Sunday, August 31, 2014

FEMININE LIVING TRADITIONS FOR YOUR HOME...HEARTH..AND HEART SEPTEMBER 2014


SEPTEMBER musings...

How I love this month...for it is the soothing beginning of the Autumn cycle...my favorite time of year. It is not just the colors...scents...and food of this season that I adore so much...but the feeling of release and "gathering in"...within myself...into my home and kitchen. The busy days...of completing goals and projects...out of town trips...and social gatherings of Summer are gone...to be remembered with fondness...of course...but gladly now...opening myself to the gentle offerings of the Fall season.

I cannot think of anything better...or fulfilling for me anyway...than going grocery shopping at my favorite organic shops...and seeing all the beautiful foods of the Fall season on display.

Big fat pumpkins...overflowing bins with their round orange faces...makes me feel like a child again...excited...that some of those pumpkins on an evening soon...will be transformed into a scary jack o' lantern for Halloween night.

Apples...of all colors and sizes...are stacked high...row after row... their aroma filling up the aisles...smelling like I have stepped into an  orchard...have me thinking about baked apples and honey...and my favorite fruit dessert...apple pie.

Squash ...beckon me to smell...poke and pick them up...and within minutes of exploring all the different types of this Fall root vegetable... makes me what to prepare it... in my family's favorite squash soup I cook... with fresh cream...leeks... and basil.

Bins of walnuts...and other nuts...look like little brown gems from the Earth...heaped to over flowing...ready to be scooped up and bagged...to go home with me...to eat...and to place in bowls for the Fall season table decorations.

And each year...I find just the right ears of Indian corn...stalks left on...to grace my kitchen table...as a harvest centerpiece...that I love so much...each colored kernel...reminding of all the abundance I have in my life...that I am so very grateful for.

My light sweaters come out of hiding from within my closet...and stacks of books...waiting to be read...on crisp Fall evenings... have me looking forward to the change of the season.

I have reflected these last weeks of issues and certain items that I really want to let go of...this month...and am planning my own private ceremony of "inner release" when I feel the time is right...for me to really purge these out grown and unwanted energies from my life. I will create a special little shrine or altar on my office window sill...and place fallen leaves...and dried up flowers...that I have gathered...and then place them on my shrine as symbols of  my "release". At the end of September... I will bury them in my backyard...declaring my freedom from this baggage in my life...knowing for certainty...by being willing to release...and do the inner work with that release...something more loving and positive will come into my life.

My wish for you this month of September...is to enjoy and relax into this soothing month...of reflection...returning to the comforts of home...hearth...and family. Make a big pot of soup...bake some bread...light some candles...and know you are blessed.

Because you are.

Warm hugs,
Victoria


AFFIRMATION FOR SEPTEMBER

"As this cycle of the Autumn months begin...I have the wisdom to release and let go".



WORLD TRADITIONS AND CELEBRATIONS FOR THE MONTH OF SEPTEMBER

September 1st...Labor Day in USA... September 7th...Grandparents Day...September 21st...UN International Day of Peace...September 22nd...Fall Equinox...September 23rd...Worldwide Day of Prayer and Meditation To Help Heal Mother Earth.


FULL MOON is September 8th

FLOWERS OF SEPTEMBER...The narcissus...lily

GEMS AND STONES...The peridot...and citrine



FACTS ABOUT SEPTEMBER

The Autumn. or Fall Equinox is still celebrated around the world today in many cultures with festivals...food...and celebrating the harvest season.



HARVEST FESTIVALS IN USA IN THE MONTH OF SEPTEMBER

I am so pleased that so many states here in the USA are still celebrating the timeless traditions of the harvest season. Here are a few listed below...although you might not be able to attend...you will enjoy reading about them...or looking for them on the internet.



HERITAGE HARVEST FESTIVAL AT MONTICELLO
September 12-13
www.heritageharvestfestival.com

This harvest festival celebrates the harvest and legacy of revolutionary gardener Thomas Jefferson.



WINE AND HARVEST FESTIVAL IN HISTORIC CEDARBURG,WISCONSIN\
September 20-21st
www.cedarburgfestivals.org

Wine and foodie lovers...celebrate the harvest season,


MOUNTAIN HARVEST FESTIVAL IN PAONIA,COLORADO
September 25-28th
www.mountainharvestfestival.org

Art...music.. food... and local products make this harvest festival a special yearly event.



FEMININE LIVING TRADITIONS...

...FOR YOUR HOME

Do a complete Fall cleaning...including washing your windows. Put away all your Summer toys and decorations...cleaning them first of course. Wipe down your cupboards with pure essential lemon oil...by adding a few drops of the lemon oil to a wet cloth and then wipe down. Repeat process until all kitchen and bathroom cupboards are clean and done. Oh my... your home will smell wonderful!

Your garbage disposal needs cleaning too! To clean...peel a lemon...into small pieces...put in the disposal and turn on the water into the drain and run the disposal...until the lemon rinds are ground up.

An alternative to this is to put white vinegar in an ice  cube tray...freeze until solid...then place cubes in disposal and run...until ice cubes are ground up,

Make a batch of natural...earth friendly scouring powder...to clean your sinks...with a lovely...fragrant scent. Recipe is below,


FRAGRANT SCOURING POWDER

1 cup
1/4 cup rose petals crushed
2 drops rosemary essential oil

Combine all ingredients in a glass container...one with a shaker top ( you can purchase these at hobby stores). Place lid in glass container...put your hand over top...to prevent spilling and then shake well.Sprinkle a small amount of the powder into sink and scrub with a damp cloth...or sponge. Rinse well.

This recipe makes for a wonderful house warming or holiday gift to give.Just put the finished product in a pretty jar or bottle...and tie a ribbon around the top.



...FOR YOUR HEARTH

The Fall season is the perfect time of the year to return to your hearth...and make more heartier but healthy meals for you...and your loved ones. If you are like me...baking cookies...homemade bread...and roasting meats and veggies in the oven...make for a homey...earthy...and ever so nurturing treats and goodness for your taste buds...and soul... as well as for your family and friends.

Before I add a recipe here in this section...here are a few kitchen tips for you to try and experiment with.

BALSAMIC VINEGAR...Add a few splashes to your spaghetti sauce and it will taste like you have been simmering the sauce all day.

BAKING...Use only glass or ceramic pans...rather than metal ones and you can conserve energy...by reducing the oven temperature by 25 degrees.

ONIONS... That have been stored too long...really have a very strong flavor and smell. But please do not throw them away! Just slice them...and then soak them in cold water for about 15 minutes...then drain and pat dry. Then use as desired.

Nothing says the Fall season like something home baked from your kitchen. This recipe will sooth your soul and create a wonderful aroma throughout your home.

Please try using organic ingredients...this is for health reasons...for you and your loved ones...but also makes such a more positive choice for the Earth.


APPLE AND NUTMEG CAKES
serves 4

11/2 white self-rising flour
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon grated fresh lemon rind
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
11/2  sticks unsalted butter...cut into small pieces
1/4 cup superfine sugar
1 large free-range egg...beaten
2 cooking apples..peeled...cored...and grated

Sift the flour and salt into a bowl. Add the lemon rind and nutmeg...then the butter...and mix in with a fork...until the mixture looks like bread crumbs.

Stir in the sugar...then add the egg...and beat the mixture well...to a thick consistency. Add the apple...gently mix into batter.

Place 12 heaping spoonfuls of the mixture on a greased baking sheet and bake in the middle of the oven at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until the cakes have risen and are brown.

Let the cakes cool for 5 minutes...then transfer them to a plate to finish cooling.




...FOR YOUR HEART

Traditionally the Fall cycle which begins September 22nd...is a time of release and letting go...and this includes your inner world. You will feel so much more at peace...empowered and gain more self-confidence when you take the steps to clear up emotional baggage.

One of the most common emotional baggage issues we carry around...is unfulfilled or toxic friendships. Oh my...to have a friend in your life who is toxic...and draining...certainly is not in your best interest or theirs either...you are in truth enabling their behavior...and disrespecting yourself... by not speaking up or closing out a relationship with them.


To get you started on your journey of release this month...take the necessary steps to get completion and closure with unresolved issues in a relationship...by either writing a letter...and sharing your feelings...with your written word ...with the person in question...or speaking to them in person. Either way ...you decide to handle this...come from your heart with this person...speak your truth...and do not attack them verbally...rather be supportive and respectful of yourself....but of them also.

If sharing your feelings in this honest way does not work out...you must be willing to let go of the relationship...and know and trust everything happens for a reason...including the possibility...that this is best for you and the relationship too.

A really great thing happens when you let go of unhealthy relationships...better and more positive ones come into your life!!!

HAPPY SEPTEMBER!








Thursday, August 28, 2014

AUGUST 28th...HEALTHY AND REALLY GOOD PASTA RECIPE FOR YOU

MY musings about food...

I LOVE to shop...cook...and eat really good and quality food. Put me in the kitchen...and I am a happy camper...always.

My family and I do eat healthy...and we have fallen in love with TRUE FOOD...by Dr.Andrew Weil, M.D. His recipes are really good...and very balanced...and I especially love this pasta dish...so below is my family's favorite.


Be sure to purchase your copy of his cookbook...TRUE FOOD by Andrew Weil, MD


TURKEY BOLOGNESE
serves 4

1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 carrot...sliced
2 oz. shiltake mushrooms...stemmed and diced
3 garlic cloves...minced
1 small onion...diced
1 pound ground turkey
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 (14-ounce) can chopped San Marzano tomatoes...with juice
3 or 4 sprigs fresh thyme
pinch of red pepper flakes
1 pound tagliatelle or fettuccine ( gluten free corn pasta if needed)


For serving...
2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Heat the olive oil over medium high heat in a saucepan and add the carrot and mushrooms. Saute stirring frequently...until they begin to caramelize...about 10 minutes...then add the garlic and onion. Saute until the onions are translucent...about 5 minutes. Add the turkey...and season with the salt.Cook stirring occasionally...until the turkey loses its pink color...about 5 minutes,Add the tomatoes and bring to a simmer. Add the thyme and red pepper flakes and cook over low heat for 20 minutes.

While the sauce is cooking...bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta...and cook until al dente...according to the package directions. Pour through a colander to drain. Divide the pasta among serving bowls...and top with the sauce...parsley..and basil.Serve with grated cheese on the side.

***If you are using corn pasta...you will have to allow for longer cooking time. Corn pasta tastes wonderful...but does take longer to cook...just take out a strand and check to see if it is done.

Happy eating
Victoria

Saturday, August 16, 2014

AUGUST PERSONAL SELF-NURTURING TRADITIONS

August is almost to a close... and marks the waning cycle of the summer season...a time for you to breathe out the busy and often hectic days of summer...and begin to create quiet...relaxing...and nurturing rituals or traditions to pamper yourself...and those you care about.

Making your own bath and self-care products is easy...and very affordable...and you have quality control.
Be sure you purchase only pure essential oils...and remember that a few drops of an essential oil goes a long way. Use clean and dry recycled  bottles and jars to store your hand blended bath and spa products in...but remember setting them out in your bathroom does make for a pretty display. And when you need a last minute gift to give...hand blended products make for a thoughtful and welcomed gift to someone.

Below is a wonderful and soothing body exfoliating scrub...you can apply this with your hands...or fill up a clean...old sock...tie off with a ribbon...and use it to scrub with.

This product will exfoliate dead skin from your body...leaving your skin soft and glowing. Soak in your bath for a few minutes to soften skin and relax...then begin to massage this product...using a circular motion on your body...but avoid your face area.

EXFOLIATING BODY SCRUB

1 tablespoon sea salt
2 tablespoons plain yogurt
1 tablespoon thick honey
2-3 drops of sweet marjoram...rose...or juniper essential oil

Mix in a small glass bowl...use immediately.

Enjoy,
Victoria

Friday, August 1, 2014

FEMININE LIVING TRADITIONS FOR YOUR HOME...HEARTH...AND HEART AUGUST 2014

AUGUST musings...

By the month of August I feel crispy fried from the intense heat of a Texas summer... and although I am grateful for all the growth...and positive changes...that I reaped this summer cycle... to be honest here...my heart and thoughts turn to the sights... scents... and colors of the approaching fall season.

The month of August is traditionally a time of the first harvest...not only of the land and the crops ready to pluck and pick...but also on a personal and professional level for me as a human being and woman...and for you as well. My harvest this cycle was bountiful and and over flowing...and I feel so grateful.

My harvest this summer season...included being able to visit my oldest daughter and her sweet family...and spend some time with my new grandson. I cannot even begin to express with words...my joy and love I feel for him. I could just spend the rest of my life kissing his cheeks...and watching him explore his world.

What can I say about being a grandma? Words are not even found in the dictionary...it is that heartfelt.

My heart is... just wide open.

My new German Shepherd puppy ...Bayley... that I welcomed into our home...and family... in early June.. is a trip to say the least. Raising a puppy is like taking care of a little clown... her antics are so funny to watch...and she makes us all laugh...as she too...explores her world.

I received many other gifts of growth and change that I am grateful for... in my summer harvest...but seeing my family...and holding my grandbaby...and sharing just a bit of his life...if only for a few blissful days...will always be such a beautiful and wonderful experience...that I will always cherish. I can close my eyes...at any given moment now... look into my heart...and forever...see his smiling... happy face.Those priceless summer days...that I spent with him...on my visit...is a deep knowing within...that nothing can ever compete with the joy I feel being his grandmama... and witnessing him... embracing with glee... his new life.

For me...it is the heart and soul stirrings...of life...that bring me the greatest joy...and forever memories. Falling in love...with my wonderful husband... the birth of my daughters...the sounds of my family's laughter... holding my new grandson...when he was just birthed. All of these priceless moments...were just thoughts and wishes when I was a much younger woman...and now...in this moment in time...they are beautiful experiences that I have been so blessed to harvest.

Sit on your porch this August month...and dig deep within your soul... all the many wonderful blessings you have harvested...not just this summer cycle...but of summers long ago.Fill your mind...your senses...your very core...with all you have been blessed with...thus far in your life...and give thanks.

May your harvest be bountiful...each and every day...and your cup over flowing with love.

Blessings,
Victoria



August...
The opposing
of peach and sugar,
and the sun inside the afternoon
like the stone in the fruit.

The ear of corn keeps
its laughter intact, yellow and firm.

August.
The little boys eat
brown bread and delicious moon.

Federico Garcia Lorca


WORLD TRADITIONS AND CELEBRATIONS FOR AUGUST

August 1st ...Lammas or First Harvest... a celebration of bringing in the first harvest of grain...August 11th... Feast of St. Claire... a festival honoring the joys of living a simple life...August 12...International Youth Day... August 15th...Statehood Day in Hawaii...Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary... August 19th...World Humanitarian Day...August 21st...My husband Todd's birthday...August 26th...Women's Equality Day



FACTS ABOUT AUGUST

August 1st was a Celtic feast called Lunasa or Lughnassadh... which means celebrating the harvest and new grain for bread. In Old English Lammas means " Loaf Mass."

Th Romans also had a harvest festival this month...called Consualia...honoring of course the grain harvested and Consus...their god of the underground where they stored their harvested grain.

The Oban festival in Japan...held in the month of August is a festival of The Lanterns...a celebration honoring the spirits of loved ones who have crossed over.Offerings of food are placed on family altars and in temples...and paper lanterns are lit...offering light to those who have passed...guiding their spirits to return home.

August also finds Edinburgh, Scotland... celebrating the Edinburgh Festival...which celebrates the performing Arts... with concerts...plays... ballets...and opera.



FLOWERS OF AUGUST
The sunflower..and marigold

GEMS OF AUGUST
Cat's eye...jasper...fire agate

TEACHINGS AND LESSONS OF AUGUST
Counting all your personal and professional harvest so far this year...appreciating all you have.

FULL MOON IN AUGUST
August 10th


HARVEST CELEBRATION

Have a lovely HARVEST dinner for you and your family. Set the table with your best dinner dishes...forks and knives...place wheat and apples as the center piece in a lovely bowl...light some candles...and serve healthy...comfort food for all to enjoy.

While you are enjoying your family time and great food to eat...have each person express what they personally harvested this year...that they really wanted or had a personal goal to achieve... and how it has impacted their lives. This can be anything...so please just praise each person for their harvest...not judge. This is a wonderful way to share with your family...and also teaches you and your family...appreciation and gratitude for all the bounty you and your family receive each day.



FEMININE LIVING TRADITIONS


...FOR YOUR HOME

Begin clearing out and packing away summer items...cleaning them first of course. Unwanted items should be given to a charity...or recycled to family or friends that can use them.

Purchase beautiful sunflowers and set out in earth tone vases throughout your home.

Set out baskets...filled with beautiful dried herbs...as a reminder of the harvest season.


...FOR YOUR HEARTH

One of the greatest offerings of growing your own herbs...is to be able to harvest them from your own yard... bring them into your kitchen...and create something extraordinary to eat with them!

I adore basil...the smell...the beauty...and taste of this versatile herb never ceases to amaze me. Below is a simple pesto recipe for you and the whole family to enjoy. It can be used for a dip...tossed with pasta...or used over chicken...pork or fish...or dabbed on bread for sandwiches.


HOMEMADE BASIL PESTO
yields about 2 cups

4 cups fresh organic basil leaves ( from your garden or favorite shop)
4-6 cloves garlic
3/4 cup toasted pine nuts
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
3/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese ( buy a good quality block of this cheese)

Place all ingredients except the olive oil and cheese in a food processor...until it is finely ground...but not too mushy. Next slowly add the olive oil ...and process until blended. Add the cheese and salt...process again for a few seconds. Place finished pesto in an airtight container and place in fridge or eat right away.

Did you know?

The roots of the herb Tarragon used to be used for a toothache.


...FOR YOUR HEART

In honor of the harvest season...go to the grocery store...and buy food  for those in need...placing them in the food donation barrel.

Purchase school supplies for those school children less fortunate... to start their school year off to a positive start.