Meatless Monday – Spinach Wraps

One of my favorite meals is this great spinach wrap.  Not only is this amazingly simple, but it’s very very flexible.  This can be changed up to suit even the pickiest of eaters.

Bread – I use a flour tortilla, but you can use a wrap, pita, loaf bread or any other type of holder
Dressing – I use pesto, but you can substitute for a vegetarian mayo, mustard or other condiment
Greens – I use Spinach, but you could use romaine, kale or any other leafy green
Condiments – I use fresh mozzarella & shredded cheese, tomatoes and pickles. Hubby adds black olives and onion.  I've used sprouts, carrots, cucumbers and so on.

Slice the cheese and other veggies

Photo Credit - Renee Olson

I warm my tortilla on an iron skillet to avoid tearing.
Place tortilla on a plate.

Cover the breads with the dressing

Photo Credit - Renee Olson

Add the Cheese

Photo Credit - Renee Olson

Add the greens and top with condiments

Photo Credit - Renee Olson

Photo Credit - Renee Olson

Photo Credit - Renee Olson
 Extra pickles… I love pickles.

Photo Credit - Renee Olson

Hubby's with Black Olives!

Photo Credit - Renee Olson

The easiest sandwich in the world!  I love it!  Not only is it very healthy but it’s extremely healthy.  So what do you put on your wraps?
Leave me a comment!

Namaste & Blessed Be!

Pagan Blog Project 2013 - D is for Drawing Down the Moon

Drawing down the moon is a ritual that is preformed generally by those with Gardnerian or Alexandrian Wicca backgrounds.  In this ceremony the high priestess preforms a ritual to invoke the spirit of the Goddess under a full moon.  Sometimes the ritual requires the priestess to recite a work created by compiling writings by Gerald Gardner and Aleister Crowley called “The Charge of the Goddess”. 

I have a copy of a variation of “The Charge of the Goddess” on my wall over my altar.  It’s been there for years and I usually recite it when I’m doing my full moon ceremonies.  Many years before my dedication to Hecate I would always see her name come out of the spiral as if to say, I am here.  Draw your energy from me. 

My first experience with drawing down came from the book by the same name, Drawing Down the Moon by Margot Adler.  A friend of mine was studying Religions of the World at ODU in Virginia and had this book as recommended reading.  He shared it with me and it was my first real introduction to Paganism, Witchcraft and Wicca. It is certainly worth reading.

~ NOTE I am not trained in any rites of the specific Wiccan Traditions and am a solitary follower of the Goddess Hecate. 

For my ritual I call the guardians and cast a circle in my sacred space.  I have a playlist that I use specifically for these types of rituals. 

Even though I do not practice Wicca, I can feel the connection between myself and the moon.  Being a follower of Hecate the moon is very important to many of the rituals that I hold for her.  I stand in front of my altar with candles blazing and call forth to the Goddess to give me the strength that she herself possesses.  I call to the moon to fill my body with the energy and power that it radiates.  With arms lifted high and moonbeams dancing across my body, I feel at peace with the universe and revitalized with the vivacity of the Goddess.

Namaste & Blessed Be

Meatless Monday - Baked Pesto Mac & Cheese

One of my passions is mac and cheese.  I love the warm comfy feeling I get when I have a hot bowl in a rich cheese sauce.  For years I would make mac and cheese with Velveeta.  For those not familiar, basically Velveeta is a called a “processed cheese food”. 

Changing my diet to remove processed foods saw my beloved mac & cheese go bye bye.  Just a few weeks ago I found a recipe for Creamy Au Gratin Potatoes.  I've modified that recipe to make this dish.

½ Medium box of dry elbow macaroni
1 small onion finely diced
1 tbsp. pesto
3 tbsp. butter
3 tbsp. flour
2 cups of milk
2 – 2 ½ cups of shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup of gourmet cheese – Gouda, Blue or Gorgonzola is great

The Macaroni – follow package instructions
Here you can use wheat macaroni or other substitute if there are gluten allergies.  Make sure to add salt to the water you’re cooking the macaroni in and remember it should be served al dente. 

