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

Sunday, October 9, 2016

OCTOBER SEASONAL LIVING SUNDAY SUPPERS 2016

Wishing you all a wonderful and relaxing Sunday...including keeping the timeless tradition of making a Sunday Supper...and gathering around the table with family or friends.

Sunday Suppers have a long history...and used to be a "must" in our culture. Even families who weren't religious would come together on Sundays to share a big home cooked meal and be together.

I believe this tradition should never be lost...especially in our busy and often disconnected world. Make time for your family and friends...and have a big Sunday Supper.Cook...eat...talk and laugh together...because that is really what the tradition of Sunday Suppers is all about.

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

The recipes for this post...are good...easy...and budget wise...because as you know...Seasonal living is all about eating seasonal food...which is being resourceful...making it yourself...and living within your means.

I am featuring pork...for the main course...it is darn good eating...budget wise...and most everyone loves pork.


PORK SALTIMBOCCA
serves 4

This is such a very tasty version of saltimbocca...which usually calls for veal...an expensive cut of meat

1 pound 2 ounces pork tenderloin...fat and membrane removed...sliced into 8 equal pieces
16 slices sliced prosciutto
8 sage leaves
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon olive oil
2 tablespoons dry white wine
1 tablespoon drained small capers
freshly ground pepper

Preheat the oven to 150 degrees. Put the pork pieces on a cutting board...cover with plastic wrap...and then beat with a meat mallet...or rolling pin until 1/16 inch thick. Season each piece with a little pepper.

Lay 2 slices of prosciutto...slightly overlapping...on a clean cutting board...or large plate...and put a sage leaf in the middle. Sit a piece of pork on top.Wrap the prosciutto around the pork to make a package...the prosciutto should stick to itself...but if you want you can secure it with a wooden toothpick. Repeat this process...making the 8 pork packages in total.

Heat the butter and oil in a large skillet over...medium high heat. When the butter is foaming...add the pork packages and cook 2 to 3 minutes on each side until the prosciutto is crisp. You might need to cook these in two batches. Transfer the pork salimbocca to the oven to keep warm.

Add the wine to the pan...to deglaze. Let it bubble about 1 minute...being sure to scrape the meat morsels in the pan to add flavor to the dish. Remove from heat...and stir in the capers.Take the pork from the oven and spoon the sauce and capers...over the pork saltimbocca. Serve immediately...garnishing with fresh sage. Serve this dish with fresh green beans...and creamy polenta.


BANANAS IN CARAMEL SAUCE
serves 2-4

Who does not love a decadent dessert? Bananas are always in seasonal...and caramel sauce is easier to make then you think.This recipe can be easily doubled or tripled.

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2/3 cup sugar
pinch of salt
3/4 cup heavy cream
2 ripe bananas...but still firm...peeled and sliced into 1/2 thick slices

In a medium frying pan over medium-high heat...melt the butter...and swirl it over the pan. Sprinkle the sugar and salt over the melted butter and stir gently.Cook this mixture...stirring occasionally until it begins to melt. As it melts...scrape the sides of the pan down...using a rubber scraper or wooden spoon. Continue doing this until the mixture is completely melted.

Gently whisk the mixture while you pour in the cream. Let it melt...then start stirring again. Continue cooking until you have a creamy...golden-brown caramel sauce.

Add the sliced bananas and arrange in the pan...so they are submerged. Cook for 1-2 minutes...just until bananas have softened. Remove from heat.

Let cool for 2-3 minutes...then serve over vanilla ice cream. Oh my...you will enjoy this...you will want to lick your spoon!


Happy Sunday Supper,
Victoria


Sunday, October 2, 2016

OCTOBER SEASONAL LIVING SUNDAY SUPPERS 2016

October...I love the tradition of Sunday Suppers...that many cultures practice throughout the world...and I know... many of you also embrace this lovely weekly tradition and bonding with loved ones...each and every Sunday...to share a special meal...and spend time together.

Food...no matter where you live...or who you are...always brings people together... to a common ground... and common connection...the pleasure and joy...of shopping for...preparing...and eating a good meal.

In a world where we always seem to be in a hurry...striving for more...seeking instant gratification...and grabbing food on the go...the value and tradition of Sunday Suppers...can and will add something vital...something special...to look forward to each week...and add so many happy memories to each and everyone you love and care about.

Your Sunday Suppers do not have to be fancy...or perfect...just good food... made with care and love...as well as... good old-fashioned family time.

All of my October Sunday Suppers are seasonal...and call for seasonal ingredients...so this month's recipes work perfectly for this month. Cooking by the seasons...is a resourceful...money wise...and more healthy way to eat...and please be sure to buy your ingredients locally...to support your local economy.

So let's get going on my Sunday Suppers for October...is your apron on yet?

Because nothing says love...like something homemade!



BRAISED SHORT RIBS IN RED WINE
Short ribs are a very inexpensive cut of meat...and very tasty. Your wine you use for cooking does not have to be an expensive wine...just one that you would actually want to drink will do fine.

Serves 6
1/4 cup olive oil
5 pounds beef short ribs
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
2 large onions...chopped
4 large carrots...chopped
3 cups red wine...such as a Merlot
1 bunch fresh thyme
1 head garlic...split in half and sliced
1/2 bunch fresh chives...about 1/4 cup...chopped for the garnish

Heat the olive oil in a heavy- bottomed pot on medium-high heat. Season the ribs with salt and pepper...then add to the pot and brown...turning frequently...until the ribs are nicely browned and caramelized on all sides.

Remove the ribs from the pot...and most of the fat...leaving about 3 tablespoons...and then add the onions and carrots...and cook over medium heat until the veggies soften and are lightly browned.

Add the wine to the veggies...turn the heat to high and boil until the wine is reduced by about half.

Return the meat to the pot...add the thyme...garlic...and add 4 cups cold water or beef broth...so the meat is just covered. Cover with a lid...and simmer for at least 3 hours...or until the meat pulls away from the bone.

Transfer the cooked meat to a plate...and discard any bones or fat.Strain the liquid into a bowl. Next put the strained liquid back into the pot...and cook until it has thickened or reduced about 15 minutes. Put back the short ribs and bring to a simmer over medium high heat to heat through. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

To serve...sprinkle fresh chives over the short ribs and sauce. This would be really great served with mashed potatoes or  wide egg noodles.


And of course no Sunday Supper would be complete without a really good dessert.


CHOCOLATE GANACHE TART
Make this ever so yummy tart early in the day...or the day before serving... as it requires cooling...and chilling. This is a very rich and wonderful dessert.

Makes 8 servings
CRUST
1 1/2 cups finely ground chocolate wafer cookies...about 30 wafers
6 tablespoons unsalted butter...melted

GANACHE FILLING
8 ounces 60% bittersweet chocolate baking bar...broken or chopped into 1-inch pieces
6 tablespoons unsalted butter...cut into 1/2 inch cubes
2 large eggs...beaten
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup granulated white sugar
pinch of salt
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
unsweetened powdered cocoa for garnish

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, Butter the bottom and sides of an 8-inch springform cake pan.

To make the crust...in a medium bowl...stir together the ground wafers...and melted butter until the mixture is evenly moist. Transfer to the prepared pan...patting the mixture onto the bottom and three-quarters up the sides of the pan. Bake for about 10 minutes...and then cool completely in the pan.

