The Cat's Eye Of The Storm

 

Spinning! Spinning! Spinning!

In between a pair of powerful eclipses

our quicksilver friend seems to twirl backwards

and Autumn rushes in to quicken our pulses...

Tell me, my Loves, are you feeling stressed?

the calm eye of the storm, always.

the calm eye of the storm, always.

Does everything feel like Iggy's "Lust For Life" pounding out of an amplifier in your brain
going 45 instead of 33?

For some it's back to school,
or back to work, after a holiday in the sun,
Or maybe it’s just Fall
and her sense of urgency to “do” something,
kicking up ideas like a child playing in piles of amber leaves...

No matter the why.

Your beautiful self needs a lifeline. And one just happens to appear.

A gift from Diana, Ancient Lady of The Beasts.
Mistress of Wild Things.

Her timing, as always, is purrfect.

Wild Things Brew

Per serving.

  • 1 tsp organic licorice root
  • 1 tsp organic cat's claw
  • 1 Tbsp organic Pau d'Arco
  • 1 stick organic cinnamon
  • 1 organic lemon wedge
  • Stevia to taste

Darlings, when your brain is overloaded, cortisol skyrockets, and your body begins to accelerate in its aging process. Are we going to allow that?! 
Hell no!

Your adrenals need support like mad right now. 
And this is almost too simple.
*wink*

Simply gather your herbs from the local health food store bulk dried section. (Unless, of course, you just happen to be a master herbalist with a garden that would make any witch envious.)
If you can't forage nearby, wonderfully wildcrafted herbs can be had online, from places like Mountain Rose Herbs. 

Now make your magical decoction: 
First, connect with the herbs. Touch them, sing softly to them, thank them. Listen to their whisperings.  Visualize yourself navigating the deep waters of stress with grace and ease. Feel strength and resilience within you.
Got it? Good. Keep it going while you brew.

Bring 1 cup of pure water just to a boil. Add in your herbs and roots. Reduce the heat to barely a simmer, and let the mixture gently release for 20 minutes. Make sure you cover the pot, so the essential oils don't escape during the evaporation process.
Now you can turn off the heat and allow the decoction to sit for another couple of hours if you like. The longer it steeps, the more medicinal it actually gets. 
Then a squeeze of lemon to allow absorption, a little bit of stevia to sweeten if you like, and you're ready!
It's actually quite delicious.

By the way....the difference, Beasties, between an infusion and a decoction is really just in the amount of time you let it stew. Infusions are best for leaves and petals, while a decoction gets to the insides of roots and bark. 

Are you wondering about these mysterious little plant beings?
Well, this legendary healing trio is unsurpassed for adrenal support, recovery, and immune function. Seriously. 
A must have for your natural medicine bag of tricks.

Get on it.

While your sipping your potion, consider the myriad things you can do to help manage during stressful times: yoga, getting outdoors, and getting your beauty sleep for starters. Concious breathing also helps immensely. (Can't get into that headspace? Try downloading the Buddhify app.) 


And steer clear of junk food. I mean it-NO CRAP!
Yes, for thirty seconds you might enjoy that sugar-laden brownie. Or at least the cellular memory of it.
But you know what? Feeding your negative emotions is bullshit.
Moments later, you crash. You feel lousy. Your skin looks like hell. Your belly bloats.
And you didn't solve a thing.

Why on earth would you bother?

Step it up. 
Eat some gorgeous fresh fruit when you crave sugar. Gnaw on nuts when you're so irritated you simply have to crunch on something. Wolf down a few kale chips when salt seems to be the answer. Exhausted? Drink water.

But feed yourself.

You are worth taking care of.

I wouldn't hang out with you otherwise, 
now would I?

xxx Alise

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Mediterranean Nights

There was a large box awaiting me.

Covered in silver foil paper, and bound with a satin bow, it shone like starlight. Too large for a dress or shoes. And it weighed a ton. What on earth could it be? 

