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Milady's Pantry and Stillroom: Incense and Peppermint



“I unlaced the front of my robe and rubbed my body quickly with handfuls of the lavender and valerian. It was a pleasant, spicy smell, distinctive and richly evocative. A smell that, to me, conjured the shade of the man who wore its perfume, and the shade of the man behind him; shades that evoked confusing images of present terror and lost love. A smell that, to Jamie, must recall the hours of pain and rage spent wrapped in its waves. I rubbed the last of it vigorously between my palms and dropped the fragrant shreds on the floor.

With a deep breath for courage, I picked up the vial of ammoniacal spirits. I stood by the bed a moment holding it, looking down at the gaunt, stubbled face. At most he might last a day; at the least, only a few more hours.

“All right, you bloody Scottish bastard,” I said softly. “Let’s see how stubborn you really are.” I lifted the injured hand, dripping, from the water and set the soaking dish aside."

Excerpt From: Diana Gabaldon. “Outlander.”  

Incense and Peppermint

Please enjoy this lovely chart! Click on it, blow it up and print it out! I don't know who to attribute it to but I'm very grateful that it showed up on my personal facebook page.  It's one of the best tools that for creating incense that  I've seen in a long time! I love incense and I make my own and burn it often for healing, conjuring or simply when I just want my home to smell simply wonderful.  There are all kinds of glorious combinations that you can use when you want to provoke different emotions, for example, an incense of cinnamon, rose petals, cloves, dried apple, basil, lavender buds, vanilla bean , cardomom and sandalwood sprinkled with a couple of drops of essential oil of rose is one of the sexiest love potions that I know...... 

Abolone shell with white sage smudge stick/ origins of photograph unknown

 It's truly easy to create your own.  Take a flameproof bowl and fill it 1/2 way with sand. I use a beautiful abalone shell that I bought years ago because it does have a wonderfully feminine vibe! Then get a pack of incense charcoal disks and lay one on top of the sand. Light it and let it burn until you're sure that it's ready (It will be ashy and glowing, not flaming!) and scatter any combination of herbs and spices around and on top of it. Please be sure to only use leaves , petals , spices and woods  that you know have not been treated with pesticides and have fun....the magic's even more personal if you've gathered them yourself. Just be sure to gather conciously. Never take an endangered species . Don't take to much of any one plant and be sure to ALWAYS leave a little love token for the fey folk !

You don't want to upset them you know:)

image from

 My husband laughs because he does the laundry (love that man!) and he's always emptying my pockets which are filled with offerings of seeds, pennies and pretty stones. You can even add a couple of drops of any essential oil that you love, provided that it's organic. Please don't use perfumed oils. Perfumed oils are generally derived from petroleum products and other nasty things. They will produce a horrid black smoke when you light them and the magical correspondences are not  present in chemically produced scents. My favorite? A combination of White sage, Lavender , Bourbon Rose,  Bay and Pine.  Please write me at My Outlander Love Affair/Milady's Pantry and Stillroom  and let me know yours!

Now for fun:)


Wise Woman Traditions : Wassail !

12th night

It's Twelfth Night...known as the Epiphany to some and to us who prefer the older, wilder ways it's a time to engage in bit of revelry and celebration before the Yule tree comes down. In the older, Goddess centered scheme of things, 12th Night is also a time to Wassail the orchard or in other words to take a bowl of cider into the orchard and feed the fruit trees with it to ask for the gift of an abundant harvest. We have an enormous storm heading our way here in Ohio, but fortunately I was able to get outside with Jim before it hit and together we toasted our fruit trees and fed them this wonderful bottle of Apple wine from Julian, California. 

"Our bowl is made of a white Maple tree, with a Wassailing Bowl we'll drink to thee!"


Good Health to You!

With love from The Windesphere Witch


From Wikipedia- 

In the cider-producing West of England (primarily the counties of Devon, Somerset, Dorset, Gloucestershire and Herefordshire) wassailing also refers to drinking (and singing) the health of trees in the hopes that they might better thrive.

An old rhyme goes: “Wassaile the trees, that they may beare / You many a Plum and many a Peare: / For more or lesse fruits they will bring, / As you do give them Wassailing.”

The purpose of wassailing is to awake the cider apple trees and to scare away evil spirits to ensure a good harvest of fruit in the Autumn.{"England In Particular", Common Ground 2007} The ceremonies of each wassail vary from village to village but they generally all have the same core elements. A wassail King and Queen lead the song and/or a processional tune to be played/sung from one orchard to the next, the wassail Queen will then be lifted up into the boughs of the tree where she will place toast soaked in Wassail from the Clayen Cup as a gift to the tree spirits (and to show the fruits created the previous year). Then an incantation is usually recited such as this:

“Here's to thee, old apple tree, That blooms well, bears well. Hats full, caps full, Three bushel bags full, An' all under one tree. Hurrah! Hurrah!”

