Matcha Lattes and Giveaways!

You always read about the benefits of green tea and/or matcha green tea. I enjoy both, but for a long time when I wanted to “treat” myself I would get a Matcha Green Tea Latte from Starbucks. I do prefer matcha because you’re consuming the green tea, as opposed to just steeping leaves in hot water.

The thing is, as a chronic pain sufferer, I’m not that physically active. I’m also in my 40’s. What I am getting at is, I need to watch my calories. Even with making all kinds of substitutions, the Starbucks Matcha Green Tea Latte was clocking in at 200 calories. AND, I had to go out and get it.

Now I could make one at home and take it into work with me. I did that for a while, however, it meant I had to drink it as soon as I got to work, and it would be lukewarm. Then I learned about Four Sigmatic, and more specifically I heard that they had an instant Matcha Latte Mix that doesn’t suck. I decided to give it a try.

Life. Changing.

Okay, that’s a little extreme, but what I now have are convenient, individual serving packets of Four Sigmatic instant Matcha Latte Mix. It has matcha, obviously, but also Lion’s Mane (which some believe provides mental health benefits) and Moringa (which Four Sigmatic calls “nutrient dense”). Thanks to the use of dried coconut milk powder and stevia, each serving is Vegan and only 30 calories.


I have never noticed any perceivable health benefits from drinking it, but it tastes good, is convenient, and low calorie. I keep a box in my cubicle at work, and whenever I want a Matcha Latte, I just pour a packet in a coffee mug and then fill it with hot water from our office’s Keurig machine. Stir it up and drink. It would absolutely be better if made with a frother or electric mixer to really work that mix into the water, but I don’t mind doing a stir and sip.

Why am I telling you all of this? Well, I have a subscription with Four Sigmatic and it is great. It gets you a discount and you can skip a shipment whenever you want. With all the chaos lately, I forgot to tell them to skip my latest shipment. Since it’s warm out, I’ve been drinking it less, so I thought I would giveaway one of the boxes from my order!

It is giveaway time! As usual, I’ll be using Rafflecopter to run it. Contest ends Sunday, June 7, 2020 at 11:59PM eastern. THIS GIVEAWAY IS ONLY OPEN TO RESIDENTS IN THE UNITED STATES. (To make it clear, Four Sigmatic is in no way involved with this article or giveaway. I purchased this product myself and have chosen to giveaway some of the surplus to a lucky winner.)

You can learn more about Four Sigmatic here.
(If you make a purchase through this link, I believe you get $15 off your first order, and I’ll get $15 of credit with them for my own purchases.)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Soup from My Skincare Supplier

It’s been quite a while since I wrote about anything food related, and I recently did a weird batch of food shopping, so I figured I’d share it with you! If you follow me on social media, you probably know that I’m into skincare and makeup, and have a particular affection for Asian brands. I do most of my Korean and Japanese brand shopping on a website called YesStyle. I know you can get better prices on eBay or Amazon, but I trust YesStyle and I’m willing to pay extra for the professionalism they provide.

I recently needed to restock my Japanese cleansing oil and favorite Korean sunscreens (are any of you interested in hearing about that kind of thing?) and while on the YesStyle website I noticed they had food. I couldn’t resist and clicked the tab. I found what I was expecting to see, which is shelf stable items. Lots of powdered instant beverages, some snacks, and lots of instant ramen packs. I know people that order ramen soups online because they can get super spicy flavors, but sadly, my stomach doesn’t handle the spice life like it used to. I did see some flavors that I don’t find in my local grocery store, and since these days finding soup on the grocery shelves is pretty hard, I splurged and ordered a few.

Here are the results.

This is Demae Iccho Classic Series Sesame Oil Flavour from the brand Nissin.


Preparation was slightly different from what I was used to. Like any instant ramen, you boil a couple of cups of water on the stove and let the noodles cook in it for 3 minutes. You take your seasoning pack and put it in the bottom of the bowl you’re serving it in.


When the noodles are done, you pour the hot water into the bowl first to dissolve the base seasoning. Then you add the noodles.

Finally, you pour the sesame seed oil onto it.


