Sunday, June 11, 2017

SEASONAL LIVING AND TIMELESS TRADITIONS STRAWBERRY SKILLET CAKE JUNE 2017

The month of June strawberries are in season...and they are such a wonderful fruit to make really good and easy fruit desserts.

As many of you who follow my blog... already know...I love cooking in my cast iron skillets for just about any recipe...and this includes desserts.

Below is a mighty tasty Strawberry Skillet Cake...that everyone will rave about! And remember "Nothing says love like something homemade."

STRAWBERRY SKILLET CAKE
makes 1 9-inch cake

1/2 cup unsalted butter...softened
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar...divided
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sour cream
1 pound fresh strawberries...cleaned and halved

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.Lightly grease a 9-inch cast iron skillet with olive oil...using a pastry brush or dry paper towel. Next lightly flour the bottom and sides of the skillet with flour...shaking out any excess.

In a large bowl beat the ONE cup sugar ( the other 1/4 cup is for topping) and the butter at medium speed until light and fluffy...about 3 to 4 minutes...stopping to scrape the sides of the bowl.Add the eggs...one at a time...beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla.

In a medium bowl...whisk together the flour...baking powder and salt. Gradually add this flour mixture to the butter mixture in the large bowl...beating at low speed...until combined...then gradually add the sour cream...combing at low speed. Next gently fold in the strawberries...until well combined.
Spread the batter into the greased and floured cast iron skillet. Sprinkle the top with the remaining sugar.

Bake for about 35 minutes...or until a knife placed in the center comes out clean. Take out of the oven...let cool completely...and serve right from the skillet...topped with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream...enjoy!

Love...
Victoria

Saturday, June 10, 2017

SEASONAL LIVING AND TIMELESS TRADITIONS A FRENCH CHOCOLATE CAKE RECIPE 2017

Chocolate cake is just one of those things...that is always in fashion...always popular...and has a very long history in food traditions...around the world.

A good chocolate cake is always in season...and the below recipe is one of the best recipes I have ever made for chocolate cake...as well as for the taste.

This is a French chocolate cake recipe...very rich...very simple to make...and it uses very little flour. The butter gives this cake its richness...and the almond meal is an ingredient that I have come to love...and you will love the flavor and texture it gives to baked goods.

Please use a very good quality dark chocolate...it makes a huge difference. And keep in mind...a very small slice of this cake will do...it is very rich.


FRENCH CHOCOLATE CAKE
serves 12

9 ounces dark chocolate...70 percent caco
14 tablespoons butter ( I prefer unsalted butter...but use what you like)
6 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 scant cup almond meal
1/3 cup flour or gluten free flour

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line the bottom of an 11 inch cake or springform pan with a disk of wax paper.. or buttered parchment paper. Melt the chocolate and butter...on very low heat or use a double boiler to melt.....constantly stirring so it does not burn. Once it is melted set aside to cool...a bit.

Next separate the eggs the eggs...the yolks going into one  large bowl...the egg whites in another large bowl. Put the egg whites into the fridge...and then whisk the egg yolks with the sugar until a light lemon yellow.

In a small bowl stir together the almond meal and the flour.

Add the warm chocolate mixture to the egg yolks and whisk quickly and thoroughly to combine. Add the flour and almond meal mixture and fold in with a spatula...just enough to combine.

Take the egg whites out of the fridge...and beat the egg whites until they hold a stiff peak.Using a spatula or a wooden spoon...gently fold HALF the egg whites into the chocolate  mixture...then fold in the rest.

Pour prepared cake batter into the pan...and bake on the center rack of your oven for 15 minutes.After baking the cake mixture for 15 minutes...turn off the heat and let the cake rest in the oven for 10 minutes...with the oven door slightly ajar. The cake will not look done when you take it out...so do not be concerned. Cool completely on a wire rack in the cake pan...the texture of the cake  will set as it cools. Gently take the cake out of its pan...with the same method you use to remove any cake after cooling...and set it out on a cake dish. This cake tastes even better the next day...if it lasts that long!

