Quench Me.

There they were.

Drought resistant warriors waving hello.

 


My plane had just landed, and once outside, I was greeted instantly

by beautiful feathered fans and their graceful, timeless embrace.

I had feared I would find my old friends dry, brown, withered. 

But they had survived.

And they would continue to hold space, stand with purpose. 

My man remarked that I hadn’t stopped grinning since we'd touched down. 

I couldn’t.

I was back in the Realm of the Gods once again,

and that can be a tricky place, full of illusion.

'Cause Neptune rules this city, 

and everyone here falls under the influence.

But the sheer power of nature overtakes all that,

if you are connected to her,

 and stay close, tethered to her truth.

Desert climates have birthed the wisest of species, haven't they?

Native to the Americas, the prickly pear cactus lives mostly in the arid West, storing rare rain water from widespread roots, and protecting itself from predators with a sharp external shield. Plants are so smart. 

You can imagine my squeals of delight when I saw a carton of cactus water in my health food store back in New York...can you even imagine the hydration? I didn't even know it existed! The water comes from the fruit, actually, not the leaves, and get this: it's loaded with antioxidants, vitamins A, C, E, iron, calcium, AND has anti-inflammatory properties. The taste? Fabulous! It's fruity and light, and not a trace of sugar to be found. In fact, it actually lowers blood sugar. 

This calls for a cocktail!

Cactus Cordial

  • 6 oz. cactus water
  • 1 Tbsp organic hibiscus flowers
  • 2 drops lime essential oil
  • pure water
  • raspberries, for garnish

Start by making a little hibiscus tea ahead of time. You can either steep the flowers in cool water overnight, or heat the water, drop in the flowers, and let them rest there for 6-8 minutes, or longer. Hibiscus is an ancient remedy for cooling the body and moisturizing the skin (we can thank our Egyptian ancestors for that, Lovers). 

When the tea is cooled, strain it into a brandy snifter, or some such foxy late-night glass. Add in the cactus water, the lime oil, plop in a few berries...and enjoy! The lime adds a lick of refreshment in the form of an anti-aging tonic, the berries grace us with more antioxidants and beauty boosting vitamin E, so mingled with the flowers and the waters, we have a most exquisite potion!

Alright, Juicy Ones, have a gorgeous evening...

And, as for you, my dear city,

as you fade behind me,

I am missing you already.

'Til next we meet,

xxx Alise

The Spiral Staircase

When I stepped outside this morning, 

I looked up at the frosted glass sky

and something caught my eye

I thought it was a bird, but

it was a leaf,

A perfect crunchy crisp orange leaf turning to brown.

It was spiraling slowly down, in a graceful dance,

released from a majestic Maple,

and I stood there mesmerized by it.

The spiraling.

The sky was incredible, too.

Veiled with clouds, alive with mist

the air somewhere between mild and chilled

all the shades of grey making the remains of the autumn leaves on the ground,

the colors, 

even what was left of the green grasses all the more vibrant.

Such a strange and beautiful sight dappled among the first January frost.

I didn't even pause to take a picture of it for you,

because sometimes you lose the moment that way...

The imagery of the spiral is everywhere, if you are willing to look.

It carries with it ancient wisdom of the outer conciousness leading to the inner soul: the path leading from the ego into enlightenment. 

Evolution.

Divine union with cosmic energies.

I see taking care of ourselves as a spiral journey. We usually begin from a place of vanity, and gradually find our way inward, to healing and supporting what cannot always be seen, but has a profound effect on the whole, and, yes, the exterior.

You've heard me say many times, "beauty begins on the inside." 

Truth.

It begins with giving, love, and compassion from our hearts, and extends to how we experience nourishment. When we feed ourselves from a place of kindness, both for ourselves and for the planet, baby, it shows.

Which brings me back to my wish for you to indulge in the beauty of living, loving, radiant raw plant foods, even as the sky turns somber, and the air boldly ventures towards glacial. I gave you a few basic tips in my last entry, but you know me...I like to keep things interesting.

And so, I have a very seductive ladyfriend I want to introduce you to:

Who says kitchen appliances aren't sexy?

Who says kitchen appliances aren't sexy?

This alluring hourglass is known by her street name: The Spiralizer. And, Beasties, she packs a wallop. There are enormous, weighty, stupid-expensive versions of her out there that will take up all of your counter space, and theoretically work better, but I prefer the feel of this lightweight, packable vixen right in my hands.

Her magic? She creates noodles out of vegetables!

That's right, my Loves, you can enjoy all your fave sauces with a light and nutritionally dense "pasta", keeping it raw and real. 

