Tuesday, April 2, 2013

KiOS: Spices and Herbs

Imagine if you will:  It is 1903. Henry Ford just founded The Ford Motor Co. Orville and Wilbur Wright take the first test flight in their plane at Kitty Hawk, NC. The very first World Series is held, Boston vs. Pittsburgh. If you lived in a urban setting you are starting to see that homes are now being outfitted with electricity and  telephones. Life is exciting.

Think about this: In 1903, Stoves in the American home became common place just before the turn of the century. There were no "supermarkets". Today's supermarket food selection would have been considered luxurious even for rich families. If I look at the world from my great grandmothers eyes. I would believe that today'people lived like royalty. Even if we do not see it this way. In all respects we do. Information is at our finger tips. We eat out more than we eat at home. We can run to the store any time day or night. We have freezers and microwaves and phones that travel with us.

One of the things I love to do is looking over old ads and price lists:  Join me as I  meander to the butchers and see what they had for us.
 Meat Prices

Spring Chicken       7¢ lb. 
Beef      10¢ lb.
Sausage   12.5¢ lb. 
Hens        7¢ lb. 
Pork      10¢ lb. 
Turkey      10¢ lb.      
Veal      10¢ lb.     
Bacon   12.5¢ lb.      

WOW a 20 lb turkey for $2.00. Sounds good to me. Yeah but here is the Kicker. Average annual salary for a  Schoolteacher was only $358.  

Lets talk about spices

Now in 1903 the average class citizens viewed the ability to purchase spices a luxury. Most grew their own in the garden. Some spices where available at the drug stores and small markets.

From peppers to Flowers they were dried, infused, tinctured (made into essences) or candied. Remember no one had a throw out what spoiled attitude.  
The following recipes are samples on how to make your own herb blends. 


To Dry Herbs For Winter Use


On a very dry day, gather the herbs, just before they begin to flower. If this is done when the weather is damp, the herbs will not be so good a colour. (It is very necessary to be particular in little matters like this, for trifles constitute perfection, and herbs nicely dried will be found very acceptable when frost and snow are on the ground. It is hardly necessary, however, to state that the flavour and fragrance of fresh herbs are incomparably finer.) They should be perfectly freed from dirt and dust, and be divided into small bunches, with their roots cut off. Dry them quickly in a very hot oven, or before the fire, as by this means most of their flavour will be preserved, and be careful not to burn them; tie them up in paper bags, and keep in a dry place. This is a very general way of preserving dried herbs; but we would recommend the plan described in a former recipe.

Seasonable: From the month of July to the end of September is the proper time for storing herbs for winter use.

Source: The Book of Household Management (1861).

Herb Powder for Flavouring, When Fresh Herbs are Not Obtainable


1 ounce of dried lemon-thyme
1 ounce of dried winter savory
1 ounce of dried sweet marjoram and basil
2 ounces of dried parsley
1 ounce of dried lemon-peel


Prepare and dry the herbs; pick the leaves from the stalks, pound them, and sift them through a hair-sieve; mix in the above proportions, and keep in glass bottles, carefully excluding the air. This, we think, a far better method of keeping herbs, as the flavour and fragrance do not evaporate so much as when they are merely put in paper bags. Preparing them in this way, you have them ready for use at a moment's notice.

Mint, sage, parsley, etc., dried, pounded, and each put into separate bottles, will be found very useful in winter.

Source The Book of Household Management (1861).

Kitchen Pepper  (This Sounds Awesome to keep at the Table)


1 ounce of ground ginger
1/2 ounce of black pepper
1/2 ounce of ground cinnamon
1/2 ounce of nutmeg
1/2 ounce of allspice
1 teaspoonful of ground cloves
6 ounces of salt

Mix. Keep in a tightly corked bottle.
(Out of multiple recipes the spices should be ground into a powder.-Jen)
Source The White House Cookbook (1887)

Cayenne Pepper


Take ripe chillies and dry them a whole day before the fire, turning them frequently. When quite dry, trim off the stalks and pound the pods in a mortar till they become a fine powder, mixing in about one sixth of their weight in salt. Or you may grind them in a very fine mill. While pounding the chillies, wear glasses to save your eyes from being incommoded by them. Put the powder into small bottles, and secure the corks closely.

Source: Directions for Cookery, in its Various Branches (1840)

Dried Celery and Parsley

If you ever use celery, wash the leaves, stalks, roots and trimmings, and put them in a cool oven to dry thoroughly; then grate the root, and rub the leaves and stalks through a sieve, and put all into a tightly corked bottle, or tin can with close cover; this makes a most delicious seasoning for soups, stews, and stuffing. When you use parsley, save every bit of leaf, stalk or root you do not need, and treat them in the same way as the celery. Remember in using parsley that the root has even a stronger flavor than the leaves, and do not waste a bit.

Source: Twenty-Five Cent Dinners for Families of Six (1879).

Essences and Extracts

Lemon and Orange Tincture


Never throw away lemon or orange peel; cut the yellow outside off carefully, and put it into a tightly corked bottle with enough alcohol to cover it. Let it stand until the alcohol is a bright yellow, then pour it off, bottle it tight, and use it for flavoring when you make rice pudding. Add lemon and alcohol as often as you have it, and you will always have a nice flavoring.

