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.


The Loft Workshop Series:: Tastes of Spring

table ruth
When: Thursday, June 6th  7-10 pm
What: A cooking class led by Persephone Brown
Where: The Loft,  workshop and retreat space for women in Rhode Island, Hope Artiste Village
Cost: $75 (We are currently filled, if you are interested in a space, please email to be put on the wait list. xo)
Please join me in The Loft as I host one of my dearest friends and the most amazing whole foods chef I know, Persephone Brown. We will be sipping wine, learning her techniques and tricks, sitting at the table enjoying the gorgeous food and everyone will be taking home something special they create themselves.
One of my dreams has been to have a space that can bring communitiy together over food, using our hands, visioning and tribe building. I am so excited that Persephone is my first guest at The Loft. Will you join me for a night that will make us want to gather and circle more because we leave lifted and filled and glowing?
food Collage
From Persephone:: A 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.

Cooking for my family, I create dishes that are simple, lovingly prepared, beautiful, and delicious.  Whole body nourishment is our platform to living the gorgeous life.  In this unique kitchen experience you will learn to make some of my favorite dishes while we clink glasses, share stories, and feast.

On June 6th, as we slowly start to feel summer's approach, we will be exploring some of the beautiful foods that Spring offers us for just a short time more. You will learn how to make and then gather around the table to enjoy 6 dishes that will dance with your tastebuds and excite you to go home to your kitchen and prepare for a gathering around your table.

I can't wait to meet you and join you at the table.

 Tastes of Spring Menu

red pepper~walnut crudite

avocado stuffed portobella with tomato and arame

roasted spring vegetables with lemon & greek yogurt

citrus marinated scallops

raw banana pie

chocolate almond truffles


*All dishes are gluten & grain free.  If this feels like it is right for you but you have an allergy or food restriction, please ask, accommodations may be made.


persephone cooking class

I am a firm believer in you are what you eat.  I am a healthy living coach and chef who teaches and inspires women to feed themselves beautiful meals that nourish through their simplicity, color, and flavor.  Food can distort and distract from our experiences or ground and connect us to them.  To find out more about cooking classes, guided cleanses, or to read about my life and experiments in the kitchen, visit

September Space

Patrick, my husband, and I have the same birthday.

When he told me that 19 years ago I thought he was kidding. His flirtations started with me just a few days after I turned 19. Here was this big guy who had a big crush on me and I thought, "Oh, cute pick up line!" Well, he really does. And we really do, September 20th. We would go on to have Chloe on September 15th and then Lucas on September 9th. Huge birthday month for us. (Eli gets June all to himself!)

What I most wanted for my birthday was space. I've been making a whole lot of space in my life for my own heart, home and mind and I want to share it with you.

In September, in honor of space, start the 10 day cleanse any time you are ready, get a big discount AND give away a spot in the cleanse for FREE! What? Totally, karma, birthday month, give something away and feel the joy that is returned to you.

This is the cleanse that has very little to do with food (but you get two new recipes a day) and is not about restriction. It is about expanding space. It is magical. I know because I have lived it. This cleanse grew from the work I was doing in my own life, clearing the clutter from my home which opened up the space inside my heart and mind to truly access my essence.

Click here for more information...

These are the 10 days that allow you to be still and take action in beautiful harmony. It is the cleanse that women write to me after and say, "Yeah, I thought I was just clearing out clutter and being present, I had no idea I was actually reconnecting to myself each time I let more go."

Magic. 10 days. Will you?

Food Love Notes

I don't say enough how blessed I am to be able to stay home with my kids and do work I love from my couch, my bed, my table, my mini-van, my attic, my backyard or my favorite coffee shop. Yes, it can be tough stuff on the days when I feel a bit unappreciated or the kids are screaming, but I am so grateful to have a partner who loves the work I do and believes in me, sometimes more than I am able to.

