Chocolate, Raspberry, Matcha, “Succulents” (V) 


Though this week’s recipe is one of plants and sweetness and life, today I write with a heaviness. Over 24 hours, there were two mass shootings in our country: one in El Paso, Texas; and one in Dayton, Ohio. I’m not sure which is more tragic: the sheer number of lives lost to gun violence today, or the fact that a death toll of that magnitude doesn’t even really surprise us anymore.

I, along with many, am beyond frustrated with the lack of progress being made to prevent these incidents from occurring, to establish adequate limitations on guns. Waiting for the accomplishment of any significant change in Washington, let alone one so politically charged as gun rights, can seem hopeless. But while we may not have the ability to change the disheartening pace of lawmaking, we must never forget the abilities we do have, the voice we each possess.

This is my way of speaking through the hopelessness. These words and my prayers go out to the families of the 29 innocent people who died yesterday and today.


20 people died in a Texas Walmart today

I didn’t know

But I pretended I did 

When my neighbor mentioned how horrible

it was


20 minutes later I sit in Highland Park Community Garden

Content among the drooping tomato plants

So laden with fruit that 

I imagine

With one accidental bump

They’d send red and green heaps 

cascading to the ground below


I imagine 

the hands that raised these tomatoes

coaxed perfect bright bulbs 

out of seed and sprout 

I imagine my mother’s hands

deep in the dirt of our own garden

packing plants gently 

Into their new homes

her fingers folded around the stems

with a firm but tender touch   


Maybe it’s my mother’s fault

that I can’t imagine


wrapped around the 

cold, hard barrel of 

a gun

Something that’s nothing


like tomatoes


in her hands,

hands rough with the 

soil and sweat and


from months of waiting

watering, weeding


Until the first fruit was ready to fall

Into the cup of her

Sweet, selfless fingers


My mother’s hands taught me patience


The sun drags the blanket of dusk

Across the leafy sea before me and

I let it pull my eyelids heavy 

let the shadow cool my feet, legs, face, 





tomatoes in this garden

widows in Texas


Maybe it’s my mother’s fault

That I only needed one minute of grief

For each victim

before my life resumed

before my imagination

gave up 

trying to imagine 

as I sat with the tomatoes 

40 hands

Pulling out black shirts and dresses

From the backs of 






Therefore I want the men everywhere to pray, lifting up holy hands without anger or disputing.

1 Timothy 2:8


Chocolate, Raspberry, Matcha, “Succulents” (V)

This interactive dessert brings not only the vibrant flavors of matcha, raspberries, and chocolate–but it re-invents the beloved “worms and dirt” of childhood snack time. 


  • 1 cup cashews (soaked overnight or boiled for 20 minutes)
  • 2 TBSP plus 1 tsp dark cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 TBSP almond milk
  • 5 dates 
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 TBSP vegan butter (earth balance is great)
  • 1 TBSP matcha powder
  • 8 vegan marshmallows (I use Trader Joe’s Brand)
  • 1 1/2 cups puffed rice cereal
  • crushed chocolate sandwich cookies (scrape out frosting, and eat it if you’re me)
  • raspberries


  1. Make “pudding”: place soaked cashews, dates, and almond milk in cup of a Nutribullet or bowl of a small food processor. Pulse until smooth.
  2. Add cocoa powder and salt. Blend until incorporated, stirring as needed. Keep in fridge until ready to use.
  3. Make “succulents”: combine butter and matcha powder in a microwavable bowl. Microwave until butter is melted; stir matcha powder until incorporated.
  4. Add marshmallows to bowl; microwave for about 1 minute, stirring halfway through with a spoon. (Grease spoon with oil or shortening to prevent sticking)
  5. Add rice cereal, and stir. When cool enough, turn out the mixture onto a counter or tray lined with parchment paper. Grease your hands, and continue to mix (be careful, it can be hot).
  6. Press mixture out onto parchment, and allow to cool to about room temperature. Mold them into desired plant shapes.
  7. Assemble: in a pot, bowl, or shallow tray, spoon “pudding” to coat the bottom. Press raspberries throughout the “pudding,” leaving a few to make flowers.
  8. Sprinkle crushed cookies onto the raspberries/chocolate to cover completely and form “dirt.”
  9. Arrange sculpted “succulents” on top of the cookie crumbles.
  10. Split/layer remaining raspberries to make “flowers.”
  11. Enjoy! Keep in fridge if saving for the next day.