To make the filling...melt together the chocolate and butter in the top of a double boiler or in a heatproof bowl over barely simmering water...stirring occasionally until smooth. Remove from the heat and let stand for several minutes.

In a medium bowl...mix together the eggs...cream...sugar...salt...and vanilla, Mix in the chocolate mixture and stir until well combined. Pour into the prepared crust. Tap the pan several times on a flat surface to eliminate any bubbles.

Bake for 20  or 25 minutes...until the filling has risen to an inch from the top of the pan...is set...and has slightly raised in the center. The center will continue to set...then fall slightly as it cools.

Transfer the tart still in the pan...to a rack and let it cool completely... about 2 hours. Then transfer to the refrigerator...uncovered...until the center is firm...3 to 4 hours. Remove the sides of pan...and sprinkle tart with cocoa...serve with whipped cream.




Tuesday, September 27, 2016

SEPTEMBER OLIVE OIL RECIPE 2016... LEMON POPPY SEED OLIVE OIL POUND CAKE

September is slowly waning...as October gently awaits to appear...so celebrate this month with a really great cake recipe...that you will want to make again and again. With the holidays right around the corner...so to speak...by you having this cake recipe...you will not only have a great dessert... for holiday company...but a wonderful homemade gift to give as well....when the occasion arises.

This cake recipe below continues my month of September Olive Oil recipes...and I hope you make and enjoy this wonderful recipe. This is a super moist cake due to the olive oil...as well as the sour cream. Because nothing says love...like something homemade!


LEMON POPPY SEED OLIVE OIL POUND CAKE
Makes 1 Bundt cake

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons poppy seeds
4 large eggs
1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon  fresh lemon zest
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup low-fat sour cream

Glaze (optional)
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 to 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Generously grease a Bundt pan with olive oil. In a small bowl...combine the flours...baking powder...baking soda...salt...and poppy seeds. In a large bowl...beat the eggs with a handheld mixer...until light and slightly increased in volume. Add the sugar slowly while continuing to beat.The mixture will become light and fluffy. Slowly add the olive oil...then the lemon zest...lemon juice...and vanilla extract and beat another 2 minutes.

Alternately add the dry ingredients and the sour cream to the batter...beating between additions.Pour the batter in to the prepared pan and bake for 55-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool in the Bundt pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Then invert the cake in the pan to a cake or serving platter to cool completely.

If you are making the glaze ...just whisk the fresh lemon juice...powered sugar...and vanilla extract in a small bowl until the mixture has a smooth consistency. Drizzle over the cake...when the cake is cool.

Eat more cake,
Victoria

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

SEPTEMBER OLIVE OIL RECIPES 2016 IN CELEBRATION OF THE FALL EQUINOX

September 22nd ...is the Fall Equinox...officially the first day of the Fall or Autumn season. With the harvest season in full swing this month...what better way to celebrate this day and the beginning of this wonderful cycle of the year than to get in your kitchen and make a great tasting loaf of bread for those you love...including yourself.

Bread has a long tradition of being a symbol of prosperity... as wheat...the main ingredient used in bread...was once used as a form of money...and still is...a source of income for today's farmers.

Bread in its many forms and ingredients is a world wide food and in many cultures eaten daily. Bread is also a symbol of hospitality...and in many countries...a loaf of fresh bread is always taken to the host or hostess...as a gift...when one is asked over for dinner.

Bread is more than just a piece of bread that you eat...it has such a long history of literal...cultural...and religious significance...and is truly a food steeped in history and tradition... for all of humankind.

As September is the harvest season...I thought it would be nice for you to make this wonderful bread recipe...in the form of muffins...because everyone loves to use their hands eating tasty morsels of goodness. These muffins will be a symbol  of "prosperity" for all you have harvested this year...which of course includes the star ingredient this month...olive oil!

FALL EQUINOX

OLIVE OIL ROSEMARY BREAD MUFFINS

4 eggs
1/2 cup sugar
2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons finely chopped rosemary
1 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Using an electric mixer...beat the eggs at high speed for 30 seconds. Add the sugar and continue to beat until mixture is very foamy and pale in color. With the mixer running...drizzle in the olive oil. Fold in the rosemary. In a separate bowl...combine the flour...baking powder...and the salt. Add the dry ingredients to the egg mixture and combine gently.

Divide the batter among 12 medium muffin tins that you have prepared by wiping each muffin tin with olive oil. Bake for 25 minutes or until tops are golden brown...and a knife comes out clean when you test them. Serve with real butter...and as you eat a muffin...think about all you have harvested this year...and give thanks for all of your prosperity,

Happy Fall Equinox to you
Victoria

Saturday, September 10, 2016

SEPTEMBER OLIVE OIL RECIPES 2016

SEPTEMBER OLIVE OIL RECIPES...

With the cooler weather...that September brings... the inner nudge to get in your kitchen and putter...stir...measure and cook... rings true for most of us. Preparing and cooking good...seasonal food is an art...and allows you to express your own creative juices as well as be the perfect avenue to nurture yourself and those you love..with the smells...and taste of really wonderful and enticing dishes.

This month I bring to you...and your kitchen...recipes containing olive oil...that wonderful natural elixir that has been used for thousands of years...to turn any recipe that you use olive oil in...a true feast.

Last posting I mentioned to you...that the taste of olive oils varies from country to country...some olive oils are nutty...or fruity in flavor...while others have a peppery or even grassy taste. Just experiment with different olive oils from diverse regions of the world...until you find the one that you and your family enjoy the most...but one important tip to remember...the greener in color the olive oil is...the better quality the olive oil is.


Below is a very simple chicken recipe...that will be a go to recipe for you time and time again. Great for a family supper...but fit for a company dish too.


LEMONY ROAST CHICKEN
Serves 4

1 3 1/2 pound chicken cut into 8 pieces
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup fresh rosemary leaves
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
10 cloves fresh garlic thinly sliced
1 lemon peel removed and pulp chopped
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste


Place the olive oil...rosemary...lemon juice...garlic...lemon...and salt and pepper to taste in a shallow roasting pan...and stir well. Next add the chicken...and marinade for at least 1 to 2 hours.

Heat the oven to 475 degrees. Arrange the chicken pieces in a 9 x 13-inch baking dish and pour the remaining marinade on top of the chicken. Roast the chicken...turning once...about 30 to 40 minutes or until cooked through. Serve immediately. I would serve this dish with creamy polenta or mashed potatoes and a green salad, Enjoy!



Remember...nothing says love...like something homemade!

Victoria


Thursday, September 1, 2016

SEASONAL LIVING AND TIMELESS TRADITIONS SEPTEMBER 2016

September musings...I take a big sigh of relief...when September rolls in. I am not a fan of hot weather...that the Summer season brings...so September  brings with it...the promise of cooler weather...and the first signals of Fall.

And with the change of the season this month...from Summer to Autumn...the inner nudging of "nesting"...and "gathering in" speaks to me...and to you...and all living things...in this ever changing circle of life.

One of my favorite Autumn rituals...is to watch the squirrels scamper around in my back yard... finding acorns and other seeds...to store up for the coming Winter.They search...find...and then stuff their cheeks to bulging...then climb as fast as they can to their homes in the trees...packing in as much food as they can in their "nests" to keep their bellies full during Winter months.My flowers...and shrubs...do their own "gathering in"...by shedding leaves and blooms...and seem to fold up...to protect themselves...for the coming cold weather.

