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Playing For You From Our Scented Cottage


Fall is summer's flamboyant farewell.

Friday, October 9, 2015

For The Love Of...

Cornish Pasties! Today I'm doing a repost because once again, we are craving pasties! If you have not tried them or made them, you must! I like making my own pastry crust, but if you don't, by all means cheat with pie crust mix. I have also made this recipe in a pie plate like a pot pie. Any way you choose to make them prepare to be hooked! Today I will use sausage, potatoes, turnips, and onions because it's what I have on hand. The same steps apply.


Enough pie crust mix for three 9" crusts

2 - 2 1/2 pounds good lean beef steak
3 medium potatoes
1 large onion
1 rutabaga or turnip (I like turnips)
beef gravy (optional, I don't use it)
salt and pepper
1 beaten egg

1. Finely dice the meat, potatoes, onion and turnip. Mix them together in a large bowl and season with salt and pepper to taste ( I do not add salt).

2. Roll out the dough and cut into 6 to 8 inch rounds.

3. Put a generous amount of the meat mixture on half of the pastry circle and top with a tablespoon or so of beef gravy if you wish. With a pastry brush (or your finger if you don't have one) brush water on the edges of the pastry, fold in half and crimp.

4. With a pastry brush, spread some of the beaten egg on top of each pastie and cut a small slit to vent.

5. Bake on a cookie sheet at 375 for 30 - 40 minutes - or until golden brown.

Yield: about 12 - 15 pasties. They freeze well so individually wrap them and have them on hand for those days when you're to tired to cook!

Scenting The Cottage Today?

Pumpkin Spice Granola! This is so easy and so tasty that if you like granola you must try it. I have a batch of yogurt going today so made this to pair with it for my fruit and yogurt parfaits. I prepared mine with only oats but feel free to add nuts, sunflower seeds, raisins etc.

(Try to ignore the issue with my photo spacing. Blogger is messing with my head and won't allow me to put them where I want them!)


1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
1/2 cup oil (can use either canola, olive, safflower or coconut)
1/2 cup honey, agave nectar or maple syrup (I used agave)
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 Tablespoon pure vanilla
8 cups of old fashioned rolled oats

Place oats in a bowl. Set aside.

In a medium saucepan gently melt butter over medium heat. Stir in oil and your sweetener of choice. Add spices, salt and vanilla. Stir and pour over oats. Gently stir to combine.

Spread on a cookie sheet (I covered mine with parchment for nonstick) and bake in 325 oven for 45 minutes or until golden brown. Stir it every 15-20 minutes or so to evenly brown.

Stir again when done baking, cool, and store in an airtight container.

Irish Halloween Traditions

The Celts celebrated Halloween as Samhain, "All Hallowtide" - the "Feast of the Dead", when the dead revisited the mortal world. The celebration marked the end of Summer and the start of the Winter months.

During the eighth century the Catholic Church designated the first day of November as "All Saints Day" (All Hallows) - a day of commemoration for those Saints that did not have a specific day of remembrance. The night before was known as "All Hallows Eve" which, over time, became known as Halloween.

Here are the most notable Irish Halloween Traditions:
Colcannon for Dinner:
Boiled Potato, Curly Kale (a cabbage) and raw onions are provided as the traditional Irish Halloween dinner. Clean coins are wrapped in baking paper and placed in the potato for children to find and keep.

The Barmbrack Cake:
The traditional Halloween cake in Ireland is the barmbrack which is a fruit bread. Each member of the family gets a slice. Great interest is taken in the outcome as there is a piece of rag, a coin and a ring in each cake. If you get the rag then your financial future is doubtful. If you get the coin then you can look forward to a prosperous year. Getting the ring is a sure sign of impending romance or continued happiness.

The Ivy Leaf:
Each member of the family places a perfect ivy leaf into a cup of water and it is then left undisturbed overnight. If, in the morning, a leaf is still perfect and has not developed any spots then the person who placed the leaf in the cup can be sure of 12 months health until the following Halloween. If not.....

The Pumpkin:
Carving Pumpkins dates back to the eighteenth century and to an Irish blacksmith named Jack who colluded with the Devil and was denied entry to Heaven. He was condemned to wander the earth but asked the Devil for some light. He was given a burning coal ember which he placed inside a turnip that he had gouged out.

The tradition of Jack O'Lanterns was born - the bearer being the wandering blacksmith - a damned soul. Villagers in Ireland hoped that the lantern in their window would keep the wanderer away. When the Irish emigrated in millions to America there was not a great supply of turnips so pumpkins were used instead.

Halloween Costumes:
On Halloween night children would dress up in scary costumes and go house to house. "Help the Halloween Party" and "Trick or Treat" were the cries to be heard at each door. This tradition of wearing costumes also dates back to Celtic times. On the special night when the living and the dead were at their closest the Celtic Druids would dress up in elaborate costumes to disguise themselves as spirits and devils in case they encountered other devils and spirits during the night. By disguising they hoped that they would be able to avoid being carried away at the end of the night. This explains why witches, goblins and ghosts remain the most popular choices for the costumes.

