Mint-Chocolate Smoothie

If fresh fruit and greens it not your thing, mint-chocolate might be what the doctor’s calling for! I’m thankful to have a couple different types of mint growing in the garden, and as it turns out, this variety of spearmint is coming on strong right now. It’s amazingly refreshing when added to a smoothie and, as luck would have it, it doesn’t take much.

What I absolutely love about this smoothie is the fresh garden lettuce! Yes. It’s been a cold wet spring that there was absolutely no sunlight for growing – just enough to survive. The zucchini plants that I put in in may just sat there for more than a month. It wasn’t until the clouds parted that the plants actually started to grow. And, now that the sun has arrived, I’ve got a bounty of lettuce. These leaves are delicately succulent with no bitters. They’re so good, you could just graze your want through the garden – which is what I did today for lunch.

In any case, I had company over this morning and offered them a green smoothie. Being grateful guests, they willingly agreed to whatever I wanted to make. Knowing that one of my guests has a love affair with chocolate, I decided to sneak in just a little:

Little cacao goes a long way

And as you can see, it really wasn’t much. But the combination of flavors all mixed together to make for a mouth watering delight.

Mint-Chocolate Lettuce Smoothie

Love that garden lettuce

Clockwise from left (sort of):

Add milk, probiotic, dates to blender. Peal leaves off mint stocks and use only the leaves. Peal oranges and make sure no seeds make it into the blender. Add bananas and then stuff in the lettuce.

It all fit!

It’s hard to imagine that that entire bowl of lettuce fit into the blender at one time. It took a little packing, but it wasn’t too bad.

Blend for about 60 seconds. You’ll want to start out slow  and get the greens turning before you whip it up to high for the 60 seconds.

When good and smooth, add the little spoonful of cacao and about ¼ teaspoon vanilla. It really doesn’t take much vanilla at all. Blend for a couple seconds so the powders mix in.


Just part of the results

With the volume from the oranges, bananas and coconut milk, the end result was nearly 8 cups. After using the nice glasses for the guests, I ended up with what was left over. It was probably 2 cups that tasted great and went down smooth.

I’m going to have to get me some descent party glasses that I can use for breakfast on the weekends. As much as I love me quart size jar (with lid), I don’t really need it around the house on a lazy Sunday morning.

If you love mint and chocolate, you’ll probably love this one. Life’s too short to not give it a try!


Raw Chocolate Bark – the best ever!

It’s hard to find someone that doesn’t like chocolate. For years, I was the only person I knew that would actually say “no thank you” when offered some decadent chocolate concoction. The only thing I would touch was white chocolate or imported Belgium chocolates. The white chocolate really wasn’t all that good and the Belgium chocolates were really hard to come by. At times, I’d pick up a freshly made truffle or two for a special occasion, but you still couldn’t get me to whole-heartedly experience the treats.

Today, it’s a different story. No, you won’t find me running out to buy some confectioner’s favorite $2 oz treat only to have it stuff my nose up and clog my throat. Those days are long over. Instead, I put together my own treats and share it with the people that I really love.

My favorite chocolate concoction right now is Macadamia Nut Apricot Bark. It’s really easy to make, lasts a long time (if you show a little self control) and will always bring a smile to your face – or anyone that you share it with. Everyone that I know that’s tried it has always asked for a second piece.

You have an hour?  If so, clean out a little place in the fridge and break out the raw ingredients for a melt in your mouth treat is just a few pictures away.

Macadamia Nut Apricot Bark Confection


This one is amazingly simple. Gather the following:

The quality of the end result depends on how these ingredients are all mixed together. Let’s go through the process.

Let’s start with the cacao. If you buy it in a 1 lb bag, divide it in ½. We only want about 8 ounces.

1/2 pound butter

With the larger pieces, place them on a cutting board and shave it down to bits.


When you shave the cacao, you increase the surface area that will radically speed up the melting process.

Next, if you don’t have a dehydrator, you’ll want to work up a hot water bath.

Very hot water bath

Notice here I’ve got a larger bowl tilted in the sink that I’ve filled with the hottest tap water I can get. To that, I ‘float’ the bowl of shaved cacao. As the heat radiates through the bowl it melts the cacao that touches the bowl to look like this:

mixing to melt faster

It might take about an hour to get the cacao to completely melt and you’ll want to stir it regularly so as to spread the melted cacao around the shaving so that they melt faster.

