Beltane is one of the most sacred days of the year. Of course this calls for a feast! When I was compiling these recipes and thinking about my own celebration, three themes came to mind. This first is the season and what is going to be in supermarkets now and what’s seasonally appropriate. The second is spice and heat as this is a holiday about passion and love. Along those lines, I’ve also included several traditional aphrodisiacs in this menu.
- Strawberry and Spinach Salad: The basics are a large box of fresh spinach leaves (I prefer baby spinach or this), half a pint of strawberries (quartered), half a container of walnuts, a block of bleu cheese cubed, and either homemade or bottled poppyseed dressing. But this is an adaptable recipe. You could add almonds, grapes, cucumbers, sprouts, you name it.
- Spring Veggie Stir Fry: Asparagus, onions, carrots, peas, and broccoli. Use what you want and cook the vegetables with a little olive oil, garlic, and ginger until they’re tender. Add soy sauce or stir fry sauce as well as a pinch of red pepper flakes for some heat and serve over jasmine rice.
- Hamburgers: Beltane is probably the first sabat for which the Oven Coven ventures outside. So why not fire up the barbeque! Offer your guests a wide variety of meats, veggie burgers, and toppings.
- Mushrooms: A nod to the fae friends we also honor at this time. Cut up some raw ones or make spicy stuffed mushroom caps (just substitute spicy for sweet sausage in this recipe).
- Green Beans: Steamed with a little sea salt sprinkled over them for an easy side dish.
- Fondue: An easy way to make chocolate fondue is to melt half a cup of heavy cream and a large bag of chocolate chips in a double boiler. You could also rent a fondue fountain, especially if you are having a large party. To accompany, provide strawberries, apples, grapes, pretzels, and melon.
- Cakes and Ale: Bannock is the traditional cake for Beltane celebrations. Something slightly less traditional, but completely appropriate since we are celebrating the union of the God and Goddess, is champagne or sparkling cider for the ale.
© Ariadne Woods
Imbolc, Brigid’s Day, or Candlemas is the season of coming spring, new beginnings, and cleansing. This is the time of year in which the Goddess is recovering from the God’s birth, who is growing a little bigger and stronger every day. The days are lengthening, even as we weather some of the coldest moments of the year. Milk products, such as cheese and cream, are the center of this feast. For vegan practitioners, research the best brands of soy milk and cheese to create variations of these recipes.
- Spinach, Artichoke, and Cheese Dip: A classic bar food, this spread incorporates many different forms of cheeses, making it a perfect starter for this time of you. Use garlic bread or tortilla chips to scoop.
- Curried Lamb: This is the time of year when new life comes to Earth. Lamb is one of the strongest symbols of this phenomenon. I like this particular recipe because it is a lot of taste with only a few ingredients.
- Quesadillas: For the vegetarians in the room, let them make their own quesadillas. Provide green onions, cooked bacon (for those who don’t enjoy lamb), guacamole, salsa, and plenty of cheese.
- Spiced Carrots: Carrots are one of the best vegetables for winter because they have a long shelf life. For this recipe, you’ll need a bag of carrots, an orange, lemon juice, olive oil, cumin, ginger, 1 clove of minced garlic, parsley, salt, and pepper. Put a small pot of water to boil, adding a little zest from the orange so the veggies will keep their color. Slice the carrots in quarter-inch rounds. Place in boiling water and cook until desired consistency. Meanwhile, whisk the juice from the orange, a tsp of lemon juice, a big drizzle of olive oil, cumin, salt, and pepper together. Drain the carrots and toss in dressing. Top with herbs.
- Baked Potatoes: Preheat the oven to 400 Degrees F. Wash and fork the potatoes. Lightly oil and salt the skins and wrap the spud in aluminum foil. Place in oven and bake for 1 hour. Top with sour cream and chives.
- Creme Brulee: This is my all time favorite dessert. The caramelized sugar on the top of this creamy custard make it a perfect ending to this fire festival’s feast.
- Honey Bees: This cocktail was a happy accident one night while I was in college. Put 1 shot of Jack Daniel’s Honey Whiskey in a glass. Top it with chilled ginger ale and enjoy!