Beneath the petals of colored paper lay a most exciting surprise.

Not a tiger print coat.
Not a tiny sailboat.
Not a collection of rare books. 

(But a divine gift for one who cooks.)

An earthen clay cazuela. A beautiful, coveted kitchen accomplice from a faraway land.

As a lover of Spanish everything, 
I must admit that I have a mad little obsession with the traditional clay cookware of the region. And though I’ve dragged countless plates, bowls, lanterns, and cushions across the sea, I’d never once considered a cooking vessel amongst my swag. 

Probably because it would take up valuable shoe room in my valise.

I travel light. Sort of.

I travel light. Sort of.


These sultry Summer nights always make me dream of Spain.

I’ve been craving a classic: the ubiquitous and wildly tasty tortilla de patatas, a tapas staple found absolutely everywhere. Hearty, delicious, and somewhat resembling a potato fritatta, it's come-hither comfort food bar none. The trick? Doing it justice without using eggs. 

But you know how I love a challenge.

So, on a 90 degree day, what does a Lioness do? Fires up the oven, of course.

Tantalizing Tortilla

  • 6 small organic red potatoes, sliced thinly (skins on)
  • 1/2 organic green pepper, chopped
  • 1 C organic chickpea flour (besan)
  • 2-1/4 C pure water
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped finely
  • 3 Tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 tsp smoked black salt
  • Olive oil 

Now, of course, you can make this without any imported pots and pans, but I do suggest a shallow baking dish once it's ready for the oven, in order to get the purrfect consistency. You could even use a pie dish. And it absolutely must be round. For the Sun. For the Moon. Just because.

Warm up a generous swish of olive oil on a low flame until you can feel the heat just above. Toss in the garlic, and allow it to dance just until it turns translucent and releases its heady aroma. Now place the potatoes in, separating the slices with your fingers. Next sprinkle in the green pepper. Give it a gentle tossing to mingle the flavors and coat the potatoes. Let it gently cook until the potatoes are tender.

In a small saucepan, pour the water, and gradually whisk in the chickpea flour on a low flame, until it becomes frothy. Add in the nutritional yeast and black salt, and keep whisking while the mixture gets hotter. It will thicken as it heats. Be careful not to make lumps! If you do, add a teeny bit more water and whisk like mad until it becomes smooth again. Pour it over the potatoes, and mix it well.

Now, pour it into your baking dish, and pop it into the oven for a good 45-50 minutes.

When you take it out, let it cool, Loves. It needs to rest after such a  passionate romp! If you dig in too soon, it won't have a firm texture, and will be jiggly. Take a nap for an hour, then come back to it. 

Oh, and when you do...

You're not going to believe how tasty this is! I was revved when I first took a bite.  So flavorful, and so close to my memory of it's non-vegan friend I'd known in my travels. For eggs, you see, were the last thing to go on my menu.

It even smelled eggy! Mmmmm! The secret? Black salt. 

Those of you who have followed my adventures for a while know that I consider smoked black salt quite the magical ingredient. (You can read about it here.) Somehow, combined with the nutritional yeast and the chickpea flour, the scent and flavor of a baked egg dish is right on...with MAJOR nutrients to boot! Loaded with quality protein, beauty-boosting minerals, B vitamins, fiber, and iron, its a most purrfectly satisfying dish that's easy to pack for lunch or a picnic, and just as easy on your wallet.

My fave way to enjoy tortilla? On a warm Summer evening beneath the stars.

Try it with a tossed dark green salad and my Amorous Ajo Blanco for a sublime supper on a balmy night. And share it with someone you love.

Estar bien mis amores!

xxx Alise

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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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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

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


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

 

 

 

Savory Sweet Seduction

Many moons ago,

a Persian maiden had to think quickly.

Arabian Nights  by René Milot

Arabian Nights by René Milot

Versed in literature and poetry, she wove enchanting tales all night long,

her husband held blissfully captive,

entranced,

begging her for more.

