Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Skinny Sexy Food: Avocado, Fennel and Cucumber Salad

I love avocados and in California where I spend a lot of time they are plentiful and delicious and I'm practically addicted to them. Thankfully, they've got plenty of creamy, sexy and delicious fat that's really good for you and they are completely versatile. The ancient Aztecs called the Avocado "ahuacatl" or "The testicle tree" . The avocado is indeed reputed to be great for boosting both the male and female libido, probably because of the enormous amounts of folic acid, B6 and potassium that they contain and the thyroid balancing and hormone enhancing effect that they have on both sexes. If that wasn't enough you've really got to love a fruit that you can put into a blender with some natural sweetener, a dash or two of smoky chipotle and several cups of really great chopped chocolate that turns into a sensuous and decadent dessert! Go ahead and eat them even if you think that you shouldn't. I promise that as part of a heart healthy low fat diet you can't go wrong enjoying them every now and then!

Then there is guacamole. I'm a bit of a purist when it comes to my guacamole and I love to make it fresh whenever I can. I think that one of the things that intimidates people about avocados is trying to figure out how to slice them.

Here's a simple trick:

Just take a sharp knife and carefully pierce the skin at the top and run the knife horizontally around the seed of the avocado from top to bottom. Then twist gently and the avocado will open exposing one half with the seed. Don't discard the seed if you plan to have a guacamole left. Putting the pit in the bowl with the leftovers does keep them from turning brown. I have absolutely no idea why....I just know that it works. Then take your knife and gently score the flesh from side to side and then reverse the fruit and do it the other way. You'll have avocado diamonds at that point! Take a spoon and separate the flesh from the skin. It should all just fall out at that point!

So last night I thought that I was making guacomole but what I was really wanting a refreshing salad, without a lot of lettuce. I had several ripe Haas (my favorites- less water and much richer flesh) avocados so I quickly sliced them into a bowl and added a diced baby cucumber, a cup of red onion, a cup of diced tomato (patted completely dry) and a cup of diced fennel. Then I added at least a cup of torn fresh cilantro and a 1/2 a cup of fresh dill. A dash of salt, a teaspoon of garlic powder, a 1/2 teaspoon of ground cumin and the juice of one orange later I was ready. Take two forks and mash it all gently or if you're not squeamish about playing with your food just toss it with your hands. It should be very chunky yet creamy when you're done.
You can play with this...substitute lime juice for the orange juice or use them both. I've put diced pineapple in this salad instead of fennel or used cubed ripe papaya. Play with chili's if you like more heat. It's completely up to you!

The healthiest way to serve this is with veggies on the side but a few whole wheat baked pita chips (not added salt) won't hurt! Served with a side of fresh salsa.....Bliss!

Here's another easy way to cut avocados if you want slices not cubes!

This chart is courtesy of :

Spread and Dip Nutritional Comparison
with salt
(1 ounce)
2 Tbsp. or
2-3 Thin Slices
2 Tbsp.2 Tbsp.1 Slice2 Tbsp.
Total Fat (g)4.52369.49.4
Sat Fat (g)0.514.63.761.4
Cholesterol (mg)06113307
Sodium (mg)016415176199

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Self Awareness is Powerful not just for Women but the Men who love us!

I came across this bra yesterday during my quest to find the ultimate sports bra that would support "the girls" during a particularly strenuous session of hot yoga. Being a totally addicted leopard print fan I made it mine on the spot! It's called "the Awareness Bra " and it's made by Wacoal. It's very beautiful, comfortable and comes with a simple yet important message.

The message presented is a simple one to be aware , do monthly breast self exams and look in the mirror for visible changes. It's surprising to me how many women that I know who aren't comfortable touching their bodies and their breasts. If you fall in to that category I beg you to write me. I'm really serious here and I'll gladly help you through the fear because it's your life and the richness of it that's at stake! Get your husband, partner or boyfriend involved and tell them what to look and feel for. It doesn't have to be clinical at all, it's about falling in love with yourself and the world around you.
Sometime right after your period grab your sweetie and lead him or her into the bedroom after a warm bath. Light some candles, grab a wonderfully scented body butter, get naked and touch each other.

