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Playing For You From Our Scented Cottage


A rustle in the wind reminds us a fairy is near..

Sunday, October 23, 2016

What's Scenting The Cottage Today...

No Knead Ciabatta Bread! I am going to start a loaf of my ciabatta bread today and thought I would repost for those of you who did not view it the previous times I've posted it. This bread is SO easy you will wonder how they can charge so much for it at the market. If you love fresh bread but thought you couldn't bake it, or you're intimidated by the whole process of kneading etc, please give this a try. I promise you, you will be amazed at how easy and wonderful it is! You can make additions to this loaf after it rises. Before placing dough on the cookie sheet stir in some black olives, chopped onion, sun dried tomato etc. Play with this recipe, sprinkle cheese and jalapenos on top etc. I am certain it will be your favorite bread recipe ever! The only drawback is you must start this bread the day before you're going to bake and eat it. Small price to pay for a no knead bread!

4 cups bread flour (I use 3 1/2 cups white and 1/2 cup wheat)
*Note: you can use all purpose flour
1/4 tsp yeast (I use the quick rising or yeast from the jar)
2 cups warm water (blood warm..not to hot or it will kill the yeast)
1 1/2 tsp salt

Cornmeal or parchment (or both in my case) for the cookie sheet

That's it! Now just add the ingredients to a bowl, stir them together and cover with foil. I set mine on the counter or on the top of the stove. Let it rise 18 hours.

Yes, 18 hours!! This is the only drawback because if you want this bread you have to start it the day before you want to eat it. I start it around 3pm one day and bake it at noon the next day for lunch.

After the dough has risen, place parchment paper or cornmeal (or both) on to a cookie sheet. If you want to add anything to the dough, do it at this point, stir it in. Then pour dough out on to the cookie sheet with parchment and cornmeal and mold in to the ciabatta shape. Sprinkle a little flour on top and cover with a dishtowel. Let it rise for 2 hours.

Here it is before the rise....

And after the rise...

Bake at 425 for 30 -35 minutes or until golden brown. Loaf will sound hollow when tapped.

Vegetarian Cassoulet

Get out your soup pot or crockpot and warm yourself up with some homemade soup. White beans slow cooked with vegetables and fresh herbs--parsley, rosemary, lemon thyme, and savory. What could be better on a chilly fall day?

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion
2 carrots, peeled and diced
1 lb dried navy beans, soaked overnight
4 cups mushroom broth (found in the soup aisle at the market or use vegetable broth)
1 vegetable bouillon cube
1 bay leaf
4 sprigs fresh parsley
1 sprig fresh rosemary
1 sprig fresh lemon thyme, chopped
1 sprig fresh savory
1 large potato, peeled and cubed
Heat a small amount of oil in a skillet over medium heat.

Cook and stir onion and carrots in oil until tender.

In a slow cooker, combine beans, carrots and onion, mushroom broth, bouillon, and bay leaf.

Pour in water if necessary to cover ingredients with water.

Tie together parsley, rosemary, thyme, and savory, and add to the pot. Cook on Low for 8 hours.

Stir in potato, and continue cooking for 1 hour.

Remove herbs before serving.

Friday, October 21, 2016

The Holy Stone...

Did you know the Sapphire is considered the stone of Holy Blessings?

It is a gorgeous stone indeed, and to my eye (and many others) you can not tell a white sapphire from a diamond when set in a gorgeous jewelry setting. Often mistaken to be a forgery or fake, the white sapphire is a pure form of sapphire. They are quite rare, and are often found with a tinge of pink, green or blue. Though they lack the sparkle that diamonds have, they are as clear as diamonds. Sapphires with colors other than blue are generally referred to as fancy sapphires.

This stone is the second hardest crystal, second only to the lovely diamond. It's rare beauty and enduring strength made it quite popular as a talisman among royalty. A medieval historian wrote that kings wore the crystal to protect them from harm, and to prevent jealousy among their court. A sapphire worn to the signing of a treaty was believed to ensure a true reconciliation and prevent further bloodshed. Lore also tells that a venomous snake left in a vessel with a sapphire would certainly die, as the gemstone provided protection from poison.

