The Loft Autumn Series ~ Chocolate Night

persephone and Hannah before

Persephone Brown hosts Chocolate Night!!!

I am thrilled to welcome Persephone back to The Loft after her sold out (and then a few more squeezed in) Spring Feast where she brought us gorgeous food and wine and the understanding of each food's preparation. One of the women reported to having more fun than she thought possible at a cooking night!

The idea for chocolate night was cooked up I'm pretty sure as the Spring Feast dishes were being washed! I love food. I love Persephone. And I love bringing women together at The Loft, to feel kindred, to laugh, to rest while being nurtured.

Date: Friday, November 22nd, 6:30pm-10:30pm

Cost: $85 (includes a spot in The Holiday Joy Up, oh yes!)

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"Happiness. Simple as a glass of chocolate or tortuous as the heart. Bitter. Sweet. Alive.”

― Joanne Harris

Celebration of life, settled on our tongue. Chocolate.

At the Loft we laugh. We celebrate. We dine, and wine, and sigh at the beauty and the goodness of it all. This chocolate night will be a heightened experience brought alive from the flavors, scents, and fluidity of this food from the Gods. The menu will vary from rich and raw to savory and simple. Wine is paired to take you further into the evening’s experience. Leave with a little something to take home with you, and an arsenal of new recipes which will bring love into your kitchen, the way only chocolate can.

 mara's glassA perfect recipe starts with flavor, then color. A perfect dish grabs hold of all of your senses, you smile at the sight of its beauty, the textures dance on your tongue. A perfect meal nourishes you beyond healthy nail beds and belly, with story, and laughter, and soft colorful cloth napkins. A perfect meal is messy, and simple, and lovingly prepared. The first bite you dance, the last bite you sigh, and every moment in between, all that exists is love.



Our amazing menu:

Marinated Brussel Sprout Salad

White Chocolate Baba Gannouj

Cocoa ~ Mushroom Caponata

Cacao and Red Wine Braised Beef

Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

Lover’s Mousse

Wine, & plenty of surprises.

All dishes prepared will be gluten and dairy free.  Please let us know of any dietary restrictions you may have, and we will do our best to accommodate you.

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 food on table
persephone cooking classPersephone Brown is a Certified Health Coach, with certification from the American Association of Drugless Practitioners. A graduate of the Institute of Integrative Nutrition and Columbia Teachers College of New York City. Spending a number of years cooking for herself (as a vegan, vegetarian, and now carnivore) and as the baker for the Juice and Java Cafe she learned the art of making healthy beautiful food that tastes good and warms your core.

Persephone uses her education and experience with food, to support women to clear the static and get real clear on what works for them. She has guided hundreds of whole food cleanses, teaching people to take that first step for their health and their life. Clarity is a beautiful thing when you're deciding where it is you want to go. A healthy digestive system and healthy mind help you get there.


Well that was fun!

Flour-less Dark Chocolate Brownies:

Thank you to everyone at the Rhode Show for such a fun morning. One of the greatest things is feeding others with foods that nourish and are made with love!

The cleanse starts tomorrow and the women we have in this group are incredible. We have a private FB group where I'll be offering coaching support and encouraging everyone to share their experiences and stories. It is a beautiful thing when women come together to support each other and grow together.

There is still time to join us! Wanna make some space?


Art Food::Chocolate Coconut Freezer Candy

*Quick note, if you read this earlier today it is not a 1/2 cup of vanilla, misprint, sorry, changed, continue.

Now for some chocolate. In this little kitchen of mine I made up some freezer candies for a special dessert in the Art Food room. These little balls are so easy to make, I had all the ingredients in the kitchen, had a craving for coconut and chocolate and this is what arrived after a bit of play time.

It starts with some oils and milks and sweet things bubbling away on the stove. 1/2 cup of coconut oil, 1/4 cup of coconut milk (full fat, please don't use light) and 3 Tb agave. Bring to a low simmer, it will start bubbling like brew. Gently stir it around. This takes about 5 or 6 minutes and it starts to thicken.

Once thickened, add in 1/2 cup dried coconut, a tiny pinch of sea salt and if desired 1 tsp of vanilla. Remove from heat and put into a small bowl. Place the bowl in the fridge for about 1 hour. Give it a good stir to combine, the mixture should be solid, if not, put it back in the fridge. You want to be able to make balls out of it, so cold and thick.

Roll the candy mixture into small balls, your hands will warm this, so work fast. Place the candy balls onto a piece of wax paper on a baking sheet. Once the balls are rolled out place in freezer while you melt 3-4 ounces of dark chocolate on the stove. Remove the balls, drizzle large amounts of chocolate on each one and return to freezer. These can be stored in the freezer or the fridge, and they will melt in your mouth. Patrick liked when I completely surrounded them in chocolate, which means to turn them over once frozen and pour more chocolate over the other side.

