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Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Sweet Rosemary Syrup -- Lattes and Steamers await!


      Recently a friend posted a photo of her homemade latte on FB. I don't even drink coffee and this concoction looked divine.  It was inspired by the utter delicious magic of Talula's Table, Rosemary Latte, in Kennett.  I'd always adored the flavor of Rosemary as a savory flavor, but had never thought of it as a sweet flavor.  The same friend had a recent dinner party.  I honestly can't remember if it was during an Ostara bonfire or just a nice dinner one weeknight.  Nonetheless, after dinner, coffee talk started.  "You have to try this," Laura said to the guests.  As I mentioned, I don't do coffee so I was just enjoying the chatter of the evening.  Laura had different plans.  Knowing how much I adore rosemary Laura suggested a rosemary steamer instead of a Latte.  I'm down!

     It was heaven in a mug.  Heaven.  I quickly asked Laura how she had made such amazing treats in her kitchen and I was hooked.  Laura had used rosemary teabags, but I didn't find them in the stores I looked, and frankly wasn't thrilled about rosemary I couldn't see or smell beforehand.  I just grabbed the herb pack seen above from my local produce section.

     I grabbed four healthy sized sprigs of rosemary and threw them in my tea infuser (below) and filled it with three cups of boiling water.  I let it sit over night to steep, though with rosemary being woody, I could have sped the process by boiling the rosemary with the water and making a decoction.

     Because I had left the infusion over night, I boiled 2 cups of infusion to bring it to a boil.  I added two cups of sugar to a pyrex bowl.  Once the rosemary infusion was boiling I added it to the sugar to stirring vigorously to make a syrup. I did have to add a teeny bit of infusion to bring it to an even 4 cups of syrup.  I then added a splash of homemade vanilla syrup because vanilla is awesome in just about everything.  

     Once I finished my syrup I couldn't wait to try it, so I heated a mug full of milk slowly on the stove, poured it into my mug and topped it with fresh Rosemary Vanilla Syrup.  Heavenly.  Now I can enjoy whenever I want.  My husband is thrilled because now I'm drinking milk. Everyone wins.


     My fabulous mug is a favorite from Dancing Pig Pottery that says, "Gruntled Minion".  Thanks to my friend Laura for the inspiration for this blog.
      

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Making Gelatin Dessert with Herbal Tea



       Making an adult dessert that appeals to the inner child in us all.


       How many of us enjoyed Jello as kids?  I know I did.  But having a sensitivity to certain food dyes, and lack of customization was tough to translate into an adult dessert I could enjoy.  

While perusing the grocery store one day, I spotted a ‘make your own’ Jello brand packet that was unflavored and had no dyes or sugar in it.  I didn’t see why I couldn’t use regular gelatin and the experiment was born.  

I found some grass fed gelatin in the local ‘natural’ food store and decided to try my hand.  

       I chose my favorite herbal tea of the day.  The one I chose had rosehips, hibiscus and berries (hence the deep red color without Red 40).  I’m thinking I’ll try Triple Fast Luck next time because I’m really excited to see how minty it gets.  

You’ll Need:
3 3/4 cups water to boil
1/4 cup cold water
1 tablespoon grass fed gelatin
1/2 cup tea leaves (Flavor of your choice, rooibos and herbal works great too)
Sugar to taste (I used 2/3 cup but feel free to substitute or leave out the sugar. The Florida Water Tea is great unsweetened, and made a tangy, fun gelatin.) 

Directions:
Boil water.
Place tea in infuser or tea bag of choice.
Once water boils, pour over tea and add sugar, if desired.
Let steep for 10 minutes.  
While you’re waiting for the tea to steep, add the 1/4 water to a large mixing bowl and mix throughly, it’ll thicken quickly.  
Once the tea is steeped, pour into mixing bowl and whisk briskly until thoroughly blended.   
Pour into greased loaf pan or one lined with parchment paper.  

