Welcome to The Virtual Vegan Potluck December 2014 edition. This is my fourth time participating and it keeps getting better. Thank you to the whole team of vegan bloggers out there organizing to keep the links rolling, but the biggest Thank You to Annie over at An Unrefined Vegan for being the main force behind this grand food adventure.

If you get lost somewhere along the way, just head back to The Virtual Vegan Potluck to find your place again. At the bottom of this page are links forward to Juicy Dishes by Mind Your Mind and back to the Seasonal Veg Head.

To this potluck, I am bringing an appetizer highlighting one of my favorite foods, aramé. I got the inspiration for this recipe from Cynthia Lair and her cookbook, Feeding the Whole Family. You can start with less aramé if you are hesitant about sea vegetables and add more seasonings and walnuts as well.20141208_130229

I like serving this paté with lightly blanched thinly sliced root vegetables like carrots, turnip and daikon radish. You may not want to bring daikon radish to a party, though, due to its smell. You could bring it to this party, though!! This spread is also one of my favorite sandwich spreads and corn tortilla fillings.

Aramé Tofu Paté

1/2 cup walnuts
1/2 block of tofu (about 7 oz)
1/2 cup dry aramé
1 tsp shoyu or gluten-free tamari
2 medium-sized green onions or 1/2 leek, chopped
1/2 carrot, diced small
1 1/2 tsp chickpea miso (I love the South River brand)
1 1/2 tsp unsweetened brown rice vinegar

1.  Toast the walnuts lightly in a skillet on medium low or in the oven at 300°. Watch them carefully because they toast quickly. Set aside.

2.  Soak the aramé in a small pan with 1/4 cup water until softened. Then heat it to boil and lower to simmer. Simmer until there is about 2 Tbsp of  liquid remaining. Add the shoyu/tamari and simmer for a few minutes more until the liquid is gone.

3.  Bring a small pan of water to a boil. Drop the tofu in and boil for 10 minutes. Remove and place on a towel to collect excess moisture.

4.  Place all ingredients in a food processor and process until the texture you want. I often place the walnuts in first and pulse a bit. Then add the green onion/leeks, carrot and seasonings. Then the aramé. Add tofu last. I like to pulse it until it’s combined, but still a bit chunky.

5.  Adjust seasonings with a little more salt or rice vinegar if you like.

6.  Serve with anything you would traditionally eat with paté, vegetable bites, crusty bread, tortilla chips. This is also lovely as a sandwich spread and as a layer in corn  tacos. 20141208_125933




This post has three parts:  An event I am offering in Seattle, how to find out about future events and a special on my healing/psychic sessions.

I am co-hosting an event with my friend Michelle Mahler of Circle of Healing Essential Oils. The event is next Tuesday, December 16 from 6:30-8:30 pm in my home just north of the Fremont area of Seattle.

We will start off with a 3 course delicious, healing meal lovingly prepared by me:
Winter Miso Soup with Deep Fried Mochi, Vegetable Nori Rolls, Crushed Sesame Burdock, Bitter Greens Salad with Tangerine and Lemon Balsamic Vinaigrette and Poached Pears with Date Pecan Topping.20141208_140729

Then, Michelle will give an essential oils presentation and show us how to use them for emotional, physical and spiritual balance and healing. Michelle is a gifted aromatherapist and uses her intuitive abilities to make special blends for people. She also has many blends she has created for a variety of purposes that range from spiritual growth, grounding, pain and stress relief to ones for cleaning the home.

I love hearing Michelle speak about essential oils. One of my favorite parts is being able to smell so many of her wonderful blends and then ask questions about how she creates them. I have also asked her to talk about the use of essential oils in cooking.

Each participant will take home an organic topical therapy blend or single topical therapy oil of their choosing. Participants will also have the option of making several other single topical therapy oils for an extra fee.

Sign up for the class is through Dyne. The cost is $34. Please let me know in the comments if you have any questions.

I have known for a while that I needed to figure out a better system of notifying you about Seattle and Portland events. So, I now have two options that you can engage in if you are interested so that you can be informed about my upcoming meals, classes and other events.

The link above is to my sweetveg Facebook page. I will be posting events there, a few articles and recipes of interest and Seattle macro-friendly restaurant finds.