I ate two spoonful/forkfuls, and immediately emailed my husband at work to proclaim this was the best tasting instant ramen I had ever had. For reals. The ingredients are not too unexpected for an item like this:

Noodles :Wheat Flour, Palm Oil, Salt, Acidity Regulator (452, 501, 451, 500, 339, 450), Thickener (1400, 401, 412), Antioxidant (307b, 304), Green Tea Powder. Soup Base: Salt, Flavour Enhancer (621, 627, 631), Soya Sauce Powder (Soya Beans, Wheat, Salt), White Sugar, Colour (150a), Yeast Extracts, Hydrolysed Soya Protein, Garlic Powder, Spices, Dehydrated Green Onion, Flavour and Flavouring (Chicken, Pork), Acidity Regulator (330), Rice Oil. Seasoning Oil: Sesame Oil (0.8%), Rice Oil, Flavour and Flavouring, Colour (160b, 160c).

Highly processed. Very salty. Certainly not the healthiest food choice out there. However, for a delicious quick lunch? I’m sold! I’m glad that I bought a couple other flavors from the brand to try! So, if you’re looking for a change of pace, why not?


Want to shop YesStyle? If you use this link, you’ll get a discount and I’ll get a 10% commission in the form of credit that I can use on more skincare and noodles! https://ystyle.co/Vv6L

The Chocolate Scorecard

A few days ago, I received a press release about 3 advocacy groups that put together a consumer purchasing guide for chocolate. Since I know that A LOT of you are chocolate lovers, I thought you’d want to see it.

Mighty Earth, Green America, and Be Slavery Free published a joint Easter scorecard, analyzing what the world’s biggest chocolate companies are doing to address social and environmental concerns. Godiva receives the “Rotten Egg Award” for its poor performance, and Tony’s Chocolonely receives the “Golden Egg Award” for its efforts to reshape the industry. The Easter scorecard has been published annually by Mighty Earth since 2018.

“Equipped with this scorecard, consumers can buy their Easter chocolates knowing whether their treats are likely tainted by deforestation and human rights abuses,” said Mighty Earth Senior Campaign Director, Etelle Higonnet. “Consumers’ purchases highlight that we, at a time of global crisis, are all truly interconnected and that we are in this together.”

The groups surveyed 13 chocolate companies and eight cocoa suppliers, examining their policies in six of the most pressing sustainability issues facing the chocolate industry: mandatory due diligence; transparency and traceability; deforestation and climate change; agroforestry; living income policies; and child labor, focusing primarily on child labor monitoring and remediation systems.

Godiva was given The Rotten Egg Award for failing to take responsibility for the conditions with which its chocolates are made, despite making huge profits off its chocolate. Godiva rated poorly across the board. In comparison to other chocolate brands, Godiva has made very little progress on social and environmental issues in the last few years.

Tony’s Chocolonely, which sources from the same supplier as Godiva, earned the Golden Egg Award. When comparing the two companies’ efforts, the differences are stark. Tony’s is working to demonstrate that an ethical business model is possible in the chocolate industry and works to support its supplier to improve its operations. Tony’s performed well in every category across the scorecard.

“2020 is a big year in the chocolate sector, two decades since the world’s chocolate manufacturers signed the Harkin-Engel Protocol, an agreement to clean up the industry. Sadly, very little has changed,” said Charlotte Tate, Labor Justice Campaigns Manager at Green America. “Nonetheless, the industry is recognizing voluntary initiatives are not working and more companies are calling for government regulation. Businesses are recognizing that they cannot solve these issues alone and need greater government regulation.”

Roughly 2.1 million children work in cocoa, 96 percent of whom are found to be in hazardous labor according to researchers at Tulane University. In recent years, research from the World Resources Institute found that there has been an increase in deforestation in top cocoa producing countries, Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire. Cocoa farmers often live in extreme poverty, despite chocolate companies raking in billions every year.

While progress is being made in the direct cocoa supply chains, there are still big concerns about the harmful impacts of companies’ indirect supply chains on the environment, particularly deforestation, and people. There is little transparency about what is occurring in the indirect cocoa supply chains. These issues demonstrate an urgent need for increased efforts to transform the cocoa industry into a sustainable industry.


You can learn more about Mighty Earth here.
You can learn more about Be Slavery Free here.
You can learn more about Green America here.

