The Witches’ Ball!

I’m off once more to attend the annual Southeast Witches’ Ball in Clearwater, Florida! I’m excited to see dear friends again after a long year. This time I promise to take many pictures of my companions and the festivities – to tease and regale you with my witchy abandon. And I will post as many of those pictures as turn out well. I’m not a very good photographer, and many of my attempts are fuzzy or have heads cut off. I’ll make a better effort to improve.

The Ball is at Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater, on Saturday evening, June 15. I’d love to see some of you there. If you do attend, and you’ve seen this post, please approach me and let me know! I’ll be thrilled!!!

Last year we were fairies. This year we’ll be sophisticated in black and white – darkness and light.

Ember Mac and Trish Franklin 2012

Ember Mac and Trish Franklin 2012


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Let there be music!

Music with attitude, that is.

One of my favorite music-makers is a woman named Heather Jinmaku. If you haven’t heard her yet …One Night

heather jinmakuFor a change of pace, try this one …

What do you think?

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Thanks, Yanks!

thank a veteran

The traditional manner of Memorial Day observance has faded over the years since 1868. Many of us have forgotten the meaning of Memorial Day. Memorial Day is traditionally marked as a solemn, sacred day to remember our deceased military and to clean-up and decorate the graves of fallen soldiers who gave their lives for a cause –whatever that cause may have been. At many cemeteries, those graves are increasingly ignored, neglected. The military graves which used to be decorated now stand bare because the People no longer have focus.
The National Moment of Remembrance

A presidential resolution only a dozen years ago established another way for Americans to honor our heroes beyond cemetery visits, parades and other special ceremonies.

The “National Moment of Remembrance” calls for citizens to pause for one minute at 3 p.m. local time on Memorial Day “to remember and reflect on the sacrifices made by so many to provide freedom for all.” Each year at 3:00 p.m., local time, on Memorial Day, Americans unite in a National Moment of Remembrance which honors America’s fallen and their families. During this Moment, 200 Amtrak trains blast their whistles, approximately 500,000 Major League Baseball fans are joined in silence, and countless other participants make a vow to remember.


This Act recognizes in law a commemoration begun on Memorial Day in May 1997, when “Taps” was played at 3:00 p.m. on many radio and television stations across the Nation as Americans paused to remember the men and women who have lost their lives in service to our country.

What can you or I do?

  1. Tell a soldier thanks. This simple, free act can mean a lot to a soldier.
  2. Donate a cell phone through Cell Phones for Soldiers, Inc., which uses the proceeds from recycling donated cell phones to buy prepaid phone cards for soldiers that are overseas.
  3. Decorate the grave of a fallen soldier with flowers, wreathes or other decorations. This simple act shows your gratitude. If your community won’t permit decoration, ask to clean a grave site.
  4. Honor fallen soldiers on Memorial Day by observing the National Moment of Remembrance.
  5. VFW “Buddy Poppies” are assembled by financially disadvantaged and disabled veterans who are paid for their work. Donate and Wear one.

thanks for service     cell phones for soldiers




Brum plot, Ithaca      clean-grave-markers-2         buddy poppy

“How important it is for us to recognize and celebrate our heroes and she-roes!”  — Maya Angelou, poet

… And don’t forget to plan a feast for Memorial Day – with friends and loved ones. Next time we’ll talk about the food and the mood!




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Are you ready for Memorial Day?

memorial day

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April 27, 2013 · 11:31 am

Sneak Peek: Eat Dessert First

Summer is a-comin’ in – and with it, the need for ICE CREAM!

But if you don’t have an ice cream maker – can you still make your own?      Eat Dessert First


And here’s a couple of methods you could adopt for your next party – – –


Roly Poly Ice Cream

3/4 cup whole, sweet milk  – 1/3 cup granulated sugar – 1 cup cream, light or heavy, as you wish – ½ teaspoon vanilla extract – Flavoring of your choice: add chocolate syrup, strawberries, raspberries, etc., etc., etc. – crushed ice – 3/4 cup rock salt