A folktale from Somerset reflecting this custom tells of the "Apple Tree Man", the spirit of the oldest apple tree in an orchard, and in whom the fertility of the orchard is said to reside. In the tale a man offers his last mug of mulled cider to the trees in his orchard and is rewarded by the Apple Tree Man who reveals to him the location of buried treasure."


Be ~ witched! : The Rain is Falling, The House is Quiet and all I want is last nights leftovers!



Burton in the Fall...


Oh my god, what a gorgeous gray morning. It's finally raining in northeast Ohio after a summer that was probably the hottest and driest on record. It's been storming on and off for a week, but last we snuggled up together with our windows open and the ceiling fan spinning and I woke to a cool wet breeze that was absolutely intoxicating. I'm fond of teasing my husband somewhere around the middle of August that I can smell autumn creeping in just around the corner and generally he tosses up his hands and says "NO YOU CAN"T" but having an overly sensitive nose like most of you I definitely CAN and I know that probably all of you can too! But this year I just couldn't and it kept making me sad in a way that only the marrow of my bones can explain.  I'm sure that you can imagine my joy at waking up and have the crisp windfall apple breezes of early fall come blasting through my windows! Maple syrup, coffee and pancakes from the neighbors house next door came wafting through as well and that's when I began to get really hungry.


We were still snuggling when rather uncharacteristically  our son Alex came bounding up the stairs. I say "uncharacteristically" because it was before noon! He lives with  us right now while he's going to school.  All I wanted to do just then was stay curled up against the yummy warm man in my bed, but Alex definitely had something else on his mind. "Eggs mom?" and when I said I would consider it  I was hit with a relentless barrage of requests, designed to force me out of bed and begin cooking. I must have stayed under the covers a little to long because the next comment from both of them was,  "Well fine ..if you're not getting up Dad and I will go GET eggs."  Now, you have to understand that this was designed to get me to become so jealous that someone else would cook for them that I would instantly jump out of bed and fire up the sauté pan…a rare miscalculation on both their parts.


I said rather nonchalantly "Ok, that's fine" and dove back under the covers as  I definitely had a plan.  So the two of them went off happily in search of crispy bacon and some  father - son bonding time and I stayed in bed luxuriating long enough to hear the door slam and then went dashing for the refrigerator where I knew that real treasures awaited. Last nights supper was at a wonderful restaurant in town called RED. RED is a wonderful Cleveland steakhouse and although I love a good cut of meat I generally like the way that I cook it better so I don't order it there. But they have one of the loveliest wine lists in town and the best side dishes to be found anywhere. We sat happily on their patio with a couple of glasses of bloody red zinfandel and Jim had the steak tartare and a well earned cigar. I opted for a plate of their creamed spinach and their incredibly fragrant truffled mash potatoes. In true steak house form they give you easily enough for three meals and that my friends is  what was waiting for me to eat this morning!


So here I sit all alone listening to Lisa Loeb on Spotify and singing at the tops of my lungs, drinking a hot cup of coffee and enjoying the loveliest plate of spinach and potatoes….truly the best leftovers ever with the exception of my mothers meatloaf , the secrets of which she took with her to the great kitchen beyond the veil. The rain is still falling, the thunder is rumbling, the cats are fed and happy and the windows are all flung open wide and the breezes are so fragrant, smoky sweet and cool.


I've got a mountain of perfume samples to sniff and Zoe curled up at my feet.  You are all here with me and my life at this moment just couldn't be any better. 


So tell me….what are your favorite leftovers and how do you like to eat them? 


Intending that all of you are having a marvelous day,


I originally published this on Perfume Smellin Things! 

Be ~ witched! : Bacon Explosions and the things we cook for love!

WARNING. This is not for the foodie faint of heart!

