Herbs/Food/Plants by Purpose

Banishing: Basil, Betel Nut, Black Pepper, Black Salt, Cactus, Cayenne Pepper, Chamomile, Cloves, Dragon’s Blood, Elder, Garlic, Heliotrope, Horehound, Juniper, Morning Glory, Mullein, Mugwort, Oleander, Onion, Rosemary, Rue, Sage, Sea Salt, St. John’s Wort, Thyme, Tobacco, Vinegar, Wood Betony, Yarrow Flower

Beauty: Avocado, Beet, Catnip, Chamomile, Evening Primrose, Flax, Ginkgo Biloba, Ginseng, Henna, Lady’s Mantle, Lemon, Lilac, Lucky Hand (Orchid Root), Magnolia, Maidenhair, Myrtle, Orange, Orange Blossom (Neroli), Orchid, Pea, Prune, Rose, Sunflower, Violet, Yerba Santa

Binding: Agrimony, Calamus, Crowfoot, Hydrangea, Ivy, Knotweed, Morning Glory, Skullcap, Snapdragon, Solomon’s Seal, Spiderwort, Vinegar, Witch Hazel

Cleansing/Purification: Angelica, Anise Seeds, Black Pepper, Cayenne Pepper, Cedar, Coconut, Dragon’s Blood, Fennel, Fern, Frankincense, Garlic, Ginger, Grapefruit, Guava, Honey, Horehound, Horseradish, Hyssop, Lavender, Lemon, Lemongrass, Lemon Verbena (Vervain), Lime, Marjoram, Melon, Mesquite, Parsley, Peppermint, Pine, Rosemary, Sage, Sandalwood, Sea Salt, Solomon’s Seal Root, Tangerine, Thyme, Turmeric, Vinegar, Yucca

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A Basic Wishing Spell (Green Witch Edition)

This is a basic (the most basic of basics!) wishing spell in the Green tradition. All you need is an intent, a seed (it helps if it’s for a plant corresponding to your intent, like summer savory for a good season or lavender for luck in love), some dirt, a planter, and a piece of paper.

On the new moon, write your wish or intention on the piece of paper, and push it deep into the earth of the planter. You may wish to pour earth on top of it. Then, plant your seed above the paper spell, with intent. The idea is that, as the seed germinates and grows, it takes your wish with it. You must nurture the plant that grows to nurture your wish or intention.

This spell can be performed within a circle, during the New Moon esbat, or as part of a spring or autumn rite. Happy casting!


Ordinarily I’d wait until I’ve finished a book to start blogging about it, but I’m only about 100 pages into Ada or Ardor, there’s already so much to say, and I don’t anticipate it being a short read. 

I have a complicated relationship with Nabokov. I appreciate Pale Fire or Lolita as literature, they appeal to most of my aesthetic sensibilities, I’m very glad I read them, I plan to do it again, and I found them both, from start to finish, really viscerally unpleasant. Ada or Ardor isn’t like that. It’s unpleasant in places, but not claustrophobic the way his other novels sometimes are. There’s such a profound sense of world. Not that I’m entirely clear on how much of that world is actually in Van’s head or really what the fuck is even happening.

I’d say it’s the postmodern 19th-century SFF novel I didn’t know I wanted, but that’s a genre preference I was honestly pretty well aware of. I’m sure that when more things start to happen I will have more opinions on how they relate to science fiction genre theory. 

Until the plot starts to materialize, I’m just in it for the language. When I’m reading German or Hebrew or Latin, the sound and texture and rhythm of the words have a stronger aesthetic effect than what it is they mean. It’s a property of not being fluent, and Nabokov is one of a very few authors who can do that to me in English. It’s strange to read about his regrets over having to write in English instead of Russian - I’m not sure a native speaker could have written this book. (I’m not sure how anyone could have written this book).