The other day I said something about February not being a month of much income but having so much to do. He said, "Awesome, then you can spend more time creating." That my friends is love.

Patrick does not have a job that he finds terribly fulfilling, and I know that one thing at the end of a long day that he loves is the moment he comes up our front stairs and smells dinner. The meals are my food love notes.

Food can be presented in and with love. Not when we are stuffing ourselves or our kids as a way to fill up, but when we take our time and plan and prepare and infuse the food we make with our love. Fresh ingredients. Spices like notes from a song. Fragrances we want to dance in. Love notes.

I was in a crazy cook everything in the house mood the other day and I roasted a butternut squash. I had no idea what I wanted to do, so I made a pie. This is a food love note. Use what you have in the house, that is how I put it together, a little of this, a dash of that.

Butternut Squash Pie, with dark chocolate...oh my!

Pie Crust:

1 cup almond meal
¼ teaspoon sea salt
¼ teaspoon baking soda
2 Tb olive oil
1 Tb honey
2 Tb dark chocolate chips

Combine meal, salt, baking soda, oil and honey together. Oil a 9 ½ inch pie plate. Press the crust in the bottom, but not up the sides. Bake for 10 minutes at 350 and let cool. When cool sprinkle the dark chocolate evenly on the crust.


3 cups of pureed roasted squash, I actually just mashed mine until it was somewhat smooth (this was about 2 small butternut squash)
2 eggs
½ cup coconut milk
¼ cup maple syrup
2 Tb coconut palm sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp freshly grated ginger
1 Tb vanilla
pinch sea salt

With an electric mixer combine ingredients well. Pour into prepared crust. Bake at 350 for about an hour or a bit longer. Mine went for 70 minutes. The pie will set as it cools. This is best to put in the fridge once cooled before cutting.

Enjoy your love note!

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?


Hey Gorgeous, Some Like it Raw!

Want to move into the gorgeous life and have a little raw kale, butterflies fluttering on your head kind of fun? Of course you do!

Each Sunday I will be posting a new Hey Gorgeous tip that is simple and fun. I am a believer that what we put out we attract and I am looking for some simple and some fun. I want my tribe to feel sexy and gorgeous and inspired. I want you to pay-it-forward when you feel inspired by a tid-bit and create the ripple that the joy of loving yourself up, healthy style brings. Yes, that means we might have to share this with the guys (*wink* at the guys who are here already)!

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Enzymes, life force and the power of healing the body are found in food just as it is harvested. You may have heard of the raw food movement going on, people ditching their stoves and pots and pans for dehydrators, blenders and spiral slicers. The transition into lasagna made from zucchini slices and cashew cheese might sound like a wild ride you never want to be part of, but I'm going to show you how to embrace the raw without intimidation.

You can't separate gorgeous from life force so let's look at why we must like it raw. Our body has it's own enzymes that help us digest food, heal our body and stay oh-so-young looking. They are our gorgeous. When we eat food that is cooked it no longer contains its own enzymes, which means that our body must contribute its own. It is like a withdrawal from the bank, you can keep spending but if you don't put more in, you are going to go into debt. Our enzyme debt is dis-ease, old skin, gaining weight, feeling tired and just plain old blah.

The best time to make a deposit is during the spring and summer when sprouts are popping up and gardens are filling up with raw bounty. You feel hot and sweaty, you don't want to turn on your oven. Time for the raw. Let's start simple and then you can move into the lasagna.

Ready to add some raw into your life? Time to feel the gorgeous and maybe even break up with your microwave, because you are just too hot for that appliance.

Raw Strawberry Cheesecake

The May 10 day power cleanse starts tomorrow and this is one of our recipes. The focus for the spring/summer cleanse is on raw foods and for so many of us taking dairy out of the diet is hard work. So I played around with this cheesecake for the last year and finally have found my favorite version, little jars of cheesecake that can be frozen, shared or enjoyed at a party. The topping is so good, so don't skip that, you could use any nut for that.