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The Magick of Food

If you follow my personal social media accounts, you know I LOVE food. My pot belly and high cholesterol also attest to this fact, but that’s beside the point. You know who else truly loves food? Gwion Raven. I was fortunate enough to be given an uncorrected proof of his new book “The Magick of Food: Rituals, Offerings, and Why We Eat Together” and I was simply blown away.

The first section of the book is “A Brief and Incomplete History of Food and Ritual”. For being “incomplete”, Raven starts with a small exploration of what our primitive, cave dwelling ancestors perhaps ate and what it meant to them. What flows from that starting point is an engaging history lesson on the evolution of food, faith, and where the two intersected. We visit the food, gods, recipes, and rituals of the Middle East, Greece, Rome, and what the author refers to as “A Dark Age of Cuisine” (Britain).

The second section is “Food, Magic, and Rituals for Today”. Raven explores what he considers five basic principles for food magic:
1. All food is sacred.
2. Eat what you need.
3. Share what you can.
4. Express gratitude.
5. Pass the knowledge along.
The author explores the magic to be found in a cup of tea or dinner out in a restaurant. From this point he discusses the connection between food and arousal, healing, grief, community, and the Kitchen Witch. This section if filled with magical ideas, spells, rituals, and my favorite, recipes!

The third section of the book is “All the Recipes”! Here you find ways to make everyday “mundane” recipes magical, cocktails (yes!), mocktails (alcohol free beverages), and magical libations. Rounding out the section is “Food Magick for Special Occasions”. In a book full of tempting recipes, here is where you will find some truly stand out feasts: “Goat for a God” (which I really want to try), “In Praise of Inanna”, “Demeter’s Vegetarian Feast”, and “Boar for Bacchus”. Raven also includes “A Year of Food Magick”, offering recipes for Pagan celebrations, and little more love in the form of “Four Ridiculously Good Aphrodisiacs”.

Being a food lover, I find it hard to imagine a person who wouldn’t be interested in “The Magick of Food”. It’s well-written, entertaining, informative, and loaded with recipes! What more could you want?

Learn more here.

Shop your local indie bookstore <---This is an affiliate link to IndieBound, which supports independent bookstores throughout the United States. If you use this link to purchase the book, I will make a small commission at no additional cost to you.

Witches’ Kitchen Oracle Cards

If there is one thing I have clearly established here on The Magical Buffet, it’s that I love food. Full stop. End of story. Obviously, this meant that given the opportunity to try out the “Witches’ Kitchen Oracle Cards” I was all in! And honestly, this exceeded expectations.

Barbara Meiklejohn-Free and Flavia Kate Peters, together with Richard Crookes as illustrator, created an all-purpose deck for anyone who loves food. It’s beautiful in its simplicity. Each card focuses on an ingredient and has an associated theme. For example: Apple with Forbidden, Blackberry with Invasive, or Olive with Peace. Each card is densely illustrated, evoking a mood and reminding you of all the various ways that food item can be used. With that you have everything you need!

Like most oracle decks, and particularly with this one, I favor the single card draw. You may think with a food theme “Witches’ Kitchen” would be awkward used that way. You would be wrong. Not only can the evocative images and theme inspire some insight, you realize that you have a strong personal association with food, and that adds a personal depth to the deck that you won’t find with others.

The accompanying book features different spreads you can use the cards with, more detail about each card, and recipes! Yay food!

Seriously, this deck may seem “light weight” at a glance, but there is a lot of wisdom to be found in the “Witches’ Kitchen Oracle Cards”.

You can learn more here.



Any deck that makes sure to include a martini on the Olive card is A plus in my book!

The Hearth Witch’s Kitchen Herbal

If you know me, you know I love food. Thusly, when I’m given the chance to review any book with the potential to end with food, I’m there! That brings us to today’s review of “The Hearth Witch’s Kitchen Herbal: Culinary Herbs, for Magic, Beauty, and Health” by Anna Franklin.

“The Hearth Witch’s Kitchen Herbal” is nice because it focuses on ingredients that most people already have in their kitchen. Franklin gives a nice overview of each herb including its planetary associations, elemental correspondences, magical virtues, and associated deities. She goes on to talk about how to use the herb for cooking, cosmetics, and healing. The best part is at the end of each entry is recipes! And why yes, I did try one.