I love to prepare too...for the coming season of Autumn...my own rhythms resonating with this more quiet and reflecting time. I ponder the year...my lessons...my life...my creativity...my changing seasons as a woman...and in doing my pondering...I learn about myself more deeply...and really about life...as well.

It is not the things I bought...nor the new outfit or shoes I acquired...along the way... that I remember fondly...but the moments with loved ones or friends...or that beautiful sunset...that I "gathered in" ... nesting close to my heart...that I recall easily...and with warm feelings I was blessed with this year. You see...it has never been...about the material world...for me...but about the experience and good feelings of the heart and soul of my life...that makes me come alive...and truly live.

I find myself...in a season of my own life...where home and family...friends and nature...matter even more to me than ever before. My heart...and soul seem to yearn for the basics...for the real and authentic...in simple living...and big meaningful experiences.

Because my soul...is speaking very loudly to me...to return to a more simple...authentic way of life...I am also smitten with the creative idea of old-fashioned everything...especially cooking...and herbs...so this month of sweet and soothing September...you will find me in my kitchen...measuring spices...stirring up batters...and whipping up good healthy food...using only the very best seasonal ingredients. My love of cooking...has always been a passion of mine...but I want to experiment this season...with different spices...  food cultures... making chocolates...and homemade cheese...you know... cooking on a different level...with different textures...tastes... smells...and the traditions of food...and it's people from far off lands. A person can discover unknown aspects about themselves through cooking and food...and this is what my heart yearns for...in this present season of my life.

And have I shared with you my love of history and tradition? Well to me...history...tradition...and the pleasures of cooking and eating go hand to hand....plate to fork...fork to mouth...heart to heart...so I invite you my wonderful reader...to follow me this month of September...as I cook and share with you...my recipes...from my kitchen to yours!


Happy cooking and eating to you,
Victoria


THE HISTORY OF OLIVE OIL

This month I want to focus on the long history and world traditions of cooking with olive oil.The wonderful taste of olive oil...is to savor history in the making... enjoy timeless food cultural traditions.. and to taste the earth itself.

If that isn't wonderful enough for you...olive oil has many health benefits too. Some of the longest living humans on earth...are those that eat olive oil everyday...because olive oil reduces heart disease risk...lowers high blood pressure...reduces the risk of stroke...and maintains healthy cholesterol levels.

Olive oil also improves your skin and hair health.

The use and pressing of olive oil is currently documented no earlier than 2500 BC...although olives were first domesticated in the Mediterranean some 6,000 years ago.

The original use of olive oil...was for lamp fuel...pharmaceutical ointment...and in traditional rituals for anointing royalty...warriors and others.

Cooking with olive oil began at least as long ago as the 5th-4th century BC.



THE PLEASURES OF COOKING WITH OLIVE OIL

I love olive oil...I mean really good extra-virgin olive oil...and certainly not just one region of the world...but all regions...as they do taste different from country to country. I cook everything in olive oil...and even substitute olive oil...in baking...instead of vegetable oil. It makes everything you bake...more moist...and taste better. I want you to believe me...so below is my recipe for an olive oil cake.


OLIVE OIL CAKE
Serves 8

This is a very moist and delicious cake...serve as is...or with fresh fruit. A piece of this cake is also a great snack or breakfast too...with fruit and yogurt.

3 eggs
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1 1/2 cups extra virgin olive oil
2 1/2 cups sugar
3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
zest of 1 lemon
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
powered sugar to serve

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare 2 (9 inch) cake pans...by coating lightly with olive oil...and dusting lightly with flour.

In a large bowl...mix together the eggs...and the sugar. When well blended...add the olive oil...milk...lemon juice and lemon zest...and mix well.

In a separate bowl...mix together the flour...baking powder...baking soda and salt.Add this mixture to the eggs and stir just until blended. Pour into the prepared pans.

Bake for about 50 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool and remove from the pans, Dust the cakes with powered sugar and serve,

Enjoy!





Sunday, August 21, 2016

Seasonal Living And Timeless Traditions Personal Blessing Celebrations

I have never cared much for store bought celebrations...to honor a birthday...a pregnancy...baby shower...or a new home etc. These events are too important...to settle for buying plastic mass produced items...that have no soul...and end up being thrown away...and soon forgotten.

I  wanted something more...something that nurtured and soothed the spirit...from the heart...from a "sense of place"...that would connect...bond...and express realness...life experience...and authenticity...to honor milestone celebrations and life changes...that I knew in my heart was missing in today's world...but still very much needed and welcomed by all.

With careful study and research...thoughtful planning...and my love of timeless traditions...I set about designing my own unique celebrations in the form of Personal Blessings...for you to honor...celebrate and pay tribute to all those special moments and life changes that are so worth honoring in special ways,

I offer you...with my easy to follow...and complete directions and format...Seasonal Living And Timeless Traditions...Personal Blessing celebrations...that come to you as an e-course via your email. Each Personal Blessing celebration will add more meaningful...soulful...creative...and heart filled celebrations for you...that you can create and use...for all those memorable life changes and happy moments...in your own life...and to use as the foundation ...to celebrate and honor all those you love and care about too.

My Personal Blessing celebrations e-courses are made for any age..or any faith...and the inclusion of all. With only one purchase of any one of my e-courses... you can use the one you select over and over again...which makes my e-courses a wonderful resource and value for you.

All you supply with any e-course is an open heart...your own creativity...and the willingness to connect and deeply bond with others...in a timeless...supportive...good old-fashioned way. Each Personal Blessing celebration is designed with complete instructions for your personal use...or to celebrate with a group.

Go to my link on the right side bar and click on Seasonal Living And Timeless Traditions...then
just click on the button TRADITIONS...to view and order yours today...for all those special moments in your life.

Seasonal Living And Timeless Traditions...offers the following e-courses

...YOUNG LADY COMING OF AGE

...PREGNANCY BLESSING

...BABY BLESSING

...HOME BLESSING

Blessings,
Victoria

Monday, August 1, 2016

SEASONAL LIVING AND TIMELESS TRADITIONS AUGUST 2016

August musings... This month is the beginning of the harvest season...on the land...but also the month for you to acknowledge your personal and professional harvest so far this year. A person's harvest can be many things...sometimes it is a goal completed...a new job...a move...or a simple...but big lesson learned...that can make you a better or happier person. My personal harvest this year so far...has been many things... but the one I am most grateful for,,, is the valuable lesson I finally learned...that I have not wanted to "see" and carried most of my adult life.

It took a series of a Summer events for me to finally face this fear.

Here is my story...sometimes filled with my sense of humor...but still very true.If my story helps you in any way face a fear you have...then I am glad to have helped.Sharing our stories...fears and issues makes us all human...and the knowledge that we are not alone...or nut cases.


This Summer season for me... has been full of taking care of mundane tasks...you know those things that we all seem to put off...with our "I will do it tomorrow" attitude. I couldn't avoid putting things off any longer...I needed to focus...use discipline...as well as delete things and activities that wasted my time.

Beginning in early June...I was on a mission...to get cracking and get things done... as I was determined to stick to my plan...and my timeline...of having all my tasks... home projects...and to do list done by the end of July.

Now...anyone who truly knows me ...knows I love home and garden projects...I have been a DIY person...long before it was the chic thing to do...which tells you how old I really am! So this is not out of the ordinary for me. But not the way I planned it this Summer...good grief...it was madness...my self-imposed race for time!