It’s something I’m struggling to articulate. Nabokov isn’t trying to communicate any kind of sensory experience, words matter in that they are words, not in that they point to things. The content is still there, but it’s connected to the text at a remove; everything is lighter, looser, more playful. It’s not that he’s not a very visual author, but he’s translating, not transcribing, real things (”real things”?) are represented as the auditory effect of all that accumulated specificity. The only passage I’ve both underlined and highlighted: 

Natural history indeed! Unnatural history - because that precision of senses and sense must seem unpleasantly peculiar to peasants, and because the detail is all: The song of a Tuscan Firecrest or a Sitka Kinglet in a cemetery cypress; a minty whiff of Summer Savory or Yerba Buena on a coastal slope; the dancing flitter of a Holly Blue or an Echo Azure - combined with other birds, flowers, and butterflies: that has to be heard, smelled, and seen through the transparency of death and ardent beauty. And most difficult: beauty itself as perceived through the there and then. The males of the firefly (but now it’s really your turn, Van). 

That’s all, the rest is commentary. 


When Leanne Brown moved to New York from Canada to earn a master’s in food studies at New York University, she couldn’t help noticing that Americans on a tight budget were eating a lot of processed foods heavy in carbs.

“It really bothered me,” she says. “The 47 million people on food stamps — and that’s a big chunk of the population — don’t have the same choices everyone else does.”

Brown guessed that she could help people in SNAP, the federal government’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, find ways to cook filling, nourishing and flavorful meals. So she set out to write a cookbook full of recipes anyone could make on a budget of just $4 a day.

The result is Good and Cheap, which is free online and has been downloaded over 700,000 times.

Cheap Eats: A Cookbook For Eating Well On A Food Stamp Budget


Today’s vegan breakfast was really amazing: One whole grain bagel topped with some organic avocado from the farmers market, freshly grounded pepper, a tiny bit of sea salt and creamy white balsamic vinegar besides some fresh straw - and raspberries (I had way more than pictured). Such a lovely treat after a stressful week full of exams and studying. Have an amazing day, xx Amber 

Fried Salmon on Green Beans (I had no green asparagus)
A step by step instruction

Makes 2 human servings or 1 bear serving

For the fried salmon you need:

4 salmon filets if they’re tiny like mine. (2 if they’re big like Ice Bear’s)
½ tsp garlic salt (I used finely chopped garlic instead. But that will make your filet brown, so watch out.)
3 Tbsp lemon juice
2 Tbsp olive oil

Do this like 15 minutes ahead of time so that everything (fish, beans, sauce and optional noodles) are ready to serve at the same time:

Mix these ingredients and marinade the salmon filets in it for 20-30 minutes. Easiest if you put it all in a ziploc bag (resealable plastic bag). The marinade can be soaked in more evenly and you can just turn the bag over to get both sides nice and flavorful.
In a large glass bowl or dish (which I used, because I didnt have ziplocs), you’d have to carefully flip the filets a few times in the marinade, which can be tricky.

Place the marinading filets in the refrigerator for the time being. Remove from the refrigerator 10 minutes before they hit the pan.

For the light tomato sauce you need:

(This one’s hard for me to describe because I didn’t measure anything. Aaaaagh!)

100g cream
Enough tomato sauce to make the sauce pastel red/orange (It wasn’t much. A little less than a cup, I think.)
A pinch of paprika powder
A pinch of salt
Less than a pinch of nutmeg (Let’s say a knife tip amount)
Half an onion
A pinch of black pepper orbs (my English sucks)

Cut 1 onion in half and make thin slices to get onion sickles. You will use them in the sauce. (Actually only used half of the onion, because I didn’t want the onion to overpower everything. You can use the other half for garnish).

Stir all ingredients together in one small pot for about 10 minutes.

For the the green beans you need:

Half a bag of green beans (or however much you want, actually)
Water (enough to cover the beans)
a pinch of salt
a dash of summer savory

While the fish is marinading you can wash the green beans and cut off both ends of each.

Heat the water and bring to a boil. Once the water is boiling, add the green beans. Lower the heat and add summer savory. Simmer for 5 minutes, or longer if you prefer them to be softer. I would not let it exceed 10 minutes, though.

I also cooked some optional side noodles in case it’s not enough to satisfy our hunger. They go really well with the sauce and the fish. (There isn’t enough water in the pot with the noodles. Use more water than I did! )

Fry the salmon filets in a preheated pan for 3 minutes on each side. Flip them with a large spatula so they won’t break apart. Make sure they are no longer translucent in any way. (If you have a food thermometer: The internal temperature of fish should be 145°F)

Spread a puddle of sauce on a plate, drain the green beans and place neatly on top of the sauce. Lay the fish filet in the center.

