Blossom Lady

As days grow brighter,

and gentle rains rouse the verdant spirits

from their dreamtime adventures,

we prepare, Wild Ones, to make those dreams real.

Out we pop from our buds!

stretching in langor toward the Sun,

the sweet scented moss 

tickling our noses,

guided by birdsong...

Doesn't Spring, somehow, always feel like the first time?

Now, of course, an Elven Queen would be fairly famished after a long Winter's rest.

A bright-eyed forage through the untamed forest and her surrounding fields could offer a delightful array of beautiful plant gifts!

But let's get one thing straight: those of you know me are aware of my eye-rolling tendencies towards the "seasonal cleanse."

Is Spring a time of renewal? Of course.  

But the body actually operates on a detox cycle, followed by a nutritive cycle, on a daily basis.

Do you clean your house four times per year? Of course not.

Then why, oh why, would you clean your soul's temple so infrequently?

I've prepared for you, my beautiful hatchlings,

a nibble that not only cleanses, but feeds.

Making your body strong,

your skin and hair vibrant,

your mind clear and ready.

Everything comes alive.

Everything awakens.

For nature is the ultimate Femme Vitale...

Spring Faerie Salad

Serves One
*all ingredients must be organic or wild grown

9 leaves of fresh dandelion
1 C  baby spinach
1/4 C grated carrot
1/2 C sprouts/microgreens (I love a blend: radish, alfalfa, sunflower, etc.)
1/4 C sunflower seeds
1/4 C nettle leaf
Raw unfiltered apple cider vinegar
Cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil
Celtic sea salt/fresh ground black pepper (know in certain circles as The Pinch-n-Grind)

Begin, my Loves, by grating several carrots. The easiest way? Give them a rough chop, then pulse in the food processor. Then you have some for the next few days. (You're welcome.)
Next, pull the dandelion leaves from their stalks, and tear gently with your fingers. Add in the spinach and carrots, and top with sprouts to form a gorgeous nest. Sprinkle with sunflower seeds and nettle leaf. Give it a light drizzle of the oil and cider vinegar, a pinch of Celtic salt, a grind of pepper, and you're there!

Dandelion is a bitter green, designed to detoxify the body by cleansing the liver, kidneys, and the blood. It also encourages fat metabolism and stabilizes blood sugar, while supplying the body with calcium, zinc, potassium, vitamins A, B, C, & D. A total powerhouse! Magickally, as with all greens, it is consumed to attract money, which just might come in handy as you get your dreams off the ground. *wink* 
We''re using eight leaves to symbolize personal power, for this potent dark green goodness also assists in making wishes come true...

Sprouts and microgreens are part of this magickal mélange to symbolize new life force emerging, and for their tremendous nutritional value. Carrots are filled with vitamin A, amongst other major nutrients, which keeps the signs of aging and stress off your face, helping to keep skin preternaturally young. Oh, and they're all about sex. Spring fever, anyone?

Sunflower seeds are amazing little health bites, so full of crucial minerals and vitamin E, to keep you beautiful inside and out...with a magickal boost to ensure success. Whatever you're conjuring, know you've got plant power on your side!

And what might this mysterious little faerie boat be carrying?

NETTLE BOAT-2.jpg

Why, it's nettle! 

Long used as a protective herb, fiery nettle also gives passion a push in the right direction. Love it already? Here's more: nettle is an immune-boosting, anti-inflammatory wonder that supports kidney and bone health. Beauty-wise, our brilliant plant friend promotes hair growth and flawless skin, particularly effective in treating acne, psoriasis, and eczema. It's also a renowned female tonic (just use it with caution, or not at all, if you are pregnant.)

Allright, my succulents,

revel in this Spring energy!

All my love,

xxx Alise

 

 

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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One Last Summer Fling

As a cool breeze stirs the daybreak
and the sun opens up our hearts
to an afternoon of warm bliss
then back again
to nightfall
where we reach for a furry throw
and a heated body...

It is Indian Summer,
and it doesn't come any finer, my Darlings.

But these delectable days, so fleeting,
and so fair
make me want to to take what's left of Summer
and make love to it
endlessly.

So I reach for a sacred bowl
of earthly pleasures.

Simple. Sensual. Sublime.

Join me for one last salt water kiss?

 

Summer Lovers Salad

  • 1 ripe organic cantaloupe
  • 1 qt organic strawberries
  • 1/2 organic cucumber, skin on, finely chopped
  • 2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 5-10 organic mint leaves
  • 5 organic basil leaves
  • Celtic salt

Just dice the cantaloupe and slice the strawberries, toss in the cukes, splash the vinegar, tear the leaves, and pinch the salt, Lusty Ones. It couldn't be more playful!