But always, at dawn,

she left him.

This spared her life for another night.

Her king, you see, so wounded by love

sought revenge 

in the form of taking a new wife each day,

and sending her to her death.

But this smart kitten beguiled with her tales,

for many nights.

1001 to be exact.

In which time he fell hopelessly, 

deeply in love,

evermore,

saving not only her life,

but the lives of countless other women.

I imagine her seducing him with her mesmerizing words,

her glance,

her fire,

and perhaps offering a late supper

of sensual jewels...

This exotic and gorgeously scented Armenian dish was originally from Persia, where savories combined with fruit were adored. Made with bulgur, this was undoubtedly quite hearty. I decided to Vixen-ize it by making it vegan, swapping the bulgur for cauliflower, and adding vegetables.

My Doves, this is soooo good.

I'm serious. 

Never have I tasted anything quite this delicious. The layers of flavors, the depth of fragrance, the textures...pure bliss. I made a test recipe-plenty for two-and devoured the whole thing. I just couldn't stay away.

Try this.

Scheherazade's Jewels

  • 1 head organic cauliflower, chopped into small pieces
  • 1 organic zucchini (courgette), thinly sliced into half moons
  • 1/4 C raw slivered almonds
  • 1/4 C raw walnuts
  • 1/4 C.dried apricots, unsweetened
  • 1/4 C organic raisins or sultanas
  • 1/4-1/2 C Turkish figs, thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 3 cardamom pods
  • Pomegranate juice, unsweetened
  • Organic ground cinnamon
  • Vegan butter (flax/olive oil, preferably)
  • Olive oil
  • Celtic salt
  • Fresh ground black pepper

In a large pot, melt about 1 tablespoon of the vegan butter on a very soft flame, but only for a few moments...then add in the garlic, and allow it to awaken, until it turns translucent and its perfume begins to fill the air. Place the cardamom pods in...one, two, three...visualize being taken away by tales of adventure, by a lantern's flickering light, nestled down into satin pillows. Let the pods dance for about a minute, then in goes the cauliflower. Give it all a luscious stir, cover, and cook gently on a very low heat. 

In a heated skillet pan, spiral some little olive oil and a little more vegan butter in. Let it heat up, just a bit. Listen.

Now toss in the almonds and walnuts, allowing them to brown. Add the dried fruit, and sauté some more. Sprinkle a little cinnamon on top as they all cook. If it starts to look dry, add a touch more oil. When they've mingled, add in the zucchini. 

Now check your cauliflower. Things should be heating up nicely in la Cucina right about now.

As the zucchini begins to soften and caramelize, add a good splash of the pomegranate juice in -sizzle!-and stir it some more. Cover again and let it go until your cauliflower in the next pot is tender. 

One good Pinch-N-Grind (salt and pepper) just before you plate it, and you're there...

Darlings, this is really the kind of food to be savored, slowly and with full abandon, completely in the moment. If you make it at another time of year, it is even more exquisite with fresh apricots and figs, but for now, I absolutely dare you to find a headier dish.

Nestle in the cushions as the aroma of fills the air.

Let each bite linger on your tongue.

Feed your mind,

your soul,

your senses...

Come.

Tell me a story,

won't you, 

Beasties?

xxx Alise




The Sorceress And The Survival Job

It had been one of those days. Nights, really.

I have a confession.

Your sweet little Vixen has... a Survival Job.

I dislike it intensely, although, it must be noted, that I am, in fact, quite good at it. You see, I have somehow fallen into work as a theatrical wardrobe supervisor, which means I am responsible for running a show from the costume standpoint. It is my lot to ensure that actors, dancers, opera divas, performers of every ilk look and feel amazing when they get onstage. In the process trying to keep myself from not feeling like week old recycling.

