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The Lughnasadh Luncheon: Easy Lammas Recipes for Wiccans, Pagans and Witches

When the Sabbats roll around, take some time to celebrate. Whether you're having a full-blown ritual, or you just want to take a moment in the day to acknowledge the occasion, there simply must be good food! Lughnasadh is a harvest festival, after all.

Not a cook? Not a problem! Take some of these short cuts that will save you time without sacrificing flavor or presentation.

Appetizers: Veggie Curls

A plate of this looks so pretty and nothing is easier.

Peel a carrot and a cucumber (or two). Then, with your peeler, run it down the length of the veggies to make very thin slices. They'll be so thin, they'll curl.

Put the orange and green veggie curls on a round plate. Clear a spot in the center and dump a fresh container of cherry or grape tomatoes into it. Just sprinkle with salt and finely ground black pepper. Serve with a bowl of your favorite salad dressing as a dip.

Main Course: Savory Skillet Corn Bread with Ham amp; Beans
This is the kind of meal people will think you slaved over all day. Not.

For the Ham amp; Beans'" Dump the following ingredients unceremoniously into a pot or crockpot:

A 1 1b package of cubed, pre-cooked ham; 28 oz can cannellini or navy beans, drained; 1 large yellow onion, chopped; 1 12-oz jar of cut roasted red peppers, drained; 1/4 cup of pitted, sliced green Spanish olives with pimentos from a jar; 1 quart chicken broth; 1/4 tsp oregano; 1/4 tsp thyme; 2 bay leaves; 1 pinch (or two) of crushed red pepper flakes.

Put the crock pot on high and cook for 2 or 3 hours.

Or, if in a regular cooking pot, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes.

For the Corn Bread: You will need 3 packages of an instant corn muffin mix (makes half-dozen each), plus whatever the recipe on the box calls for. You'll also need chicken broth, 2 drained cans of kernel corn, a chopped onion and 2 tbsp of butter.

Preheat the oven to 375.

Put a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add the kernel corn, chopped onion and butter.

Make the instant muffin mixes together in a big bowl with the ingredients they call for, except replace half the milk with chicken broth (if the mix you bought calls for water instead of milk, replace all the water with chicken broth). Pour the batter over corn and onions in the skillet.

Slide the pan into the oven and bake for about 25 to 30 minutes, until the cornbread is golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow it to cool.

Note: if you don't have a cast iron skillet, saute the onions, butter and corn in a frying pan and dump it into a baking dish or cake pan. Add the muffin mix on top.

When the cornbread is cool, slice it into wedges. Place one wedge on a plate. Spoon the ham and bean mixture over it. Top with a spicy, thick salsa and enjoy.

Dessert: Carrot Cake with Honey Nut Cream Cheese
Slice this up for a harvest-flavored treat.

Get a pre-baked carrot cake loaf, or use your favorite mix (scratch, or box) to make carrot cake in a bread pan. Allow it to cool.

Leave two 8-oz containers of cream cheese out to soften. Place them in a mixing bowl and mix on high (or use a hand mixer) for 3 to 4 minutes, until fluffy.

Add 1/4 cup honey and whip another minute on high.

Cut the loaf of carrot cake horizontally into 3 equal layers.

Smear 1/3 of the cream cheese on the bottom layer and sprinkle liberally with a handful of chopped walnuts. Put the middle layer over it, smear another third of the cream cheese on it and sprinkle with chopped nuts.

Put the top layer of carrot cake in place and add the remaining cream cheese spread and top with more nuts.

Beverage: Mango-Peach Slurries
Cool and refreshing for the tail end of the summer season.

Add 2 cups of frozen mango chunks to a blender. Pour in 1 cup of peach nectar and 1 cup of diet lemon-lime soda. Sprinkle in ½ package of sugar free peach gelatin. Blend until smooth.