- Cakes and Ale: While a Honey Bee is an option for ritual, milk and mead are appropriate choices as well. For cakes it would depend on the ale since there are so many sweet options for this sabat. If you want something savory buy or make croissants. If you decide to use a sweet option, this honey cake recipe is perfect.
For more recipes, check out these resources from Pagan and Wicca About.com and The Celtic Connection.
© Ariadne Woods
Yule can be one of the best sabats. And the most stressful. Lots of family and friends and parties. So when it comes to your Yule feast, perhaps easy is the way to go. With an exception of the cake, all of these recipes are low commitment and some can be made a head of time. Try combining them with old, family traditions for a meaningful Yuletude feast!
- World’s Easiest Appetizer: I know dairy products are more of a Imbolc thing, but slicing a good block of cheese will please almost everyone. Plate it with nice crackers and grapes and your golden! Some suggestions: brie, cheddar, and gouda.
- Roasted Tomato Caprese Salad: I made this for my mom’s holiday party a few years ago. It was so tasty and elegant. A big crowd pleaser. Plus, the tomatoes don’t have to be perfect because you’re roasting them.
- Guinness Stew over Mashed Potatoes: Cut 2 lbs. roasting beef into bite sized chunks. Coat them in flour and brown with a little olive oil in a dutch oven (in batches if need be). Set meat aside. Add a little more oil to the pan, then 1 diced onion, half a bag of carrots diced, half a head of celery diced, a lot of thyme, and a bay leaf. After five minutes of cooking, add 3 cloves of minced garlic. Cook for one minute, then set veggies aside. Deglaize the pan with 1 can of Guinness, scraping the bits off the bottom of the dutch oven as the alcohol cooks off. Add 3 cups of beef stock, a few tablespoons of tomato paste, and 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce. Add back into the dutch oven the beef and veggie mixture. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium low, cover, and let cook for 2+ hours, stirring occasionally. About forty minutes before the stew is done, peel, dice, and boil a 5 lb bag of potatoes. While they are cooking, heat some milk, sour creme, butter, salt, pepper, and minced garlic in a saucepan. Drain potatoes when they’re fork tender and mash with milk mixture. To serve, plate potatoes and cover with stew.
- Pan Fried Green Beans: Trim the ends from a bag of green beans. If you want, chop up a shallot or two as well. In a little olive oil, fry the beans and shallots at a medium heat until the skin gets wrinkly. Add two cloves of garlic, cook for another minute, then done!
- Applesauce: You can make your own. Or buy it. But it goes with nearly any meal and kids love it.
- Bouche de Noel: It’s a cake. That looks like a Yule log. Nothing can be more perfect.
- Eggnog: While I am definitely more of a Wassail kind of girl (see my Samahin recipes for the Witch’s Brew), eggnog is a traditional holiday classic.
- Ritual Cakes and Ale: Eggnog or Wassail for the ale and holiday cookies for the cakes. I like using a goodie that someone gave me because it brings good energy into the circle.
© Ariadne Woods
Samhain is a great time of year to get friends together for some feasting and fun. Apples and pumpkins are the stars of this meal, as well as foods that are a little sweet. Enjoy!
- Witches Brew: There are tons of mulled cider recipes (this one comes courtesy of CharmingPixieFlora). Tip: I know some people like having pieces of apple or spices in the drink, but this is not great for kids. And if you want to spike it for adults, I recommend a nice dark rum.
- Pan de Muertos: A traditional Mexican recipe to celebrate the Day of the Dead. You can also usually find this at your local bakery, too.
- Pumpkin Dip: My friend taught me how to make this a few years ago. It is tasty and addicting! I like to serve it with apple slices and pretzels.
- Roasted Pork with Apples: Easy, yet elegant enough for a full Samhain feast. I like to include an apple recipe in my meals this time of year because of their connection to the afterlife. The Isle of Apples is one of the many names given to the transition space between this life and the next.
- French Green Lentils: Great for the vegetarians in the group. Fill a pot with water, add a handful of salt and a bay leaf, and bring to a boil. Add 1 cup of French green lentils, 1 diced potato, 1 diced sweet potato, and 1 diced carrot. Bring back to boil, and then to a simmer. Leave alone for a half hour. While the veggies are cooking, make a simple vinaigrette with red wine vinegar, mustard, cumin, salt, pepper, and olive oil. Set aside. Two minutes before the cooking is done, add a cup of froze pearl onions to the vegetable mixture. Drain the veggies, remove the bay leaf, and combine with sauce. Enjoy!