And I will admit, my eyes well up when I watch them from the sides of the stage. Not just because I know how it feels, that rush of euphoria, that unabashed love hitting you like a freight train, but also because I know the blood and sweat that goes into it. That perfect moment of being exactly there, giving to your audience, and receiving their energy back, that most beautiful exchange of pure energy, is bliss. And addictive.

So when I'm backstage instead of onstage, I vascillate between morose and supportive, with a hefty dash of jealousy thrown in for good (?) measure. I am alternately proud of them, happy for them, and angry with myself for standing there, in the wings, collecting someone's sweaty shirt from the floor, in the dark.

Since I've been on both sides of the curtain, I know what it's like. And the good part is that I have NEVER been an ass to a crew member. Not even close. I'm gracious, and beyond appreciative.

On a film set last year (Goddess, has it been that long??) I was overwhelmed by the PA's who wrapped a coat around my shoulders between every take, and brought me hot teas during never a ending outdoor scene in the wee hours of an oddly frigid L.A. night. Endless moments for about ten on screen minutes as the lighting needed adjusting. A truck grumbled past the lot. Someone dropped a line. Sure, it was their job, I know...but still...human kindness is beautiful, no matter what the motivation. It always manages to transcend.

I stayed energetic and focused, take after take, as other actors fumbled, because, you know what? One day it will be me fumbling, and that compassion will be received back with open arms.

And I sent a thoughtful email to every single person who joined me in creating something magical in that film. From the angel who brought me tea, to the makeup woman, who, frankly, gave me some seriously overwhelming fuschia lips, not to mention generic "modern Hollywood" hair: the dreaded, ubiquitous flat iron banana curls. (I fought for my brows, hard, but the hair...well...)

But I thanked her anyway. genuinely. Because she did what she knew how to do, on that day.

Only two wrote me back. and that's fine. It's the industry, after all. 

Flash forward to tonight.

It wasn't even one of those notoriously long and banefully stressful nights where you are expected to pull a rabbit out of your hat. it was more the mind numbingly average kind.

I dislike average, intensely.

Nothing really happened, and that was the point.

I was trying not to spiral downward into a black hole of self pity. My book, so alive and revved of late, was now officially on hold until this run was over, and it was tearing me apart. Additionally, a film I was supposed to begin shooting was delayed until Spring, my video work was in need of equipment to move forward, my cat was sick, my man neglected, and my apartment a mess.

I came in, ran a bath.

Poured a splash of gin, 'cause you know, sometimes I'm just a Dame. Sometimes the Lady is a Tramp.

I didn't have one molecule of energy left for concocting, so I filled my bathtub with Aura Cacia's delightful Chamomile Relaxing Bath. It's so much more seductive than it sounds. It's a blend of chamomile, lavender, and patchouli, which sounds like a hippie grandma jumble, but is actually amazing. 

Slathered on Acure's Cell Stimulating Facial Mask. It's green and full of incredible things, and was sure to transform my cranky face.

I set Contessa's Balance Blend out for dabbing post-soak, and submerged.

Breathing it all in, and forcefully exhaling all the yuck, I began to feel intoxicated on so many levels. With every breath, more of the herbs absorbed in, and more negativity left me.

There is always a way, my Loves, to shift the energy.

Sometimes it is Herculean, yes, but it can be done.

But slipping into euphoria, still hanging on to my anxiety, I asked myself why my world wasn't awesome ALL the time. I racked my brain to understand why it has be so awful in between the moments of sheer bliss. I work hard. I set my intentions. And often, it is rock wife backstage champagne and travel, my own turn onstage and in front of the camera, and the exalted Days At Home To Make Things.  As I tried to reason in an increasingly fuzzy state, it suddenly made sense. I began to see how the pendulum actually swings. I saw that much of it really is great, incredible even...but only because I'VE MADE IT SO.

I've created my world. All of it. From the ridiculous to the sublime. We all do.

And here's the thing, my Darlings: the time in between the good stuff is exactly where the actual work occurs. The deep, dark matter. The karmic moving of boulders, or even small rocks. You can't see it, but you're doing it. The hard yards are a necessity. They allow the dharma to happen.