The link above is to subscribe to my newsletter. I will only send the newsletter out 1-2 times per month. In it will be a full schedule of my events for the month and possibly a few other related events in Seattle. I will also add links to a few of the past month’s blog posts, possibly a recipe and an energy healing/psychic reading special a few times a year. I am not into big long newsletters or posts,so you can expect that it will be an easy read. There is also a newsletter sign up at the bottom of this site.

I am offering you a special rate for my healing and psychic sessions until the end of the year. You may buy two 60-minute sessions with me for $100. A single 60-minute session is regularly $80. Use both for yourself or give one to a friend. You can purchase your sessions until December 31, 2014, and you can schedule them through March 31, 2015. A maximum of four 60-minute sessions may be purchased at this rate. This special is for both in-person and long-distance sessions.

To learn more about my sessions go to my Intuitive Healing Services page. That page also contains a scheduling link. If you would like to schedule more than three weeks out, please contact me directly. If you have questions you may contact me here.

Love and blessings,

Here’s a simple recipe for a windy, rainy day like we have in Seattle and all up and down the Pacific NW coast. We even have some high wind warnings for today! I am going to write this and then bundle up and head out for a rain walk. I have loved the rain since childhood. Just being out in it makes me feel refreshed and alive.

Make these patties as simple or as complex as you like. I made the ones in the photo using pressure cooked brown rice and lentils. I think they are easiest to make when using pressure cooked rice because it is soft and sticky. There are some suggestions for using other rice in the recipe instructions. If you are using leftover boiled rice, one idea is to steam it, then pop half of it in a food processor or blend it partially with an immersion blender just to break down some of the grains and make it easier to form into balls.

This is one of my simple, go-to dishes, so that’s what I’ll show you here, with some options at the bottom for add-ins. I love these patties with hummus. Yum!20141211_123740[1]

Simple Fried Grain Patties

leftover pressure cooked brown rice (can be pressure cooked with a bean or other grain)
frying oil, I have been using grapeseed oil lately
shoyu or tamari

1.  Pressure cooked rice is soft and will form easily into balls. If your rice is a little dry and not sticking together, you can steam it for a bit to soften the grains, but then might need to add a little flour or other binder if it becomes too wet. Make as many balls or patties as your rice will make or as many as you need for one meal.

2.  Heat a cast iron skillet on low medium until warm. Add 2-3 tsp oil and wait until a little rice added sizzles slightly. Then it’s at the right temperature for frying. Add the balls/patties and fry on one side until it’s a moderate brown color. Flip them to the other side and fry until moderate brown as well. If you made balls, you will need to roll them around several times to get most of the sides brown.

3.  Transfer to a plate with paper towel or paper bag to soak up excess oil. Sprinkle a few drops of shoyu or tamari on them immediately so it cooks in while the patties are still hot.

4.  Serve.

Other options:
Add in while forming patties/balls:
sautéed finely diced onion and carrot
finely diced mushrooms
spices such as cumin, coriander, chili powder, curry
herbs-fresh herbs can be minced and thrown right in, dried herbs should get sautéed with the onion in oil to bring out the flavor
a little miso
other vegetables like fresh corn, green peas, mashed sweet potato, green onion, parsley

Place in a tortilla with lettuce or shredded cabbage slaw to make tasty roll-ups.
Soft cooked millet is also yummy prepared this way.

Did you know that you have a whole team out there eager to help you in any way they can? Their skills, power and expertise are readily available if you know how to ask. Here’s how to access them.

I thought I got this idea from Nicole over at Cauldrons and Cupcakes, but I didn’t find the reference in a quick look over her last month of posts. So, if this idea seems familiar and you know where I found it, I would love it if you would let me know in the comments. All that to say, I did not think this one up! But, I am passing it on to you because I think it is brilliant.

So, we all have a team. Some of our team is down here on earth in physical bodies just like us. Some of our team is available in other ways, depending on how you choose to perceive them. Depending on the strength of our connection to our team, we can hear them guiding us, see ways they connect with us and feel loved and supported as we live our lives.

The technique I have been trying out is one of delegation. Here’s how it goes:  Every morning, as soon as you wake up, delegate things on your to-do-list to your team. If you have a hard time imagining them, just pretend. Give them names and imagine what they look like if that helps. Then start delegating jobs to them as if it’s your job to manage this team. It will get easier. I even imagine myself handing a job off to a specific guide and saying “Report back to me when you have completed this task.”