I conjured this for you as a gorgeous cold-weather raw dish, satisfying and sensuous, deeply flavored and easy on your beautiful belly.

Try it.

Wanton Walnut Pesto Noodles

  • 2-3 large organic carrots
  • 2 large organic beets
  • 1 large organic zucchini
  • 2 C fresh organic cilantro leaves
  • 1/2 C walnuts, soaked for 2 hours, drained and rinsed
  • 3 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1/4 C olive oil, extra virgin and cold pressed
  •  A pinch Celtic salt, plus more to taste
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)

The fist thing you must know is that you can find a spiralizer in in kitchen shop, or online.

The second, that you can use a variety of vegetables here. I've chosen the ones easiest to spiralize, but you can omit anything you don't like, and get playful, won't you? Try different combinations with different sauces, get creative with seasonal veggies...I love the colors here for shaking up a dreary day.

The mistake often made is making the noodles and plopping them right into the sauce, which makes them too crunchy. You won't make that foible, of course. You're going to rinse the veggies first,  and lop off the inedible ends. Then, if needed, cut them down so they are slim enough to put through the spiralizer. The zucchini and carrot will be fine as is, but you may need to trim the beets a little. You just take the vegetable in one hand, the spiralizer in the other, start at the top, and twist. (See how it works? Yes! That's it!) You will have little conical bits left at the end that can be chopped up and added to salads, or into a juice shake.

So now, when you have a bowl full of stunningly pretty noodles, sprinkle them with a pinch of Celtic salt, and let them sit in a colander in the sink for about a half hour. This is the trick to making them soft and pasta-y. 

While they're relaxing, just toss all the remaining ingredients except the additional salt and pepper into a food processor, and pulse until it gets creamy and mostly smooth. Now ease it onto the noodles, a little at a time, tossing with tongs to really get the sauce in there. Don't drown the noodles with the sauce, Lovers. Just use enough to coat them, and save the rest. You can always make another noodle batch in a day or two, or use it as a pesto-ish spread on gluten-free bruchetta. Add a few grinds of fresh pepper, a tiny pinch of salt only if needed (taste it first!), and a dash of cayenne if you desire some heat. 

Now you're ready to plate and...devour!

Vitamins, minerals, macro-nutrients...they're all there, as always, my Darlings, for you, transformed into a luscious and libidinous feast, bringing magick into the body, and radiating outward...

I love you.

xxx Alise

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Love You Live

When the leaves rustle
and the sky turns to orange,
crisp air caressing your face

it’s only natural to crave heat.

Warm foods,
hot brews,
fevered bodies.

Furry throws,
steam rising from moon baths, 
stealing sunshine kisses
wherever possible...

As many of you know, I'm a rabid fan of raw foods.
I feast all day on bright, shiny, radiant offerings from the Earth herself: luscious fruits, crisp greens, juicy veggies, crunchy seeds and nuts...it's an incredibly sensual diet. But, even I must admit the importance of adding cooked foods to your diet as your body needs them. And we do need them, as the wind grows cold, to balance us, to ground us, to nourish in an altogether different way than raw foods do.

Live plant foods, you see, have all their sexy little enzymes intact. Enzymes fight disease. Eating raw ensures that you're getting all the nutrients the plant has to offer (abundant as they are!), and supports your digestive tract. And, as strange as it sounds, that's exactly where good health and radiant beauty begin. 

That said, there are certain instances where the cooked version of a vegetable presents a higher nutritional value. The tomato, for example. This juicy, voluptuous, bright-red sexpot plucked right from the vine is surging with high levels of vitamin A and beta-carotene, but her signature lycopene (which fights cancer and heart disease) shines only when cooked. Odd, but true.

The trick, my Darlings, is to satiate your needs in the chilly seasons, both physical and emotional, while still enjoying as much raw food as possible. Easy? Not so much.  It’s one thing to exist on a mostly or all raw diet when you live in a temperate clime. But so many of us don’t. 

The easiest way to get lots of gorgeous raw food into your life?

1. Green Shakes

Madly simple. Dangerously delish. It's like drinking pure energy.
Start this way: Blend 2 cups of spinach with 1/2 banana, 1 cup of pure water (or coconut water), a generous splash of unsweetened almond milk, 1 teaspoon of cinnamon, a squeeze of lemon, and a few small bits of fresh ginger. Blend it all wildly until it's totally smooth. 
Congratulations, you just concocted a purrfect breakfast elixir!
From here you can add more greens, maybe 1/2 an apple...whatever fruits and veggies you like, but keep the greens ratio much higher than the fruit. You can use a little stevia if you like. And always add that little bit of good fat to the blend, either with a splash of almond milk, a teeny bit of coconut oil, or 1/4 avocado. This allows the body to actually absorb all those important vitamins and minerals in the produce.
Later in the day, feel free to add some soaked chia, hemp seeds, chlorella or spirulina, as the body can fully utilize them toward the afternoon and evening.