Garnish with pepper orbs and lemon wedges.

Fry an egg sunny side up if you want to make it look like Ice Bear’s, or fry it however through you desire! Place on top of the salmon.
Chop some dill and sprinkle it all over for some additional garnish.

Now… Grab your axe and murder this delicious meal!

 (paleo diet approved if not served with noodles)

30 Basic Herbs & What They Can Be Used For
  • Angelica: Bees, cosmetics, flavor, liqueurs, medicine, perfume, sugar extender, tea.
  • Anise: Cosmetics, flavor, insect repellent, liqueurs, medicine, perfume.
  • Basil, Sweet: Bees, flavor, insect repellent, medicine, perfume.
  • Borage: Bees, flavor, medicine.
  • Caraway: Cosmetics, flavor, liqueurs, medicine.
  • Catnip: Bees, cats, insect repellent, medicine, tea.
  • Chervil: Flavor, medicine.
  • Chives: Flavor.
  • Comfrey: Compost making, medicine, stock feed, as a vegetable.
  • Coriander: Cosmetics, flavor, liqueurs, medicine, perfume.
  • Dill: Bees, cosmetics, flavor, medicine, perfume, tea.
  • Fennel: Bees, flavor, liqueurs, medicine, perfume, tea.
  • Garlic: Flavor, medicine.
  • Garlic Chives: Flavor, insect repellent.
  • Lavenders - Tall and Dwarf: Bees, cosmetics, insect repellent, liqueurs, medicine, perfume.
  • Lemon Balm: Bees, flavor, liqueurs, medicine, perfume, sugar extender, tea.
  • Marjoram, Sweet: Bees, flavor, medicine, perfume, tea.
  • Mint, English: Flavor, liqueurs, medicine, mouse repellent, tea.
  • Mint, Pepper: Flavor, liqueurs, medicine, tea.
  • Oregano: Bees, flavor, medicine, perfume.
  • Parsley: Flavor, insect repellent, medicine.
  • Rosemary: Bees, cosmetics, flavor, insect repellent, medicine.
  • Sages: Bees, cosmetics, flavor, insect repellent, medicine, tea.
  • Savory, Summer: Bees, flavor, medicine.
  • Savory, Winter: Bees, flavor, medicine.
  • Shallots: Flavor.
  • Sweet Cicely: Bees, flavor, liqueurs, sugar extender.
  • Tarragon, French: Cosmetics, flavor, perfume.
  • Thyme, Garden: Bees, cosmetics, flavor, insect repellent, liqueurs, medicine, perfume, tea.
  • Thyme, Lemon: Bees, flavor, tea.

Source: Growing & Using Herbs Successfully, by Betty E.M. Jacobs.

Vegetarian (vegan optional) lasagne

600 grams of tofu
600 ml of tomato purée
vegetable oil
2 tablespoons of salt
4 cloves of garlic
1 medium-sized onion
2-3 tablespoons of ground paprika (sweet)
summer savory
rosemary to taste
300 grams of grated cheese (i used trappist/monastery style cheese -replace with non-dairy cheese if vegan)
1 box of lasagne pasta (12 sheets)

béchamel sauce

Wash the tofu, slice it up and dry it with a clean kitchen towel or paper towels. Use your hands to crumble it into a bowl. Add spices (I didn’t specify how much but I suggest you make oregano and summer savory the ‘main theme’ and use everything else less generously). Mix well then add some oil to wet the mixture then leave it for at least 30 minutes.

Chop up the onion into small pieces and cook them on vegetable oil until they become ‘glassy’. Add the tofu mix and cook it unil brown on low-medium heat (that will take at least 30 minutes, be patient). When it’s almost done, chop up and add the garlic and the tomato purée, cook for a few more minutes then taste - add more spices if needed. Cook for another 10-15 minutes.

Get a (lasagne) pan, and layer sauce(s), cheese and pasta until you run out then bake at 180 Celsius degrees for about 40 minutes.

I love cooking but I’m not very good at writing down recipes (mostly because I hardly ever measure anything) so if you have any questions feel free to inbox me!