The Cosmo Girl

It’s no secret that I love all things glamorous and sensual.

The pure joy of making every small detail special, sexy. 

The art of everyday glamour, if you will. 
It’s the little things. 

The tiny embroidered pouch that holds a jewel-hued vial of magic oil, nestled inside a velvet bag, to arise with langor from your purse, a pleasure to the touch.
The silken robe you wear just to check your emails in. The sparkly treasure boxes displayed regally upon your dressing table, whose only secrets are the mundane necessities they house. The gilded etched plate from which you nibble your gluten-free toast. 

I’ve always admired Dita von Teese for that.
The rituals of a glamorous life.
Once you get a taste, you’ll fall madly in love with it.
And the fact that you don’t need Dita’s bank account or social circle to create such beauty.

Of course, you do need to put some effort in. But it’s worth it.

When I was little, my young mother and her girlfriends all read Cosmopolitan magazine. It was, of course, a very different glossy back then. The cover girls were insanely gorgeous and sparkling, a mix of amplified glam and natural beauty. They weren’t famous, with the rare exception of a high-level bombshell film or tv star. And there were certainly no "famous-for-being-tacky" reality stars or manufactured pop silliness on those covers.
Inside the pages were secrets and stories, cheeky how-to’s, feline fashion spreads, ads to swoon over, and, of course, a very saucy monthly astrology guide, all aimed at a most bedazzling creature: The Cosmo Girl.

 Vintage Glamorpusses.

Vintage Glamorpusses.

The Cosmo Girl had it all: a chic apartment, a great career, fab friends, and a sizzling love life. Oh, and the wardrobe for every possible situation. Everywhere she went, she brought style, smarts and sex appeal. I was madly in love with this idea. I didn’t even know what half of it referred to at that tender age, but I knew I wanted to be just like her when I grew up. 

In honor of this iconic gal, I’ll share with you one of my personal favorite Everyday Glamour Rituals:

A beauty potion in an impossibly sexy glass. With garnish. Mmm-hmm.

I’m a heavy drinker, you see: I knock back at least two each day.
And I’m talking the hard stuff.

Vitamins. Antioxidants. Minerals.

Oh, I love a real drink as much as anyone, of course. But skin needs hydration and craves nourishment…so this sexy little indulgence has major benefits.

So for you, my fluttering Butterflies,

I’m bringing back the Cocktail Hour.

Let me intoxicate you.

The Cosmo Girl

  • 8 C pure water
  • 3 Tbsp organic hibiscus flowers
  • 2 Tbsp organic rose hips (both found in natural food stores and online)
  • 3 drops lemon essential oil
  • two slices of fresh organic orange
  • a good splash of unsweetened pomegranate juice
  • 1-2 packets of stevia

Warm up the water in your little cauldron just to the point of heat, Loves, it doesn't need to boil. (Boiling actually can negate some of the beneficial properties naturally present in herbs and flowers.) With love in your heart, and a strong vision of the life you wish to create, sprinkle in the hibiscus and rose hips, and let them float on magic waters for...well, for as long as you like. Maybe overnight under the Full Moon tonight? 

When they're ready, add your lemon oil, oranges, and the pomegranate juice. Mix in the stevia to sweeten, chill, and you're ready to serve. I like to make a large batch, and keep it stored in a glass jar in the fridge. it keeps well for a few days, and over time the oils from the orange rind are released, deepening the flavor. 

In addition to powerful doses of vitamin C from the citrus, the pom provides super antioxidants, more vitamin C, A, E,  and a gorgeous color. It's actually one of the few fruits whose juice is as as beneficial as the actual fruit itself! It's also a rich source of myriad beauty minerals. 

Rose hips are the sacred fruit of this most treasured flower. Isn't that gorgeous? When all the petals have fallen, the rose hip remains, full with more vitamin C than an orange, and swelling with vitamin A, which keeps skin's elasticity, prevents wrinkles, and keeps those already formed from getting deeper. How's that for hot?

Speaking of heat, hibiscus tea ("karkady") was consumed by our wise ancient Egyptian ancestors to cool down on an arid desert day, as it carries the ability to lower body temperature, and is naturally moisturizing.  

So when you come in after a long day, grab a foxy glass and pour yourself a refreshing Beauty Cocktail. Don't have a selection of pretty drinking vessels? You need to get on that. Great ones can be had for pennies at dollar stores, flea markets, and discount housewares shops. See? Easy.

To your health, My Darlings!

Happy Full Blue Moon!

xxx Alise

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Tropical Temptations

I bit into the tender flesh of a nectarine this morning.
The first of the season.
The sweet nectar ran down my lip and I smiled.
Summer is waiting in the wings for her cue.

As I wrapped myself in a furry sweater on this chilly mountain morning, I smiled at the irony. Shaking off a late-Spring shiver while devouring a summer gift.

I am not a patient woman, as we all know. And the recent warm spell has had me in full-on tropical mode. 

So I've been concocting.

Inspired by “A Taste of Puerto Rico”
snagged from my dear friend, and borrowed indefinitely (thanks, Carlito), I've been playing, adapting classic treats from this fascinating food culture traditionally overflowing with dairy, wheat, deep frying and sugar...but nonetheless blossoming with colorful culinary delights.
I actually relish a challenge like this...l love to delve into regional cookbooks and find ways to Vixen-ize beloved, but usually unhealthy dishes.

My first offering to you? An exuberant, luscious cold soup that you can whip up in an instant as it makes your heart sing out like a vibrant bird of paradise...

Sopa Fría Diosa

Serve chilled.

  • 2 organic mangoes, peeled and chopped
  • 1 organic papaya, peeled/seeded and chopped
  • 4 small cloves garlic, chopped, skins on
  • 1 C organic orange juice
  • 1 C unsweetened almond or cashew milk 
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • A good pinch of ground cloves
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • Celtic salt

Just blend it all until it's smooth as your cocoa-buttered skin, and let it chill for a while. I've been obsessed with my new NutriBullet Rx, if you're looking for an excellent blender that doesn't require the existential (and financial) leap that, say, a Vitamix would. 

And, yes, Lovers, you heard me: leave the skins on the garlic. Not the outer papery layers, but the tight one closest to the clove. Why? Because that's where the volatile oils live, the ones with all the natural antibiotics, the ones with all the flavor. You can get away with it when you're high-speed blending, so try it.

Orange foods boost immunity, so together with the garlic, you have a recipe timely for a change in seasons, and the sniffles that sometimes come with them.

Behold a sweet, refreshing potion with the savory bite from the garlic tickling your taste buds and giving you unbridled pleasure with every spoonful. 
The magic ingredient? The almond extract gives it a hint of rum, my Darlings.

Garnish with fresh mint, and maybe a sprinkling of shredded coconut. Pair it with my Cheeky Ceci Pane for a more curvaceous feast. This is Goddess-worthy, so ladle it with love into a gorgeous bowl honoring the sun and sea, warm Summer breezes whispering, the sultry rhythms of voluptuous lands...

Honor the healing power,

Open up,

It's your time to SHINE!

My heart to you,

xxx Alise

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More Come Hither Comfort Foods

Because we can't get enough.

Rich, warm, oohey-gooey madness

served up with a side of sultry...

Could it be?

Macaroni and Cheese??

Hell yes!

But this isn't Kraft, baby.

That's kid stuff.

And we prefer more...adult...activities, don't we?

*ahem*

This classic has been given a magically seductive makeover, of course, 

because you're too hot for that processed crap.

And, for that matter, the home-cooked bloaty dairy version too.

This one is kind to your belly, your skin, and to those sweet cows.

So dig in.

(Sensually, of course.)

 You know you want it.

You know you want it.

Remember a few posts back when I asked you to buy white miso to make that delightful vegan yogurt? Well, the remainder is still sitting in your fridge. Go get it. We're gonna concoct something sooo delish, you'll forget that it's actually good for you. 

Hot Mama Mac and Cheese

Serves two.

For the Sauce:

  • 1 3/4 C unsweetened organic almond or cashew milk
  • 5 Tbsp tapioca flour
  • 1/4 C virgin coconut oil. melted
  • 1/3 C nutritional yeast
  • 1 Tbsp white miso
  • 1 Tsp tomato paste
  • 1 tsp raw unfiltered apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp ground mustard
  • A good Pinch-n-Grind (Celtic salt and black pepper)

(And one package of quinoa elbow pasta.)

This is, literally, as easy as opening a box of powdered orange food coloring with some noodles at the bottom. Blend all the sauce ingredients together in a high-speed blender until smooth. Pour them into a saucepan. Heat the mixture on a very low flame, stirring every few minutes, until it begins to bubble. The sauce will thicken as it heats.

While that's shimmying, boil some water in a larger pot. When it's rolling, add in your quinoa pasta and a splash of olive oil to keep the noodles from sticking. (Keep stirring to avoid a giant clump of semi-hard noodle paste.)

When it's done (8-10 min.), drain and add into your now-thickened cheesy sauce. If you need it thicker, add in a tiny bit more tapioca flour and keep heating.

You are gonna love this!

Feast, my Beasties.

Enjoy every slippery bite.

Oh!

Come here.

You've got some sauce on your lip...

xxx Alise

Alise In Wonderland




4am Wisdom

Am I the only One 
who wakes routinely at 4 am
to lie awake and stare
to listen to the wind in the branches,
speaking.

Wandering about
in the stillness
everything breathes...
 

 THE MAY MOON, THROUGH MY BEDROOM WINDOW.

THE MAY MOON, THROUGH MY BEDROOM WINDOW.