Source Twenty-Five Cent Dinners for Families of Six (1879)

Vanilla Extract


1 ounce of Mexican vanilla bean
2 ounces of loaf sugar
8 ounces of French rose water
24 ounces of alcohol 95 per cent


Cut up the bean and pound with the sugar in a mortar, sift and pound again until all is a fine powder. Mix the alcohol and rose water; put the vanilla in a paper filter, pour over it a little of the liquid at a time until all is used; filter again if not all is dissolved. Paper filters may be obtained at any of the large drug stores. The extract may be darkened by using a little caramel.

Source: The Golden Age Cook Book (1898).

Rose Water


Gather the damask rose leaves; have a tin pan that will fit under your warming-pan; wring a thin towel out of water, spread it over the pan, and put rose leaves on this about two inches thick; put another wet towel on top of the leaves, and three or four thicknesses of paper on it; put hot embers in the warming-pan, and set it on top of the paper, propped up so as not to fall; when you renew the coals, sprinkle the towel that is at the top of the rose leaves; when all the strength is out of the leaves, they will be in a cake; dry this, and put it in your drawers to scent the clothes; put another set of leaves in, sprinkle the towels, and so till you have used up all your rose leaves. Rose water is a very nice seasoning for cake or pudding; it should be kept corked tightly.

Source Domestic Cookery, Useful Receipts, and Hints to Young Housekeepers.

Candied and Sugared

Praline Powder


1 1/2 cupfuls of sugar
1/2 cupful of water
1 cupful of shelled almonds
1 cupful of shelled filberts

Put the sugar and water into a saucepan on the fire; stir until the sugar is well dissolved; then add the almonds and filberts without removing the skins. Let it cook, without touching, until it attains a golden color, the caramel stage. Turn it onto a slab or oiled dish. When it is cold pound it in a mortar to a coarse powder. Keep the praline powder in a close preserve jar ready for use.

Source The Century Cook Book (1901).

Lemon Sugar


rind of 12 lemons
1 pound powdered sugar

Grate the rind; mix the grated lemon peel with the powdered sugar; put into well closed jars and set in a cool place; is used for cake sauces and puddings instead of freshly grated lemon peel.

Source: Desserts and Salads (1920).

Candied Mint Leaves


Fresh mint leaves
egg white slightly beaten
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
3 drops oil of spearmint 

Wipe mint leaves, remove from stems and rub each leaf gently with the finger dipped in egg white. Mix granulated sugar with oil of spearmint, and sift over each side of the mint leaves. Lay close together on a cake rack covered with wax paper and leave in a warm but not a hot place until crisp and dry. Serve in tea with sliced lemon and loaf sugar.

Source For Luncheon and Supper Guests (1923).


Sunday, March 31, 2013

Flowers--More Than Just a Pretty Face! (And An Ode to Borage)

Lately I’ve been reading organic gardening message boards on the interwebs and it seems the most asked questions are, “what can I use in my garden to get rid of pests…” I have an easy solution to this! 


When planting your organic vegetable garden, you may want to consider planting flowers for numerous reasons. Yes, they are beautiful, making your back yard garden a pleasurable place to be, but flowers are the organic gardener's secret weapon and best ally! Flowers attract bees and butterflies and beneficial insects that eat the bad insects, and often support the growth of your veggies by providing needed nutrients! 

The following is a list of flowers that actually make your job easier as an organic gardener—they attract and enlist the help of beneficial insects that will eat the bad insects. I encourage you to do some further research to see how these plants can help you in your garden: 

Bergamot, Borage, Butterfly weed, Caraway, Cilantro, Cosmos, Dill, Fennel, Gloriosa daisy, Lavender, Lemon Balm, Lobelia, Marigold, Parsley, Penstemon, Poppies, Queen Anne’s Lace, Spearmint, Statice, Stonecrop (Sedum), Sweet Alyssum, Yarrow, Zinnia.

A Closer Look At Borage:

Last year I did not plant flowers in my veggie patches, save for the rows of marigolds in between my tomato plants. For some reason they did not survive long. I deadheaded them and gave them plenty of water. I do not know what I could have done differently, and upon further research (that is, asking advice of local organic gardeners…) I have come to the conclusion there is nothing I could have done to extend their life span. 

It turns out that while marigolds are beneficial companions to tomatoes, there are other plants that are far superior. For instance, take borage. Borage reseeds itself, attracts bees and other pollinators and also staves off the tomato hornworm. It is a good companion plant and mulch for most plants, being an excellent source of minerals, especially calcium and potassium.

Borage Flowers

Borage Leaves
Borage Plants


In particular, borage and strawberries really like each other! An old time farm trick is to add a few borage plants in their strawberry beds to enhance the fruits flavor and yield. 

Borage and tomatoes also make great companions! Both seem to improve in growth and disease resistance when planted near each other. 

The borage plant blooms pretty little blue flowers and in folklore/magickal tradition, borage is a plant of courage. I have planted blue flowers in my flower beds for strengthCeltic warriors were said to drink a wine infused with the blooms of this plant before battle. Medieval knights wore scarves embroidered with borage blossoms for the very same reason. 

