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March 2010

Perfume Illuminated: Raspberry


I once read a wonderful story about raspberry bushes. It was in the mid 90’s in one of those wonderful new agey books (or as my son calls them “That weird hippy stuff  you read mother”) and the premise was that the blackberry or black raspberry  has a collective consciousness that extends all around the world. To be honest with you, I loved the idea of that and I found it incredibly easy to believe. You see, at that time that I read that  I was still living on our farm in Burton Ohio and blackberries and black raspberries were everywhere. They drove my husband crazy. because if you’ve ever had a berry bush  as a best friend, then you know just how prolific they really are. Every year  before they’d flower , Jim would go into the brambles with his gloves and his clippers and every year he’d find more and more of them.  Fortunately, when they began to flower, he’d have to leave them alone. Raspberries and Blackberries are a major source of sweet nectar for the honeybees.  He’s quite allergic, so if he missed a few the berries got their chance! Berry bushes are a bit like willow trees and If you drop just one clipping, within weeks it will have taken root and begun to spread. I love to imagine that they are all entwining their tendrils in the earth underfoot and that they are all connected just like my little book said.


 By the time that we moved 21 years later, there were black raspberries and blackberries everywhere and to my absolute delight they’d become completely uncontrollable.  They didn’t all ripen at the same times and they were all amazing. We had our favorite patches but Alex and his best friend Jessica still swear by the ones that grew down by our pond.  They didn’t start out down there , they came from some of the first clippings that my husband tossed over the fence as far away from the garden as he could find. Eventually my husband gave up and just forgot about trying to tame them. He’d settle for just trimming them a bit and then he’d join in the fun eating handful after handful.  Those berries were incredibly sweet, juicy and delicious which the most sumptuous sensual scent.   They were actually the size of quarters.

 When they were little, Alex and his friends Tyler and Jessica used to spend hours eating their way around the brambles.  They’d come running up with handfuls of the warm juicy berries for me and I loved them so much for the taste of course but more for the pleasure of knowing that these children that I adored were having an early experience of sustainability.  We’d share them and then they’d go running off for more.  I’d send them home covered in purple juice, thankfully their mothers forgave me! These are some of the best memories of my life.  I made cobblers, pies and ice cream out of them and if you’ve never had a real black raspberry margarita then you don’t know what you’re missing.  For some reason, tequila marries well with black raspberries, mint and a bit of sugar.  Black Raspberries and meyer lemon juice mixed with  sugar, branch water and cracked ice made a delicious and refreshing lemonade that  is absolutely delicious and lovely to look at too!

Red and Black Raspberries marry well with many different types of food, but the most impressively with pork and wild game. There’s something about the sweet  yet acidic quality of the berries that cuts right through the fattiness of duck or goose  and venison is never more luscious than when it’s glazed with a sauce of black raspberries , elderberries and red wine.  I love to throw them into salads, combining  them with raw pecans, red onions and mixed greens. If you need a bit of protein, sliced grilled chicken or duck breast will round out the flavors as will a sprinkling of  fresh goat cheese which marries beautifully with the tanginess of the fresh berries. A simple vinaigrette made with olive oil, herbs and a light red wine will dress this salad perfectly.

My first experience of the black raspberry as a medicinal tonic came when I was a child and I developed a serious tummy ache one day after eating too many pieces of very greasy pepperoni pizza. Instead of  going for the antacid in the cupboard, my mother vey wisely took  out the bottle of  raspberry cordial that she kept in her medicine cabinet  and poured  a nice bit of it into a cup of hot water. She gave it to me to sip and it has been my favorite stomach tonic  ever since.   Raspberry leaf tea has always been one of the midwives best allies from conception to birth indeed it is said that drinking a tisane of clover and raspberry leaves can help  promote fertility  in women and virility   in men!  Raspberry leaves contain vast amounts of natural and easily assimilated vitamin C, B, A, E, Calcium and iron.  A cup of raspberry tea made with the a bit of mint , raspberry fruit, dried nettles and alfalfa and the leaves helped ease my morning sickness and  the well known abilities of  that same tea to tone and strengthen the uterine muscles has helped prevent many a miscarriage over the centuries and helps with the bleeding and cleansing that all of our bodies go through after childbirth, allowing them to return quickly to their pre -pregnancy suppleness. 