The internet is all about turmeric these days, so I decided to try making “Golden Milk”. It didn’t require too many ingredients. (Sadly, the recipe called for cinnamon, which I didn’t have at the time.)


Warm coconut milk with spices. Steep. Strain. Stir in honey. Enjoy! It tasted pretty good. I bet it would have been better with the cinnamon…


You can learn more here.

Shop your local indie bookstore <---This is an affiliate link to IndieBound, which supports independent bookstores throughout the United States. If you use this link to purchase the book, I will make a small commission at no additional cost to you.

International Talk Like a Pirate Day 2019

Ahoy mateys! It be International Talk Like a Pirate Day! A day to celebrate pirates of the past, and it’s a high holy day for the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster! This holiday has been acknowledged on The Magical Buffet website nearly every year since we switched to the blog format! As the holiday approached, I did an informal poll on social media as to whether I should bother with the holiday, and if so, what I should say.

In a not so surprising turn, everyone wants to see some rum! Of course, then I was left wondering what rum thing I was going to write. As with all matter’s alcohol, I turned to the Master Po to my Kwai Chang Caine, Warren Bobrow. (You may remember we spoke about rum on a previous International Talk Like a Pirate Day.) I reached for “The Craft Cocktail Compendium” he wrote and found what I was looking for!

Sailor’s Friend
This toddy is built with simple, honest materials that haven’t changed much over the years: hot water, a large dose of spiced rum, and lemon – a trinity that can’t help but hasten the old closed-eye relaxation. And we have seamen of yore to thank for the popularity: Sailors whose watch was scheduled for the middle of the night would have to force themselves to sleep during the day, whether they liked it or not. This historically accurate toddy would have been a sailor’s best friend when cold, misty weather made it difficult to get some shut-eye. Plus, honey has been used as an expectorant since Roman times. Today, it’s still a powerful ally against scratchy sore throats and those pesky, chesty coughs that can keep you tossing and turning at night.


Turns out the recipe is super easy. Warm up a mug with hot water. Dump out the water. Pour yourself 3 ounces of dark, spiced rum. Top off your mug some more boiling water. Add honey to taste and lemon to prevent scurvy!


Considering how long I’ve been a rum drinker, it’s incredible that I’ve never tried a toddy type rum drink before. It’s delicious! Also, warm lemon smells delicious. Every time I put the mug to my lips I inhale deeply. I suspect I’ll be drinking these all winter long.

And there ye’ have it me hardies, rum for International Talk Like a Pirate Day!

Consider showing the always amazing Warren Bobrow some love by checking out his books on IndieBound.org! (These are affiliate links to IndieBound, which supports independent bookstores throughout the United States. If you use these links to purchase a book, I will make a small commission at no additional cost to you.)

Cannabis Cocktails, Mocktails & Tonics
Cannabis Cocktails, Mocktails & Tonics

The Craft Cocktail Compendium
The Craft Cocktail Compendium

Apothecary Cocktails
Apothecary Cocktails

Just Enough

I’m writing today to tell you that you should read “Just Enough: Vegan Recipes and Stories from Japan’s Buddhist Temples” by Gesshin Claire Greenwood. Many of you have probably already clicked out thinking this in no way can apply to your life. Congratulations to those still reading these words, because “Just Enough” is a delightful read for anyone.

Gesshin Greenwood nicely combines a memoir of her life becoming a Buddhist nun and running the monastery’s kitchen, with recipes, and with bits of practical Buddhist wisdom. The book centers around the philosophy of oryoki, which translates to “just enough”. Oryoki is a highly ritualized form of eating that includes meticulous food preparation and consumption. However, Greenwood does an excellent job of showing how that concept can apply to many facets of your life. More importantly, FOOD!

If you know me, you know I love food! “Just Enough” is loaded with delicious looking vegan recipes. I couldn’t resist trying one out to share with you. I made “Crushed Cucumber and Tomato Salad”.

It didn’t require a lot of ingredients. The recipe calls for shiso, which the author describes as a Japanese herb reminiscent of basil. My grocery store didn’t have it, so I just used basil, and it worked fine.


Part of the preparation calls for you to beat up some cucumber. Here’s mine. I called it vegan roadkill. (I amuse myself.)