Strawberries are bursting with vitamin C, antioxidants, and beautifying minerals. An ancient love food, they are ruled by Venus and sacred to the Norse goddess Freya. How's that for divine?
Cantaploupe is also a lunar love food, wildly high in vitamin A and B-6. And cukes, of course, have that wonderful silica and sulfur in the skins that promote radiant hair and skin.

Saucy fact: Moon-y cucumbers were once placed under the noses of women who felt faint, as the refreshing scent was believed to revive them.

Swoon-worthy, indeed...

 

You now have in your hands a magical, beautifying, libido-revving treasure that's purrfect for any time of day or night. Enjoy it to the fullest!

And savor every sticky sweet salty sassy instant left in this season.
For soon, we pull Autumn in for a wild embrace...

But for today,
I'll meet you under the boardwalk,
sand in my hair,

xxx Alise

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Do It Clean

I heave a dramatic sigh as I say this: the New York Summer is an especially mucky one.
This has been the dubious trend of late,
for at least as long as I can recall.

And while there are, admittedly, a handful of stunning days,
absolutely purrfect for frolic,
most are unbearably humid.
I’m not talking a balmy, sultry, tropical moisture in the air,
one that stirs up a musky Brando sensuality...

A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE KIND OF MOMENT THIS ISN'T.

A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE KIND OF MOMENT THIS ISN'T.

I’m talking gross.

You know the kind. 
In the city, it’s everywhere. The streets literally assault you with it.
In the country, it’s a more organic, moldy kind of thing.
The strange odors that arise from nowhere, from ghosts of tenants past,
no matter how fastidious you are. They even lurk in your car.  

Two Summers ago, I kid you not, I was lounging in my clawfoot bathtub, 
when my eye caught the sight of something strange:
a vision of something white at the base of the pedestal sink.
I half-emerged to lean over for a closer look. I figured something had dropped or spilled there.
It hadn’t.  
It was mushrooms.
Growing in my bathroom.

They had, literally, shot up overnight.
I stared at them, fascinated for a while.
I love mushrooms.
But then it dawned on me that this wasn’t actually a healthy thing, for fungi to be sprouting up out of...tile. 
That’s the kind of humidity I’m talking about.

What’s a girl to do?
Bust out the magic, of course!

Time to reclaim your space as the Den of Sensuality it should be.
Time for natural cleaning with super powers.

Gather a few sparkly glass bottles,
strip down to your delicates,
and get it on, right?

Wait...you mean you never thought of cleaning as a fun experience?
Oh, honey!
It's all in how you approach it.
I call my version "Naked Disco Cleaning," which is exactly what it sounds like.
It starts out innocently enough. You begin by BLASTING 70's disco. Fully clothed, of course. And the beat pounds. And you start dancing. And cleaning.
It gets hot. 
So you take off your blouse. And your hair gets wild. You're singing.
It all just keeps getting hotter. Off comes the skirt. 

You get the picture.

Once, someone I worked with dropped by while I was in mid-cleaning frenzy. I answered the door drenched in sweat, wearing purple cleaning gloves, insane hair, and little else. With a bemused stare and a hearty laugh, she shook her head and said, "Only you...ONLY...YOU...!"

I guess you should always check to see who's at the door before you open it.
 

Desirous Cleaning Mist

  • 12 oz. distilled water
  • 2 Tbsp liquid castille soap
  • 30 drops cinnamon essential oil
  • 20 drops peppermint essential oil
  • 15 drops orange essential oil

Just fill up your pretty 12 oz. spray bottle with the distilled water, add in the castille soap, then add your essential oils, slowly and with purpose. Feel negative energies leaving your precious space, old layers falling away, and fertile new ideas coming in. 

I absolutely love this blend, because it has a wondrously clean and lively scent, while remaining exotic and sensual. I think you'll love it too.

 And now, for my next number...

Lair Freshener

  • 4 oz. distilled water
  • 15 drops cinnamon essential oil
  • 10 drops peppermint essential oil
  • 8 drops orange essential oil

Here again, this gloriously refreshing, sexy mix. Just like before, combine, enchant, and use to your heart's content! Just give them a little shimmy shake before each use to stimulate the oils.

Of course, you can adjust the oils to your liking. I always like to lay the cinnamon on heavily, for its lusty vibe and for its superior anti-microbial prowess. 