One word of caution though. If you are breast  feeding, you may find that drinking the tea can either help the production of your breast milk or hinder it.  If you fall into the latter category, try my favorite remedy instead. Two days after I gave birth to my son, Jim walked into the house carrying a case of really wonderful stout with instructions from his mother to have me drink one of them every afternoon at about 4:00 pm. There was much native wisdom in this prescription and when I asked my own mother about it she just laughed and said that my MIL was absolutely correct and to do as she instructed .  Drinking that one beer became such a relaxing part of my day and my breast milk was abundant.  Another bonus was that Alex slept through the night before he was six weeks old probably due to the hops that it was laced with! Fruity Raspberry Lambic beer from Belgium is incredibly refreshing and wonderfully relaxing and would be a sweet and perfect substitution for someone who generally doesn't enjoy the bitter taste of beer. 


It’s been 8 year now since we sold our farm and I miss those black raspberries every summer.  I have been an apartment dweller all of this time but this spring we are in the process of purchasing a home once again.  We have found a lovely place in a wonderful city called Cleveland Heights, with a huge front porch and gardens that wrap around the whole lot. It has apple trees and herb beds and there are daffodils and crocuses coming up   everywhere.  But, it doesn’t have any black raspberries so come the "Merry Month of May", I will be making the drive out to Burton to ask for a few of the canes from the patch by the pond so that I can again have some of my very own. My poor husband!

Now buzz over to Roxana Villa's Illuminated Journal to read  more about the luscious raspberry and its wonderful uses in  fragrance!

Black Raspberry Photograph courtesy of :  http://www.living-and-loving-my-country-life.com

Lambic Beer photograph courtesy of : http://atattooedtale.wordpress.com

Painting of raspberries courtesy of :http://www.urbanartantiques.com

Song of the Sea : Roxana Villa's GreenWitch


When I first smelled the GreenWitch, Roxana Villa's extraordinary sea chypre perfume, I was reminded of the  many men who have told me that the sea is the mistress  whose secrets once discovered can never be forgotten.

I have seen this passion in my own son who has been in love with her ever since the first time that he was old enough to run into her waves as a little boy, splashing happily and sobbing with the most painful sorrow when it was time to leave. Every year we brought him back to California and as he grew he learned to surf and kayak and eventually sail.  When he took a trip to the Florida Keys as an 18 year old to spend a week on a small sailboat with a crew from Outward Bound he was in the throes of a relationship with a beautiful woman that he loved but who was going to choose an incredible arts college in Chicago to pursue a dream that was absolutely right for her, but wrong for him. He was  having to make the painful choice between giving up his dream of going to school in California and the first girl that he ever fell completely in love with.  So I did the only thing that I could think of to do, I sent him off to play in the sea. He barely set foot on land for 12 days and he was blissfully happy the whole time.  By the time he returned he’d swum with sharks during the day and watched the dolphins play all around the little boat, covered in the luminous algae that shimmers and glows only in the nighttime hours. He had learned to navigate by the stars. I saw the look on his face and I knew that he knew what his choice was going to be. The relationship ended painfully and left him fairly shattered inside although he’d made the choice powerfully himself. It was a very scary time for him, but  somehow I knew that it would be okay.


One morning I woke up to find him in the kitchen looking at diving schools. We made the decision that he would go to Honduras for a three month program, so that he could become a Divemaster. Off he went to the little island of Utila, having never spoken a bit of Spanish and fortunately armed with an iphone with international texting!  He dove everyday for 3 months and explored the beautiful reefs in the area.  He called one day incredibly excited to tell me about the huge barracuda that he’d swum overtop of when he and his friends were out diving. He completed his certification and came back to the states. I will always be grateful.  I sent him to Honduras completely broken and Honduras sent him back to us, whole and complete. 

 Alex lives in his beloved California in a condominium that we all share together, less than 600 feet from his beloved sea.  He goes to school everyday and comes home, grabs his surfboard and runs happily down to the beach. When we come for visits we go for long walks together on the beach and he grabs his father and drags him into the waves again to surf, just like he used to as a little boy.  He is in love with a wonderful girl who goes down to the beach with him while he surfs and reads or practices her yoga and he is truly happy.  