In the kitchen, the leaves can be eaten in salads (it has a fresh, cucumber like flavor.) What’s more, the leaves can also be used as a poultice, soothing and healing to inflamed or irritated skin. Additionally, an infusion of fresh, bruised borage leaves are an old-time herbal remedy for de-stressing. In fact, this is a great plant to have in the herbalist’s garden because it can be used to heal so many ailments. I encourage you to further research this lovely little plant!* (It does get big though, so stake off plenty of room for this one or plant along the edge of the garden!)



Mixed Fruit Salad and Borage-lime Syrup

Make a mixture of fruit e.g. Passion fruit, kiwi fruit, pineapple, selection of berries, melon. Combine fruit in a large bowl. Add borage-lime syrup, toss gently to combine, cover, refrigerate for several hours, even overnight. Upon serving, sprinkle grated coconut for a garnish.

½ c lime juice
½ c sugar
¼ c chopped fresh borage leaves

Combine juice and sugar in small saucepan, stir over heat without boiling, until sugar has dissolved. Bring to boil, reduce heat, simmer, uncovered without stirring for 5 minutes, cool. Stir in borage.

Red, White & Blue Salad

1 medium cucumber
3 medium vine ripened tomatoes
¾ cup sour cream
1/4 teaspoon course black pepper
1 teaspoon white sugar
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
1 teaspoon chopped dill leaves
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated lemon peel
1/4 teaspoon finely grated red onion
salt to taste
Borage flowers to garnish
Combine all the ingredients except for the tomatoes and flowers. Slice tomatoes and arrange them, overlapping, around the edge of a serving platter. Mound the cucumber mixture in the center of the platter, just covering the inner edge of the tomatoes. Chill well, and place the borage flowers decoratively on the salad just before serving.
Serves 4 to 6

Friday, March 29, 2013

Kicking It Old School: Preserving Fruit (Paste Cakes)

Jen here and I had a interesting idea. Which I am calling Kicking it Old School... (AKA: KiOS)
I want to share older receipts and techniques for food & home products.

Orange Paste
Image is not mine. If yours let me know.

I love cook books and historical receipts  I wanted to share old techniques and recipes. So they are not lost as move through our modern world.

Today I wanted to share a way to preserve fruit. 
Some times we com across great deals on flats of fruits or it is just harvest time and we just don't have the time to can or make jelly or we havent decided exactly what to do with it. Here is an easy way to process the fruit until you are ready to use it

New Method of Preserving Fruit

From The White House Cookbook (1887) 


A new method of preserving fruit is practiced in England. Pears, apples and other fruits are reduced to a paste by jamming, which is then pressed into cakes and gently dried.  When required for use it is only necessary to pour four times their weight of boiling water over them and allow them to soak for twenty minutes and then add sugar to suit the taste. The fine flavor of the fruit is said to be retained to perfection. The cost of the prepared product is scarcely greater than that of the original fruit, differing with the supply and price of the latter; the keeping qualities are excellent, so that it may be had at any time of the year and bears long sea-voyages with out detriment. No peeling or coring is required, so there is no waste.

So What is Jamming?
Unlike traditional canning, quick jamming doesn't require sterilized canning jars or lids. The process relies on the pectin naturally found in fruit, store-bought pectin packets aren't used.
I know in the original receipt it says you don't have peel or core items. You don't. You can to make it ready to use. Like breaking off pieces for cooking. I would leave the skins on thin skin fruits. You might want to remove the cores of apple etc.
Put your Fruit, Herbs or Veggies. Place ingredients  in to a good sturdy pan. Bring mixture to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring constantly and mashing with the back of the spoon 5 to 15 minutes, or until mixture becomes the consistency of a thick jam. Let Cool.  Mold in a form and dehydrate. Place in a air tight Container. 

If you are using the less juice fruits you may want to use a little water. You can add spices and Honey or Sugar during this Process. 

BE BOLD! Dont be afraid of Flavor! Have Fun! Let me Know what you think too

Monday, March 25, 2013

Guest Blogger: Kris Hughes


I have never doubted for a moment that animals have souls. However, what we should do about that, is such a complex question that it's easy to see why both religious and secular wings of the establishment have long preferred to either deny or cast doubt on the question. It's not the place of this piece to enter too deeply into the definition of what the soul might be.  Mirriam Webster's first definition is a pretty good one to be going forward with: "the immaterial essence, animating principle, or actuating cause of an individual life" Further down the list were two more that I particularly liked: "the spiritual principle embodied in human beings, all rational and spiritual beings, or the universe" and  "the quality that arouses emotion and sentiment"

Every once in awhile, a popular scientific periodical seems to run an article with a headline like "Scientists Find That Animals Actually Feel Love and Affection" or "Animals Have Emotions After All, Say Researchers". In the words of a no nonsense engineer I know "Geez! They'll be discovering steam power next!" and yet I'm always surprised to find animal loving friends sharing things like this on the internet, as if just one more half baked piece of pseudo-science will lend weight to what we all know in the first place! However, don't forget that it wasn't so long ago that there was a near consensus in the so-called scientific community that animals did not, in fact, even feel pain, and there are still those who try to hang on to this notion, either completely, or who say that "Okay, they feel physical pain, but they lack the same emotional associations (fear of death or incapacity, fear that the pain won't stop, etc.) and this is frequently tied in with the idea that animals don't really suffer in unpleasant or unnatural situations either. I'm sure I'm preaching to the choir on these points, but at the same time it's when we come to the realisation that animals probably experience unpleasantness in a similar way to humans, and that they probably do have souls (whatever a soul is) that things start to get really difficult.