White Sapphire activates the 7th, or Crown Chakra , taps hidden potential and helps guide you to your life's work. It makes an excellent personal power stone and is also associated with clear seeing and visions.

The white sapphire, like the diamond, is said to be linked to the planet Venus. As the goddess of love, Venus is responsible for giving love, happiness and prosperity. It is reputed to draw these astrological properties to the wearer of the stone and is said to conjure a happy marriage and attract wealth to the family.

Use this stone to promote: Creative expression, Intuition, Meditation, Luck, Wisdom, Optimism, Friendliness, Generosity, Love, Loyalty, Independence, Centering, Balance, Self-appreciation, Spiritual development, Intellect, Knowledge, Memory

Sapphire is a 45th Anniversary gemstone, so if you are searching for that perfect gift, this would be it.

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!

Happy Birthday Scorpio...October 24 - November 22

Known as the most intense of the zodiac signs, Scorpios are both powerful and passionate. Their tenacity and willpower are immense, their conviction strong (if not at times overwhelming), and yet Scorpios are also deeply sensitive and easily moved by their emotions. When inspired, it’s said that those born under this water sign can exceed limits in almost all endeavors. In fact, Scorpios are said to be more likely to become geniuses than those born under any other zodiac sign.

Your colors are rich browns and reds, maroon, burgundy, black, blue-green, algae-green.

Your birth sign flower is the lush red peony. With their full shape and bold, passionate red color, these flowers embody both a sense of romance and power. Also regarded an as omen of good fortune and prosperity, they’re a fitting match for the Scorpio’s fierce potential.

Your Celtic zodiac would be the Reed tree if you were born between 28 October and 24 November. You tend to get drawn into gossip and scandals but love legends and folklore. You are complex, fearless, proud and independent and love to uncover real and important meanings about things.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Today Realize...

That if something no longer serves a purpose in your life, it is clutter. Clutter can be a physical thing or a belief that blocks your path. Holding on to things that don't feed your psyche will instead eat up your energy. Expand your energy today by getting rid of unwanted gifts, broken or useless items, self-defeating mental images, etc. Start this minute to create the life you imagined for yourself. We often get lost or turned around on our path while working to obtain the money we need for food, housing, raising a family etc. If you are not doing what you love, do one thing today to change it! Every time you do one thing, you are closer to doing or being what you imagined for yourself.

The Chrysanthemum...

"My mysteries are forever unfolding."

If you were born between October 23 – November 21 your Celtic birth flower is the Chrysanthemum. You have many layers to you, and just as soon as someone thinks they have you identified, you pop out with another blossom of surprises. You like clarity and honesty in all things. In fact, when situations are murky or unhealthy you are the perfect sign to come in and clear the air or heal the situation. You are focused and tend to be serious in your emotions, but you are very intuitive and help others identify areas they need to work on for their own emotional growth. You are active and amorous with no end to suitors.

A very decorative plant, the chrysanthemum denotes nobility and royalty. It is particularly good for speeding up the rate and flow of spells and is a symbol of protection and cheerfulness.

Red Chrysanthemum... Love, Worship
White Chrysanthemum...Truth, Honesty, Protection Against Spirits

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

For The Love Of Quilts

I love handmade quilts, they are a masterpiece of the heart. Many of the quilts of yesterday took a lifetime to make. Perhaps the mystical part of them—the aspect that makes them almost human—are the countless hours of work and devotion it took to create them.

Beyond their beauty and usefulness, quilts possess a magic that will never die, for all of life's hopes and fears, loves and hates have been sewn into them. A partial unraveling of quilt history reveals that the oldest example of patchwork, a canopy for an Egyptian queen, dates back to 960 B.C. In the earliest quilts, grass and leaves or feathers were used for the filling. After the top had been meticulously pieced together, the three layers were assembled and laid over a quilting frame supported by legs, sawhorses, or chair backs. In the South, the quilting frame was often suspended from the ceiling. The layers were then joined together by quilting, the running of stitches through the three layers of material.