So, while the cacao is busy melting, it’s time to prepare the ‘mold’. I use a glass casserole pan that’s 9 by 12. The larger the pan, the thinner the chocolate bark. I like it on the thinner side so that it’s easy to break up after it hardens.

Inside the casserole pan, I line it with parchment paper. The following picture pretty much sums it up.

Nuts on paper

Now, with the collection of Macadamia Nuts, quarter them. If you chop the nuts up too small, you won’t be able to taste them. If they are two large, they overpower the chocolate. And don’t waste any crumb. Just through that in!

With the apricots, I cut them lengthwise into four strips before cutting them into little cubes. You’ll notice that they are smaller than the Macadamia Nut quarters.

Added Apricots

When I lay them into the pan, I drop them in so that they are pretty evenly spaced. You want each bite to have a bit of nut and fruit.

By this time, the butter should be translucent. Or, basically, look like melted butter. Remove it from the bath and stir in the 1 cup cacao powder and 1 tsp vanilla powder.

Liquid chocolate

You’ll want to stir this for a while. Make sure all the little dry clumps dissolve and that the vanilla powder breaks down. It tends to stick together so you’ll have to really work it. You’ll know that you’ve got it thoroughly mixed up when you stop stirring and little bubble rise to the surface.

At this point, it’s ready for the Agave. Add the five tablespoons and then start stirring again. The Agave tends to sink to the bottom, because it’s heavier and colder than the warm butter. As you stir it, it will warm (and cool the butter) as it evens out in the mixture.

Now, carefully pour it into the pan on top of the nuts and fruit.


At this point, it’s ready for the fridge. Let it cool (level) until hard. I let it go for a few hours.


Notice in this picture that the chocolate has shrunk away from the parchment paper just a tad.

Now comes the fun part, breaking it up into bite size pieces.

Bite size chunks of bliss

These taste like pure butter bits as then warm and melt in your mouth. The nuts satisfy that need to bite down on something and the fruit makes you chew it for a while.

And I have to say there is something magical about this combination of ingredients.

So, there you have it. It’s not hard, it just takes a little time for the cacao to melt. If you show a little self control, one half pound should last a couple weeks. I make it a point to only eat a few bits a day. You’ll be surprised how much of a kick it has, but it’s not like a cup of tea or coffee.

Oh, I just about forgot. The in thing (environmentally) now a days is to sell ‘product’ in little plastic Ziploc top bags. These things can be a pain to open for the plastic likes to stick together. So, to make it a little easier to open, I always make a second cut on the top so that one side is just a little longer than the other.

Tip for making bags easier to open

As you can see, I can now easily grab both sides of the bag to pop open the Ziploc. Give this a try next time you get a bag and see how it helps.

Enjoy your chocolate!

Raw Coconut Cream Pie

Turns out that this little pie is becoming a staple around here. I love the creaminess of the filling and how it complements the sweet crust. Everything in it mixes perfectly and it really does satisfy any cream pie craving that you might have.

When I first starting making this recipe, I followed the directions explicitly. Now I find that it doesn’t really matter much and you can change things up enough to call it your own!

Originally, the I followed the recipe from this book.

Now I kind of follow what’s in my head. I don’t like it quite as sweet and I like powdered vanilla rather than extract. I also cut back on the salt but add more coconut meat (the best part). The collection of goods that you’ll need to get this one done looks like this:

Notice here I’ve got:

  • 2 young Thai coconuts
  • ¾ cup Raw Coconut oil
  • 2 Tbs Lecithin granules
  • Unsweetened raw organic coconut flakes
  • Chef’s grade organic vanilla powder
  • Celtic Sea Salt
  • Bag of Deglet Noor Dates


Cuisinart for processor, small food scale and a Vita-Mix blender. I don’t know how you’d make this recipe without these tools.

Let’s get creating!

The first thing you’ll need the Cusinart for is to make date paste. I weighed out 8 ounces of Deglet Noor dates before dropping them one by one into the running Cusinart. Because these puppies are so dry, they tend to chop up rather than mush up. You want them mushy, thus you might need to add a bit of water. I added about 1 Tablespoon’s worth.