You see...this Summer season...as I was scurrying around...taking care of endless tasks...packing up my daughter at college for her Summer break...unpacking her here at home... then of course packing her back up to return to college... countless trips to get that supply material...for painting projects... redoing a bathroom...seeing the dentist...having dental surgery...taking pictures and listing dozens and dozens of my vintage and antique items for my upcoming on-line shop Seasonal Home Goods...writing for hours and doing research...to complete my new Seasonal Living e-course...taking care of my family and home.. cooking...laundry... running my business...tending to my garden...and yards...a light bulb went on in my head!

I had issues with time.

I was in fear...that because I am in my early 60's...my "time" was running out. How many suns and moons are left to me...to do things that I want to do...long to do...before that final big blanket of "lights out".. Victoria...happens to me...to meet the Great Spirit in the sky?  Yikes...no small wonder I tried to fill each minute doing stuff...this Summer...so I didn't have to think about "my time running out". I guess I figured...if I do all these tasks first...and do them all within about a 8 week period...then I can do all those other cool things...that I really want to do...because I will have the "time"...now that I completed all those tasks and necessary items...that sucked up all my time!

And now of course...because I spent all my time...dashing here and there...cramming 18 million things into a small window of time...because I was in fear I had not enough time... by the time I had successfully completed my very long task list...l was ...exhausted...stressed...and still worried and fearful about not enough time!

What had happened to all my time?

On top of all this...fearful... time thing... I was dealing with...and facing... some unexpected events were thrown into my fearful drama  of time. As if I wasn't already a mess... I began watching the news...about all the horrible events in the world.... then my younger daughter was involved in a car accident... had to have an unexpected minor surgery... and my dear and close friend moved away...which made me even more fearful about time. My thoughts started going in the direction of "I really have no time at all...because the world is going to blow up any minute  or... .I might not have any more time with my daughter...because she just had a car accident...and a health scare." Then my thoughts raced to the fact that...as of this month...I have NO time at all left... with my good and close friend...because he... as of August 1st moved to another country with his spouse. My time with him was gone! All these events sucked me into... an endless fearful thought process of time.

I have I am sure...been dragging around my issue and fear of time my whole life. The Universe...has a way of teaching a person their lessons to overcome long rooted issues...when you are ready to receive them...face them...and hopefully release them.

My "time" had come for me to get over myself...and my life long fear of time...with events and circumstances...that forced me to dig deeply within myself and ponder this fear of mine.

How can I be whole...when I am so in fear of time? Or of anything?

Now...I am the type of person who really wants to grow...and evolve as a human being...and as a woman. Because I want to live with soul...with a deeper meaning of my life. I needed to fix this time issue. So I dug deep and pondered my beliefs about time...and yes my fear of it...and my constant obsession with trying to control time.

So I did.

I am aware now...as I write this blog...that really there is no guarantee in life...of how much time we have to walk the Earth...or a guarantee of anything for that matter.  

I must live in the moment...do the best I can...and be grateful for each and everyday that I am given. I do not have to cram 18 million to do list items in a 24 hour period...or a 8 week period. I can be mindful and wise about how I spend each day...and find joy and fulfillment even in doing the mundane. Because the mundane is part of life...for each and everyone of us...but it must be balanced with fun...laughter...rest...and quiet too.

And creating the space...and special time to be with those you love.

You have "time" for it all. And so do I.

Above all else...please do not do what I did for many years...and that is living in fear about something or someone...that honestly you can't control. Life and events are going to take place...no matter what you do or don't do anyway...so stop fretting about it.

Value your life...your loved ones...your friends.And value the minutes...the hours...months and years...you have with them.

Live in the present...allow love and beauty into your daily life...and make each moment count...in this thing called life.

Close the door on people and old habits that do nothing but steal your time...bring you down...and make you fearful or worry.

Make your "time" meaningful...sacred...joyful...and fulfilling...and you will discover that you have the "time" for everything that truly is real and that matters...even the mundane tasks.

But remember... you can always save all  those mundane tasks for another time!

Happy August to you,
Victoria


Summer declines and roses
have grown rare
but cottage crofts are gay
with hollyhocks,
and in old garden walks
you breathe an air
fragrant pinks and August-smelling stocks.
by John Todhunter (1839-1916)


PRAYER... " I give blessings and thanks for all the growth and change I experienced this Summer season... my personal  harvest has been good...I am grateful".


WORLD TRADITIONS AND CELEBRATIONS FOR THE MONTH OF AUGUST...August 1st...First Harvest or Lammas...August 5th...Edinburgh Festival in Scotland...August 5th...International Forgiveness Day...Mid- August Autumn Festival is held in China...Taiwan and Vietnam in celebration of the harvest season... August 26th is Women's Equality Day


FACTS ABOUT AUGUST...August is named in honor of the first Roman Emperor Augustus Caesar (63 B.C.-A.D.14) who was the grandnephew of Julius Caesar


FOLKLORE ABOUT AUGUST...

As August, so is February.

So many August fogs, so many Winter mists


GARDENING TIP...Plant your Fall season bulbs this month. Pull weeds...and start doing general clean-up in your yards where needed. Harvest herbs that are ready...to bring in and dry.


HOMEMAKING TIP...Start cleaning and putting away Summer toys...beach and pool towels...and Summer sport equipment. Clean out your refrigerator...letting go of expired foods. Pull out refrigerator...vacuum the floor...and also vacuum the coils and back of fridge. Mop the floor area behind refrigerator with pure Lemon essential oil. Allow to dry...then put refrigerator back in place...being sure you leave at least 2 inches from wall...when you move it back...to allow air to circulate...behind the refrigerator.

FULL MOON...August 18th

FLOWERS...Are the gladiolus and poppy

GEMS...The gem for this month is the beautiful peridot

TEACHINGS...The month of August...is the perfect month to reflect on how much you have grown... or changed during the Summer cycle...and to feel gratitude for these experiences.


HARVEST OF FRIENDS CELEBRATION...

Friendships...whether old or new...are very much a part of your personal harvest.This month to show thanks and appreciation for your friends...either make or purchase cards...that express to them how much they mean to you...and mail them out through the month.

This simple expression of a card...picked out just for them...will let each and every one of your friends...feel special and appreciated by you.


APPRECIATION OF THOSE WHO DO A SERVICE FOR YOU

The mail person.. the folks who do your dry cleaning...your dentist and doctor...the sacker at the grocery store...and so many more people who do things of service for you each and everyday so deserve to be acknowledged by you. Give a few dollars... as a tip... to that person who sacks your groceries...stick a card...giving a big thank you in your out going mail slot...to your mail delivery person...take flowers into your dentist or doctors offices...to show how much you value all they do for you.


SEASONAL LIVING AND TIMELESS TRADITIONS

...For Your Home

Place fresh herbs such as rosemary...sage...and thyme in small vases throughout your home...they smell and look wonderful...and will be a gentle reminder of harvest season.


...For Your Hearth

I have a few really great pots and pans... roasting pans...and my beloved cast iron skillets...to make really good food for my family. It doesn't take a lot of gadgets to cook great meals...just good ingredients and good cooking utensils. If you haven't tried cooking with cast iron...go get one...they are amazing and very affordable...and one skillet will last a lifetime if cared for properly.

