Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Khan Academy Works!

I have to quickly brag about Raymond. I am so proud of my boy. He showed an interest in Computer Programming last summer, but it didn't stick. This year, he again said he wanted learn. He wants to learn computer animation. So we tried again. We started on Sunday by using the tutorials on Khan Academy.

If you've never heard of this site, go there now and bookmark it. Then tell all of your friends and family about it. It's is a free site where you can learn everything from basic addition to calculus to economics to art history. It's founder, Sal Khan, has a vision for a "one world classroom." Both my kids improved their math skills on Khan Academy.

In two days, Raymond learned basic computer programming language. Last night, wrote a script all by himself.

That is a screen shot. If you want a closer look, go to:
to clearly see the script. The only thing he asked me was "how do you spell pepperoni?" He created the shapes and colors all by himself! This is such a big deal. With all of his diagnoses, it's wonderful to see him embrace math and science with enthusiasm. I am a proud mama.

Althea ◦

Sunday, December 1, 2013

I'm a Lot Better

Me on Thanksgiving Day. Photo taken by Jona, age 8.
Don't I look a lot happier than the photo from September 1?

The single best advice I've gotten during my separation is, "A marriage is a living, breathing thing. It is alive. And when it dies, you must grieve the loss." (Courtesy of Vivian Nic!)

I have been in mourning. And no, there is no chance of reconciliation. I had to take time to grieve the loss of a 14-year relationship and 12-year marriage. There is nothing easy about grief. It will take you down, way down into the Bowels of Hell at times...to the point you want to jump out of your skin to get away from the pain. Been there. Done that.

The second best piece of advice I got was, "Use this time to take your power back." In the past three months since my last post I have:

- Started the INSANITY workout. I am on Day 43.
- Started bellydance, Bodypump, Cycle, Cardio Dance, Ashtanga Yoga, walking, running (again), strength training, and Tiffany Rothe workouts.
- Lost 5 pounds (would be more if I weren't baking so much).
- Been to North Carolina to see family (and on Thanksgiving!)
- Created a budget for myself..first time ever really.
- Connected with Pathways to Whole Living, a lovely holistic center.
- Perfected chocolate, peanut butter, apple cider, and pumpkin chocolate chip cupcakes.
- Begun plans on Mocha Angels Omnimedia.
- Seeing life as abundant rather than scarce.
- Toyed around with seafood. Came to the conclusion that I am a natural vegetarian.
- Realized my life/healing POV is holistic and that my social media platforms should reflect that.
- Currently taking my power back.

And my boys!! They are both in school now. Jona's first few days were exactly what you would expect from a homeschooled Autistic child. ROUGH! Woo! I must say I thought it would take months for him to get used to school. I was proved wrong. He still has his moments, but Jona LOVES school. He has settled into a routine, and his teachers, principal, and Inclusion Helper are amazing people. He has an IEP (Individualized Education Plan). Both of us are happy.

Raymond is in school half-day at a private school. He loves it too and wants to go full-time. (Since I'm all about appreciation and abundance, I am affirming that for him, because private school is not cheap.)

I am happy to report that we are all better. I will continue blogging because I have lots to share with you all. Thanks for reading.



Sunday, September 1, 2013

Post-Separation Healing

My husband and I separated on August 3rd. My children and myself moved about 15 miles from where we were, in a lovely neighborhood. We are all doing fine. It was, however, the most single most difficult summer of my life. I don't say the "worst" because Summer 2004 was the worst. This was bad in a different way. The sheer stress of ending a marriage, the fallout, and the actual moving are beyond anything I've experienced....and I've been through some soul-crushing life-events. 

Since January, I've put on 14 pounds. I am now 5 pounds away from my highest pregnancy weight with Jona. I hadn't exercised, and ate my way through the summer. The good news was that I got to see my family, and my kids spent extended time in North Carolina and Georgia with family. My friends also helped me financially simply because I asked for help. I'm starting from very little money-wise, but a lot karma-wise. People have literally put cash in my hand, and said, "Take it, because I know you need it, or "I wish I could do more."  My friends helped me pack. People from my job helped me move. That has been very gratifying. I will be thanking everyone personally.

Not only have I packed on pounds, I'm having hormonal fluctuations again. So the weight loss, balancing my hormones, and womb healing are my focuses. I've come this far with moving out. Now I'm organizing my space, my mind, and my time. I'm off Facebook for at least a month. My friend Charli will be putting up the Mocha Angel messages. Email me at mochaangels@aol.com if you want to find me. Stay with me ya'll.