After scraping the food processor, I got out just about what I put in (water probably made the difference). ½ this paste you’ll use for the crust, the other half to sweeten the filling.

So, move four ounces back to the food processor and add at least 2 cups coconut flakes. At this point, you’ll want to also add about 1 (small) teaspoon vanilla powder and just a pinch of salt. Now we want to process the flakes to mix with the date paste so that it becomes just a little sticky.

I had to add a little water (maybe a teaspoon’s worth) to get it to stand up like that. At this point, it’s really to move to the pie container. As it turns out, we have some perfect size salad bowls that double as a pie ‘tin’ for this pie.

The secret to working this crust together is to start on the sides. Using one hand, press the mixture into the side of the pan and with the other hand, make sure it doesn’t exceed the height of the bowl. You’ll probably work around the pie a few times getting it just right. When the sides are well formed and just the right thickness, you work on the bottom with whatever is left over.

Now set that aside for a few moments because we’re now going to whip up the filling.

The best part of the pie is the meat! Here, I’ve got just over a cup of meat that I’m going to mix in. This is what I scraped out of those two Young Thai Coconuts. Notice that there is a bit more coconut water than what we’ll use.

To the blender, add two cups coconut water (at room temperature), the meat (shown above), ¾ melted coconut oil, at least 1 teapsoon powdered Vanilla, a big pinch of Celtic Sea Salt, the last 4 ounces date paste and 2 Tbs lecithin granules.


When you start bending, you’ll notice that the top of the mixture will be quite viscous. As the oil really goes to work, the mixture will thin out and almost start dancing in the blender before you’re minute (of counting) is up.

The unfortunate part is that there are a lot of bubbles in the final solution. I try to gently shake some of them out, but when you pure it into the crust, you’ll get bubbles!

If you’re careful, you can use gravity to remove some of the bubbles. After pouring the mixture into the crust, I gently jiggle the pie so as to make the bubbles rise to the surface. Then I lift the pie a couple millimeters off the counter and let it drop. If it were a metal pan – like a spring form – I’d lift it higher and work it thoroughly until all the bubbles rise and pop. But in this case, I’ve got a ceramic bowl that I have to be really careful with. Thus it’s a delicate process of working the bubbles out for me.

At this point, it goes in the fridge long enough for the coconut oil to congeal and the lecithin to setup. Most the time I simply let it sit overnight.

Oh, and don’t forget about the extra coconut water that you might have. If you don’t simply drink it, make ice cubes!

These ice cubes are great for making sorbet!  See my Blueberry Coconut Sorbet, you won’t be sorry!

Tidal Wave Dream

One hundred feet high and rolling in from the north to devour just about … well, Cirque Du Soleil! That’s right, I was riding the wave looking down at that yellow and blue tent as the wave rolled over it. Not sure what that means, but here is what I recall from the dream:

I was on an island, felt like Hawaii and I was practicing flying. Not super-man style, but more of a kite style. We’d lie on our backs with a string of paper towels attached between the hands and feet. When a gust of wind came by, it would pick you up and you’d drift in the wind like a tree seed (or dandelion seed).

After some practice, I’d gotten pretty good at it and I caught a gust that blew me out to sea. The wind was traveling north and there were a collection of small islands just north of the larger one I started from. Seeing that there was nothing else further to the north, I drifted down to a little island that sat just above sea level that held a nine hole golf course.

Upon landing, I was stranded alone on the island. I noticed a boat off shore, but it speed away. Shortly thereafter, another boat was frantically drawing up its anker. As I signaled the captain for a lift, he pointed north at a giant wall of water. I looked and released with amazement that he had no chance.

I couldn’t really do anything but watch the wave approach. As it hit me, I was engulfed in a bubbly white water and I knew that I wouldn’t make it. At that point, I said a little prayer to end my life but shortly thereafter found myself up on the crest of the wave; Riding the wave.

In no time, the wave reached the larger island where I’d started the dream, but as I road it inland, it just washed over everything. At the point where we’d come to the Cirque Du Soleil tent, it was still 100 feet high and rolling – yet I woke up.

