Candle Affirmation to Welcome the New Year


Posted by Tricia | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 27-12-2010

The entrance of the new year is symbolic to many and is a time for new beginnings, as well as an opportunity to ensure one’s luck for the year to come. The following enables you to add a welcoming ritual to your celebration. Choose the most convenient time to perform this rite by coordinating it with your other activities. You could try it a few minutes before or after midnight or at any time during the following 24 hours.

Light the candle and say:

As I light this candle,
I bid the Old Year farewell,
With gratitude for milestones passed,
And memories cherished.
And I welcome the New Year in
With love and warmth and blessings.
That the quality of this new year be assured,
I now dedicate a moment to visioning
Some ways to make this year
A year of excellence,
A year of fortune.

Pause for a moment to envision the kind of year that you want to have and the kind of person that you want to be. Enhance these visualizations by imagining your objectives charged with energy and bathed in glowing light. Then continue:

And thus do my wishes for the year
take on their own life and purpose.
So does the year itself
take on a glowing life and power;
A bright year, a bold year,
a golden year, a year of magic!
So may this year bring luck,
and peace, and prosperity
to one and all.

Now return your revelries, or whatever you have planned. You can allow the candle to burn continuously, or relight it every morning to reactivate the magic of your celebration. Whether the candle takes a few days or a few months to burn down, you can be satisfied that its flames will radiate your blessings to last the twelve months out.

From By Candlelight, by Janina Renée, Originally posted on Llewellyn Worldwide

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Raw Cashew Nut Cheese


Posted by Tricia | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 19-12-2010

Cashew cheese log

Raw cashew nut cheese logs rolled in fresh herbs and spices is a party food that gets everyone talking. Making it really stokes those creative cooking fires because of its versatility. Smashing as a modern version of the veggie tray, it is perfect for most diets. The only downside is that you have to plan ahead when making this recipe because it must sit out for 24 hours but it is well worth the effort. I rolled this version in fresh oregano, fresh Thai basil, red chili flakes, dried lemon peel, mustard seed, fresh pepper and sea salt. I’m addicted to blood oranges this time of year so I added 2 tablespoons of the juice to this mixture and upped the cashews by a handful.

Cashew Nut Cheese

  • 2 cups raw cashews
  • 1/3 cup water
  • juice of freshly squeezed lemon
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 2 cloves of garlic, mashed into paste
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • red pepper flakes
  • mixture of fresh herbs and spices
  • cheesecloth

Place the cashews in a bowl and cover with at least 2 inches of water. Soak the cashews for at least 1-2 hours. Drain and place in a food processor or blender. Add the 1/3 cup water, lemon juice, nutritional yeast, garlic cloves in a food processor and blend. Remember to scrape down the sides of the blender. Continue to blend the mixture until it is very smooth but still thick. Add more lemon juice for an extra tang or more nutritional yeast for a more profound cheesy flavor.

Form the cheese mixture into a ball and wrap up in the cheesecloth. Transfer to a strainer that is sitting in a bowl, you want to place something heavy on top of the mixture to help drain the water from the cheese.  I place a small plate on top with a large jar of beans. Cover the bowl, and let stand somewhere cool for 24 hours. Divide the ball into three logs and roll in fresh herbs and spices. Wrap before placing in the fridge, where it will keep for another 5 days. Serve with slices of cucumber, crackers or pepper slices. Or don’t add the seasonings and make ants on the log for the little kids (and the big ones too).

Note: I use unbleached cheesecloth which can be purchased from your local health food store.

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Lush Red Pepper Jelly


Posted by Tricia | Posted in The Messy Apron Recipes | Posted on 23-11-2010

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It’s hard for me to remember a Christmas without a platter of warmed cream cheese lovingly drenched in red pepper jelly, spicy and sweet at the same time. As an adult, the cream cheese has evolved to local goat cheese and the thrill is still the same. That is why it was no surprise to me that making red pepper jelly was the first thought that popped in my mind upon spotting the last of the peppers hanging sadly in my garden.

Along with some stragglers from a friend’s garden, I was able to make 3-8 ounce jars of jelly and 2 large spoonfuls for the cook to enjoy.

