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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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

 

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

 

 

How To Choose Purrfect Produce

I know we're well into Summer,

but you've asked me for a "How To" post,

to guide you 

in choosing the sexiest fruits and vegetables out there...

My response?

Anything for you, Lovers...

So, here we are, at the top of August,

Lion(ess) fires ignited,

reveling in the sensuality of the warm, sultry air,

loving this luscious bounty of fruits and vegetables our Earth offers us...

And we know the mantra: Buy fresh, buy organic, buy local. Still, it can be a daunting task to spot the in-season best in the middle of our very busy days, even for the most aware Kitchen Witches.

Let's make it simple, shall we? 

I see it this way: choosing produce is much like choosing a mate.

We want vitality, energy, a high vibration.

I shop like a French housewife. I market nearly every day, nosing around to see what specials are in, what looks good, where the prices are, chatting with the merchants...because the pick of the day is always well priced and at it's peak, making the flavor amazing. Healthy produce is just like a healthy human: the color is good, the flesh is glowing, it's ripe and fragrant, and you smile just to behold it.

Always choose ripe produce, with at most one day of perfecting needed. Never fall for the "pick it hard and it will ripen in five days" bullshit. No way. That's the market's way of saying, 'uh, that came off the tree wayyy too soon...oops." Get it fresh. The less time between picking and popping in your gorgeous mouth, the more life force you ingest. And while, yes, some things we just love rock hard (ahem), fruit isn't one of them. You want the flesh to yield slightly when you squeeze it oh-so-gently...you know what I'm sayin'?

You'll get to know them intuitively. If they look healthy, the most likely are.

Use your senses. 

Now let's look at what our Mama has for us in beautiful Summer:

I've made these easy lists for you!  You can screenshot them, and keep handy in your phone for a quick reference. And for extra good luck, Belilli and Pedro, Guardians Of Tomatoes, will guide you along.

"We know a good-looking tomato when we see one..."

"We know a good-looking tomato when we see one..."

LATE SUMMER VEGGIES:

  • BEETS - Choose firm ones with fresh stems and slender roots. Don't bother with wilted leaved, hairy roots, or scaly tops.
  • BELL PEPPERS - Go for firm, naturally shiny ones that feel heavy for their size. No soft spots or discoloration.
  • CORN - Look for bright green husks and moist (but not slimy) silk. Peel back the husk - make sure the kernels are plump, not dry.
  • CUCUMBERS - Oh, yes...you want them firm, all the way to the tips...uniformly green and no yellow spots.
  • EGGPLANT - Stick with smaller ones that feel heavy for their size for the best flavor, with smooth, shiny skin. 
  • ENDIVE - Choose fresh, crisp leaves. No wilting or wrinkly tips.
  • GARLIC - Firm, plump heads are what you want. Steer clear of weird brown spots.
  • GREEN BEANS - Pick out the slender beans that snap rather than bend, and avoid bulging or dried pods.
  • JALAPENO PEPPERS - As with bell peppers, look for natural shine and firm flesh, without any bruises or spots. Be on the lookout for mold.
  • LETTUCES AND LEAFY GREENS - You want fresh, crisp leaves. No wilting, discoloration, or sliminess.
  • PEAS - Go for crisp, bright green pods. Leave behind any that are bulging, dried, yellow, or white.
  • RADISHES - Keep an eye out for fresh, green tops and firm, unblemished roots. Avoid cracks and soft spots.
  • SUGAR SNAP PEAS  - Look for bright green, flat, tender pods, with no discoloration or drying.
  • SUMMER SQUASH - Select smaller ones with naturally shiny, taught, unblemished skin. Put them back if they have a dull appearance or are enormous.
  • TOMATILLO - Green fruit with green husks? Yesss! Yellow fruit with brown husks? No-no!
  • TOMATOES - You want fragrant fruits, with an earthy scent at the stem, deep color, and a heaviness for their size. Don't bother with pale, waxy, hard fruits, or very soft spots.
  • YUKON GOLD POTATOES - Look for smooth, firm ones, without bruises, green spots, or sprouting.
  • ZUCCHINI - Ah, courgettes! Go for smaller ones with smooth skin with stems intact, that feel heavy for their size. No cuts or soft spots!