Love...
Victoria


Wednesday, May 10, 2017

SEASONAL LIVING AND TIMELESS TRADITIONS MAY 2017 MOTHER'S DAY COCONUT MACAROONS

Today I will continue my May posts...with the focus on Mother's Day...and Mothering...by sharing a very easy and delicious recipe for homemade Coconut Macaroons...because "nothing says love...like something homemade."

Mom will love these homemade treats...made with love. These are so easy to make...even an inexperienced baker can make them.   



COCONUT MACAROONS
Makes 20 to 24 cookies

14 ounces sweetened shredded coconut
14 ounces sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 extra-large egg whites...at room temperature
1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Combine until mixed... the coconut ...condensed milk...and vanilla in a large bowl. Whip the egg whites and salt on high speed in a standing mixer or a hand held mixer until the egg whites make medium-firm peaks.Carefully fold the egg whites into the coconut mixture.

Drop the batter onto sheet pans lined with parchment paper using a small spoon. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes...until golden brown. Cool and serve. Enjoy!

Happy Mothers's Day
Victoria
 

Thursday, May 4, 2017

SEASONAL LIVING AND TIMELESS TRADITIONS...MOTHERS DAY GIFTS FROM THE HEART 2017

Mother's Day is May 14th...and this is such a loving tribute to Mom's...and for all they give and do each and every moment for their children.

This Mother's Day...instead of going to a store or shopping on-line...try another approach to your gift giving for your Mom...give her natural...simple...and meaningful gifts from your heart.

Here are a few creative gift ideas for your Mom this Mother's Day...

1...Plant a tree in her honor...including a tree planting celebration. Just gather your Mom...and everyone you want included... around the tree...and have everyone say a message of gratitude for your Mom...then plant the tree together..bless it...and your Mom.

2. Give your Mom a Rosemary bush...an herb of remembrance...as a reminder that everything she does for you...and will do for you...will always be remembered.

3. Plant a beautiful Rose bush...in your Mom's honor.

4. Make a sweet and loving Mother's Day book for her...having everyone write a beautiful message to Mom...including pictures of you...and all other of her children.

5. Take a large mason jar...decorate it...write MOM across the front...and then fill it with little messages of gratitude to her...for how much you love and appreciate her.

6. Make a collage of appreciation for Mom...adding words and pictures of what she means to you.

7. Bake her a homemade cake...with candles...to celebrate her.

8. Write her a poem.

9. Write her a love letter...about how you feel about her...then put it in an envelope...and place dried Lavender...or Roses in the envelope for beauty...and a lovely scent.

Happy Mother's Day to you,
Victoria

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

SEASONAL LIVING AND TIMELESS TRADITIONS MAY 2017

May is all about life...nurturing and of course is Mother's Day month. So with that in mind...I wanted to make my blog this May all about Mothering...not just about your own Mother...but ways you can nurture and Mother yourself...as well.

It is a wise woman who knows...that she must practice self-care and take time for herself...including soothing and nurturing rituals...for well-being... and acts of self love.

Begin each and every morning with a prayer of thankfulness for the gift of being alive...and being you!

After your morning prayer...look into a mirror...and out loud tell yourself with feeling "I love You and accept you...just the way I am."

Be thankful for you!

Give yourself permission to let go of always having to be busy or productive...and allow time each day...to experience the beauty...and joys of just being alive. Learn to value yourself for who you are...not how much you work inside or outside your home or how much money you make...or what your physical appearance is or isn't.

You are worthy!

Become mindful of what your thoughts are and what you say to yourself...and learn to think kind and loving thoughts about yourself. Be your own best friend...and verbally give yourself praise and much needed compliments!

You are deserving!

Stop trying to be like your friends...and just be who you are! This is true personal freedom...when you let go of trying to keep up with your friends...or are in a constant state of envy about what others have or what they have accomplished in their lives.

You are important!

Focus on gratitude for everything you are...and that you have...because truth is...it is quite a lot. Complaining about your life...will get you no where...and brings your attitude and body chemistry to a very low and negative level.

Be grateful!

Nurture your body...with gentle exercise each day...and it goes without saying fuel your body with healthy food. You do not have to go to the extreme with this...just eat smarter and better. Get out in nature more. Nature is good for your soul...and connecting with the natural world also balances your mind...and body...and gives you a sense of calm. Recent studies confirm that being in nature reduces your stress levels...so please honor yourself... and enjoy nature each and everyday.