2. Green Salads

Yes! The old standby. Let's give them the respect they deserve by keeping greens dark, leafy, and plentiful. Avoid commercial dressing in favor of fresh lemon or apple cider vinegar and cold-pressed olive oil, or try a few of my go-to's here.
Add in plenty of organic cuke (skins on), red cabbage, pumpkin and sunflower seeds, fresh sprouts, and any other bright and beautiful raw veggie you like.
Try to eat two of these each day.
Please, Beasties.
For me?

3. Raw Nibbles

And...easier than even a salad...raw sliced and chopped tidbits to peck on when you need a little bite.
Apples, carrots and bloat-banishing celery are my everyday faves, though I've been known to gnaw away at radishes and cauliflower in public. Maybe it does look a little weird, but who cares? The glow from your mega-watt skin will outshine any sideways glances you might receive, so go for it. 

So it is easy, after all, see?

Now, I’ve compiled some of my Autumn dishes held most dear on my Fall Magic page, but in the coming weeks I want to share some supremely sexy raw numbers that will excite and inspire you.

Like this one:

The other day, as I sometimes do when I'm feeling overloaded, I turned on my Mad Scientist in the kitchen.

(Or maybe I should say a Mad Physicist, random chaos theory being my specialty.)

I wanted something in the ubiquitous pumpkin spice flavor that did NOT come from a donut shop. 
And, while I threw together things that I knew would be at least passibly tasty, I had NO idea what I would experience when I lapped up a finger full of batter...

Pumpkin spice cheesecake?
Whaaaat?!
Oh...yesss...

Pumpkin Pleasure Bites

For the Crust:

  • 1/2 C raw cashews, soaked for at least 2 hours
  • 1/2 C raw pumpkin seeds
  • 6 large pitted dates
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • Pinch of Celtic salt

For the Filling:

  • 1-1/2 C organic pumpkin pureé, (NOT pie filling)
  • 1/3 C raw coconut nectar
  • 1/4 C coconut oil, melted
  • 2 Tbsp tapioca flour
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla
  • 1 Tbsp cinnamon
  • 3/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp cloves
  • 1/4 tsp allspice
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg

First, line a brownie pan with parchment paper. Now combine all your crust ingredients in a food processor, and pulse until everything is crumbly, but sticky. Not sure? Pinch it. If it holds together, purrfect. If not, add a few more dates until it does. Then scoop the whole mixture into your lined pan. Press it into place with your fingers. You want a smooth, even layer.

Pop it in the freezer, and make your filling. Just combine all the ingredients into a large bowl, and whisk it until it's smooth. Taste it. Add more spice or sweetener if you like.

Pour the filling on top of the crust, smooth it, and back in to the freezer it goes!

Let it chill for about 5 hours, or overnight. When you take it out, score it with a knife to make many little cakes, and let it defrost. Slice the pieces all the way through when it's thawed. Place it back the fridge, and keep it there until you want to devour them, as they need to stay chilled in order to hold their shape.

So there you have it: decadent little raw pumpkin cheesecake morsels that are loaded with nutrition, and so scrumptious that even a lover of traditional pumpkin pie will be coming back for more...and more! You can easily omit the cashews in the crust if nuts are an issue, and replace them with steel cut oats, or even additional seeds. Coconut nectar can be cast aside in favor of liquid stevia if you like. Oh, and sometimes in your health food store a bulk, organic pumpkin spice blend can be procured. If so, grab some! You can use it in everything.

And, really, why couldn't you do the whole thing as a pie?
I'm getting visions of holiday dinners...

But for now,
I'll leave you to your own devices,
for I have leaves in my hair
twigs everywhere
and a heart full of joy,
that sends it back to you.

xxx Alise

 

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Rockstar Ingredients: Watermelon

Watermelon gets dismissed so easily as sugary kid stuff.

But it’s not. 

If I were a watermelon, quite frankly, I’d be offended.

“Nice melons, Mamacita!”

Well, yes, thank you...but let’s raise our eyes slightly above the neckline to gaze upon this most magical offering, shall we?

Watermelon is, well, water. It’s actually 92% water. 
Hydration, my Beasties. 
The body craves it. Skin drinks it in.
Beauty from the inside out, no?
Besides that, it’s quite literally drenched in nutrients. Not in the least, blessed antioxidants and amino acids, but also impressive levels of vitamins A, C, and even B6! Bite into that.