The best part? You can use these everywhere, my Darlings. On countertops, floors, sinks, tile...you name it! You wanna know an amazing little trick? Spray the Lair Freshener directly onto carpets, upholstery and textiles to freshen them. I even put some in my steamer in lieu of plain distilled water to deep clean my carpets and drapes. (This is also a fabulous way to gently clean your clothing.)

In case you are wondering, I haven't included white vinegar here for two reasons: first, it can damage certain natural materials like marble, stone, and wood. Second? Um...the smell. It's pretty bad

While I only use DoTerra essential oils for medicinal needs, including food and elixirs, a health food store grade is fine for cleaning. But Lovers, do not under any circumstances ingest these lesser brands. There is a massive difference in quality. A certified pure therapeutic grade oil (CPTG) has been throughly tested through a strict protocol, and has been harvested and distilled carefully by highly experienced growers. This all ensures a maximum potency and composition. For this reason they are generally a bit more expensive, so, again, a lower grade is acceptable for household spiffying.

Oh, and don't forget, our animal friends are sensitive, too, so gently introduce oils to them. For instance, one of my cats loathes all citrus aromas if they are too near her, while my other cat enjoys them. Go figure. 
So get a feel for what they can handle before spraying the floors, carpets, and anywhere they like to lounge.

Enough chatting.
Let's do this.
The Moon is waning, and I'm feeling all Donna Summer's "Bad Girls."

Now where are my roller skates?

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

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




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

Fall Back Into Bed

Oh, I wanna sleep...

I wanna hibernate inside a cave of furry blankets

and dream away...

Sleeping Panther by NicamShilova

Sleeping Panther by NicamShilova

Endless hours of luscious beauty sleep,

cloaked in darkness,

as fire casts orange wands of light 

here and there

though the veils,

teasing...

I rise only from hunger.

Pure and fierce.

I love the unique warmth the oven and the stove make, the way it can fill la cucina with heated scent. It makes my body feel so liquid...

Pumpkin Spice Pancakes with Salted Caramel Nectar

For the Pancakes

  • 1 1/2 C unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 C organic pumpkin puree (I'll say it again...not pie filling!)
  • 2 flax "eggs"
  • 2 Tbsp coconut oil, melted
  • 2 Tbsp unfiltered apple cider vinegar
  • 1-2 tsp organic vanilla extract
  • 2 cups gluten-free all purpose flour (unsweetened!)
  • 4 tbsp raw coconut sugar OR 2-3 dropperfuls liquid vanilla stevia
  • 1/2 teaspoon Celtic salt
  • 2 tsp gluten-free baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 Tbsp organic cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 generous pinch cloves

For the Nectar

  • 2 C coconut milk (full fat, baby!)
  • 1/3 C raw coconut sugar
  • 1/3 C raw coconut nectar
  • 1 tsp organic vanilla
  • Celtic salt

Concoct the Nectar first.

Combine the coconut milk, nectar, and sugar in a small saucepan. Heat it to a boil, then simmer for about 40 minutes, until it reduces somewhat. Remove it from the flame, and allow it to cool. It will thicken slightly, as it cools, but will remain a thin sauce. Now, for the pancakes:

Make your flax "eggs": combine 2 tablespoons of ground flax meal with 6 tablespoons of pure water, and blend well. Set them aside.

Now, two large bowls, Lovers.

In one, whisk together the dry ingredients (flour through spices). In another, whisk together the wet ones (almond milk through vanilla.)

Let the wet get frisky with the dry. Blend them together until you have a smooth batter.

Set your sexy oven to a warm setting...200F?

Heat a large skillet on a medium flame, and melt some more coconut oil. You can use olive or avocado oil if you like, but the flavor will be slightly different. Ladle lush pools of batter into the heated pan, and cook about three minutes on each side, depending on your stove. Allow them to get beautifully golden...bubbling batter is usually a good sign that they are cooked on one side. Drop more coconut oil in as needed. When each batch cooks, move the finished pancakes to the heated plate in the oven to stay warm.

When they're all finished, serve them with a dazzlingly decadent drizzle of Salted Caramel Nectar.

My Goddess, there are intensely good.

Fluffy, light, ravenously spiced, and kissed by the caramel on top...you are going to crave these again and again...

The caramel, by the way, also makes a divine latte, and I'm told, a sinfully deluxe cocktail: mix it with vodka and pour it over ice. My Mother actually discovered that last bit!