On the sweet side...

we'll let Belilli, Protectress of Fruit, take it from here:

SUMMER FRUITS:

  • APRICOTS - Go for bright yellow orange fruit, with no green spots or mushiness.
  • AVOCADOS - Choose deep green, almost black fruit. Stay away from the lighter green, rock hard ones - they will never ripen. Ever.
  • BLACKBERRIES - Take home deeply colored, unblemished jewels...no attached hulls, mold or stickiness, please.
  • BLUEBERRIES - Bright blue color with a frosty hue -called the "bloom" -ensures the freshest berries. Make sure they're plump! No hard, green or blemished ones!
  • CACTUS PEARS - Look for a bright, even color, with no mushy spots or wrinkles.
  • CHERRIES - The best ones are a deep, dark, color with glossy skin and green stems. Steer clear of black stems and a too-bright shade.
  • FIGS - You want soft, unblemished fruits with firm stems. Avoid bruises and wiggly stems.
  • GRAPES - Select intact bunches of rich color, with silvery coating. Leave brown stems, broken or discolored grapes behind.
  • GUAVA - Choose smooth yellow, white, or reddish fruits. Don't bother with green fruit or soft spots.
  • LEMONS - Soft, plump and brightly colored are the way to go...they'll actually feel juicy!
  • MELONS - For all varieties, look for matte skin, heaviness for their size, no soft spots, and no stems attached. Here's a watermelon trick: tap it! If it sounds hollow like a drum, it's a good one! For cantaloupe, seek a white or golden skin beneath the lacy overlay, as opposed to green, to ensure ripeness.
  • NECTARINES - Go for a mostly deep red fruit, with even coloring. Avoid pale fruit, bruises, and soft spots.
  • ORANGES - Look for bright, vibrant color...no pale, sad oranges, please. And no bruising.
  • PEACHES - Go for ones with a golden yellow undercolor, with no soft spots.
  • PEARS - A matte, smooth skin is what you're after, though "freckles" are fine - they're a totally natural thing called "russeting" that you don't have to worry about. Here's a trick: make sure the area near the stem is soft, but not mushy. And leave the rock hard pears in the bin.
  • PLUMS - Again, look for a silvery "bloom" on the skin, avoiding fruit with wrinkles or blemishes.
  • RASPBERRIES - Pick the bright, plump ones, and check the package or crate carefully for any mold, blemished berries or stickiness.
  • RHUBARB - We all love a good, firm stalk, don't we? Grab them, with good color, and leave the limp ones behind...
  • STRAWBERRIES - Choose bright red berries, and avoid any with white near the top.

Now,

are you ready?

Meet me at the farmer's market,

and we'll fondle some produce....

xxx Alise

 

 

 

Purrfect Pumpkin Bread

Winter, WHAT are you doing? 

We were having such a sublime Fall.  We are NOT ready for you yet!

(Don’t annoy the Autumnal Fairy.)

The Autumnal Fairy is being chased through the forest by  this  guy...though she doesn't seem to mind...

The Autumnal Fairy is being chased through the forest by this guy...though she doesn't seem to mind...

Tell you what. 

Here is an offering...it’s vegan, gluten free, sugar free, and it is dee-lish.

Go ahead. Take a big piece.  

Better yet, take the whole thing.

Purrfect Pumpkin Bread.jpg

There you go...now don’t come back until December, okay? January?

Purrfect Pumpkin Bread

Dry Ingredients:

  • 2-1/2 C. gluten-free organic baking flour 
  • 3/4 C. xylitol
  • 2 Tbsp arrowroot powder
  • 1 Tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 Tsp xanthan gum
  • 1Tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp cloves
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ginger
  • 1/4 tsp himalayan salt

Wet Ingredients:

  • 1 80z can org pumpkin puree (NOT pie filling!)
  • 1 C. hot spring water
  • 1/3 C. coconut oil, melted
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 20 drops liquid vanilla stevia
  • 1 C. toasted walnut pieces 

You can get all the exotic ingredients in your local health food store (some available in the bulk section), or online www.vitacost.com. As always, make sure all ingredients-including spices- are organic whenever possible.

Preheat oven to 350. Oil the bottom of a loaf pan.

Whisk together dry ingredients. Mix wet ingredients separately.

Combine dry into wet ingredients, slowly, whisking as you pour.

Bake for 45-60 minutes in a loaf pan. (I made this one in a brownie pan, so it looks a little weird.)  It is done when a toothpick in the center comes out clean. Let it cool completely, then slice, and dust the top with cinnamon. 

Fall-ing for You,

xxxAlise