Friday, June 7, 2013

Green Smoothie Gone Wrong

I've had a copy of Everyday Raw Detox by Meredith Baird with Matthew Kenney for a few months. Visually stunning, beautiful to read, and inspirational, I love the whole vibe of the book. Long-time readers know I'm a Matthew Kenney groupie and proud of it. Completing his online raw chef training and eating at one of his restaurants are on my bucket list.

So I finally make something out of the book: a green smoothie called "Clean and Lean". The ingredients are fennel bulb, grapefruit, fresh mint, water, 1 date (optional), pinch o' sea salt, and 1/2 avocado.

This is what the final product looked like. And I didn't like it all. It was far too sour. I added not one more, but ten more dates to make a sweet enough to drink because I was not throwing food away.

The other problem was that my smoothie looked NOTHING like the one in the book! That photo is of a GREEN smoothie, not a vanilla milkshake. I used fennel bulb as the book said, but maybe I should have used its green stalk? Maybe more avocado? I don't know.

Dear "Clean and Lean" Smoothie, I have now re-named you the "What's Wrong With This Picture?" Smoothie.

Maybe next time.....

Althea ◦

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Video of Yoga Retreat for Women of Color!

One of the presenters at the retreat, Robin Downes of Yoga Flava, made a short video about it! Her video includes an interview with Maya, our founder, clips from me and Gail's workshop, and other moments from the weekend. It's almost five minutes long, so enjoy!


Althea ◦

Chakra Smoothie & More

I made a Chakra Smoothie this time. The ingredients were pomegranate, orange, lemon, spinach, blueberries, plum, and grapes. In the photo above, Jona is holding the finished result! Below is the fruit in all its glory :-).

I also made a Chocolate Spinach smoothie, based on the recommendation of Dr. Gail Parker, a fellow presenter at the Yoga Retreat for Women of Color.( Her blog is Taking Yoga off Your Mat.)  The recipe is 2C Spinach, 2C unsweetened rice milk (or sweetened if that's all you can find),
 3 bananas, 4T cacao powder, 1t cinnamon.

This makes a super yummy smoothie. It tastes like a chocolate milkshake. I couldn't taste the spinach at all. I think it's a good way to sneak green veggies to your kids, as long as they don't see you making the smoothie :-).

And last, just sharing a photo of Wild Strawberries that grow in my yard. They weren't sweet at all (not ripe?) but they are beautiful.



Sunday, May 26, 2013

Seven Chakra Juice

I had a dream at 3:23 am on Saturday, May 25. I saw a juice with burdock root, beets, carrots, lemon, greens, blueberries, grapes, and fennel root. The burdock was the big focus. Burdock is a weed that grows wild. It does grow in Maryland. I have to go hunt for some.

What I heard was "seven chakra smoothies," but in the dream it was clearly a juice. The image was so strong; I said, "that's a message." It may sound weird to some of you, but I do pay attention to my dreams. I've asked for answers and gotten them in my dreams. I did a 2-week juice and smoothie fast in 2008 specifically because it was a direct answer to a prayer. So with this dream about a chakra drink, I listened. Many things in my life have been made clear in my dreams. Dreams are heavy with metaphor, and seem convoluted, but sometimes those images are as clear as the hand in front of your face.

I made a juice with pomegranate, carrots, lemon, spring leaf mix, blueberries, melons, and purple grapes. I already had the first four veggies in my fridge. The 3rd eye color was a challenge because it's a lavender shade. Only lavenders are the actually lavender color. I went with watermelon as a compromise. Above was the color of the juice. A rainbow mix of colors is how it turned out.

Above is the same juice, with apples instead of watermelon. There's something happening here. What it is ain't exactly clear. But I will follow up on it. I'll write about chakras in my next post.




Friday, May 24, 2013

Yoga Retreat for Women of Color

Presenters Gail, Robin, Kick-Ass Assistant Betty, Founder Maya, Kick-Ass Assistant Rose, and Me

This year's Yoga Retreat for Women of Color at Kripalu was May 17-19, 2013.

It was the single greatest weekend of my life.

I've had a hard time putting this weekend into words. While I was there I felt nourished, supported, whole, and complete. It felt like coming home. I felt the same as I do when I am with my family in Atlanta, Detroit, and North Carolina. I'd only met Maya once, and had never met any of the other women. But as soon as we gathered together on Friday night, I knew I was in the right place at the right time.