CAST IRON SKILLET CHEESY HASH BROWNS
Serves 4-6

4 tablespoons butter
4 large russet potatoes
shredded with a cheese grater and squeezed dry
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
6 eggs
1/2 cup whole milk
1 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.Add the butter to the skillet and when bubbling add the potatoes and season with salt and pepper. Press the potatoes into the bottom of the pan. Cook for about 5 minutes.

In a mixing bowl...whisk the eggs and milk together. Pour the eggs over the potatoes...shaking the pan to help them penetrate to the bottom. Sprinkle liberally with the cheese.

Transfer the skillet to the oven and cook until just set...about 10 minutes. Serve immediately.


...For Your Heart

Buy some healthy canned food items...dried pasta...rice...oatmeal etc. and donate to the food pantry. It feels so good to help feed folks who are in need.

Start each morning with a prayer of gratitude for being alive.


Friday, July 1, 2016

SEASONAL LIVING AND TIMELESS TRADITIONS JULY 2016

July musings...This month brings with it...heat on the land...and the fire within each one of us to get our projects and goals into full motion.

Most folks believe that goals have to be to obtain something material...or work related...which of course is wonderful...but what about inner goals...or soul projects?

Make this month of July...your month...to free yourself of worry...anger...frustration...and fears...and create personal freedom...of faith...trust...happiness and kindness instead. Stop being a sheep...and following the gloom and doom of others...the media...and even those close to you...who do nothing but complain...talk about everything that is wrong...spread anger and hate...and live their lives from a place of conflict and victim mentality. Do not let anything or anyone outside of you...influence you anymore.See the world...with different eyes...the eyes of higher vision.

I am not writing here...for you not to be concerned about problems in the world...or in your personal life...that would be denial. And of course you must take action steps yourself to make those changes...to solve those problems...that goes without saying. And feelings of anger and sadness are human...and you must... to be emotionally healthy...express them freely...and give others that freedom too. But at some point...you must move on...and see life for what it also is...it is good and beautiful too...filled with wonder and joyful events...and it is up to you...to focus on...and create those positive qualities and experiences in your own life.

A quality...happy life...is no one else's responsibility...it is up to you.

Take some time this July...to really ponder all the ways you perhaps are following the crowd...allowing world events...family and friends to influence you in negative ways.

Ignite your own inner fire this month...and decide to be happy...no matter where you live...where you work...or what relationship you do...or do not have at the moment. Be a free thinker and doer...and shed all that negativity from within you.

Make everyday a day of independence for yourself...and allow freedom and happiness into your life...from this moment on.

Because when you are happy...you will always feel free.

May your inner fire burn,
Victoria



First, April, she with mellow showers
Opens the way for early flowers;
Then after her comes, smiling May,
In a more rich and sweet array;
Next enters June, and brings us more
Gems than those two that went before;
Then, lastly, July comes,and she more
wealth brings in, than all those three.
by Robert Herrick


PRAYER..." I use wisdom and care with my personal power... and never infringe on another's personal choices or freedom".

WORLD TRADITIONS AND CELEBRATIONS... July 1st...Canada Day...July 4th...Fourth of July...July 14th...Bastille Day...July 30th...International Day Of Friendship

FACTS ABOUT JULY...The Roman senate named July in honor of Julius Caesar who was born on July 12th

FOLKLORE ABOUT JULY...Ne'er trust a July sky...If ant hills are high in July...the coming winter will be hard.

GARDENING TIP... Deadhead your blooming flowers...stop fertilizer application...make sure you keep your trees and shrubs watered

HOMEMAKING TIP... Stay organized this month around your home...by putting summer items in large baskets...to keep things tidy. July is a good month to clean your oven...when you will not be using it much. Use natural products to do this...baking soda and white vinegar work really well...just goggle it and follow the directions.

FULL MOON...July 19th

FLOWERS... The larkspur...water lily

GEMS...The Ruby

TEACHINGS...This is the month to take action steps...on your goals and projects...but to also remember to bring fun and relaxation into your daily life. Make one of your goals to connect to your inner spirit more...by learning to meditate or start daily prayers.


JULY CELEBRATION

SUPPLIES
pen and paper
a lit candle
something to dig a small hole outside

Light a candle and get yourself centered with deep breathing for a few minutes.When you are ready...write down...all the ways...you are keeping yourself from freedom within. This can be from any area in your life. Take your time doing this process.

When you feel complete...read over your list...then say a prayer...asking for guidance from The Higher Power...to help you.

Take your written list outside...dig a hole in a potted plant or in the ground...and then bury your list....as a symbol that you are done...living your life without freedom...because of your own self-made prison.

Remember...you must take action steps each day...to change what you need to change within you...to create more personal freedom...but you can do it!

Freedom will set you free!


SEASONAL LIVING AND TIMELESS TRADITIONS

...FOR YOUR HOME

Wipe down bathroom sinks and kitchen counters...and even doorknobs in these rooms...with pure Rosemary essential oil. Rosemary oil kills bacteria and disinfects...and with the warmer weather...bacteria is abound.

MICROWAVE CLEANER
1/4 cup baking soda
1 teaspoon vinegar
5-6 drops pure lemon essential oil

Combine all ingredients to make a paste. Apply to the walls and floor of your microwave with a soft cloth or sponge. Rinse well ... and leave the microwave door open to air-dry for about 25 minutes.


...FOR YOUR HEARTH

Quick...easy...but very good food needs to be on the menu for Summer Suppers...and I think you will love this tasty shrimp dish. Serve with a salad and a rice of your liking...and supper is ready.

SPICY GARLIC AND SHRIMP
serves 4-6
1 large red bell pepper
1 1/2 pounds large shrimp
3 tablespoons olive oil plus more for brushing
8 garlic cloves finely chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons paprika
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
salt and pepper
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
1/4 cup white wine

Cut the bell pepper in half crosswise...removing stem and seeds...and then cut into strips.

Peel and devein the shrimp...leaving the tails intact.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Brush a heavy large roasting pan with olive oil.

Combine the bell pepper...shrimp...garlic...paprika...cayenne pepper...and the olive oil in a large bowl and mix well. Spread the shrimp mixture out on the prepared roasting pan in a single layer. Season with salt and pepper.

Roast for 10 minutes. Turn the shrimp and bell pepper and sprinkle with the oregano. Roast until the shrimp are just opaque in the center about 7 minutes. Transfer to a platter.

Place the roasting pan on a stove burner and set at medium-high heat. Add the wine and boil...scraping up the browned bits...about 2 minutes. Drizzle the pan juices over the shrimp. Serve...garnishing with more fresh oregano and lemons.



...FOR YOUR HEART

Let go of your control issues...and allow those you love and care about...just be who they are...instead of what you need then to be.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

SEASONAL LIVING SUPPERS JUNE 2016

June is hot here in Texas...and easy peesy dinners are a must! And who says it always has to be meat... for dinner?

Below is a very tasty egg dish for supper...or a lunch for a lazy and  relaxed Sunday.

Because nothing says love...like something homemade!



ROASTED ASPARAGUS WITH PROSCIUTTO AND EGGS
Serves 4

1 pound asparagus...tough ends cut off
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
butter for cooking eggs
salt and freshly ground pepper
4 large eggs
4 thin slices prosciutto
shaved Parmesan cheese for serving

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil.

Arrange the asparagus in a single layer on the baking sheet...and then drizzle with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil...and then season with the salt and pepper.Using clean hands toss the asparagus...making sure each one is coated with the olive oil and seasoned with the salt and pepper. Place in the oven and roast until lightly browned...and slightly crisp...about 18-20 minutes.

