Guest Author - Melicia CrowSpirit
This is somethings you can serve during the feast and also something for an offering and something to drink for the ritual.
I have included this mulled cider with spices recipe and the cookies of the dead as a suggestion for an offering and beverage for your ritual.
I have a few recipes to add here for your ritual that one can make ahead of time so that it will be ready for the ritual. The cider may be a bit on the chilled side when you are ready to drink it. If you choose not to use the cider recipe then you can use sparkling cider or even just plain cider.
MULLED CIDER WITH SPICES
4-6 cups apple cider
2 sticks cinnamon
In a large saucepan, heat cider, but do not boil. Add the cloves and cinnamon sticks while cider is heating. Serve in mugs, glass chalices or in a big cauldron.
You are going to have cake in your ritual as an offering, why not try these cookies?
Remember our loved ones that passed by making the cookies of the dead. Using cookie cutters to make these cookies into shapes of people represent our loved ones.
Adding the herb rosemary to the dough to symbolizes the remembering of our loved ones that have passed. Some of the cookies can be ate while telling stories about our loved ones and this reminds us that we still have access to their strengths. Leaving the cookies outside around the bonfire is an offering to the dead in remembrance of them.
These cookies, one could use in the ritual also, which is what we are going to do with them. You will need a cookie for each person who is going to be in circle with you or you can break them up into pieces and give each person a piece. This is your choice.
Cookies of the Dead
1 ½ cups powdered sugar
1 cups butter or margarine (softened)
2 teaspoons of vanilla
1 teaspoon almond extract
2 ½ cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon of baking soda
1 teaspoon of cream of tartar
1 ½ Tablespoons of chopped rosemary
Heat oven 375 degrees. In a large bowl beat sugar, butter, egg, vanilla, almond extract, and rosemary until creamy. In a separate bowl, sift flour, baking soda, and cream of tartar. Fold flour mixture into sugar mixture. Beat until dough forms and refrigerate for three hours. Divide dough into halves. Roll out one portion to 3/16 of an inch on a floured surface. Cut out with gingerbread women or men cutters and place on an un-greased cookie sheet. Repeat rolling and cutting with second portion. Bake for 5-7 minutes leave them as offerings to the Goddess and her consort. They may come up next year and you might be able to use them to replace the ones that you have used this year.
Once you have made your cookies, placed them on a plate, and have the cider ready to put into two chalices then you are ready to start thinking about your ritual. I have written a simple ritual here and you can add your own touches to make it feel better to you or if you wish you might use it as it is.
Foods for the Feast ….
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
1 roasting hen or fryer chicken (whichever you prefer. This will feed about 2 to 3 adults)
Salt and pepper or season salt to taste
4 Tablespoons of Rosemary
Wash the hen or chicken inside and out with water making sure that you have removed the package of giblets and the neck. I do not use the neck for anything so you can through it away or whatever you want to do with it.
Spray the wire rack with the cooking spray. You will need to place a wire rack in the bottom of a Dutch oven or stew pot or something that you are going to be able to cover the chicken or hen with a lid with it sitting on the wire rack. Make sure that you spray the pan or pot with the cooking spray. This makes for easy clean up.
I usually lay the giblets in the bottom under the rack. I take the rosemary and put it inside the chicken. Then take about a cup of water, put in the bottom of the Dutch oven, and then add the chicken or hen to the wire rack. Use either the salt and pepper or the season salt to sprinkle on the outside or the chicken to taste. Then put the chicken in the oven with the lid on. Check often so that it will not burn but you want the chicken skin to be brown and the chicken done.
Once you have made sure that your chicken is done is to stick a fork in it. The chicken is not finished cooking if when you stick a fork in it and the juice has blood in it. It is finished if the juice runes clear. The way to achieve the browning of the chicken skin is take the lid off and let the chicken sit in the over at the same temperature and check often until it is golden brown. What I do is after checking the chicken by sticking it with a fork. Make sure to add water when you check your chicken if there is no water in the bottom of your Dutch oven or whatever you are cooking the chicken in. The water helps keep your chicken moist. If your oven is big, enough you may be able to cook both the acorn squash (next recipe) and the chicken at the same time bit the acorn squash will take less time so you will have to gage your time so that they will be done at the same time.
Acorn squash stuffed with wild rice
1 squash per 2 people
1 ½ cups rice stuffing per squash
Bake the squash halves in a 375° oven, upside down in a pan with a little water for 20 minutes. Turn them right side up and finish for 10 minutes more, until tender but not dried out. Spread some butter over the inside of the squash.
Wild rice or rice of your choice; about 1cup of rice pre squash
1 can of condensed cream of mushroom soup
1 small can of mushrooms
Prepare rice as directed on the box. Add a can of unmixed cream of mushroom soup to the rice. Stuff the squash cavity full, packing it down and press buttered breadcrumbs on it. Heat the squash thoroughly in oven over hot water for about 10 minutes. Pass easy cheese sauce with it.
Easy cheese sauce:
1 can of Campbell’s cheddar cheese soup
Milk – just enough to make a thick soup
Cheese sauce: warm cheese soup and milk.
Bread of the Dead
Offer some to your loved ones that have passed. Offering this to them is so they can breathe in its essence and be nourished. This beard is also to ground you after the Ritual you just preformed.
2 cups of flour
2 teaspoons of baking powder
2 Tablespoon of sugar
¼ teaspoon of salt
2/3 cup of milk
¼ cup of vegetable oil
Mix all of the above until smooth. Heat the oven to 400 degrees and grease a cookie sheet. Make
into a small loaf. Place dough on cookie sheet and add topping.
¼ cup brown sugar
1 Tablespoon flour
1 teaspoon Ground cinnamon
1 Tablespoon melted butter
Mix together brown sugar, flour, cinnamon and melted butter for the topping. Sprinkle topping on dough and bake for 20 to 25 minutes.
With all this good food, you may be wondering what you will use to wash it down. Well I have several different choices…. Sparkling cider, apple cider or spiced apple cider.
Well if you do not feel like making anything you can always have a store bought pumpkin pie with some whipped cream or some apple pie with that vanilla ice cream on the side. There is not a thing wrong with using store bought.
However, for those who want to bake to their heart’s content there is a recipe here for pumpkin cheesecake. You can serve the cheesecake with a nice coffee.
1 8oz can Pumpkin solid or 2 cups fresh pureed pumpkin
1 can sweetened condensed milk
pumpkin pie spice to taste (nutmeg, allspice, clove)
3 pkgs. of cream cheese (8oz.) room temp
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup sugar
2 cups sour cream
Pre-Heat the oven to 375F. Beat cheese until fluffy and smooth. Beat in eggs one at a time. Fold in vanilla and sour cream with a rubber spatula. In a separate bowl, blend pumpkin, milk, and spices with wire whip. Add cheese mixture to pumpkin & blend together until creamy. Pour into graham cracker crust. Bake for 50 min. in a spring-form cheesecake pan or bake 60 minutes in a deep-dish pie pan. Once your cheesecake is done, you can let it cool and serve with a dollop of whip cream and a nice cup of your favorite coffee.
I hope that this has helped you to feel the touch of the Goddess in your celebration of Samhain.