I used to refer to my 4am Decisions,
which sometimes were a bit fuzzy
particularly if I was just coming in...

Now I see it as 4am Wisdom.

Often I burst into giggle fits.
It's my comedy hour.

My overnight behavior has earned me the following titles:
The Mistress of Mayhem,
The High Priestess of Highjinks,
The She-Wolf of Shenannigans
(I'm not kidding.)

It's hilarious.

 Little Witch, whatever are you up to? (actual middle-of-the night weirdness happening here.)

Little Witch, whatever are you up to? (actual middle-of-the night weirdness happening here.)

I share a household of similar beasts
so if I am restless,
so are the cats.
We are connected, of course.
The Mr. too.
There are esoteric conversations
or giggle fits
and ridiculous made-up songs.

And when it's deep,
I brood
or scribble things
sometimes I lie in bed
sometimes I need to sit in the living room on my cushions and furry nests
among the statues
because we need to talk.

And sometimes I stay awake through until 8am
watching and listening to the birds
then, full of new information
things that must be processed
I fall asleep as the sun begins to warm the room.

My awareness of everything breathing at this hour has a root.

In ancient Eastern traditions, 4am is when the lungs are at their strongest, because the circadian flow of the vital energy, or Chi, is at it's highest in that particular part of the body. Not coincidentally, it is also the hour in which the kidneys are at their lowest, hence those pesky middle-of-the night bathroom jaunts.

In some circles, it is an hour of prayer.

But tell me, 
where do your 4am wanderings take you?
To dark places
to great awareness
to peals of laughter?

Next time you're up, take 13 deep breaths. Whatever is waking you, harness that lung capacity first.

Find your rhythm.
See what comes in.
Then tweet me @veganvixen69

#4amWisdom

Meet me in the sky,
nd we'll share our adventures!

xxx Alise

Alise In Wonderland



Trip The Light Fantastic

It's a beautiful day!

Who has time for complications?

Not us, Babes.

Lets keep it simple.

And sexy.

How about a little mid-day getaway to your fave outdoor spot?

Bring a blanket, a date, and this dish.

A super-fast Vixen twist on a timeless Lebanese delight, bright and gorgeous, full of nutrients (and that ever-elusive vegan protein,) and, of course, lightened for bloat-free, easy digestion, which makes a behind-the-oak-tree tryst sooo much more fun...

Come on!

Tantalizing Tabouleh

Serves two.

  • 1 organic cucumber (skin on!), chopped
  • 1 organic zucchini, peeled and chopped
  • 1 pt organic cherry or grape tomatoes
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 lemon
  • 1/4-1/2 C organic hemp seeds
  • 1/2 C flat parsley, chopped
  • Celtic salt
  • Pepper

Toss your veggies in a large bowl. Juice the lemon into the mix. (I like to squeeze it through my hand, catching the pits, but still feeling the juice run down my fingers...)

Add in the garlic, salt, pepper, and hemp seeds.

Toss. Get dressed. Go.

No, dude, these seeds won't get you stupid high, but the quality of protein will send you flying.

Raw power.

Plant power.

It gets us where we need to be.

Vibrant Lovers, 

let's just spin,

and whirl...

I love you.

xxx Alise

 

Seasonal Produce: Spring

And, it has happened.

Her petals have opened

to the sun, and to the wind

Botanical poetry, alive and well

bringing us back to joy,

with a creamy mocha center

and soft vanilla sage whispers.

And if the impossible beauty of the flowers have arrived,

then it must be time for...

Spring fruits and vegetables!

Oui! After eons of tubers (no offense, little underground starchy Darlings,) the new Spring collections are in!  

The mantra is always this: buy local, by organic. Produce that has to travel a long distance is invariably picked too early in order to look good upon arrival, so we end up with flavorless, nutrient-deprived food. Of course, depending on where you dwell, some things will never be in season, so when you crave, say, a mango in winter, just follow these tips to enjoy the best possible version of your plant loves. Go ahead, enjoy your old favorites, and make a few new friends while you're at it.. And use your senses! Does it smell luscious? Does it look vibrant and alive? Does it feel good in your hand?

Allright, Loves, let's see who's strutting down the primavera runway...

VEGETABLES:

ARTICHOKES - Look for tightly packed, intact leaves. Splayed leaves are a sign of not-so-fresh chokes.

ASPARAGUS - Once harvested, asparagus deteriorate rapidly, so place them in cool storage to retain freshness and nutrition. Look for firm, slim stalks and beautifully formed tips. Thick stalks can taste woody and kill your experience.

BELGIAN ENDIVE - I love Belgians! (wink, VK.) Choose endive with tips that have a pale, yellow-green color, and avoid wilted or browning heads.

BROCCOLI - Broccoli should be heavy for its size. Steer clear of dried or browning stalks and yellowing florets.

BUTTER LETTUCE - Bring home heads that look full of life! No wilting or browning.

CHIVES - You want graceful chives, uniform in size and color. Stay away from any wilting or yellowing.

COLLARD GREENS - Yesss! Collard wraps! Pick dark green leaves, but eat them quickly...once they turn yellow they're done.

CORN - Look for bright green husks, and don't be shy about peeling their clothing off. The corn beneath should be unblemished and juicy looking.

FAVA BEANS - If you are able to snag fresh favas, grab them! Young favas can be shelled, are usually small, and smell like Spring herself!

FENNEL - Another amazing addition to your repertoire! Licorice-y fennel grows wild all over Southern California and the Med-rim countryside...maybe that's why I love it so? (Actually it grows wild all over the globe.) Choose bright green feathery leaves and white, even bulbs. Add it to salads and raw savory dishes for a sexy kick.

GREEN BEANS - These should be crisp, firm, and vibrant. Stay away from dark spots and dried-out ends.

MUSTARD GREENS - Look for pretty, lacy green leaves, sans browning or wilting. And eat them quickly!

PEAS - Fresh English peas just scream Spring! Look for pods that are full, but not bulging. As soon as they mature, they become starchy and way less flavorful. Try to find ones at a farmer's market that have been just harvested.

RADICCHIO - Choose compact heads with tight, fresh-looking leaves. 

RADISHES - Go for bunches that are deep in color with solid roots. You want them firm and blemish-free. Avoid cracks.

RED LEAF LETTUCE - Select the ones that have fresh-looking, tightly packed leaves. Red leaf gets wilty quick, so enjoy it the day you market.

RHUBARB - Rhubarb (only eat the stalks, Loves) are quite tart, but when sweetened actually work as more of a fruit. Select unmarred stalks.

SNOW PEAS - You want the ones that are a bright green with flat, small seeds. They should snap when you pop them. Put them back if they look shriveled, dry, or discolored.

SORREL - If you haven't tried this delicious, citrusy green, do it now! Same rules of thumb as apply to all lettuces and greens. But these, in particular, need to be eaten the day you buy them. Let them sit and they become compost.

SPINACH - The younger the plant, the sweeter the leaves, so go for bright baby spinach. Hint: check the stems. If they are flexible, it's young.

SPRING BABY LETTUCE - So many gorgeous greens! Again, look for vibrant leaves, no wilting or discoloration.

SWISS CHARD - Grab dark green leaves with bright stems. And eat them fast!

VIDALIA ONIONS - The flatter the onion, the sweeter. Try it.

WATERCRESS - Choose bright green watercress that isn't yellowing or slippery. A fantastic addition to your salads or green shakes.

FRUIT:

APRICOTS - Choose ones that are rich in color, firm, and plump looking. These little ones bruise easily, but those can be used in jams, sauces, pureés, etc., so don't dismiss them. Their feelings will be hurt.

CHERRIES - The best ones are large (an inch or more in diameter), plump, firm, and rich in color. The deep, black cherries are always the sweetest! 

CHERIMOYA - You really have to strike while this baby is hot. This absolutely delicious, pineappl-ey/banana-ey/mango-ey fruit shouldn't be missed, but has a short shelf life, so seek it out, in all its dragon-skinned glory!

HONEYDEW MELON - The skin should be a an even cream, yellow, or white color, it should smell fragrant, and a tap should ring a hollow, not dull sound. Also, press into the area where the stem was. If it's mushy, bid it adieu.

JACKFRUIT - Another exotic yum! A ripe one will have a beautiful fragrance and yield to the touch. An unripe one will be hard with no perfume.

LIME - Easy: give them a squeeze. If they yield, they will be juicy.

MANGO - Color doesn't matter here. A ripe mango will give slightly when gently squeezed, and often a lovely sweet aroma. If it's hard as a rock, let it be.

ORANGES - Here's another example of a fruit that doesn't give it away by color. A ripe orange will look and feel juicy, like it's about to burst. Go for the plumpest ones.

PINEAPPLE - Are you ready? Smell the base of the pineapple. If it is ripe, it will grace you with its signature scent. 

STRAWBERRIES - These beauties should be plump, firm, well shaped, and uniformly colored. Avoid white tops, a tell-tale sign of being picked too early.
 

 BLOSSOM LOVE. IMAGE BY  VK-RED DUVIVER.

BLOSSOM LOVE. IMAGE BY VK-RED DUVIVER.

Well now,

all that abundance should keep you busy for a while, no?

Let's get outside and have a little picnic together.

Is that a...rhubarb in your pocket...or...?

xxx Alise

C'est Parfait!

Well, hello there!

You caught me in the act.

Not that act, Dirty Things. That was earlier.

*ahem*

I was just in the middle of obsessively checking the L.A. apartment listings, as I do on a daily basis. It has become a favorite pastime.

Only those bedecked with balconies will do. 

And a courtyard.

And a pool.