I knew I belonged there as a participant. In honesty, I came in nervous about being a presenter. Along the way, Maya, Gail, and Robin had told me that they had my back. And they did. Right before my presentation ("Change Your Eating, Change Your Life") I looked in the mirror and said, "God did not bring you this far just to drop you. They got you." I invited my Mocha Angels to come up there with me. And I killed it. I barely remember what I said, but I do remember the booming, loving reception I received afterward.

The weekend was what life should be like all the time: communal, supportive, loving, gracious, honest, and SAFE. We felt safe speaking our truths. We also had big FUN! I can't remember the last time I had so much fun! I've haven't danced in public in years (my living room has seen me dance the most). I let my hair down and boogie oogie oogied with all the other sisters. We had an "Over 50" vs. "Under 50" dance-off. The "Over 50" women kicked our butts, but we gave it the college try!

If the retreat was a luscious, sexy, decadent, rich ice cream sundae, then meeting Danny Dryer was the cherry on top! Danny is the author of Chi Running, a book I reviewed last year. I knew he coming but forgot about it in the haze of preparing my workshop. I got to meet him Sunday and told him how his book taught me how to run my 5K last year. This is us together! Sweet!!

If you are a woman of African, Hispanic, Asian, Aleutian, and/or Native American descent, all or some of the above, this retreat will leave you nourished. That is the best word I can find. I felt wholly supported and energized by the retreat. The theme was "Spirit and Joy." I left so happy and joyous. I cannot over-emphasize how important this retreat was to my spirit. When registration opens up again, register early as all of Kripalu sold out last weekend. So if you wanted to come last-minute, there was no room. It'll be back next Spring. As soon as I know about it, I'll let you all know!

Althea ◦

Friday, May 17, 2013

Today's the Day!

I'm leaving in a few minutes to drive to Massachusetts for the Yoga Retreat for Women of Color!!! It's been a world wind week of preparation. It's almost 5:30am and I'm excited.
If you want to make a last-minute trip to Kripalu this weekend for this retreat or any other one, go to:
Below is the page from the Kripalu Spring 2013 catalog with my name and photo in it!



Thursday, May 9, 2013

Raspberry Cheesecake

Where has Ms. Mocha Angel been? Working on a novel, traveling, and dealing once again with Raymond's seizures. In order, this second novel has been a work-in-progress for too long. 2013 is the year to get it finished. I went to Atlanta with my kids, and they both got sick! Aaaaaargh. Raymond's had seizures in December, March, and April. We have a new neurologist and a gastroenterologist. He's going to get an overnight EEG on June 17-18. Send up prayers that answers are found! I truly believe we are oh-so-close to an answer.
And good things are happening with my boys but I'll save that for next time. Overall, 2013 has been one of the best years I've had in a long time. Nothing like seeing your life move in a positive direction.
So of course, one must make a cheesecake to celebrate. This is from the blog My New Roots. She called it a Raw Cashew Dreamcake. Original blog is HERE.
To me, it was more like a raspberry-lemon cheesecake. There won't be any leftovers. It's a hit in my house.

Raspberry Cheesecake


1/2 cup raw almonds (pecan or walnuts will also work)
1/2 cup soft Medjool dates
¼ tsp. sea salt

1 ½ cups raw cashews, soaked for at least 5 hours, overnight is best
juice of 2 lemons
the seeds of 1 whole vanilla bean (or 1 tsp. alcohol-free vanilla extract)
1/3 cup raw coconut oil, melted
1/3 cup raw honey (solid or liquid.)(Vegans use agave nectar.)
1 cup raspberries (thaw completely if using frozen)

1. Place nuts and dates in a food processor with sea salt and pulse to chop until they are to your desired fineness (process a finer crust longer than a chunky one). Test the crust by spooning out a small amount of mixture and rolling it in your hands. If the ingredients hold together, your crust is perfect. Scoop out crust mixture in a 7” spring-form pan (if you don’t have a spring-form pan, use a pie plate lined with saran wrap), and press firmly, making sure that the edges are well packed and that the base is relatively even throughout. Rinse food processor well.

2. Warm coconut oil and honey in a small saucepan on low heat until liquid. Whisk to combine.

3. In the most powerful food processor / blender you own (you decide which one has the most torque) place all filling ingredients (except raspberries) and blend on high until very smooth (this make take a couple minutes so be patient). If you have a Vita-Mix, absolutely use it.

4. Pour about 2/3 (just eyeball it, you can’t make a mistake!) of the mixture out onto the crust and smooth with a spatula. Add the raspberries to the remaining filling and blend on high until smooth. Pour onto the first layer of filling. Place in freezer until solid.

