Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Flower offering to the Celtic Goddess Brigit, Brigid, Brighid
Here in my dining room (also called the Herb-Craft room) is the heart of my life, my altar.  My husband, Jamey, and I named our big, old, built in 1922, house, Brugh na Bhride (taken from the old Celtic name of Newgrange or Brugh na Boinne, a Neolithic architectural monument and one of the most famous antiquities in Ireland.) 

What activities, sacred and mundane, that we do in our home are all dedicated to the honor of the Goddess Brighid who is also known as Brid, Bhride, Breo-Sagit and by many other names.  She is the triple Celtic Goddess of poetry and writing; healing and midwifery; and smithing (black-smithing, gold-smithing, silver-smithing) or the making of crafts.  She is often called the Goddess of the Forge and fire (bonfires, candles and other burning things) and water (holy wells, rivers, and springs) are her sacred elements.  Her main shrine is in Kildare, Ireland where her worship is centered around her sacred flame and holy well.  A large center has recently been built in honor of Brighid in Kildare. I hope to go there next year to celebrate Imbolc with all the other "Keepers of Her Sacred Flame."

The beautiful vase of flowers on my altar at home is made up of flowers that I grow in my own gardens.  We only have a tiny end lot on a corner in our small city, but we raise a lot of vegetables and even more herbs.  I make all sorts of herbal things with these herbs and I use the dried herbs in magick because I am mainly a Hedge Witch or a Kitchen Witch.

The altar where I do my magickal workings is featured in the picture below.  Above and behind the altar are my dried herbs for healing and magick that I have gathered from my gardens and from my journeys around this world, our Mother Earth or Gaia. 

The statue to the left on my altar is a wonderful sculpture of Brighid given to me by my husband and soulmate this year as my Beltane gift. She is so beautiful.  She stands with Celtic symbols all around her and at the bottom of by her feet and in her hands are the tools of her three incarnations. She holds fire in her hands. 
I also use the stand that I have my herbs stacked upon to hold my seedlings in the spring and on which to dry my herbs in the fall when I plant my gardens and put up the harvest for the next year.  Behind the row of jars on the top shelf is a line of white security candles that I inscribe, anoint and light when someone asks me to light a candle for healing energy.

Above is a better picture of the jars of herbs I have behind my altar.  From these rows of jars plus the other magickal tools and implements on my altar, I form spells and incantations which I offer up to the Gods and Goddesses to help heal this world and its inhabitants, my dear friends and myself.  I celebrate the eight special holidays of Wicca called Sabbats.  These are Samhain, Yule or Winter Solstice, Imbolc, Spring Equinox or Ostara, Beltane, Summer Solstice or Litha, Lammas or Lughnassadh, and Autumn Equinox or Mabon.  I also celebrate the full and new moons every month and honor the Old Ways and the Old Gods and Goddesses in my life. 

Curry, Ginger and Cilantro Chicken Curry


  • 1-2 pounds of boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into 1" cubes (non-antibiotic & additive free)
  • Himalayan pink salt- to taste
  • Fresh ground white pepper-to taste
  • 2-1/2 teaspoons curry powder-more or less according to taste and strength of curry powder
  • 3 Tablespoons organic olive oil or organic coconut oil-highest quality available
  • 1-2 large, organic onions, finely chopped (sweet onions have the best taste)
  • 4 organic, garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 Tablespoon organic, freshly minced ginger
  • 1-2 cups of organic or homemade chicken broth
  • 1 Tablespoon gluten free flour
  • 1-2 packets of Stevia white crystals
  • Organic Vegetables of your choice: total 3-4 cups organic fresh or frozen peas, carrots, cauliflower, mushrooms, etc. cut into small pieces
  • 1 cup organic yogurt or sour cream
  • 1/4 c finely chopped organic cilantro


  • Sprinkle the chicken evenly with about 1 tsp. pink salt, 3/4 tsp. of white pepper and 1-2 tsp of curry powder.  Be sure to suit your taste, hotter or cooler with the spices.
  • Heat 2 T of olive oil in a large skillet over medium to high heat until just warm.  Add the chicken cubes and cook, stirring until just the pink is gone from the chicken. Transfer the cooked chicken to a bowl and set aside

    In a second pan, while browning the chicken, brown the vegetables just until crisp-tender in about 1-2 Tablespoon of oil.

    Add the onions, garlic, ginger into the empty chicken pan and cook until onions are transparent scraping bits of chicken off the pan and into the mix.

