Mountain Rose

Tales of a Jeepsie Queen

Autumn Apple Crisp ~ Gluten Free, Grain Free, All Yummy!

October 17th is my husband’s birthday, and he must have a cake. Not just any cake, but a Viking-worthy birthday cake supreme! For a man who prefers real, nourishing, authentic food, not fluff and frosting, creating such a cake is a challenge indeed. Furthermore, my own dedication to true health forbids I resort to flour, sugar, milk or any other processed, refined, death-by-sweetness recipes that, alas, include many allegedly healthy options. No, gluten free does not equal healthy. Organic doesn’t equal healthy either, though it is a good place to start. Real healthy is real food, the way nature intended, the way Vikings ate.

Back to the cake. After rejecting numerous gluten free mixes, online recipes and faux healthy pre-baked creations, I had a moment of brilliance. Looking at a bowl full of luscious, fragrant red-green local Montana apples, I thought, why a cake? Why not a cobbler? My husband loves apples and cinnamon, the scents of autumn, the warmth of freshly baked fruit pie with nutty, crispy topping and a scoop of frosty coconut milk ice cream. Yes! A cobbler was the answer.

There was that old email from Radiant Life that I had never deleted, and I scrolled back to find it: Grain-Free Apple Crisp. It was quick, easy, impressive to look at, and 100% authentic, real food. Perfect. I made a few adjustments, and turned out a birthday treat that my man proclaimed the best he had ever eaten. I share it with you below, and wish you a healthy, hearty autumn. Skål!



Grain-Free Apple Crisp
Adapted from the Radiant Life Blog


6 medium apples
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon coconut flour
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg


2 cups sprouted walnuts*
1 cup shredded coconut
6 tablespoons coconut oil
1/2 cup maple syrup

*To sprout the walnuts, soak overnight in water with 1/2 tablespoon sea salt. In the morning, drain and spread walnuts on a baking sheet lined with parchment. Turn oven on lowest setting (newer ovens start at 150 degrees F, though my old oven can go lower. Ideally around 108 F) and allow nuts to dry all day (about 12 hrs). In a time crunch you can use un-sprouted nuts.

Wash and slice apples thinly. In a large bowl, mix apple slices with the vinegar and toss to minimize browning. Add the coconut flour, cinnamon and nutmeg and toss well to coat apples. Pour into a 9×9 baking dish or pie plate. Glass or cast iron is best.

In another large bowl cut together coconut and coconut oil with a fork until well combined. Chop walnuts coarsely. Add to coconut mixture along with maple syrup and mix well. Spoon evenly on top of apples and press gently.

Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees F for 40 minutes, until the apples are bubbling and the topping is nicely browned.

Serve warm with a scoop of Larry&Luna’s Coconut Bliss ice cream in vanilla or ginger cookie caramel and a glass of homemade mead.



O Fortuna

There is no language like Latin to evoke the epic! As a poet with a special affinity for rhyme and rhythm, I cannot help but appreciate the facility with which the language lends itself to both. For example, the medieval poem O Fortuna.

O Fortuna
velut luna
statu variabilis,
semper crescis
aut decrescis;
vita detestabilis
nunc obdurat
et tunc curat
ludo mentis aciem,
dissolvit ut glaciem.

Sors immanis
et inanis,
rota tu volubilis,
status malus,
vana salus
semper dissolubilis,
et velata
michi quoque niteris;
nunc per ludum
dorsum nudum
fero tui sceleris.

Sors salutis
et virtutis
michi nunc contraria,
est affectus
et defectus
semper in angaria.
Hac in hora
sine mora
corde pulsum tangite;
quod per sortem
sternit fortem,
mecum omnes plangite!


O Fortune,
like the moon
you are changeable,
ever waxing
ever waning;
hateful life
first oppresses
and then soothes
playing with mental clarity;
and power
it melts them like ice.

Fate – monstrous
and empty,
you whirling wheel,
you are malevolent,
well-being is vain
and always fades to nothing,
and veiled
you plague me too;
now through the game
I bring my bare back
to your villainy.

Fate is against me
in health
and virtue,
driven on
and weighted down,
always enslaved.
So at this hour
without delay
pluck the vibrating strings;
since Fate
strikes down the strong,
everyone weep with me!

Translation courtesy of Wikipedia.

For a truly epic experience, hear the poem set to music in the timeless film Excalibur.

My Dad & Bay Rum: From Burt’s Bees to Thor’s Hammer

Who knew Vikings used bay rum? Usually it makes one think of sailors, privateers, pirates and Old Westerns. Though historical Vikings may not have used it, the Viking I married certainly does. One of the first things he asked of me was to make him a bottle of bay rum aftershave. Here is the tale in his own words.