But there is still that funny timing thing.

Patience. Seasons. You gotta respect it, and also see it coming.

This is where I struggle. 

I forget, almost instantly, the highs of working on my own creations, or being invited lovingly into someone else's. The crash into the drudge of "normal" hits so hard that I can't see with any perspective how the balance works. Like most people, I get seasonal affective disorder all year round in the building where I work: cravings for light, fresh air, carbs, sweets, caffeine. I start feeling like shit, my confidence starts to plummet, and I just want to disappear. I don't want to connect with anyone, rather, I want to stay under the radar completely. And I'm not exactly an inconspicuous gal. The point is: how can any of us let a situation which we created, which is meant to serve a purpose, either divine or practical or both, turn us into a complete mess?

I can sing the blues day and night about my job, but I also have to seriously honor what it does give me: the cash to keep going on all my beloved creations, my dreams. Some might say folly, I say gorgeous, honest, joyous NECESSITY.

And never forget that like attracts like. Words, thoughts are extremely powerful. Think of every unkind blurb that goes through your head as a full-on spell. What you intend happens. The negativity you're slinging all over the place is bouncing right back in your face, every time. Turn it around, Kittens.

So when you're ringing up drones at a retail counter, or foaming your finest to serve an aloof coffee fiend, or rotting away in a cubicle, find how to integrate it with your dreams, because it isn't separate. It's all connected. Make the job work FOR you, not against. You will be done with it at some point, but only when you've figured out how to absorb what it has taught.

Align with the stars. make it happen.

 It DOES NOT happen over night.

But it does happen.

Trust.

Create.

Love.

We're all in this crazy life together. 

And I adore you so.

xxx Alise







Rockstar Ingredients: Turmeric

Such a stunningly beautiful spice.

I want to paint my walls to match.

Tantalizing turmeric appears often in these pages,

as you know, Ravishing Ones.

Why?

Because I'm obsessed with the magic of plants. And wellness. And life.

And it is my dearest wish to share it all with you.

As with most rockstar ingredients, turmeric is having her moment in the lights,

center stage and all the rage, but, of course, she has been around for ages, healing and preventing, and generally spicing up people's lives.

Known for centuries as an Ayurvedic healing root, turmeric is valued medicinally for two things: first, the volatile oil, which contains a stunning anti-inflammatory. Second, for the actual pigment, curcumin, which has an even more intense anti-inflammatory: the power of hydrocortizone or Motrin, but without the hideous side effects (such as ulcer formation, intestinal bleeding, and diminished white blood count.)  Curcumin simply has no toxicity.

Among its most astounding properties, is the ability to not only prevent cancer cells, but also inhibit their growth. This is major.

Oh, yeah, and she also dramatically increases the antioxidant capacity in the body, improves brain function, lowers heart disease, can prevent and treat alzheimer's, helps arthritis, and is proven as effective as Prozac in beating depression. Without putting s**t in your system. 

Here's the (spice) rub: The actual curcumin content in ground or fresh turmeric is not all that high. You'd have to ingest crazy amounts of it daily to combat the really bad stuff. For acute conditions, or heavy duty prevention, you should be taking a turmeric extract. But for general awesome health and feeling good, add the spice everywhere you can: to curries, shake elixirs, veggies, grains...actually pairing turmeric with cruciferous veggies (broccoli, cauliflower, etc.) profoundly increases the ability to fight cancers.

Turmeric also needs a little help to be absorbed onto the body, so it's a good idea to always pair it with black pepper, and, as it is fat soluble, a little oil is a smart addition. Depending on the recipe, you could add some coconut oil for cooking or baking, olive oil on top, or a nut milk in a brew.