Give them everything you can imagine. You need new socks? Give it to them to figure out. You want your dinner party to have just the right amount of people with a harmonius blend of personalities? Give it to them to manage. Do you want more clients? More readership for your blog? A more satisfying job? You actually don’t have to do it all and you can get so much more done if you hand jobs out to your team.20141209_111959[1]

Give them little and big things, then watch your day unfold and be open to how they provide assistance. It may not look like what you thought it would, but they know what they are doing and you can always refine your request as you go.

I had to play around with this a bit because I found it hard to remember to delegate in the morning when I woke up. So, what seems to work is to start my delegation in the evening right before bed. Then, when I wake up, I see my notes right there beside my bed and can continue. I think for me it’s also going to take a bit of learning for me to be comfortable with delegating. I have a huge independent streak and often want to do everything myself. But, I keep thinking about how much more I can accomplish and how many more people I can connect with if I learn how to use all of my resources, including my team.

Don’t forget all the people in your life who have skills and would love to help you. Think about which ones belong on your team, too. It is important to work together and share experience and resources. The more we can put our heads together and help each other, the greater our ability to really grow and access even more of our power. I am meeting with a friend this afternoon to get help with social media. Another man just showed up in my life who loves to make videos and offered to work with me. It’s actually super fun to see who appears in your life and what things shift once you get started delegating.

If you have any questions about how to implement this in your life or what it means to delegate to spirit guides, let me know. I would love to share my experience and help you along your path.

Big hugs!



The year my Christmas nightmares started happening in January, instead of their usual start time of July, I knew something had to change. The nightmares were always some version of the night before Christmas and I didn’t have anything ready. Have you experienced this?

These nightmares were also during a time that I was helping raise twins and I wanted to do everything “perfect” for them. It ended up being a crazy mess of  homemade gingerbread houses, homemade ornaments, perfect homemade gifts and assortments of cookies for every person we had even the slightest connection to. Plus, there were the desserts for extended family events and a Waldorf Holiday Faire.

Photo courtesy of Serge Bertasius Photography and www.freedigitalphotos.net.

Photo courtesy of Serge Bertasius Photography and www.freedigitalphotos.net.

I know there are at least a few of you out there who understand what I am talking about. I would spend most of the days surrounding Christmas completely sick and feeling rotten because I had run myself to the ground for the month leading up to it.

Here is how I stopped the nightmares and exhaustion. It was actually very simple and it worked.

The next November when I went to make my list of everything I could conceive of to do for Christmas, I still let it be the super long list that it had always been. I added everything I wanted to get done in November and December to the list. Everything I could think of. No holding back.

Then, I decided that I would get a huge amount of joy from crossing things off the list, whether I actually did them or not. And, I made it a game to see how many things I could cross off the list without doing them.

I think two of the secrets to having this work is:
1.  When you make your initial list, don’t leave anything off. Really write down everything you would want to do before and during Christmas if time wasn’t an issue.
2.  Leave the list as is and then cross things off organically as you progress through December. What I noticed was that as I got closer to Christmas, I had less time and had to prioritize differently. This is when it really started to feel incredible to cross things off the list and let go of them. There is something magical about having it written down on the list and then consciously deciding to cross it off. You can also see all the things you  are choosing not to do and it feels good.

I am here to say that it worked for me. And I know it will work for some of you, too.

As I crossed things off the list, I could feel space and time opening up. It was a relief knowing that less things on the list would allow more time to really enjoy making the gingerbread houses. I discovered that making my own wrapping paper is actually more fun and more important to me than Santa’s Sleigh Ride. You will gain insight, too.

As for the following January? No more nightmares. None. And I haven’t had any since.

Be well.





The weather has definitely been colder for the past few weeks here in Seattle. We’ve even had some snow and it’s hanging around for a while because our temperatures are hovering at freezing even during the day.

If you haven’t started shifting your eating to Align with Winter, I would start now. One thing that happens in the Pacific Northwest is that as days get shorter and it gets colder and damp, our blood sugar plummets. So, if you are having a hard time staying away from the coffee and sweets, the weather is definitely a factor. It’s not just the holidays. Preparing and eating meals that are more appropriate for the climate can really help balance your blood sugar and ease those sweet cravings.20141201_113213[1]

This dish is a wonderful way to add a hearty, warming element to your grains. I have written about this technique before, but here it is showing up with millet and kabocha squash. The combination is super comforting and satisfying. Just what you need when you are eating a meal cozied up to the fire.