Drain the macaroni well and add to a baking dish

Photo Credit - Renee Olson

Sprinkle diced onions over macaroni

The Sauce
Melt the butter over medium heat in a medium sauce pan
Add 1 tbsp. of Pesto
Photo Credit - Renee Olson
Mix in the flour and salt and whisk for one minute

Photo Credit - Renee Olson

Stir in the milk and whisk
Cook and stir until the sauce has thickened
Add the cheese and stir until the cheese is melted
Pour over the macaroni and cover with foil

Bake for 30 minutes

Photo Credit - Renee Olson


Photo Credit - Renee Olson

Sometimes I could my macaroni a bit longer and skip the baking part.  I add enough of the cheese sauce to make a really creamy consistency and serve it right from the stove top.   Just another great way to join together Meatless Monday and bit of comfort food all in one.

Namaste & Blessed Be

Pagan Blog Project 2013 - D is for Deity

Deity is defined as the nature or character of a god or God.  As a child I was raised Southern Baptist.  This is the typical fire and brimstone God.  There was no love that I can recall being taught here, only spare rod spoil the child.  I spent a few Sundays at the local Pentecostal church as well and found I really enjoyed the spiritual side of the church but speaking in tongues scared me. 
While hearing all this around me I hid in my school library reading and re-reading the nine books we had on Greek Mythology.  I loved the stories and thought, now these are Gods!

Being raised in a rural area, the local (richest) church sent out buses to pick up the poor children and bring them in.  I remember hearing the preacher say that I was poor because I was a sinner, and if I prayed enough, we’d have food.  I tried really hard to be good enough to be blessed, however my step father still molested me, my mother still ignored me and there was no God, for me.  Deities for me were nonexistent.

Towards the end of my life with my mother, I was about 14 or 15 and my church bus driver said to me as I was getting off the bus, “Tell you Daddy I’ll see him at the club tonight.”   That was when the Christian Deity died for me.  Here was a man, who was busing little kids back and forth to church, laid up in the bar with my abusive alcoholic stepfather.  One blessed with riches, the other not so much.

As an adult I found that seeing the sunrise and feeling the wind across my face had a calming effect on me.  Hearing the whoosh of the ocean and feeling the tides put me at peace.  Being in nature and looking at the world from a mythological prospective helped me find a place in my mind where I could finally be OK.  My mind drifts to Demeter and her sadness through the winter months. I see Aphrodite and Artemis showing women as virginal and strong but also as encompassing desire and beauty. 

This past year I've focused on one deity in particular.  Looking around me I found many correspondences to the Goddess Hecate.  Being the Goddess of the Witches as well as assorted other titles, I felt a deep connection.  As she speaks to me, I write, I sculpt and I create.  I picked up working with clay just a few months ago and have already been featured in e-Zines related to the Goddess.  I believe that when a deity selects you, that deity will speak through you.  Your art, your work and your day to day self will reflect that which lives inside you.

I like to say I have a relationship not a religion. My deity does not demand my submission instead delights in my companionship. I do not fall to the ground in worship but instead walk beside her. I bring offerings of incense and flowers, and offer energy to guide my travels. I do not call upon her to win a football game or for help with my car. She's much too busy to spend time doing the mundane workings of this world of which I am much more suited. I do not require your approval or ask your acceptance of my beliefs, I merely ask you that you leave me to my own without the need to ridicule.  You obey your God and I'll work in harmony with mine.

Namaste & Blessed Be

Pagan Blog Project 2013 - C is for Closet

Closets are interesting little spaces. They are boxes designed for storage, or tucking away those little things that usually are not shown when company comes over.  There are all sorts of closets.   We have closets for LGBT that hide and sometimes protect people from being hurt.  We have broom closets that tuck away witches from public view.

At times closets can be a safe haven.  We go toss those things that we want to hide deep in the back.  We don our moral camouflage and go out into the world pretending to be something presentable.  Something acceptable.  Our closets hide those things that we use to hurt ourselves. 
This week I found myself in the closet from two prospective.  I do a lot to promote my shop.  I post on Facebook, wear my t-shirts around and sell on sites like e-Bay and Craig’s List.  Sunday night I sold a Wii to a very nice lady from Warsaw.  I sent her a text message that I was ready to meet her to drop off the Wii.  She replied with “I’ll be right there ~ yours in Christ”.   Immediately I reached for my pentacle and put it inside my shirt.  I did it without even thinking about it.  I didn’t want to jeopardize a sale because of any misconceived issues around my beliefs.
I have a solid basis for the belief that I will be looked at differently because of my faith.  Just recently I was told by the director of the Boys & Girls Club of Goldsboro that I would not “fit in” as a vendor at a local event. 