The trouble is, that most people who believe that there is such a thing as a soul, would also say that the soul is in some way sacred - and if the soul is sacred, the question of the body which contains it also being sacred has to arise, for if we cause suffering to the body, we probably cause suffering to the soul, and if we kill the body, perhaps we make the soul homeless, or kill it, too. It depends on what you believe, and it's easy to see why it has been easier for people in cultures which keep animals in captivity for their own use, to just say "Animals are not like us, so this is okay." Now, this is where things get really tricky. Let's say that we're agreed that animals do have souls and emotions a lot like ours. We could easily be headed for an enormous guilt trip. Some people deal with this by becoming vegans or working for animal liberation, and I'm not going to descry that at all.  Most of us are in a kind of partial guilt/partial denial place, though, and it's really this I want to talk about.

Is there a hierarchy of souls? Is the soul of an animal whose species is endangered more valuable than than of an alley cat? Is a human's soul of more importance than that of a bug? Should the cute, the pregnant or the seemingly noble be given extra points? Somehow, I doubt it, and this is why I personally give much greater importance to ending or averting suffering than I do to preserving life. That goes for humans and animals. Don't get me wrong, I don't view the ending of a life as nothing, but I do believe that life is a circle and death will be followed by rebirth in one form or another. I don't believe that death is the end, but I am absolutely sure that it is inevitable! Suffering, on the other hand, is a dirty business. Not only is the sufferer in some degree of misery, but that suffering besmirches all who contribute to it or who come into contact with it.

So now, let us step toward the dining table. Rather than starting with a big plate of guilt, or even denial, let's think about how we can nourish our body in mindfulness of other souls. When I eat meat, I try always to be mindful of the soul of the animal whose body I eat. That is a start. I also am mindful of the life that animal led, from birth to death, and I believe that it is my duty as a fellow traveler in this world, to know, if possible, whether that animal was kept in a life of misery. For that reason, I don't eat meat unless I feel pretty sure that the animal had a good quality of life. The result is I don't eat much meat, and at the same time I enjoy the meat I eat. Sadly, I love dairy, and knowing what I do about the commercial dairy industry in the US, I know I will have to change that next. (Time to learn to make my own cheese!) That said, though, I believe that we can easily get too hung up on images of cute calves, miserable pigs in restrictive crates, and other horrors, and forget the suffering that is caused to our fellow human and animal travelers by the way crops are grown and the way that food is manufactured and marketed to us. This is important, too. Was the Kenyan farm worker who picked those baby vegetables paid a living wage? How did the illegal field worker who hoed that melon field live while he sent most of his earnings back home to Mexico? What about the Walmart employee who is struggling on food stamps while they stack the shelves with your incredible bargains? Yeah, when you look at it like that, it's a tough call. Of course, you may say that those people have a choice, whereas the animals don't. Perhaps, but they don't always feel that they have a choice, so we might like to ask ourselves what we can do to change that a little.

So now we look at that dining table again, and it has become very fraught with worry for those of us who want to be ethical. Adding to your worry is not my intention, and neither is it my intention to trivialise the suffering of a single soul who contributed to your feast. If you are thinking about things like this, you are on a frontier of evolved thinking. It's a scary place at times, but when we are on a frontier, it never hurts to stop and look back, and look around, and try to gain a little perspective. Everything we do. Everything. Has implications. One of the first things we need to do is cut ourselves a little slack, for causing suffering in yourself probably isn't any better in the universal scheme of things than torturing chickens. As fellow travelers with animals in this world, we have ended up with a great deal of power. Remember that we all have  power to cause, and to potentially relieve, suffering in our fellow humans, too. It is a big deal, but it needn't be a heavy weight. We can only do our best. We may see changing some of our habits as arduous or unfair, or we can look at it as a great adventure and a way to feel much lighter in our own souls. Being kinder to those we meet is a form of mindfulness, being kinder in our eating habits, or our buying habits, or in how we treat the planet we all have to share - maybe these all carry equal importance. If we are not attentive in our eating habits, I do believe that it is a symptom of a lack of attention in a wider sense. However, if we eat "ethically" and then are unkind to others for making different choices, I don't think we will be helping anyone very much.

Because we all eat, it is one good place to begin a little mindfulness. That can go both for what we eat and how we behave at the table. It can go for learning to be thankful and for learning to share. The dining table has traditionally been a place of love and hospitality. Perhaps we can reclaim is as a place to nourish our souls and our bodies, and to show love and generousity of spirit to our fellow travelers again, and it might be interesting to see how the ripples of these attentive acts can flow out and into other parts of our lives and all the lives that are touched, as a result.

