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Hypocras & Mulling Spices

Jazz Hands!

As the weather turns colder, our drinks turn warmer–whether through heating them (like hot chocolate) or adding spices to them (like mulled apple cider or mulled wine). Mulling spices are a good and simple gift for people who like the taste of the fall and winter holidays. This recipe calls for about a cup of mulling spices, 12 9-inch circles of cheesecloth, 4-ish 9-inch lengths of a natural fiber yarn (such as cotton or bamboo), and two 8-ounce mason jars. There’s no set amount of each spice to use in your mulling spices. You’ll just need to break up your cinnamon sticks and, likely, your star anise. Everything else is perfectly fine as it is.

You’re going to put about 2-3T of the spice blend in the center of your 9″ circle, then pull up the edges and tie them up to make a little pouch. Put that into your mason jar and do it again! Make sure you’re tripling up on the cheesecloth! Stuff these little bags of heaven into your mason jars and then you can cut out a piece of cardstock to write your message of cheer on and stick it over the lid, under the band (to hold it in place). You can add a ribbon with bells and mini pinecones if you want, but it isn’t necessary. Voila! The perfect, simple gift for the holidays!

But, how do you use it?!

Easy. If you want to add some spice to your apple cider, simply pour your cider (about 1 quart should be plenty) into a pot, add your bag of spices, and let it simmer for about 10-15 minutes. Discard the bag and enjoy some mulled cider. The same can be done with wine or grape juice.

Speaking of spiced wines… Hypcoras is a medieval spiced wine that actually dates back to at least the Roman era! My friend over at Tasting History has a great video on the history and making of Hippocras (better than this one, for sure)! Romans enjoyed spiced wines, but the recipes weren’t always written down. The oldest extent recipe for a spiced wine dates to approximately 1340. It was called a piment and is what Hippocras developed from. There are many, many, many recipes about on the web for Hippocras. There are some that are very complex and some that are quite simple–like the one I made here. Hippocras/Hypocras/Ipocras/etc. is only as good as the wine you use. Mine is a very inexpensive Cabernet Sauvignon that is a bit sweeter than other Cabs I enjoy. To that end, I only used 2T of Swerve sweetener–and even then was hesitant! You should let it stand for at least two hours before straining and the preference is that it stands overnight. Despite the amount of sweetener in it, the Powder Douce is the stronger flavor and makes this drink a good mix of spicy and sweet. Hippocras can also be made with grape juice, but you will definitely want to adjust the sweetener for that (or just eliminate the extra).

Normally, I reserve my alcohol videos for my Patrons. If you’re not supporting me there, head over now and select your level of support! If you want to just tip me, $1/mo will get you access to my Discord server and the live streams I do there. If you want more content, $5 will grant you access to videos and blogs specifically for my Patrons! You may even get to see Cameraman Ken, too, on air!

That’s all for now. Merry meet, merry part, and merry meet again. Blessed be.

Enchilada Meatball Casserole

This is not my final form…

I hope everyone had a blessed Samhain. I know that, at this point, that was two weeks ago, but life comes at you fast!

Before I explain this video, I want to say that on November 5, I did my oral defense of my dissertation proposal. My doctoral work is in the field of Industrial/Organizational Psychology, with an emphasis on training and development. My study focuses on skill transference from playing games (in this case, Dungeons & Dragons) to working life. I’m very excited and by the time you read this, I’m hoping to have been granted approval to submit my study application to the Institutional Review Board (IRB).

Also! Happening this week on Thursday, I will be debuting my burlesque act! Tickets are still available (and if you use the code LAVINIA at checkout, you’ll get $5 off your tickets) and I’m also very excited about this particular endeavor, as well. Don’t worry, I’ll still be doing videos and such for cooking and witchery. You’re not getting rid of me that easily.

So, this video. This was a last-minute decision to record and my ADHD brain did not plan well. I started blocking another burlesque act and was way too into the blocking and lost track of time. I had a Halloween thing to do at 7pm, and it required a costume–a costume I’d planned on wearing all day! I just started my video too late, so I ended up having to finish the video as Dawn from Cry for Dawn by Joseph Michael Linsner. Pretty sure no one minds, but it was a cross-over I had wanted to avoid. Oh, well!

The casserole was really good. It was something that came across my Facebook feed the other day and I decided to give it a try. I still had the nightshade-free enchilada sauce from a while back (which was still good), so I used that and went from there. Cleanin’ out the fridge.

This post is kind of short. I apologize for that; I’m quite a bit distracted. I’ll try to remember to let you all know how the defense turned out and I hope to see you at my virtual burlesque debut!