I am also contributing this dish to the Virtual Vegan Linky Potluck, little sister to the Virtual Vegan Potluck which will be happening December 13 this year!!

You will need a stove top to oven dish, preferably with a nice fitting lid. I use my small Le Creuset. I think it’s a 2 qt. If you don’t have a lid for your dish, before putting it in the oven put some parchment on top with some foil on top of that and make sure it’s sealed.

Baked Millet and Kabocha Squash

2 tsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped small
2 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 tsp dried sage
1/2 tsp thyme
1 bay leaf
1/2 small kabocha squash, seeded and cut into small 1″ chunks (about 1 1/2 cups)
1 1/2 cups rinsed millet
2 pinches sea salt
3 1/2 cups water

1.  Oven to 350º.

2.  Heat your pot on low medium. Add the olive oil and the onion and saute until onion starts getting translucent. Add the garlic, sage, thyme and bay leaf and saute for a few minutes more. Add the squash and mix. Saute for a few more minutes.

3.  Add the millet and let saute for a few more minutes. Then add the water and salt and bring to a boil. Put the lid on and place pot in oven. Bake for 30 minutes or until all the liquid has been incorporated and millet is cooked.

4.  Serve.



I spend a lot of time thinking about how to move my life forward in a big way. Sometimes this means deciding to go for something even if it feels like I can’t and even if I don’t want to.

The past few months have been intense for me and I know that I’m not alone. Read this recent post over at Cauldrons and Cupcakes to get Nicole’s take on the energies swirling around and influencing us during this time.

In the past few months, I have quit a job and jumped completely into the world of self-employment. I taught a six class series, organized a workshop and moved into a new home. I started providing meals for Dyne, led a one-hour class on eliminating racism, led a support group, started hosting travelers from other countries, opened a healing arts business and participated in a psychic panel. These are all new ventures and I have had to step way outside of my comfort zone to embrace them.

Each one of these things entailed waking up and taking action even when it felt hard. Many days I desperately wanted to stay holed up in bed. And yet, because I have made a commitment to say yes to whatever spirit puts in front of me as the next thing, here I am each day moving at light speed into the fullest expression of who I really am.

The feedback I received after my class on eliminating racism? That I’m fierce, passionate, warm and brilliant. I have kept my fierceness under wraps for most of my life. I love love love that it is showing itself.

I attended a workshop for large women and their allies last September. One of our leaders talked about how hard it can be to shift some of our old patterns. She gave the direction to wake up each morning and do the hardest thing.

Interpreting what that hardest thing is can be a little tricky. It doesn’t have anything to do with what you think you should do. It’s not about struggle or beating yourself up. It’s about lovingly looking at what’s really holding you back and going after cleaning that up so that you can move forward in your life. Lovingly holding yourself in that space of “Yes. We are going to do this hard thing because what I really want is to be able to move through life freely expressing my full being.” We are all powerful, creative and brilliant. Somewhere along the way, most of us got the message that it was safer to play it small.

Waking up and doing the hardest thing each day is about no longer accepting playing it small in the world. We are needed. Each and every one of us in our full brilliance. The time is now. Know that when you allow yourself to shine big it may be uncomfortable, it may be terrifying, but you are not alone and you can look around you and see others doing the same. Know that I am with you as well. Please let me know if there is any way I can be of assistance as you show yourself more fully in the world.






In the beginner’s mind there are possibilities, but in the expert’s mind there are few.

-Zen Master Shunryo Suzuki

There are many ways to approach beginner’s mind, but today I am going to talk about the concept of clearing your mind particularly in relation to what you think you know about health and wellness. Letting go of all of your knowledge and beliefs, if even just for a moment, can create a wonderful opportunity to start anew with a clean slate and fresh perspective.

With a client last week, this was one of my suggestions and it was related to nutrition information. We are constantly inundated with information about supplements, superfoods, phytonutrients, it’s never ending. Some of us take a handful of supplements in the morning for a variety of different perceived benefits and we end up creating more disorder than health. We make a chia seed porridge with acai and goji berries, ground flax, hemp seeds and coconut milk or a smoothie with all this plus kale, almond butter and protein powder and we don’t always stop to consider whether it truly makes sense for our bodies, our digestive system and the energy we want to bring into our day.