Return to nature!

Take long soaks whenever you can...soaking in a nice bath nurtures you in body...mind...and spirit. Add a few drops of pure essential oil of your choice...light candles around the tub...and relax. After your bath soak..massage a nice lotion on your body...to sooth your skin...and pamper yourself.


ROSE AND MILK BATH

2 cup milk
2 cups rose petals

For a soothing and very pretty bath soak...that will make you feel special...because you are...try this wonderful bath.

Run your bath water...and add the milk to the water. When tub is full...sprinkle in the rose petals... and get into the tub. Indulge in this bath...fit for a Queen!

Pamper yourself!


Embrace your creativity...no matter what it is! When you honor your creative self...you are honoring your inner spirit...and expressing yourself. A person can become very dull...and out of balance when they do not allow joy into their lives...and creativity is such a powerful way to experience joy as well as pleasure.

Embrace your creativity!

A wonderful and insightful way to nurture yourself...is for you... to spend quiet time and solitude on a regular basis. Sometimes getting away from it all...by yourself is the most loving gift you can give to you. I often have the most clarity as well as inspiration...by taking an afternoon off...and going to a park...or a museum...solo. Or just sitting outside with a glass of water...listening to my own inner voice...not needing anything else...but the quiet...nature...and solitude... to nurture my whole being...and recharge my spirit.  

Allow quiet and solitude for yourself!

End each day...before you retire...by saying a blessing prayer to yourself...for yourself. Thank your body for all it did for you that day...thank yourself for thinking and saying kind and loving thoughts and words towards yourself as you went about your day and evening. Thank yourself for all the love you gave and received that day...and the gift of just being you...and being alive.

Say a prayer for yourself before you retire each evening!

I hope some of my nurturing rituals will inspire you to always Mother yourself...and  take care of yourself in simple natural ways. You are important...deserving and worthy of self care...each and every day!

Happy Mothering,
Victoria

Thursday, April 13, 2017

SEASONAL LIVING AND TIMELESS TRADITIONS EASTER COCONUT BUTTERMILK POUND CAKE 2017

Happy Easter to you...Everyone loves a good piece of cake after Easter dinner...or at anytime for that matter...and this cake is sure to be a winner. The buttermilk in this cake recipe makes this pound cake very moist. Enjoy!

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

Please be sure to toast the coconut...just place it in a dry pan...and gently cook until it is lightly browned.

I often use olive oil to grease my cakes...cornbread etc. Just add a wee bit...to a clean paper towel and then wipe it on pans or parchment paper. It works very well.

COCONUT BUTTERMILK POUND CAKE
makes 2 loaves

1 1/2 cups unsalted butter...softened
3 cups granulated sugar
5 large eggs
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons Kosher salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup whole buttermilk
2 cups sweetened flaked coconut...toasted and divided
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups confectioners' sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened coconut milk
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Butter or use olive oil...to grease the loaf pans...and then dust with flour...shake off excess flour. Line the loaf pans with parchment paper...letting excess extend over the loaf pans. Lightly coat the parchment paper with butter or olive oil again.

In a large bowl of a stand mixer...or a large bowl for a hand held mixer...beat the butter and granulated sugar at medium speed or until it is fluffy...3 to 4 minutes...stopping to scrape the sides of the bowl. Next add the eggs...one at a time...beating well after each egg.

In another medium bowl...whisk together the flour... salt...and baking powder.On low speed gradually add the flour mixture to the butter mixture...and also little by little add the buttermilk...beating just enough to combine ingredients. Next...beat in 1 1/4 cups of the toasted coconut and the vanilla. Divide the batter into the 2 prepared pans.

Place in a COLD oven. Bake at 300 degrees for about 1 hour and 15 minutes...or until a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let the cakes...cool in the pans for about 10 minutes. Gently remove cakes from pans and let cool completely on wire racks.

In a medium bowl whisk together the confectioners' sugar...coconut milk...and lemon juice.Drizzle this glaze over the pound cakes...then to finish off the cakes sprinkle the remaining toasted coconut on top.  