Mind you, I don’t even swim in pools. I avoid chlorine like the plague.

But I love to lounge beside them.

See the redhead in the Bond-girl bikini, oversized hat, and a pitcher of homemade sangria, blissfully doing nothing? That would be me.

And so, I day dream about my balcony.

(For the record, I’m not delusional.  I’m creating my future space.)

I imagine low benches covered in Turkish cushions and plush pillows. Palm trees in Moroccan pots being delicately tickled by the breeze. Colorful glass lanterns reflecting cosmic light. Homemade incense spiraling upwards to the stars, releasing whispered plans...

A nest worthy of a great dragon. One with exotic tastes.

And I must have sunflowers. They remind me of Spain.

(Your ladyfriend here was up at 3am maniacally scanning the internet for "drought resistant sunflower container garden care." After an hour of sleepyhead searching, I'm still not sure it exists. But if it does, I'm gonna find it.)

Sunflowers. 

Giant happy faces I just want to kiss.

I want them surrounding me, in terra cotta pots.

Releasing their darling seeds to the ground in a sweet exhale of abundance.

And what a superfood!

I sang the praises of sunflower seeds recently, and have been playing with them quite a bit as a source of nutrition and a pleasurable nut-free alternative to vegan sauces. I'm so glad you all loved my Sunshine Noodles!

I've conjured up a new delight for you: a creamy vegan yogurt with delicate flavors, layered with a fruit pureé and lightly touched with a sensual surprise...

C'est Parfait

This recipe easily makes 6 servings, and keeps three days in the refrigerator.

For the Yogurt:

  • 1 C raw cashews
  • 1/2 C raw sunflower seeds
  • 2 C coconut water
  • 1 tsp white miso paste
  • 3-6 drops Wild Orange essential oil
  • 1/2 C pitted organic dates
  • 1 Tbsp ground organic cinnamon
  • Stevia, to taste (optional)

For the Fruit Pureé:

  • 1 C frozen or fresh organic mango flesh
  • 1 tsp raw coconut nectar, or stevia to taste
  • 1 Tbsp orange flower water

Begin, my Loves, by creating the yogurt. Grind the cashews and the sunflower seeds into a fine powder, using a coffee grinder, food processor, or NutriBullet blender. The trick is to get it to a powdery texture. (My food processor is on its way out, so mine was kind of on the crumbly side. It still tastes out of this world, but I would have liked an ultra-smooth texture.) Once you have it super fine, transfer it to a high-speed blender, an add in one cup of the coconut water. Blend it until you get a thick mixture. Now add in the remaining cup of coconut water, the dates, miso, and cinnamon. Blend it on high until it looks creamy and well mingled. 

Taste it. The dates should make it sweet enough, but add some stevia if you like. You could start with, say, 1 tsp powdered stevia or 1 dropper of liquid, and go from there. Either way, you're on a low glycemic, healthy sweet, so enjoy it!

Now add the Wild Orange for that extra touch of magic, stir, cover it with a cloth, and let it rest on the counter top for 3 hours. I know you're saying, "Whaaat? Miso! In yogurt? Gross!" but, Beasties, trust me, you don't taste it at all. It's there to allow the yogurt to culture. Just relax and let it do its thing.

I know miso can be pricey, but if you are willing, it actually has many uses, from delicious soups onward, and it keeps quite a while in the fridge, so you don't have to panic about using it all at once. Adding fermented foods to your repertoire is brilliant for your belly, because they provide the body with probiotics aka beneficial bacteria. These bacteria, when ingested, populate the intestinal tract and begin to interact with the body in a good way by training the immune system, manufacturing vitamins and keeping scheming, opportunistic bacteria away from your precious self. So it's not just me telling you to eat bizarre things. There is a point to all this.

Plus, I'll have a wildly sexy recipe for you in the next couple of weeks using that same white miso, so stay close...

On to the Fruit Pureé: Just blend the three ingredients together. That's it! If you're using frozen fruit, let it thaw first, otherwise the icy goodness will get way too melty way too quickly, and your Parfait will be a slurpy mess. 

When the yogurt is finished its divine transformation, check the consistency. It should be thick and creamy, but, if you find it too watery somehow, just cover it in cheesecloth, rubber band the top, turn it upside down into a bowl, and stick it in the refrigerator for about an hour. This will drain any extra liquids.

Find a gorgeous glass and layer the lusciousness. Mmmm!

This is a basic blend that works really well, but don't stop here! Use this recipe as a template for exploring all kinds of flavors: Try a spiced vanilla version, add Lemon or Lime oil in place of the Wild Orange, play with cacao, different fruit blends, anything that excites you!

You have a fabulous treat here. It's both light and filling, easy to digest, energy-boosting, beautifying, and crazy delicious. The orange flower water really puts it over the top, with a depth of sensuality that must be experienced. 

I haven't toyed will a seed-only version yet, but if you are allergic to nuts, by all means, give it a whirl around the dance floor. Use your creativity, and your inner Kitchen Witch will meet you there. Promise.

Now, won't you join me on my balcony?

It's warm

and fragrant,

and there's a very good chance I'm not wearing anything.

*wink*

Tell me what YOU daydream about.

I can't wait to hear.

xxx Alise

Alise In Wonderland



As You Wish

“I want this SO badly...

 I’m gonna make it happen!”

How many times, my Loves, have those words 

hissed from your tongue?

Be honest.

Ever create something despite the warning signs, and ended up with a mess? To find that it wasn’t really what you wanted after all, that the reality was actually quite different, or sadly, you lost something precious in the process? Maybe the whole thing was loaded with mishaps, every step of the way, or you ended up having mind-blowing, arduous delays?

This is because we ignore timing.

That is the arrogance of the Craft, if you will.  

And, yes, we do make it happen. High-level magic can make anything happen. There is power there, for sure. But it lacks in wisdom.

We push, conjure, manifest the fuck out of what we want, and we work hard, but if we ignore the rhythm of the Cosmos, it’s gonna bite us. It may take a while, but rest assured it WILL bite.

Particularly if it’s ego-driven. 

Reading Kitty Cavalier’s recent post, "Lay Me Down To Rest," made me smile so big my cheekbones hurt. Because I knew exactly where she was. Had she ignored her wisdom, her inner rhythm, she may have jumped a bit too early. It doesn’t mean anything drastically terrible would have occurred, but you can find yourself launching a rocket into a decidedly less than stellar atmosphere, because you simply cannot wait. Or because you have fear.

Thing is, Darlings, we have seasons. Some are entwined with the Earth, and some are our own. We look to our stars for guidance, we ask, and we watch for signs. 

But do we always listen?

I was complaining about a freeway jam one day, and my man said to me,”If you are stuck in traffic, it is because you are meant to arrive at exactly the right time.”

Hmmm. Where have I head that before?

“A wizard is never late, nor is he early. He always arrives precisely when he means to.”

I’m with Gandalf. Literally, it seems.

After an absurdly long Winter, I’ve been ready to HATCH. The eggshell has been tight to the point of near-suffocation, and I just need to burst open and fly! As some of you know, I’ve been in various stages of production on my beauty/cooking/lifestyle show the past several months, all set to premiere on the Vernal Equinox.

That didn’t happen.

And It made me insane. Because in my reasoning, that was the one and only possible purrfect date this Spring to launch. The Spring Equinox, a New Moon, AND an eclipse...IN MY SUN SIGN, for Goddess sake!!!! No two ways about it, THAT was the date.

Sounds like a wise plan, no?

Here’s why it didn’t work: I picked a date, based on fear, and PUSHED. HARD. I looked to the stars, but not to the reality of how big of a project it is. I just bent my head down, and charged ahead with my Ram’s horns will all the force of Thor's hammer.

When the location fell through, shooting went awry, and it seemed that all my hard work, all my passion, was failing me...I had a total internal meltdown. And then I had an understanding.

I had to look at it, and ask myself: Am I shooting of this date because I feel that I’ve been dormant for too long? Am I afraid of becoming stagnant? Old? Is someone gonna beat me to it?

And then the even tougher questions came up.

Was I doing this for my ego, or is the point, Ms. Marie, to help people? To share what I know? Is this coming from my heart, or that wicked little place where we compare ourselves to others? 

Because, beautiful Birds, if it comes from anywhere other than your heart, it will ultimately fail you. You can achieve, for certain, but it will ring hollow. 

And, really, it’s coming along beautifully, as it should be, and on its most eloquent, divine schedule. But as with all projects that are near and dear to us, it takes time to develop. And, though I am not a patient woman (see “Manifesting” above,) I have learned to trust.

Think of it this way: when it's right, YOU don't do IT.

IT does YOU.


And now, Beasties, I am off.

Because tomorrow is not only a Full Moon Eclipse,

but it is also...

My Birthday.

And this Cat is ready for some action!

I love you!

xxx Alise

 

Taste The Sun

There is the tease,

and then

there is the diabolical.

 beautiful, but unbearably frigid upstate new york. but see that sky? i've been working on it...

beautiful, but unbearably frigid upstate new york. but see that sky? i've been working on it...

Here in the Northeast, climate change has given an over-the-top performance,

as we cheer wildly for a rare day above freezing.

Of course, early Spring often plays with us,

coyly giving us a warm spell,

only to revert to her old Winter habits.

But this time around, 

it's much more intense.

Cabin fever happened ages ago.

We're way beyond that.

And, with all the respect due to Nature

(as she's been given a lousy script, and a far worse production crew,)

isn't it time we make some heat?

 That's more like it!

That's more like it!

Bossa Nova has been filling my rooms.

Island flavors mingling in la cucina.

