I. The Month Ahead
Welcome to the first edition of The Wheel of the Year! This newsletter originally started life as a Facebook group. It was a lot of work and it limited me in sharing the amount and level of information I wanted. People don’t stop into a Facebook group to read an article; they are looking for a sound bite.
For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Toniann Astuto. I am an intuitive healer, artist, and writer. I am very passionate about holistic health and living an eco-friendly lifestyle. As a healer and a spiritual person, I feel a deep connection to the Earth. She is our mother and holds within her powerful wisdom. So many things about the modern world have led us to lose our connection to her and the natural world around us. So, my goal with this newsletter is to help us live in harmony with the flow of nature. There is profound peace and healing to be found there.
With that being said, let’s dive right into the month of November! Samhain is observed from sunset on October 31st to sunset on November 1st. It is the celebration that is the origin of Halloween. Samhain was first observed by Celtic Pagans. It marked the New Year, the end of summer, and the end of the harvest season. It has also been
known by other names. Some Celtic Wiccans and Druids call it Calan Gaeaf, Calan Gwaf, Kala-Goanv, or Nos Galan Gaeof. In Welsh, it is Nos Cyn Calan Gaual. It also is known as Oie Houney. Variant spellings of Samhain include Samain, Samuin, and Samhuinn.
When Christianity became the dominant religion throughout Europe, Samhain time took on Christian names and guises. All Saints' Day or All Hallows on November 1 commemorated Christian saints and martyrs. All Souls' Day on November 2 was a remembrance for all souls of the dead. With the coming of Christian Spaniards to Mexico, the indigenous customs of honoring the dead at this time of year mixed with Roman Catholicism and gave birth to the Day of the Dead, Dia de los Muertos. Samhain shares the ancient spiritual practice of remembering and paying respects to the Dead with these related religious holidays of Christianity. Halloween, short for All Hallow's Eve, is celebrated on and around October 31. Although occurring at the same time of year and having roots in end-of-harvest celebrations of the ancient past, Halloween and Samhain are not the same.
Samhain's long association with death and the Dead reflects nature's rhythms. In many places, Samhain coincides with the end of the growing season. At Samhain, the veil is thin between the world of the living and the realm of the Dead. For those who have lost loved ones in the past year, Samhain rituals can be an opportunity to bring closure to grieving.
There are many ways to celebrate Samhain
- Place an Autumnal wreath on your front door. Create displays with pumpkins, cornstalks, gourds, acorns, and apples. Set candles in cauldrons.
- Gather photographs, heirlooms, and other mementos of deceased family, friends, and companion creatures. Arrange them on a table, dresser, or other surface, along with several votive candles. Light the candles in their memory and thank them for being part of your life. Sit quietly and pay attention to what you experience. Note any messages you receive in your journal.
- Prepare a Samhain dinner. Include a place setting at your table or at a nearby altar for the dead. Add an offering of a bit of each drink consumed to the cup at that place setting, and to the plate, add a bit of each food served. Invite your ancestors and other deceased loved ones to come and dine with you. Dine in silence. After dinner, place the contents of the plate and cup for the dead outdoors in a natural location as an offering.
- Learn about family history. Contact one or more older relatives and ask them to share memories of family members now dead. Record them in some way and later write accounts of what they share. Or research your family tree using one of the various services available online.
- Visit and tend the gravesite of a loved one. Call to mind memories and consider ways the loved one continues to live on within you. Place an offering there such as fresh flowers, dried herbs, or a libation of water.
- Reflect on you and your life over the past year. Consider how you have grown, accomplishments, challenges, adventures, travels, and learnings. Meditate. Journal about your year in review, your meditation, and your reflections.
- Select an area of your home or life as a focus. Examine it. Re-organize it. Release what is no longer needed. Celebrate renewal and transformation.
- Have a bonfire outdoors, if possible, or use a fireplace (a small cauldron will due just as well for us city dwellers). Write down a habit that you wish to end and cast it into the Samhain flames as you imagine release.