Speaking of, try this gorgeous ancient potion, Vixen-style:

Golden Elixir

  • 2 Cups unsweetened almond milk, or coconut milk
  • 1 Tbsp ground organic turmeric
  • 1 tsp organic cinnamon
  • Nutmeg, pinch
  • Cloves, pinch
  • Black pepper, 2-3 grinds
  • 1 tsp coconut oil (optional)
  • Organic stevia or raw coconut nectar

Heat the nut milk on a slow flame, whisking in the spices until they are smooth. When it's hot, add the sweetener to taste.

It's delicious in a weird way. You'll dig how it feels going down. 

(Keep stirring it as you sip. The spices tend to hide on the bottom of the cup.)

Turmeric is also beautifying from the outside. Further solidifying its rockstar status, skin benefits include the treatment of acne blemishes, blackheads, dark spots, hyperpigmentation and other skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis. It also helps heal and prevent dry skin, and to slow the skin aging process, and is used to diminish wrinkles, keep skin supple, and improve skin’s elasticity.

Interestingly, this gorgeous sunny spice is also being used as an ingredient in sunscreens. And our East Indian sisters rely on it as a daily facial cleanser and exfoliant.

Magically-speaking, turmeric has long been burned for purification. In India, it is burned to detect the presence of dark spirits or daemons. (They are said to detest the smell.)

I'm hooked.

Get on this, and try my Pumpkin Peau de Soie Facial Masque...you'll groove on the results!

Sultry Beasties, I'm off to make some Golden Elixir,

and enjoy a little down time.

Sending you cozy nuzzles,

and sweet kisses,

xxx Alise





Dia de Los Mmmmmm!

The achingly beautiful celebration of Dia de Los Muertos, 

bejeweled in marigolds and candlelight,

abundant in its offerings

of love...

image courtesy of  Tom Robinson.

image courtesy of Tom Robinson.

Make this dish in honor of these nights,

and the Incan Goddess of the Moon

to celebrate all of your loves,

who have released into starlight...

Mama Quilla's Quesadillas with Molé Sauce

For the Quesadillas:

  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped finely
  • 6 oz frozen organic corn, or 3 ears fresh
  • 1 C fresh organic spinach, chopped
  • 1 organic red bell pepper
  • 2.5 very ripe avocados
  • 1-10oz. package sprouted organic corn tortillas
  • 1 Tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp cayenne
  • Pinch of Celtic salt
  • Grind of black pepper
  • Olive oil

For the Molé Sauce:

  • 2 garlic cloves, cut into smallish pieces
  • 2 organic plum tomatoes, seeded and chopped
  • 2 tsp organic ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 C organic raisins
  • 1 Tbsp organic unsweetened cacao powder
  • 2 Tbsp slivered raw almonds
  • 1 dried or fresh red chile pepper
  • Raw coconut nectar
  • Olive oil
  • Celtic salt

You're gonna love this sauce! It's so easy. Just combine everything but the cacao in a saucepan, and gently cook it on a low heat until the tomatoes are soft, and the perfume is heady. Then put it in a high speed blender, add the cacao and about 1/2 cup of pure water, and blend until it's creamy. You can add a little more water to thin it out. Adjust the spice and salt if you like. You can make it even hotter by adding some red pepper flakes or a pinch of cayenne.

In a sauté pan, spiral the olive oil onto a warmed surface. Toss the garlic in, and let it heat slowly, until it turns translucent. Now add in the corn, red pepper, cumin, cayenne, salt and pepper. When the peppers are cooked lightly, turn off the flame, and let it sit. Mash up the avocado in a large bowl, then add in the corn mixture, and the chopped spinach. Mix it all together.

Now you can either bake them or cook them in a skillet. If baking, set your oven to 350F. Lightly oil the bottom of a baking sheet. Spoon avocado concoction onto half of the tortillas, place them on the baking sheet, then top with another tortilla. Press them down, hard, with a spatula. so the avocado seals them together. Brush a little oil on top of each, and let them bake until brown...10-15 minutes? Keep an eye on them, as some ovens pack more punch than others.