Bright colors dancing front and center from a forgotten recess of my closet.

You know what I mean?

TIME. FOR. ACTION.

I'm calling in the Sun King, honey.

And I've got one hell of an offering.

Do you know about sun butter? Beasties, you've got to get on this. It tastes like creamy peanut butter, but is made from sunflower seeds. That's right! So it's wicked nutritious, nut-free, and absolutely the tastiest thing ever. Sunflower seeds are the gifts of the deliriously happy-faced sun flowers, and are loaded with beauty nutrients. They have insane amounts of vitamin E, Lovers, which your skin adores, crazy high amounts of B vitamins and beloved minerals, one of whom is magnesium, which has the ability to calm your nerves. 

Stress-busting, beautifying, AND delicious? I'd call that a purrfect food.

Let's make a Vixen-ized version of the classic peanut sesame noodles, with a spicy mango salad as its date.

Sunshine Noodles 

  • 1 9oz. package of pure buckwheat noodles (or quinoa noodles)
  • 3/4 C sun butter (available in your health food store. If they don't carry it, they can order it.)
  • 3/4-1 C pure water
  • 2 Tbsp Nama Shoyu
  • 1/2 inch piece of ginger, grated or chopped finely
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped super fine
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 Tbsp raw coconut nectar or stevia
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp red pepper flakes, as you like
  • 1/4 raw cashews, chopped
  • Pinch of ground cardamom
  • Celtic salt, to taste

Spicy Mango Salad

  • 2 organic mangoes, peeled and sliced
  • 2 organic carrots, julienned
  • 1 organic cucumber, julienned, skin on 
  • 1/4 raw apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne
  • handful of fresh organic basil, chopped
  • zest of 1 lime
  • Good pinch of Celtic salt

Make the salad first, so the flavors have time to mingle. You want to make the buckwheat noodles at the last possible moment, because they become wallpaper paste if they sit too long.

Combine all the ingredients in a pretty bowl, toss, and let it do its thing.

Now, in a large bowl, whisk together all of the Sunshine Noodles ingredients except the salt. Keep working the sun butter into the water, adding a little water at a time, until the mixture had a fairly thin, creamy consistency. Add more water if you need to. I like mine drowning in sauce, but you may prefer it a little thicker.

Make the noodles. Drain and set aside. (**You can make this totally raw by using zucchini noodles if you like. Just run them through a spiralizer or use a potato peeler.)

Add the sauce to the noodles. Using tongs, toss the mixture together, making sure to coat all the noodles. Taste it. Mmmm. Add your salt here, and adjust the fire from the pepper flakes if you desire.

Top it with the chopped cashews, and enjoy. Eat the salad first for proper digestion. Always raw before cooked. Remember that. 

It is sooo good, you won't believe it's healthy.

 the real-life "girl from impanema," héloise pinheiro.

the real-life "girl from impanema," héloise pinheiro.

Bring on the tropics, Mama.

We're all waiting. 

Impatiently.

xxx Alise

Alise In Wonderland

The Sensual Shower

Why is it that when we bathe

it's a languid, sultry affair

while a shower in an in-and-out

hurried rush of graceless movement?

Well now,

we all know how much fun a quickie can be...

Time to give the shower the seductive power it deserves.

I'll share a delicious secret with you: It's all about layering scent. A spell of sensuality is immediately cast, and remains with you, to be shared, like handing out single flowers to everyone you meet from a voluptuous bouquet you hold close to your heart.

All it takes is a little magic.

You will need:

  • 1 bottle of castile soap
  • 1 jar of unrefined, organic coconut oil, melted
  • 1 cute spray bottle, filled with pure water
  • 1 bottle of organic flower water (Rose, Orange, Lavender, etc.)
  • Your fave essential oils
  • A few gorgeous containers (see below)

As you gather your essential oils, pause for a moment to really feel what you want to create. What blend would make you feel amazing and beautiful all day long? What oils can heal any maladies you may be having? For instance, right now I am using a frankincense/myrrh treatment with fresh vanilla bean. It's deep, musky, and wildly sexy, and it is curing a few ills. Mix together your essential oils, with enough drops to use in a few different potions. 

Of course, making this blend is a ritual unto itself, so be sure to infuse it with powerful energy.

Divide your mixture equally into the castile soap, the coconut oil, and the spray bottle. Shake and mix each one. Add some flower water to the spray bottle, and use it for misting towels, your robe or clothing, the room...anything you like!

If you can, transfer the coconut oil and the castile soap into glass containers. Scour flea markets and Etsy for special ones to display. They make the ritual even more enticing, don't they? Running your fingers along the graceful neck of a bottle, removing the stopper, placing it on the tile to catch the light, and pouring the nectar from it onto your heated flesh...

Instant. Shower. Spa.

Now you have scent-infused body wash, shave cream, spray, and moisturizer for every sweet part of you. Now each moment you have to linger beneath the spray will be joyous, even if it's only a few. Breathe it all in, really feeling the water on your skin, and give thanks to your gorgeous body. After all, it carries you everywhere. It deserves the love and attention you give to it.

It's these little moments we take for ourselves, Darling Ones, that set the stage for the entire day. Or night. Bewitching treats. Like movie star lingerie beneath our uniforms, they are a constant reminder to feed ourselves as women. Try it.

You may just find yourself hooked.

xxx Alise

Alise In Wonderland


Rockstar Ingredients: Salt

Salt?!

You heard me.

But none of that iodized, processed, table salt crap.

I'm talking about the real thing.

Rich mineral secrets from deep inside the belly of the mountains

and the precious sea nymph gems that crystalize upon the shores...

 clockwise from left: celtic salt, salish, himalayan pink.

clockwise from left: celtic salt, salish, himalayan pink.

We've been conditioned into a strange relationship with salt.

We fear it, and we crave it.

Why? Because we know full well that table salt is a mess. The processing strips it of its inherent nutrients, and puts additives in their place. Toxins like fluoride, anti-caking agents, and potassium iodide creep in, while bleaching ensures a pristine looking product. In some cases, aluminum derivatives are added, which cause a multitude of health issues, including...are you ready for this? Alzheimer's. Whaa? And we're putting this stuff in our precious bodies?! That added to the fact that too much salt causes high blood pressure, inflammation (literally the building block of poor health and disease), water retention or dehydration (depending on other factors present), hypertension, kidney stones, osteoporosis, and even increases risk of stomach cancer. You gotta be effing kidding me.

On the other paw, pure salt earns rockstar status by supplying much needed essential trace minerals to the body, and in doing so alkalizes, boots immunity, fights disease and depression (by preserving hormones which help us to deal with stress), and eases a variety of skin conditions while detoxifying via a salt bath. 

Oh, and it tastes delicious, of course. The trick is using pure salt sparingly, like the priceless jewels of the Earth that they are. You wouldn't just throw zillions of tiny diamonds around carelessly, now would you?

It's still confusing, I know.

So, the question begs, when and how to salt? 

Salt binds to large molecules, like proteins, in food. So it's there, but you don't taste it. That creates hidden salt. We don't want that. And the larger the molecule, the less you will taste it. Now, you do need some salt during the cooking process, because it engages the action, and is necessary for things like browning, carmelization, for interaction in baking, and to generate what are known as Maillard reactions: a chemical reaction between amino acids and reducing sugars which give cooked foods their flavor. The idea then, my savory Darlings,  is to salt minimally during the cooking process, and sprinkle it on just before serving. That way you get the full flavor of these gorgeous crystals without going overboard. 

The sexiest salts around? The Magic Three.

1. Celtic Salt - Hands down my all-time fave. You know how often I specify it in my recipes, and here's why: 

Long used in ritual for purification, protection, and grounding, its flavor is as powerful as its magic. 

Celtic salt is harvested off the coast of France by hand, in the traditional methods of the ancient Celts, by using the sun, the wind and shallow clay ionizing ponds, a method passed down through the ages. That alone connects us to its magic. Because it is unrefined, Celtic salt contains all 92 trace minerals needed for the body to function at its best. 

Naturally moist and lunar pale grey, Celtic salt makes the purrfect body scrub all on its own, but is positively heaven-sent when mixed with coconut or avocado oil, and anointed with your fave essential oils. (Hit the Main Menu button on the link page to shop.)

A must-have beauty and nutritional powerhouse.

 Celtic salt ready for harvest.

Celtic salt ready for harvest.

2. Himalayan Pink Salt

Mined 5,000 feet deep below the Himalayan mountain range, Himalayan pink salt was subject to enormous pressure over millions of years and is over 99% pure. The higher the amount of pressure, the more superior or excellent the state of order within the crystalline structure of the salt. 

Many Himalayan salts are sold cheaply but are collected from higher up near the tops of the Himalayan Mountains instead of from the deeper mines. These salts contain more impurities, do not have the same structure and are not as easily assimilated into the body.

Himalayan salt contains 84 minerals and trace elements in ionic state and is a delightful pink color. People often state that they use less of this salt than of other types. 

And then there are the lamps, charged with happy negative ions which purify the air and promote a rested, rejuvenated state of calm. Like being in a sexy salt spa cave.

 let's have a date, here.

let's have a date, here.

3. Smoked Salt

Also known as salish, smoked salt makes it into my sacred circle for its amazingly intense charcoaled flavor. This is a secret weapon of an ingredient if ever there were one. Deep and earthy, salish is created by slowly smoking the salt over wood, usually Alder.

And what is Alder? One of the Sacred Celtic Trees, my Beasties. Known as The King of The Waters (the Willow being its Queen,) the Alder grows in the faerie realm, where land and waters meet. 

