We are deep into late summer. Autumn sneaks just around the corner, teasing us with amber and crimson leaves that dangle from Sonoma County’s twisted old trees. Fall has come early this year, and I couldn’t be happier. I love this time of year; I love autumn and everything it embodies. But, before I cast my farewell kisses to our beloved sweet summer, I would like to share one of my highlights from the season of the sun.
In August, near Lammas, I traveled to Seattle to visit friends and family. As you may know, I used to live in Western Washington, in Seattle and in Bellingham. I love this entire area, for it brims with woodland magic, luscious gardens, deep azul waters and the mystical, tree-clad San Juan Islands. The whole area feels like the womb of Mother Earth- vibrant, abundant, beautiful and pregnant with life.
My time spent in this area was chock full of raw food gatherings, spiritual events and forest frolickings- everything I love! Here is a photo journal, a small taste, of my time in the Pacific Northwest with my spirit sister, Giacinta.
*Note: Most of these photos were taken either by me or my dear friend, Giacinta, with our iPhone cameras. Enjoy the perfect and a few not-so-perfect shots of some very perfect moments. 🙂
First off, I’d like to say thank you to the San Francisco International Airport (SFO) for offering raw food snacks. I found vegan raw bars and kombucha while waiting for my plane. A great way to start my travels off right!
Raw Food Snacks at SFO
Kombucha at SFO
On my first day in Seattle, synchronicity would have it that a recipe for a Raw Vegan Orange Chocolate Torte should fall into our laps. Of course, we went right out, bought the ingredients and got to work. This is it…
Raw Vegan Orange Chocolate Torte
Garnished with Shaved Chocolate and Curled Orange Rind
The original recipe for this torte can be found HERE. We made the exact recipe, tasted it, and decided it needed more. To this recipe we increased the raw cacao then added carob, cinnamon, cayenne and vanilla for depth of flavor. We also exchanged the agave for maple syrup. In hindsight, dates would have been the best choice for sweetener. At some point in the future, I will remake this torte and post a proper recipe. Until then, know it was delicious and made a grand appearance at a few raw food gatherings with some very happy friends.
Shana & Giacinta in Orange Chocolate Bliss
During one of our in-state journeys, we made our way to North Bend to pick fresh organic blueberries from Bybee Farms nestled at the base of gorgeous Mount Si. (Pictured Below). If you are in the North Bend area and would like to learn more about how you can pick your own berries, click HERE.
A field of Blueberries at Mount Si
This day was one of my favorite days, a highlight indeed. I was surrounded by rows and rows of blueberry bushes and clear skies filled with sunbeams, bumble bees and the sweet scent of fruits and leaves all coddled by the majestic Mount Si. It was incredibly soul-filling!
Shana Picking Organic Blueberries
If you could zoom in on my Café Gratitude shirt, you would see that it reads, “What are you grateful for?” My answer, “Blueberries!” 🙂
A Bounty of Organic Blueberries
As you can imagine, we ate blueberries for days. This is one of the meals we enjoyed among friends, each one of us contributing fruits and vegetables for this shared offering of fresh picked garden greens, blueberries, mango salsa, avocado and zucchini in pesto. Delish!
We were serendipitously blessed by a full moon during my time in Seattle. I love full moon energy and love to channel this powerful force during my meditations and healing Reiki sessions. With this being said, we participated in a full moon group meditation to honor Mother Moon in the height of summer as symbolized by my favorite flower, the sunflower. This is the candlelit, celestial altar that centered the meditation.
Full August Moon Altar
Another amazing evening we shared, and one of my top highlights, was a shamanic full moon drum circle at New Earth Farm in Redmond, WA. (Click HERE to learn more about New Earth Farm) This drum circle took place on private property that held an organic garden and lots of deeply sacred energy. Snuggled in a ring of redwoods and lush ferns, surrounding a fire pit was a circle of stone seats. The fire was lit; we each took our places, called the corners, and drummed, rattled and rolled into the warm moonlit night. The energy that was generated from our primal music and our collective, harmonious presence was magical and not to be forgotten any time soon! I hold the healing vibration and memory of this evening near and dear to my heart.
Drum Circle at New Earth Farm – Photo by Tom Armstrong
When we weren’t gathering for potlucks, meditation or drumming, we were out and about in Seattle, eating. Three great vegan restaurants I would recommend in Seattle are Café Flora, Chaco Canyon, and Jodee’s. Here are some of the dishes from each restaurant…
This was one of the best things I ate the entire time I was in Seattle. This is Café Flora’s Beet Gnocchi in Pesto with an Herbed Nut Cream, (pictured above) which I shared with Giacinta and my sister, Angel. This was ridiculously delicious and I couldn’t recommend it more!
Above is a photo of some of the offerings at Chaco Canyon in Seattle. We noshed on raw vegan enchiladas, salads and green juice. Delish!
And lastly, the above photo is of Jodee’s raw vegan pizza. Jodee’s, in Green Lake, specializes in raw vegan deserts and smoothies but once in a while she offers up Friday night pizza. This is a yummy slice of her Mexican Pizza.
The abundance of good, healthy, vibrant food gave us energy to run around and play in the forests. Carkeek Park in Seattle is one of my favorite little spots to visit. When I lived in Seattle, I would visit this park often to commune with the nature spirits, walk among the greenlings, hug trees and meditate. When I was here with Giacinta, we came and did much of the same…
Shana lying across a creek bed on a fallen tree, communing with the leaves
Shana giggling with the forest
Giacinta in the creek bed, dotted in light
For me, no trip to Seattle is complete without gathering friends for a raw vegan ice cream party and who better to host this type of a gathering than my friend Jeff Rogers, AKA the Naughty Vegan. You can read more about Jeff HERE. Jeff is an amazing ice cream artisan. If you love ice cream, I highly recommend his recipe book, Vice Cream, found HERE. Jeff whipped up a Coconut Peach Ice Cream, Giacinta and I brought frozen bananas and durian, and everyone else brought a variety of frozen summer fruits. Another friend, who, like myself, graduated as a raw chef from Living Light, brought raw vegan caramel and chocolate sauces to drizzle over all the ice cream.
Jeff passed all the frozen fruit through his Champion Juicer to create a soft-serve style ice cream. (The Champion Juicer is an excellent machine to use to turn frozen fruit into ice cream.) This is the delightful mess we made in his kitchen and the yumminess that ensued…
The makings of a raw vegan ice cream party
A swirling bowl of fruity ice cream
My last day in the Pacific Northwest was spent in Bellingham, one of my favorite places in Washington. I have lived in Bellingham and have spent much time in this area. This magical, quaint town and the surrounding woodlands have crept into my veins and won’t let me go. I love it here. Giacinta and I went to one of my favorite spots, to Larrabee State Park. It was here we soaked up the grounding energy of the boulders, the vitalizing energy of the ocean and the mystical energy of the rich forest.
Shana in Larrabee State Park
Shana sprouting out of a tree stump in bliss 🙂
A magical trail…
I’ll close this travel journal entry with one of my favorite photos, taken by Giacinta. Here I am in my favorite place, in the forest, becoming One with everything around me. There is no place I would rather be, truly!
Shana in the emerald forest
My time in Western Washington this summer was abundantly full of my favorite things. I am brimming with gratitude for everything I experienced and for everyone who shared my journey. I am deeply grateful for Giacinta who walked with me along the way. Until the next time, dear enchanted Washington, I hold you in my emerald heart. Thank you. I love you.