Snap Apple:
After the visits to the neighbours the Halloween games begin, the most popular of which is Snap Apple. An apple is suspended from a string and children are blindfolded. The first child to get a decent bite of the apple gets to keep their prize. The same game can be played by placing apples in a basin of water and trying to get a grip on the apple without too much mess!

The Bonfire:
The Halloween bonfire is a tradition to encourage dreams of who your future husband or wife is going to be. The idea was to drop a cutting of your hair into the burning embers and then dream of you future loved one. Halloween was one of the Celt 'fire' celebrations.

Blind Date:
Blindfolded local girls would go out into the fields and pull up the first cabbage they could find. If their cabbage had a substantial amount of earth attached to the roots then there future loved one would have money. Eating the cabbage would reveal the nature of their future husband - bitter or sweet!

Another way of finding your future spouse is to peel an apple in one go. If done successfully the single apple peel could be dropped on the floor to reveal the initials of the future-intended.

Anti-Fairy Measures:
Fairies and goblins try to collect as many souls as they can at Halloween but if they met a person who threw the dust from under their feet at the Fairy then they would be obliged to release any souls that they held captive.

Holy water was sometimes anointed on farm animals to keep them safe during the night. If the animals were showing signs of ill health on All Hallows Eve then they would be spat on to try to ward off any evil spirits.

Irish Halloween Traditions - An article provided by The Information about Ireland Site.

(C) Copyright

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Are You An Opal Lover?

Opals are the traditional birthstone for October. It was formed millions of years ago, when a combination of silica and water flowed into cracks and spaces in the ground. It gradually hardened and solidified to become opal. Opals contain water, which makes them very sensitive to heat, and they are soft and can be cracked or chipped easily.

Since mythical times, opals have been associated with bad luck, although in Asia the opal birthstone is the symbol for hope and has been linked to purity, innocence and healing.

Victorian superstitions were created by established gem dealers to stop the rush to buy opals that was occurring at the time. They paid an author to attribute bad luck to the stone, which resulted in beliefs that the stone brings bad luck.

It is believed that opals clarify by amplifying and mirroring feelings, buried emotions and desires, including love and passion. Opal is said to aid in visualization, imagination, dreams, and healing.

The opal is said to be many things, including the most powerful of healing stones. The stone of hope, the stone of great achievement and even the "stone of the Gods". They are also said to be the stone of love, but only to faithful lovers. This stone will bring misfortune to an unfaithful lover.

Thursday's Child Has Far To Go...

The Day of Strength
The Day of Jupiter

An Déardaoin or Déardaoin — Old Irish, "day between fastings"
thursdaeg (Anglo-Saxon)
donnerstag (Germanic)
dies jovis (Latin)
vrihaspat-var or guru-var (Hindu)
jumerat (Islamic)
jeudi (French)
moku youbi (Japanese)

Thursday is traditionally seen as the fifth day of the week. Originally associated with two gods, 'Jove' and 'Thor', Thor was the God of Thunder hence the day also being known a 'Thunderday'. Jove was also known to be associated with thunder, with the French renaming the day 'Jeudi' which means 'Jove's Day'.

In Germany, Thursday was believed traditionally to be the most unluckiest of the week. As a result the practice grew of ensuring that no important business should be carried out, no marriages, and even that no child should be sent to school for their first time on this day.

Thursday is associated with Jupiter and the colors Blue and Metallics.

Planet - Jupiter

Elements - Fire, Water

Signs - Sagittarius, Pisces

Colors - Purple, Royal Blue, Metallic Colors

Stones - Sugilite, Amethyst, Torquoise, Lapis Lazuli, Sapphire

Trees - Oak, Pine

Flowers/Herbs - Cinquefoil, Cinnamon, Beech, Buttercup, Coltsfoot, Oak

Oils - Clove, Melissa, Oakmoss, Lilac, Storax, Aloes

Incense - Nutmeg, Henbane

Thursday is the best day to deal with:
Business, Logic, Gambling, Social Matters, Political Powers, Material wealth, Happiness, Luck, Victory, Health, Leadership, Public Activity, Power, Success, Honor, Riches, Clothing, Money, Legal Matters, Desires, Male Fertility, Friendship, Ambition, Publishing, College education, Travel, Foreign Interests, Religion, Philosophy, Forecasting, Broadcasting, Publicity, Expansion, Growth, Sports, Horses, the Law, Doctors, Guardians, Merchants, Psychologists, Charity, Correspondence Courses, Self-Improvement, Researching, Reading, Studying

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Take Some Time Today...

To Relax! How many people do you know who, just when they are completely overloaded by their work, suddenly come down with the flu, a bad cold, or worse? It's not just bad timing, your body is telling you something. Stress visits us all at times but perfectionists are particularly vulnerable to it. We create it ourselves by the notion that without us taking control, the sun may not rise in the morning.

Stop and take some time today to treat yourself to a walk, some flowers, a movie, anything. Turn off your cell phone and put yourself out of arm's reach of others for awhile and see how rejuvenated you feel. (Yes, I know, it will be quite stressful at first but you'll quickly adjust).

There is only one you, take care of yourself!

Thyme For Cold And Flu Season...