    Add 1 Tablespoon more of oil to the pan (if needed) and cook until warmed through, then add 2 Tablespoon of gluten free flour to the pan and stir with a fork or a whisk to keep the flour from clumping in any way.  Slowly add the 2 cups of chicken broth to the pan, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring after each addition, until all of the broth has been added.

    Bring to a boil for a few seconds and immediately shut the temperature down to simmer.  Keep stirring the mixture.  It should be thickened and not have any clumps of flour.

    Add the chicken, the vegetables, and cilantro to the pan and simmer for a few minutes stirring well.

    Add 1 cup of plain or vanilla yogurt to the mix (or sour cream if you prefer). Taste the sauce and add the stevia and/or more curry or spices if needed.

    Blend the mixture until all of the yogurt is incorporated into the sauce.  Keep warm until serving.

    Serve over organic, brown Basmati rice. 
Our garden is full of fresh cilantro, garlic, onions and other goodies.  I served this over the Basmati rice with a green and tomato salad from out garden and the family just inhaled it. Absolutely incredible and so healthy too.  Enjoy!

Monday, July 6, 2015

How to Make Lavender Water

My lavender is going CRAZY this summer.  I have harvested it twice and need to get out there and harvest it again.  Lovely!  There is NOTHING that smells better than fresh lavender, nothing at all, even better than most roses if you ask me!  I have two large bags of it drying in the dining room and the heavenly odor fills the air every time you open the door into the dining-room which is now the herb-craft room. 

Today, I am making Lavender water. Lavender water can be used used to scent linens, drawers, closets or clothing. If you still iron, a  spray before ironing will freshen most fabrics with the soothing aroma of lavender. I add lavender or rosemary essential oil to my washer and dryer when I am laundering.  It is also great added to bed linens.  You can sprinkle it directly onto the linens when they are in the dryer, too.  You can also use Lavender water as an air freshener or furniture spray. Just a spritz on your pillow at night and you will sleep like a baby all night long.  

Using Lavender Flowers- (

" Gather your supplies. Lavender water made from lavender flowers won't smell as concentrated as lavender water made from essential oil. Essential oil is the distilled, concentrated essence of lavender made from the flowers. When you use the flowers themselves, the resulting water is very light, but still quite aromatic. Here's what you'll need:
    • Spray bottle
    • Funnel
    • Fine-mesh strainer
      A bunch of lavender stems with the flowering heads at the top (for a total of 2 tablespoons of buds)
  1. Strip the lavender buds from their stems. Lavender flowers grow as little buds along straight stems. To make lavender water, you don't need the stems; the buds contain the floral scent. To remove them from the stems, hold a stem over the glass bowl. Gently pinch the stem at its base, and run your fingers from the base to the tip. The buds will fall off into the bowl.
    • You can also buy dried lavender buds that have already been removed from their stems. Look in gourmet food stores or herb shops.
    • This is a great way to use lavender plants that may be growing in your yard.
  1. Bring the water to a rolling boil. Pour it into a small saucepan and place it over high heat. Heat the water until it comes to a full boil. Don't leave it unattended for too long, or the water will begin to evaporate.
  1. Pour the boiling water over the lavender buds. Carefully pour it over the buds so that the buds can begin steeping in the hot water. The heat will draw out the oils from the flower, and the water will become scented with lavender.

  1. Cover the bowl and let the buds steep. Leave the buds to steep for a few hours or overnight. The process is similar to making tea. Let the buds continue steeping until the water cools.
  1. Strain the buds from the water. Set the fine-mesh strainer over a bowl. Pour the water into the strainer to strain out the buds. Discard the buds; they won't have a scent now that their essence is gone.
  1. Funnel the water into the spray bottle. Place the funnel over the opening of the spray bottle. Pour the lavender water into the spray bottle. The water is now ready to use on your linens, as air freshener, or as a tool for aromatherapy.
      • If you want the water to have a longer shelf life, you can mix in one ounce of either witch hazel or vodka. Shake the bottle well to distribute it throughout.