And now, Beasties,

if you'll excuse me

I'm headed back to dreamland,

belly full of stars

off to heaven...

xxx Alise



Strange Days

Climate change and Cosmic hoodoo,

you've got me spinning...

As one gorgeous October afternoon

turns to dusk

keeping us on our lacquered toes...

For one day, it's warm enough to play at the lake

and get caught sleeping in the sun

Do not disturb the dozing Lioness.

Do not disturb the dozing Lioness.

Joyous, yet unsettling moments

of surrealist beauty,

where autumn leaves dance in water warm enough for a Siren

And the very next day,

the air so frigid it requires an absurd amount of layers!

Faux fur and vegan leather

can indeed overpower in large doses...

Tiny me is under there  somewhere.  Caught without makeup, no less...

Tiny me is under there somewhere. Caught without makeup, no less...

And the sky turns toward Winter,

but no one has told the crops,

of this change in plan...

And it begins again.

A purrfect Fall day,

with all its happy vignettes

and colors to make us smile brightly...

Just as we remember it.

But for how long?

In all this strangeness,

what remains

for us to grasp

to hold

to lie to us

for just a little while?

Ahhh...a warm cauldron of exquisitely spiced pumpkin soup, topped with crisp, toasted pistachio croutons.

Mmmmm...oh, yes, lie to me...please...

Curried Pumpkin Soup

  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 Tbsp organic coconut oil
  • 1 Tbsp curry powder
  • 3 large organic carrots, cut into thin rounds
  • 1 large or 2 small organic apples (Pink Lady, Honeycrisp, or MacIntosh work best!), chopped
  • 2 cans organic pumpkin pureé (NOT pie filling)
  • 2.5 C pure water
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • Celtic salt 
  • Ground pepper

First, my Beasties, breathe deep, and light your kitchen candle. Whisper good intentions into the flame, for yourself, your loved ones, humanity, and our beloved Earth. Times are manic. We need to put forth as many positive vibes as possible.

Now heat a sauté pan on a low flame just until the heat rises. Spoon the coconut oil in, then add the garlic. Allow it to cook slowly and gently, until it turns translucent and releases its heady aroma...

Now add the curry on top, and let it mingle with the garlic for a few minutes, as the curry turns deeper in color, and the rooms fills with heavenly scent.

Stir in the carrots and apple, give it a toss, and let it join in the fun for about five minutes, keeping your flame low. You can add in a touch more coconut oil in here if you like.

Next in, the pumpkin pureé and the apple cider vinegar. Stir it all around, to coat the carrot and apple well, and blend the spices even deeper. 

Add the water, and bring it to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer away...

Meantime, make the croutons.

Pistachio Croutons

  • 8 slices or 1/2 loaf of gluten free vegan bread
  • 22 unsalted pistachios, ground/chopped
  • 1/2 C extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp Celtic salt

Preheat to 400F.

Cut or tear your bread into small pieces. 

Finely chop the pistachios, grinding some with a mortar and pestle, and leaving some pieces intact.

Toss everything in a large bowl, using your hands (mmm!) to coat everything oh-so-well.

Now spread it all on a cookie sheet, single layer, and bake for 10 minutes or until golden and crispy. The soup should be ready now. 

When the carrots and apple are soft, remove the mixture from heat. When it is completely cooled, pureé the soup a little, leaving some of the pieces whole. This gives it a great texture. Add a pinch-n-grind (salt and pepper!) and you are there.

It's divine to make this all ahead, then re-heat when you're ready. It gives the flavors, as always, a chance to mingle more, deepen. It's so worth the wait.

Garnish, of course, with croutons, and a few more chopped pistachios.

Love!

Well, Delicious Ones, though strange days have indeed found us,

we go on playing,

seeking our casual joys

wherever

whenever.

Right now.

My love to You,

xxx Alise


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Unexpected Treasures

Lovers, 

did you enjoy those decadent muffins I made for you last week?

Did you inhale them,

lustily?

And now you find,

that there is much nectar left over...

Such abundance,

and yet, much of it will get tussled to the back of the fridge,

only to be discovered long after it's moment in the Sun.

But no worries!

I've whipped up two gorgeous reasons to use up every last drop of your cider,

in the most delightful ways...

Harvest Cider Pilaf

  • 1/2 C black or red quinoa, rinsed well
  • 1/2 C golden quinoa, rinsed well
  • 2 C pure apple cider
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, chopped finely
  • 9 leaves of fresh sage, chopped
  • 1 Tsp curry 
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 C raw unsalted cashews
  • 1/2 C dried unsweetened cranberries
  • Organic olive oil
  • Celtic salt
  • Ground pepper

Bring the cider and both quinoas to a boil. When they're rolling, reduce the flame to super-low, cover, and cook until all the cider has absorbed into the grain, about 20 minutes. Mmmmm! Delicious already! Are you getting that fabulous aroma?