5. To serve, remove from freezer 30 minutes prior to eating. Run a smooth, sharp knife under hot water and cut into slices. Serve on its own, or with fresh fruit. Store leftovers in the freezer (what leftovers?).



Monday, January 14, 2013

Mexican Broccoli Cheddar Soup

(photo, used with permission, from The Lunchbox Bunch.)

So I went on a soup fix for a week. It was freezing here in Maryland. Now suddenly it's nearly 60 degrees!

I made three different soups. But only one of them was a real winner. I would have taken pictures but our computer died and my photo software went with it. I could load that same software on our laptop, but this is the "spare" computer. When we purchase a new desktop (soon!) I'll be back to my own original photos.

The winner was Spicy Broccoli Cheddar Soup (vegan, for real!) at the The Lunchbox Bunch blog. A link to the original recipe is below the photo above. This was so warm, fuzzy, and had a depth of flavor I wasn't expecting. I left the jalapeno pepper out only because I don't care for the taste. Then I added 1/2 a teaspoon of ground cumin and cilantro. Viola! The Mexican Broccoli Cheddar soup was born. It's a perfect pairing with a black bean burger or chips & salsa. 

The second change I made was to add a Vegan Ranch Dressing directly into the soup after it's in a serving bowl. I've shared this recipe with some of you privately. I was remiss not to share it here. The flavor in this dressing does not disappoint. It is a tangy, rich dressing that everyone loves.

Vegan Ranch Dressing from 30-Minute Vegan
3/4 cup Veganaise or other vegan mayo
6 tablespoons non-dairy milk ( I leave this out when I make the dressing as a dip)
2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 teaspoons raw apple cider vinegar
1 garlic clove
2 tablespoons green onion, white part only
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon minced parsley or cilantro
pinch of cayenne
Blend all ingredients except parsley until creamy. Pour into small bowl. Add the parsley and stir.
Dressing will thicken if left in the fridge. Re-blend or whisk in additional milk to return it to smooth consistency.

Mexican Broccoli Cheddar Soup 
Adapted from Spicy Broccoli Cheddar Soup by Kathy Patalsky
vegan, makes a really big pot
*halve recipe for smaller portion

6-8 cups raw broccoli, florets and stalk, chopped
1 shallot, chopped
1 lemon, juiced
3 cups vegetable broth (salted)
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 small red onion, chopped
1 cup soy creamer, plain flavor
3 cups cooked Yukon Gold potatoes, rough chop (skin on)
1 cup cilantro
1 bay leaf
1/2 cup olive oil
1 cup soy milk, plain flavor
2 Tbsp Veganaise
1 1/2 cups shredded vegan cheddar cheese (I used Daiya)
Garnish/on hand: cilantro, ranch dressing, extra cheese shreds.


I baked the potatoes ahead of time. You can put them in the microwave as well. (I don't have one.) I baked 3 Yukon Gold at 400 degrees for 40-50 minutes. Be sure to poke holes in them first. They are done when you can insert a knife inside easily.

1) Chop your broccoli-including most of the stalks-don't throw them all away! Leave out about 1 1/2 cups of tiny broccoli florets for adding whole to the soup later. The rest of the broccoli will be pureed.
2) In your soup pot, saute over med-high heat: 2 Tbsp of your olive oil with the shallot and onion. When cooked lightly, add in lemon juice, veggie broth, remaining oil, cheddar cheese, cumin, salt and pepper. Reduce heat to medium.
3) Add the potatoes in here.
4) Add in the broccoli. Remember to leave out a few florets for later use though.
5)Cover with lid, when broccoli is tender, turn heat off.
6) Transfer contents of pot into a large mixing bowl. Allow to cool slightly. Add to the bowl the fresh cilantro, soy creamer, Veganaise and soy milk. Fold new ingredients into the hot soup mixture.
7)In batches, puree the soup in a Vitamix or other food-processor style blender. Soup should be smooth-no lumps or chunks. Warning: only blend warm soup in blender with extreme caution! Never aim blender toward your face and always start on the lowest setting possible. Never overfill the blender.
8) In the soup pot, add the additional broccoli florets, a dash of veggie broth. Saute covered for about a minute until tender.
9) Add the pureed soup back into the soup pot. Add a bay leaf.  
10) Simmer uncovered for at least twenty minutes to cook out all the air bubbles. Stir constantly for the first few minutes. Remove the bay leaf before serving or storing.
11) Serve with a garnish of 2-3 tsp ranch dressing, cilantro, and cheddar cheese.

You are going to want to freeze this. It's that good!


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