Period, end of story. Don't be afraid. Knowledge is power!

Allowing your SO to help be responsible for your breast health is one of the most erotically charged and wonderful gifts that you can bring to your relationship. Don't be afraid if you're just really nervous the first few times because in this case practice DOES make perfect! You'll get the hang of it , I promise. Then buy yourself a beautiful bra or two as a reward! Luscious breasts (and Luscious comes in every size!) deserve gorgeous bras!

Don't forget that men can get breast cancer too. It's important for you to return the favor and check your lover every month!

You can download a very good breast self exam card from and get a lot of really important information.

I love this group because they're young, powerful and really making a difference. They don't think that breast health is just for us "over 30's" and these young men and women are taking control of their destinies now. It's interesting to me. I've noticed that most of my son's friends are incredibly cool, intelligent hip kids who think about their environment a lot more than I did at their age. Lots of them are really healthy vegans, most of them are very aware environmentalists. They've got a lot to say about this world that we've left them and they're not afraid to be controversial. I've attached 2 wonderfully entertaining videos from the 2009 Vans Warped Tour! Enjoy!

Photograph courtesy of Macy's

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Skinny Sexy Food

A state of mind having nothing to do with size but everything to do with health!

A juicily passionate and sensuously rich state of being that leaves you completely alive and ready for anything!

Sustenance for your body, nurturing for your soul and a wonderful way to connect deeply with your family and friends!

Well, here it is, the ripe old age of 50! So far,it feels better than all of of my other years put together, somethings changed and I'm liking it! I'm feeling more comfortable in my skin than I ever have and somehow even the inevitable wrinkles and bumps and spots don't seem quite as bad as I thought that they would. That being said, I've also decided that this is the year for a creative lifestyle change, one that will propel me into the next 50 with alot of energy. Years of competitive horseback riding have taken their toll on my joints and I'm bound and determined to learn to surf again and I'm definitely going to wear a really sexy bathing suit again....because I want to.

My adorable husband Jim and I have embarked on a quest to grow very old , gray and wise together. God love the man, he loves me just the way that I am , 25 extra pounds and all. Truth be told, neither of us are worried about the extra weight so much, but we'd love to feel spectacular at 50 and way beyond what we did at 20. Shooting hoops in California last week with our 22 year old son brought the truth home....we've both been taking our good health for granted. Our son yelled at us about our lack of commitment to ourselves and our not yet even a "twinkle in the eye" grandchildren. I understand how he feels...he watched his grandmother die last year of a stroke caused by her heart issues, diabetes and all of the complications that go along with that. I took that as a huge sign of love from my kid and decided to listen. So Jim and I have decided to embark on this creative journey together and we've enlisted the toughest coach we could find.

Cassie is our son's adorably tiny yet totally curvy, vegan , yoga instructress girlfriend who's getting her masters in nutrition. She's pretty tough with with us, but she's helping us to design a lifestyle around food and health that we love. We don't have to give up meat, although that's a choice that's easy for me to make. I have to drink a ton of water (ugh) but even that's getting easier. Cass knows me well enough to understand that the food has to be incredible and the exercise sensual, otherwise we'll never stick with the program. I've done the vegetarian thing on and off for awhile but without much success in terms of my weight loss and my congestion. Eliminating animal flesh and fat plus dairy and eggs from my diet is finally doing the trick! My belly fat is leaving me yet my curves are not abandoning ship! The best news...I'm not hungry!

In return for her undying devotion and doggedness, I'm teaching Cass how to cook and create delicious vegetarian/Vegan food that is satisfying and gorgeous with minimal fat. She's cracking the whip and holding me accountable to myself and my unborn grandkids:)

The two of us are creating a tasty project around the whole thing that I'm calling "Skinny Sexy Food!" which is my quest to bring to you some damn good recipes and ideas for creating a lifestyle change that's really healthy as well as seductively wonderful.