Saturday, April 1, 2017

SEASONAL LIVING AND TIMELESS TRADITIONS APRIL 2017

April musings... This month is so full of natural beauty...bursting forth upon the land...that I fall in love each April...a little deeper with life...and nature herself. I remember as a young girl...in California where I was born and raised...how much I loved to be outside. I couldn't wait to eat breakfast...get dressed...and then disappear for hours on end... in the out doors. Sometimes with my siblings...but most of the time by myself. I preferred it this way... even then as a young child...I loved solitude too...and solitude...combined with the natural world...was and still is bliss to me.

It is in nature...and that includes my garden...where I find personal freedom...and the freedom of my spirit...not the confines of walls... or anything in the material world.

The natural world seems to bring out the best in me...and also offers me the very best...of what wonder...life...inspiration...creativity...and  the belief of a Higher Power...  really are. I can not tell you how many times in my life...that I have sought nature...to heal...to reflect...and to seek solutions to my life challenges. And without a doubt...being in nature has brought me so very many good times...and so many wonderful memories and joy...too.

As a writer...I write a lot...constantly. And with any writer...I have my moments...and sometimes even days...when I have a writers block...which is frustrating. When I have these moments...of not feeling creative with my words...I head out to my garden...to pulls weeds...to tend to my flowers...or to just sit...and ponder. Sometimes...though...I head to a favorite garden center where I live. A really laid back and quirky place...where they know me,..and just allow me to wander...touch and smell...all the pretty plants...flowers...and herbs.You know...they give me my space.

Like some kind of magical green wand...my nurturing time in nature...or in my garden...recharges me...soothes me...and opens my heart and mind...restoring the balance I need...the grounding I need... and my inspiration to write...is reawakened...because of my time spent in the most creative and inspiring canvas of all...Mother Earth.

You see nature...is wise...and can be trusted day after day...year after year...to reflect back to you with each changing season...what and when you need to start something...to grow or change...or to completely let it go. Nature is a loving teacher...a constant companion...a loyal and giving best friend...to you...to humanity...and to all living things and creatures.


My wish for you this April...is for you to find your way back...to the natural world. To renew and rebirth...that part of you...that knows deep within your very DNA...as well as in your soul... that you are part of nature...you need nature...to thrive and grow and have well-being in your life. It is no accident...that everything in nature was created...to sustain all life...to feed you...give you water... clothe you...give you medicine...as well as to inspire your soul with beauty...and enliven all your senses with the greatest of pleasures.

To be alive...is to be in love with nature... and when you experience and witness nature... you open up your knowing that nature is your teacher... and with the Earth...you will grow wise...grounded...and balanced...just the way nature intended.

April Blessings to you,
Victoria



POEM FOR APRIL...

April brings the Primrose sweet
Scatters Daises at our feet.
by Sara Coleridge

PRAYER FOR APRIL..." I ask for guidance and wisdom...in helping me to take steps to begin my goals...projects and personal change."

WORLD TRADITIONS AND CELEBRATIONS FOR THE MONTH OF APRIL...

April 1st...April Fool's Day...April 2nd... World Auctism Day...April 14th...Good Friday...April 16th...Easter...April 22nd...Earth Day...

FACTS ABOUT APRIL...

The name of the month of April is derived from the Greek word for "opening"


FOLKLORE ABOUT APRIL...

April weather rain and sunshine
both together

April is no month for burials
By Leo Cox...Rite of Spring


TRADITIONAL EASTER FOODS EATEN WORLD WIDE...

In the United Kingdom...Hot Cross Buns are eaten on Good Friday.

In Italy salty pretzels are traditionally eaten at Easter time.

A traditional Greek Easter Cake is made with oranges and almonds. It is eaten with a spicy orange sauce poured over it. Lamb soup is also often eaten for Easter breakfast.


GARDENING TIPS...

Mow your yards and fields...fertilize your lawns...plant summer vegetables...plant seeds...weed.

HOMEMAKING TIP...

Vacuum all your blinds and curtains... then clean all your inside windows...with white vinegar. Clean all your mirrors with white vinegar too...and wipe off and clean bathroom lighting...but be sure to have lights off when you do the cleaning.

FULL MOON...April 26th

FLOWERS... The pretty Daisy and Sweetpea

GEMS...The Garnet and Ruby

TEACHINGS...This month is perfect for taking the necessary steps to get your goals...projects...and wishes going. Also work on personal inner change...that will help you achieve your goals.