Even within the pagan community there are closets.  If you say the wrong thing, or challenge someone who considers themselves the “Supreme Witch”, you risk being blackballed, and shoved kicking and screaming into the outcast or “bad witch” club.  If you preach light and love all the time, you’ll be slapped with a “Fluffy Bunny” label and never be able to be taken seriously by those that believe differently.

I was faced this week, with learning that sometimes you have to come out of the closet.  Sometimes you need to stand up for yourself.  Even if that closet you’re in feels safe, people can still hurt you there.  Just the act of being in the closet, even if it’s a closet of your own design.  Even if it’s a closet that isn’t due to race or orientation.  Even if that closet, is just a place you go and hide when people hurt you.  Sometimes you MUST speak up and say, Hey, that’s not ok.  My feelings are hurt, and it’s not ok for you to do that.
I took a tiny step out and fought for myself this week.  I opened the door and shouted, it’s not ok!  It felt really good to defend myself.

Remember, as a survivor, we can allow others to push us around and even actively participate in being self-abusive.  Put that bat down, wrap your arm around yourself and squeeze.
You are worth it.
We are worth it.
I am worth it.

Namaste & Blessed Be!

Meatless Monday - Biscuits & Gravy with Eggs

This recipe incorporates a previous recipe that I shared last year.  My Cheddar-Roo  Biscuit recipe is used; just leave out the part about adding the cheese.  We’re going to finish the baking on the biscuits and let them rest on the counter until we've finished the gravy and eggs.

Photo Credit - Renee Olson

2 tbsp. butter
4 tbsp. flour
1 1/2 cup milk
Salt & Pepper to taste

In a heavy skillet melt the butter over medium heat
Add the flour and stir constantly; you can use a whisk for this
Be sure to get all the lumps out
Careful not to brown the rue
After about 5 minutes add your milk and whisk
The gravy will thicken; add more milk a little at a time to achieve the consistency you’re looking for.
Many people use a lot of pepper in this type of gravy, in fact sometimes its called pepper gravy.  I don’t care for pepper so I just add a bit.
Remove from heat and set to the side
Scramble two eggs per person in a frying pan and set to the side.

Split the biscuit in half and set on the plate.
Add the scrambled eggs to the biscuit halves.

Photo Credit - Renee Olson

Cover with gravy

Photo Credit - Renee Olson

This is one of my all-time favorites.  For breakfast lunch or dinner this is a great recipe to have handy.  Take those extra biscuits and toss them in the freezer.  They're great for making stuffing, breadcrumbs, or if you cut them in 1/2 before you freeze them, they'll fit right in a toaster oven!   I hope you enjoy!

Namaste & Blessed Be

Meatless Monday - Chili

Today for Meatless Monday, I’m passing on one of my favorite recipes for a cold winter day.  February is an excellent time to make this dish!  Many vegetarians use meat substitute or faux meat products when making these types of dishes.  MorningStar Farms offers a product called meal starter crumbles.   This is basically a soy product and you generally add it late in the meal to give the dish, a meat like texture. 
As I've mentioned before I believe that the use of highly processed foods is just as bad for you as eating meat.  Some people are vegetarians simply because they feel as though it’s wrong to consume something that has a spirit or soul.  Some others are vegetarian for health reasons; generally speaking meat is not great for your body.  The rise of all sorts of diseases including obesity is directly related to the over-consumption of meat and meat byproducts

Studies related to eating processed foods are just as damning.  One of the main reasons I do not eat faux meat products is directly related to the fact that 99% of all soy products on the market today contain GMO soy.  In my opinion, not enough testing has been done to insure that the initial claims of GMO being not only unhealthy but directly related to the rise in autism, diabetes and various other diseases.  Until we can be assured of this the best way to be safe is to avoid consumption of these products.  Whenever possible I buy organics to avoid this.  Until companies like MorningStar Farms start using organic soy to create their meat substitutes I probably will never buy them. 
With that… let’s get on with the recipe.

