oven? No one that is who! My recipes for this blog post is just that...roast chicken...and a really good French potato dish...that everyone will want seconds with!

If you have never tried cooking or even eating French food...you will be surprised how easy it really is...and ever so fulfilling. And I have also included a French dessert...a delectable apple tart...that is made easy for you...by using frozen puff pastry... I believe it is as good as homemade puff pastry...and a heck of a lot easier on your nerves.

"Because nothing says love...like something homemade."



HERB ROASTED CHICKEN
 Makes 4 servings

1 4-5 whole chicken
2 tablespoons butter...softened
2 cloves garlic minced
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried sage
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Preheat the oven to 375. Rinse chicken cavity...then pat dry. Tuck wing tips under back.Place chicken breast side up in shallow roasting pan. Combine butter...and garlic...then spread over chicken.In a small bowl...stir together remaining ingredients...then sprinkle over chicken.

Roast the chicken about 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 hours or until chicken is done. If the chicken starts to get too brown...cover loosely with foil. When the chicken is dine...remove from oven...covered with foil... for about 10 minutes...then carve and serve.



POTATOES SAVOYARDE
Makes 6 servings

3 tablespoons unsalted butter...cut into small pieces
1 tablespoon melted butter for buttering the pan only
3 cloves garlic minced
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf Italian parsley
1 1/2 cups ( 6 ounces) shredded Gruyere cheese
freshly ground pepper
6 russet or Yukon gold potatoes...unpeeled and cut into 1/4 inch slices
1 1/2 cups chicken stock... ( I use low salt organic chicken stock)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Brush the brush and sides of a 2-quart baking dish with the 1 tablespoon melted butter. In a small bowl...stir together the garlic...parsley...cheese...and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.

Layer one-third of the potatoes in the prepared dish...sprinkle one-third of the garlic-cheese mixture over the potatoes and dot with 1 tablespoon of the cut butter. Repeat with the rest of the remaining potatoes...garlic-cheese mixture and butter.Top with any remaining potatoes. Pour the stock over the potatoes... sprinkle the rest of the garlic-cheese mixture evenly over the top...and dot with the remaining 1 tablespoon butter. Cover with buttered piece of foil and bake for 30 minutes.

Remove the foil...and continue baking uncovered until the top is browned and crusty and the potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork...30 to 40 minutes longer. Serve at once.

***I add about 1 cup more Gruyere cheese to this recipe to be honest...do what works for you.



TARTE TATIN or APPLE TART
Serves 6

1 cup superfine sugar or granulated sugar
1 1/4 sticks unsalted butter
4 Golden Delicious apples...peeled...cored...and sliced
1 sheet frozen...ready to eat puff pastry
all-purpose flour for dusting
vanilla ice cream to serve (optional)

Place an 8-inch ovenproof skillet ( a cast iron skillet is perfect for this) over low heat and add the sugar.Melt the sugar until it starts to caramelize...but do not let it burn...then add the butter and stir it in to make a light toffee sauce... ( a light brown color). Remove from heat.

Place the apple slices in the skillet on top of the toffee sauce. The apples should fill the skillet. Put the skillet over medium heat and cover. Simmer...without stirring...for about 5-1-0 minutes...until the apples soak up some of the sauce...then remove from the heat.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.Roll out the pastry dough ( make sure it is really cold...for easy handling) on a lightly floured surface...making sure it is large enough to thickly cover the skillet with extra space on the sides. Lay it on top of the apples...and tuck the edges down between the fruit and skillet until it is sealed. Do not worry about making it look too neat...it will be inverted before eating.

Put the skillet with the apple tart in it...in the oven now...and bake for 25-35 minutes...checking to make sure the pastry doesn't burn. The pastry should be puffed and golden. Remove from the oven and let rest for 30-60 minutes.

When you are ready to eat...make sure the tart is still a little warm...and place a plate on top of the tart.Carefully invert it ( flip it upside down) and lift the skillet off. Serve immediately with vanilla ice cream if you wish. This dessert will get raves...to be ready to bow with pride!!!  

Happy Sunday Suppers,
Victoria