Mix the milk, cream, sugar, vanilla and flavoring of your choice. You may omit the flavoring if you prefer vanilla ice cream. Place this mixture in a cleaned, 1-pound coffee can, and place the plastic lid on the can. I suggest you seal the lid to the can with a bit of duct tape. (Duct tape holds the whole world together!)
Place the filled coffee can into a clean 3-pound coffee can, and pack the crushed ice in layers with the rock salt around the smaller can. Put the plastic lid on the larger can. (You might want to grab the duct tape again.)
Find a friend, and sit, facing each other, with your legs stretched out into a narrow ‘v’. Roll the can back and forth between you for 10 minutes. Take the lids off, scrape the ice cream off the insides of the smaller can, using a table knife or a spatula, stir the ice cream together again, and seal the lid back on. Drain off any water in the larger can, and re-pack it with ice and rock salt. Roll the can back and forth for another 5 to 10 minutes. That should do it. Makes about a quart of ice cream, for 4 people

This recipe makes enough ice cream for one person; each person can make his own.

½ cup milk                                4 tablespoons kosher salt
½ teaspoon vanilla                2 quart-sized Zip-loc® bags
1 tablespoon sugar                 1 gallon-sized Zip-loc® freezer bag
4 cups crushed ice                 oven mitts or gloves for your hands

Mix the milk, vanilla and sugar together in one of the quart-sized bags. Seal tightly, allowing as little air to remain in the bag as possible. Place this bag inside the other quart size bag, again leaving as little air inside as possible and sealing well. Put the doubled bag inside the gallon-sized bag and fill it with ice, and sprinkle salt on top of the ice. Let all the air escape and seal the bag. Put your gloves on, and shake and/or massage the bag, making sure the ice surrounds the cream mixture. Five to eight minutes is enough time for the mixture to freeze into ice cream.

Are you licking your lips? Are you dreaming up new and exciting flavor combinations?

QUICK! Visit my storefront website at and get your copy of EAT DESSERT FIRST today!

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Sneak Peek – J’EAT?

J'eat Picklicious!

Pickling can be done with nearly any vegetable, not just cucumbers! For instance, green beans, cauliflower, beets, watermelon rind, and many other foods you already love, can be pickled easily. They add crunch and tang to your plate, salad, or sandwich. See how easy it is!

1.    Pickle juice makes a great marinade. Combine it with a little olive oil and chopped fresh herbs, or add it to your favorite bottled salad dressing.
2.    Most any barbecue sauce is better when doctored with a little pickle or sauerkraut juice. The improved version will have a tanginess not found in any bottled brand.
3.    Add cut-up raw carrots, celery sticks, broccoli and cauliflower florets, onions, garlic cloves, mushrooms and red and green pepper strips directly to the jar of any type of leftover pickle juice. Be sure to keep them refrigerated. They’ll be great for snacking straight from the jar or as an addition to a crudité platter. You might even spice them up with a hot pepper!
4.    Pickle liquid mixed in with the mayo can give a new twist to your time-honored potato salad or even egg salad or tuna!
5.    Give gusto to a Bloody Mary . . . with pickle juice! Garnish with a pickle spear instead of the usual celery stick!
6.    Some drinkers like vodka mixed with pickle juice. And some take pickle juice as a chaser after shots of tequila!
7.    Some people drink pickle juice straight, as a tonic! Some athletes drink pickle juice as a way to replenish the salt after their workouts. And some folks swear by it as a cure for hiccups!
8.    Use pickle juice to make pickled eggs. The flavor will be different from the pickled eggs you might be used to. Hard-boiled eggs that have soaked in pickle juice are great to use for egg salad or to slice on salads.
9.    Bread-and-Butter pickle juice is especially good with sweet potatoes, or squash.
10.    Grapes pickle beautifully in dill pickle juice, for an entirely different treat!
11.    Blend some eggs into the pickle juice and add flour or cornmeal, to make a crust for meat.
12.    Use Bread-and-Butter pickle juice to bring out the flavor in pears, figs, sweet apples, oranges, pineapple, lemons or grapefruit. Cut the fruit into pickle-sized pieces and drop them into the jar of leftover pickle juice. Let them stew in the pickle juice for at least a day.
13.    Cut up fresh cucumbers into slices or wedges and place them in the pickle juice to make a new batch of pickles.
14.    Got a toothache? Simply place a dill pickle slice or two in your mouth, directly on the affected area. Leave it there for as long as it takes for the pain to diminish. Do this as often as needed throughout the day, until you can get to a dentist.
15.    Pickle pops! Freeze the juice in ice cube trays (which can go into a Bloody Mary) or popsicle molds.
16.    Nolan Ryan used to soak the fingers of his pitching hand in pickle juice to prevent blisters.
17.    Chik-Fil-A uses a brine (that’s what pickle juice is, after all) on their chicken, then they pressure fry it.
18.    Pickle juice is a traditional Russian remedy for hangover.
19.    Use it, strained, to clean jewelry or flatware.
20.    Use it, also strained, as a facial toner and exfoliator mixed with ground avocado pit.
21.    Add it to cream cheese (along with some diced pickles) to make a wonderful dip for potato chips.
22.    Soak a sponge in it, and use it to clean copper pans. You might have to add a little more salt to the wet pan, but it works very well.