If you're cooking stovetop, it's basically the same thing, you're just flipping them when they brown.

When they're done, cut into triangles with a sharp knife or pizza cutter, and serve them with the molé sauce and a big juicy salad.

Oh, and cocktails.

Revel in your blessings, my Darlings,

those whom you love,

as all things do indeed pass,

and rebirth will come.

I love you, now and always.

xxx Alise

Monster Mash

It's coming!

Haven't we just waited all year?

Samhain. Halloween. All Hallow's.

The Witches New Year.

Fuck yeah.

I don't know about you, but I suspect we share it: Is it even possible to feel more connected to the Earth's magick than right now? Can you even imagine feeling more alive as we intertwine with the otherworldly energies, our spirit guides, our ancestors? It's as if we take in the heartiest, fullest breath of ancient energies, filling our lungs to capacity with shivers of awareness. Our very skin tingles with a million whispers. It's up to us to listen.

And we bid adieu to things we no longer need, embracing the next manifestations we see off in the distance, holding our arms open wide to receive... 

It's beautiful. And it's fleeting. So get to it.

Solemn rituals aside, we still need to get out, get down, and get our collective freak on, no?

When that circle is closed, and that energy is grounded, I only want to know one thing:

Where's the f**king party??!!!

Mr. and I get the fun going, every time.

Mr. and I get the fun going, every time.

Is there something fabulous going on? 

Whether you're in a metropolis, and simply cannot choose between all the glam fêtes, or out in the sticks getting creative, a monster needs to eat, no?

I've got something for you.

(Don't I always? 'Cause I love you. And you taste good.)

A most ghoulishly delish dish...

The voluptuous horror of a most fiendish feast.

He died of pleasure.

He died of pleasure.

Monster Mash

  • 3 lbs organic sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 1 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 1/2 C unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 Tbsp ground organic cinnamon
  • 1 Tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • Cayenne pepper, ground
  • Celtic Salt

Wicked Apple Chutney

  • 2-3 lbs organic apples (Honeycrisp or Pink Lady work best!), chopped
  • 1 Tbsp raw coconut nectar
  • 2 Tbsp organic raisins
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp whole mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp black cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 2Tbsp unfiltered apple cider vinegar
  • Celtic salt
  • Ground chili pepper, or 1 tsp fresh, finely chopped

Let's concoct this chutney first. It's so delectable, you're gonna want to make an extra batch to slather on everything. Put all the ingredients into a saucepan, adding a good pinch of Celtic salt and the chiles (a good pinch if you are using ground spice), and let it cook on a low flame, stirring now and then, for about 40 minutes, until everything is soft and fragrant. You can let it cool, or keep it warm until you're ready to consume it. I find it particularly succulent when warmed.

Bring your pretty little potatoes to a rolling boil, and keep them going until they're very tender, almost falling apart...maybe 40 minutes? You can always lower the heat to medium-high and cover to make it go faster. Goddess, I am impatient.

When they are finally done, add in all the spices, the coconut oil (in place of butter, fantastic), the almond milk, everything, and get your hand mixer going. Begin by blending on a low speed so it doesn't splatter all over la cucina, and gradually increase the blender speed until you are whipping it into a frenzy. Add in the salt, as you like it, and as much cayenne heat as you want. Try a little first, then build it up as you go.

When you're famished, top the potato mash with a heap of chutney, and moan with delight!

Now you're full of beta carotene, insane amounts of vitamin A, potassium, vitamin C, calcium, and folic acid from the sweet potatoes, which digest slowly, causing a very gradual rise in blood sugar, which keeps you full longer, and on an even keel of high energy. Add that to the benefits of coconut oil, and energy-boosting spices, and you can dance all night long,

with energy to spare, of course, for other nocturnal delights...

Morticia and her hungry plant, Cleopatra.

Morticia and her hungry plant, Cleopatra.

Make your plans, my glamorous ghouls,

this week is going to be devilishly delicious!

xxx Alise