    Thursday, June 11, 2015

    It's Thyme for Porkchops

    2x  1x
    4-  2 Tablespoons olive oil
    8-  4 center cut boneless pork chops
    2-  1 tsp. each herbs and spices to taste--Himalayan pink salt, ground white pepper, minced fresh thyme and fresh minced fine garlic
    1-  1/2 cup of chopped onions or shallots
    12- 6 peeled and sliced into 8's fresh, ripe peaches cleaned and cut into 8 wedges
    1/2-1/4 c white wine--use more if the peach mixture starts to dry out

    Heat a large skillet over medium high heat.  Add the olive oil to the pan and swirl it to coat the pan bottom.  Put the chops into the pan in one layer.  Use a bigger pan if you cannot fit them all in at one time in one layer. Sprinkle the chops evenly with 1/2  of the herbs and spices to taste using more or less according to your taste-buds.  I use more. If you use fresh thyme and garlic, don't be stingy. You can use about double the fresh than if you use the dried herbs. Add the chops to the pan and cook about 3-4 minutes on each side until the chops are done through.  Remove the chops from the pan and keep warm (just warm, too hot and they will become dry and tough). Add onions or shallots, the rest of the herbs and spices, and the peaches to the pan.  Cook for five minutes on medium-high and scrape up all the juices and browned bits in the pan.  Add just a bit of white wine 1/4 cup to the pan and reduce the heat.  Let the peaches and onions simmer for another five minutes.  Make sure the peach slices are cooked through and the onions are transparent.  Pour the peach mixture over the pork chops and heat just until the mixture starts to simmer.  Serve the pork-chops on a platter with the peach sauce spooned evenly over the chops.  Serve with a mixed green salad and fresh wedges of tomato and chopped salad vegetables from your garden.  Top with your favorite all-natural dressing.  I use Amy's Goddess dressing. 

    Yields 4-8 serving depending on whether you make a single or double batch.

    These are incredible and you can make enough for a crowd if you plan ahead.  

    Monday, June 8, 2015

    Herbal and Traditional Remedies for Clearer Skin

    I am at war with my skin right now.  Blemishes, allergies, psoriasis, asthma and other things have made a mess of my extremely delicate skin.  I found this article at  I am trying several ideas from this list and I will let you know if they work.  By Mabon, I hope to have beautiful skin once again...

    The acne home remedies listed below have worked for many people, but they may not work for all people. All home remedies for acne are enhanced by proper vitamin and mineral supplementation. Drink lots of water. Drinking water will prevent most of your skin problems. Exercise regularly. Some forms of aerobic exercise will bring oxygen to your cells and give you healthy skin.  Vitamins A and D3 will help your skin as well.