Nourish. Thrive. Enjoy. Live it beautiful. Art Food.

Picture Thoughts

I photographed this tea but never drank it. As with many of my cups of tea, it moves from place to place, finally finding a home behind a curtain on a window sill. Have you ever noticed your reflection in your morning mug? I notice that woman sometimes when her pace is slower and present. When she runs around in too many directions the reflection is lost and the tea is cold.

I said I needed a full day without any computer, phone, deadlines or writing. She jumped up grabbed a pen and flipped through the calendar. "How about the 6th?" No I can't do that. "The 10th?" Perfect, I have a talk on the 9th, I'll look forward to that break. She's good for me.

Adding some sprouts and avocado to the soup seemed to bring a taste of spring. I feel cold inside my bones. Wishing I moved my body a bit more. It was a good breakfast. Tomorrow I may have chocolate.

Really tough stuff right now, for the middle one. At this age we couldn't imagine the way time could bring such struggle to his body and mind. He seeks a control that he doesn't understand. He pulls away and then jumps right back, sobbing. Five is his battle ground as he starts to read and imagine and explore. Even these moments don't crack a smile.

Amazed at how OK I am with how this one dream is looking. Enjoying the process of being me, a story the 17 year old me would not have believed. The quiet moments. I listen to the light snore next to me, in our bed. The 19 year old me always knew he would be right there. I keep dreaming and the power behind it, that's me.


Do you feel the power behind your dreams? Are you allowing the quiet moments?

Share these thoughts with someone close to you today. Share it forward.

Dark Chocolate Flourless Brownies

Really, it's just yum. Before the cleanse starts I am going to yum it up with a gooey brownie and a cup of tea. I talked about how my world of food opened up when I figured out what foods were hurting my body. I don't hide in the car shoving a chocolate bar down my throat, I celebrate the beauty of delicious foods and make my own sweets. This one is dreamy with it's soft center and melt in your mouth bites. Bowl of soup, brownie, tea...I'm good. The inspiration for this was those awesome flour-less cakes that have about 3 sticks of butter in them. I don’t use butter substitutes often, but every now and then it works to make a special treat. I think you could use coconut oil instead, but I haven’t yet tried it.

Dark Chocolate Flourless Brownies

7 ounces of dark chocolate chips ½ cup earth balance

Melt the chocolate in double broiler and melt in the earth balance

2 eggs 1 cup palm sugar ⅓ cup maple syrup ¾ cup almond meal

In blender or with a hand mixer blend eggs until they start to look a lighter color. Add in the sugar and maple syrup and blend, then the almond meal and blend.

¼ tsp sea salt ¼ tsp baking soda

Mix in the salt and soda.

Slowly temper the egg mixture by adding a small scoop of the chocolate in. Mix. Add a small amount more, mix. Continue until well combined.

1 TB vanilla

Gently stir in vanilla.

¼ cup dark chocolate chips ¼ chopped walnuts (optional but yummy)

Gently stir in chips and nuts if using.

Generously oil with earth balance or other oil a 8X8 baking dish. Pour the mixture in and cook at 350 for about 30 minutes. Don’t overcook, these are yummy if you let them be  a bit gooey!

Cool, they are great refrigerated.

From My Thoughts About The Connecting Group

Some of you are curious about the women's groups I lead, and I find it difficult to always explain what goes on, as I think the women I work with do also. From time to time, without any names, or exact situations I will share a little piece of how this work takes place. From my thoughts about the Connecting Groups.

(Artist Chloe, 7 years)

I served them strawberries with chocolate dip (International Chocolate Day) and asked them to think of one thing they loved about themselves. Not all were able to connect to this part of themselves. Some were quite confident in the thing they chose.

I can see into the distance, I can see because I know that this work brings about changes and results. I can see into the distance when they can all go around the room, over and over, allowing the things they love about themselves to be stated matter factly, even joyously.

I can hear it... I love my nose, I love my laugh, I love my attention to detail, I love my belly, I love how I know when my child needs to be hugged or left to deal with something alone, I love that when my husband comes home I can bring a smile to his face by just smiling at him, I love that I can heal people with my hands, I love that I am a great listener, I love that I am aware of when my friends need to talk.... I know this because we are the only ones who control this part of us, this love we have for ourselves, this ability to fall in love with something that has always brought us pain. When we decide to move away from the stories we have lived with for so long, the story that tells us our nose is too big, that we are too short to wear that, the chapters where we learn that anything isn't possible because we aren't good enough.

By writing a new story all of a sudden our nose is kind of cute and we can have a nose ring in it, that outfit does look good on us and we suddenly see that all is possible (and wow, that is so much).