Why do we care about antioxidants? Lovers, antioxidants are Goddess-sent warriors.
Listen to me: they keep you well, inside and out. Health-wise, they fight cancer. All kinds. 
Beauty-wise, they conquer the free-radicals that ravage your precious skin. 

Watermelon also rides high on amino acids, which are absolutely essential to beauty and wellness. Think of them as Aphrodite’s pearls dancing inside us, building the immune and central nervous system, and metabolizing fat, all while supplying vital nutrients to nourish skin, hair, and nails from within by strengthening connective tissue.

Toss in lycopene and potassium, and what on earth are you waiting for?

Ahhh...the magical part...yes...

The lunar-ruled watermelon has her origins in Africa. The ancient Egyptians would mix the juice of the watermelon, prized by the god Set, with wine to heal illness, particularly in cases where the sick person was believed to be under the influence of a dark energy. It made it's way across the world to Hawaii, where the watermelon was rolled through the front door to help guide a deceased person with ease into their next life.
Best of all, watermelon is sacred to the sea goddess Yemaya. And she's the cat's meow. 

So, then, with ripe organic beauties still out there in droves,
do I have to shout?

(I abhor shouting.
I’d much rather whisper in your ear.)

“Dive in, Sweet ones...”

You can actually see the energetic vibration!

You can actually see the energetic vibration!

Magical Melon Elixir

  • 1 small organic watermelon
  • 1 C organic raspberries
  • 2 organic mint leaves
  • 2 drops lemon essential oil
  • juice of 1 lime

Set a piece of watermelon aside. We're going to have fun with that later. 
Blend the rest together except the lemon oil. Add that in last. Garnish with a few mint leaves, bring a sexy glass out onto the terrace, or under a tree, and sit back to enjoy it while you're flipping through an Italian Vogue, or devouring a juicy read.

The fine art of lounging isn't just for we cats. It's actually a very necessary ritual for all creatures.

The finely-honed skill of doing nothing at all.

Isn't it delicious?

Now, about that bit of watermelon we set aside earlier.
Here's a trick: It becomes a fabulous face mask. 

Just blend it up, and pour it into a bowl. Then, simply dip a fluffy (cruelty-free) foundation brush (or a cotton pad) into the nectar, and swipe it all across a freshly cleansed face. Don't forget to apply it gently around your eyes, both underneath and on the brow bone, and to your neck and décolleté. 
Let it dry for about 20 minutes or so, then rinse with cool water. 

Now a spray of rosewater, a dollop of moisturizer, and you're ready to knock someone's socks off!
(Or pants.)

This little facial leaves you with a toned, hydrated, fresh-looking visage.
Your skin will love it!

To your health, Darlings,
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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Vlog Vixen: Vegan Protein, Part Two

Ok, I'm officially an addict.

Coffee, yes.

Baked goods...uh-huh.

Sexy adventures?

Okay, you got me.

And now...

Video.

I've created Frankenstein's monster,

in the form of a Creature who is just bursting to share info with you...

So, enjoy, my Delicious Ones!

And, hey.

If we put our heads together,

and combine those three little addictions I just mentioned...

Ahem.

I love you,

Dirty Things...

xxx Alise

P.S. Need a recipe? Click here. And here.


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

 

 

 

Cucina Essentials

Darlings.

You asked for it...

What do you keep on hand to whip up sexy, healthy feasts at a moment's notice? What should be lounging in your cupboards at all times to keep you on track? Starting up is expensive, so where do you begin? What seasonings will give you the most bang for your hard-earned cash? How about a "basics" shopping list?

You got it.

May I present...How To Stock Your Kitchen, Vixen-style:

Clockwise from top left: Garam masala, curry, cinnamon, vanilla powder, turmeric, Celtic salt, cumin seeds, red pepper flakes.

Clockwise from top left: Garam masala, curry, cinnamon, vanilla powder, turmeric, Celtic salt, cumin seeds, red pepper flakes.

Spices:

  • Vanilla
  • Cinnamon
  • Garam Masala
  • Turmeric
  • Cayenne
  • Red pepper flakes
  • Cumin
  • Curry blend
  • High quality salts

I know. It seems like a lot at once, but you can gather things as you go along. I like to buy small amounts  of high quality organic spices in bulk, then transfer them to pretty jars or tins that I find at flea markets,  or in odd places I happen upon. Keep them out, where you can see them and be inspired by their colors and scents. Many of you have told me that you would like to be more experimental with flavors, but find it all a bit daunting. This, Loves, is where you begin your culinary magic. All your gorgeous spices are out where you can begin to connect with them. The entire cast of magical performers I've listed above just naturally work together. They layer beautifully, spicy and sweet...always a pinch of salt at the end to bring it all center stage. The next time you have a basic vegetable dish, listen. See what they have to say. See what calls to you. Then, all of a sudden...a pinch here, a dash there...and you're concocting! It's wonderful and creative. And I know you're super-talented at it. 