It’s done when the top is firm to the touch.  Just pop out of the loaf pan, cut into squares and serve or refrigerate.  


If you want to try a new tea, look around at Blackthorn Hoodoo Blends for some great blends with a folk magic twist.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Updated Tea Flavors





Presented in a 6 fl oz tin.  Roughly 14 cups of tea depending on preparation strength.

-Van Van Tea: The most popular Hoodoo oil in a Tea form.  Lemongrass tea removes Obstacles with just a hint of cinnamon and caffeine. Defeat Mercury Retrograde! Purification.  Banishing.  Ritual Preparation. 

-Fiery Wall of Protection: Surround yourself with this caffeinated, protective fire. Reading the 23rd Psalm over your tea, optional.  This cinnamon and ginger blend helps fill in the gaps in your defenses.  

-Come to Me: This spicy milk and honey flavored tea is a love drawing blend to bring the right lover your way.  Just a hint of cinnamon flavor means it is good with or without sugar and the rooibos base means no caffeine. 

-Peaceful Home: This comforting, caffeine free blend of vanilla, lavender and peppermint will help you focus on the path you need to get your house in order.  Bring peace back into your home with this comforting blend.  It’s your favorite cardigan with a hint of lavender. 

-Helping Hand: Feeling hit from all sides?  Get a leg up with this caffeine free blend.  Energetically promote healing, calm and boost your luck too! Soft mint and vanilla lifts you over the hurdles life brings your way. 

-Meditation: This fulfilling, herbal blend of herbs will  get you to the right state of mind.  Calm a racing mind and unwind.

-The All Seeing Eye: Boost your intuition with nutty flavors of wisdom and higher self.  Caffeine free blend turns your third eye into a magnifying glass.

-Gossip Stop: Others using their words against you? This Lemony fresh blend includes slippery elm to let their words pass you by and Burdock will keep their mud from sticking to your good name. It’s caffeine free too!

-Crown of Success: You deserve Success!  All your hard work is paying off with this soft and spicy blend of citrus and delicate florals will have you in the right frame of mind to get out of your own way and a bit of caffeine to help you achieve your goals. (Color Purple and Gold)

-Adam and Eve: This sultry black tea blend is perfect for all matters of love, faithful partnership and attraction.  This mildly caffeinated blend has enough vibrancy to keep you and your special someone up until the job is done! 

-Florida Water Tea: This blend of Clove, Orange and a hint of lavender will leave you energetically cleansed, lightly caffeinated and ready to take on the world!  Great with or without sugar!

-Triple Fast Luck: This light mint and vanilla blend paves the way and cinnamon brings your good luck on in a hurry.  Lightly caffeinated and great for a gentle morning ritual, brings good luck all day.   

-Holy Spirit: A lightly floral and green tea base with a soft, soul quenching taste.  Cleanse your space and yourself with this blessing tea.

-My-Tea Tea:  This mighty blend boosts inner strength with an empowering (and caffeinated) blend of Chai, cinnamon, ginger and lemongrass.  Instead of leaping tall buildings with a single bound, you’ll be picking them up to walk under them.  


http://blackthornhoodooblends.com

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Frost Free, isn't it about time?

Trigger Warning. Discussion of childhood sexual assault awareness 

     On the heels of my recent post about sexual assault, personal awareness and what to do if you are assaulted comes a more pointed piece.  I reposted my previous piece from a (now defunct) Thorn Magazine because of the news of a Pagan performer and author being arrested.  Rather than rehash those details I came today to talk about a more insidious kind of evil.  


     I don't use the word "evil".  There are very few cases in the world where I feel the word is appropriate and meaningful.  Vague 'boogeymen' may get ratings and box office sales, but they aren't the real evil.  People can be evil.  The evil that one person can do to another person can scar the psyche more than a hundred slasher flicks.  