Oh! Be sure to check out my Patreon for even more content and features!

Homemade Condiments

My favorite sweater…

I enjoy making my own condiments. I know exactly what’s going into them and I can customize them to my own taste. Honestly, I wanted to make a couple of other ketchups and mustards, but I didn’t have some of the ingredients I needed and I was very quickly running out of spoons.

I woke up in a massive pain flare. Like, I had to use my wheelchair when we went out, today, and I had to take NSAIDs in order to function at 60%. It was not a good day. I have several things I need to get done, too, and I just don’t have the focus or energy to do them.

At least I have one-serving bottles of Cabernet Sauvignon, gin, homemade tonic syrup, and a few other things to make tasty adult beverages (don’t worry, it’s been hours since I took pain meds; they only took the edge off, anyway).

So, the condiment recipes can be found here. I have made the rich, deep-flavored ketchup before and, honestly, it’s my favorite. But I do like the simple ketchup. While filming another video for later, I actually ended up making making more ketchup to use up my tomato paste. So, I gave it to my upstairs neighbors. Then decided to make them a container of mustard, as well. They were very excited. I also owe them eggnog.

The simple ketchup and the simple mustard really are simple. If you’re going to make the BBQ Sauce, I’d recommend whipping up the simple versions of the ketchup and mustard and using them in your BBQ Sauce. If you’re feeling particularly fancy, whip up the deep-flavored ketchup and the whole grain mustard and use those. There is a recipe for making your own Worchester sauce, however, if you stick with the Lea & Perrins, you’ll be fine as they are a gluten-free brand (and also the best, in my opinion).

I always add hot sauce to my BBQ Sauce. I want it spicy! So, I used the Torchbearer Sauces’ Garlic Reaper sauce and I was not disappointed!! I will be visiting my folks over Christmas this year, and I fully expect to go to the mall in Harrisburg and buy up some of their sauces! I mean, my mom gets Cameraman Ken the Zombie Apocalypse sauce every year for Christmas, but there are a few others we really want to sample.

If you went to the Paleo Leap’s site for the link for the condiments, you’ll see a lacto-fermented dill relish and a traditionally fermented horseradish. I’ve made both of these and I will tell you, they are fantastic. My neighbors were all very appreciative, as well. Well, for the dill relish. It’s been a few years since I made the horseradish. I really should do that again. Anyway!

Thank you, again, for subscribing to my channel and blog. If you’re able, consider popping over to my Patreon and supporting me, monetarily, there. It would help me bring more videos and content across your dashboards and allow me to give back to you, my supporters!

Eggnog – Low Carb & Dairy Free

“We can lay a trap for him and then we’ll have him, 1-2-3!”

‘Tis the season. Apparently. Because I was seeing Eggnog in the grocery store even before Samhain. It’s usually a Yuletide or Christmas drink. There are brands out there that are really good, but with my recent acquisition of intolerance to most tannins in things like whiskeys, spiced & dark rums, and gold & anjeo tequilas, I’m leery of store-bought eggnog.

Plus, I don’t really like eggnog, so why buy it?

I’ve made plenty of eggnog from scratch before. And it’s all been okay. This recipe, though. This one is the best. Naturally, I screwed up the first batch in the video, but my Lestie and her girlfriend were super giddy over it because they like sweeter drinks. So, I mean, no harm no foul. The one I taste at the end of the video is made with Swerve granulated sweetener and Heavy Cream because I do not have a problem with dairy. The filmed version is made with Truvia blended with cane sugar & stevia, and coconut milk. Both are tasty.

The hardest part is tempering the eggs. It was awkward for me to do it myself simply because a) I’m in the middle of a flare because of the weather change; and b) I was trying to stay out of the way of the camera. Behold, the silken hands of Cameraman Ken.

This concoction will last up to 3 days in the refrigerator, if you don’t just down it all in one night. If you’d like to spike it, you can add 3/4c of bourbon, spiced rum, or brandy to the entire quart of eggnog and have some fun! Just drink responsibly, please.

As is, this is a great drink for those who do not indulge in alcohol–y’know, like kids, those in AA or another sobriety program, people who just don’t like alcohol, etc. This is something I could confidently make for my parents that they may actually enjoy. Maybe heat it up, add some hot chocolate mix to it, and have a really creamy hot cocoa! Add it to your coffee as a substitute for your regular creamer. If you’re a Patron at the $5 tier or higher, you’ll have access to a video to show you what I chose to do with my eggnog!

Let me know what you think of this recipe! It’s a flavor of the holiday and it doesn’t take all that long to make. I’d love to hear your ideas about how to mix it up for the holidays!