Bacon explosion
Every year, my husband takes off for one weekend to go to the Indy car races at the MidOhio racetrack. He goes with the same group of guys every year, old friends who have been enjoying each others company since high school. They take two huge motorhomes, an enormous tent , a full bar and a massive stereo system and set up on the same turn (Turn 10!) every year. They eat well, these guys are pretty good cooks in their own right. They’re known all over Ohio and beyond as the boys from the Turn Ten Tavern, they even have a mailbox! Their parties are legendary and are generally filled to capacity..they  serve hundreds of drinks every night. They have an entire security force to keep things from getting out of hand. They have fans who bring them things like the ice sculpture below that you pour shots through! As of yesterday, they've been on ESPN!

 ice sculpture

Wives and daughters are forbidden,  although I have the distinction of being the only wife who’s actually ever been allowed to go. There are a couple of reasons, but let it be enough that they are all madly in love with my cooking and there’s something lovely about having 12 fairly darling men begging you to cook for them on a weekend that’s generally reserved for wifeless debauchery. No, I don't dance on the bar, but I'll leave you to guess the other.  The only other wife that I know who cooks anything for them is my soul sister Brenda. She sends homemade sausage gravy for those classic mornings after. I’ve tasted it and trust me, she’s a bewitchingly smart sort of girl. There’s a reason her husband worships the ground she walks on.

 Trust me when I say, what happens at MidOhio stays at MidOhio…oh and by the way. These are all wonderful guys who love their wives and are pretty incredible men, but even the best guys need a weekend to go completely shower free, get pig drunk and fantasize about their youthful exploits. The highlight of my MidOhio weekend? Having two fairly darling marines about half my age spend the entire evening hitting on me at the bar until they found out that my husband was the bartender! The other highlight? When they wouldn’t stop flirting with me finding my son standing behind me and in a low growling voice saying.” Back off guys, that’s my mom.”  Priceless. 

 blue cheese dip

When Jim first started going to the races, I was a young wife and of course fairly nervous about it. So, I did the only thing that I knew how to do…cook so much gorgeous food for these guys that my husband couldn’t possibly forget me and that maybe just maybe, I’d someday be allowed in.  It was a good bet on my part because I was finally allowed to come…I have no problem at all being a girl being one of the guys, it’s kind of my favorite sport. I will say though that twice was enough and now I leave it to them and just get an earful when my husband comes home, but for anyone reading this trust me…you’ll have to kill me and you still won’t get it out of me. Remember what I said? What happens at MidOhio stays at MidOhio! 

So every year they have their favorites that they ask me for and of course I’m happy to oblige. A few hundred sweet and sour maple laced meatballs! Tons of barbecued drumsticks lovingly basted for hours so they’re falling apart perfectly off of the bone? My secret? Slow cook them for hours in a low oven continuously turning and dusting with dry rub and wait til the end for the sauce which in my house is always made with among other things, dark chocolate, Red Stag bourbon and maple syrup . Trust me when I say that my kitchen is still perfumed and this was on Wednesday. I made homemade buffalo blue cheese dressing for them with lots of celery and carrot sticks and this year I decided to go for broke and attempt the coveted Bacon Explosion! 


A Bacon Explosion is pretty amazing food. It's also fairly strange..a classic guy food recipe. Two pounds of raw bacon woven into a placemat, covered with 2 pounds of Italian sausage, lots of crumbled cooked bacon, dry rub and herbs all rolled up into a jelly roll and smoked at 275 degrees for several hours or until the meat thermometer hits 165 degrees (I opted for about 185!) and then glazed with barbecue sauce.   I’ve attached the link at the end of this so you can actually have the recipe if you’re brave or crazy enough to try to make this yourselves! Before I began I was terrified, so I went to get some liquid courage and a few guidelines from my resident barbecue expert, a guy I’ve known for year named Brett Schwartzman who works at what I believe to be the best wine store in Ohio, Pat O’Briens Fine Wines and Fancy Foods  in Pepper Pike.  The number is 216-831-8680. Do not attempt this without calling him.You’ll be happy you did!


So I’m happy to say that my Bacon Explosion’s were perfect logs of smoky, bacony goodness. It took hours and it was totally worth it. I sliced a piece for myself and was blown away. Delicious..although I was left thinking that if I dipped one end of each slice in dark chocolate that it would be even more fabulous! I keep hoping that maybe , just maybe one of my favorite natural perfumers will turn that into a scent..a lickable (it has to be edible) sort of Chocolate covered, bourbon and cinnamon infused bacon perfume! I would buy it by the quart! Please! 


 I sent Jim off with instructions to serve a slice of it on top of a burger that has some Swiss cheese melted on it, some onion and some of my cole slaw which he did and called me completely raving about it.  This is the classic “heart attack on a plate”, but once a year? Next year I'm going to add a layer of hard boiled eggs and some smoked gouda. Overkill maybe ? Anything for my guys….


Here's the link! The photo of the bacon explosions are from this site as well! Here's a really great NYT's article about it as well: