WOW. It feels so good to be writing here from Windesphere again. I've been working on my book; Stirring the Senses and I'm happy to say that it's finished! Once that was done I decided to turn my time back to the enormous amount of canning that I had left to do. Here you see my latest attempt at apple butter, which I simmered in the slow cooker for over 18 hours. Once it was done, I water processed it and this morning we enjoyed it on our oatmeal with brown sugar, walnuts, a bit of Irish butter and lots of cinnamon. Mine also was topped with goat cheese which trust me, is absolutely glorious on oatmeal. So is caramel but that's for another post!
I want one of these soooo badly! I will probably never grow up:)
Turn It Up Loud!
Every year I try to come up with a different Witches Brew for the neighborhood Halloween Party that I throw. This year, I got a head start as we were invited to a Chagrin valley Trails and Riding Club clambake and of course wanted to bring a wonderful beverage for everyone to share.
I wasn't at all sure what to do so I went into to Pat O' briens Fine Wines in Pepper Pike to ask my good friend Bret Schwartzman if he had something new and fun for me to play with. With a huge grin and a gleam in his eyes that was definitely mischievous he plucked bottle of a wicked looking alcohol off of the shelf and said "How about some Junior Johnsons Apple Pie Moonshine?"
By the time I'd gotten home I still hadn't quite figured out what kind of drink that I wanted to make, so I took the lid off of the mason jar with the wicked looking brown liquid in it. Unbelieveable...it smelled and tasted just like a fresh cinnamon spiked apple pie. For some reason it also made me crave a mug of Atholl Brose, that wonderful Scottish drink of oatmeal brose, honey ,whisky and cream. I grabbed my copper kettle and filled it with 3/4 of a gallon of apple cider, 3 tablespoons of pumpkin pie spice and 1 stick of butter. I let that simmer for a bit, whisking frequently and next added about 1 1/2 cups of blackstrap molasses and a sachet of one cup of oatmeal tied in the foot of a brand new pair of stockings that I'd cut the foot off of. (I keep cheap pairs around for that purpose) After that simmered for about 45 minutes there was still plenty of liquid but it was syrupy and wonderful and the molasss and oatmeal gave it a very earthy flavor. Then I added one and a half jars of the moonshine, 1/1/2 cups of Buttershot schnapps, 1 cup of Drambuie, 3/4 of a cup of vanilla brandy and two teaspoons of vanilla extract. I brought it to temperature, filled a camping thermos with boiling water , dumped it out and then added the hot Witches Brew. I took it to the clambake and my friends really enjoyed it ~ I was thrilled! The next day I took the remaining Witches Brew out to the barn where we enjoyed it with piping hot coffee and brown sugar whipped cream!
Trust me, this is alot easier than it sounds and well worth the trouble. Just be careful though...this drink is very strong and it's so delicious that it's next to impossible to stop drinking! I served it in little plastic shot glasses and if I'd had the whipped cream that evening a little dollop would have been just the right bewitching finish.
Have fun, be safe and Be~Witching!
We have a wonderful herb store in Chagrin Falls called the Village Herb Shop!
VHS is one of my favorite places to go for a steaming cup of tea and a bit of a wander through all of the amazing rooms filled with teas, candles, soaps and home decor. Yesterday was no exception. My son moved out recently , leaving me with a third floor that I promply turned into a guest suite. I went to the Village Herb Shop yesterday in search of amenities such as candles, soaps and lotion. I walked out with two Greenleaf Aroma diffusers. Well the long and short of it is that I can't believe that I resisted these for so long! They are very pretty with a style for every decor and they are also wonderfully functional.
This is the time of year that I want my home to be smelling like apples, cinnamon and fragrant pine boughs. I love to make my own incense and I still will, but these aroma diffusers serve an unbelievable purpose. Utilizing catalytic converter technologies they clean AND scent your air all at the same time. There are so many different styles and aromas to choose from. All that you do is fill them, let the wick soak up the oils and then light the diffuser for 2 minutes and then blow out the flame. The stone on top of the wick gets hot and forms a simple combustion process, pulling the air in and sending the scent out.
It's easy, decadent and very safe. Once the flame's blown out there's really no worry of fire which makes it quite cat safe(In my home always a worry!) Once the flame is blown out it takes each diffuser about 30 minutes to scent a room and right now my house smells like autumn. I'm obsessed and I'm about to go buy another one for my third floor. I've never experienced anything so simple and perfect for whole house scenting. The oils are not natural, but they are clean-burning and there's not a bit of residue. Right now I'm diffusing apple /cinnamon and ginger /cinnamon and the house smells yummy. Trust me and go buy yourself a present for this holiday season...these are wonderful!
Source of the photograph unknown
I saw this wonderful photo on Facebook this morning and couldn't resist sharing it. How many of you feel the same when perusing the many dusty volumes of a wonderful used book store - as if you were about to unearth a long lost and very secretive book of shadows?
Every now and then I see something that really tickles my fancy! In this case it was these gorgeous velvet pumpkins from Hot Skwash! I was in Neiman Marcus last month and I saw a display of them that really caught my eye. I can't help but wonder how a few of these might look in my antique wooden salad bowl or tucked around my Williamsburg hurricane. They are expensive but well a girl can dream right? Or a crafty girl could try to make them on her own! All of those colors? All of those choices? This witch is going to see if she can wave her wand and make a few of them magically appear on her harvest table!
Last weekend my husband and I spent a really memorable weekend in Napa Valley. One of the wonderful places that we discovered was a sensational vineyard in St. Helena named Castello di Amarosa.It is an absolutely authentic and sensational castle that sits atop of a magnificent hillside AND is a working vineyard. Because it is harvest season in Sonoma right now, the smell of crushed grapes was everywhere and the scent just added to the incredible ambiance of the setting. They have goats , sheep and chickens and truthfully if you didn't know that it was 2013 you would be instantly transported back to feudal Italy in the 13th century. The castle was superbly dressed for the harvest season and the dungeon was filled with all sorts of Samhain finery. Every year they have a Medieval Faire and a Haunted Pagan Ball, which I intend to be at in 2014! Feast your eyes and do click on the links...