I use the term "seductively" because I want to entice you into trying something new, no matter what that looks like for you. For example, I truly never felt that I would love Yoga. I wasn't sure that I could be still enough, let alone not worry about looking like a fool or completely fat in my clothes when I did the poses. What I've discovered is that Yoga challenges and relaxes me on all levels (body , mind and spirit) in the same way that riding my horse does and that a treadmill never has. As cliche as it sounds ,when I'm in the middle of a Hot Yoga class sweating myself silly I fall quickly into my "zone". The first few times I did the class in baggy sport pants and a t shirt. After a couple of classes I ventured out and bought myself some really cute yoga clothes in my size. They're tight yet fluid and very body conscious, but I love them because I can really notice my body in them and that feels very good! I'm not on a quest to be "skinny", I'm on a mission to be healthy and fit for the rest of my life. If I can be a toned and healthy size 10/12 for the rest of my life that will be fine with me!

Food and our relationship with it is a very tricky thing. We adore it and there's no getting around that. There's nothing that I love more than cooking for my family and friends. I love eating almost as much as I love sex and I've always had large appetites for life and that spills right over into my eating habits. So I figure that if I can keep my appetites and use that emotional passion to create fabulous food that's going to keep me happy and healthy that I owe it to myself and my future grandkids to do so!

I'm not saying that this is easy......actually transforming these years of built in eating habits is pretty tough for a foodie like me. I allow myself to enjoy one day a week where I can eat reasonable portions of what I like so I don't feel too deprived. Trust me though, there are days when I want to chuck the whole thing into the nearest saute' pan full of filet. But the benefits are seeming to far outweigh the upsets. Eliminating cheese from my diet has my joints feeling fluid and my sinuses clear. My sleep apnea is GONE! Pain and Inflammation...fading fast! My husband is experiencing the same things as well as incredibly renewed energy without Starbucks and all of the added sugar that he relies on to stay awake! We've eliminated most processed sugar products and are experimenting with wonderful substitutes like Maple and Agave, however I've recently been given some research that suggests that refined Agave Nectar may not be as safe as once thought. I'm sad about that, but really committed to finding safe and delicious alternatives for the foods that I love. Thankfully, I've fallen back in love with white raw honey which I've discovered is a incredible substitute for marshmallow cream during a weak moment! The world of fabulous food is a far sexier place than Kraft and co. would have us believing and I'm going to enjoy all of it!

Please feel free to write and share recipes and thoughts! This journey wouldn't be nearly as much fun without some good companions and yes, that is a glorious pink FROSTING in the picture! I said MOST processed sugar products, but an occasional fingerful of homemade frosting? Who could possibly resist?

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Chocolate Body Paint

This is a reprint from another of my blogs....but I think that everyone should be reminded to make it at least once every other month. It's that delicious and best enjoyed with someone special......

Hah! I knew the title would get your attention! However, I must say that this is a thoroughly good use for this recipe which is really more of a vegan ganache. But because the primary ingredients are coconut oil, cocoa powder and carob, it melts down to the loveliest consistency and would be wonderful drawn all over your sweetie! Come on, don't be shy! All of the ingredients are very nourishing for your skin and the taste is divine!

I created this recipe one evening about a month ago in San Diego when an old friend of mine from high school and his wife were coming over for dinner. My sons girlfriend and I had been at Whole Foods that afternoon and decided to create a wonderful vegan meal starting with watermelon and jalapeno soup and ending with rolls of rice paper that we stuffed with plum and basil and strawberries, banana and mint. Of course they wouldn't have been complete without a sauce but we couldn't use the traditional butter and heavy cream to make one. What I did use was carob, coconut oil, cocoa powder, coconut milk and some agave nectar all blended in my VitaMix. The result was a delightful accident, a byproduct of experimentation plus a certain amount of crazy creativity. It was absolutely delicious and a perfect foil for the luscious fruit wraps that we had prepared.

I have since taken this recipe and modified it a bit adding toasted hazelnuts to make a vegan nutella and at Cassie's suggestion , silken tofu to make a filling for a tart that we poured into a raw nut crust. It is really a wonderful base for so many things. For the record, if you don't already own a VitaMix, this recipe is a very good excuse to buy one and it will pay for itself time and time again. The VitaMix is a very high powered blender and it can take cubes of ice and whole fruits , skin seeds and all and pulverize them into the most amazing smoothies in no time flat! I have created soups in mine that were wonderful and in about 1/4 of the time that I would normally spend. Fresh nut butters and homemade nut milks are easy to make and only take about 5 minutes of preparation! I knew that I could probably make this ganache in my regular blender , but I would have had to waste too much time pulverizing the ingredients first. It can be done and the results should be excellent, but the VitaMix is so strong that it melted everything for me in no time flat, creating a sauce that was as velvety as any ganache that I've enjoyed and without any of the dairy to mask the pure flavors!