The same idea applies to fresh herbs. If you can grow them year round, bravo! I can't, so I like to pick up a few bunches every week. See what organics look good. I usually gravitate toward mint, sage, cilantro, and parsley, and then buy a specific herb, like rosemary, for a particular dish I may have in mind. I actually prefer a dried oregano to fresh, believe it or not.  NOT the commercial kind, mind you, but for some reason the oregano I find in my health food store in the large jars is just sublime.

Listen to me, Babes, you really cannot make mistakes here. If a flavor is too dense, balance with its' opposite. Try things. Experiment with whole seeds and ground, fresh and dried, exotic and common.

Trust your senses...

Clockwise from left: black quinoa, oat groats, quinoa linguine, gluten free oats, cacao powder, raw pumpkin seeds.

Clockwise from left: black quinoa, oat groats, quinoa linguine, gluten free oats, cacao powder, raw pumpkin seeds.

Pantry staples:

Here's where the real go-to goodies live. The hearty heart and soul of your pantry. The grains, seeds, and nutritional yeast can be found in the organic bulk section of your health food store for pennies, while the nuts can also be found there, and purchased more  sparingly. (Keep in mind most main dishes require only one cup of grains, so you really can stock up.) The oilve oil and cacao will last, the cider vinegar is inexpensive, and the coconut oil can be used for absolutely everything.

I'm getting hungry.

Clockwise from left: Dinosaur kale, cucumber, zucchini, avocados, oranges, bananas, apples, grapefruit, lemon,garlic, baby kale, radishes, almond milk.

Clockwise from left: Dinosaur kale, cucumber, zucchini, avocados, oranges, bananas, apples, grapefruit, lemon,garlic, baby kale, radishes, almond milk.

Fresh:

  • Fruit (citrus and banana always, others in season)
  • Salad/snack veggies (radishes, cucumbers, celery)
  • Avocados
  • Almond/coconut milk
  • Garlic

Here's where the fun is. Prowling your local markets for the freshest, most dazzlingly gorgeous produce around on any particular day. Bright colors beckon. Choose freely, like a child drawn to the prettiest flower in the garden. And relax. You've got everything you need back home to write the purrfect music to accompany this poetry...

And last, but never least,

I always keep some of these beauties around...

Left to right: Frozen organic blackberries, strawberries, blueberries.

Left to right: Frozen organic blackberries, strawberries, blueberries.

Aren't they pretty?!

Frozen fruit is amazing. You can make the most delightful elixirs in minutes...one for your every whim!

The thing is, organic frozen fruits are price-ey. Crazy so. And eating non-organic is simply out of the question. Best bet? First, check around at your bigger supermarkets. You'd be surprised - many of them carry organics, and at decent prices. It goes without saying that supporting smaller shops is the way to go, but in some instances, realistically, you've gotta have options. The good thing about buying from a larger store is that by purchasing organics there, you are telling the big guys that people want them. Now, they restock. And healthy choices are available to more people, many of whom would not have sought them out, but now have an option, and one they can afford. I'm all for healthy, clean food being available everywhere, to everyone, not simply a small group of people in the know. 

The other smart cookie plan is to stock up when all this lusciousness is in season, and freeze different fruits in individual ziploc bags or containers. Keep an eye on sales, and GRAB THEM!

Middle of Winter and you're craving a mango blueberry shake? Easy. You're a Kitchen Witch.


Alright, my Tasty Ones, now you have all the basics needed to indulge your everyday kitchen witchery. This will keep you stocked for breakfast, lunch, snacks...you can whip up shakes, drinks, salads, cooked dishes...all you need now are a few special somethings to bring together a specific recipe, as you like!

Now, if you'll excuse me, I've got to shop.

I'm all out of vanilla, and that will never do...

xxx Alise

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Luna Cucina: New Moon Solar Eclipse

The ride has been a little bumpy, My Loves, since the lunar eclipse, yes?

But change is good,

and karma inescapable...

We have a beautiful opportunity now to manifest change,

to set our ship's course for the next six months,

and I'd like to begin from the inside...

Won't you join me?

This eclipse will not be the drama-queen that our full moon was, charged with emotions,

and it won't be a walk in the park, either.

