Thursday, February 26, 2015

FEMININE LIVING TRADITIONS FOR YOUR HOME...HEARTH... AND HEART MARCH 2015

March musings...

The month of  March marks a change of seasons...letting go completely of the long Winter cycle...and welcoming the return of the Spring season...the cycle of hope...new birth...and new beginnings.

It is the season for you to try new things...to set into motion something better and more loving for yourself...and to completely reinvent yourself...if need be. Or to simply open yourself to that something "more" you have always wanted to do or express...just waiting for the right moment.

This is the process I am experiencing right now...it is time for me to begin some projects that I have long wanted to share with you...that I believe will benefit you and your loved ones...to help you live a more balanced... creative and resourceful life...as well as... giving you a monthly guide to restore a deeper sense of well-being...and harmony in your daily living. It is also the perfect season...to bring all my creative pursuits... that I have learned and practice myself...in a complete venue for you... so you can have...easy access...and use.

I will continue to bring you world traditions...and ones that I create myself...for you to enjoy and practice here on my blog...and on my FB pages. My web site will still offer you my e-courses that you can order...for when you are experiencing life changes and transitions...as a woman...and my consultations for herbal bridal showers and milestone birthday celebrations will remain. My on-line shop...will also change and have a new beginning...that you can read about at the bottom of this post. As you can see...many of my services will remain the same...I am just adding "more"...services to assist you in living a more gentle...orderly...and hopefully...meaningful life. To find out what my "more" is just continue reading.

As most of you know...whether personally...or by following  my blog posts...I am a firm and dedicated believer in the power of traditions...and the importance of keeping all those timeless traditions that help all of us...celebrate life... as well as give us joy...and bond the human family together.

But perhaps you didn't know I believe just as strongly...that in order to live a more balanced...natural...and healthier way of life...following the flow of the changing seasons of Mother Nature...is how I live my life...and have for many years. It just makes good ole common sense. Seasonal living is not new...actually it wasn't that long ago...that all of our family ancestors practiced the following of the changing seasons...because they understood the wisdom of nature...and knew they needed to take heed to the teachings of the changing seasons...to not only thrive...but to survive. Although technology is a good thing...it has also pulled us away on so many levels...from natural ways to live our lives...that humans actually need to be happy...experience good health...and emotional well-being. Fortunately...many really informative books are being written today about the return of living with the seasons and why humanity needs to once again embrace this ancient wisdom. Here are a few book titles to get you started in the right direction for your own personal study and knowledge. STAYING HEALTHY WITH THE SEASONS by Elson M.Hass M.D. and SEASONS OF CHANGE by Caroll McClelland. These are just a few of the books I studied when I was seeking a more peaceful and fulfilled life...as well as a more balanced and healthier way of living.

It is because I believe from my own experience and my positive results from following the changing seasons...my new beginning...is that I want to share with you "more"... of my tips and creative ideas ...for seasonal living...and make it more of a focus here on my blog...weaved together with my traditions.


When you follow the changing seasons...you open yourself to the teachings of nature...and flow with the natural rhythms of life itself. You will know when to start projects and when to let go...as nature mirrors back to you...what to do. The Spring is the season to create new beginnings...the Summer brings growth to you...the gentle Fall cycle...nudges you to let go...and the Winter season...brings rest and deep renewal to your spirit. Seasonal living...fits in with all areas of your life...knowing what seasonal foods to buy... to save money and eat healthy...recipes to cook seasonal foods...homemaking tips for the season...seasonal herbs and essential oils to use...and personal traditions and celebrations of the season to help you grow and connect with your inner spirit. It is my heart felt wish... that you can benefit from my bits and pieces of seasonal living tips...that I have studied and practiced for many years. I will be offering you other options to learn how to practice seasonal living...as the year progresses... and I will post my new options for you...when they are ready.

Seasonal living and traditions go hand in hand for a well lived life... so I feel my web site needs to have a new name...to resonate with it's changes and new services... that I will be offering to you beginning this month. I will post the new name for my web site...very soon...so be sure to check back to my blog now and then for the new name.

And...as part of my expressing and sharing the "more" of my creative self...my on-line shop...Feminine Chic Boutique...is also getting a new name...and will no longer feature my handcrafted products...but instead...will be featuring small...unique antiques and home goods from Europe...as well as locally purchased items for my shop...for you to purchase...as I want to support local antique dealers and their lovely stores. The antiques and home goods...I will be featuring in my shop will change with each season...to give you options for your seasonal home decorating.