This sacrosanct tree attracts powers of self protection, divination, healing, and all things connected to the element of Water. 

Keep that in mind as you're lightly sprinkling salish onto your latest culinary creation.

 the king of the waters.

the king of the waters.

I'll leave you now with two words:

Salt. lick.

xxx Alise



Tigress Time Management

It’s 3:16 pm and I have succeeded in accomplishing exactly one thing so far today.

I got up early (for me) intending to hit the ground running.

And then, a sudden emergency vet visit happened.  

You see, my eldest cat, my beloved little soul mate, has a chronic condition which requires immediate attention when an episode occurs. This happens, unfortunately, quite often. In winter, it’s pretty much every two weeks. So, you’d think I would be used to it, the drill. But it throws me. Every single time.

The minute I see him in discomfort, I go head-on into Mama Cat mode, at once efficient, strong, and comforting to him, but on the inside...a puddle. An emotional wreck. Then the cortisol skyrockets and I stress to no end. 

We have it down, really. He’s amazing. I swaddle him in warm fuzzy things, load him gently into his carrier, and off we go. He tolerates the chill of the car while the heat takes it’s time to kick in, sits patiently thorough a lengthy ride through the mountains, and remains Zen-like during the endless wait for our turn with our rockstar vet.  While high-strung dogs bark and yelp, and their humans shout over them, my little man-cat is just so cool.
Then, after we’re done, he does the ride home seamlessly. In warm weather, I usually stop somewhere peaceful and gorgeous, and bring his carrier outside. We sit silently, as cats do. And the bond between us intensifies even more.

There is nothing I wouldn’t do for this guy. And for every precious moment we have.

But now I’m home, back in our toasty Lair, and as he rests, I dawdle. Big time. I’m shot from the morning’s journey. I can’t help it. 

I sit down at my sunny kitchen table work altar, and try to focus.

The screen looks back at me, blankly. I feel scattered. I look out the window.

Wait...I think I need paper towels...

On with the boots, back out in the snow.

You get the picture. 

I was talking to my Mom, who was having a similar form of understandable behavior - what I would call Legitimate Procrastination, where something out-of-the-blue freaky comes up, knocks you out, and annihilates your best intentions. She likes to distract herself by re-organizing her (already meticulous) cabinets, whereas I am wired for wanderlust, and the most insignificant errand becomes fascinating and suddenly time-sensitive to me when I am mentally floating and can't concentrate. We laughed at the lengths we will go to to distract ourselves from the task at hand, and it got me to thinking about stress, time management, and how we can make it all work for us. I've gathered my Top 5 Tips for getting back on track, and let me tell you, they work every time. 

These tips rock for standard-issue Lazy Procrastination, also, so NO EXCUSES, my preoccupied Darlings!

(Don't make me have to discipline you.)

1. YEAH, WE KNOW, MAKE A LIST.

Sounds trite. But it WORKS. Here's the trick: make your list the night before. This helps in two ways. First, by organizing your priorities ahead of time you psych yourself up for the next day's plan. You're already thinking about it, visualizing, sending the energy out. And now, as you wind down for the night, you can let it go. No need to obsess. Second, you wake with a clear vision, and a built-in focus that's raring to go. 

2. "SECTIONING"

You've got your list.  Now, break it into sections, like a grapefruit. Pick one larger task, or several smaller, and give them a time slot. Like on television. Your list make look something like:

  • 9am - Get up, drink green shake, get dressed. Respond to emails.
  • 10am - Noon - Write blog post
  • 12-12:30 - Lunch
  • 12:30-2:00 - Shoot photos
  • 2:00-3:00 - Edit photos
  • 3:00-5:00 - Work on script
  • 5:00-6:00 - Make & eat dinner

This is a super-lax version of my day, but use it as a template to plug in your own projects, with feasible time frames. If you have things to do that continue into the night, keep going. It seems rigid, but it really does help to break up your time into sections this way. And, of course, if things take longer, or go quicker, you just adjust the schedule. While this is a lifesaver for the self-employed, it also works like magic for students, busy moms, creative projects, and things you want to avoid at all costs, like cleaning and organizing all of life's minutiae. You'll be amazed at what you can actually get done. 

3. PARTNERS IN PROCRASTINATION 

We all know someone who's in the same boat. Why not reach out and offer to help each other? Make a plan to check in several times per day, via text. For instance, "Ok, by noon I need to have my desk organized." Your buddy texts back, "Yep, I need to have a post written by then." You decide to check in with each other at noon, to report (ideally) that you've finished that task. Then you move on to the afternoon's list. Of course, you and your Procrastination Pal also act as cheerleaders for each other. When one person is having major resistance to something, they text the other for some prodding. You and your co-conspirators are helping each other to make dreams happen. How great is that?

4. IN-THE-MOMENT MOTIVATORS

The idea here is to have everything you need to get the job done right in front of you. For me, it's always music and a beverage, no matter what I'm working on. I make a playlist the night before when I'm compiling my next-day To Do list, with a focus on what kind of audio charge I'll need. Physical tasks? Fast and Loud. Writing? Ambient sounds. 

The I make sure I have something delish to down during the process. Yummy teas, green juice shakes, waters flavored with essential oils...whatever keeps you going.

(And then, to officially let the games begin, I light my altar candle(s) for some extra mojo.)

I know some people who absolutely must have a vintage film running in the background to get working. Some, the white noise of a fave tv show they've seen a thousand times. Others require café sounds to generate a feeling of bustling excitement around them. I told my mother I was going to download an applause track, and hit it every time I accomplished something. (I was joking. Kind of.)

So, what motivates you? 

5. WHO NEEDS A TREAT?

We do! Oh yes, like puppies, we all need a reward for our good behavior. A pat on the head. Just make it a healthy one, Beasties. For me. Please. 

I finished this script...I do believe some coconut milk ice cream is in order here...

It doesn't have to be food or a cocktail. Maybe it's ONE cute animal video, five minutes of emailing a friend, ten minutes of playtime with your cat...anything that makes you feel good and gives you a little mental break. Stretch your sexy limbs, eat an apple, sing something. But enjoy it fully, lusciously...

Allright, Baby Dragons! Back to work!

You can DO IT!

(Cue applause track!)

And don't forget to Tweet me if you get stuck.

Of course, there's always my riding crop. Does that fall under the "Motivation" or the "Treat" category?

*wink*

I love you!

xxx Alise

 

 

Badass Babes And What They Wore

It's mid-February in the mountains of upstate New York.

 yes, its pretty, but...

yes, its pretty, but...

I don't wanna talk about the weather anymore.

Don't give me snowfall amounts,

or negative zero temperatures,

and don't make me feel gray.

Let's play a game instead.

I daydream,

and I only want to know one thing:

(drumroll please...!)

"WHO ARE YOUR TOP THREE, ALL-TIME FAVORITE STYLE ICONS?"

C'mon, 

before you retreat to yet another Netflix binge

and start feeling pissy,

change up the energy

get into a lighter spirit.

PLAY. WITH. ME.

Now, who are they?

I'll show you mine.

They all have one thing in common.

Pure, unbridled sensuality...

1. Anita Pallenberg

 classic anita.

classic anita.

 Anita could make a piano shawl into the sexiest thing ever. image by the beautiful michael cooper (rip.)

Anita could make a piano shawl into the sexiest thing ever. image by the beautiful michael cooper (rip.)

Actress, model, and muse, Anita strutted her oft-imitated, but never rivaled sense of style throughout 1960's Europe, inspiring artists, designers and rock stars everywhere she went, setting the standard around the world for Boho chic which still prevails...everywhere.  Though she could rock wide-leg velvet trousers better than anyone on the planet, classic Anita, to me, is all tunic minidress, bare legs, brimmed hats, draped scarves, and furry coats. (I'm sure back in the day they were real, but we'll forgive. It was ages ago.) Add that to her Witchy Woman status, and the fact that to this day people are still trying to imitate her (hellooo Kate Moss, Sienna Miller, Nicole Richie, anyone who ever went to Coachella, etc.,) she's my most beloved. Vixen Fact: I named my first black cat after her.

2. Uschi Obermaier

 feral, come-hither  uschi.

feral, come-hither  uschi.

Though not many know of her, the "Bavarian Bombshell" was no slouch in the trend-setting department either. Uschi was a model, political activist, and (somewhat reluctant) actress, turning down a lucrative 10-film contract with Carlo Ponti, which would have secured her place as an international movie star, because...she wanted to travel the world with her boyfriend. Signing on the dotted line simply would have cramped her considerable style, and this one could not be tamed. Uschi favored nomadic tribal jewelry, saris, sexy boots, and plenty of bare flesh. I adore her.

3. Brigitte Bardot

 can i please have that dress?

can i please have that dress?

Last, but never, ever least...who doesn't love Bébe? Don't we all just swoon over her early looks: nippped-waist-full-skirted numbers, the gingham, the sleek pencil dresses? And then there are the Paco Rabanne minis, the adorable coats, the Gainsbourg-era thigh-high boots...

Of all her gorgeous looks, the one above defines Brigitte at her core: unabashedly feminine, with a wild side. Eyelet layers and slept-on hair. Artfully smudged eyeliner with a ballerina's easy grace.

I just love these ladies. I really do. I want to, right now, fly to the south of France and fight for animal rights alongside BB, make jewelry in Topanga Canyon with Uschi, and hop across the pond so Anita can show me around her closet, and we can laugh about modern fashion (or lack thereof) together.

Who inspires your style?

Tell me.

I've got nowhere to go.

'Cause it's snowing.

