fall equinox

Celebrating the Old Ways in New Times

October, 2016

Bright Blessings. I write this October article on the week of the Fall Equinox. By the time you read this, the days will be even shorter than they are today, the temperature will have dropped even more at nighttime, which will be longer, and all of us will be enjoying the bounty fall time brings.

I started doing that this past weekend. I bought some bulbs to plant that will bloom in springtime, and I got my FIRST pumpkin spice latte of the year. And yes, I was the stereotypical white lady in stretchy pants when I pulled into Starbucks to nab that treat! As a matter of fact, I have stretchy pants on right now as well!

Because I celebrate Samhain in early November, I will save the November article for the one I specifically write about the Sabbat, and October’s article will be about my favorite thing about the season- the foods we eat!

I will share some recipes I have created, and spill the beans on what the secret ingredients are for pumpkin spice coffee- no pun intended- so that you can have it year round if you like.

Greens n’ Turnips

Turnips were used as the original jack o’ lanterns, carved with “scary” faces and with a candle put inside them to ward off evil. Turnips make a great addition to fall and especially Samhain gatherings. Unless you are vegan, in which case, I’d just boil equal amounts of turnips with potatoes and mash together as you would regular mashed potatoes, make a big pot of greens with pork ribs and put in turnips for a marvelous dish.

Take three, or four, or even five bunches of mixed greens including mustard, kale, and turnip greens, and wash and chop well. Throw them in the biggest pot you can find. Put in a pound to a pound-and-a-half of pork ribs and chop up about five turnips into two to four pieces. Throw in four to six chopped up garlic cloves, and two or three large chopped onions, or a couple bunches chopped green onions, the white part removed if you have stomach woes. This cuts down on the acids from the onion just to use the green tops. Add salt, black pepper, and a dash of red pepper to taste. Cover all of this marvelous goodness with plenty of water and boil the hell out of it until it is all done and the broth is a rich, green-black liquor like substance that smells like the breath of the gods. Adjust your seasonings to taste and serve. Because you have the meat and veggies in here, it stands as a meal on its own, or you can do the Southern thing, and have macaroni and cheese and fried chicken with this. I think you can tell by the way I did not give distinct measurements this is a very versatile dish, and every cook has to customize this in their own way. Greens are not something you do by the recipe. They are something you do with your soul. With plenty of seasoning, your first batch will probably be perfect.

I wound up making my first pot of greens in my late thirties. Any Southern cook worth their salt has their own variation of this, and regularly it would have been a disgrace for me to learn this so late in life. In my defense, though, I have lived in Ohio since I was thirteen, and my mom never learned to make greens. I guess that is my excuse, but my greens are excellent despite my late start!

Pumpkin Spice Coffee

How many of you get eager for it to hurry up and be fall already so you can nab a pumpkin spice whatever coffee drink?

Guess what?

While I don’t advocate taking business away from the establishments that created those amazing yummies, I am also somebody who wants what I want when I want it. I don’t WANT to wait for fall for pumpkin and I refuse to wait for wintertime for peppermint as well.

So, I asked at Starbucks what they use to make the pumpkin spice? The answer shocked me. It is brilliantly simple.

All it calls for to make it special is sweetened condensed milk and the pumpkin spice syrup, some spices, and some vanilla syrup. You can do this at home anytime of year.

Here is the online site you can order the syrup from,

http://store.starbucks.com/more/syrups-and-sauces/

And here is the Starbucks listing of the Pumpkin Spice Latte ingredients!

http://www.starbucks.com/menu/drinks/espresso/pumpkin-spice-latte

You might have to mix a couple by hand before you get the measurements the way you want them, but now, if it is not on the menu, you can make this at home for yourself.

You’re welcome.

Apple Walnut Pan Fry

This is something I created myself when I was experimenting one day. Fried apples are something I grew up eating, but I felt I could take it a step further and make it more decadent. I never really cared for apple pie, but my husband absolutely does. This is a hot apple dessert we both agree on. It’s quick, it is easy, and it is done all in one pan, so cleanup is fast!

Core apples and chop them any size you like, but leave the peel on unless you HATE the peel. We eat all the peels we can in this house because the peel is filled with fiber and nutrients, and it adds a pretty color to the dish!

Melt butter- LOTS OF IT- in the skillet, and add your apples. Fry for a few minutes, and add brown sugar. You want brown because it is coated in molasses, which gives a more sticky texture than plain sugar. Add more butter and sugar as needed and cook until apples are ALMOST soft. At that point, throw in some walnuts, as many as you prefer. Cook till apples are JUST soft, but not mushy, and walnuts are aromatic. You can add a little cinnamon, ginger, or clove if you like. Just not TOO much cinnamon, or it will get slimy.

Serve as is or with ice cream!

These are just a few of the foods we eat especially at fall time. From my home to yours, may your “kitchen witchery” feed the souls of you and yours, and may the bounty of the season provide the freshest, best tasting ingredients to do so.

Happy Eating!

Blessed Be!