To make about 2 cups of delectable "Body Paint" you will need:

I bag of sweetened organic carob chips
3 tablespoons of good cocoa powder- I love the Green and Black brand
A liberal dash of cinnamon
1 cup of coconut oil - The Whole Foods 365 brand is very good
Agave nectar to taste
Coconut milk to thin as needed -about 1/2 cup

The formula is simple! Just put all of the ingredients into your blender or VitaMix and move it through the settings until you are rewarded with a melting and creamy sauce! If I were doing this in the blender I would probably warm the ingredients first over a double boiler and then put them into the pitcher. You really do need the emulsifying effect of the blender though because as the mixture whips it will thicken a bit like mayonnaise. Add the agave to taste and coconut milk to create a smoother consistency and then pour into a sauce boat to serve! Because of the coconut oil and carob chips the sauce with begin to solidify but it will still be silky and wonderful. At room temperature it's definitely a sauce but once you put it into the refrigerator it will solidify a bit and turn into a creamy ganache. Either way it's wonderful! I hope that you'll enjoy experimenting with this recipe, I haven't tried it yet but I'm pretty sure that a bit of espresso powder would be a lively addition! Heat it up a bit and you have a fondue to be served with bananas and pound cake! How about marshmallows! The possibilities are endless, but I think that I like it best served up with a silken sable paint brush!

I do hope that you will light some candles, make some of this delectable finger paint and spend some quality time with the one that you love......

image from

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

This is Crystal Renn! For those of you who've never met her, she'a plus sized model who for years starved herself skinny to become the size 0 in her quest to become the next great supermodel. She became anorexic to the point where she was existing on sticks of gum everyday supplemented by lettuce and diet coke.
Fortunately for her and all of us, Crystal's body had other plans.

She realized one day during a particularly traumatic casting call that she could no longer maintain the horrible cycle she was in without dying. So she gave in an ate and allowed herself to break the cycle of denial that she'd been in for so long. She's now the highest paid plus sized model in the world and she'd only 23! She loves being a model, the whole playing with makeup thing and the gorgeous clothes that come with the deal. The difference is that now she's doing it her way and I think that she looks fabulous! The before skinny pictures of her are scary and should be a wakeup call for any of us fighting to make sense of our bodies. The photo shown her is the cover of her book. I bought it and have devoured it. Having been a fairly voluptuous woman for my entire adult life and having fought against my own body for decades, her story is incredibly validating for me.

I'd never been aware of her at all until my husband pointed out an article that he'd been shown at work. It seems that V Magazine (the totally glam fashion magazine that I think personally bests W on a regular basis) is putting out a "Size" issue to show that plus size women are utterly gorgeous and to address the problems of eating disorders that are affecting so many today , both young and old. Heres the link:

The first thing you'll be greeted by is a pop-up window featuring another plus sized model named Tara Lynn......You'll immediately notice that she's completely naked and totally gorgeous and when my husband showed her to me I was blown away. Here's a very fulled figured woman, not much smaller than me , but with all of her voluptuous curves on display for the world to see. His response to her beauty told me more about how he'd seem me in all of our years of marriage then words ever could. I'd always been ashamed of my very curvy body and here was the guy that I loved telling me that he found it really sensual and beautiful and that he wanted me to feel as confident as she did.

It's started me on a quest that I will be sharing with all of you here. Perfumerotica was supposed to be about to be sex , food, fashion, passion and perfume and it still is, but I've decided to add a topic. I'm a very confident woman, but I've spent my life worrying about every bite that I've taken and the constant stress of trying to diet and not diet definitely hampers this particular foodie.