I want to close my post here...by thanking each one of you who take the time to read my monthly blog...for your support and your interest in what I share here on my blog. I look forward to sharing my new options for you to live a more balanced...simple and life affirming way of daily living...celebrating traditions and embracing seasonal living...for a well lived life.

To the ever changing seasons,
Victoria

WORLD TRADITIONS AND CELEBRATIONS FOR MARCH...

March 1st...52nd Anniversary of The Peace Corps...March 8th..International Woman's Day...March 17th...St. Patrick's Day...March 20th...The Spring Equinox



DO YOU KNOW?

In the early Roman calendar March 1st was the New Year


FOLK LORE ABOUT MARCH

' March winds and April showers bring forth May Flowers'


FULL MOON... is March 5th



IRISH BLESSING

May your neighbors respect you,
Trouble neglect you
The Angles protect you
And heaven accept you



FEMININE LIVING TRADITIONS


...FOR YOUR HOME

Nothing says Spring than a clean...tidy and well ordered home. Start with just one room at a time...and do deep cleaning...including washing the blinds...or curtains and windows. Regular white vinegar cleans windows and mirrors perfectly...just pour vinegar in a small container...and then take a soft clean cloth or even paper towels...dip into the vinegar and proceed to clean windows...and mirrors. They will be so clean!

Try just placing fresh flowers in whites...yellows...and peach colored stems...in each room of your home...this says instant Spring season...and really is a simple but beautiful way to decorate your home for this season.

For a wonderful and healthy alternative to standard soap for bathing...purchase organic goat milk soap instead...good for you...your family and the Earth...and goat milk soap will make your skin silky smooth.


...FOR YOUR HEARTH

To me...eggs are perfect for a Spring...lunch or dinner...as eggs have long been a symbol of new beginnings and fertility. It is rather fun to eat food that is steeped in history and in mythology...so as you shop...prepare...serve and eat these ever so good eggs...imagine the eggs are bringing you good fortune and a fresh start in your life. What do you have to lose?

CREAMY SCRAMBLED EGGS WITH SMOKED SALMON
serves 1

3 eggs
1 tablespoon butter unsalted
1 tablespoon cream or whole milk
1 slice of smoked salmon
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
sprig of fresh parsley to garnish
hot toast to serve

Whisk the eggs in a bowl together with the cream or milk...add a generous amount of black pepper and a little salt to taste. Next melt the butter in a pan...and when the pan is warm...and the butter until melted... then add the egg mixture and gently stir until the eggs are softly scrambled. Serve immediately...after placing smoked salmon next to the eggs...and garnished with the parsley. Serve with hot buttered toast.


...FOR YOUR HEART

This month...plan family outings to a nearby park...and experience a good old-fashioned picnic...that includes fried chicken and deviled eggs.

Save stale bread crumbs...bread crusts...and crackers and go feed the ducks.

Go to a toy store...and buy a bag of JACKS...a good old fashioned game...that never goes out of style... be sure you play too...this game will rekindle that playful child within you!


Sunday, February 15, 2015

TRADITIONS THAT NURTURE


One of my intentions with my business that focuses on traditions and seasonal living...is how to guide you month by month...on how you can live a more simple...resourceful...and meaningful life by living by the seasons... and celebrating your life and those you love...with traditions.

More and more of us are understanding the necessity of doing it ourselves...and the pleasure of handcrafting products for our homes...family body care...for our food preparation and eating...and to give as gifts.

The tradition of handcrafting is making a huge come back...not only because it is an inexpensive way to achieve quality products...but because it feeds our souls...and our human need to make something worth while...useful and beautiful with our very own hands.

Keeping in mind that February is the month to clean out...clear out...and cleanse for the coming spring cycle...below is a simple but high quality body scrub...that you can make in minutes...and for mere pennies for yourself...your family and to give as a nurturing gift.


EXFOLIATING BODY SCRUB

1 tablespoon sea salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon honey
2-3 drops of rose... sage  or juniper...  essential oil

Mix all ingredients in a small glass bowl...to make a runny paste. Use in your bath or shower.

If you have any leftovers...place in a small glass bottle with a lid.

To make as a gift...mix all ingredients... doubling the recipe when needed...place in a pretty small bottle...tie with a ribbon...and then place a tag with the ingredients and how to use tied to the ribbon.


Enjoy,
Victoria

P.S. Use recycled bottles and jars to store your body scrub in. You can purchase essential oils at any health food store or purchase from an organic herb company...just make sure it is pure essential oil without fillers.  I like to purchase mine from www.mountainroseherbs.com

Sunday, February 8, 2015

TRADITIONS FOR YOUR HEARTH... FLOURLESS CHOCOLATE CAKE

You can eat gluten free...have your cake...and eat it too!