About 10 minutes...before the asparagus is done...cook the eggs...in butter...over easy style...or if you prefer scramble them. Season the eggs with salt and pepper.

Take the asparagus out of the oven...and divide on 4 plates. Put a slice of the prosciutto on top...then top with the egg...garnish with the shaved Parmesan cheese and serve. Be sure to serve with a piece of grilled bread...to dip in the eggs! Yum!


GREEN BEANS WITH DIJON VINAIGRETTE
Serves 4

I love these green beans...a really nice way to make these with lots of extra flavor and wow factor. These green beans also taste great cold.

1 pound green beans...ends trimmed
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons whole grain Dijon mustard
1 shallot...minced
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil...and extra for cooking the green beans
salt and freshly ground pepper

Saute the green beans...until fork tender. While the green beans are cooking...whisk together the vinegar...mustard...and shallot. Add the olive oil in slowly...and whisk together well. Season with salt and pepper,

Place the green beans in a serving bowl...and drizzle the vinaigrette over the green beans...and mix evenly. Serve.

Happy June to you and yours,
Victoria

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

SEASONAL LIVING SUPPERS JUNE 2016

June suppers...call for relaxed cooking...and dining... but that doesn't mean you have to skip dessert. To me...dessert is a must...and actually my favorite part of any meal...truth be told.

Below are a few of my quick and easy desserts...they are very good...very simple...and will satisfy your sweet tooth craving.


GREEK YOGURT WITH LEMON CURD

Greek yogurt and lemon curd work very well together...sweet...creamy...tart...refreshing... this simple dessert really will hit the spot for a sweet treat! Just be sure you buy genuine Greek yogurt...or the taste will not give this dessert justice.

4 servings

1 medium container plain Greek yogurt
jar of lemon curd
mint leaves for garnish (optional)

Place dessert bowls in the freezer for at least 30 minutes before serving this dessert...as this dessert tastes so good very cold.

When dessert rolls around... ( not soon enough for me)...take the cold bowls out of the freezer...place at least 1 cup Greek yogurt in each bowl...then top with  1 to 2 teaspoons of lemon curd...garnish with fresh mint...and serve!


VANILLA ICE CREAM WITH ROASTED BLACKBERRIES

Roasting fresh fruit tastes so good...it really brings out the flavor of any fruit...but is exceptional for bringing out the  sweetness of berries. A little roasted fruit goes a long way... and you can use it in many ways... try spooning it over pound or angel food cake...pudding... eat it as is..or enjoy it...in my favorite way... spooned over vanilla ice cream.

4 servings

2  small boxes fresh blackberries
2 to 3 tablespoons sugar
vanilla ice cream

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place clean and dry...blackberries on a baking sheet...in a single layer. Sprinkle sugar on blackberries...and then using your hands...mix gently so all berries have a bit of sugar on them...and then spread out in a single layer again. Place in preheated oven. Cook for about 20-25 minutes. Take out of oven...place in a bowl... and let cool down for a few minutes. In the mean time...dish out the ice cream into serving bowls...and then spoon roasted blackberries on top. Serve  right away... and be sure to lick your spoon!

LIME PIE WITH BLUEBERRY COMPOTE

makes 1 9-inch pie

Who doesn't love a really good piece of cold pie? This one is wonderful...and you will want seconds.It takes a little more time to make than my other recipes above...but it is so worth it!

CRUST
1/1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter... melted

FILLING
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
2 teaspoons finely grated lime zest
2 eggs

COMPOTE
16 ounces fresh or frozen blueberries
1/2 cup sugar
whipped cream for serving

TO MAKE THE PIE
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9-inch glass pie dish. Mix the graham cracker crumbs...sugar...and salt in a medium bowl. Add the melted butter and stir to combine. Press the mixed mixture evenly over the bottom and up the sides of the buttered pie dish. Bake the crust until it just begins to brown...about 10 minutes. Take out of the oven...and set aside to cool.

TO MAKE THE FILLING
In a large bowl...gently stir the condensed milk...lime juice...and lime zest together until well blended. Whisk in the eggs. Pour the filling into the crust. Bake until the filling sets...about 20 minutes.

Let the pie cool completely...then refrigerate it until it is chilled.

TO MAKE THE COMPOTE
Simmer the clean blueberries and sugar in a medium-sized saucepan over medium heat until the mixture reduces to about 1 1/4 cups...which will take about 15 minutes.Remove from heat and set aside to cool.

To serve...cut the pie into wedges and spoon the blueberries on top...and  top with whipped cream. Garnish with fresh mint.


Happy June days and evenings to you,
Victoria







Friday, June 10, 2016

SEASONAL LIVING SUPPERS JUNE 2016

With the weather warming up...you want lighter fare at the dinner table...but this doesn't mean you have to ear bland...unfulfilling food. Below are a few of my favorite go to meals for you...very good...easy to prepare...and surely to impress everyone who eats them...including you!

The key to good cooking is to use only the very best and freshest ingredients you can find...and of course afford. A great dish does not have to have lots of ingredients...only good ones...and these recipes fit that guide line.

I hope you enjoy my Seasonal Living Suppers...until then... remember...nothing says love...like something homemade.

Victoria


SPINACH-PEAR SALAD WITH MUSTARD VINAIGRETTE
Serves 6

2 Bosc or Bartlett pears...that are not too ripe
3 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons stone-ground mustard
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 (6 ounce) package fresh baby spinach
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup shaved parmigiano-reggiano cheese

Slice your pears and place in a large salad bowl...along with the spinach. Cover and put into the fridge to chill. Combine the water...sugar...the mustard...pepper...balsamic vinegar...the olive oil and salt together...and whisk until well blended. Put in a glass jar or bottle with a lid...and chill until cold.

When you are ready to serve the salad...toss gently...with the vinaigrette...plate...and sprinkle with the cheese.

***You can put your salad bowls or plates in the freezer until really cold...to make any salad you serve on them more refreshing and crispy cold.


CHICKEN PICCATA

This is such  a good dish...so good you will make it countless times...and is elegant enough for dinner guests.
serves 4

4 split (2 whole breasts cut in half down the middle lengthwise)
salt and freshly ground pepper
1 cup all-purpose flour ( or 1 cup gluten free rice flour)
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups seasoned dried bread crumbs ( or panko bread crumbs for gluten sensitive)
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
1/2 cup white wine
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons)
1 sliced lemon for sauce
chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley for serving

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and have a cookie sheet handy to place the chicken breasts on.

Place each chicken between 2 sheets of parchment paper or plastic wrap and pound it out to about 1/4 inch thick. Dry the chicken breasts with a paper towel on both sides. Sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper.

Mix the flour... 1 teaspoon salt...and 1/2 teaspoon pepper on a plate. In a large bowl beat the eggs...and 1 tablespoon of water together.Place the breadcrumbs on another plate. Dip each chicken breast first in the flour...shake off the excess flour...then dip into the egg mixture...and then the bread crumbs.

Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large frying pan...over medium-low heat. Add chicken breasts and cook until brown on both sides. Place on cookie sheet...and allow them to finish cooking in the oven while you make the sauce for about 5-10 minutes.