- Squash Mash: Roast any squash (cut in half and seeds removed) at 350 degrees Fahrenheit until fork tender. Remove skin and mash with a little butter and salt and pepper. Also works well with sweet potatoes.
- Witches Hats: There are tons of cutesy Halloween deserts out there. Find one that will enchant your guests.
- Trick or Treat Ideas: NEVER be the lame house that gives out dental floss. If you have time, making caramel apples or cookies are a fantastic option. And you can never go wrong buying half a dozen bags of chocolate!
© Ariadne Woods
The Summer Solstice is coming up fast. It’s on a Friday night, so why not host a feast! Here are a couple of tasty recipes to get you started.
- Roasted or Grilled Veggies: Asparagus, broccoli, peppers, even early squash drizzled with olive oil, salt, and pepper. 350 degree F oven for 20 minutes or so. If you want to step them up, add a couple cloves of garlic to the roasting pan or marinade.
- Tacos: For me, summer invokes memories of my dad making refried beans and fresh guacamole. Put the fillings–meat, beans, tomatos, salsa, sour cream, etc.–in small bowls so that each person can have fun assembling their Litha feast.
- Fresh Fruit: Berries, bananas, peaches, pears, grapes. Chop, mix, eat.
- Mediterranean Salad: 1 can of chick peas drained, 1 large tomato chopped, 1 English cucumber diced, 1 small red onion diced, 1 jar of artichokes drained, 1 container of Kalamala olives pitted, and 1 block of diced (you can crumble, but I like bigger pieces) of feta. Combine in a bowl. In a small, separate bowl whisk the juice of 1 lemon, a handful of mint chopped, salt, pepper, and a little olive oil. Drizzle over veggies and enjoy.
- Lemon Pudding Cake with Fresh Mixed Berries: A light, refreshing dessert.
- Fruit Tarts: Super easy. My favorite combination is strawberry-apricot.
- Mojitos: This is a drink that pairs well with whatever you make for dinner. Plus, drinking rum makes you feel a little bit like a pirate!
- Lemonade: You can buy this from the grocery store or farmer’s market. Or get a bunch of lemons, sugar, and seltzer water to make something special and bubbly.
- Ritual Cakes and Ale: You could do any of the desserts or drinks above. Or if you want something different, buy a bottle of white wine this week. Open it up, add a couple of sprigs of rosemary, cork, and refrigerate until your ready for the your solstice celebration. Pair with short bread (homemade or store bought).
© Ariadne Woods
Ostara is one of my favorite Pagan holidays. It’s a time of newness and growth. In the last few days, it has been getting warmer, the first flowers have bloomed, and the earth is starting to smell lively again. Take advantage of this feeling of the season in your meals and feasts.
- Herb-y Egg Scramble: Eggs are an essential symbol of rebirth and Ostara, so they are highly appropriate to the season. My favorite way is the following: Beat the appropriate amount of eggs with a little milk, salt, pepper, and herbs. My favorite combination is fresh chives, thyme, and parsley. Cook as you would a usual batch of scrambled eggs. After plating them, sprinkle with cheese.
- Milkshakes: Forget Shamrock Shakes. Grab a blender and make your own at home. Experiment with combinations of ice creams, syrups, and fresh fruit.
- Spring Salads: Leafy greens are a nice way to bring that fresh spring feeling to your table. Try arugula for a peppery taste, crisp butter lettuce, or traditional spring mix. Dress the greens with homemade dressing or a new bottle from the grocery store. Never made a dressing before? Try this Lavender-Honey Mustard dressing (You will need to scroll down a little the direct link goes to the wrong place).
- Pancakes, Crepes, or Pannenkoeken: These can be made for every meal and occasion. To make them seasonal, think about the fillers and toppings. Try honey butter on pancakes or farmer’s market cheese baked in some pannenkoeken.
- Mead: My local pub labels this on the menu as the “Drink of the Gods.” This honey drink is perfect for ritual or just as an evening drink.
© Ariadne Woods