- Using Tarot, Runes, or some other method of divination, seek and reflect on guidance for the year to come. Write a summary of your messages.
- Honor and call upon the Divine in one or more sacred forms associated with Samhain, such as the Crone Goddess and Horned God of Nature. Invite them to aid you in your remembrance of the Dead and in your understanding of the cycle of life, death, and rebirth. If you have lost loved ones in the past year, ask these Divine Ones to comfort and support you.
November marks the turn of the wheel that draws us inward toward contemplation and reflection on our journey. As we prepare for the growing darkness in the natural world, we are being asked to reflect on the shadows/darkness within. This is the time of the year ruled by the Dark Goddess or Crone. She asks us to examine our lives and to take stock of what we have and what we can let go off. She is the keeper of the realm between worlds, as such, now is also the time to work on strengthening our relationship with our spirit guides and ancestors. They are there to support us on our path, if we ask. November and December mark the time of rest, the Old God has passed and sleeps along with the trees, plants, and many animals, awaiting the promised rebirth to come.
II. Monthly Calendar
November 1, First Quarter Moon, and Day of the Banshees
First Quarter Moon
The First Quarter Moon is when half of the Moon’s face is lit up; whether it is the left or right side depends on where you are on Earth. For this reason, the First Quarter Moon is also called the Half Moon. It rises around midday and sets around midnight. At the First and Third Quarter, the Moon’s and the Sun’s gravitational pull on the oceans go in different directions producing the smallest difference between high and low tides known as neaps or neap tide. This phase of the Moon will last 7.4 days.
The First Quarter Moon is a symbol of strength and masculine or Yang energy. The Moon is moving toward its full brightness which symbolizes a time to act. The themes surrounding this Moon phase are challenges, decisions, and focus. This is not a time to rest. You need to harness the energy of the Moon as much as possible at this stage to move forward in your life and goals.
Day of the Banshees
The Banshee is a spirit – described as a woman, though not always, dressed in white, with unkempt hair and emitting a mournful wail that warns of the death of a family member. Many accounts link the spirits to families of the oldest Irish stock and the Milesians. Sometimes the banshee appears old and frail, other times the embodiment of a young member of the family who died in some tragic circumstance. Often, nobody seems to see it at all. Historians have traced the first stories of the Banshee to the 8th century which were based on a tradition where women sang a sorrowful song to lament someone’s death. These women were known as ‘keeners’ and since they accepted alcohol as payment, they were said to be sinners and punished by being doomed to become Banshees.
According to the mythology of the Banshee, if she is spotted, she will vanish into a cloud of mist and this action creates a noise like that of a bird flapping its wings. Legend says that Banshees don’t cause death; they only serve as a warning of it. In other legends, there are the angry and scary Banshee. During their lives, these women had reasons to hate their families and appear as distorted and frightening apparitions filled with hatred. Rather than appearing to warn a family member, these Banshees are celebrating the future demise of someone they loathed!
As with all mythological stories and figures, the Banshee also appears in Scottish, Welsh, Norse and even American folklore in many different forms and doing many different death related things. Occasionally she is also known as the ‘Bean Chaointe’, or ‘crying woman’. She is known in Ireland by many names: Hag of the Mist, Little Washerwoman and Hag of the Black Head among others. The name ‘banshee’ is derived from the Old Irish for ‘woman of the fairy mound’. Her name is connected to the various mounds of earth dotted around the Irish countryside known as tumuli. These tumuli traditionally covered a grave or several graves and were said to be home to spirits of the dead.
For more on the Banshee check out W.B. Yeat’s Fairy and Folklore of the Irish Peasantry.
November 8, Full Beaver Moon, Total Lunar Eclipse, and Baba Yaga Feast Day
The Beaver Full Moon
According to The Old Farmer’s Almanac, November’s full moon is called the Beaver Full Moon because this is the time when beavers finish their preparations for the winter and retreat into hibernation. During the time of the fur trade in North America, it was also the season to trap beavers for their thick, winter-ready pelts. It has also been called the Full Frost Moon. The Beaver Moon has its own theme of preparation for winter. This is a time to seek security and safety, both physically and emotionally.