Fortunately, I woke up feeling ok. I didn’t witness any loss of life. But for details, the wave definitely came from the north and it may not have been Hawaii. It seemed more like a tropical paradise that has a bunch of small islands just at sea level.

Hopefully, it’s just my subconscious telling me I’ll be riding high on something soon. In any case, I figured it was just weird enough to post, but not prophetic enough to post at the National Dream Center.

Enjoy your dreams and may they be glorious!

Opening the Window to Your Soul

Do you remember that phrase “Look me in the eyes when I’m talking to you”? Or “When you talk to someone, look them in the eyes”? Did your parents say something similar to you when you were a kid? I remember these phrases because I only heard them when I didn’t want to participate in the conversation. Naturally, looking someone in the eyes is the ‘right’ thing to do.

It seems that there is something magical about that act and it stirs an emotional (and sometimes physical) response when eye contact is made with another person. Have you ever played the game of gazing into someone else’s eyes while intentionally trying to open your heart? The response can be immediate and overwhelming to most people.

The challenge I hold for you is to give that gift to as many people as you can. That’s right, when you have a conversation with someone, look them in the eyes and let the energy of venerability out. But don’t just do this with anyone you meet. Make a conscious effort to perform this act with people – you want to bond with!

You see, from my experiences, when you actively eye gaze, the energy that’s exchanged creates a bond between the two people. If you’re not careful, you may end up creating a bond with someone that you don’t necessarily want to be with.

Poking around the web a little, I’ve come to learn that there are now – speed dating eye gazing type parties. As a matter of fact, it’s been featured on TV. The Eye Gazing Parties website makes out the experience like this:

What are Eye Gazing Parties? The eyes are the windows to the soul, so it’s a lot easier to have a mesmerizing conversation with someone after you’ve spent two minutes looking into his or her eyes. That is the simple idea behind Eye Gazing Parties. Banal chit-chat about employment status, the location of your apartment, or where you’re from is not a great way to spark a captivating connection with an alluring new person. Eye contact is.

The problem, as I see it, is that when you line up with a bunch of strangers you end up ‘bonding’ with a bunch of people before you determine who the person is based upon their actions. You see, a person is a reflection of their actions. If you observe for a little while, you’ll get a good picture of the character of the person before you ever make eye contact. You can observe the word choices, the why they present themselves, or even the people that they choose to be around. It’s pretty easy to ‘weed out’ those which you know you will not be harmonious with before you attempt any more at bonding.

And it really is bonding. The best example that I can give is the bond that a mother makes with her baby. There’s time during those first months where eye gazing naturally occurs. In my opinion, it’s critical that both the mother and father spend time eye gazing with the child while it’s still an infant. When that eye contact is made, a lifelong bond is developed that nothing can get in the way of.

Because the eyes are the window to the soul, if eye gazing time is spent between the parent and infant, the parent to intuitively know what the child wants and needs when it ‘speaks out’.

Here is a personal report from an Eye Grazing Meditation that hints towards the energy exchange that occurs. It’s from the Integration Training website:

Relaxing the eyes can have a profound effect on how we see the world and conversely when we are stressed our vision narrows. When people’s eyes meet something special happens and I spent some time exploring this last night with a group in Hove that practice eye gazing meditation. People from a range of spiritual traditions have practiced eye gazing meditation from Rumi to tantric yogis, and it’s exactly what it sounds like. I thought that 2.5 hours looking into people’s eyes would be boring but far form it. The first time I did it I was surprised with how difficult gazing into people’s eyes was, and it took some will power to counter my social conditioning. I felt various weird waves of energy in my body and strong emotions surfacing. This apparently is common and the meditation can be used as a form of emotional catharsis and cleansing. Aside from the therapeutic aspect the main other benefit seems to be connection with your partner. At times you are not sure who is having a particular emotion and there is a sense of joining with or “dissolving” into the other…try it, it’s one of those experiential things.

If you haven’t shared this type of experience with someone, it might be time to give it a try.

The Ezine Articles website sums up the process like this:

This eye gazing can result in a profoundly moving experience of emotional, energetic and spiritual connection between the lovers, especially if you are already at a peak of sexual arousal during lovemaking when you do it. However, don’t save this practice only as an accompaniment to lovemaking.

Take 2 minutes to send and receive love in this way every day you are together for the rest of your lives.