Since I wrote this piece on water, last week, my partner, Mark (who is an agnostic), and I have begun blessing our food and water, and the food and water we give to our animals. It is interesting to feel a shift in things here as we do this. That act is about sending good energy forward into those around us and what we all consume, but perhaps it is also possible to send energy outward, and backward, toward those who provided us with our food. This is about much more that the "quality" of what we put in our bodies, about more that ethical eating. It is an active and energetic expression of what the Lakota call hunkapi: all things are connected. I personally do not wish to be "self sufficient" in what I eat. How can I be? I recognise the threads which connect me to all life, and have no wish to cut these connections artificially. I would rather use the act of eating and drinking to increase my awareness of the connections.

Bio:Kris Hughes is a horsewoman, musician and writer, concentrating on topics such as meditation, divination, prayer and Celtic mysticism. She designs guided meditation cards and prayer cards, and offers oracle-based spiritual counselling. A native of SE Colorado, Kris spent most of her adult life in Scotland before returning to Colorado in 2008. 
Her work and thoughts can be found at Website: Go Deeper and at Facebook: Go Deeper Readings

Kris Hughes Will be our guest on  Magickal Harvest Radio! Tune in  March 30th at 3 PM MST for a great Show! 

Sunday, March 24, 2013

The world is changing..

So I was sitting here on computer this morning having a nice warm cup of Salt Caramel Coffee. YUM.
Anyway, I came across something that made me smile and reflect about how much our world has changed.

No this isn't me :)
Especially the world of food. 
Just in my life time, which hasn't been that long, I have seen microwave ovens become everyday household items, I have watched the store shelving become laden with boxed ready to go foods and watched the produce section shrink. 
Everyone just moves through life to fast. we forget to slow down and take stock in the world around us.  ( I can ramble for hours..being that I have no voice still, boo, I wont) 

There is a point to this post. Maybe even two.  

So, my first thought that made me smile. Was the reclaiming of food by the individual. There is a whole growing movement of homesteaders and gardeners growing food for their own families and friends. It has gone beyond buy local and organic foods. It has become about growing them.

 In stead of people comparing cars and possessions. I have overheard people comparing gardens and what they are growing. You can see the pride beaming from these folks because they are in control of their own food. I have seen people carry pictures of their chickens along side pictures of the kids and dog.  This is truly an amazing time to live in.

The Second thing was seeing how people are reinventing jobs. The food a beverage industry is one of the most flexible in types of jobs.
So this is what prompted this post. I ran across a great site called 
Turntable Kitchen
Turntable Kitchen is a site connecting food and music. "We feature recipes with a focus on local, fresh ingredients, hand-selected ‘Musical Pairings,’ album reviews and musings on our city livin’ and country hoppin’ adventures" 
Talking about combining passions.. I LOVE IT!

If you listen to Magickal Harvest Radio you hear us talk about following your bliss. (Thanks to our Co-host Dawn "The Certifiable Joy Junkie" )  I find it amazing that the passion of food can bring joy and creativity to ones life and you can share it with the world. 

Thanks for meandering with me today. I starting to feel a little better so I am hoping to get the blogging thing rolling..

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Magick In The Kitchen: Jen's Kitchen Sink Strata

Magick in the kitchen....Ok i haven't gone grocery shopping in a week or so...creativity is your friend.. 
Jen's Kitchen Sink Strata 
Basic Strata recipe: 

1/2 cup liquid, such as milk, tomato juice, broth
1/4 tsp. dried thyme leaves OR herb of your choice
Salt and pepper
2 tsp. butter
Fillings of Choice.

Now most recipes use a bread or Pasta in the filling..
I have issues with with Flour..So I had left over Spaghetti Squash so I used that as a base. Placed in a Buttered baking dish.

Then I found a can of crab in the pantry. Some misc cheeses in the fridge with Fresh Spinach, onion, garlic and herbs. I chopped all this and tossed in with the Squash. Be creative here. The flavor is up to you!

Mixed Eggs, Liquid and Salt and Pepper in a dish and Pour over veggies.
Cover with Foil
Adjust oven rack to middle position. Bake in preheated 325-degree oven for 50 or so minutes.
Remove Foil & Turn on broiler and broil until strata is spotty brown and puffy (watch carefully), about 5 minutes longer. Let stand for 8 to 10 minutes, then serve immediately.

Monday, February 25, 2013

MHR Special Guest: Joanna DeVoe

We LOVE LOVE LOVE to talk about FOOD!!! But not just any food...GOOD FOOD! And we will get the pleasure of talking to one of our favorite FOODIES, Joanna DeVoe, this weekend! Saturday, 3PM MST.... 

Follow the link to

 Listen to the show.

My name is Joanna DeVoe & I am the creator of the SAD To SEXY program. I have a passion for inspiring people to lead a more healthy vibrant lifestyle & believe that incorporating more fresh live fruits & vegetables into your diet is a beautiful way to get started. Want to know more... Visit  Sad to Sexy

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Spring Cleaning:Baby Step #3

Ok Baby Step#2 one wasn't so bad.. I did get my ceiling & fan dusted.. I wiped down the tops the the door jambs... I was done in 13 min ... I just needed to put on my big girls panties and get it done! - Go Team... Let's Get This Crap Done!