The Beaver Moon settles at its fullest point in Taurus, bringing with it powerful, determined energy, but with that the potential for fallouts between those of us with already strong personalities. Taurus is known to be tough and grounded, albeit a bit stubborn (hence the saying “stubborn as a bull”). That personality will influence the Full Moon this month and, while the steadfast power of Taurus should leave us feeling strengthened, we need to be mindful of becoming inflexible.
Overall, during this Beaver Moon, we are moving toward an appreciation of basic values, being calm, and feeling safe and secure. The spirit of the Beaver helps people understand the dynamics of teamwork and to appreciate everyone’s talents and. He is a builder of the mind, body, and soul and symbolizes creativity, creation, cooperation, persistence, and harmony. We are being called here to let go of drama and being overly materialistic.
Total Lunar Eclipse
This eclipse is visible from North America, although the Moon will be setting during the eclipse for viewers in the eastern regions. The Moon will enter the penumbra at 3:01 AM EST (12:01 AM PST) and leave it at 8:58 AM EST (5:58 AM PST). An eclipse never comes alone! A solar eclipse always occurs about two weeks before or after a lunar eclipse. Usually, there are two eclipses in a row, but other times, there are three during the same eclipse season.
Baba Yaga Feast Day
Baba Yaga’s story first appeared in a Russian Grammar book in 1755 but her origins are much older and were derived from ancient oral folktales that were later built upon and reconstructed. Her name is a variation of grandmother in Eastern Slavic languages. She appears in stories as an ancient wise women or crone that lives in a magical hut deep in the forest. Her house is depicted as having skinny chicken legs that enable it to run and is surrounded by fence posts made from human bones and adorned with skulls. She can help or harm depending on how she is approached.
Baba Yaga embodies the wild woman archetype. She is a Dark Goddess that symbolizes the death of the ego which is needed to achieve true wisdom or rebirth to a new life. As the witch in the woods, she is associated with nature spirits who inhabit the borderlands (the place between life and death). She is often portrayed as a hag who rides a mortar and pestle, which are traditional symbols of creation and destruction, and carries a silver birch broom, a symbol of spiritual cleansing. As a guardian of the realm between worlds and the keeper of sacred knowledge, Baba Yaga demands respect.
One of the ways in which you can work with her is to set up an altar as a way of inviting her into your home as an honored guest. Below are some of the things that your altar should include:
- An altar cloth of red (fire/life force), black (earth), or green (nature)
- An image of Baba Yaga
- A beeswax candle (beeswax was sacred to the Slavic people)
- Bread and salt (which were traditional meal offerings for honored guests)
- Bones, specifically chicken bones
- Elements from nature: greenery, stones, etc.
You can use this altar to get know Baba Yaga. Simply light a candle and meditate on her. Open to the wisdom that she can impart on you. Other traditional ways to celebrate the Feast Day of Baba Yaga is with a potluck dinner. Guests should bring a dish that is traditional to their culture. It is also common to give offerings of vodka and food to Baba Yaga.
For more information on Baba Yaga check out Madame Pomita’s Baba Yaga’s Book of Witchcraft, Sibelan Forrester and Jack Zipe’s The Wild Witch of the East in Russian Fairy Tales, and Natalie Clarke’s Pagan Portals: Baba Yaga, Slavic Earth Goddess.
November 11, Feast of the Lunatishees
The Lunatishee, in Celtic mythology, are faeries that worship the Moon (Luna=Moon/Shee=Fae). They make their homes in the Blackthorn tree, which is why on this day, one should never cut a stick from one. With it’s five petalled flower, reminiscent of a Pentagram, the Blackthorn tree is associated with the Goddess in her darker aspects, such as Ceridwen and Cailleach. Cailleach is the Faerie Queen of Winter who uses her Blackthorn staff to blast the land of all life after Samhain.