Nerves are always running a bit high as we approach an eclipse, but this one is getting some love from Mercury and Pluto, so the assistance in transformation is great, particularly how we think and communicate.

Got it?

I always feel strongly about eating light during a new moon, and this one is no different. That it occurs in earthy Taurus makes it easier to stay grounded, so use that energy: connect with nature, get outside, meditate...get your bare feet in the earth if you can, and connect with her core vibes. Envision the enormous power of the earth, way down at the center, rising through the dirt, entering your feet, traveling up throughout your body...breathe deep...know you are supported.

As for a purrfectly celestial supper on this most auspicious evening?

We could never allow the Venusian energy of Taurus to slip past us,

Now could we?

Let's. Get. Down.

Cosmic Corn Chowder

  • 2 bags (10oz each) frozen organic corn or 6-8 ears fresh organic corn (make sure it's NON-GMO EITHER WAY!
  • 1/2 avocado
  • 2 cloves fresh garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 C coconut or almond milk
  • Celtic salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Defrost frozen corn or cut fresh kernels from the cobs. Set aside 1 cup of kernels for later.

Blend all of the ingredients in a high-speed blender, then add the remaining kernels. If you want to keep this dish raw, which is a very good idea during a new moon, you have a few ways to do it.

  • Add hot spring water to the blender to your desired consistency
  • Place the mixture into a container, then submerge it in a pot of hot water 
  • Warm it ever so gently on the stove, making sure not to heat over 118F

Of course you can cook it, as well. It will still be a light and amazingly healthy dish, not to mention creamy-delicious, all aflutter with silky avocado sensuality,  sweet, nutrient-packed corn, mineral salts, and a little souk spice to keep things interesting.

It pairs very well with my Cheeky Ceci Pane, if you are looking for a little something to go with it, but keep it light...only eat one...(!)

Allright, Sugars. Whatever old, pointless, toxic habits you've been afraid to let go of,

Now is the time.

Fix your tiger's gaze on evolution. 

Hatch those plans.

Take risks.

Be amazing.

Oh, and if you're up for a game of strip poker,

I'm in.

xxx Alise

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Keep It Under Wraps

Naughty things.

I know where your minds are.

And it's true, some things are best left to the imagination.

While others are so juicy, they need to be contained in secret...

until just the right moment,

when all can be revealed.

Corset by  Sparklewren

Corset by Sparklewren

This afternoon I was ravenous, as usual. 

Foraging through the refrigerator like a wildcat, I discovered something:

I had forgotten to shop.

Out belted a wild, starving, moan.

MEYYYOOOOOWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW-WAHH!

There were only a few leftover salad remnants around, hardly enough to satiate this jungle beast, and no malleable humans around to procure. 

So I chopped, sliced, and mashed my way to getting some sa-tis-FAC-TION!

The green wrap.

It really is the most purr-fect alternative to a heavy bread or tortilla wrap.

Any leafy green will do.

My drug of choice is the collard green, though, I will warn you that it can take a little getting used to if your system needs a bit of detoxing. In fact, if I find I have trouble digesting a raw collard leaf, I take that as a sign  to give my liver some lovin'. That can be as direct as not drinking for about a week (if you partake), and helping soothe and detoxify the situation by drinking some juniper tea. I like to also bathe in juniper essential oils. Then go easy on the roughage...just for a little bit.

Awesome alternatives? Any kind of soft, wilty chard. And for juicy crunch? Romaine lettuce.

For this simple nibble, I mashed a ripe avocado, sliced some tomato, a little cuke (skin on!), and embellished with pumpkin seeds and walnuts. A little balsamic drizzle, and a toss of Celtic salt, and we've got the quickest, tastiest lunch or dinner ever.

Some feisty fillings? 

  • Julienned carrots, chopped mushrooms, bell pepper, cliantro, and mung bean sprouts tossed in lime juice and cayenne, sprinkled with chopped peanuts or almonds
  • Mashed sweet potato, peas, and curry spice with chopped cashews
  • My macadamia nut salad. It's SO good.
  • Sliced mango, pineapple, and papaya, with shredded coconut and pureéd berries (any kind), shredded mint leaves
  • Hummus, sundried tomato, and chopped Moroccan or kalamata olives with oregano and red pepper flakes

You get the picture.

Delish goodies, all wrapped up like Cleopatra in her carpet, being presented to you and your guests as the jewels that they are.

Wishing you a gentle eclipse, and a beautiful day, my Sweethearts.

xxx Alise

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Meet Me At The Penthouse

I am obsessed with vintage men's magazines.

Dig the shoes!

Dig the shoes!