Some couples go weeks or months at a time without making this simple, yet profound connection. Making this connection every day cumulatively can transform your relationship and sustain you on a secure platform of love through any of life’s trials and tribulations.

We have found this simple practice to be the quickest surest and easiest way to open our hearts to feel love. Most of the times we look at each other in this way, when our hearts crack open, tears come to our eyes as the intense emotional feelings cause us to cry with happiness. Make no mistake, you don’t get your heart open once and for all and keep it that way. Your heart will close repeatedly, thus it must be re-opened over and over and over again. This simple practice will open your heart almost instantly.

How to Look

Gazing into each other’s eyes is not a staring contest. You will look in a particular way.

Have you ever been in a place with an absence of light? Near where we live there are some caves. Once inside these caves, there is a complete absence of light. Without light you can’t see anything. Just closing your eyelids can give you some sense of this experience, especially if you are in a dark room during the evening.

Close your eyes now. Now open your eyes, and notice how the light comes in. You don’t have to do anything for the light to come in. This is important to notice. Next, notice how you look at things, usually including your lover. You grab things with your eyes. Grabbing things means you isolate each thing and visually separate each thing from all other things. This is how you identify what something is. You must isolate it from everything else, and then you can name it, and when you name it you know it. You have grabbed it.

Looking with your eyes in this way is useful and necessary, but it is not the only way to look. Looking in this way actually sustains the perception (really an illusion) that everything is separate from everything else. This is dualistic consciousness. Dualism simply means separating one thing from another thing.

The most import thing to take away from the above description is that the process is not just looking into someone’s eyes. It requires that you actually drop the emotional barriers that you use to protect yourself from intimately experiencing life. Because the experience is so emotional, most people intentionally withhold their energy from others so as to not build the emotional bond with just anyone.

I don’t really blame them, but wonder what it would be like if more people consciously gave into sharing energy through eye contact.

Here is a quote that I found on the Healing Through Eye Gazing website:

“When eye contact between two people is initiated and maintained, an invisible energetic circuit is established between the two participants, dissolving the barriers that ordinarily separate them from each other, drawing them ever closer into a shared awareness of union.” Will Johnson*

I love this quote of a quote. I’ve already put Will Johnson’s book on my Amazon wishlist:

That same site goes on to mention:

In the face of the safe and loving contact that eye gazing facilitates emotional pain held within the energy field and physical body will at some point surface for healing. As it does the experiencer has the choice to really feel and release the pain and in doing so clear and unblock chakras allowing more life force to flow. Since the movement of energy is often pleasurable when we surrender to it the healing process can be very enjoyable.

It’s interesting that this site references the chakras for the book that I’ve been reading, Hands of Light, goes into some pretty intense details with regards to the chakras and the associated energy. I found it particularly interesting where Barbara Ann Brennan states:

… Light enters both through the third eye and through the physical eyes and flows along the optic nerves as shown in Figure 18-6. [A diagram that shows the path light travels from the eyes to Pineal gland. It also has a path for light to travel from the ‘third eye’ location to the pineal gland.] This light is of higher vibration than visible light and can pass through skin. The light passes through the optic chiasm and goes round the pituitary, which sits right behind the optic chiasm. The light then takes two paths. One path goes to the occipitual lobes for normal vision, and the other into the thalamus for oculomotor control. It has been my observation that by certain meditative and breathing techniques, one can cause the pituitary to start vibrating and radiating gold auric light (or rose light if the person is in love).

One has to wonder that if the eyes can take in light, might they also be able to expose light? In other words, work in reverse?

It would seem that empirical evidence shows that this may be the case. At least, to those that practice eye gazing for there is an energy that seems to be exchanged between people when you look into their eyes and they willingly ‘open’ themselves to the experience.

Or, might it be that when two people look into each other’s eyes, the act harmonizes, or ‘starts vibrating’ the pineal glands in the two people so as for them to experience it’s affects?

It’s a fascinating process that I wish I had more time to write about. I think I’d rather simply spend my time actually eye gazing. I encourage you to put more effort into it and then observe how it makes you feel. If there is some intuitive information that you acquire in the process, feel free to let me know.

The world is full of a bunch of amazing little things. This is one that’s so powerful and free!