OK dishes are a never ending battle. So I am setting a up routine while my coffee is brewing. Put away dishes and make sure the dirty ones are loaded! Check!
Honestly.. I struggle here, Oh and keeping up on laundry... BOO!

  • Side note: I get off of work around 3am so getting stuff done is often achieved in the morning Find the time that works best for you. 

So in one of my five minute daily tasks... Laundry... put a load in... turn on the cycle and go do something fun...  No Problem... just remember.. that you have to put them in the drier and the kicker.... Put them away...  NO. a basket on the bedroom floor or tossed on the dresser doesn't count.

Deep Clean Baby Step #3 Kitchen

This is a 15min Task...  Clean the Kitchen Cabinet Doors! Get out the de-greaser Solution. Maybe even a Magic eraser.. Hmm I really think that these needs a new name.. I like magick, so I till call them.. those awesome white thingies...that cleans stuff.
OK Get ready set go!
That wasn't SO bad was it...
I realized that I need to repaint my cabinets.. Maybe this summer.  Maybe not... who knows
If you had left over time... Clean the range hood and check the screen. The Screen might be gross... clean it if you can. if it is disgusting... go get a new one screen at the hardware store.  If you couldn't get that done it 15 min.. Make these  5 min tasks later in the day.

  • Bonus 5 min task.... We are going to tackling the fridge soon.. when you have 5 minute... Open the Door of the Fridge.. Check the dates on the condiments. Yeah.. you didn't realize that vinaigrette has been there for 3 yrs did you? It happens.. I love reusing bottles, so the glass ones with good lids.. clean out and put away... if you keep them.. if not recycle them.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Spring Cleaning: Baby step #2

Did I ever tell you that I hate deep cleaning... Ok with that said..
Baby Step #2  Get Moving.. 

I like to work in small bursts so that I don't wear my self out and I leave my self time to do other things... Like I don't know... Blog.. browse Facebook/Twitter... start seeds.. polish nails, pick the dog hair off your shirt 1 little hair at a time.... I rather do any of that then clean.

However, a good friend of mine reminds me all the time that we ALL can find 5-15 min burst to get stuff done. She is right you know.. She says if you don't believe it.. set a timer and work on one task... most of the time you finish realizing it really didn't take the hour you thought it felt like.

So here was my 1st 5 min Burst..  While the water for my coffee was heating... I unloaded the dishwasher and loaded back up. Turn on..  Coffee Ready.. Taking a Coffee break while blogging. Yeah All good.

Now for Deep Clean Task #1  Dusting.. 
I drank my coffee. Had a piece of toast...   and I really try to avoid the word Deep Cleaning! The meaning of deep cleaning... Well it means Cleaning everything!!! YUK!
Anyway... Look Up! Yes.. you. Look Up! Do you see and dust/cobwebs in the corners of the ceilings? How about the ceiling fan or fixtures?  Well we are going to start there.. Oh stop whining... I don't want to either... but we shall clean this first so the dust doesn't land on other things cleaned, already.. its the whole gravity thing..

Today I'm going to focus on the top 2 feet of the house... Light fixtures.. ceiling corners, tops of door jams...  now I have a smaller average size home.. I think I can Do this all in 15 min... if you have a larger home or 2 story... do this in 2-15min blocks... take a break in between if you want.. just do it.

Ok...  Setting timer for 15 min... Grabbing a Spritzer bottle of Orange Mint watered down cleaning solution for dusting.. (I made a and charged with good thoughts, harmony and removing obstacles.). a couple rag socks,  My broom to get the corners... (you might need a step stool for this... Im tall so no need)  taking a Deep Breath

Here is some Inspiration...  Turn it up!!!!
Magickal Harvest TV 15 min Cleaning Dash

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Spring Cleaning: Getting Your Supplies Together

I hate cleaning. It has to be done Right? I hear groans emanating through out the internet.. Yeah Yeah Yeah.. I don't want to either.
It is that time of year. It is time to Clean away the winter blahs and welcome in spring!

Now I run into the feeling of being overwhelmed & unsure where to start. So this year I going to start with baby steps. Many people love FlyLady and her programs. She has a great site. Flylady Baby Steps. Check her out.. She has great ideas and plans.

Using green cleaners are fantastic. Making in expensive and easy cleaners are even better. I have a hard time with chemicals, So I have to keep things simple, I also like to infuse my cleaners with essential oils and magickal intent. That is the purpose of living a magickal life right?