Here’s a sexy close up of the completed salad and let me tell you, it was delicious. I roped a few of our friends into trying a couple of forkfuls and they agree, it’s light, refreshing, perfect for summer. The dressing is great. Simple and delicious. I bet it would even make a good marinade for salmon or chicken.


While on the surface “Just Enough” may not seem readily accessible, I’d encourage you to give it a try. I think you’ll like what you find.


To learn more, click here.

Shop your local indie bookstore<--- This is an affiliate link to IndieBound, which supports independent bookstores throughout the United States. If you use this link to purchase the book, I will make a small commission at no additional cost to you.

Revisiting Helderberg Meadworks

Way back in 2014 I tried my first mead. It was made by Helderberg Meadworks. The owner was kind enough to do an interview for our site, and then was super generous and invited me out to see how the mead was made. I got major booze drinking street cred from doing this because Helderberg Meadworks didn’t do tours or tastings. Well, my booze cred is gone because you can now visit the Helderberg Meadworks new tasting room, where you can try SO MANY MEADS and chat about it with Peter and Kirsten, the husband and wife owners.

I don’t even know where to begin. When we were there, they were offering 9 different meads, 2 ciders, 2 beer/mead hybrids that they did with Brown’s Brewing, one carbonated hard cider/mead blend that they did with Indian Ladder Farms, AND a switchel. What’s better AND worse is that it is all also available for purchase, with the tasting room being the only place you can purchase many of the products. I spent SO much money.

For their traditional meads, which are the meads they make with only honey, they offer:

Session, which is a lightly carbonated, not too sweet, and amazingly drinkable.

Odin’s Tears, which is quite dry and uses caramelized honey, doesn’t involve the oak of their other meads, and is still a deliciously smooth drink.

Heritage, which is the mead that started it all. It has the highest alcohol content of any of their offerings at 17% and is a balance of sweet honey and oak.

Feral, another Helderberg classic made from their own strain of wild yeast that Peter captured and cultivated. Despite the honey this one is more on the dry side, but yes, still super yummy.

Sweet Feral, which was a sweeter follow up after the success of the Feral Mead. I enjoy both greatly.

Then they offer other meads that are made with honey (because hey, it’s mead) and other ingredients, and these are:

Apple, a part of the core collection. It’s strong in apple flavor without the syrupy sweetness you might expect. This is crisp and dry.

Staghorn, which has the sweetness of honey balanced with foraged sumac (not the poisonous variety). An impressive and unexpected twist.

Black Currant, can you guess what makes the Black Currant Mead “black currant”? Yes. Firstly, this has the prettiest color! Also, the black currant flavor paired with the honey mead is fabulous without being overly sweet.

Maple Mead, another Helderberg mainstay. They use wood-fired maple syrup and oak age it, making it a smoky, drier drink than you would expect.

Cherry Vanilla. You know how I keep commenting that the meads you expect to be overly sweet aren’t? Well they went full throttle on sweetness with this one. The cherry and vanilla flavors are prominent and delicious. Much like a dense dessert, you only need a small slice to enjoy it.

When we were there, they had two ciders, a classic and Cassis. The classic is a semi-dry hard cider. The Cassis is made with black currants and that gives it a great twist on the flavor and again, a beautiful color.

They have two collaborations that they did with Brown’s Brewing Company, Saison de Miel and Braggoting Rights. Saison de Miel is light, dry, and floral. Braggoting Rights is where the Odin’s Tears Mead got its start. The mead was first created for this collaboration and the owner liked it so much he started producing the mead. There was also a collaboration they did with Indian Ladder Farms that pairs their hard cider with Helderberg’s mead. This is a carbonated, kind of funky but tasty hybrid.

Last, but not least is Myles Fulton’s Stormbender Switchel. This is made with Helderberg’s own pear cider vinegar, honey and ginger. It is unfiltered and probiotic. If you like probiotic drinks, this is for you. It’s refreshing, thirst quenching, and delicious. Way more drinkable than most kombucha.

They’ve won a lot of awards.

So how can you try all these? Visit their website where you can learn about their tasting room and shop their products, which includes their meads, but also drinking horns, t-shirts, and bad ass mugs!

You know you want a mead horn.