Until next time, my Witchlettes! Blessed be!

Samhain Ritual for Solo or Group

…I am so directionally challenged, it’s amazing I can cast a circle.

One-shot video. Usually never my best ideas, but it’s what happens when I try to do rituals for videos. And yes, this is my Sally dress. I thought it was appropriate for a ritual to honor the dead.

For this ritual, you will need a black chord/ribbon/string/yarn/etc, a white chord/ribbon/string/yarn/etc, and a red chord/ribbon/string/yarn/etc in a length comfortable for you and your timing for performing the ritual.

If you do not know how to cast a circle, or you are looking for a Sabbat-specific circle cast, the following is something you could do:

North: The North is a place of cold,
And the earth is silent and dark.
Spirits of the Earth, we welcome you,
Knowing you will envelope us in death.

East: The East is a land of new beginnings,
The place where breath begins.
Spirits of air, we call upon you,
Knowing you will be with us as we depart life.

South: The South is a land of sunlight and fire,
And your flames guide us through the cycles of life.
Spirits of fire, we welcome you,
Knowing you will transform us in death.

West: The West is a place of underground rivers,
And the sea is a never-ending, rolling tide.
Spirits of water, we welcome you,
Knowing you will carry us through the ebbs and flows of our life.

I linked the ritual in the first paragraph above. This isn’t my ritual; I chose this one first for a Halloween Party I was asked to “Shepherd” during and decided it was a very appropriate and simple ritual I could do indoors. There are many different rituals and invocations, prayers, etc, that you can do for Samhain. I, personally, shy away from rituals that would require me to have a “spotter” because that just means I have to get mean with entities and firmly enforce my boundaries. Sure, I can channel and communicate with the deceased, that doesn’t mean I want them popping into my body whenever they feel like it. The same goes for deities and such. My body, my rules. You can’t just shove my spirit to the side and take over, yo! This is something that has happened to me in the recent past and I was actually sick for two days from it. So, no thank you and good day.

Anyway! Samhain is also one of the best times for divination work. Whatever method of divination you prefer, cast your circle for added protection, drink your tea, and mediate into your headspace to begin your work. I don’t normally seek out divinations, personally, but this year–since I’m stuck at home–I may try some dousing or maybe even try my hand at scrying or Tarot. We’ll see. I may make a blog post about for my Patreons. If you enjoy these blogs and videos, please consider supporting me over there! There’s some Patron-only content that you may find interesting! Even just $1/mo helps me produce these videos and blog posts. Plus, you’ll get instant access to my Discord server and you can play with my Helios cat-bot who can do divinations and such for you!

But, for now, please have a blessed and safe, socially distant Samhain. We’ll be back next week with some more videos and start talking about Yuletide a bit later into November. Blessed be!

Soul Cakes for Samhain

Trust me, I’m the Doctor.

This is a shining example of Recipes Gone Wrong! When I looked over the recipe, I really felt like something was missing, but I couldn’t put my finger on it. I think there either needs to be a “Put dough in fridge for 30 minutes” step or a “Use half a stick of butter” step.

I mean, they’re still edible.

In the video, I read what the Llewellyn’s Essentials writer says about soul cakes. But, obviously, there’s more information than just that tiny blurb in an overview book! So, to the internets I travelled–and I was not disappointed!

First, there was this site which offers a few other recipes for soul cakes–recipes I wish I had thought to look up before I did the one straight out of the book! NPR had a great little article, as well; and, blessed be, Holidappy put the recipe at the top of the post (they must have the same mindset as me: Recipe first, life story later–in my case, video first, life story after).

Second, it seems that Soulmas is the name that came from the idea of making soul cakes to offer to beggars and poor who came seeking food in exchange for prayers for the dead. According to another site, the soul cakes were originally a form of lottery during Druidic rituals, pre-8th Century Ireland/England. You draw the burnt cake, you have been selected as the human sacrifice to ward off the evil spirits and bring a prosperous new year. Around the 8th Century, Christianity (as it often did) engulfed the holiday and tried to Christianize it, which is when the cakes started being seen as “alms” for helping to buy souls out of Purgatory. The cakes were then set out, along with a glass of wine (or other libation), for the dead. Children would also go “Souling” (ritually begging for cakes door to door) on either Hallow’s Eve (Halloween/October 31), All Saint’s Day (November 1), or All Soul’s Day (November 2).

Like many Pagan-turned-Christian holidays, Samhain has become commercialized and only bears mild resemblances to its original intent and spirit (see what I did there!? Spirit! Samhain! I slay me!). Trick-or-Treat is the modern “souling” for children; the costumes are more fun and light-hearted instead of intentionally grotesque.