I have been eating gluten free for quite awhile now...not because it has become the thing to do...but because wheat contains gluten and these days so many chemicals are now added to wheat...many people are now getting sick...including me... from the added toxins. I have learned to eat healthier...but not have to eliminate foods I love or delete good tasty desserts from my menu.

There is something so timeless...and nurturing than getting into your kitchen and baking something homemade...and wonderful. Food is something that everyone can relate to. Food is love...tradition...and connects people instantly. Below is a flourless chocolate cake that is so very good...as is...or you can make the sauce...drizzle over it and add the pine nuts. Either way...it is very good...a piece of this cake...will have you plating up for seconds.

Please use the best ingredients you can...organic if possible and the chocolate a good quality...it will make a huge difference in this cake...believe me. This cake is rich...but a little goes a long way.

I have some notes to help you with this recipe at the bottom of the recipe...little tidbits I have learned on my cooking journey...hope they help you too.

FLOURLESS CHOCOLATE CAKE WITH SALTED CARAMEL SAUCE
Makes one 9-inch round cake


FOR THE CAKE

1 pound bittersweet or semisweet chocolate...coarsely chopped
11 tablespoons (1 stick plus 3 tablespoons) unsalted butter...cut into 1/2-inch cubes
5 large eggs...separated
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar

FOR THE CARAMEL SAUCE (optional)

1 cup dark brown sugar...packed
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

FOR THE GARNISH
1/4 cup whole toasted pine nuts


Preheat the oven to 325 F. Grease a 9-inch round cake pan and line the bottom with parchment paper. In the top of a double boiler...melt the chocolate and butter. Stir frequently until the chocolate and butter have melted. Remove from heat and let sit for 2-3 minutes.

Whisk the egg yolks into the slightly warm chocolate mixture...doing so quickly so that the eggs mix quickly...and do not turn into scrambled eggs.Stir in the vanilla extract.

In a separate bowl...using an electric mixer with the whisk attachment...beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Once this occurs...stop mixer and add the sugar and salt.Scrape down the sides of the bowl if necessary. Continue mixing until the egg whites have attained firm...but not dry peaks.

Using a rubber spatula ...fold 1/3 of the egg white mixture into the chocolate mixture. Once combined...fold in the remaining egg white mixture in two more small portions...mixing carefully and gently each time...until all egg whites are mixed. Using the same rubber spatula...add the thick chocolate  mixture into your prepared baking pan...being sure to scrape the bowl...leaving none in the bowl. Place the pan in a larger baking dish or roasting pan...and fill the larger pan with warm water...until it reaches the halfway mark to the pan with the cake mixture. This cooking technique using a larger pan filled with water...keeps delicate cakes and puddings from burning while they cook and is called a bain-marie...and developed by the French.

Place the entire cooking unit into the oven...being careful not to spill the water.Bake for 30 minutes.The top and sides will be set...but the middle of the cake might jiggle a bit. Remove from the oven...and take the cake pan out of the bain-marie pan. Set cake aside and allow to cool. When the cake is cooled run a sharp knife around the outside of the cake to loosen . Place a round serving dish or plate on top of the cake and flip the cake pan and the plate...upside down...remove the cake pan...and the cake should be on the plate... with the parchment paper on top. Remove the paper. Store in refrigerator to set...for a bit...then take out to serve at room temperature.Serve...like is...or make the caramel sauce and topping.


TO MAKE CARAMEL SAUCE FOR SERVING

Combine the brown sugar...cream...butter...and salt in a saucepan on medium-low heat...stirring frequently until the mixture begins to thicken...about 8-10 minutes. Stir in the vanilla and continue stirring another 2 minutes or until it has thickened more. Remove from heat...and let cool to room temperature...and it will continue to thicken. Spread on cake allowing it to drip. Sprinkle pine nuts on top...serve in small wedges...this cake is rich... and quite satisfying.


TO TOAST PINE NUTS

Roast pine nuts in dry pan until lightly browned...let cool.


TIPS FROM MY HEARTH TO YOURS...

If you do not have a double boiler for melting chocolate...do this instead.Take a large cooking pot...fill until about 3 inches from top with water...and then bring water to a boil.Place a stainless steal or fireproof glass bowl on top with your chocolate...using a potholder to hold the bowl in place and gently stir while the chocolate melts. Also be sure the water does not get into your chocolate or spill on the stove.

When adding egg yolks to melted warm chocolate...add the egg yolks...just a little ... and stir gently...then slowly add and stir the rest...it will keep the eggs from being scrambled.


Happy baking,
Victoria