As we dip strawberries into chocolate and laugh about the things women laugh about when in a room together, with chocolate, there is a joy in the air. A feeling that we will get there, we are on the journey, we just have to get past the past.

Tonight I will talk with my other group, TeleConnecting. They won't see that my eyebrows are overgrown and awaiting a waxing, or that I haven't taken a shower or even that my house is a bit on the messy side. You won't tell them. I won't be able to feed them chocolate tonight. We will hear each others voices and stories and connect because that is what women need, that is what we must do to continue to write our amazing stories.

And from time to time dip strawberries, or spoons as the case may be at the moment, into some gorgeous homemade chocolate.

Chocolate Coconut Cream Dip

1 cup coconut milk 1 cup dark chocolate chips 2 T agave nectar 2T coconut oil pinch of salt

Warm the coconut milk in a saucepan over gentle heat. Once steam rises, remove from heat and stir in chips. Whisk until mixed together, add agave and oil and just a pinch of salt. Allow to cool and then refrigerate. Before serving allow to sit at room temperature for about 20 minutes to soften slightly. Can use as a spread, a dip, a spoonful of joy, on a banana, a cracker or anywhere else chocolate is accepted.

What I'm Learning About Me - Part 1

As time goes on, 36 on the horizon, I am less annoyed by the way I go about life and more amused. I see my habits (oh yes) in my children; aren't children like a little mirror sometimes. I am taking some time to take a look at what I'm learning and hopefully inspire you to do the same. You can find my Good Ole' Raisin and Sunflower Cookies today over here in celebration of chocolate today. Stop in and take a look at Jennifer's site, Savoring The Thyme.

  1. When I have deadlines, meetings, canning, freezing, showering, cleaning, mailing and prepping to do - I go buy paint. ~ When asked in the morning to put his shoes on for school for the eighth time, Eli will be found holding his shoes cutting fabric or sorting through his treasure box.
  2. I really enjoy decaf coffee. ~ I like the taste but more I love the feeling it still brings me of being 19 years old and drinking hot steaming coffee with Patrick in college.
  3. I keep learning the same lessons over and over again. ~ If you have children I don't have to mention as parents we repeat the same things over and over to our kids!
  4. There are certain times when I could go all day without talking if it were possible. That my body just wants to hold it all in, until I am finally ready to let it all out. ~ It does feel good to let it all out.
  5. I must force myself to drink 2 big glasses of water before noon or I don't function well. ~ I just take big, big gulps. And when the kids are hungry again, they are usually thirsty.
  6. I over-react to most things. ~ Enter my children who follow my lead.
  7. Living in the present changes life in that moment, takes me from where I'm not to where I want to be in an instant. ~ I'm only now starting to get really good at this one. It is changing my life.
  8. I love patterns. ~ About 4 years ago I discovered how much I love colorful patterned fabric, the more the better. I love seeing my daughter come upstairs with a mixed matched outfit in outrageous patterns, and napkins, curtains, pillows, notebooks...
  9. My belly is not my worst enemy. ~ How life changing to realize the size of my belly doesn't determine my happiness. I like to see women in all their healthy bodies, the curves and the marks of time, that is so beautiful to me.
  10. Being alone, in my house, is where I find my calm, how I gather myself together, where I collect strength. ~ The centering that comes from the quiet in my space is such joy to me.
  11. I love chocolate. ~ I already knew this one, but now I allow myself to love it, make it and share it with others.

What are you learning about yourself?

Lessons And Gifts From The Beach

Little feet running through the waves, heads dipped in sandy puddles and towels wrapped around a chilly mama...pure bliss. We found ourselves quite spontaneously in one of my favorite places in Maine as we accompanied Patrick on a business trip. He went and ate lobster and steak in a fancy beach house overlooking the water and the kids and I sat ourselves down on a huge stretch of sand and had a sandy popcorn, strawberries and sandwich lunch. Both lovely options for a day at the beach!!!

The sky eventually poured down on us and luckily we had a car full of towels. The kids each chose one rock to bring home and Eli has lost his about 8 times in the past week. He looks around for it everywhere, calling out to his perfectly round black stone. Our backyard garden holds so many special gifts from the beaches, rocks and stones and pieces of wood.

I have been working a lot. Running your own business, especially one that helps others live their best lives can be a bit consuming. My passion for what I do makes me want to go at a pace that sometimes brings me to burnout. I remember Oprah saying recently to Geneen Roth that she lost herself somewhere in trying to help everyone else. A few weeks ago I understood that feeling. I was forgetting to have fun and take days to just enjoy. I was forgetting to take my own advice and give in to FUN a little bit.