The Lunatishee are closely associated with the Moon and Moonstone. It is said that they can be seen dancing around Blackthorn trees at midnight during a Full Moon. But be careful not to get too close; they are believed to despise humans for harvesting the Blackthorn berries (Sloes) to make preserves and cutting its wood to make walking sticks (traditional Irish Shillelaghs). They will take any chance they get to pinch human skin with their long, thornlike fingers.
In modern times, this has become a day to honor the Fae. The Fae by nature are fiercely protective, none more so than the Lunatishee. They remind us of the need to protect ourselves, our home, and our personal energies. To honor these beings, leave offerings under a thorn tree.
For more information, check out W.Y. Evans-Wentz’s The Fairy Faith in Celtic Countries, Ann Moura’s Grimoire for the Green Witch: A Complete Book of Shadows, and the artwork of Brian Froud.
November 16, Last Quarter Moon, and Hecate Night
Last Quarter Moon
The Moon looks like its half illuminated from the perspective of Earth, but really, you’re seeing half of the half of the Moon that’s illuminated by the Sun ― or a quarter. A Last Quarter Moon, also known as a Third Quarter Moon, rises around midnight and sets around noon. This is the time you should be completing your tasks and goals. It's time to finish up what you've been wanting to do so you can prepare new goals. You've been working your way to the finish line since the beginning of the month, it's time to finish.
This is also a great time to perform cleansing rituals for your spiritual being and for your home. While they can be performed at any time, they work best during the Last Quarter Moon. You can remove any bad energy in your household by doing a cleansing with Sage, Palo Santo, Frankincense, or Myrrh. The Last Quarter Moon is a time when you can figure out what you don’t need in your life and remove any unwanted feelings or negative energy.
Hekate (also spelled ‘Hecate’) is the Greek Goddess associated with magic, witchcraft, necromancy, the underworld, and childbirth. She is the goddess of the three paths, goddess of the crossroads, both physical and spiritual. As a Triple Goddess, Hekate rules the realms of Earth, Sea, and Sky, the conjunction of past, present, and future, as well as the Moon, Earth, and Underworld.
Like Baba Yaga, Hekate is considered by many as the protectress of the oppressed, the marginalized, and witches. As the Goddess of the in-between, the liminal spaces, the boundaries, and the transitional times of life including birth and death, she carries a torch for illumination. This illumination is not just of the dark, but of our personal pathways, especially our shadow side, guiding us through our choices at the crossroads and the path we eventually choose. Hekate’s time is that of the Dark Moon, the time of release and renewal.
This is a traditional night to perform an offering to Hecate. Take food and wine, after sunset, to a crossroads. Some traditional foods to include are: honey, crescent shaped bread, eggs, garlic, fish, and mushrooms. Set the meal out but do not eat any of the food. Next pour a glass of wine and, after taking a sip, offer the rest to Hecate and her dogs. Burn cedar and ask for Hecate’s blessings. Make your invocation and petition, this is a good time to ask for her assistance to release something from your life, and then walk away without looking back. Encountering or hearing a dog is an indication that your petition has been heard by Hekate and her sacred dogs. On this night, it is good to acknowledge Hekate’s strength. Recognize her as the ultimate protector of all realms of existence.
November 23, New Moon
This phase is named as such because it starts a new lunar cycle. At this time, the Sun and Moon are in conjunction, meaning that they are closest together in the sky, on the same side of Earth. From our perspective, the Moon appears totally dark: We cannot usually see it because we are facing the Moon’s shadowed side, which does not receive any direct sunlight. But if we were to travel to the other side of the Moon, the part that faces the Sun, it would be totally illuminated. The New Moon always rises near sunrise even though it will not be visible to the naked eye. A day or two after each month’s New Moon, a very slim crescent moon always becomes visible in the west after sunset. It may appear brighter than usual. And seven days after the New Moon, the waxing Moon reaches its First Quarter stage when it’s 50% illuminated.