When I was little, my ultimate career goal was to be a Playboy Bunny. Specifically a 1960's or 70's Bunny, like the ones I saw depicted as a child. (Other vocational possibilities included becoming a Charlie's Angel, or Wonder Woman.)

How cool is she?

How cool is she?

It all became muti-dimensional when I was very little, and my grandparents (!) once took me to the Playboy Club. I'm not sure why they thought it was a good idea to bring me there, exactly. I do recall a ginger ale with a cherry tasting seriously grown up, and...there they were: Bunnies! All dolled up in candy-colored satin, with big hair and eyelashes, and looking like glamour on fire. They made my beloved Barbies look like rubes.

But, by the time I was old enough to fill out the satin costumes, it wasn't the same. First of all, I was all out of time. My fave eras were long gone, even when I was little and dreaming. And the Playboy Club was gone. And by then I'd had a pretty good idea that those sparkling angels had to deal with their share of creeps, in the form of both customers and higher-ups.

And Bunnies had changed. Still amazing, but really so far from my dreamy girlish plans. Now there were few natural bodies, and even fewer qualities that made the ladies stand apart from one another.

Part of my love for that era was not only the glamour, but how naturally beautiful, and different the women were. Bodies had flesh, breasts were natural, and faces were unique.

I remained under the spell of days gone by. I still can't shake them.

Browsing Netflix, I discovered the most amazing show: Playboy's Penthouse, which ran on a local station in Chicago at the (cotton) tail end of the 1950's when it was the home of Hef and the magazine. This show is unbelievable! Set in a swingin' bachelor penthouse, the likes of Ella Fitzgerald and Sammy Davis, Jr. would just happen to show up at this awesome cocktail lounge party and just casually start to sing. What?! Get out!

AMAZING.

It all went down in this swoon-worthy lair.

The magic happened here between 1959-1961, then moved to L.A. and became Playboy After Dark until 1970. 

Sigh...

Many moons later, when I was first dating my fella, he remarked that I looked like a "playmate from the 70's"...I was FLOORED.  Really? Does he know? Oooh-ooh! This one's a keeper...

So in honour of my beloved Bunnies, here's a special juice cocktail just for you, my Darlings.

The Bunny Shake

  • 3 fresh organic carrots or 1 C organic unsweetened carrot juice
  • 3/4 C unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 pinch cloves
  • 1-2 droppers vanilla liquid stevia, or to taste
  • Pure water

Chop carrots, leaving peels on, into small-ish pieces. Add all ingredients, except water, to your high speed blender. Blend on high speed until everything gets super creamy and blended. If your blender is a little sluggish, you can either stain the mixture or use the carrot juice instead of the fresh carrots. Add water as you like to thin the consistency. Pour into your fave cocktail glasses...and, cheers!

To swingin' sex bombs, glamour, and great health!

xxx Alise

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Shed Your Skin

Maybe you spent your weekend like this.

And, the guy is STILL irresistible, even when passed out.

And, the guy is STILL irresistible, even when passed out.

It was, after all, a weekend of legendary bar antics.

St. Patrick's Day. 

The celebration of driving the snakes out of Ireland. Symbolically, the forcing of Christianity onto otherwise content Pagans...snakes, of course, being the symbol of the Goddess. 

Ironically, with the Spring Equinox around the corner, and a Full Moon in Virgo, it's impossible to drive the Divine Feminine out of anywhere, or to ignore the change in season...the renewal...the timing so crucial in getting our s***t together after either a long weekend of over-indulging, or simply a long Winter of little movement and much comfort food.

Time, my Beauties, for basking in the radiance of Celtic She-Power. 

Let's charge full-force into this week...detoxed and sparkling,

Full of light,

Sexy as all hell.

The molting begins...

Image courtesy of Museum Victoria, Australia.

Image courtesy of Museum Victoria, Australia.

In honor of our serpent healers, 

we slough off our dead, old layers,

letting go of anything and everything that no longer serves us.

Regeneration. New life.

Why, yes, that  is  candle wax dripped onto my serving tagine...doesn't that happen to everyone?

Why, yes, that is candle wax dripped onto my serving tagine...doesn't that happen to everyone?

The Serpent's Secret

  • 1 C. Celtic salt
  • 1/2 C organic coconut oil, room temperature
  • 12 drops each juniper, rosemary, and mandarin essential oils
  • 6 drops patchouli oil

Mix these all together in a gorgeous bowl. Get naked. Scrub everywhere in circular motions, then in sweeping strokes toward the heart. This blend is an excellent one to detoxify and improve your circulation. Rinse with very warm water, and a soft coating of coconut oil will remain on your skin. You'll feel amazing and you'll taste delicious too.