Perhaps a way we can start reclaiming the true spirit of Samhain, we can bake batches of soul cakes and take them to local homeless and women’s shelters and offer prayers with those who choose to for remembrance of their loved ones and for prosperous new years.

If you enjoy these videos and blogs, please consider supporting me via Patreon. For as little as $5/mo, you can get access to Patreon-only content which includes blog posts, giveaways, and videos! If you can’t afford $5/mo, but still want to support, consider the $1/mo option! Regardless, I thank you for your support in reading this blog and watching the videos. Blessed be, my Witchlettes!

Homemade Grenadine

P-p-p-POMEGRANATES!

I love pomegranates! I also love friends who allow me to come pick pomegranates from their trees! I think we brought home about 10lbs of pomegranates and about 5lbs of persimmons. I may make persimmon bread; we’ll see.

This video, though, is for how to peel and juice a pomegranate and how to make grenadine syrup. I used two different recipes, so you can make one or both and decide which you like better for yourself! I think it depends on what you’re trying to do, I think. I also realized after the fact, I’d made the Shirley Temples wrong. It’s okay…the Italian Sodas were actually better for tasting the grenadine. Shirley Temples are made with ginger ale, not club soda. OH WELL.

In the evening, I had a Russian Kiss which is 2oz of grenadine and 1.5oz of vodka shaken together with ice; stained into a cocktail glass and topped off with soda water. I drank two of those with the lemon juice grenadine and that was about half a drink too many (so sweet). However, I added about 2tsp of the orange flower water grenadine to about 3-ish oz of tequila and that was actually fairly tasty.

I also began steeping some compound gins this week–in fact, they should be ready today! One is a very traditional gin flavor palate (juniper berries, cardamom, black pepper, allspice, coriander, fennel seeds, orange peel); the other, I just sorta made up. It’s very floral, featuring juniper, rosemary, calendula, lavender, pomegranate, and cardamom. We’ll see how they turn out, I suppose!

If you’d like to see more videos that involve making liqueurs and various mixers from scratch, head over to my Patreon and for only $5/mo, you can have access to the exclusive content available from yours truly! Who knows–maybe you’ll get to see the role of Kitchen Witch Kryssie played by Cameraman Ken!

Pumpkin Shortbread

I really like this shirt…

Remember when we made pumpkin bisque and made our own pumpkin purée for that? Well, I ended up with an extra 1-1/2 cups of purée that I need to figure out what to do with! So, I started with the pumpkin shortbread because, I love shortbread!

Almond flour is a good 1-to-1 substitute for a shortbread recipe. Of course, so is gluten-free all purpose flour. Once I’m not meticulously counting carbs and trying to stay under 20g of net carbs per day (something I’ve been failing, recently), I’ll probably go back to my standard flours. I’m still going to be super carb conscious because–and this is the bizarre part–of the three of us kids, I’m the one with the most health issues. My body just really doesn’t like me, so it’s making my life complicated. I’d like to lose another 5lbs. Maybe 10lbs. Between 5 and 10. We’ll call that 7lbs. I’d like to lose another 7lbs. That will put me snuggly between 140 and 145lbs, which is where I’d like to be. I’m not unhappy with my current 150lbs; I would just like to have a little more wiggle room on weight gains which happen with new medications and flares and New Symptoms(TM) that end up being new disorders. To continue on the health trend, though, Cameraman Ken and I have discussed transitioning to a Mediterranean style diet. I need to do oodles of research on that and it’s not likely I’ll give up my chaffles or fathead dough, but it would be nice to bake with something other than almond or coconut flours.

Regardless, these shortbread cookies are actually really good and got better after they completely cooled. The texture wasn’t as bad as what was shown in the video. Overall, this was an okay attempt for my first time making it. I don’t think I got enough moisture out of the purée, which meant I had to add more flour which is what contributed to the texture issue.

Still, do make sure to try it for yourself! Also, make sure to head over to Patreon and consider supporting me. The public blog posts there are the same as they are here; however, there is some Patron-only content and announcements that go to my Patrons first before releasing to the rest of the world!

Samhain Bath Salts

“To everything, turn! Turn! Turn!”

Here we are with another bath salts video! This craft comes from the Llewellyn’s Essentials book, Samhain. This is not my original recipe. Mostly because I don’t like Vetiver and am really unsure why I even own Vetiver–and yet I have TWO BOTTLES of it in my collection! D:

Anyway.