Wish my cleansers luck, we've got a big group and I'll keep you posted on how they are doing. We'll be cleansing mind and body during the 10 days for a truly life changing experience. You know I love those!


Raw Strawberry Cheesecake - A Hey Gorgeous recipe that my cleansers will be enjoying!


3 cups cashews, soaked for 4 hours
½ cup agave
Juice from 1 lemon - about 3 Tb
½ cup coconut oil
1 10 ounce bag frozen organic strawberries - let the bag defrost slightly so that the liquid helps to blend mixture
¼ cup water (more may be needed)

Blend or process until very smooth and creamy, may take a while, pour into small mason jars for individual servings, or into a glass container with lid.


½ cup shaved almonds
¼ cup coconut oil, melted
1 Tb agave

Mix together and refrigerate. When ready to serve, break into small chunks and put about 1 Tb on each serving of cheesecake. Eat within 3 days or store in the freezer, you can defrost before eating.

This recipe makes a lot! I suggest eating in about 1/4 cup servings and freezing so you have a quick treat to pull out. This is a great way to see that dairy is not the only thing that tastes oh so good.

New Moon Wishes ~ Taurus

Each month we have the opportunity to harness the energy of the new moon and feel the completion of the full moon. As a woman I am leaning into understanding how I feel during the month is strongly connected to much more than just me. I am thinking of it as what the new moon is asking me for each month. Then I try to act accordingly. I discovered the new moon energy last year when I made my vision board during the Aries new moon and truly believe in the energy that comes with it.

From all I have read about the Taurus new moon (May 2nd/3rd), it is abundance, money and wealth (in your health, happiness and money) that we can focus on and set intentions towards. I think of it like Louise Hay affirmations or vision board wishes.

This is what the Taurus new moon has led me to:

  • clearing out space for abundance, physically in my home - looking at cluttered spaces
  • making rich satisfying raw desserts ( a great smoothie in Thursday's newsletter, you can sign up on the right over there)
  • carving out space to get things done, projects that will bring me closer to abundance
  • moving my body to bring about greater abundance of health
  • cleansing my body of all that makes abundance feel stuck

My affirmations for this time:

I am rich in love, joy and abundance.

My space is open, clear and accepting. I love my home.

I release all fears around money. I am open to receiving and being abundant.

I bless my home, myself, my body. My body prospers with each breath.

My thoughts change my life. I am always changing, growing and learning.

I am working on how we might adapt foods to fit into these new moons. Why not, I heart the moon after all.

If you want more from someone who really knows what she is talking about while blending feng shui, listen to this interview with Simone Butler.

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Feel free to share these affirmations and make your own. Gemini new moon coming next month. This is all new learning to me, so please share anything you know and join the conversation.

Any you might want to share with us?


Oh Gwyneth!

Oh Gwyneth, thank you for sharing your joy with me, because it reminded me of my own. There is enough for everyone, it just may look different. Sort of like Gwyneth and I. ***

Are You in the Best Shape of Your Life?

"Yes. I never thought that I'd be considered to have a good body. I was bony up top and kind of dumpy on the bottom. But my trainer, Tracy Anderson, completely changed my legs, butt, arms and stomach. I feel better than ever, too." - From Self Interview






Are You in the Best Shape of Your Life?

"Yes, mentally. I never thought I could love my body until I had the flat stomach, the perfect media body. The day I gave that up and started to connect to the amazing person I am now, even with my post 3-babies-belly, my life felt calm, real for the first time." 

So What's Your Secret?

"I do 45 minutes of cardio five days a week, because I like to eat. I also try for 45 minutes of muscular structure work, which is toning, realigning and lengthening. If I'm prepping for something or I've been eating a lot of pie, I do two hours a day, six days a week for two weeks." -From Self Interview










So What's Your Secret?

"Whenever I start feeling overwhelmed, fearful, I am not in the present. I am dwelling in what-ifs, or I should haves, all that does is draw more of that into my space. If I am stress eating, it is a signal that something it is out of whack, that I need more support. When I focus on what is beautiful and true, I receive more of it."

How Consistent Are You, Foodwise?

"I say I always eat right, but last night, I had fried clams, pasta with duck sausage and two glasses of red wine. When I want to lose, I eat less pasta, bread and potatoes. Before last year's Iron Man 2 premiere, I did green juices and salads for three days." -From Self Interview






How Consistent Are You, Foodwise?

"I love, love, love food. Food that makes me feel good. I love having a big lunch with lots of courses, like sauteed chickpeas, sausage from a local farm, gluten free cookies right out of my oven. I drink a green smoothie or juice every day. Tea time is one of my favorite rituals. Whenever I am tempted to diet again, I remember what is was like to live in the yo-yo world of body image."


"I saw a shot of myself in Barbados and was, like, all my hard work paid off! I'm 38, I have two kids, and I feel good," -From Self Interview







"Giving up dieting has meant looking at my body in a new way. I appreciate it, I am grateful for it. When I fill up with foods and thoughts that allow me to love who I am, I know that all my hard work has been so worth it."

Hey Gorgeous, Harder is Better!

Want to move into the gorgeous life and have a little raw kale, butterflies fluttering on your head kind of fun? Of course you do!

Each Sunday I will be posting a new Hey Gorgeous tip that is simple and fun. I am a believer that what we put out we attract and I am looking for some simple and some fun. I want my tribe to feel sexy and gorgeous and inspired. I want you to pay-it-forward when you feel inspired by a tid-bit and create the ripple that the joy of loving yourself up, healthy style brings. Yes, that means we might have to share this with the guys (*wink* at the guys who are here already)!

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The harder the better, and calcium and exercise for your bones can help you get there! Wipe off that milk mustache, baby and let's talk foods and moves that deliver calcium without any damage.

Arugula in a collard wrap with sauted chickpeas...can you see an amazing meal there? Drizzle it with dressing made with some fresh lemon juice for extra Vit C, because the C helps the other C (alcium) absorb. Green smoothie combined with a little kettle bell swinging and you have a calcium rich, bone building recipe for success.

We want alkalinity, not acidity for our cells to swim in. Alkalinity: think dates instead of sugar when you need a little sweet, broccoli as an appetizer instead of the usual greasy fare. Trade a cup of coffee for a green juice and you are well on your way to bone building happiness.

This alkalizing, energizing formula isn't just strengthening your bones, but it's keeping dis-ease away from your body and building a pathway for thoughts that transform you into the joyful butterflies dancing on your head kind of life.

Hard to argue with that, isn't it?

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I'm going to teach you how to prepare those nice big collard leaves to use as a filling wrapper. So easy! So tasty!

  1. Trim out the stem from the bottom to about 1/4 of the way up the leaf. Just cut it out. You now have a collard with a little V shape cut out of it.
  2. Wash the leaf and leave it wet. Put a tiny bit of olive oil on your hands (sea salt too if you want to add a bit more flavor) and rub the leaf. It will turn nice and dark green and become soft.
  3. Dry the leaf off on a dish towel (or paper towel) and your collard wrapper is ready. I prepare a few at a time and store them in the fridge for using later.
  4. Before placing filling on, close the V-section of the leaf by simply pulling one edge onto the other, closing the gap. Put your filling inside and wrap it like you would a burrito.

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.

Raw Coconut Lemon Pudding

Raw Coconut Lemon Pudding

  • 4 meyer lemons, sliced in half, flesh scooped out, seeds removed
  • 16 oz raw cashews, soaked for 4 hours
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup agave
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • pinch sea salt
  • 1/4-1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup coconut flakes

In a high powered blender, or you may use your food processor, combine first 6 ingredients. Slowly add water as needed to keep the mixture blending and smooth. This should be pudding like so add the water until you get that consistency. Once blended really smooth, place in small cup or bowls, about 1/4 cup each serving. Sprinkle generously coconut flakes on top. This made about 11 servings for us. Great for company.