Now, hotties, drape your smooth and frisky selves in a fluffy towel, and slither into la cucina.

Whip this up.

Spring Elixir

  • 1 grapefruit (I used a Ruby Red here), cut into small-ish pieces
  • 1 Organic cucumber, skin on and chopped
  • A good handful of fresh organic mint leaves
  • 2-3 inch piece fresh aloe leaf, skinned
  • 1-2 droppers liquid stevia

Blend this all together on high speed until smooth. You can add some lemon, fresh grated ginger, or turmeric if you like. This can serve two easily, as you don't need much to reap its benefits. Or, you can drink the whole damn thing down like a badass. Pretend you're Keith...only really into healthy stuff.

Feel incredible? Me too!

Let's rock this season together.

I love you.

xxx Alise

 

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Under The Milky Way Tonight

A creamy drink of starlight.

Made by you.

Milk My Way  by  VK-Red Duvivier

Milk My Way by VK-Red Duvivier

Alluring Almond Milk

  • 1 C organic raw unsalted almonds, soaked overnight, rinsed and drained
  • pure water
  • Vanilla extract, liquid stevia to taste 

Place the soaked almonds into a high-speed blender. Add enough pure water to cover them.

Blast it.

When the almonds are as finely blended as possible, drain the mixture through a cheesecloth into a container. Squeeze every drop from the cheesecloth...

Taste it. Mmmmm.

Add a few drops of extract if you like, and a little stevia if you want it sweeter.

Play with different flavors. 

It's heavenly. 

Wanna really have fun? Use the leftover almond meal as a cereal, for baking cookies, or...dig your fingers in and use it as an aromatic, sensual facial and body scrub. You can use it alone, or mixed with essential oils and a dab of coconut oil.  

You guys ever read "Story Of The Eye," by Bataille?

Lap it up, my Feral Ones. 

xxx Alise

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Raw Power, Honey, Can't Be Beat

He's got  my  attention. Rock god, cultural icon, and animal activist, Mr. Iggy Pop.   

He's got my attention. Rock god, cultural icon, and animal activist, Mr. Iggy Pop.

 

Speaking of which, you and I have been talking succulent dishes quite a bit lately, haven’t we? In the kitchen, I mean.

Let’s see...we’ve made spicy stews, heavenly cakes, all sorts of exotic fare. Yet, save for a few shake elixirs, it’s all been cooked.

Most of you get that I am vegan, and avoid sugar, gluten, junk food of all ages, etc. What you don’t know is that my diet is 80% raw. As in uncooked.

Why? Because raw food keeps vitamins, minerals, and amino acids intact. 

I get asked all the time about what I eat, what I don’t eat. People always want to get in on it, but they worry it’s gonna get weird. 

Sometimes it does.

But I tend towards the far end of the spectrum, obsessing over superfoods and super herbs, tonics and brews, where it comes from, is it sustainable, how best to combine...and yes, it’s weird to some. I get that. 

I can tell you, my loves, with complete fervor, that I have never felt or looked better in my life since adopting this lifestyle. Though I’ve been vegetarian most of my adult life, and vegan a huge amount of that time, I didn’t always do it right. And I wasn’t always prepared on a higher plane, because when you create something on a physical level, the emotional/mental blossoming must be present at the same time, or one will not support the other. (That’s another conversation entirely.)

Back to diet: A typical day for me is filled with raw dark greens, vegetables, fruit, seeds, nuts...and somewhere in there you’ll find something cooked. I like a light-to-heavy approach, eating the heaviest foods not only at the end of a meal, but also at the end of the day.

This is the best way for your body to digest food, and good digestion, whether or not we want to think about it, is crucial to our well-being. When the body uses energy to digest food, that energy doesn’t go to our vital organs, systems, and natural healing abilities...and it certainly has nothing left for your skin, hair, and nails. Digesting food requires an enormous amount of energy, draining you, inside and out.

And, baby, you need that energy for living your awesome life.

So, want to try a sexy little raw dish?

(Ahem.)

I meant this one:

IMG_2072.jpg

Lust For Life Raw Pasta

  • 2-3 large organic yellow squash
  • 2 large organic tomatoes
  • 1 C. sundried tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp. etra virgin oilve oil, cold pressed
  • Black pepper
  • Himalayan pink sea salt

This is SO easy!

First, peel the squash. Then create "noodles" with either a spiralizer, or a potato peeler. Set aside to drain in a colander.

Place the tomatoes, garlic, and olive oil into a food processor, and pulse until blended.

Add the salt and pepper to taste.

Toss with squash noodles, top with rice "parmesan" if you like, and devour!

 

xxx Alise