Their origins are somewhat sketchy. The name derives from the Latin meaning "stuffed sack." I imagine the quilt maker stitching away at her labor of love and perhaps wondering where it will be years after she (or he) is gone. Some hold layers of meaning, others are stitched just for the job of keeping warm. Our job, if we own one of these treasures, is to lengthen their life by protecting them to the best of our ability. A few enemies of our treasured quilts include light, dirt, humidity, heat, insects, and pressure, among others.

Never put any quilt in direct light, whether natural or artificial. I have had a couple of mine fade due to the sun and though I still love them, they can never be returned to their freshly made, colorful splendor. In antique quilts the fabrics were either colored with natural dyes or the "new" synthetic dyes, which began to be used toward the end of the 19th century. With few exceptions, most of these dyes were not very color-fast, which is why we see greens that have faded to yellow or dull blue, purples that have faded to tan, and blacks have disintegrated the fiber completely. Even today, the dyes currently available can fade fairly rapidly when exposed to light.

Before you put your treasure in storage, take time to clean it. Bugs like to eat food stains and spray starch. Be sure to take care of any problems before storing your it. Usually, just a good vacuuming will take care of any problems. Place a 12" x 12" square of screening (with the edges covered with masking tape) over your quilt and gently use a hand-held vacuum to remove surface dust. Consider wet cleaning only as a last resort and realize that it will deteriorate your quilt to some extent. Be sure to consult some knowledgeable sources before attempting to wash an antique quilt. Never have it dry-cleaned; the chemicals used can be very harsh to the fibers and are never completely removed.

Never store your quilts in plastic bags. Textiles need to breathe. When excess heat and moisture build, mildew will inevitably occur. Once the fabric is spotted with mildew, it is very difficult to remove the stains. Instead, if you need to store your quilts in a closet or other enclosed space, wrap them in clean, un-dyed, un-bleached muslin. Be sure to remove them from storage every three to six months. Spread them on a flat surface and air them out, first on one side and then the other. I like to hang mine on quilt racks and let them have their turns at displaying their loveliness. While you have the quilt out, be sure to inspect for signs of bugs or new stains.

When you return it to storage, fold it in a different way. If you had folded it in half last time, then fold it in thirds this time. Don't crush it and fold it as little as possible. When you fold it, do it so the backing is on the inside. The most wrinkles will occur on the inside of a fold. You can minimize the wrinkles by cushioning the folds with crushed, acid free tissue paper or a roll of muslin.

Enjoy the wonderful quilts you have stitched, inherited or adopted, but be sure to care for them so other generations will be able to enjoy them too.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Old Fashioned Molasses Candy

If you love the taste of molasses as I do, you will find this a wonderful recipe and a great treat. They are reminiscent of the Mary Jane candies I used to eat as a child.

Did you know that molasses is actually good for you? Unlike refined white sugar and corn syrup, which are stripped of virtually all nutrients except simple carbohydrates, or artificial sweeteners like saccharine or aspartame, which not only provide no useful nutrients but have been shown to cause health problems in sensitive individuals, molasses is a healthful sweetener that contains significant amounts of a variety of minerals that promote your health.

Molasses is a good source of iron, calcium, copper, manganese and a very good source of potassium, and magnesium.

What better reason to enjoy a piece of this homemade candy! It also makes a great gift for candy lovers during the holiday season. Wrap pieces in waxed paper and place in a pretty tin.

1 cup molasses
3 cups sugar
1/2 cup water
1 tsp cream of tarter

Mix sugar and cream of tarter together. Add molasses and water. Stir until sugar is dissolved. Boil without stirring until a drop of it hardens in cold water. (have a cup of cold water nearby so you can drop a small amount in to see if it hardens) Turn onto buttered pan: when cool, cut into sticks or squares. If desired you can wrap each piece in a square of waxed paper, twist, and fill your candy jar or give as gifts!


Monday, October 17, 2016

The Art Of Living..

Consists of a mingling of both letting go while holding on. Need advice and assistance? Your messages are waiting. Stop in to my shop and see what I offer. Don't use Etsy but desire a reading? I take PayPal so just email me and we can set it up! Email Readings always confidential within 24 hours.
Click here to have a peek at what I offer:

Stop by again soon!