Right now, the tasting room is only open Saturdays Noon-5pm eastern, but they told me they will be expanding their hours in the spring. There will also be tables indoors and outdoors to hang out at along with games. A good way to keep tabs on them is to follow them on social media.

Facebook: @HelderbergMeadworks
Twitter: @Meadworks
Instagram: @Meadworks

I truly cannot say enough nice things about Peter, Kristen, and Helderberg Meadworks. Good beverages made by good people.

Enjoy my fat ass talking to Peter Voelker, the owner.

10 Questions with Amy Blackthorn

1. How did you get started with essential oils?

I started with essential oils after about ten years of practicing magic and had just gotten started in my horticulture studies program. I was looking for a way to work with the plant materials I was studying on a year-round basis, but also to preserve the materials I had an abundance of. I headed to my local natural foods cooperative and found a rack of essential oils and dove right in. The history of the materials as they related to the history of perfumery really enticed me, so I grabbed every book I could find, non-fiction and even a fiction book called, ‘Perfume: The Story of a Murderer’ by Patrick Suskind and John E. Woods.

2. What made you decide to write a book on the subject?

It’s funny what makes each person write, isn’t it? I decided to write a book on the subject of aromatherapy after a death in my extended family. It was a great aunt whom I had never met and was already elderly when I was born. I returned to the family’s Catholic church where my mom grew up to attend the church service for this woman my mother had loved, but I had never encountered.

I arrived before my mother, but after my uncle’s family who were no longer Catholic but had converted to another sect of Christianity. I was a little anxious that my aunt would cause a scene about my being in a church as my family knew I was a Witch and had caused a scene at a previous family funeral. The longer I sat there, the more anxious I got.

Until they wheeled the casket in, with the attendants, and the priest. Suddenly, I was as calm as I’d ever been, I was centered, I was focused and I was ready for a ritual. It was as though someone had thrown a switch in my brain. It took a good minute for me to piece it together.

You see, in my very first coven, my high priestess was raised Catholic. So before every ritual (every full moon, and 8 holy festivals a year), we cleansed our ritual room with frankincense and myrrh, the same incense she had growing up in the Catholic church, and the same incense I encountered that day. My brain didn’t know the difference. My brain just knew it was time for a religious observance and switched gears on me without me having to think about it. I signed up for a clinical aromatherapist program the next day and started writing about my experiences with scent that night.

3. You have a company, Blackthorn Hoodoo Blends, that creates blends of teas. Why tea?

I started working with tea six years before I launched my company because I feel that tea speaks to the soul of people in a way that nothing else does. Tea is comprised of the vital nature of the plants. When you pour that water over the leaves you can’t help but take a deep breath. My aim in taking that time is to encourage people to turn their morning ritual into a ritual.

I had just left a toxic job at a security firm and I knew that if I was going to move on to the next thing successfully, I needed to make room for it in my life. I needed to clear out the baggage left behind by the old job. Anyone who has ever had to put in their two weeks notice knows how that feels.

My first morning as a joyfully unemployed woman, I knew I had to get back to the roots of my magic to make that room. I dug out the big cauldron that I burn my candles in (fire safety!) and my bottle of Vanvan oil for clearing out junk and bringing new opportunities your way. I thought this must be one of the fastest spells I’ve ever worked because the doorbell rang before I even lit the candle. I laughed all the way back to the kitchen after signing for a package from the postal worker.

Then the funniest thing happened. When I got back to the kitchen, I went to light my candle and I was overwhelmed by the scent of the lemongrass in the oil and all I could think to myself was, “If only I had a tea to sip while my candle burned, I could keep working on my working while the candle burned and did its job.” and Blackthorn Hoodoo Blends was born. A week later I had 15 blends, and now four years later I have over 55.

4. How do you go about creating a tea?

When I go about creating a tea, we have the genesis, an old hoodoo formula I’ve been making into oils for twenty years, ‘Justice, Power, and Peace’ is similar to my recipes for empowering blends like Just Judge and Boss Fix. It’s hard to do 1 to 1 recipe because the oil recipes call for things that aren’t edible, so I have to go back to my other materials, recipes and notes to help inspire me for things that have the same power, use and intent to get the job done. Run Devil Run, for example, nothing in that recipe is edible, but the banishing power of black pepper makes for an incredibly powerful banishing tea, and since black pepper makes sweet things taste sweeter it has a great flavor profile and is an easy drinking tea without the added sugar. You can drink these teas just because you want something good in your body. Magic is all about your intent so you can tap into the intent behind these blends, or you can just enjoy some Money Draw tea because it tastes like a popular fruity breakfast cereal.