The New Moon phase is a more introspective time and represents new beginnings as we plant seeds for the future. It's a good time to set clear intentions for the month ahead, clarify your goals, start new projects, and acknowledge your growth since the previous new moon. November’s New Moon is in Sagittarius which is a mutable sign meaning that it shakes loose one energy in preparation for what’s next. It’s a sign in between seasons. It’s no longer fall but it’s not quite winter. Mutable signs want to move things about. They were also called double-bodied signs and with Sadge this is quite literal. Half-horse-half-human, the symbol for this sign is a centaur and therefore moves in multiple ways. The half that is horse has stamina for days. Perhaps we could say that there is a mad dash kind of quality to the sign. Rushing through the details, Sagittarius might rely on over-exaggerations to make its point. Just try telling a Sagittarius to calm down.
You can use this new moon to stretch your legs (Sadge rules them), get on your horse (or equivalent), and dive fearlessly into a grand new adventure. You can use this new moon to make a vision board of the dreams that you hold for your life, all the places you wish to visit (both inner and outer) and what you wish to see come to fruition. You can also use this new moon to see where your greatest desire intersects with the world’s greatest need and then move steadily in that direction.
November 30, First Quarter Moon
This is the second First Quarter Moon of the month. As mentioned previously, this is the time to act, and do the necessary work. This is also a good time to launch new projects, implement healthy habits, and push yourself to foster the intentions you’ve set during the New Moon and actualize your dreams.
III. Seasonal Foods and Recipes
Autumn is my favorite time of year for countless reasons, one being the fruits and vegetables that are in season. Those who know me, know that cooking is not one of my favorite tasks. But I have found that it doesn’t take much work to make delicious and healthy dishes with these seasonal ingredients.
What foods are in season in November?
- A variety of squash (Acorn, Butternut, Kombucha, Spaghetti, and Delicate)
- Porcini mushrooms
- Prickly pears
- Brussel sprouts
- Sweet potatoes
- Root vegetables (Parsnips, Turnips, and Beets)
- A variety of nuts (Walnuts, Almonds, and Pecans)
Butternut Squash Soup
- 2 cups vegetable or chicken stock
- 4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
- 1 medium carrot, peeled and roughly chopped
- 2 apples, cored and roughly chopped (Granny Smith or Gala apples work best)
- 1 medium butternut squash (about 3-4 lbs.), peeled, seeded, and diced *You can buy butternut squash already peeled, seeded, and diced which is a time saver but a bit more expensive
- 1 white onion, peeled and roughly chopped
- 1 sprig fresh sage or ½ tsp. dried
- ½ tsp. salt
- ½ tsp. black pepper
- 1/8 tsp. ginger
- ½ tsp. ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp. ground nutmeg
- ½ cup unsweetened coconut, almond, or oat milk
- Add stock, garlic, carrot, apple, butternut squash, sage, onion, salt, pepper, ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg to a large stockpot. Toss to combine.
- Cook on medium-high until the mixture reaches a simmer. Then cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer for 20-30 minutes until the vegetables are fork tender.
- Stir in the milk.
- Use an immersion blender to puree the soup until smooth. *You could use a traditional blender, just be careful not to fill it too full.
- Serve with any garnishes you want. I like to use pumpkin seeds.
Apple Cider Pork Chops
- 4 center-cut pork chops
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 3 tbs. canola oil
- 1 ½ cups apple cider
- 2 tbsp. packed brown sugar
- 1 tbsp. whole grain mustard
- Pat the pork chops dry with a paper towel, sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper.
- In a skillet, heat the canola oil over medium-high heat until shimmering.
- Cook the pork chops for about 4 minutes on each side, or until golden brown, and remove from the skillet.
- In the same skillet, add the apple cider and brown sugar, cook to a thick, syrupy glaze and reduced by about half.
- Stir in the whole grain mustard and add more salt and pepper, if needed.
- Pour the glaze over the pork chops and serve.
Turmeric Mashed Potatoes
- 2 large sweet potatoes, cut into chunks
- 1 tbsp. olive oil
- 1-2 tsp. turmeric
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
- 2 cups vegetable or chicken broth
- In a skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat.
- Add in the sweet potatoes and turmeric, tossing to coat.