While it's simmering, spiral the oil into a sauté pan. Let the heat rise until you can feel the warmth above the pan with your hand. It's ready...

Toss the garlic in, and allow it to sizzle ever so gently on a low flame, releasing it's amazing perfume. When it turns translucent, sprinkle the curry and turmeric on top of the garlic, and let the spices mingle for a few minutes. Then add in the cashews and cranberries, and stir to coat them with the oil and spices.

When it looks irresistable, and smells divine, turn off the heat.

The quinoa should be done by now, so add it to the pan, and bring everything together like a symphony...

Add in a dash of Celtic salt, fresh ground pepper (a "pinch-n-grind"), and the fresh sage. Mix it well.

You have now, my Edible Ones, a savory and cidery dish that not only tastes incredible and is full of protein and nutrients, but actually has the consistency of a traditional Thanksgiving stuffing! Yes! It can totally pass for stuffing, on any table! So enjoy it yourself, but bookmark this for the holiday season also. Everyone will dig this.

And, to reward yourself for all your Kitchen Witch genius, and to wow guests with...

Champagne Cider Cocktails

  • 1 pt-1 qt organic apple cider
  • 3 sticks cinnamon
  • 6 star anise
  • 1-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and cut into three pieces
  • 9 whole cloves
  • Apple slices
  • Dry champagne, prosecco, or cava

First...we're going to mull the cider...yesss....

Pour the cider into a pot with the cinnamon, star anise, ginger, and cloves. Bring it all to a boil, and then simmer for about 20 minutes. Let it cool completely.

When you are ready to serve, pour into glasses halfway, and top with bubbly.

Add apple slices for garnish, and toast to all the zesty, beautiful things in life!

Santé!

xxx Alise


Luna Cucina: Mercury Retrograde

My Loves,

before you start to fret,

back up your hard drive,

and take a breath.

Yes, indeed, our lovely Mercury is about to dance backwards,

shuffling our collective deck,

and dropping the cards all over the floor,

but -

we can hold steady.

We are, after all, Wise Ones, no?

Rather than swirling ourselves into a panic,

hiding beneath the covers,

or lurking through our beautiful October 

in a perpetual state of dread,

let's hold our space, all of us, together.

Let's work some Kitchen Magick,

and conjure up positive energy, 

and, with the Sun in Libra, help us balance

in the form of a delectable nibble.

There's plenty to share.

Let's feed each other...

Peaceful Pistachio Noodles

  • 6 oz. pure buckwheat noodles
  • 1 C organic frozen peas
  • 3/4 C unsalted pistachios
  • 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1/4 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 large clove garlic, finely chopped
  • Olive oil (organic, first cold pressed if possible)
  • Celtic salt
  • 1/2 C organic flat leaf parsley

Light your candle. Take a deep, slow breath.

Put a pot of water on for the noodles.

As it prepares to boil, spiral some olive oil into a sauté pan on a very low flame. While it's heating, chop most of the pistachios, grinding them into as close to a powder as you can get. The remaining ones can be chopped into small pieces, and set aside. When the oil is just hot, toss in the ground pistachios, and mix into the oil to form sort of a paste. Next, add in the oregano and let it mingle a bit. As you are cooking, visualize a smooth month ahead, with clear communication, and an easy, slower pace. Enjoy the sensuality of the languid energy coming to you. Ask to experience only positive effects of the retrograde, and send that wish to loved ones.

Add in the turmeric and cardamom, and a little more oil if needed, and give it all a gentle stir.

When it's whispering to you, and smelling heavenly, toss in the frozen peas. Work them around in the spice mixture until everything is beautifully coated. Keep the flame low.

Your water should be boiling.

Drop in a pinch of salt and a drizzle of oil, as the noodles tend to stick. Drop the noodles in, and keep them moving with a pair of tongs until you're quite sure they aren't going to clump together. (It's cute that they like each other so much, but really...)

When the noodles are soft - about eight minutes - drain them and let them join the party in the sauté pan!

Toss everyone around, getting spicy and fabulous, and let them warm for a few minutes while you chop the garlic and the parsley (if you haven't done so already.) Add a nice pinch of Celtic salt, and give it a taste to adjust your seasonings. Top it all with the garlic, parsley, and the reserved pistachios you chopped earlier.