5. Ever notice how things meant to clear negative energies stink? Do you think smelly is just a universal repellant? (because that’s my super scientific working theory)

A lot of people talk about how materials meant to clear negative energies to stink, but the stink is in the eye (nose?) of the beholder. There are two schools of thought here. The popular school of thought is that the stink will drive the nasty spirit back to where it belongs, and keep it away from you, and your home. The lesser known school of thought is that working with smells that the end user finds pleasant is infinitely more effective, for a few reasons, A) they’re more likely to use it. It can’t work if it just sits on the shelf. B) they’ll enjoy using it, therefore creating a happy environment which is more difficult for a nasty spirit to cling to. C) You’re more likely to ‘vibe’ with something that’s going to work with you anyway.

6. Given how stressful life seems to be for everyone lately, what are some aromas you’d suggest to help us all chill out?

Chill out, Cheer Up!
3 drops grapefruit essential oil (Citrus paradisi) to heal, protect, renew
3 drops lavender essential oil (Lavandula angustifolia) for harmony, peace, strength
3 drops peppermint essential oil (Mentha piperita) to purify, release, lift spirits
2 tablespoons witch hazel

Place essential oils and witch hazel in a 2-ounce pump spray bottle. Cap it and give it a good shake. Unscrew the cap and fill it the rest of the way with cool water. Spritz well and often to banish melancholy and irritability and bring peace and centering.

7. What advice would you offer to someone looking to start working with essential oils?

Research, take classes online, or with an instructor. You can never know too much about this. It can seem overwhelming. Instead of buying a kit with 10 or twenty oils in it and trying to learn them all, pick three and learn everything you can about those three. Use them for cleaning your kitchen counters or for magic. Use them for everything the books tell you it’s safe to, but know those three inside and out, before adding another. Just keep it simple and you’ll keep yourself from getting overwhelmed. You can do a thousand things with one oil and this book.

8. What are some things people should look for when shopping for essential oils, particularly if shopping online?

Look out for clear bottles, that means they’re likely fragrance oils. The same goes for if the oils are all the same price. If the company offers a lot of organic essential oils, that’s a good sign, but you’re going to pay a lot for the option. If you’re looking to buy oils that are really expensive, melissa, rose, jasmine, sandalwood etc, get the smallest quantity you can buy and quality test it yourself at home. Put a drop of oil on a piece of watercolor paper. Come back twenty-four hours later. Is there red dye smeared on the paper from the rose oil? There shouldn’t be. Does the paper look like someone carried home french fries from the local greasy spoon? It shouldn’t. (For more info on quality testing at home there’s a chapter in the back of Blackthorn’s Botanical Magic.)

9. What’s next? Do you have any projects my readers can look forward to?

I’m happy to say that I’m back working with Weiser on my next book! They’re so great to work with, I just couldn’t stay away. I can’t say what it is just yet, but fans of this book will be dying to get their hands on this next book.

10. Parting shot! Ask us here at The Magical Buffet any one question.

What’s your favorite sense memory related to this time of year?

It’s not tied to a specific fall memory, but kind of general amalgamation of memories. Thanksgiving dinner cooking smells. That warm, toasty kitchen filled with the aroma of roasted turkey and the fixings. I don’t take the holiday seriously because let’s face it, Thanksgiving is a horrible lie because our ancestors were total dicks to the Native Americans, but the food. Oh the food.

About Amy Blackthorn:
Amy Blackthorn has been described as an “arcane horticulturalist” for her lifelong work with magical plants and teaching of hoodoo. She incorporates her experiences in British Traditional Witchcraft with her horticulture studies. She is a clinical aromatherapist and is ordained. Amy’s company, Blackthorn Hoodoo Blends, creates tea based on old hoodoo herbal formulas. She lives in Delaware. Visit her at www.amyblackthorn.com and https://blackthornhoodooblends.com