Green Witch

 I trust him in the turbulent sea and maybe it is because I truly believe in the old ways, that maybe there is indeed an ocean Goddess who protects my son who's always out there splashing about in her waves.  In the story of the GreenWitch, the incredible tale by Susan Cooper that has inspired Roxana to create this beautiful fragrance, her name is Tethys and she is the “The Ancient Ocean Goddess and the Queen of the Wild Magic”. Any woman who has born a child knows that the smell of the sea is the sweet smell of birth, of a primordial stew that we’ve all risen from coupled with a particular type of wild magic that knows absolutely no boundaries. She is a generous Goddess who gives us abundant sustenance and plentiful jewels.  If you’ve found a piece of frosted sea glass while walking along the beach, then you’ll know what I mean. Tethys is the wild untamed link between my son and me, the psychic bond that we share together that allows me to see into his heart and know everytime that I need to let him go. I trust her completely to keep him safe. 

For me, the wild GreenWitch  is Roxana’s most inspired fragrance to date.  The second that I put it on I was taken back to the moment that my own waters broke and the waves of contractions began to overwhelm me. 23 years ago I took a deep breath and plunged into my own wild sea and the result was my beautiful son.  GreenWitch  is a gorgeous “sea chypre”  that takes my breath away over and over again.  It smells of something wild and wonderful and it also reminds me of the first time that I held my child and smelled the sea in him. The seaweed absolute and the tincture of kelp  are only part of the magical formula that Roxana has created in this bewitching fragrance, but they are energetically present in this perfume in a way that cannot help but  send you dreaming into vast and ancient spaces.  Of all the chypres that I have ever loved, GreenWitch is my absolute favorite .   

As for my Alex, his next great adventure will probably be 6 months on a Sea Shepherd boat sometime next year chasing down Japanese whalers or protecting the sharks that he loves.  I will be sharing Roxana’s GreenWitch with him and I know that he will be drawn instantly to it and the sea magic that it contains.  It smells like he does, just a bit like the seawind , briny and sweet.  He will also cherish the fact that a percentage of each flacon sold will be donated to Greenpeace to help protect his beloved oceans. In her typical fashion, Roxana has created a beautiful perfume but also a powerful and magical offering.  The release of this fragrance today during the unfolding Vernal Equinox is a potent springtime spell for us all. We all come from the sea and we shall all in some way return to her.  It is time for us to see the connections both personal and global to this beautiful world that we all share together and begin to take the actions needed to protect her not just for us but for our great grandchildren and all of those who share this great space with us that we have never met.  It is urgent that we do so, it is profoundly clear that now is the time that we need to heed the call of our own wild natures. GreenWitch is the personal and deeply heartfelt natural prayer of one extraordinary woman and a powerful talisman for us all.  Wear it and become........

I have the honor of participating today in a blogothon about the GreenWitch with many of my incredibly gifted friends! Please go to the following blogs to read their incredible offerings!  

Ida at BitterGrace Notes

The Non Blonde

Tom at Perfume Posse

Scent Hive

Perfume Shrine

Portland Examiner

Roxana and Davis
Illuminated Perfume Journal

Picture of Alex -Courtesy of Alexander Gehring

Other images by Roxana Villa and Gregory Spalenka

Perfume Illuminated: Sage

Are you goin' to Scarborough Fair? Parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme.

Remember me to one who lives there, she once was a true love of mine.

Tell her to make me a cambric shirt (On the side of a hill in the deep forest green).

Parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme (Tracing a sparrow on snow-crested ground).

Without no seams nor needlework (Blankets and bedclothes the child of the mountain).

Then she'll be a true love of mine (Sleeps unaware of the clarion call).

Tell her to find me an acre of land (On the side of a hill, a sprinkling of leaves).

Parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme (Washes the grave with silvery tears).

Between salt water and the sea strands (A soldier cleans and polishes a gun).

Then she'll be a true love of mine.

Tell her to reap it in a sickle of leather (War bellows, blazing in scarlet battalions).

Parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme (Generals order their soldiers to kill).

And gather it all in a bunch of heather (And to fight for a cause they've long ago forgotten).

Then she'll be a true love of mine."