Now choose a beautiful plate. Plates traditionally symbolize the Sun, so here we are honoring the balance of Libra once again, as with the buckwheat. You can, by the way, use the buckwheat grain instead if you can't find the noodles, but it's worth the hunt to have them in your life, trust.

I chose a peacock plate, for the wise vision and watchfulness that they represent.

And for their breathtaking beauty.

Savor every bite, my sweet Beasties,

it's all in how you see it, no?

And in how you choose to react...or not.

My love and good vibes to you,

always,

xxx Alise


Autumnal Arousal

Autumn is upon us, Lovers.

Who doesn't rhapsodize about this time of year?

Crisp air,

leaves alive with ruby and amber,

the faint scent of wood stoves…

Pumpkins!

Apple picking, hayrides, All Hallow's delights. 

Not to mention that it's Foxy-Boots-With-Coats-Season.

The colors and scents of Fall are incredibly sensual.

And yet, so many foods associated with this most delectable time just…aren't.

Comforting, yes.

Familiar, sure.

But sexy? Not so much.

So, decked out in Witchy Autumnal Finery, I set out to the farm market on a mission: Create seasonal dishes worthy of a goddess that wouldn't freak out the family if you brought them to, say, Thanksgiving. 

Organic sweet corn jackpot!

Organic sweet corn jackpot!

Did you think I forgot the Equinox?

Beasties, come on.

The pagan holiday of Mabon occurs at the Autumnal Equinox, pronouncing the middle of harvest season, when light and dark are equal. It's really the pagan Thanksgiving if you will, a time to reap what we've sown, and give massive gratitude for all the blessings in our lives. We pause a bit to reflect on where we've been, and where we'd like to go in the coming seasons. Still-warm days and chilly nights encourage gorgeous moments, as the Sun falls into the arms of the Moon...

It's such a shiver of delight to decorate our kitchen altars with delights of the season, isn't it?

And here is my offering: a heated twist on a holiday standby, green beans, inspired by the bounty I scored in the photo above.

Pert, snappy green beans that usually end up limp and lifeless, drowning in a mushroom soup "casserole" and topped confusingly with crispy onions, or, even less appealing, in something called "succotash." 

Not any more.

This menage a trois stars golden corn, crisp and juicy, with blackened green beans and toasted walnuts, all tangled up in warm Moroccan spices. The aroma alone will get you feeling frisky, and the taste-in all its buttery heat-will send you to heaven. 

Sultry Autumn Green Beans 

  • 1 lb. organic green beans, trimmed
  • 5 ears organic fresh corn (or 8 oz. frozen, if absolutely necessary)
  • 1 C. walnuts 
  • 5 sage leaves
  • 1/2 TBsp mustard seeds
  • 1 TBsp cumin
  • Dash cloves
  • Dash turmeric
  • Dash nutmeg
  • 1/2 Tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp vegan butter (olive oil or flaxseed based)
  • Celtic salt

Spiral the olive oil into a sauté pan, and allow it to build it's heat on a low flame. Place your hand above. Do you feel it? Then it's time. Lay the sage leaves in the oil in a five pointed star pattern. We're gonna make some Kitchen Witch magic here...give deep thanks for all the gifts of the Cosmos, really seeing and feeling each beautiful one. Set your intention for the coming seasons. What is your wish? Now we're gonna cook it up.

Let them undulate in the oil a bit, then toss in the mustard seeds, and let them get to know each other.

Add in the green beans, and sprinkle the cumin, cloves, nutmeg, turmeric, and a pinch of salt. Give them a good, slow toss...

Lid on, and simmer for about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, toast your walnuts in a little pan until they are browned and smelling heavenly. Husk the corn, and slice off the kernels into a bowl. When the green beans are fairly tender, add in the corn and walnuts. You may need a little  more oil drizzle here if they appear dry. Toss.

Let it cook until the green beans appear to blacken a bit. They aren't charred-it is a combination of the beans picking up the spices in the oil and a slight caramelization of the natural sugars in the corn. The corn and walnuts really pick up the flavors...you are in for a treat! When they're ready, add a pat of vegan butter, and a good pinch of Celtic salt. One last toss, and you're there...

 Oh, and don't forget-if You're bringing them to a relatives house, cook them into oblivion! *wicked laugh*

 

Enjoy them, my loves.

Blessed Mabon to you,

I am indeed so thankful for all of you in my heart,

xxxAlise





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