My Dad and Bay Rum

By Jesse Larson
Bay Rum has a long history with sailors, rum, and bay leaves with spices and cinnamon. It has made countless men smell good. The scent was popular during WWII, but has faded since.
I also have a life long history with bay rum. I remember my dad splashing on that gold spiced liquid after shaving. He would lightly slap it on his face. I guess he smelled good because he was always popular with the ladies. Striking blue eyes and God-given dancing ability helped as well. Born in the year of the horse, my dad vouched for playing the field. During my youth I would try his aftershave on my face to be more grown up. I especially remember that burn.
Bay rum was hard to find in the 1980’s, and my mom and I would drive all over town trying to buy some for Father’s Day or Christmas. My dad was hard to buy for – damn particular is more like it – and it had to be bay rum. He never liked the slippers we got him.
Years after my father passed, I was in my late 20’s and discovered his last bottle of bay rum in his travel kit in the bathroom of my parents’ house. I tried it after shaving with my dad’s electric razor, although I prefer a blade. The good smell and slight burn brought back many memories.
Since it was hard to find bay rum, it was a blessing when I discovered Burt’s Bees Aftershave Balm, with the old hippy bum on the bottle. Or it could have been my mom who found it on some discount rack. At first I was reluctant to try it because I couldn’t relate to the full-bearded man on the label. My memory of my dad was as a working-class man with an Elvis-influenced look and slick hair. However, the scent was great and it felt nice on my face. I started using Burt’s Bay Rum when I got a job working at the airport with Northwest. My dad had worked there as well. It’s cool that I fit perfectly into his Northwest workshirts!
At that time I was moving toward natural personal care products because I found I was sensitive to artificial ingredients. After Burt’s stopped making their bay rum, I suffered through a couple of online purchases of bay rum with artificial fragrances and colors – yuck! I mean, yellow #5? Come on! I wasn’t moving towards Old Spice either. The scent never intrigued me. It smelled like baby powder, and I’ve read it was initially formulated for women.
I was sincerely disappointed when Burt’s discontinued their bay rum line. I mean, I was all in – had their shaving mug and soap and brush. I guess you can blame it on the big manufacturer that bought them up. I remember trying to make that last bottle go forever by thinning it with water. Almost all commercially made aftershaves are full of artifical colors and fragrances, so I decided to make my own. It was not easy! The first recipe I tried left me with menthol burn to my eyes and cinnamon burn to my face. (Editor’s note: My husband is just being nice. I made the first batch of aftershave with the menthol that nearly blinded him.) (My note: It’s not her fault, just the recipe we tried.) I liked how Burt’s Balm combined classic bay rum with modern, spicy patchouli and cedar, but I was looking for a fresher, cleaner feel because I always rinsed my face after applying it to calm the strong scent and thick feel. I wanted a slick, cool, refreshing aftershave with a slight, brisk, tingling embrace.
After a year of experimenting, Thor’s Hammer Classic Bay Rum Aftershave was born – at about the same time as our baby Jolene Rose. My recipe is all natural, with a foundation of heirloom oranges and true cinnamon aged in rum. During our travels in Santa Cruz, California, we discovered the best fruits and spices, which greatly enhanced the rich, spicy aroma and deep amber color. Each batch has to be fine tuned because of the natural variations among fresh oranges and real cinnamon.
My interest in Viking mythology led to the name Thor’s Hammer. Vikings were sailors as well, so I put together classic bay rum history with the might and justice of Thor’s Hammer, like this aftershave.
I believe I have created an aftershave that my father would approve. Please try a sample of this classic scent today.
Limited Edition Bay Rum
Classic Bay Rum Aftershave by Rose’s Magic

Dulse: Superfood of Ireland

dulseFor more than a thousand years, it has been feeding Northern Ireland. The reddish purple seaweed known as dulse is a secret staple of the Irish diet, and has even been called the epitome of Irish food! Mineral and protein rich, and a traditional peasant food, dulse kept the Irish alive during the potato famine. In the 7th and 8th c, Irish law stated that any traveler should be offered a serving of dulse.

Growing like long reddish hair clinging to the sea rocks, dulse is pulled up by hand during low tide, stored in caves, and sun-dried on the cliffs. Considered by many to be the most nutritional food in the world, “the holy grail of seafood”, it is loaded with iron, magnesium and potassium, and greatly helps weight loss. Sweet when fresh, salty and smoky when toasted, dulse can be added to almost any dish, and even incorporated into homemade butter. Seaweed teas and baths were used to cure everything from colds to skin rashes.

Keep yourself healthy and vibrant – and your skin smooth and clear – by eating dulse, the  traditional superfood of Ireland!

The Hair Shaman

“All vital life force – ‘chi’ – is interwoven with our hair.”