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.

The Morning Container

There is a special red tin container that makes it's home on a shelf in the kitchen. It is the container that holds something quick to eat, usually in the morning, when appetites are high and energy is low. A hungry mama might find herself peeking in when she realizes it is 2:55pm and time to pick up the kids from school. She might have forgotten to eat while the baby was sleeping and she was working. From time to time a little girl, age 8, will sneak her favorite bar out of the container and put it away somewhere safe, so on chicken and roast vegetable night she has a back up plan. I'm a whole foods advocate. You know this. I prefer that we make at least 80% (or more) of our food ourselves. As someone living gluten-free it is tough to eat outside of the home. As a mama who wants her kids to understand the difference between healthy and junk, I get excited when I can fully support a product I believe in. Especially if it is something resembling what I am whipping up in the kitchen.

Recently I did a favorite things week and mentioned Larabars. I encourage my clients to keep one in their bag so that if they are out and the need for something quick hits, they won't go squealing into the drive-thru. And they are gluten-free.

Larabar would like to offer a giveaway on the blog with a really cool bag of mixed mini bars (about 50 bars in the bag). That would fill a morning container a few times over. The minis are only available in 3 flavors so this is a special treat for the winner as they will have lots of mini flavors arrive through the mail. Larabar also wants to add a t-shirt to the gift. I'm wearing mine now. It's a nice t-shirt. My daughter will steal it after it comes out of the wash and I will never wear it again. That girl loves Larabars, chocolate chip cookie dough is her favorite, if you were wondering.


To enter today's giveaway from the fabulous Larabar, tell us what your favorite flavor is, or what flavor you would create. Comments will close Tuesday, January 4th and the winner will be announced on the 5th.

Shifting Seasons

I have been reading about the shifting of seasons and how it affects our moods, our daily routines and how we feel about our bodies. I am missing the sun and yet this time of year I become more creative and thoughtful of what I wish to accomplish and the things that I hold as my goals or intentions. One of the things I am working to do is preserve some of the summer food to eat in the fall and winter. My family picked about 8 pounds of peaches and most were eaten or frozen, a crumble was made for the e-cookbook I am working on and I decided one day after school to make the kids some Peach Honey Sauce (they love applesauce) to put over vanilla coconut milk ice cream.

As I prepared the peaches and thought of the generations of women who grew and preserved their food, season after season, I noticed a shift take place inside. It wasn't a dramatic shift, and yet it felt as though I was returning to something that was always waiting for me. How many seasons have I planned to can or freeze and then let it go because of excuses or lack of motivation? This time, before the Harvest Moon shone down on us I had accomplished much of the preserving I had been dreaming of. Apples, tomatoes and peaches...three beautiful foods to begin with.

This shift I was experiencing was from a full filled intention that brought me to a deeper connection with my food, my family and the femaleness that so many of us run away from. That woman in the kitchen with an apron, kids running around peeling apples and sweating from the heat of the canning. I love that woman, I love being that woman. I love that my husband was in the kitchen with me, peeling tomatoes.

So I am shifting with the season, as the leaves turn, as I take on more projects and set higher intentions for myself. I think about finding some places of quiet and balance to stay connected to the rhythm fall brings, as it asks us to slow down just a bit.

We have a bowl of acorns mixed into our white pebbles and swirly shells from the beach. The seasons meeting. How is the Autumn Season inspiring you?

Just seven peaches make this warm sauce...

Peach Honey Sauce

7 peaches, skin and pit removed removed* 1 cup water 1/2 cup honey squeeze of lemon tiny pinch of salt

Chop peaches, put into a medium saucepan. Add water and allow to come to a simmer and then reduce heat to low. Peaches will start to break down over the next hour, you can mash them a bit with a potato masher if you like. Add more water if it starts to stick. Stir in honey, lemon and salt and turn off heat. Allow to rest for 20 minutes, serve over some ice cream or as a topping to waffles and pancakes. The kids used it like a jam adding it to crackers and bread.