I'm now spending my time enjoying my food in a way that I haven't. I'm giving myself permission to eat as if I were starving, because even though I'm not even remotely thin, emotionally the effect has been the same on me as if I've been denying myself forever. As a result I'm eating less. It's very strange but not unexpected. I already eat very well but I'm going to tone up what I have and no longer worry about every squeezing this size14 body into a 10.

I'm going to let my body decide once and for all what it wants to look like and then I'm going to give it the gift of full exposure. No more hiding my arms, no more looking for clothes to disguise my fuller curves. I'm aware that my struggle with body acceptance is not unique at all which is why I'm going to bring it here into the forefront instead of the acceptable (to me) head only profile pics that I've got posted all over the blogosphere. You'll still see wonderful fragrance reviews here on Perfumerotica and stories and recipes. What you'll see even more of though are my appetites and I'm warning you now, like my curvy body they are huge! Whether you're large or small, thin or zaftig we all deserve a chance to create the voice that is as expressive, big and bold as we are. This is my no holds barred attempt to create a place for us all to enjoy ourselves and get better acquainted with all of our appetites! If it provokes you good...if it inspires you even better. We are all hungry for authenticity and what better place to start than with our bodies. Passion doesn't have a size and neither does beauty. You'll definitely see more delicious recipes and you'll probably see a vibrator or two. What you might see from time to time are articles about the safest cosmetics to use and probably because I'm about 90% veggie at this point an article or two about our relationship to animal testing and the makeup products that we use. That being said there's room for us all here and that's the way that I like it. I hope that you enjoy reading this as much as I'm going to enjoy creating it for us all.

Introducing Perfume Illuminated

Introducing "Perfume Illuminated" by Beth Schreibman Gehring & Roxana Villa

I am honored to introduce a collaboration that I am truly very excited about! Many of you have read the articles that I've written about Roxana Villa, of Roxana Illuminated Perfume who is in my mind the undisputed queen of the art of Botanical Fragrance! Her perfumes are lovely on all levels , good for the earth and fruitful for all things mind, body and spirit.

After watching the movie Quantum Activist with her family on New Years Eve, she was hit with the question, "What are you doing to participate in the creation of the reality that we all share?" Well, the answer is going to be alot of things given that she has more creative energy than almost anyone that I've ever known , but luckily for me, this new project that she's invited me to be a part of is one of them!

Perfume Illuminated is our effort together to bring you fragrance and flavor from a new perspective; at the same time earthy and ethereal, practical as well as spiritual. Every Friday we will be addressing a different scent and because she is a botanical perfumer her scents easily translate into my language which is the language of food as well as perfume.

Roxana's no stranger to lovely things to eat though...upon our first meeting I was offered homemade Macorons and a glass of fresh spring water which had been exquisitely laced with Jasmine. I was instantly tranfixed and became her willing participant in almost any project that she throws at me. In this first edition of Perfume Illuminated you will discover recipes for tincture of Orris and Violets, Violet ice cream as well as a few stories and other such things to help thaw your toes on this chilly midwestern morning!

Both of us truly hope that it will inspire you and bring you abundant enjoyment!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Impressions of Peace

“We all live together
We belong together
This Mother Earth and I

All this song will always be
Better by reason
God's clear light
Make sure you feel this life
Flow all inside of you now

All this song will always be
Better by children
Let them sing
For always be the Light

It's another day
It's another way
It's another feeling in my heart

So if ever there's a question
So in part there is an answer
Remember that it's always in the heart of you

To begin this conversation
So intent to get the level
In everything your sacred life is going through”

Lyrics by Jon Anderson - Earth Mother Earth

I love the autumn months and for me there is no more beautiful time to be alive in northeast Ohio. I spend my days picking apples, walking in beautiful places, smelling the windfall apples and the fresh grapes that are everywhere this time of the year. I ride a most beautiful horse and we take to the trails on wings jumping the logs in our path, greedily eating the last of the precious berries that are clinging to the vines. The trees are resplendent with their cloaks of plum, rose and gold while acorns bounce playfully from the great oaks that have been my companions for my entire entire life. Fresh pumpkins are everywhere and the harvest is full, rich and abundant. This I take for granted as if it will always be here and yet this year I am brutally aware that time is passing quickly, that every moment is precious.