This version has less of a sweet taste and more of a vinegar tang than most traditional red pepper jellies.

  • 2 cup chopped peppers (both sweet and hot)
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar
  • 2 cup chopped peppers (both sweet and hot)
  • 1 teaspoon red chili flake (optional)
  • 3 1/2 cups sugar (I used raw demerara)
  • 2-1.75 ounce pouches Ball fruit pectin
  • ½ teaspoon salt

Add all the ingredients except the pectin and slowly turn up the heat. Bring to a rolling boil for about 10 minutes; waiting until the sugar is fully dissolved. Add the pectin and stir in. Bring back to a slow boil for 5-7 minutes or until jelly starts to coat a wooden spoon. Remove from heat and cool for 5 minutes. Ladle into freezer jars; I use Ball’s BPA-free freezer jars. This makes 3-8 ounce jars that can be stored in the freezer for up to 6 months. When canning jelly and jams, Ball has super easy instructions on the back of the package for you to follow.

The inner seeds have the most heat, remove them to lower the heat level. Whatever you do, don’t forget to wear gloves when you chop the peppers, you do not want burning “jalapeno hands”.  I learned this the hard way (twice) when chopping peppers I believed to be mild; I had to soak my hands in a bowl of yogurt for hours.

Jalapenos should be a part of everyone’s diet for their health inducing properties of increasing metabolism, circulation and for boosting immunity. This is a great recipe for introducing a little spice to someone who is afraid of the heat and to warm them up to the idea of consuming other foods prepared with chilies.  There is more sugar in this recipe than I would normally ever use so I would love to hear from others their recipes for healthier versions of red pepper jelly.

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Real Fast Food-Black Bean Wrap


Posted by Tricia | Posted in The Messy Apron Recipes | Posted on 22-11-2010

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A simple recipe for a black bean wrap that can be made faster than the time it takes to order and pick up food at the drive thru window.

1 can black beans, drained

2 heaping spoonfuls of fresh salsa

1/2 avocado or a spoonful of natural guacamole (like wholly guacamole)

whole wheat and flax seed tortillas

handful spring mix lettuce

2 spoonfuls greek or coconut yogurt

Add two spoonfuls of beans to the wrap and layer on the rest of the ingredients. Enjoy.

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Preserving the harvest


Posted by Tricia | Posted in The Messy Pantry | Posted on 22-11-2010

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Harvest time, regardless of the season or the ingredient, really excites me. Seasonal, nutritional dense food bursting with flavor in abundance and its usually being sold at a great bargain.  I have a local farmer who sells me peaches at peak season for 10 bucks a bushel, apples for 15 bucks a bushel and 2 gallons of blackberries  for 7 bucks, even less if I go and pick them.  And walking into Trader Joe’s at the right time means quarts of organic cherries for mere dollars. Needless to say, I have tried all the methods of preservation and my favorite by far is freezing ingredients individually.

Items kept whole in their natural state freeze the best such as blackberries, blueberries, strawberries, chilies and my garden staple: cherry tomatoes.

Heirloom cherry tomatoes

Wash and prep ingredient as you would for normal use.  Line cookie sheets with wax paper and spread out the ingredient on a cookie sheet giving adequate space to each piece. For smaller chopped items I shuffle the cookie sheet back and forth to evenly distribute the items.  Place in the freezer for about 3 hours.  Remove and leave on the counter for a couple of minutes, give the cookie sheet a quick tap and separate by hand into freezer bags or containers. Store in the freezer and grab handfuls out when needed.

I love it for smoothies, lasagna, burritos, stir fries, sauces and just about anything else you can imagine. Each season, I spend at least an entire day preserving the harvest. That time spent in the summer saves me hours of cooking time in the winter because stir fries, bean dishes, burritos and sauces are a breeze because everything is already pre-chopped!

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Chakra Soup-You Are What You Eat


Posted by Tricia | Posted in Chakra, The Messy Apron Recipes | Posted on 11-11-2010

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This soup helps to balance out your chakras, boost your positive energy and makes you feel phenomenal.