Lets Start with getting your tool box of cleaning supplies ready:

The Essential Oils and Herbs that are useful around the home

  • The Essential Oils:  Cedar , Citronella, Eucalyptus, Lavender, Lemon, Lime, Mints, Pine, Rosemary, Sweet orange, Tea Tree.
  • Household Herbs: The herbs and essential oils that you’ll find most useful for various household tasks include those that inhibit the growth of microorganisms such as bacteria and fungi, those that repel or kill insects, and those that act as fixatives.
    • Herbs that inhibit microorganisms: basil, bay, benzoin, bergamot, camphor, cardamom, chamomile, cinnamon, clary sage, clove, eucalyptus, fir, ginger, grapefruit, juniper, lavender, lemon, lemon balm, meadowsweet, myrrh, myrtle, nutmeg, orange, oregano, patchouli, peppermint, Peru balsam, pine, rose-scented geranium, rosemary sage, sandalwood, savory, spearmint, spruce, tea tree, and thyme.
    • Herbs that kill or repel insects: basil, benzoin, cajeput, white camphor, cardamom, eucalyptus, juniper, lavender, lemon, lemon balm, myrtle, orange peppermint, rose-scented geranium, rosemary, sage, savory, southernwood, thyme, wormwood, and yarrow,
    • Fixative herbs: benzoin, calamus root, red cedarwood  copal, costus root, deer’s-tongue, frankincense, myrrh, oak moss  patchouli, reindeer moss, sandalwood, sweet grass, sweet woodruff, tonka beans, vanilla grass, and vetiver.

Cleaning Supply Ingredients:  

Now you do not need all of these products. This is a helpful guide in understanding home cleaning ingredients.
  • Baking Soda: Baking soda is a chemical compound that appears as a fine powder. It releases bubbles of carbon dioxide when it interacts with an acid and a liquid. It’s most commonly used in baking, where it acts as a leavening agent.
  • Beeswax: Beeswax is a natural wax produced in the bee hive of honey bees of the genus Apis. It is mainly esters of fatty acids and various long chain alcohols. As a component of furniture polish, dissolved in turpentine, sometimes blended with linseed or tung oil
  • Borax Sodium borate:  How Does Borax Clean? Borax has many chemical properties that contribute to its cleaning power. Borax and other borates clean and bleach by converting some water molecules to hydrogen peroxide (H2O2). This reaction is more favorable in hotter water. The pH of borax is about 9.5, so it produces a basic solution in water, thereby increasing the effectiveness of bleach and other cleaners. In other chemical reactions, borax acts as a buffer, maintaining a stable pH needed to maintain cleansing chemical reactions. The boron, salt, and/or oxygen of boron inhibit the metabolic processes of many organisms. This characteristic allows borax to disinfect and kill unwanted pests. Borates bonds with other particles to keep ingredients dispersed evenly in a mixture, which maximizes the surface area of active particles to enhance cleaning power.
    • Risks Associated with Borax: Borax is natural, but that does not mean it is automatically safer for you or for 'the environment' than man-made chemicals. Although plants need boron, too much of it will kill them, so borax can be used as an herbicide. Borax may also be used to kill roaches, ants, and fleas. In fact, it is also toxic to people. Signs of chronic toxic exposure include red and peeling skin, seizures, and kidney failure. The estimated lethal dose (ingested) for adults is 15-20 grams; less than 5 grams can kill a child or pet. For this reason, borax should not be used around food. More commonly, borax is associated with skin, eye, or respiratory irritation. It is also important to point out that exposure to borax may impair fertility or cause damage to an unborn child.
    • Now, none of these risks mean that you shouldn't use borax. If you do a bit of research, you will find risks associated with all cleaning products, natural or man-made. However, you do need to be aware of product risks so that you can use those products properly. Don't use borax around food, keep it out of reach of children and pets, and make sure you rinse borax out of clothes and off of surfaces before use.
  • Carnauba Wax; Is a wax of the leaves of the palm, Can be blended with beeswax. Carnauba wax can produce a glossy finish and as such is used in automobile waxes, shoe polishes, dental floss, food products such as sweets, instrument polishes, and floor and furniture waxes and polishes, especially when mixed with beeswax and with turpentine.  
  • Castile soap: Olive oil based soap made in a style similar to that originating in the Castile region of Spain.
  • Cream of Tartar: Potassium hydrogen tartrate, also known as potassium bitartrate, has formula KC4H5O6, is a byproduct of wine making. In cooking it is known as cream of tartar. It is the potassium acid salt of tartaric acid, a carboxylic acid. Potassium bitartrate can be used with white vinegar to make a paste-like cleaning agent.[citation needed] This mixture is sometimes mistakenly made with vinegar and sodium bicarbonate (baking soda), which actually react to neutralise each other, creating carbon dioxide and a sodium acetate solution.It is a common ingredient in Play-Doh.
  • Washing Soda (Laundry): Sodium carbonate (also known as washing soda or soda ash), Na2CO3 is a sodium salt of carbonic acid. It most commonly occurs as a crystalline heptahydrate, which readily effloresces to form a white powder, the monohydrate. Sodium carbonate is domestically well known for its everyday use as a water softener. It can be extracted from the ashes of many plants. It is synthetically produced in large quantities from salt and limestone in a process known as the Solvay process.
  • White Vinegar: This is one of my favorite cleaners!
    Vinegar is a natural bi-product of vegetables, fruits, and grains. It's both edible and biodegradable. Vinegar has a basically unlimited shelf life. In addition, literally any alcoholic beverage left exposed to the air will eventually become vinegar. It's cheap to make, cheap to clean with, and cheap to cook with. Vinegar can also be diluted easily with water, added to a multitude of food, and can clean even the messiest greasy mess. It's an all around versatile liquid. Vinegar is also environmentally friendly. It's biodegradable and won't harm the environment in any way. It's even effective and safe enough to use to kill grass or weeds in place of spray weed killer. One study showed vinegar kills 99 percent of surface bacteria, 80 percent of germs, and 82 percent of molds on a counter. That's with a 5 percent solution just like you could purchase at the grocery store. Since vinegar is natural, it won't harm your plumbing.