Photo Credit - Renee Olson

2 cups dry pinto beans
2 cups dry black beans
2 cups dry red kidney beans
1 medium onion
2 20 oz. cans of crushed tomatoes (I use Organic with Basil added)
3 14.5 oz cans of vegetarian vegetable broth
3 tbsp. of butter
2 tps. of Chili powder
Salt and Pepper to taste
Sour Cream/Raw Onion/Cheese – optional toppings

*** 2 hours before you get ready to cook add all the dry beans in a large bowl and cover with water.

Photo Credit - Renee Olson

Roughly chop the onion
Melt the butter in a large pot

Photo Credit - Renee Olson

Add the onion to the pot and cook until clear
Drain the water from the beans and add them to the pot
Add the broth to the pot

Photo Credit - Renee Olson

Add the crushed tomatoes to the pot
Add seasonings to taste

Photo Credit - Renee Olson

I love this recipe.  It’s great to have on a cold day.  Just be careful with the chili powder.  I like using the crushed tomatoes because it thickens the chili up and gives it a meat like consistency without the need to add any faux products.  The beans can be switched out for any other dry beans you’d like, however I would stay in the kidney bean size and type.  Lentils or Chickpeas probably wouldn't be a great substitute.
Would love to hear your take on GMOs, Processed Foods or how your Meatless Mondays are going.  Leave me a comment!

Namaste & Blessed Be

Pagan Blog Project 2013 - C is for Correspondence

C is for Correspondence
cor·re·spond·ence  [kawr-uh-spon-duhns, kor-] 

1. communication by exchange of letters.
2. a letter or letters that pass between correspondents: It will take me all day to answer this business correspondence.
3. Also, correspondency. an instance of corresponding.
4. similarity or analogy.
5. agreement; conformity.

In Magic, correspondences are items used to correspond or relate to an item.  For example, the stone (actually a resin) Amber corresponds to the element of fire, the Sun and it thought to be related to clarity, confidence and strength.  Amethyst is a form of quartz crystal.  It corresponds to the element of water and the astrological signs of Aquarius and Pisces.  It is said to be a healing stone and helps relieve stress, anxiety and depression.

There are correspondences for everything from Gods and Goddesses to plants and seeds.  A quick search on will give you a full list of assorted books that will assist with some of the comparisons.  One of the more popular is Llewellyn’s Complete Book of Correspondences.

I've not done a great deal of across the board research on all correspondences.  I have worked mainly with crystal and candle magic.  I use blue candles for healing, green for prosperity and red as my Goddess candle.  Red is thought to represent Hecate/Hekate.

Other correspondences for Hecate are:

Animals – Dogs, red mullet, frogs, serpent and sheep. Hecate has been depicted with the heads of a cow, dog, boar, serpent and horse.

Plants – Garlic, belladonna, willow, leek and mandrake.  The Greeks would hang yew around the necks of black bulls which were sacrificed in Hecate’s honor.

Other Associations – keys, as she holds the Keys to the underworld to assist in the travel from life to death.  Torches – as she is a light bringer. 

These are not the only correspondences to Hecate and some of these may cross over to other deities as well.   As I read more and more I learn that there many have a lot of ideas around what is and is not related to a particular Goddess. 

The most common discrepancy I see today is that Hecate represents the crone aspect of the Triple Goddess.  In all the images showing Hecate she does not appear to be of any “older” age.  In her Triple form statues all the faces appear to be the same age.  The concept of Maiden Mother and Crone is a relatively new idea and usually is found in Wicca. 

In her video “Is Hekate the “Crone” of the 20th Century Maiden Mother Crone Triple Goddess”, Sorita D’Este discusses the way Hecate may have been added in this ideology.

When setting up my altar for Hecate, I’ll add eggs, leeks and honey.  This I take out and leave at my offering spot at the physical crossroads. 

In looking at all the information out there keep in mind that everyone has their own ideas about correspondences.  There are times when many of these will cross over to other deities.

For more information on The Covenant of Hekate check out this webpage or this Facebook Page.

Namaste & Blessed Be