~Antonio Morocco, The Hair Shaman

We know instinctually that there is something magical about hair. It makes our face, reflects our health, and reveals our personality. Anthony Morocco, The Hair Shaman, has spent his life “fully discovering and maximizing the vital life force of human hair”.

At the age of four he had the vision that started him on his quest. He realized “all vital life force is interwoven with our hair, rather than the body.” After working as a barber for the likes of Audrey Hepburn, he set out on a worldwide journey to study hair shamanism, including cutting based on lunar cycles, Ayurveda, herbal elixirs, & Qi Gong. His life’s mission is to “restore chi to the world.”

Check out his story at The Hair Shaman and don’t miss the fairy tales, which prove that the magic of hair was once well known.

fairy tale hair

“Woven Moonlight”: The Magic of Linen

Two years and a baby later, I am back at writing! Here is a little article I wrote for my husband’s blog Red-Haired Roots to get started.

“Woven Moonlight”: Linen for Red-heads!

Sensitive skin is a major factor for red-heads. Sunburn, rashes, and allergic reactions all come easily to fair-skinned gingers. Finding suitable clothing can be a challenge, especially considering most cotton is genetically modified and soaked with chemical pesticides, fertilizers and insecticides; synthetic fabrics are harsh and hot; and wool is itchy. The solution? Linen!

Who can resist the allure of linen? Elegant, cool in summer, warm in winter, crisp when new, soft and silky with age. My entire life I have been captivated by the fabric. At the age of 15 I made my first linen shirt for a Lord of the Rings costume convention. Thirteen years later I made my wedding dress of linen. To this day I ransack thrift stores in search of anything flax, which I can tell just by touch.

Why the obsession? At first I liked linen for no apparent reason other than its nice texture and classic good looks. After delving deeper into its history and uses, I am in awe of the many benefits and power to heal contained in this simple grass with blue flowers.



Linen is the oldest textile in the world, with records of the fabric dating back to 30,000 BC. Due to its amazing versatility and exceptional beauty, it was revered throughout the world, and was even used as currency. The Egyptians called it “woven moonlight” and the Romans named it the “extremely useful flax plant”. Among the Vikings, both men and women primarily worn linen, which was valued above wool. There is evidence that Viking nobles wore blue linen underwear!

A short cultural history of linen…

Strong and Resilient, Like A Red-head

Called the king of fabrics, linen is the highest quality, strongest and longest lasting of all natural fabrics. Its smooth, fluid qualities increase with age and wearing, and it wrinkles less with time. Thicker and longer than cotton fibers, linen fibers are so strong they are added to paper money to increase its durability. Linen does not accumulate static or develop pilling, and can last for decades.

Cool, Dry and Fresh – Naturally!

Linen fibers are hollow, allowing the fabric to retain heat in winter and release it in summer, naturally keeping you warm or cool based on the season and your own body temperature. It is nature’s wicking agent, absorbing 20% of its weight in moisture before feeling damp. It is anti-bacterial, anti-microbial, hypo-allergenic, non-toxic, and blocks 50% of UV radiation!

Healing Properties

Not only does linen adapt to your body’s temperature, it is also energetically complementary to human frequencies. Its synergy with the human body makes it soothing to sensitive skin, and can even relieve irritation and allergies. It is known to relieve stress, improve sleep, reduce arthritis and dermatitis, speed the healing of wounds, and shield the body from harmful radiation. The thread is used in internal sutures because of the human cell’s ability to dissolve flax with ease. The extremely high energetic frequency of linen actually increases health, energy and wellbeing.

Linen for Healthy Living

Linen for Life

Linen’s sacred status throughout history is well deserved. Only with the advent of modern textile making has linen become less popular, since it is best handmade. It is time to restore this magical fabric to its rightful place of honor. Red-head or not, go buy some today (I recommend experience the wonderful difference it makes to your health and wellbeing. You’ll look great, too!

linen fabric

How My Grandmother Foreshadowed My Destiny

The word grandmother usually connotes a plump woman, a house full of nick knacks, and big family dinners. Not my grandmother. She was a mystic and healer who unwittingly prepared me more directly for my future than anyone else.

Born February 24, 1940, according to Chinese Astrology she was a dragon – wild, independent, intuitive and alluring. She was also secretive, else perhaps I could have known her better. I knew enough, however, to appreciate her vision far ahead of her time.

At only 5 foot 2, she was still a commanding presence with grey-green eyes, black hair and posture straight as an ex-soldier. She possessed an uncanny intuition and ability to perceive people as they really were. Her wisdom and sympathy led people of every sort to confide in her, and everyone loved her. Her popularity puzzled her, as she revealed little of herself and counted her true friends few.