 Scarbourough Fair/Canticle  - Simon and Garfunkel


Flavor: Sage 

For todays Perfume Illuminated, Roxana and I have decided to take a fragrant and flavorful journey with the genus Salvia....more commonly known to us as sage. Sage is the  herb that I love the most passionately and if I ever(perish the thought!) had to choose just one herb to spend the rest of my days with it would be the sage. Immortalized in songs and sonnets , sage is still planted in the cloisters and medieval knot gardens that have been hidden for centuries behind castle walls.   Images of Sage and it's lovely flowers are embroidered into some of the most famous tapestries ever created, tapestries that set fire to the imagine passionately.   Indeed , the lovely little sage is no stranger to the secret languages of passion and romance.


It comes in so many different varieties and I plant as many as I can, adoring them for their flowers which my hummingbirds love and the velvety fleshy leaves that flavor my stews and stuffings  all throughout the year. There are Sacred Sages, Culinary Sages and even a Psychoactive Sage, the gorgeous yet notorious Salvia Divinorum.  I have found it growing wild in Colorado and Arizona and have picked big bouquets of long stemmed Sacred White Sage in Wyoming where it grows abundantly along the Snake River, taking it home and turning it into smudge sticks.  The Native Americans have always considered sage one of the sacred herbs and  burned smudge sticks such as these to banish any feelings of negativity or the lingering feelings of fear  and sorrow left in a space once a being has passed on or suffered through a long sickness or trauma. They also used the wet leaves in their sweat lodges to produce copious amounts of smoke that would help open the nasal passages and the lungs.  

Sage is an ancient herb, beloved for centuries in Europe and on this continent for its medicinal and antibacterial qualities and of course for the musky, earthy flavor that blends so beautifully with so many things.  Indeed the associations that we have with the aroma of sage are of hearth and home, the scent of a turkey roasting with a sage, sausage, apple and chestnut dressing takes me back into my mothers kitchen faster than almost any other thing else that I can cook. I'll post that recipe when Autumn comes!


Sage Derby, that remarkable English cheese has it’s origins in the 17th century when sage leaves were added to fresh derby curds to produce a delicious cheese enjoyed at Lughnasadh and Yule feasts that was almost minty in flavor and wonderful for the digestion.  These days, fresh sage is still added at the beginning of the process and chlorophyll too, so that the cheese has a beautiful marbling of green throughout.  Sage Derby is my favorite cheese to melt over sprouted grain bread for a wonderful grilled cheese sandwich and one of the most beautiful cheeses to use on a cheese board. Make sure that you have a wonderful ale to go with that and some fresh apples too! 

I’ve also made my own farmers cheese flavored with sage using  a gallon of organic milk (cream top!), a pinch of salt and the juice of a lemon. It's a very simple recipe, just bring the milk to   a boil, stir for a minute and add the salt . Turn off the heat and add the lemon juice and the curds will begin to form. Take a lot of cheese cloth and line a strainer with it, (I've found that a pasta pot with a strainer works very well for this) and pour in the milk and curds. Let it drain for a bit, scoop out the cheese and put it into a bowl. Add some salt, pepper and chopped fresh sage.  refrigerate and serve with whole grain crackers for a light treat thats delicious and has the added bonus of being a digestif as well!

I love to drink sage tea when I've got a touch of the flu as it relaxes me and cools me down if I'm feverish. Just steep a handful of fresh sage (or a tablespoon or two of dried) in a  cup of hot water, add a bit of raw honey and enjoy. This same tonic makes an exceptional gargle for a sore throat and really soothes the parched dry tissues of aching tonsils. Sage powder (ground in a coffee grinder) and mixed into a paste with baking soda and a bit of peppermint essential oil is one of the best remedies that I know of to help sooth inflamed gums naturally. Women who experience a heavier flow during their monthly periods can  drink sage tea to help bring a bit of balance to their cycle and lighten up the bleeding. An important note for women who are breastfeeding - avoid sage as it will dry up your milk production very quicklyI  I love to take fresh sage and pieces of Crystallized ginger and simmered them in  sugar and water until they boil down into a delightful syrup that makes a very relaxing and restorative stomach tonic when stirred into a glass of white wine.  Try infusing the same syrup into a pitcher of iced green tea! You'll love it!