Using beginner’s mind can help us take a step back and start from scratch, adding only those things that make sense today in this moment. Sometimes we have so many facts and assumptions crowding our brain, that there’s no space for our intuition to guide us. Our intuition is essential for guiding us on our path of health. Clearing our minds can help us become more aware of that insight.

courtesy of hyena reality at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

courtesy of hyena reality at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Many people have used a macrobiotic approach to help heal their bodies from cancer. The recommendations given for healing from cancer are very different from those given for maintaining health. It’s fairly common for people who have healed from cancer to keep doing the same recommendations that helped them heal even years after the cancer is gone. By doing this, they create other imbalances in their bodies.

Our bodies change over time and we have different needs, sometimes on a daily basis. This is another place beginner’s mind is very helpful. Your body is not the same as it was a year ago or six months ago. Beginner’s mind allows us an opportunity to see our health for where it is today.

Another benefit of beginner’s mind is to help us view life with childlike wonder. This post today is about using it specifically in light of our health and diet, but it can be used to help us have a fresh view on anything in our lives. I hope you take some time today to play with this. There are many ways you can integrate it into your life. I probably use this frequently throughout my day without even thinking about it anymore. I just clear my mind and look at something anew. It’s fun and helps me see things from a new perspective every time.


Do you know how it is when you work on several projects simultaneously? Sometimes it seems like forever before you begin seeing progress. But, now I am beginning to see some of the results of all the changes I have made in my life recently.

I even moved this past week. I hadn’t really planned to, but a friend offered me her empty home to use for cooking classes and community meals and within less than a week, I was living in a new location.

One of my new projects centers around home-based community meals. Have you heard of Dyne? It’s a community meals concept that uses an app as its platform. It began in Seattle and allows hosts to post what they are cooking for dinner and set the time, date and price. Then guests sign up. New people, many who have never met before, arrive at the location and share a lovely meal.

On Tuesday, I joined six other Dyners for an amazingly delicious Ethiopian meal. The host graciously veganized most of the dishes and I was in food heaven. A few weeks ago, I Dyned at another house eating a fabulous build your own taco spread. For foodies who are tired of the restaurant scene and looking for more community and variety in their meals, this is a huge blessing. There is nothing like a home cooked meal shared with good company.IMG_20121231_105140



On Saturday November 1, I am hosting my first meal. If you are in Seattle WA and would like to join us, I will give you the basic information here, but you will need to download the free app to actually register yourself.

My Gluten-Free, Vegan Autumn Celebration:

Red Lentil Soup with Deep Fried Croutons and Gremolata
Brown Rice and Aduki Beans with Caramelized Onions
Nishime Style Vegetables with Red Kuri Squash, Parsnip and Carrot
Mixed Greens with Pepita Sauce
Poached Pears with Hazelnut Dates and Caramel Sauce


Dinner starts at 6 pm. $15 covers the meal and a small service fee. You will be sent my address (just north of Fremont in Seattle) upon registration. If you already know me, this can be a housewarming as well and a chance for you to see my new home.

Let me know in the comments if you have any questions.

May you all enjoy cozy, shared meals in the coming weeks.



I have been reading posts from Marlene Watson-Tara for long enough to know that she is a bright light in the world of macrobiotics. I first found her like I find most blogs and websites…while searching for a recipe. I didn’t know what I was looking for exactly, just a simple, vegan croquette made with grains. What I found was a yummy recipe for deep-fried tofu balls.

I also found so much more than a simple recipe. I found a site that I return to again and again and now I have dreams of heading over to Scotland or Spain to study with her. Marlene has an abundance of information on her site along with an online weight loss program based on whole, unprocessed, plant-based meals. She has wonderful recipes and you will also fun cooking videos, nutrition information, guest posts and so much more than I can list. If you haven’t found her yet, now there’s no excuse.

Marlene recently published the kind of cookbook that makes me super inspired to get in the kitchen. It’s called  Macrobiotics For All Seasons:  Vegan Recipes for Year-Round Health and Happiness. It’s going to be my next cookbook purchase. The recipes will be delicious and she incorporates the five element theory used in traditional Chinese medicine to show how to cook seasonally to strengthen and support your body throughout the year.9781583945582

You can find Marlene at marlenewatsontara.com.