Again.

xxx Alise

Alise In Wonderland


The Moon, The Goat, and The Flowers

Happy Chinese New Year!

The Year of The Goat. 

Fantastic.

 My beloved friend, Mario, not really digging the idea of leaving his house this Winter. I hear ya, baby.

My beloved friend, Mario, not really digging the idea of leaving his house this Winter. I hear ya, baby.

The story goes that Buddha invited all animals to join him on the Lunar New Year, but only twelve showed. Can you imagine? I can only guess that they were off doing very amazing things to miss such an auspicious gathering. So he named a year for every animal present, bestowing the characteristics of that animal, with its corresponding element, on each year. 

2015 comes sweeping in as the Year of The Wood Goat (also Sheep and Ram), and with it the promise of positive emotions and steamy erotic encounters. Mmmmm! 

We can also look forward to a peaceful home environment, a more laid-back vibe between people around us, and...are you ready?

Soaring,

Sparkling,

Enchanted

CREATIVITY!

No matter what art form you choose, if it comes from down deep and makes your butterfly heart sing, it's got Lunar-powered success written all over it.

See? It's happening! GO. FOR. IT. RIGHT. NOW. 

 Well, ok, so he ventures out to see little ol' me... I LOVE this guy.

Well, ok, so he ventures out to see little ol' me... I LOVE this guy.

As Chinese New Year celebrates wealth, longevity, and happiness, my offering to you, sweet Horned Ones, are delicate, tasty blossoms, filled with love and life, just bursting open with symbolic traditional talismans, and adorned with petals of magical significance...

This vibrant and very pretty dish can be eaten as an appetizer for a party, or as a full meal for two - with a raw salad first, of course, for easy digestion and maximum health and beauty benefits. 

It begins with a dark and delightful black rice. 

Black foods in the ancient Daoist tradition contained the most amount of Jing, or life-force, so whenever possible choose them over their pale counterparts. (It's all about the Jing, Lovers. Trust me on this.) It is said that rice carries the magical gift of wealth, and if, when cooking it, a ring forms around the edge of the pot, the owner will become rich! A purrfectly logical reason to fire that cauldron wayyy up...

Adding fortune's fire to our ritual concocting here are sesame seed, cabbage, ginger, and lettuce. (Lettuce is also always included in Chinese New Year celebrations for prosperity and a fresh start.)

And how about a bit of garlic for good health? Orange and lime for love?

You got it.

Prosperity Flowers

Makes 13 Flowers

  • 4 oz. black or wild rice, organic
  • 1-1/4 C pure water
  • 1 Tbsp raw organic coconut oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/2 organic red pepper, chopped
  • 1-1/2 C. organic red cabbage, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp organic ground ginger, or 1/4" piece fresh grated
  • 2 Tbsp organic Nama Shoyu (a healthier version of soy sauce, found in health food stores)
  • 1/2 C cilantro, chopped
  • 2 sprigs mint, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp toasted sesame seeds
  • 3 drops Lime essential oil
  • 3 drops Wild Orange essential oil

For the Sauce

  • 3/4 C organic Nama Shoyu
  • 2 Tbsp raw coconut nectar
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 drop Lime essential oil
  • 1 drop Wild Orange essential oil

This dish comes together easily, so light and energizing, but don't mistake that for fluffiness in the power department. That holds true for all plant foods, especially when they're raw. So, light your candle, set your intention, and let the energy build...

Boil the water in a small saucepan, then add in the rice. Return it to a boil (remember that "ring around the pot!") , then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cover it, and let it cook for 20-30 minutes, until all the liquid is absorbed. 

While the rice is coming into it's own, fire up a large pot slowly, adding in the coconut oil when it's hot, and letting it quietly melt. In goes the chopped garlic, sizzling gently until just translucent and madly fragrant.

There's something indescribably rich about the scent of garlic warming in coconut oil. It's absolutely mouth-watering.

Sprinkle the ginger on top of the garlic, give it a stir, and let it mingle a few minutes. Then add in the cabbage and peppers. Move it all around. Splash in some Shoyu sauce, and give it one more good stir.

While the vegetables cook, whip up your sauce. Whisk together the shoyu and coconut nectar until they are blended. Add in the garlic, red pepper flakes, and oils. Whisk it again, then set it aside. (By the time you're ready to plate, the flavors will be mingled.)

Oh, and toast the sesame seeds. Just warm them in a little pan on the stove until they brown and smell outrageously nutty. Try not to burn them.

When the veggies are cooked to your desired tenderness, remove the pot from the flame. Let it cool somewhat. You want the mixture to be warm going into the lettuce flowers, not hot. Toss in the fresh cilantro and mint (more love and money!), and, finally, the oils. 

Spoon it into the lettuce flowers, and arrange them beautifully on a plate with the sauce. Sprinkle the sesame seeds around like little wishes...

These are so flavorful, fresh-tasting, and yummy you'll want to make them all the time!

To you, Beloved Beasties,

I wish a most energizing New Moon, 

and a Lunar year filled with everything your heart desires.

And goats.

Goats are fabulous.

 

All My Love To You,

xxx Alise

 

 

 

Tipping the (Red) Velvet

Perhaps you've heard the expression, "Tipping the velvet..."

Those naughty Victorians.

They came up with it.

Repression being the mother of invention, I suppose.

It really does conjure up an image of something wonderfully sensual.

"What is it?" you ask?

I'll let this vintage illustration provide the answer...

Mmm-hmm.

And this was the least explicit depiction I could find for you,

but certainly not the most beguiling.

She really doesn't look so enthralled,

but I'll say that's quite a way to embrace your...art.

*ahem*

Which brings us 'round to Venus' Day.

I couldn't think of anything possibly cheekier for you, my Dirty Things

than a Red Velvet Tart,

in honor of the day, and night

so full of sexual rapture...

 CLOTHING? OPTIONAL. SIREN SHOES? MANDATORY.

CLOTHING? OPTIONAL. SIREN SHOES? MANDATORY.

 Isn't it pretty? Wait 'til you taste...

Isn't it pretty? Wait 'til you taste...

Tipping The Red Velvet Tart

Makes two tarts. Feel free to double the recipe.

For the Crust:

  • 1-1/2 C raw almonds, soaked for 2 hours, drained and rinsed
  • 1/4 C coconut or avocado oil
  • 1 Tbsp raw coconut nectar

For the Red Velvet Filling:

  • 1 large super-ripe avocado
  • 1/4 C raw, unsweetened cacao powder
  • 1/4 C full-fat coconut milk
  • 1 tsp Madagascar vanilla powder or extract
  • 4 Tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 1 Tbsp beet powder or crystals
  • 1 tsp organic pure chocolate extract

For the Adornment:

  • 1 pt fresh organic raspberries

Lovers, this is almost too easy. You have to gather a few oddball ingredients, like the beet powder and the chocolate extract, but it is sooo worth it. This tart is seduction in its purest form: lush, rich, decadent and deep chocolate, ripe, lusty raspberries, positively tingling with beauty fats, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. Guilt? Never heard of it. 

Pure pleasure. Our kind of night.

You will find the beet powder or crystals in your fave health food store. It's pricey, but can be used to your advantage in shake elixirs for a naturally sweet flavor, a gorgeous color, and all the myriad health benefits of beets, such as fighting inflammation (the root of all ills), detoxification (awesome for your belly and skin), and boosting your stamina, to name a few. I especially like them paired with strawberries and a little vanilla.

You can, of course, swap the maple syrup for stevia or raw coconut nectar if you have candida, diabetes, or an intense sugar sensitivity. But if you can, use the maple. Paired with chocolate, it's nothing short of a religious experience.

I don't love a ton of crust, and this recipe makes a good amount of it, so my advice would be to just create a thin layer in each tart pan, which will give you four crusts. Pop two in the freezer for future dessert ecstasy. I promise you I have much in store for you, my Darlings.

But for now, it's time to begin our love ritual...

Start with music. Anything that makes you feel slinky.

Place a red candle inside a beautiful bowl or tray, adding herbs, flowers, stones, lingerie...whatever feels good to you and conjures up visions of sensuality, love, and feverish erotic encounters, should you so desire. Create your altar. Some suggestions? Sprinkle rose petals, jasmine flowers, carefully place a vanilla bean, a rose quartz (to open the heart to receiving love), a rhodocrosite (for loving ourselves), and perhaps a saucy little personal item to add extra sizzle.

Visualize, feel, breathe deeply, lower your shoulders and hold your head high. Invite Aphrodite and Inanna into your sacred space. Keep going. Are you there? Whisper your your prayers, light the candle, and get ready to channel your Kitchen Witch super-powers.

So, first pulse your almonds in a food processor or high-speed blender until it becomes fine and crumbly. Add in the coconut nectar, and the oil, and give it another blast. (Either oil is purrfect, it just depends on your taste preference. If you don't love coconut with your chocolate, then use the avocado oil, it will simply taste buttery.)

Spoon out a heaping tablespoon for each tart pan, and press around with your fingers to get an even layer on the bottom and up the sides. Set them in the fridge while you make the filling.

Ohhh...the filling. Wait for it.

Cream the avocado in a high speed blender until it is very, very smooth. Now add in the rest of the ingredients, blend well, and...you're done. It's that easy. But don't let its simplicity veil you: this is powerful stuff. Avocados are ruled by Venus, and have long been revered for their beauty and love magick. And chocolate, no less. The manifestation of edible elemental fire so key in giving and receiving love.

Go ahead, give it a little lick. *ahem*

Spoon the filling into the tart shells. Arrange the raspberries in a circular pattern, even more of a Venusian love charge for adding the last touch of sparkle, like jewelry, to your spell. And don't forget to give thanks to your cosmic cohorts and fruits of the Earth.