So this spring whether you've a garden or a patio, be sure to plant a few different types of sage to enjoy! Don't forget the beautifully fragrant clary sage and in my book you can never have too much pineapple sage! That's the one that the hummingbirds really adore and you'll spend many a summer afternoon watching them dart from bud to bud while sipping a cool glass of that 

delicious iced tea! 

When you're done listening to the Mediaevil Babes, float over to Roxana Villas gorgeously Illuminated journal for her sure to be wonderful musings about Fragrance: Sage 


Sage Derby Photo courtesy of bowerscheese.com

The Captive Unicorn Tapestry courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art website

Sage Bundle Photo courtesy of www.bluestarincense.com

Perfume Illuminated: Cannabis

Cannabis: Flavor



I am still such a happy old hippy. I just can’t help myself…. I seriously take great joy in living part time in a state where Marijuana is barely criminalized, but definitely enjoyed by a huge percentage of the local population openly and freely on a fairly regular basis. Indeed ,Cannabis needs absolutely no introduction to anyone who came of age in the 60’s and 70’s and I don’t think that it’s popularity has ever dwindled regardless of the mass prohibition and vilification that this incredibly helpful herb has had to tolerate for the at least last 70 years. Its remarkably fragrant qualities and euphoria producing tendencies make it a very attractive and comforting intoxicant for those who really don’t like to drink but want to enjoy a relaxing state of being that really doesn’t  produce a nasty hangover in the morning or leave you wondering if you said or did anything that you shouldn’t have!

My own history with this fairly notorious little herb goes way back to the early 1970’s when I was coming of age as a teenager. Quite frankly I loved it and I found smoking a joint or two with my friends around a bonfire to be a lovely way to pass an evening.  We weren’t causing much trouble at all, unless you can call a bunch of reasonably intelligent kids sitting around listening to Yes and discussing politics, existentialism and quasi pagan philosophies well into the night trouble.  It was only when we began to add alcohol into the equation that it began to get a bit complicated.   And…who needs complications when you can just have a simple bit of harmless fun and a brownie or two?

To understand the politics of Marijuana you truly have to look no farther than the corporate interests that widespread use of hemp and Cannabis would impact.  Hemp one of the Cannabis cousins is an incredibly useful plant with nary a fraction of the “enlivening”  components of Cannabis Sativa.  It also makes fabulous paper, cloth, food, oil, and can be converted into energy.  By now everyone knows that the original Declaration of Independence was written on hemp paper and that Jefferson , Washington et al. were hemp farmers. One doesn’t need to read between the lines to see that the reintroduction of legal hemp farming across the United States would completely impact the timber, cotton and paper industries.  

It’s that simple and it’s the powerful impact of industrial hemp farming on other industries that keep it from widespread legalization here in the United States. In 1938 the Dupont Corporation had already patented the processes for creating paper from wood pulp and many of the powerful industry captains of that time were  heavily invested in the factories that would be creating paper products. There were studies done at the time showing that paper made from hemp instead of wood pulp was not only a better and more stable product, but was easier on the environment.  The processes used to produce hemp products are much less toxic than the ones used to produce paper and it was widely known that hemp was incredibly useful.  However the enormous wealth of men like William Randolph Hearst enabled them to persuade our government to outlaw it because of the vast amounts of money that they stood to lose at the time.   


The many incredible health benefits of using Cannabis Sativa wisely as medicine  are well documented.   There are studies now that show the ability of marijuana to help children and adults with  Attention Deficit Disorder gain focus in their lives and the effects  Cannabis on Glaucoma have been well understood for years. People with cancer and fibromyalgia use it to find relief from pain without the horrendous side effects and addictive tendencies of traditional pain medications. Crohns patients and those with IBS and other inflammatory bowel diseases who are fortunate enough to live in states where Cannabis has been decriminalized can find easy relief from the painful  and completely debilitating  pain and intestinal spasms that they experience daily as part of their disease .  There are even new groundbreaking studies that show that breast cancer can be put into remission by a daily dose of cannabis and patients suffering from the horrific side effects that chemotherapy produces can easily and safely find relief by ingesting a simple  THC med strip, a sublingual delivery system that  dissolves under your tongue and has the pain relieving properties of two  Vicodins without the terrible side effects.