I think if I were going to make a bath salts for the season, I would use cinnamon, clove, ginger, and orange; though, I do like the camphor in this. But, as we did with the divination potion, let’s break down the essential oils used in this blend to understand their purpose for existing (including Vetiver. It has a purpose…it has to).

Basil. Basil is good for brining harmony and balance. It was considered a romantic herb in Italy and, therefore, used as a component of love spells and charms. It also is a mood lifter, which is appropriate as we head into the Darkness of the Winter months when many people are affected by Seasonal Affective Disorder (S.A.D.). It also is one of the herbs or essential oil fragrances used awakening your higher awareness and opening up your understanding, clearing the mind, allowing contact to spirits and spirit beings–definitely a boon to your Samhain or Beltane practices! The veil is thin between this life and the afterlife.

Camphor. Camphor, too, is an uplifting scent, assisting with lightening and brightening a low mood. It also causes a sense of liberation or freedom and is a noted ingredient in things like Vick’s Vapor Rub. Spiritually speaking, camphor has been used as a soul cleanser or purifier; it is the guardian of rebirth and offers spiritual protection–also a very good thing during the time of thinning veils!

Vetiver. I give vetiver a hard time. Because it smells like alfalfa to me and I have bad memories associated with that scent, so it smells terrible to me. This is my personal feeling about vetiver. It really does have some excellent benefits, however. It’s actually good for combating some of the symptoms of ADHD and anxiety; it is an anti-inflammatory; can be used to cool and sooth sunburn (though, I have found better oils for this, personally); and can help in the healing of acne and scarring–including stretchmarks! So, it really is useful. Because I don’t like the scent, however, I have found a number of other essential oils that smell better and have the same functions and properties. It, too, has grounding properties and offers protection from negativity. Also, it’s a mood-lifter.

So, this entire bath salts package is meant to be an uplifting and relaxing salt soak. If I wanted to keep this bath salts intact, but swap out vetiver, I would use a few drops of Helichrysum, which offers awareness, calm, and inspires creativity and intuitive processes. Also, it’s an anti-inflammatory and has an earthy aroma (Vetiver is an earthy aroma, but smells more exotic and grassy and very strong; Helichrysum is a sweeter and lighter aroma).

So, that’s it! That’s my post for the Samhain Salt Bath! I know there’s one for Yule, as well. I made it last year and it was glorious! I can’t wait to share that one with you in December!

Don’t forget to pop over to my Patreon and consider supporting me in making these videos and blog posts for you every week! Especially check out and respond to this post about Halloween!

Blessed be, my Witchlettes!

Applepaloosa!

Well, maybe not *every* single little syllable…

Merry meet, my Witchlettes! Today’s video is two apple recipes for your Fall and Samhain season! The first is simply baked apples, which can be done in a microwave or in the oven, depending on what you have available to you; the other is an overnight apple curry soup that is about the same consistency as applesauce, but, like, a thousand times more delicious.

Baked Apples. You’ll need 1T of raisins, 1T of Maple Syrup, and 1tsp of spice per apple you’re making. If you’re going to use an oven, pre-heat it to 350F and get a baking dish to put your apple(s) in. If you’re using the microwave, get a microwave safe ramekin and plop your apple in there.

My very first tip/suggestion is this: Mix the raisins and the spices together. Dampen the raisins with a little water, then mix them with the spices so that the spices adhere to the raisins. You’ll need to core your apple (but not peel it), then place it in the ramekin or baking dish and stuff the raisins into the core. Pour your maple syrup over that mixture and pop into the oven for 10-13min or pop into the microwave for 2min.

I used a mix of cinnamon, cloves, and allspice in equal amounts. I don’t recommend that. I wouldn’t use so much ground clove when I do this again; the cloves really sets your tongue to “Numb” mode!

Apple Curry Soup. This one, as well, was quite easy! I made my own sweet curry powder (because I couldn’t find it in the store and Penzey’s is a bit of a drive), that was the most difficult part. Well, peeling and cutting the apples wasn’t the easiest thing, either–or so I hear Cameraman Ken say. You just dump everything into your crock pot (or your Instant Pot you’re using as a crock pot) and set it only low “overnight” (I figured 10-12 hours was enough). When you get up, puree the apples, return them to the crock, and set it back to low for 1 hour. If you have an Instant Pot you’re using for the crock, just leave it on “Keep Warm,” and do what I did–use an immersion blender, then serve it up!

Both of these are absolutely delicious and the curry does have a bit of a kick! Since it’s about the consistency of applesauce, I would be tempted to use it on pancakes or toast for a hearty breakfast.

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Have a blessed Samhain season!