* Take a knife and score the bottom of the peaches with a small x. Place peaches whole into a pot of boiling water. Remove after 1 minute and place in an ice bath (bowl of water and ice). Take the skin off each peach and slice in half to remove the stone.

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.

More Cake

This is how to multi-task on your birthday. Whisk your cake, receive birthday calls and become part of a photo shoot. The joy of being two!

This is what coconut flour looks like, very white and fluffy, full of protein and hearty so it fills your belly. You use it in combination with many eggs, 6 in this recipe. I store it in a large jar in the fridge as recipes only call for 1/4 to 1/2 cup.

This is my favorite moment. Before the lasagna comes out of the oven, or the wine is opened. Before the messes start and the salad is dressed. That moment of knowing all the effort and thoughtfulness has deep meaning. That this moment will be inside of you as you wash the dishes and plan the next celebration.

This is the way we like to eat. Garden fresh cucumbers, collards and tomatoes mixed with olives and basil. This is the food we love to share and serve and look at. This is the salad the two year old won't eat yet, but loves to help mix and chop.

This is when you know, at the age of two, that something great is about to happen. That when you blow out each candle, as though you had been doing it your whole life (yes, the two years of it) you are now something new. You are special and loved and important, today and always.

This is the cake after the singing, after the candles, after the wish. Chloe says, "half of that cake was eaten by me." That is why we love homemade, this is why we spend days preparing for our celebrations. I haven't quite mastered this recipe, mine never has that light, airy appearance, but it's a tasty treat. It's the kind of food you can feel good about.

This is the day after the celebration, waking up without the excitement of presents and cake. Starting the day slowly, gently and getting back to the routine of every day. This is the day where presents are unwrapped and can be discovered and enjoyed. This is nice.

Lucas' Morning Cake

This boy and I were up late last night. He knew something exciting was happening, and he knew it involved cake. Two cakes, because, you are only two once. At 8:00pm he was up making a huge mess in the mixing bowl, eating raw batter and crying huge tears when we went to put it in the oven. "It's your morning cake," I told him, "and you have to cook it for it to become the cake."

That's not what he wanted to hear. Finally he fell to sleep on top of me on the couch as Patrick and I sat in the dark, waiting for the timer, wondering how we managed to be here again, at two.

The sun rose and Eli brought him presents in bed, he didn't even make it out of the bed first, to see his little table of gifts from his brother and sister.

They all crowded around him to show off their art work and the jar full of white rocks from the beach and buttons from who knows where. And for morning cake.

Sometimes I feel exhausted and overwhelmed. This little two year old has a whining and demanding edge to him that can sometimes bring me to tears. Somehow, I know I have a lesson in there. I feel he is a reflection of my insides that don't feel so calm all the time, and he is fighting for attention and to be heard. I am challenged to find a stillness through the loudness, I am challenged to breathe through the tough stuff. Patrick and I are so blessed with these babes of ours and in the quiet of the night, when all is calm, when all are asleep; we know that in the morning we start again. The little lessons and joys that come from being two parents learning as we go, figuring it out. It's our third time at this age, our third time seeing two, and we love what we see.

I'll post cake number two tomorrow.

Morning Cake


3/4 c buckwheat flour 3/4 c almond meal 1 tsp baking soda 1 tsp sea salt


1/3 cup applesauce 1/3 cup melted coconut oil 1/2 cup agave 2 eggs

add in 1 cup grated zucchini 1 cup grated apple 3/4 coconut flakes 1/2 c dark chocolate chips

Mix wet into dry, stir in add ins. Grease a pie plate with coconut oil, pour batter in, bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until middle is firm. Don't make babies cry when you place in oven!

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!