    1. Put white toothpaste on your pimple before you go to bed.  This should help reduce swelling overnight. Make sure it is the paste not the gel. This is one of the oldest, most popular acne home remedies. 
    2. Wash your face twice a day in warm, salty water. This should leave your face oil free without aggravating the acne. Also gargle with salty water for sore throats and use a nasal spray of salt and water for sinus infections.  A Neti Pot which you can find at your neighborhood health store or online will also help you with stubborn sinus infections. 
    3. Apply a paste of fresh fenugreek leaves over the face every night for 10-15 minutes and wash it off with warm water. This will prevent acne, pimples, blackheads, and wrinkles. 
    4. Place strawberry leaves on the acne; the alkalinity helps to reduce the swelling. 
    5. Extract the juice of one lemon and mix it with an equal quantity of rose water. Apply this mixture to your face and let it stay on for about half an hour. Then, wash your face with fresh water. About 15 days of daily use helps to cure acne, pimples and reduces blemishes and scars. 
    6. Another method is to massage your face with the skin of a lemon before washing with lukewarm water. 
    7. Apply fresh mint juice over your face every night for the treatment of acne, pimples, insect stings, eczema, scabies and other skin infections. 
    8. Eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. At least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables should be included in your diet. every day. All acne home remedies should include a healthy diet. 
    9. A couple of garlic cloves, crushed and dabbed on the face 1-2 times a day is also purported to help. This is one of the smellier acne home remedies.  
    10. Home face wash for acne: Mix together 1 or 2 milliliters each of the following: witch hazel, tea-tree and sweet fennel essential oils, adding 1-2 milliliters of essential oil of geranium for women and 1-2 milliliters of essential oil of rosewood for men. Mix with 300 milliliters of water. Shake before use, as the oils will float on top of the water during storage. Dab the affected areas with a cotton ball lightly moistened with this mixture two or three times a day. The oils will clean the skin and unclog the pores giving an antibiotic-like protection to the skin. 
    11. Apply fresh lemon juice on the affected area overnight. Wash off with warm water the next morning. 
    12. Use 2-3 teaspoons of dried basil leaves to 1 cup boiling water. Steep 10-20 minutes. Cool, and apply to your face with a cotton ball. 
    13. Grind orange peel with some water to a paste and apply the paste to the affected spots on your face. This is one of the best acne home remedies. 
    14. Clean your face with a cotton ball dipped in rose water 2-3 times a day. 
    15. Mix 1 teaspoon of lemon juice in 1 teaspoon of finely ground cinnamon powder and apply on the affected areas frequently. 
    16. Nettle Tea is another solution.  Nettle tea is made with the nettle herb which has some curative powers and really helps work wonders on skin problems. Drink four cups a day to get the full benefit of one of the most powerful acne home remedies. 
    17. Aloe Vera juice applied twice a day can greatly speed up the healing of acne lesions. I grow it at home and it is one of the easiest plants there is to grow indoors or out. 
    18. Another lotion that uses bee propolis extract may also be effective. Mix eight ounces of water and 11 drops of bee propolis extract. This is an acne home remedy which has been proven effective with many people. 
    19. Some herbal acne home remedies: Burdock leaf tea, Lavender essential oil (mix 1:10 with water), Tincture of calendula flowers, Tea tree essential oil (mix 1:10 with water) and Liquefied cabbage leaves with witch hazel, strain and add two drops of lemon oil. Use as a lotion.  
    20. Ice down the acne before bed and by morning it should be noticeably less swollen. This works best on larger pimples that have not yet formed a head.
    21. Take vitamin B5 and zinc supplements daily to strengthen the skin's resistance to acne. 
    22. Mix mint juice with turmeric powder and apply the paste on the affected area. Leave the paste on for 15-30 minutes and then wash off with lukewarm water. 
    23. Mix some vinegar and salt in a bowl. Pour a little bit in your hand and rub it on the pimples. 
    24. Or soak a face towel in the vinegar and salt mixture and dab it on the bumps. Leave it on for 15-20 minutes and then rinse it off with warm water. 
    25. Blend cucumber and make it into a paste. Apply this as a mask on your face and leave it on for 1/2 hour and then rinse with warm water. This refreshes your skin and prevents acne. 
    26. Mix corn flour with egg white and apply this paste onto your face. Let is dry completely for 1/2 hour. Dip your hands in warm water and massage your face as you wash it off. This when repeated regularly gives you smooth skin. 
    27. Mix sandalwood paste with rosewater and apply on the face. Rinse off after 30 minutes. 
    28. Essential oil face mask for acne: Use a mask base powder, such as fuller's earth or kaolin powder. Use distilled or filtered water to make a paste. Mix 1 heaped teaspoon of base powder to 3 drops of essential oil. Add approximately 2 tablespoons of the water in, to make a fluid yet balanced paste. Essential oils to add in the mask either separately or try smaller amounts together are cypress oil 1 drop, lemon oil 2 drops, or sage oil 1 drop. 
    29. Mix a paste of tender neem leaves with turmeric and apply to the affected area.
    30. Grind some nutmeg with milk and apply on affected areas. Your pimples will disappear like magic without leaving a mark. 
    31. Make a mixture of lime juice and rose water. Dab this on your face and leave it for 15-20 minutes. Rinse off with lukewarm water. 
    32. Make a paste by mixing 3 tablespoons of honey and 1 teaspoon of cinnamon powder. Apply this paste on the pimples before sleeping and wash it off the next morning with warm water. Repeat this every night for two weeks and your pimples are purported to disappear forever. 
    33. Rub fresh garlic on and around your pimples. Pimples will disappear without a mark with regular applications. 
    34. Mix 1 teaspoon of groundnut oil with 1 teaspoon of fresh lime juice to prevent formation of blackheads and pimples. 
    35. First wash your face and then dab acne with cotton balls soaked in vinegar. 
    36. Mix groundnut oil with an equal amount of fresh lime juice and apply onto your face. leave this mixture on for 10-15 minutes and wash. It may be applied daily to prevent the formation of blackheads, acne and pimples. 
    37. Apply raw papaya juice (grind the whole papaya in a blender including the skin and seed) on swelling acne and pimples. 
    38. Apply fresh lime juice mixed to a glass of boiled milk as a face wash for acne, pimples, blackheads, and cracked skin. 
    39. Apply ripe tomato pulp on pimples and keep it on up to 1 hour, then wash. 
    40. Make a paste of roasted and powdered pomegranate skin with fresh lime juice and apply over acne, boils, pimple, blackheads and whiteheads. 
    41. Apply grated potatoes as a poultice to treat skin blemishes, wrinkles, boils, pimples, blackheads, whiteheads , etc. 
    42. Make a paste of ground radish seeds with water and apply on face to remove blackheads. 
    43. Apply a paste of ground sesame seeds with water as poultice for inflammation of the skin due to allergies, skin rashes, and pimples.
    44. Large pores on facial skin can be treated with a paste of sandalwood powder with masoor dal. 
    45. Use an oatmeal or almond mask to thoroughly cleanse your face. Mix either oatmeal or almond powder with enough rose water to make a soft paste that spreads easily on the skin. Rub it on your skin with your fingertips, paying special attention the problem areas. Leave to dry for about 15 minutes and then rinse off with cold water. This is very good for getting rid of blackheads.  
    46. Honey is a great remedy for skin blemishes and acne because the honey kills bacteria.