     Another thing I don't really do in the blogosphere is talk about my mundane life.  It's sort of a taboo in itself for my area of professional study.  You see, I'm a Criminal Justice major finishing my Bachelors before applying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.  I have worked as a security officer in the state of Delaware for years now.  I understand better than many how people can treat each other.  I mention this only because I want you, gentle reader, to understand I'm not jumping at shadows when I say there is real evil in the world.  The kind that you can do something about goes back to a woman named Kitty Genovese.  


     The evil that you can do something about?  You can stand up.  Say something.  Kitty cried out for someone to save her that night in the Kew Gardens neighborhood of New York.  Everyone just walked away.  They closed their windows and turned up their televisions so they didn't have to see or hear her blood soaked cries for help.  "It's not my problem."


     Right now you can do something to prevent further children from being victimized.  You can stand up, and it's easier than you think.  Right now, Florida Pagan Gathering is getting ready for their annual festival.  Schedules for workshops and rituals are being painstakingly written by someone with undoubtedly little time and less energy for the millions of things on their task list.  But the one thing that isn't on that list that should be? "Find replacements for Gavin and Yvonne Frost's workshops".


      You see, I've been a member of my greater Pagan community since I was legally of age to do so.  18 years old.  That's almost 15 years ago for those of you playing our home game.  15 out of 21 years.  I've planned large festivals, I've planned small rituals, and just about everything in between.  So please don't think I'm 'hating' on the hard work of a lot of people.  I'm sure lots of the folks involved in this festival are good people.  I have no issue with that.  


     Make no mistake, I do have a problem with part of the event and some of the event organizers.  I've never met the Frosts. However, the fact that people are more familiar with the 'sexual politics' of these two depraved individuals than the tenets of the 'church' they supposedly run says more about the Frosts than I ever wanted to know.  Many have spoken out before, they were threatened, derided and written off as anti-Wicca.  Feel free to check out this article calling out them in the past.  Be forewarned, I couldn't read far without getting sick to my stomach and angry.  


     I'll be the first to admit when it comes to child sexual abuse I am incapable of being neutral or unbiased.  I am the survivor of childhood (5 years old) sexual assault.  It's taken me a full 24 hours to get this far in writing this because of the level of feeling I have about this topic.  


     I'd rather eat glass than have to explain that subjecting a female to forcible penetration of the hymen at her first menses is child abuse, sexual assault and a host of other charges that should result in imprisonment. The practices advocated by the Frosts again and again need to be prosecuted, not overlooked, not hidden for fear of the general populace's opinion of Wicca.  


     Children must be protected.  Cherished.  Defended.  


     What the Florida Pagan Gathering is doing by having these people not only attend their gathering, but praising them, is defacing to us all.  Every rabid anti-witchcraft website on the planet quotes them as the reason for people to fear witches, to guard your children against us. 


     Attendance of events where these predators are allowed to teach others and spread this message cannot be encouraged.  Please consider letting Florida Pagan Gathering know how you feel about pedophiles being allowed to present at this (or any) event.  
 Please email the Florida Pagan Gathering at tegbod@flapagan.org and let them know that abuse or the advocation of abuse is against your beliefs as a Pagan.


This statement is from the Officers of Avalon. The Officers of Avalon is a fraternal, educational, and charitable organization. We seek to provide a community and network for Pagan first responders and to serve as a voice for them. 


The Officers of Avalon believe that as a group of military, first responders and supporters, we have both a moral and legal obligation to comment on the growing concern over the decision to have Gavin and Yvonne Frost present workshops at the 2014 Beltane Florida Pagan Gathering. The advocation of sexual initiation of children is reprehensible and should be called what it is; sexual abuse.
The Frosts have never stated that they understand this sort of behavior is wrong and could encourage people to commit acts of crime and violence on children, that will have lasting lifetime consequences. They have had 30 years to right this wrong. We will not sit in silence while this occurs in our community or the mundane community. Paganism is no place for anyone who would harm and abuse....past, present and future!