Leave them in the fridge until you're ready to serve and devour. I cannot promise that you won't end up on the floor, writhing in ecstacy...

Oh, you deserve this one...

Savour it.

xxx Alise

 

Tea For The Temptress

Shall I tease you,

on this freeee-zing Winter day,

with thoughts of a mouthwateringly satisfying repast?

Delicate aromas, piquant flavors mingling

just waiting for you

as you come in from the cold

snow on your boots

your nose red

your pretty face licked by a chill wind...

 A Lyonnaise bouchon, soul sister to both  the bistro and the café

A Lyonnaise bouchon, soul sister to both  the bistro and the café

These blustery Winter days always make me think of bustling about 

through the streets, 

busy people making their way indoors

to a hot and succulent supper.

Delightful steam coming from a stew, a tangine, a pottage, a cassoulet.

In the cities. 

and in the countyside

You, my busy Darlings,

popping into a tiny nook

to shake off the cold

warm up your soul

chat with friends 

smile at strangers,

raising your glass to the end of another day,

and the promise of a cozy evening.

 My favorite haunts: Figaro BISTROT, Los angeles, and  CAFÉ REGGIO, NYC (below)

My favorite haunts: Figaro BISTROT, Los angeles, and CAFÉ REGGIO, NYC (below)

The bistro was born in the basement kitchens of Parisian boarding houses as a way for the owners to supplement income by opening up their hearth to the public, serving simple, usually slow-cooked dishes with wine and coffee. Over time, these became the classic small restaurants we adore for their modest prices, wonderful food, and enchanting atmosphere. I find the true bistro to be a close cousin to the café, though technically the latter began as more of a coffee house.

And though we associate them with major cities, these tiny gems are of course found in villages everywhere around the globe, serving regional fare and local charm. You can count on it. And that's such a beautiful thing.

Of course, it's difficult to maneuver menus anywhere,

so today, as I make my way home,

I think of how inviting it would be to slide into 

an old oak banquette

and savor a dish like this one

with all the charm of the old world

but none of the unhealthy ingredients.

I've conjured up something very special for you.

The secret here, Loves,

lies in the tea leaves...

Wild Rice Tease

Serves two.

  • 4 oz. organic wild rice
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped finely
  • 8 oz. organic button mushrooms, sliced
  • 3 sprigs thyme
  • 2 sprigs rosemary
  • 3/4 C dry red wine 
  • 1 tsp vegan butter (olive oil/flax)
  • 1 tbsp loose tea
  • Celtic salt
  • Olive oil, organic and first cold pressed if possible

Begin casting your spell by preparing a cup of loose tea. Oui!

I've used a chocolate pu-erh here, for it's rich, earthy flavor and supreme health benefits. Pu-erh has been honored in Chinese medicine for centuries as it is considered to open the meridians, 'warm the middle burner' (the spleen and stomach) and be beneficial to 'blood cleansing' and digestion. For these reasons, it is often consumed after heavy meals or sipped as a hangover cure/preventative.

A good-quality pu-erh will have an earthy, mushroomy flavor, hence my choice here. (You can find them in most tea shops, and in health food stores - Numi makes a nice one.) Of course, you can use any tea you love that compliments the flavor of whatever you're making, so experiment! Earl Grey or jasmine (the flowers, not a green tea blend) would work well here too.

So, 1 Tbsp loose chocolate pu-erh per cup of boiling water. Steep in for three minutes max. You definitely don't want any bitterness in the dish. 

Now pour the prepared tea into a saucepan, and add the wild rice. Bring it to a boil, then cover and simmer for 30-40 minutes when the rice is tender but chewy.

While that little number is bubbling away, spiral a little olive oil into a gently heated sauté pan. When you can feel the heat with your hand just above, add in the garlic, and allow it to sizzle and release its scent for about three minutes, until it turns translucent. With your fingers, loosen the fresh herbs from their stems and into the pan. Give it all a little stir. Let the flavors and scent mingle for a few minutes, then add in a dollop of vegan butter (about 1 Tbsp-ish), allow it to melt in, then add your mushrooms. Here's where it all gets kind of gorgeous: Fold the mushrooms into all of it, coating them and making the whole thing come alive. Splash in the red wine, stir, and let it cook ever so gently for a while. Cover it to keep the jucy-ness inside. 

When the rice is finished, introduce it to the mushroom mixture. Give it all a great tumble, and taste. Here is where you'll need a bit of Celtic salt, some pepper, and very likely a bit more wine. Stir, let it simmer a few more minutes, then taste it again. You should be there just about now.

Enjoy this with a few roasted brussels sprouts, and of course a green salad first. I like a mix of mild winter greens with apple cider vinegar, olive oil, and maybe a handful of dried cranberries and slivered almonds...

And, of course, keep that bottle of red going. *wink*

Keep playing with the tea-infused grains, my little Nibbles. I really think you'll have fun with it. Let your instincts guide you. 

Oh, and as for those tea leaves,

yes, I do read them.

And your future looks...

AMAZING.

Stay warm and well, Darlings!

I love you,

xxx Alise

In The Flesh

These harsh winds,

and their bone cold fingers,

can take us,

forcefully,

in their clutches,

and strip us bare 

of our juicy-ness.

Flesh

We can't let that happen.

We need our flesh ripe and soft,

our hair shining,

our glow undimmed.

My Loves, here are my five most potent, yet simple Winter rituals to restore your shimmer, and make sure the tides of sensuality rise ever-so-high, even when the mercury plummets. Even if you don't live in a harsh clime, you lucky little devil, these are purrfect tips for any dry environment.

GET STEAMY. If you don't have a humidifier in your Lair, go out and get one. Immediately. They range in prices and functionality, but you can pick up a little portable one that gets it done for about $60US. It's worth it. (Look for the kind that gives off a cool air mist - you'll sleep like a baby.)

Why? Because dry, stagnant indoor air drains precious moisture from you, inside and out. Not only does it leave your hair brittle, your skin parched, and your lips cracked, but it also dries out your sinuses, leading to a full-on bout of sniffling, congested grossness. Sinuses, you see, are fickle things. When enough moisture isn't naturally produced, they take the reins and begin to produce it themselves, putting you on the fast train to a never-ending cycle of stuffy-head misery. To hell with that. Use your new best friend the humidifier (I've dubbed mine "Froggy" for the little bullfrog sounds it occasionally makes) as an essential oil diffuser, and you've got what you need to add aromatherapeutic divinity to the air. Try a few drops of eucalyptus to clear nasal passages, chamomile and lavender to help you sleep, peppermint or citrus to get you moving, or something extra sexy like frankencense to spice things up in any room.

Your animal familiars will love it too. My felines  like to lie at the end of the bed with the mist rising behind them. In a dim light, it looks like they're in front of a dry ice machine. Hilarious little rockstars.

BLESSED NAKEDNESS. Now, more than ever, we have to take special care to keep our skin soft, touchable, gorgeous. Even under many pounds of clothing, isn't it our delicious secret weapon? 

The tendency is, of course, to shower or bathe in scalding water just to get the chill off, then rush madly into a strange dance with a towel so we can get back into our swaddling layers before the cold air hits us. This will never do for our Goddess (and God) selves. We need to connect with our bodies, especially during these frigid months of covering up like mad.

Here are a few little ticks I employ: Let a space heater work its magic in the bathroom 10-15 minutes before you enter. (And, yes, shut it off before you start running your bath water.) The warm steam will rise and fill the air, taking over where the heater left off. I like to warm my towels and my robe on the radiators while I'm in, reminiscent of those fantastic towel heaters in UK hotel bathrooms. (Why are these not standard features in every bathroom?)  Soak for a while in very warm water, but compensate by adding lush oils to your bath, then further up the moisturizing magic by coating your skin twice daily (do the space heater thing in the morning also, to get the chill out of the room) in a lush body butter you can make in no time at all...

Naked Body Butter

Naked Body Butter

At room temperature, this should keep at least a month. If it gets melty, just refrigerate. You can find the butters online, just shop around for the best deal, as it changes. 

  • 1/2 C coconut oil, melted
  • 1/2 C shea butter, chopped into small pieces
  • 1/2 C cocoa butter, chopped into small pieces
  • 1 tsp vitamin E oil (optional)
  • 13-30 drops essential oils

Combine the coconut oil, shea butter, and cocoa butter in a small saucepan on a gentle flame. Allow it all to melt slowly as you stir it, sending beautiful energy into your potion. When everything is melted and combined, remove it from heat. Mix in your vitamin E and essential oils. Pour it into a bowl, and chill in the fridge for two hours.

Now the fun part: Take a hand mixer and WHIP IT! Once you get a fluffy consistency, you'll know it's ready. Spoon it into pretty jars...your skin is waiting...

WHAT YOU PUT INSIDE.  Hydration begins and sustains by what you choose to eat and drink. It's so easy to forget to drink enough water in the cold weather, but, Beauties, you absolutely MUST. Make sure you are getting at least a few good glasses of pure water in every day. Add some high quality, food-grade essential oils (see end of post) to your glass to keep it interesting. My faves? Lemon, wild orange, and grapefruit. Instead of going for that second (or sixth) cup of coffee, consider that caffeine is dehydrating, and dehydration causes fatigue, creating a vicious cycle. Oh, and it's hell on your complexion. Drink water instead. 

You can also hydrate from within by adding chia, fresh aloe, and coconut water to your shake elixirs, which you drink every day...right?