    Sunday, January 8, 2012

    2012 Gardens

    I am sure that 2012 is going to be a stellar year for my herb and vegetable gardens. In the front yard, the chives, garlic chives, mints, oregano, yarrow, purple cone flowers/echinacea, rosemary and lavender are still going strong and I have bulbs, roses and lilacs in position for spring blooming.  There will be flowers- lots and lots of flowers.  Be sure to stop back frequently to follow the progress of my garden and admire the photos of my beautiful herbs and flowers.

    Right now, everything is a bit bare, but soon we will be planting new seeds and the tips of spring bulbs will be peeking out through the soil.  I will be adding MORE of everything this year and expanding the herb beds into raised beds. 

    I am heading off to Lowe's to get materials for raised beds and sending to Woody at Lynchburg Grows for another truckload or two of compost.  We have two big compost beds of our own in the back, but this will not be nearly enough soil for my new raised beds. 

    I have an adorable cart that rolls along and provides a nice comfy seat from which I can garden IF I have raised beds. Rather than fight the arthritis pain, I have accepted that it is there and will be gardening from my cart this year and utilizing raised beds to make life a bit easier.

    In addition to all the herbs, last year we added four fruit trees and four raised vegetable garden beds to the front yard. I also have a baby rowan tree which is one of the sacred trees of the Druids. So far, no zoning committee members or irate neighbors have complained about the tomatoes in the front yard, so I am going to add even more vegetables for 2012.  

    Once we patch up a few spots in the cement walks  and add the rest of the new plants, there should be little weeding to do.  I don't plan on leaving any room for the weeds.  Stop by soon to see the new progress in the Witch's garden! 

    Spring 2011


    Tuesday, November 1, 2011

    The Under-rated and Under-loved Winter Squash

    I just finished off the very best Acorn Squash Pie I ever made and it was dairy free and sugar free. For me, it was wheat free too, since I didn't eat the crust.  The entire family loved it--even the uber-picky one who wouldn't eat a vegetable if it handed him $100.  The humble winter squash is so under-loved and under-appreciated..

    Acorn Squash Pie
    Here’s a modified recipe for a squash pie based on the Ask Dr. Weil website. It tastes yummier than pumpkin pie.


    1.5 cups pulverized grape nuts
    2 tbl maple syrup or honey
    5 tbl apple juice
    (Or any pie crust that you like really, graham cracker would work well too)


    3 cups pureed squash (I used acorn)
    1/2 cup sugar (brown or white or mix of both, I used Splenda here since my Mom is a diabetic)
    1/2 tsp salt
    1/4 tsp ground ginger
    2/8 tsp cloves
    3/4 tsp cinnamon
    1/2 cup soymilk

    Prepare pie crust to be filled.
    Peel and cube squash. Cover in water and boil until tender. Puree the squash.
    Mix squash and everything else, pour into pie pan. Bake for 45-55 minutes at 400 degrees. Chill overnight in refrigerator. Makes 1 9″ pie.

    Great Winter Squash information from

    The ABCs of Winter Squash

    Here's a handy guide to winter squash that helps you distinguish your Delicatas from your Hubbards, and offers tips on how to choose the perfect specimen.
    See More About:  winter squash  pumpkins  fall vegetables

    How to Cook Squash

    There are many ways to cook winter squash - whether you have a butternut squash, an acorn squash, a spaghetti squash, or a pumpkin. Here are a few easy ways to cook yours.

    Spaghetti Squash in Low Carb Diets

    If you eat low carb, you'll find that spaghetti squash makes a great substitute for pasta. Find out the best way to cook spaghetti squash and how to extract the "spaghetti" strands

    Vegan Chocolate Pumpkin Pie

    Never doubt that tofu can be delicious when you eat a slice of this chocolate pumpkin pie, though if you're new to tofu, be sure to buy the right kind.