Personally I look forward to the day when marijuana is as legal and as easy to purchase as a bottle of vodka, which I consider to be far more damaging.  Living in San Diego part of the time, I experience daily the really scary stories of the murderous drug wars that are raging on approximately 45 minutes from my lovely coastal home.  At a dinner party last year I met a government agent who had been brought into San Diego specifically to help secure the Tijuana border. His made his feelings very clear,   that Americans need to insist upon the legalization of marijuana immediately in this country.  Regulate it like alcohol, tax it  (it’s California’s largest cash crop!) and shut down the need for the illegal trade that results in so much horrific bloodshed along our Mexican borders.   

Perhaps I’ve said enough of the reasons that I believe that Cannabis should be decriminalized in this country.  It’s never made sense to me that I could go out and legally drink myself silly, potentially leaving myself open to reeking some real havoc on some unsuspecting souls life forever yet if I wanted to indulge myself by smoking a bit of pot   and relaxing in my living room I could really get into some serious trouble for it. That finally seems to be changing in this country and perhaps it is as simple as all the boomers are coming of age. The last staggering statistic that I heard on National Public radio was that approximately 54 percent of American seniors still admitting to smoking it and perhaps that is why we are many steps closer to finally demanding its legalization. At this point in California and many other states, medical marijuana is available in all forms to the lucky residents and all you would need  to procure it without risk to life and limb is a qualifying diagnosis from your physician .  There are strictly enforced dispensaries where those lucky enough to enjoy the privilege will find all sorts of ways to indulge themselves. There are fancy edibles like lollipops, ice cream and brownies and even sodas made with cannabis for those who wish not to smoke their medicines.   

All over California   http://freeculturemag.com/ is offered  in coffee shops  and other gathering places and conversation among white collared executive types about  their medical marijuana is as relaxed and easy as a conversation about men and chocolate in Paula Deens kitchen.

In honor of that sort of sanity  (and chocolate!) I’d like to offer a recipe or two!

I am told that the best way to make anything delicious with marijuana is through the use of something called “Cannabis Butter”. This does seem a bit easier than the first time that I tried to make anything with marijuana back in the 70’s.  A dear HS friend of mine (who’s probably reading this and laughing a lot) and I decided to help her sister harvest the two marijuana plants that somehow she’d managed to grow unnoticed in her closet.  Friday night the exciting phone call came…the parents were out and it was time to dry the goods! Having never done this before, we decided to use the oven and we put leaves, buds and all on two cookie sheets in a 300 degree oven. Within 10 minutes we knew the mistake we’d made. To salvage the project we tossed the whole thing into two boxes of Betty Crocker brownie mix.  Let me tell you….all of the room spray in the world couldn’t remove the sweet smell of the evidence in time. To this day I have no idea why we didn’t get caught.  Goddess that was fun!


 Try the butter recipe. It seems much easier!


The following (and the above picture) is a recipe that seems to get a lot of great accolades from a fun little site called http://bestmarijuanabrownierecipe.com.  Marijuana butter is very green and looks like something that is straight out of the Dr. Seuss classic “Green Eggs and Ham”.  However, I must admit that it does sound quite delicious melted over a loaded baked potato or a simple Dijon encrusted filet of sole with fresh asparagus…both recipes that I saw in the “Culture” magazine that I was reading last week!  Careful though, I’m guessing that it is fairly potent stuff!


Cannabis Butter

The amount of butter and cannabis used can vary depending of how potent you want the end product to be. A batch of brownies typically calls for a 3/4 cup of butter, for use in brownies I recommend at least 3.5 grams (1/8 Ounce) of cannabis be used. For best results I’d use anywhere from 14 grams (1/2 ounce) to an ounce (28 grams). But once again this can vary greatly and in the end it all comes down to personal preference.

For simplicity’s sake we’ll use 1 lb of butter and 1 ounce of cannabis.



1.             Melt the butter in a pan/pot (pun intended).
Finely grind or chop the cannabis as small as possible without it being too small that it will fall through our strainer later on.