For the sauce...keep the pan drippings from cooking the chicken in and turn to medium heat...add 1 tablespoon of the butter and then add the lemon juice...white wine...and the sliced lemon...you sliced earlier...1/2 teaspoon salt...and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Boil over high heat...until somewhat reduced...about 2 minutes...being sure to scrape the bottom of the frying pan...to get all those tasty bits of the cooked chicken mixed together with the sauce. Turn heat to low...add the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter...blend well into sauce. Return chicken breasts to pan...coat with the sauce.
Serve...immediately...spooning sauce over each serving...garnishing with the fresh parsley.    

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

SEASONAL LIVING AND TIMELESS TRADITIONS JUNE 2016

June musings...This month I wanted to try something different...because the Summer season is all about growth and change...and the Summer cycle begins this month.

So to honor change...I am going to post my favorite recipes...all month...long...once or twice a week...instead of my usual format. I hope you get in your kitchen this lovely June...and create some of these dishes for yourself and your family. And remember fresh...local...seasonal and organic food...makes common sense...is more affordable...and so good for your health.

So follow me this month as we explore and cook food traditions together...using the best ingredients...including the timeless tradition and joys of cooking with herbs.

By all means add to my recipes...adjust the seasonings to your liking...and experiment with the ingredients...cooking is creative and there are no rules...just simple guidelines for you to make and creative in your kitchen this month.

So put your apron on...and get into your hearth...and start cooking.Be sure to add lots of love...and a dash of care into everything you make...because nothing says love...like something homemade.

VICTORIA'S GREEK SALAD
This is such a refreshing and healthy salad on a warm Summer evening...this salad takes just a few minutes to make...but be sure it is well chilled...the colder the better for this Greek classic...so make it about 1 hour before serving and put in the fridge.
serves 3-4

3 medium fresh tomatoes...sliced in half...quarted...then quarted again
2 small seedless cucumbers (or Persian cucumbers)...skin left on...sliced thinly
1 medium green pepper...seeded...sliced in thin strips
1 1/2 cup pitted Greek Kalamata olives
half of small red onion...sliced very thin in strips
sea salt
freshly ground pepper
about 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
7 ounces...or one small block feta cheese...preferably Greek
1 1/2 teaspoons dried Oregano

To make your salad get out a glass bowl...and then cut the tomatoes...and place in bowl. Slice the cucumbers...put on top of tomatoes. Slice the green pepper...place on top of cucumbers.Add the pitted Kalamata olives. Slice the onion...place on olives. Take the cheese...break the cheese in half...and place the halves on top of the salad. Drizzle the olive oil over the whole salad.Lightly salt and pepper. Sprinkle the dried Oregano over the entire salad. Place the finished salad in the fridge for at least 1 hour to get really chilled. To serve ...do not mix salad...just spoon it out on a dish...making sure each serving has a bit of everything in the salad...including pieces of the Feta Cheese.



Sunday, May 1, 2016

SEASONAL LIVING AND TIMELESS TRADITIONS MAY 2016

May...Finds me thinking about my daughters...when they were little girls. They both have been my greatest blessings and joy in my life.

Both these "little girls" are adults now...my oldest daughter a wife and mother herself. As I am sure you do...I ask myself ..."where did the time go... and so quickly"? This is...the million dollar question for all parents...I suppose. And the answer is...simple...it just does.

You can't stop time...no one can...but what you can do...is make each moment count...each sunrise savored...each sunset embraced...for what it is...the gift of life and being able to live another day.

It is so easy to get caught up in the "rushing about" of our constant striving to keep up with the status quo...our to do lists...are constant going...that we are in fact losing the simple joys and pleasures of life itself.

Everything is moving too fast...often in the wrong direction...to me.

There is so much more to life than focusing on money...and always wanting more and more...often getting into debt to get that wanting of more and more. Until you want more...again.We as a collective whole in our culture...always seem to be in a race with time...having to have or be this or that before a certain time...in order to validate our self-worth or be considered successful...by others...or ourselves. We are judged and we judge ourselves...when we do not have...the cars...the houses...the pool...the body... the looks... the clothes...or the money...by a certain "time" in our lives.

Okay...all these things are fine...but at what cost? We are trashing the environment... and depleting our natural resources. Never in history have we as a culture been so out of balance and  ill...mentally...physically...emotionally and spiritually. Everyone is stressed to the max...in their race against time...to get that next thing... that next promotion...that next material fix...to fill that void within...that just keeps getting bigger and bigger.

The material world and lust for money...things and power...will not feed your soul... or bring you happiness. Or frankly make you a better person...or more spiritual or godly...or enlightened. It doesn't make you anything more of.

Period.

This month of May...with Mother's Day being honored... I invite you to focus on the whole aspect of mothering...which is nurturing,,,caring...loving...responsible...and life affirming energy...and see where you can bring mothering energy...into all levels of your daily life.Not only to make your life more soul filled...but more life affirming for the good of the world too.

Practice mindful shopping...by asking yourself...am I purchasing this to fill a void within me...to make me feel happy...or to impress others? If you answer yes to any one of these questions...then walk away from buying it. If you have children...teach them that although it is okay to purchase things when they need them...and it is okay to want things...constant shopping and spending will not make them happy or fulfilled...or wanting to keep up what their peers at school have.

Nurture the environment by only shopping local...including where you purchase your food. Only buy what you need...so you will not waste food...and purchase seasonal...fresh organic food. Eliminate chemical laden snacks and foods. Eat home cooked meals...instead of eating out. Your pocket book and waistline will thank you. Eating out should be an occasional treat...not an everyday convenience...and the food at restaurants is more than likely pesticide grown food. Clean your home...with natural cleaning products...instead of harsh chemicals that end up in our water supply. It is so easy to get organic cleaning recipes on-line...all you have to do is goggle them. This will also save you money...and will not harm  you...or you  family's health.

When you want to add new items to your home...or are wanting to redecorate...please consider buying your items from vintage...flea...and antique shops. You will be decorating your personal space with beautiful...as well as unique items for your home...and this is a wonderful venue for you to use recycled or upcycled items. Always have fresh flowers and houseplants in your home... to be a reminder to you of natural beauty and the wonder of nature.

Reclaim the wonderful tradition of hand-making your own gifts...you will be so amazed how fulfilling this can be for you...and handmade gifts are such a great treat to receive. If this does not seem like a possible idea for you...then please consider purchasing  your gifts from artisans who handcraft quality gifts and products.

Make your own organic spa products...for relaxing healing baths...massage oils...and foot care.It is so easy and inexpensive to make your own spa products...and you can rest easy knowing that you are not using harmful chemicals to take care of your spa needs...and it is also quite fun to make your own.

Nurturing and mothering yourself...will give you inner peace and a sense of calm and serenity...so take the much needed time to care for yourself. Healing baths...exercise...exploring your creativity...relaxation...gardening...listening to music...all these things will bring more much needed balance into your life.Take care of yourself emotionally as well...by setting healthy boundaries with your family and friends...and eliminate toxic relationships from your life. Surround yourself with positive people...and be a positive person...and practice kindness to yourself and to all others.

To add more meaning and soul to your life...celebrate and honor milestone birthdays...life transitions and changes... in unique creative ways...focusing on the experience...wisdom gained and lessons learned...instead of store bought or the standard commercial ways...that our culture promotes.