- Then add the garlic and broth.
- Simmer until the potatoes are soft and the liquid is almost all absorbed.
- Transfer to a small bowl and mash.
- Season with salt and pepper and any other garnishes you might want. At this point, you could add a touch of cream, if desired.
Roasted Brussel Sprouts
- 1 Lb. Brussel sprouts, halves
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees
- Place all of the ingredients in a bowl and toss to coat. Then pour them onto a baking pan.
- Roast for 25-35 minutes depending on how charred you want the outside of the Brussel sprouts to be
Almond Cranberry Protein Bars
- 2 cups oats
- ½ cup raw sunflower seeds
- 1 cup raw almonds, roughly chopped
- 1 cup protein powder (I like to use DoTerra’s Vanilla Protein Powder)
- ¼ cup dried cranberries
- ¼ cup preferred sweetener (try honey, maple syrup, or agave nectar)
- ¼ cup unsweetened apple sauce
-1 tsp. vanilla
- Pinch of sea salt
- 1–2 drops cinnamon essential oil (Make sure that any essential oils you use are food safe before cooking with them. You could also substitute the essential oil with cinnamon extract).
- Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl and stir.
- In a small pot, combine the wet ingredients and gently warm on the stove until well combined (normally about two minutes).
- Add the wet ingredients to the bowl of dry ingredients and stir to combine.
- Place baking paper into a rectangle pan.
- Add the mixture on top of the baking paper and flatten down, pressing to the edge of the pan.
- Refrigerate for an hour to set, then remove and cut into bars and store them in the fridge until you’re ready to eat.
Cinnamon Apple Chips
- 7–8 medium sized apples
- 1 tbsp. sugar or sweetener of choice
- 6 drops Cinnamon Bark essential oil or cinnamon extract
- Preheat oven to 250 degrees.
- Put baking paper onto two baking trays.
- Combine sugar and essential oil in small bowl. Stir to combine
- Slice apples into thin slices.
- Place apples onto baking paper covered baking trays in single layer.
- Sprinkle apple slices with Cinnamon essential oil sugar mixture.
- Place baking trays in preheated oven for 45 minutes. Halfway through, flip apples over.
- When edges of apples are curled, take out of oven and place on wire rack until cooled and crispy.
Apple Crisp (Vegan and GF)
- 8 medium-large apples (4 tart (like granny smith), 4 sweet (like honey crisp) // organic when possible)
- 1 lemon, juiced (1 lemon yields ~ 2 Tbsp or 30 ml)
- 2/3 cup coconut sugar (or sub organic cane sugar)
- 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 3 Tbsp arrowroot starch or cornstarch (for thickening)
- 1/4 cup fresh apple juice (or cider)
- ½ tsp nutmeg
- 1 cup gluten-free rolled oats
- 1/2 cup almond meal (almond flour)
- 1/2 cup gluten free flour (King Arthur if available)
- 1/2 cup coconut sugar (or sub organic cane sugar)
- 1/2 cup muscovado sugar (or sub organic brown sugar)
- 1/2 cup pecans (roughly chopped) optional
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 cup melted coconut oil or olive oil (or mix the two 1/2, 1/2)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (176 C).
- Peel apples, quarter, remove cores, and use a paring knife to thinly slice lengthwise
- Add to a large mixing bowl and top with remaining filling ingredients. Toss to combine. Add to a 9x13 (or similar size) baking dish.
- Add all topping ingredients to a bowl. Stir to combine, then use fingers to break down any clumps of muscovado sugar. Pour over apples in an even layer.
- Bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour (uncovered) or until the filling is bubbly, the apples are very fork tender (especially in the center of the dish), and the topping is deep golden brown.
- Let rest at least 30 minutes before serving.
- Best when fresh, though leftovers keep covered in the refrigerator up to 3 days, or in the freezer up to 1 month. Reheat in the microwave or in a 350-degree F (176 C) oven until warmed through.