2.             Once the butter has started boiling we can turn it down to a simmer and add the cannabis.

3.             Stirring occasionally wait until the butter has turned green from the marijuana. (The longer the cannabis is being cooked in the butter the more time we allow the THC to be extracted resulting in a more potent result)

4.             Once the butter has turned green we can now remove the leaves by pouring the butter through the strainer.

And we’re done!

At this point we can either freeze/chill it for storage or we can use it as an ingredient in another recipe.




How about this delightful recipe for Strawberry Banana Brownies that I found on the “Culture Magazine“ website?


Strawberry Banana Brownies

1 ½ cups flour

1 ½ cups sliced strawberries

1 ripe banana, mashed

1 egg

*1 cup marijuana butter

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup cocoa powder 

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Powdered sugar for dusting


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Melt butter in a double boiler, allow to partially cool, and then transfer to a large bowl. Whisk in the egg and vanilla. Puree 1/4 cup of the strawberries and whisk into the butter. In a separate bowl, sift together the cocoa powder, sugar and flour. Add to the butter-egg mixture and fold thoroughly. Add the remaining strawberries and banana and fold until well mixed. Pour into greased 9-inch baking dish. Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Dust with powdered sugar if desired.




 I am also told by excellent sources that the best marijuana brownie recipe ever is a simple adaptation of the classic brownie recipe from the book “The Essence of Chocolate”  by John Scharffenberger and Robert Steinberg.




Fudgy Brownies



In order to achieve the crackled top and fudgy texture of classic brownies, this batter must be beaten by hand until it pulls from the sides of the bowl. This sounds like a task, but it’s not; there’s something homey and satisfying about stirring this thick, glossy batter yourself.



Tbsp. (3 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into cubes, plus more for the pan ( Substitute Cannabis butter)


oz. 70-percent bittersweet chocolate


cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar


tsp. salt


large eggs

cup all-purpose flour


cup toasted walnut halves (optional)




                Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

                Cut an 8-by-16-inch piece of parchment paper. Lightly butter an 8-by-8-by-2-inch pan and line it with the parchment, allowing it to extend evenly over the opposite sides. Butter the parchment, including the paper on the sides of the pan.

                Place the chocolate and butter in a large heatproof bowl set over a pot of gently simmering water and stir occasionally until melted and smooth. Remove from the heat.

                With a large rubber spatula or wooden spoon, beat the sugar and salt into the chocolate mixture. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Add the flour and mix vigorously until the batter is very glossy and pulls away from the sides of the bowl.

                Break the nuts, if using, into large pieces over the batter and fold them in.

                Pour the batter into the prepared pan and tap the pan bottom on the countertop to level the batter. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the center comes out moist but clean.

                Let cool in the pan on a cooling rack for 10 minutes. Remove the brownies from the pan using the parchment “handles,” and cool completely on the rack before cutting into 2-inch squares.

Be sure to go over to Roxana Villa's utterly gorgeous Illuminated Journal to read; http://journal.illuminatedperfume.com/2010/03/perfume-illuminated-cannabis.html

 And.....While your  brownies are cooling here’s a bit of Bob Marley for you !


 Please note that these recipes are listed here for sheer entertainment value and are intended for use only where the use of medical marijuana isn’t in violation of any state law. I don't need to go into the legalities of this issue, everyone knows them. Also, please note that edibles made with marijuana can really vary in potency and in other words   can really be potent depending upon your height, weight and general state of health. Please use as much care and intelligence as possible!





Wandering Wonderland

“One pill makes you larger

And one pill makes you small

And the ones that mother gives you

Don't do anything at all

Go ask Alice

When she's ten feet tall


And if you go chasing rabbits

And you know you're going to fall

Tell 'em a hookah smoking caterpillar

Has given you the call

Call Alice

When she was just small


When men on the chessboard

Get up and tell you where to go

And you've just had some kind of mushroom

And your mind is moving low

Go ask Alice

I think she'll know


When logic and proportion

Have fallen sloppy dead

And the White Knight is talking backwards

And the Red Queen's "off with her head!"