This is the beginning of my 50th year. For the first time in my life I haven’t known where the path is. I am no longer a child and I don’t remember when that happened. My body is changing, my son is grown, my own mother is recently gone. My world is changing and I feel it in my bones in a such a way that it that I am completely unsettled and yet my life is good, very very good. However there is a lingering question in my heart as to what’s next and sometimes I have felt very very afraid. I have been much quieter than usual, trying to still the cacophony of thoughts banging against the walls of my brain.

Yesterday, I received a package from Roxana Villa of Roxana Illuminated Perfumes. I knew that it would contain a sample of her newest perfume to be released on September the 21st in honor of The United Nations International Day of Peace. I was thrilled to receive it but only later did I really find out why.

I opened the bottle and took a very deep sniff. It was beautiful and very sweet with a tinge of something toasty and satisfying like the fragrance of rich earth , freshly mown hay and tobacco drying in the sun. There was an element of fire woven through it , yet I also sensed notes that were cooling and luscious, full of the dancing energies that only a true botanical perfume can possess. I put some on and drove out to the barn as it was turning towards dusk and I just had the sense of something big, but I didn’t know what. Maybe it's silly, but I do believe in magic, truly I do.

I saddled my horse and as we headed into the woods I felt a shiver run down my spine amazed as I looked up to see a very large bird flying low and fast through the trees. I was intrigued, we kept moving forward as he flew in front of us and yet I couldn’t truly see him. There is only one bird that flies through the forest without a sound and I longed to see him. We continued cantering down the trail but then I stopped and looked directly up and to the right of me. There high in the tree sat a barred owl, eyes unblinking and round with a chest full of the most beautiful feathers that I have ever seen.... a being of absolute and profound power. Suddenly I began to cry and I told him silently of everything , I shared my pain utterly and completely. We stared at each other for quite some time and then something told me that it was time to move on, but as I trotted away I heard the gift in his call...”Remember... Remember ... Remember”.

Suddenly I was filled with laughter recalling the wonder of my life and all of it’s sweetness. Suddenly the pain became part of it all and something to be cherished, just another simple part of the continuing circle of my life. Life is meant to be lived in every moment and by always letting those that you love know exactly how you feel about them.

We speak of peace on earth, we speak of peace between men. I believe that the word means something different and precious to everyone of us and I wonder, how can there be peace between us all if we have not found it in ourselves , if we’re not willing to go into our own dark places to fight long and hard for it? How can we cherish the lives of others if we don’t do the same for our own lives ? How can we possibly save our planet if we're too afraid to save ourselves?
I want to believe with my whole being that peace truly does begin deep from within and then spirals outward touching everyone that you meet. I truly believe that we can be our own miracles.

All of Roxana’s perfumes are beautiful, but this precious expression of peace is particularly powerful and utterly lovely. I do not know the individual notes of this perfume and my heart prefers it this way. She has given it no name, focusing instead on the universal symbol of peace, preferring for each of us to be personally inspired without the preconception that a name could bring.

There is something in the alchemy of this perfume that is a shamanic template for personal power, a prayer for the fullest flowering of human expression and a wish for peace between us all. It is my fondest hope that you will feel moved to experience it's magic for yourself.

Roxana will be giving a portion of the proceeds from each of the 7 gram liquid perfume flacons and solid compacts to the POE (Project Peace on Earth) organization to facilitate their vision of a global prayer concert for Peace.Please be sure to visit Roxana's Journal for a chance to win a sample of the glorious new liquid perfume or one of the adorable mini solids in the new fragrance.

For more information:
Roxana Illuminated Perfume

Project Peace on Earth

Please enjoy the beautiful words of others who are writing today to honor this lovely expression of peace:

Bitter Grace Notes:
Cleveland Fragrance Examiner:
Portland Fragrance Examiner:
Roxana Illuminated Perfume:
Indie Perfume:
Memory and Desire:
Perfume Shrine:
Perfume Smellin' Things:
Scent hive:
The Non-Blonde:

Perfume Image courtesy of Roxana Villa

"Peace Has Begun" by Greg Spalenka