GOOD THINGS JAR

It is so easy to get caught up in the negative in today's world...and sometimes we need a gentle nudge to remind us of all the good...as well as the good things that happen to and for us each and every day.

Why not make yourself... A GOOD THINGS THINGS jar...by taking a clean and dry jar or bottle...decorating it if you wish...and then each and every day...write out one good thing that happened for you that day...and then place in your Good Things Jar.

This is a wonderful visual reminder of ALL good things you really do have in your life...on a daily basis. Do this simple but heart warming celebration of your  Good Things Jar...for one full year...and at the end of the full year...read through each slip of paper...to reflect and acknowledge all you have in your life that are GOOD.


SEASONAL LIVING AND TIMELESS TRADITIONS

...FOR YOUR HOME

Put daises in small vases...and set them on all your window sills. Put a big bunch of fresh Rosemary in a vase...and set it on your kitchen table instead of flowers this month.


...FOR YOUR HEARTH

April being such a very pretty and sweet month...I though I would give you a wonderful honey ice cream recipe to make!

HONEY ICE CREAM
Makes 1 quart

2 vanilla beans
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup clover honey

Flatten the vanilla beans and cut them in half lengthwise.With a small spoon scrape out the vanilla seeds. Place the seeds and pods in a large saucepan. Add the cream...the whole milk and honey and stir to dissolve the honey. Heat over moderate heat...stirring from time to time just until tiny bubbles form around the edges of the pan...about 3-4 minutes.

Remove from heat and let steep...covered for 1 hour. Keep covered and refrigerate...until completely chilled ( make sure you do this step).

Take out of the fridge when completely cold...and remove the vanilla pods. Stir again to blend. Transfer to an ice cream maker and process according to ice cream maker directions. When finished making the ice cream...place the finished ice cream in a container with a lid...and place into the freezer...to keep cold...and to firm up...until you are ready to serve. This is so good...you will make it again and again.


...FOR YOUR HEART
Pamper yourself this month...by learning something new...taking that class you have always wanted to take...experiment with art...explore a new culture through books and cooking their food traditions...take up meditation or yoga...start a garden. All of these help open you open to new possibilities...and personal growth.


Wednesday, March 1, 2017

SEASONAL LIVING AND TIMELESS TRADITIONS MARCH 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

That my heart called me to do.

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

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

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

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

And you are needed in the world!

To your renewal,
Victoria



POEM...

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

by  Antonio Machado


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


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

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

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

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

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

FULL MOON FOR MARCH...March 12th

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

GEMS FOR MARCH... The lovely aquamarine

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


JUST DO THIS ONE THING BLESSING CELEBRATION...

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

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

"I bless you"


SPRING EQUINOX CELEBRATION

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

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

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

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




SEASONAL LIVING AND TIMELESS TRADITIONS...

...FOR YOUR HOME

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


...FOR YOUR HEARTH

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

BUTTERMILK PIE
Makes 2 pies

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


...FOR YOUR HEART

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

Thursday, February 2, 2017

SEASONAL LIVING AND TIMELESS TRADITIONS FEBRUARY 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And that is something to celebrate.

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

Victoria


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

FULL MOON... February 26th

FLOWERS...Violet...Primrose

GEMS...Amethyst

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

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

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


INSPIRATION CELEBRATION...

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

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

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


SEASONAL LIVING AND TIMELESS TRADITIONS

...FOR YOUR HOME

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


...FOR YOUR HEARTH

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

SPICY TOMATO SOUP
serves 4-6

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

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


CHEESE ROUNDS
yields 50

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

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

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



...FOR YOUR HEART

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

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


Sunday, January 1, 2017

SEASONAL LIVING AND TIMELESS TRADITIONS JANUARY 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Happy New Year,
Victoria


POEM...

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

FLOWERS...The beautiful snowdrop and crocus.

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

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


DREAM AND HOPE JAR 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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



SEASONAL LIVING AND TIMELESS TRADITIONS

...FOR YOUR HOME

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

...FOR YOUR HEARTH

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

PICNIC FRIED CHICKEN
Serves 6

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

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

...FOR YOUR HEART

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