  • Plastic Squirt Bottles
  • Containers with Shaker Tops
  • Spray Bottles
  • Coffee Cans, Glass Jars
  • Cotton Rags, Sponges, &  Buckets ( I like sing old clean cotton sport socks. You know the ones with wholes in the heal or toes. I mark them with a big R (for rags) with a sharpie)  



Homemade Dish Soap
1 cup liquid Castile soap  
3 tablespoons water
a few drops essential oil (if using unscented Castile soap)
Combine in a vessel of your choice (I use an old vinegar bottle with a metal spout), mix well, and use.
For greasy dishes: add 1/2 of vinegar or lemon juice
Soap residue:  Brew 2 cups of White or green Tea, wash in brew.

Homemade Dishwasher Detergent

1 part borax  
1 part washing soda  
Combine the powders in a bowl and mix well, breaking apart any clumps. Transfer to an airtight container to store. Use 1 tbsp of mixture per load. you can add a few drops of essential oil to the mixture.

Hard water rinse: add 1 cup of Vinegar to the little rinse drawer. For that extra sparkle. Again, SO EASY.

Degreaser: Make a 3x strength of Tea (Black or green just make it strong) and as a little vinegar.

To Clean Microwave: Place 1/2 a lemon (make sure it isn't a dried out) or a mug of water, into microwave for 3-5 min and wipe out.

Living Room:

Rug Cleaner
1 c Borax,
1 c Baking Soda
1/2 c of cornmeal
10 drops of Essential oils.
Mix and store in a an air tight container.


Scouring Powder
1 c of baking soda
1/4 c dried herbs
2-8 drops of oil
Mix and store in a an air tight container.

Soft scrub:
3/4c baking soda
1/4 c of powdered milk
1/8c castille soap.
5 drop oil
Mix and store in a an air tight container.

Soap scum remover:
1Tbsp soda
1Tbsp salt
2 drop oil
Add vinegar to make a paste. Rub with damp cloth and rinse well.

Germ B gone Toilet cleaner:
2c water
1/4c castille soap,
1Tbsp Tea Tree oil
place in spray bottle. shake well. Wipe with clean cloth.

Making your magickal cleaning supplies:

There are many ways to customize your supplies. Check the correspondence of herbs and oil to create customized combinations to enhance home spells. Charge and or bless your supplies to assist in your intents. What better way to make your home a sacred place.
Next post will be ideas to get started on spring cleaning! 
-Brightest Blessings 

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Special Guest: Dee Chapman

It is official!!! On Feb 23, Dawn and Jen will be interviewing Your Favorite Witch, Dee Chapman.

You might know her as TipToeChick, Master Herbalist and the owner of The Green Eyed Owl LLC. Be sure to check out her pages here on Facebook, YouTube or head on over to her website where you will find all sorts of herbs, herbal remedies, herbal advice and other products for living the magickal life! *super excited*

Is there anything you want us to ask Dee? Leave your question in the comments section and we will ask on the air.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

MHR Ep 24 Magick In the Garden

What now brown cow...

Over the last 2 weeks... we have mentioned that it is time to get your garden beds ready and gather clean your tools.

So now what. It is still a little to direct sow most seeds. If you have raised beds or planters, you can direct sow peas and potatoes. 

Seeds are popping up everywhere! Time to gather friends and share seeds. Or do my 2nd favorite thing... buy seeds for yourself! 

Garden Beds: Time to make sure that your garden beds a weed free. Add some compost to boost the nutrients. Before you know it.. its going to be time to fill those boxes with goodies.

Journals: Get your journals out and start recording your progress, plans, hopes and dreams... This is where the magick begins. 

Pay our respects: Leave offerings to the spirits of place. Ask them for permission to plant in the soil and thank them for their aid in an abundant growing season!

A Dash of Magick:

We asked the question: What is Magick?

The most often quoted definition of magick comes from Aleister Crowley, who says,
“Magick is The Science and Art of causing Change to occur in conformity to Will.” 

One of my (Jen) favorite excerpts describing magick is from Pure Magic by Judika Illes 
“Magic is part of real life. Magic is not an excuse to assume that Earthly laws, Laws of nature, will somehow be suspended, that exceptions will be made for you. Magic just reminds us that Earth’s laws are a little more complex than we often care to remember.... Magic isn’t license to abandon common sense. Ideally, they enhance each other. Magic doesn’t supersede the laws of nature: It is the Law of Nature.” 

We chatted about what Magick means to us.  So here is your chance to share your thoughts on what magick is. We want to hear from you!