IV. Seasonal Tips: Freezing Tips
With food prices rising daily, buying in season produce (which is usually cheapest) and then freezing offers one way to save on food bills. Buying in bulk from box stores can also be more cost effective. And while most foods will last forever at 0 degrees, that doesn’t mean that their taste and quality will remain the same. Below are some tips on what to freeze and not to freeze and the best ways to do so safely and effectively.
• Foods that shouldn’t be frozen include eggs in shells and food in cans. Pressurized liquids also shouldn’t be frozen, as they can expand and burst.
• Freeze at 0°F (-18°C). To retain vitamin content, color, flavor, and texture, freeze items at peak freshness and store at 0°F or lower. Food stored constantly at 0°F will always be safe to thaw and eat; only quality suffers with lengthy freezer storage. (However, freshness and quality at the time of freezing will affect the condition of frozen foods.)
• Label foods for easy identification. Write the food name and date on containers or bags. Trust me, don’t skip this step!
• Freeze individually. To prevent sticking, spread food to be frozen (berries, hamburgers, cookies, etc.) on a cookie sheet and freeze until solid. Then place in plastic bags and into the freezer. Freezer burn happens when food isn’t stored properly in the freezer, causing moisture to escape and turn into ice crystals. Although the food is still edible, this coating of ice “burns” the food, causing it to have a drier texture and less flavor. Avoid freezer burn (ice crystals) by using plastic freezer bags instead of storage containers.
• Organize your freezer by food. Arrange the contents of the freezer by food category to make things easier to find and to minimize the time the freezer door is open.
• Leave the freezer be. If power is interrupted or if the freezer is not operating normally, do not open the freezer door unless necessary. Food in a loaded freezer will usually stay frozen for up to 2 days.
• When freezing liquids or foods with liquid, be sure to leave space in the container for expansion.
• When freezing meals, remember that a quart holds four servings, and a pint holds two servings.
Effects of Freezing:
If frozen for too long, the quality of some foods will suffer. Here are some examples:
• Dairy products - texture will suffer and it may separate or curdle
• Crumb toppings - will become soggy
• Fried foods - may become rancid
• Lettuce, cabbage, radishes, green onions, celery - will become mushy
• Sauces or soups heavy in fat - may separate or curdle
• Whipping cream - may not re-whip
If any food changes from its original color, this doesn’t mean that the food is unsafe to eat, but it’s a sign that it will not necessarily taste the same or it will lack flavor.
Check out The Old Farmer’s Almanac for a list of products and how long they can remain frozen before use.
The colder months of the year lend themselves to dishes that can easily be doubled, like chilis and soups. I would suggest not freezing any cream or cheese-based soups as the consistency will change. You could also leave the dairy out if you intend to freeze it. For example, if you make a double portion of the butternut squash soup, you could easily leave out the cream which is added at the end and freeze. Then just add the cream portion when reheating. Leftover portions can be frozen and used for quick meals on a busy day. Cookie dough is another recipe that can be doubled and frozen so that is available for quick use.
For those who are interested in astronomy more than astrology and would like further information, I would suggest checking out The Old Farmer’s Almanac (https://www.almanac.com). I like to go old school and order a printed volume every year.
If you are interested in learning more about me and the other services that I offer, you can check out my website www.nelumjourneytowardwellness.com.
The number of books and articles that I read could be daunting, so I am just going to list a few books that I consulted when writing this month’s newsletter:
LeFae, Phoenix. What is Remembered Lives: Developing Relationships with Deities, Ancestors and the Fae.
Starhawk. The Earth Path: Grounding Your Spirit in the Rhythms of Nature.
Villiodo, Alberto. The Heart of the Shaman: Stories and Practices of the Luminous Warrior.
Inanna’s Ascent: Reclaiming Female Power. A Girl God Anthology.
VI. Final Thoughts
Thank you for subscribing to this newsletter. Moving forward, I would welcome any comments or suggestions that you might have as to what information you would like to see included in future issues. May your month ahead be a blessed one and may the abundance of this season be yours. So be it.
I would love to hear anyone's comments or critiques about this first newsletter so as I move forward I can change things around as needed.