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Eat Dessert First

Eat Dessert First – a companion book to J’eat? Playful Cookery                           Eat Dessert First

A collection of 28 categories of delightful dinner finales, snacks, accompaniments, condiments, and beverages to satisfy every guest at your table.

Browse through the categories with me – if you stand it. There’s Candy is Dandy. I know most cookbooks that contain candy recipes put them at the end of the book. But this book celebrates the sweet tooth, so they belong at the beginning.
Baby, It’s Cold in Here shivers with frozen delights, like sherbets, sorbets, ices and – oh, my!
Are You Pudding Me On? wallows in the puddings and gelatin desserts we all know as comfort foods.
How Fruituitous! offers exciting ways to prepare your favorite fruits that will complete any meal on a high note!
That’s the Way the Cookie Crumbles has cookies for the jar, for gifting, and even no-bake cookies for your taste buds.
Brownie Points counts only seven recipes, but they are the ones I’ve loved longest.
The Bar Exam includes several kinds of bar cookies which you can cut into as many or as few pieces as you like – to enjoy and to share.
Pie in the Sky is my collection of luscious pies I’ve made and served for many years.
I’m All Wrapped Up is an assortment of desserts wrapped in crusts to eat out-of-hand, or on a plate, as you desire.
Tarts with Hearts are more than tiny pies, deserving a place of their own on your table.
Inventing the Universe follows Carl Sagan’s advice, with recipes for basics like pastry, flavorings and the like.
Let Them Eat Cake is a veritable bakery in itself, with many kinds of moist, delicious cakes my family has oohed and aahed over.
Tea and Empathy comprises cakes and breads to adorn your tea cart, and enhance your afternoons.
Gimme Doughnuts speaks for itself, with regular, raised, and gluten-free doughnuts for your pleasure.
More Tea Breads continues where Tea and Empathy left off, since I found more of my favorites to pass along.
Scones and Crumpets has my own versions of these treats, moist and delicious, every one.
Dear Dairy . . . is my love/hate letter to the world of dairy (I’m lactose-intolerant), and shares my recipes for enjoying the foods I used to love, and want to keep eating.
Cheese Greater lists the cheeses I’ve loved and those I’ve learned to duplicate in non-dairy methodology.
Custard’s Last Stand is filled with the eggy-milky foods I love and hope you do, too.
Poof! Soufflé! contains a few of the simplest versions of this most-frightening (to some) dessert!
Cheesecake is self-explanatory. As any cheesecake lover knows.
I Can’t Take it Anymore! deals with those foods that some folks (like me, and maybe you) cannot tolerate in their diet, and what must be done to avoid them, yet continue to absorb their nutrients.
The Exquisite Lightness of Being has recipes that are low in calories, or low in carbohydrates, or low in sugars, or fats, or whatever else is too-too in your menu.
A Saucy Quench is a selection of sweet and spicy dessert sauces that can bring an ordinary dessert into the realm of fantastic, by virtue of its presence!
Bite Me is my category of snacks, both sweet and savory, but all meatless, for your between-meal pleasure.
How Sweet it Is! has a few of my favorite jellies, jams, preserves, conserves, butters and marmalades.
Wet Your Whistle with refreshing beverages to please every thirst!
Hmmm. I’ll Drink to That! leads you to the bar, where wines and other beverages are on tap, waiting for you to propose a toast!
Look for my new book, Eat Dessert First, at my online bookstore, ( – Today!
Eat Dessert First


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I’ve just completed my first cookbook! I’m thrilled to announce the publication of J’eat? It contains 399 pages of fun in the kitchen – recipes, information, meal-planning ideas, and humor. Here’s the cover!J'eat

I set up the book so it feeds you from the time you awake until the end of your day – whenever that may be. It includes recipes for breaking the fast, lunches, and dinners, along with information you might need regarding measurements, substitutions, condiments, herbs, etc., etc., etc.! I had a grand time putting my favorite recipes together for you in this rather tongue-in-cheek manner, and I know you’ll enjoy reading the cookbook.