1 cup diced red onion,

2 cloves chopped garlic

1 sweet potato, diced

2 peeled & chopped carrots (in cubes)
1 red pepper chopped
2 tablespoons ghee (or oil)
1 tablespoon curry powder, 1tsp turmeric and 2 tsp garam masala
1 cup frozen peas
2 cups veggie broth (or more as needed)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 large can of chickpeas
1 small can of coconut milk

handful fresh cilantro, chopped

salt and pepper to taste

Saute on medium to low heat the onions, sweet potato, carrots, peppers for 10 min. Add spices and garlic for another minute. Reduce heat to simmer and add broth, chickpeas, green peas, coconut milk and lemon juice. Cook 15 minutes more. Add more broth as needed. Simmer until vegetables are soft. Perfect for a detox diet or cleanse.

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Ginger Pumpkin Soup


Posted by Tricia | Posted in The Messy Apron Recipes, Uncategorized | Posted on 30-10-2010

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~Pumpkin Soup~


  • 1-16 ounce can of organic pureed pumpkin
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable stock
  • 2 cups almond milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated
  • 1/2 teaspoon honey (optional)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • cayenne pepper (optional)


In a large saucepan, add ingredients, stir to combine. Cook over low heat for 10 minutes until the flavors blend. Season to taste. Garnish with fresh herbs and pumpkin seeds.

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Kale Chips


Posted by Tricia | Posted in Local Food, The Messy Apron Recipes | Posted on 16-10-2010

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This morning at the market, Miss Lilly’s kale was irresistible. It made into a quick snack for the hubby and I before we started garden clean-up.


  • 1 bunch kale, cleaned and ripped into chip size
  • lemon juice
  • 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
  • dehydrated garlic
  • red pepper flakes
  • coarse pepper
  • sea salt


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a large bowl toss kale with olive oil, lemon juice and seasonings. Bake on baking sheet until the kale chips are lightly brown.

Kale chips with a red pepper yogurt dip.

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Energy flow in the home


Posted by Tricia | Posted in Holistic Living | Posted on 11-10-2010

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My home is my sanctuary, the place where I retreat to revive my soul, practice meditation, yoga and  to enjoy nature in my backyard. The art of Feng shui helps me to make my home harmonious and filled with positive energy.  Feng shui is based on the principle that the placement of a homes items stimulates the flow of Qi or invisible life energy. It is believed that your home is a reflection of and corresponds to your body, when your home is a sanctuary, you will be healthy.  Pay special attention to the center of your home because this is seen as the heart of your home and is the health sector. I place a bowl of crystals in the center of my home to help radiate positive energy. In the cold and flu season, I burn healing essential oils such as rosemary and oregano.

A couple of easy ways to enhance the positive flow of Qi in your home.

  • Ensure that everything in your house is in proper working order. Items that no longer work need to be discarded. Replace burnt out light bulbs, cracks, leaky faucets, unclog drains, etc.
  • Get rid of clutter. Most clutter is negative and should be disposed of properly. Recycle or donate reusable items.
  • Avoid sharp corners. Keep all items with rounded corners, and that means no square pillows.
  • Healthy plants, water features, bright colors and fresh flowers all raise the Qi in your home.
  • Keep the toilet seat down.
  • Hang a picture that is a reflection of your goals over your bed, one of children if you want to have children.
  • Make your bed your dream bed; comfortable pillows, comforter and sheets. Make sure to paint the room a calming color.
  • Hang wind chimes by your main entrance door.
  • Paint your home in vibrant colors to bring energy and life into the space.
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Posted by Tricia | Posted in Cleanse, Detox | Posted on 11-10-2010

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For centuries, cultures all of the world have practiced the act of  fasting for spiritual and purifying reasons. The idea of withholding food from the body leads to clarity,a  healthier body and brighter intuition. A traditional fast consists of water or juice for an extended period of time. A one day juice fast is an excellent way to give  your body a chance to rest so that it can focus on detoxification and healing. The digestive system uses up to 30% of the total energy of the body, so when given a rest it allows the immune system to heal. Fasting has shown signigficant improvement in the symptons of the following dis-eases of the body: obesity, psoriasis, eczema, irritable bowel syndrome, depression, acne, arthritis and neuralgia.

It is not advisable to fast for more than 3 days without following a prescribed plan by a qualified practioner and fasting is not for everyone.

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