Remember what the dormouse said:

"Feed your head

Feed your head

Feed your head"


From "White Rabbit" by The Jefferson Airplane



 I’ve fallen down the Rabbit Hole many times in my life. Turning 50 was the ultimate awakening into the awareness that perhaps I should just accept that I’ve spent most of my life either living in or trying to avoid living in Wonderland. I’ve since  decided to follow my bliss, making one of my homes in a very green and sunny spot of Southern California! And…anyone who has spent any time here knows that its not one of the most envied of lifestyles without good reason. The strawberries that live here are mutants that grow to the size of tennis balls yet are as sweet as candy. There are oranges, lemons and avocados growing in the smallest front yards  and orchards everywhere.  Cooking herbs that I buy back East are the size of shrubs and if I want fresh rosemary all that I do is walk down the street and grab a handful! There is tie dye in the shades of the brightest butterflies in sold in every shop and flowers so fragrant that you can smell them for blocks. There are Hot Yoga studios where you can break free from your cocoon and stretch your wings and artisan coffee houses on every corner, filled with hookah pipes and fabulous French pastry.

 Here in Southern California  great wine practically flows from the public fountains and best of all for an old hippy chick like me, marijuana is virtually legal in this state and worshipped by young and old with a Dionysian abandon. A walk on the beach here is a delightful aromatherapy treatment, packed with all of the emotional benefits and none of the legal traumas.   Medical Marijuana is used here liberally, safely and wisely. Believe me….It’s a very happy place to be because it seems that everyone’s always smiling!


Although I haven’t used them for many years, I’m still fascinated by psychedelic drugs and their effects.  I thoroughly appreciate and respect the natural Hallucinogens.  It’s the Shaman’s way and I can’t help but embrace that part of myself that still loves to play in the various and vast realms of the unknown. I’m an herbalist and although LSD was fun in my youth I consider myself lucky to have escaped their clutches unscathed because synthesized drugs and their potential for creating uncontrollable emotional mayhem completely scare the hell out of me.

On the other hand Cannabis, Opium, Peyote and Psilocybin mushrooms are natural tools that can open you up to all of the possibilities of the world as an individual and community all at once. Be careful though…. they work with YOUR consciousness and they are brilliant interpreters of YOUR particular brand of truth. If you approach them with respect they will generously share their amazing secrets and if you abuse them they will be more than happy to teach you a very potent lesson. They are very generous little plants. 

Trust me on this. 

When taken wisely and in the company of one who understands their natural gifts, these plant allies can be potent tools to promote incredible self -awareness. They will shrink the boundaries of your self- imposed limitations and allow you to move through the cracks of your ego with surprising swiftness. They will also bring you visions from the depths of your being that will scare you into consciousness and allow you to choose to be present in your life powerfully. Allowing yourself to be present to the deepest, dankest inner trembling of your psyche can be incredibly empowering and terrifying at the same time. It’s not always pretty and quite often its very impolite. To be sure, it’s been a long strange journey down the rabbit hole but I’ve enjoyed every minute of it.  I know who I am and that’s why I can finally live peacefully here in Wonderland……… 

So who am I?  To be entered into our drawing for a sample of our Roxana’s fabulous new perfume “Smell me” you’ll need to take your very best guess.  But for me the most fascinating question of the day is “Who are you?”

 Roxana Villa has created a trial version of a green fragrance with rose at the heart titled "Smell Me".

She will be giving away five samples of the fragrance as part of this blogging collective.  To be entered to win a sample of "Smell Me" please visit each participating blog and determine which character from the story each blogger has assumed. E-mail your guess to Roxana (at) IlluminatedPerfume.com. Five winners will be chosen to receive a sample of the first edition trial of the fragrance.   

Participating Blogs:

Illuminated Perfume Journal http://journal.illuminatedperfume.com/

Perfume Shrine:


Indie Perfumes:


Tom at PerfumeSmellin' Things:



Authors disclaimer: I’m very aware that I’m talking about some plants that are very illegal in this country.  If you’re ever going to try them, please do so safely and only in the company of one who knows and understands their power. And….the legalities of getting caught with them are still incredibly frightening. I think that the marijuana laws in this country are ridiculous, but they’re still here…..at least for now! With boomers of all stripes in political power the collective consciousness surrounding cannabis law in this country is changing. Here in California, marijuana is the single largest cash crop and if taxed has the potential to bring this state out of its appalling deficit. For more information go to:


Drawing of Alice courtesy of Roxana Villa