Reading a cookbook? Does anyone actually read a cookbook? If you’ve never read one before, you will read this one – from cover to cover! Some of the recipes are more than a list of ingredients, followed by the usual directive information. You’ll be entertained by the recipes that jump out poetically from the page, the ones that beg to be read aloud, the playful and diverting instructions that entice you into the kitchen.

The only thing missing from this book is – desserts!

Desserts? Missing?

But that’s covered in the companion book – Eat Dessert First.

Eat Dessert First

A collection of 28 categories of delightful dinner finales, snacks, accompaniments, condiments, and beverages to satisfy every guest at your table – and that includes the little ones!

Jump over to my Lulu shop and pick up a copy of each of these new books today!

So, what’s for dinner?


Filed under Books, Domestic, Food, Informational

My Date with Robert Frost

Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t so precocious that someone of Robert Frost’s stature would deign to spend an evening in my company. This was no ordinary date.

I was in high school. He was world-famous, white-haired, and didn’t know I existed. But Mr. Robert Frost and I spent a night together, in a darkened room. I know I was enthralled. I can only hope he was pleased.

It happened in 1954, in Wellesley, Massachusetts. I walked up the hill to the Junior High School to meet him. I found a seat where I could see and hear his brilliance, and settled down to wait. In front of me was a podium. That’s all. Just a plain wooden podium. Nothing fancy. No carvings, no detailing. Just wood. A good, strong, New England podium.

The lights were on, and I could see that I wasn’t alone. Many people had come along. Perhaps they also had an engagement with the celebrated poet. No matter. I was determined that he should feel my presence. That another poet was being born.

The lights dimmed and finally I sat in the dark. Alone at last. No sound reached my ears, save my own breathing. With not a word, a tall, lanky man walked quickly into the room. He carried a shock of papers, nearly tumbling from his hands. A semblance of smile decorated his face. He dropped the papers on the podium and walked around to stand in front of it. I held my breath.

He began to speak; his words fell into me – some were familiar, some not – and all were warm. He carried on for nearly three hours. Never reaching for water. Never stopping for applause. Never tiring of me. For he spoke only to me. Directly to me.

Never once did he step back to the podium. Not to lean upon it. Not to peek at his papers. Not to remind himself of his words. He knew them, just as he knew me.

When he’d gone, I got home. I have no memory of walking the distance. But there I was. Home. With his words still flowing through me.
Robert Frost

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13 Days Left!

In just 13 days – on Tuesday, March 12 – two Ebooks will disappear from my production shelves!

Voice of the Mother and Witch Daze: a perennial pagan calendar are being withdrawn in electronic format in thirteen days!

That’s the bad news.

The good news is that the price both of these downloads have been reduced!


Voice of the Mother

Voice of the Mother

Voice of the Mother – a collection of loving messages received while meditating upon the Great Mother of us all – originally sold as a downloadable ePub book at $6.99, now reduced to $3.33 until March 12 – when it will disappear forever! That’s a reduction of over 50%!!! Start anywhere in this book and the words of loving spirit become part of your consciousness. Turn to these words in times of difficulty, stress, grief, fear or confusion. Her encompassing love will guide you through. (The print version of Voice of the Mother is available for $13.99, at the same link.)


The New Cover

Perennial Pagan Calendar

Witch Daze: a perennial pagan calendar – a listing of pagan history, celebrations, heroes, martyrs and friends – information for each day in every year, including Leap Year – originally sold as a downloadable ePub book at $9.99, now reduced to $5.55 until March 12 – when it, too, will disappear forever! A reduction of more than 40%!!! (The print version of Witch Daze: a perennial calendar is available for $27.00, at the same link.)



Both of these books will be re-issued – in print only. Neither will ever be offered as a download again. This is your best opportunity to capture these books in an electronic format for your e-Reader!

Visit my storefront today to order and download your copy of these books, or do it through the iBookStore on your iPhone!

Please email me with any questions at


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