Hot, brothy soups and herbal teas also have a dual function: not only are they warming and nourishing food medicine, but they also open up and moisturize the sinus/nasal/bronchial passages and clear the way, fighting colds and other horrid nonsense. We have no time for that.

FACE IT. Your sweet faced is exposed to the elements, all the time. This is particularly ravaging during Winter months, when most of us forget to wear sunscreen, or skimp on the moisturizers. My fave products for giving good face are:

Shikai Borage Oil Hand Cream (Travel Size)- This is precious. It's inexpensive and potent as hell. Borage oil penetrates, feeding your cells directly with a major Omega-6 fatty oil called gamma linolenic acid, which lets skin retain its moisture. I use it not only on my hands, but on my face before heading out into the elements. These tiny tubes are so affordable, you can stash one pretty much anywhere. Bonus: It can repair chapped lips gloriously. Magic Bonus: Borage brings courage those who carry or wear it.

Derma E BB Cream - This goes on top: light and dewy, with a subtle foundation effect and a 25 SPF. It's so good, I use it all year long!

Acure Organics Seriously Firming Facial Serum - Ohhh, this is a most delightful potion! Day or night, alone or under a moisturizer, this baby is about to become your intimate friend. You two will have sensual rituals together every day.  Its velvet texture and your flesh were meant to be together, to revel in a dew-like glow of complexion purrfection...

 Acure Organics Eye CreamAnother gem from the alchemists at Acure. Stimulating new cell growth (!) while delicately drenching your eye area with feather-light moisture. You'll look so refreshed, people will think you actually slept last night. You're welcome.

HAIR TODAY... Tresses get hit hardest of all it seems. The constant in and out of dry indoor heat and cold outdoor moisture forces the hair shaft to expand and contract at a maddening pace. It's exhausting. And it weakens hair. You can condition to your heart's content, but you still need reinforcements.

My secrets? Always, always, always cover your hair when you are going in and out of doors. It helps. A hood, a scarf, even a hat if you pile the bulk of your hair into it. It will protect the outer layer from damage, and keep you warm.

Second, you cannot have enough moisture on the ends. I'm in lust right now with Holistix Light Argan Oil Treatment. You know I've been obsessed with argan oil forever, but oils in general can weigh hair down. I've got a massive mane, but the strands themselves are quite fine, especially around the face, and can get lank and gooey all-too-easily. If your hair is coarse, go for the straight oil. But if you have a medium-to-fine texture, this is it. 

Lastly, whenever I can get away with it, I coat my ends with conditioner, and make multiple braids. My weapon of choice is Acure Organics Moroccan Argan Oil + Stem Cell Conditioner, assuring my mane of not only intense conditioning, but protecting it with a layer of heavenly-scented armor. Bonus: when you take them out at night you look like a Norse goddess. *wink*

And on that note,

I will leave you to beautify and hydrate yourselves,

while I consult the runes...

All my love, always.

xxx Alise

P.S. All the essential oils I've mentioned can be found here, in their absolute highest quality. ENJOY!

Six Of Wands

This morning felt different.

Last night, you see, I lay down

beneath the stars,

yet under the weather.

The Wolf Moon still caressing me 

in her protective cloak of light

as I fought whatever was coming over me.

I am a fierce warrior against "sick."

I do not tolerate it.

So, I succumbed to early rest

determined.

And, indeed, awoke to sun streaming in

bright and bold

throat sore as velvet worn down to threads,

but refusing to take it lying down,

so to speak.

I pulled a card.

The Six of Wands.

Hell yes.

Victory was at hand.

but not just for my weakened body,

usually so vibrant and strong,

but also for my creative plans.

Public recognition for hard work.

And just then I heard from my favorite co-conspirator, VK-Red, who was feeling it too. Her photos, always beautiful, had seriously been touched by faerie dust lately, and it hadn't gone unnoticed. I was reminded of a dish she told me she had made recently, but wondered about how to make it vegan. And I got to thinking about all of our lives being sprinkled with faerie dust, touched by magic wands, for all the world to see...

And I got to work.

Ta-da! I give you, Shiny Ones, a most delectable and savory nibble, light and crispy, coated in nutrients to carry you on your way...to SUCCESS!!!

And fabulous to serve to guests, by the way.

Magic Wands

  • 4 organic zucchini (courgettes)
  • 1.5 C nutritional yeast
  • 1 Tbsp organic flat parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp organic rosemary, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp organic thyme, crumbled
  • Unrefined, organic coconut oil
  • Ground pepper
  • Celtic salt

Dijon Sauce

  • 3 Tbsp dijon mustard
  • 2 Tbsp raw coconut nectar
  • 3 drops lemon essential oil
  • Cayenne pepper, ground

Preheat your oven to 350F.

Lightly drizzle olive oil onto two baking sheets, then set aside. Pour about 1/2 cup of melted coconut oil into a small bowl.

On a flat plate, combine the nutritional yeast and herbs with a good Pinch-n-Grind of Celtic salt and fresh ground pepper. Swirl it all around with your fingers, whispering a few magic words.

Trim the ends from the zucchini, then slice them in half, lengthwise. Take each half, seeded side down, and slice into thin wands. Not too thin - you don't want them to cook too quickly.

Now dip you fingers in the oil and coat the first wand. You can use a pastry brush, but why? It's sooo sensual to use your fingers, and great for your skin besides. Immediately dredge the oiled wand (ok, you know I can't help myself with the double entendres) in the "breading" mixture. Place it on the baking sheet, and keep going. When they are all coated and pretty, pop them into your preheated oven.

Bake until tender, about 20 minutes, or so. Don't let them get too soft. After all, who likes a limp zucchini?

*ahem*

While they're getting golden, whisk together the Dijon Sauce ingredients.

When the wands are done, transfer them to the broiler for about three minutes, to brown them up. Ovens differ, so keep an eye on yours. You don't want to burn these babies.

And there you have it.

Packed with protein, B vitamins, beauty fats, and low in calories, these not only make a fetching party food, but become a warm and wonderful supper on a frigid night, paired with a voluptuous dark green salad, and perhaps a sauvignon blanc?

Ride with me now,

on my white horse,

and be confident,

for the Cosmos are cheering you on,

and so am I.

My Darlings.

You are the very best.

xxx Alise

 

 

 

Friday's Child: Perspective

"There are no facts, only interpretations."

-Friedrich Nietzsche

As we dance into the next phase,

together,

what shall we create?

What wonderous things will we put forth into this year?

How shall we see it?

I'm excited.

More than anything,

I want to share them all with you.

My Loves, my blessed Beasties.

I send you all the joy 

all the energy you need

to make your dreams come true,

and the stillness within

to stay in harmony 

with the ebb and flow

of the stars...

Kisses and moonlight,

xxx Alise

Joyeux Nöel!

The Three of Cups.

Celebration.

Gatherings.

The sheer joy of being amongst your tribe,

the ones you choose.

There is a breathtaking mountain that sits directly on the border of France and Italy, majestic and snow-covered, proudly bearing the the highest peak of the Alps.

Known as The White Lady, it has long been revered, argued over, and scaled, with a traditional holiday dessert bearing its name, Mont-Blanc.

(When in Italy, though, do refer to it as Montebianco, as the Italians actually originated this sumptuous treat.)

My gift to you this season, Beautiful Ones, is a rather lazy Mont-Blanc. For the languid hostess who prefers to wow with a simple, elegant ending to a purrfect evening.

This is incredibly rich and decadent, 

creamy as can be, 

with a depth of flavor that will stay fixed in your memory, 

lingering on your lips,

wanting it again and again...

Merry Mont-Blanc

For the Mountain:

  • 1 can unsweetened organic coconut milk, full fat
  • 1 jar unsweetened chestnut pureé
  • 1/4 C coconut sugar
  • 1 tsp bourbon or Madagascar vanilla powder
  • 1/4 C pure maple syrup, or to taste
  • 2 oz. pure cacao bar, melted
  • Ground organic cinnamon
  • Celtic salt

For the Snow:

  • 1 can organic unsweeened coconut milk, full fat, chilled
  • 1 Tbsp bourbon or madagascar vanilla powder
  • 1 Tbsp stevia powder, or to taste

This is so simple, Loves. You're gonna be amazed.

Just blend all the mousse ingredients except the chocolate together until smooth. Break up the chocolate into tiny bites over a little saucepan. (Mine is pink.) Let the chocolate melt on a low flame. There's something about the aroma of melting chocolate that just makes you weak with pleasure, no?

When it's liquid, pour it into the chestnut mixture, and blend well. Taste it. Sweet enough? If not, add a little more maple syrup. I usually only use non-glycemic sweeteners, but the cacao/maple synergy is absolutely cosmic, so treat yourself.

Now pour it all into a container, and let it chill overnight. It will thicken beautifully.

When you're nearer to serving, take the can of chilled coconut milk out of the fridge. Carefully skim the top layer of cream, and poke the spoon around deeper into the juice (ahem), as there is often more below the surface. Save the remaining coconut water for later.

With a hand mixer on high, whip the powdered stevia and vanilla into the coconut cream. That's it! Taste it for sweetness, again, and adjust if you like.

Spoon the mouse into cordial glasses, or any tiny, pretty thing you like. Top with the Snow, and serve. This mousse is so rich, you only need a few bites, really, so this recipe will serve four well, and six if you had something with it, like a cookie, or poached fruit. You can easily double or tripe the recipe.

And when you get a shudder of sensual delight,

think of me.

I'll be winking at you...

For now, Beasties,

I leave you with holly and ivy,

mistletoe and blessings,

and so much love.

I'll be raising my glass to you.

xxx Alise