Get in touch with your spiritual nature...and make it a priority in your daily living. Prayer...meditation...and reading positive books...that assist you in improving yourself...will enrich your soul...and create tranquility within you...that running out and shopping or constantly having to be entertained won't and never will. Embrace your faith...whatever that may be for you...and when you do...you will add such a deeper meaning to your life...that material things will never give you. Spending time in nature...will give you a sense of feeling connected to the earth...all living things...and will improve your physical and emotional health as well. Keep a diary or journal to write out your thoughts and feelings... your deepest longings...fears and hopes. This is such a powerful tool for self exploration...healing and growth for you.

Start a garden...nothing will get you more grounded...or teach you life lessons...as gardening will. As you continue to garden...you will begin to notice the changing seasons...more and more...and really become aware of how connected you are to nature and the ever changing seasons and cycles found in the natural world. You will also gain a deeper respect and value for all life.

Your own creativity and your ability to tap into it and express yourself ...is such a powerful expression of your soul or inner spirit...and is an endless source of inspiration and aspiration for you each day. When you keep your heart and mind focused on creating something wonderful...no matter what medium you choose...your days will be filled with excitement and wonder...and you will never be bored or your spirit dulled.

Spend more time with your family...doing activities such as cooking a good meal together...playing board games... and being out in nature as a family. Discuss as a family how each one of you can make a positive difference in the world...by living a life of meaning and soul...instead of one of excess and consumerism.

Above all else...live from a state of gratitude each and every day...and see with your heart...all that you truly do have in your life to be thankful for.

Begin this mothering month of May...to live a life of soul...of meaning...and a space of gratitude...and your life...will be filled with true wealth...happiness and joy.


Happy Mother's Day to you all,
Victoria


" A swarm of bees in may
Is worth a load of hay;
A swarm of bees in June
Is worth a silver spoon;
A swarm of bees in July
Is not worth a fly."

- Rhyme from England

PRAYER FOR MAY..." Guide me to live a more caring...and heart centered life".

WORLD TRADITIONS AND CELEBRATIONS FOR MAY...

May 1st...May Day...May 5th...Cinco De Mayo...May 9th...Mother's Day...May 21st...Armed Forces Day...May 31st...Memorial Day

FACTS ABOUT MAY... The month of May was named for Maia the Greek goddess of fertility.
Did you know? May was once considered a bad luck month to get married. There is a poem that says "marry in May and you'll rue the day".

FOLKLORE FOR MAY..." The world's favorite season is the spring...all things seem possible in May,"
- Edwin Way Teale

GARDENING TIP FOR MAY...Fertilize plants that are blooming...mulch trees...shrubs...and garden...start mowing your grass weekly

HOMEMAKING TIP FOR MAY...Clean your book shelves...being sure to dust off each book...and clean each shelf. Donate any books you are ready to let go of...to a book recycling center.

FULL MOON IN MAY... Is May 21st

FLOWERS FOR MAY... Is the beautiful...Lily of the Valley...which symbolizes sweetness and humility

GEMS FOR MAY... Is the striking Emerald...a symbol of rebirth and love

TEACHINGS FOR MAY...This month has such creative energy...and is perfect for you to get your creative goals and personal issues into full swing. The month of May also offers you ways to seek out how you can nurture and support your life...with loving self -mothering care.


HOMEMADE MOTHER'S DAY GIFTS

There is nothing in the world that a mom loves better than something homemade from her children. I have included some wonderful nurturing self-care products that you can make...to give to your mom that will nurture her body...mind...spirit.


INVIGORATING BODY SCRUB FOR MOM
This wonderful homemade spa product will refresh and renew skin.Mix and then place blended ingredients in a pretty glass jar... with a tight fitting lid...tie with a pretty ribbon...and then write out the instructions on a tag...tying the tag to the top of the jar.

1/2 cup of sea salt
2 drops pure peppermint oil
3 drops pure rosemary essential oil
5 drops lavender essential oil
2 tablespoons jojoba oil

Mix all ingredients in a small bowl...and then package into the glass jar or bottle or jar. Tie with ribbon and write out instructions on a tag...and tie it around the top.

*** Instructions for body scrub...get your skin wet in shower or bath...and then gently massage this body scrub onto your skin...avoiding your face and other delicate areas. Rinse off.


COOLING LAVENDER WATER FOR MOM
This cooling spray is perfect to sooth irritated skin.

30 drops pure lavender essential oil
1 tablespoon witch hazel
water...enough to fill spray bottle

Mix the ingredients in an 8 ounce spray bottle. Shake well...then fill with water. Shake well again.Tie with a pretty ribbon...and write out instructions on a tag...tying it to the top of the spray bottle.

*** Instructions for this spray...just spray on liberally when you have irritated skin. Keep in the fridge if you want a cold spray to mist your skin after being outside or gardening.



FLOWER GET TOGETHER...

What better symbol for the month of May...than the beauty of blooming flowers and the joy they bring into lives. With this as your focus...invite your friends over for an afternoon of connection...conversation...and arranging flowers together...that you all can take home to fill your homes with!  Be sure to ask each guest to bring one large bouquet of flowers with them...for the group to share in the flower arranging get together.

Have healthy snacks...and teas ready for your guests...and of course a beautiful vase of flowers to decorate the table where snacks will be served. Use your best tableware...silverware and glasses for serving...this is after all a celebration.

Have scissors...string...and pretty ribbon for your guests to cut the flowers with and then tie with ribbon or the string for their finished flower bouquets to take home.

Once all your guests have arrived...have everyone place their flower bouquets they brought on a table...that you have placed the supplies on. Explain to everyone present that they can then gather flowers from all the flower bouquets...and make their own unique... creative flower arrangement from the flower selection...and to then help themselves to the string...and ribbon...to bundle up for them to take home with them.

After everyone has created their flower arrangement...serve the snacks and tea...and have everyone show off their flower master pieces!


SEASONAL LIVING AND TIMELESS TRADITIONS


...FOR YOUR HOME

Restock your dried herbs this month...with fresher herbs. Please do not throw away the bottles or jars they came in...instead soak off the labels...and wash out the bottles and jars...allow them to dry completely...and then use them to store nails...tacks...buttons or other small objects you use.


...FOR YOUR HEARTH

A wonderful potato dish using fresh herbs...really good as leftovers too...to serve the next morning with eggs...and bacon!

CREAMY CHEESY POTATOES
serves 4-6

1 cup heavy cream
2 cups grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh thyme leaves
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1/4 grated nutmeg
4 large russet potatoes peeled and thinly sliced
2 tablespoons unsalted butter melted

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Mix together the cream...Parmesan...ricotta...thyme...rosemary...salt...and nutmeg in a large bowl. Toss in the sliced and peeled potatoes and coat thoroughly with the cream mixture.

Scrape the contents into an ovenproof dish that is about 2 inches deep and drizzle the melted butter on top. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and turn up the oven to 400 degrees and cook until brown and crispy on top...about 20-25 minutes. Serve.


...FOR YOUR HEART

The next time you go to the store...leave a five dollar bill or whatever you can give... in the cart for the next person who uses that cart.

Nurture yourself this month with healing baths...below is a simple but very healing bath to ease away tension and stiff muscles. The magnesium in Epsom salts helps relax the muscles and nervous system. Lavender soothes both physical and emotional tension.


TENSION RELIEVING BATH

1 cup Epsom salts
1 cup baking soda
10 drops pure Lavender essential oil

Mix the ingredients together and add to your bath water just before getting in the bath. Stir with your hand to dissolve the salt. Soak for at least 30 minutes.





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