Do you grow thyme in your garden? If not, you might want to pick some up at the market on your next shopping trip. Thyme yields a volatile oil with powerful microbe killing properties. It's also a rich source of antioxidants that fight cellular and tissue damage. Because of its antiseptic properties, it's a well known ingredient in mouth washes and throat lozenges. Herbal tea prepared with thyme is not only wonderfully refreshing, but can also be given to provide relief from colds and sore throat.

Did you realize there are more than 100 varieties of thyme? It has been used for centuries and it's a hardy plant that you can grow indoors during the winter months. The most popular varieties for using in your cooking are lemon, English, and French.

All you need to keep this herb happy and healthy this winter inside your home is full sun, at least 6 hours per day. Turn your plant for even growth because it tends to grow toward the light source. Water thoroughly then allow top inch of soil to dry out between waterings. You don't need to worry about fertilizing during the winter months as the growth is slow in winter. Keep in mind that thyme pretty much likes to grow itself. In fact, the more you fuss with it, the less hardy it will be.

Interested in legend and lore as I am? Oberon, the king of the fairies in Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, said, "I know a bank where the wild thyme blows," referring to the bed of thyme in which Titania, the fairy queen, slept. In old day France and England, people often created a bed of thyme to attract the fairy folk and make them feel at home in the garden.

In the Middle Ages, it was often sprinkled on church floors together with lavender, to eliminate unwanted odors, and the ancient Egyptians used thyme in the mummification process. It has also been associated with courage since ancient times. The Greeks, the Romans, the Scottish Highlanders, and the Knights of the Middle Ages all thought it to bring one strength and courage.

The ancient Greeks sprinkled thyme in their baths and it's been said that when the Greeks stated that someone "smelled of thyme" it meant that the person was elegant, refined, and stylish. This herb was also sacred to the Druids, who used it to treat depression and ward off negativity.

Here is a soothing recipe to try should you be stricken with the cold or flu this season.

1 ripe pear, cored and chopped
1 inch (or more) of fresh ginger, peeled and minced
1/2 teaspoon of dried thyme (use high quality non-irradiated green leave thyme)
1 1/2 cups unprocessed apple juice

Combine ingredients in a small pot with lid and simmer 5-8 minutes. Pour in bowl or cup and consume. Take three to four times per day as needed. This is ideal prior to bedtime.

Pear is soothing to the throat and contains an antiviral caffeic acid, which is an immune stimulant. Ginger possesses ten or more antiviral compounds. Thyme contains thymol, which is an antimicrobial agent containing more than a dozen antiseptic compounds.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Caramel Pumpkin Spice Popcorn...Sure To Please!

This popcorn recipe is one of my new favorites! Not one to favor gluttony, I could not bring myself to stop eating this yesterday! It doesn't taste like pumpkin so if that puts you off you may want to reconsider. It's more of the cinnamon spice flavors you taste. Although you use the coconut oil and coconut sugar in this recipe I did not detect a coconut flavor.

12 cups of popcorn (about 2/3 cup of kernels)
1/2 cup coconut oil
1 cup coconut sugar
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon sea salt (or any salt you have)
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (Don't have any? See my next post!)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 225. Add popcorn to a large bowl. In a saucepan combine the coconut oil, coconut sugar, syrup, and salt. Stir until coconut sugar is dissolved. This takes a few minutes as I find it takes longer than when using white cane sugar. Remove from heat and add the pumpkin pie spices, baking soda and vanilla. Pour over your popcorn and stir to coat all the kernels.

Spread popcorn on a cookie sheet. I lined mine with parchment and when I make this again (and I will!) I'm going to use 2 cookie sheets. I find it a little challenging to stir the kernels around while baking when the cookie sheet is to full.

Bake for 1 hour, stir every 15 minutes or so.

Cool and serve!

Out Of Pumpkin Pie Spice?

Make your own! I've come across a couple different recipes but this is the one I use. Just mix, put in a small labeled jar, and there you have it!

2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cloves

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Lavender And Milk Bath Sachet

Lavender is considered the most important aroma in aromatherapy, an ancient art that is being embraced in this country, particularly among those seeking a more centered and holistic lifestyle. Aromatherapy acts on the central nervous system and thus can have a powerful impact on promoting health and well-being. It has been used for generations to soothe and bring tranquility to the mind and spirit.

Not only effective in relieving stress, lavender helps in healing a variety of skin conditions. You can purchase muslin drawstring bags to make this soothing bath recipe, or you can tie the ingredients in cheesecloth and dangle from the string in the tub.

You will need:
1/4 cup dried lavender flowers
1/4 cup instant powered milk
1/4 cup oatmeal

Place all ingredients into a muslin drawstring bag or cheesecloth tied with string. Toss the bag in to the bath water as it's running. You can also use the bag to rub your skin as you bathe.

You can make variations of bath tea with assorted fresh or dried herbs. Place a cup or so of assorted herbs in to a bowl and add 2 cups of boiling water. Let this steep for 10 mins, strain and add to your bath as it runs. These amounts are estimates so feel free to experiment until you find a combination that works for you.

Stop by again soon!