When I am on this beach I feel relaxed and peaceful and full of balance. I can capture that feeling and find ways to bring it with me, to my work, to my clients, to my home. This is the town where I was married, where I spent countless summers, where I would dream of seeing the little feet of my children running on the sand, someday. Being a mother isn't the dreamy life I pictured before the children came, no one can prepare you for the part of yourself that will feel lost and stuck some days (or the hormones). There is no way to explain that being alone will take on new meaning when you have 5 minutes with no one around after chasing 3 children all day. There is also no way to explain how you grow into your motherhood and own it with a passion and a purpose that was not there before. How you become a mama bear to your cubs, watching them eat blueberries until they might pop and taking such pleasure in simply feeding them. This job, motherhood, takes work. It requires a patience that most days, I struggle to find. It also reminds me that to be the most powerful mother I must be the most powerful woman. I must own my strength and purpose, so that is what I seek to do and guide others to do.

On the way through town we stopped into the cute little candy shop and the kids picked a few pieces (balance) and Patrick and I found these dark chocolate coconut candies that were awesome. Patrick announced the next day that it would be good to know how to make them, and so, I did. My version of these little Chocolate Coconut Drops is my little gift from the beach to you.

Reminder that the Live Call All About YOU is coming this Monday, register here to get your spot on the call. It is so important to take some time to focus on YOU.

Chocolate Coconut Drops

1 cup coconut

pinch of salt

2 cups of dark chocolate bar, broken up

1 Tb honey

1 Tb maple syrup

2 Tb coconut oil

2 tsp vanilla

In a 350 degree oven, toast the coconut on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper for about 4 minutes (use a timer). Watch it closely or it will burn, you want it to just start turning a light brown. Remove, sprinkle with a pinch of sea salt, allow to cool. Melt the chocolate, I use a saucepan, you could use a double broiler. When the chocolate is soft add in other ingredients, stir until combined, add in the toasted coconut. Using a teaspoon, drop chocolate onto parchment paper. Place the chocolates in the freezer for 10 minutes, then transfer to a container and store in the fridge. In the heat, you will want to keep them cold.

Smoothie For Two

This boy is a green smoothie addict. I simply put kale, parsley or other random greens in his smoothies, and by the end of his gulping, he is a green monster mess. Called "moomies," I try to share with him. I'm not a winter smoothie person, but when spring comes I can't get enough. Neither can he, so my sharing idea hasn't worked out so well. Every now and then we try, though the straws are still a bit tough for him. I'll share our basic formula, have fun creating your own. In other news, I will be giving a "Food as Energy" workshop at RISD this weekend. I will be doing some hands on food prep with the participants, I can't wait to serve them a green smoothie! I will post the recipes I use on the blog to share with all of you. The Get Real Group starts next week, I'll be reporting on how that is going. Lastly, Cynthia's signed copy of her book, Feeding The Whole Family arrived today, watch out for that give-away next week!

Green Smoothie Formula

2 kale or chard leaves

or 1/4 bunch of parsley

cucumber or celery (optional)

banana or pineapple, apple or mango, pear or grapes

frozen strawberries/blueberries/peaches/cherries

chia or flax seeds

handful of nuts

coconut oil

cacao (optional to transform into a chocolate smoothie)

water or rice/almond milk

Mango Meets Chocolate

One of my favorite cookbooks for family meals is Feeding The Whole Family, by Cynthia Lair. I use some of the recipes exactly as they are written and others as a jumping off point for creations of my own. Imagine my happiness that Cynthia is sending a signed copy of her book which will be kicking off monthly give aways on my blog. More on that to come. Mangoes are ripe and really affordable at the store this week. I was dreaming of a creamy, rich pudding using these mangoes, and the idea of pairing it with chocolate kept dancing it's way into my thoughts. I have eaten my fair share of this one, so please...your turn!

Mango Pudding with Chocolate Sauce

4 mangoes, flesh diced

1 1/2 cups soaked (8 hours) cashews

Juice of 1 lemon

1 Tb raw honey

1 Tb vanilla

In a high speed blender place mango, nuts, lemon, honey and vanilla in a blender and blend until smooth and creamy. You may need to add just a splash of water to get things moving, though nice ripe mangoes should be juicy enough.

1 can coconut milk (not low fat)

1 cup 70-80% dark chocolate

1/4 cup raw honey

2 Tb vanilla

In a small saucepan, heat coconut milk to a simmer. Reduce heat, add chocolate and honey and stir on low for about 15 minutes. Turn off heat, stir in vanilla and allow to cool.

Place pudding in small bowls or cups, leaving room at top for chocolate sauce. Pour the cooled sauce over top, refrigerate for about 5 hours until smooth and cold. Enjoy in the sun with your feet up!