She was a dreamer and poet, both gifts she passed on to me. And she was a mystic, while at the same time being full of common sense and practicality. Her home was her pride, and together we spent many hours working to make it more beautiful. We varnished floors, painted walls, hung curtains, laid patios and planted gardens. When she fell ill, I was her housekeeper and curator of all her magic things: crystals, gemstones, odd-shaped pieces of driftwood, pine cones, dried leaves, peacock and wild turkey feathers, dream catchers, drums, rain sticks, incense, essential oils, and books. Her library was my first exposure to Native American stories, “Advice from a Tree”, myths and legends of nature and animals, aromatherapy, reflexology, accupressure and feng shui.

In her 50’s she returned to college for a degree in occupational therapy. For the rest of her life she worked at Bethany Convent with the elderly Sisters of St Joseph of Carondelet, helping them recover and maintain mobility through tai chi, massage, accupressure and reflexology. Her work was my introduction to the world of eastern medicine. I never did learn what type of massage she practiced, but it now seems likely it was in fact tui na.

Always intrigued and fascinated by the therapies she practiced, I learned much of what I know of alternative healing from her. Peppermint oil is still the first, best remedy for migraines, white vinegar stops the itching of bug bits immediately, and I always use lavender oil on burns. Little did I know, however, that 4 years after her death I would meet and marry a tui-na master and dedicate the rest of my life to promoting and practicing the ancient Asian healing arts. Stranger still, I remember her talking of her accupuncturist Wei Lu, who turned out to be co-head of the school of Oriental Medicine where I met my man Jesse.

I wish Judith could have met Jesse. She would have loved him and the fact that we are together. But evidently she knew of him before I did, else how could she have prepared me so well?


How My Grandma Made Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving always reminds me of my grandmother. Every year we celebrated at her beautiful, hundred-year-old house on Smith Avenue, and what a feast it was! I remember anticipating the meal for weeks, and making sure to eat a light breakfast on the day so as to save plenty of room for her homemade treats. We would arrive in the early afternoon, laden with our contributions of banana walnut bread, pumpkin pie, and apple-yam-cranberry dish. As soon as the back door opened, we were enveloped in the rich, smoky smell of roasting turkey which filled the whole house. That was the aroma of Thanksgiving.

Grandma met us in the kitchen, smiling and rosy from bending over the oven. She had been up since 4 am preparing the turkey, stuffing, gravy, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, cranberry orange relish and pies. The renowned stuffing was her specialty, savory with onions, herbs, celery and sage all soaked in turkey drippings, handmade from scratch in quantity, as everyone wanted plenty of leftovers. The gravy was all from scratch as well, thick and brown, with bits of caramelized meat carefully pulled by hand from the toasty neck of the bird. Golden potatoes were mashed with butter and cream and hot rolls were tucked in baskets lined with red-checked linens. No slices of canned cranberry jelly for us. Sauce and relish were made fresh, full of sweet-tart zest. And the pies – apple, mincemeat and two pumpkins – boasted hand-rolled buttery crusts.

My uncle would be called in to manhandle the massive Tom Turkey out of the oven, and then we’d all sit down in the oak dining room for the feast. Salad with dried cranberries and walnuts started us off, then came the main course. Succulent turkey drenched in gravy, buttery potatoes, bright green beans with almonds, blood-red cranberries, apples and yams roasted in an orange glaze, sourdough rolls, and of course a mound of stuffing. Seconds were washed down with sparkling apple and pear cider for my cousin and I, and wine for the adults. If my grandma’s friend Dale joined us, there were always plenty of laughs. It was a merry time.

After cleaning up the kitchen, we forced ourselves to take a walk to Cherokee Park along the Mississippi River before returning for the best part – dessert! My grandma would retrieve the pies from where they were cooling on the front porch and we’d brew some holiday herbal teas before digging in. Everyone had their favorite pie – pumpkin for my mother and I, mince for my grandmother and aunt, apple for my uncle, and all of them for my dad! If we had room, there was the banana bread, my mother’s specialty full of walnuts and (sometimes) chocolate chips.

Even though the food was fabulous, what really made the time special was my grandmother’s hospitality. She had a talent for making everyone feel at home and important in the preparation and consummation of the feast. Sometimes we would spend the night with her, to help with the clean up and save her the drive back and forth from our house. Then I’d get to wake up the next day in a real house, and she and I would share our favorite breakfast – pumpkin pie!

Since she passed away five years ago, Thanksgiving has never been the same. Though the food doesn’t change, the heart of the holiday is missing. It’s only now I realize how powerful one person can be in creating a family, or a world, and making life meaningful. Thank you, Grandma Judy, for the feasts and the memories.

Pre-Thanksgiving Sweet Tooth? Try gluten free, grain free banana bread! (Viking Approved)

After a week of illness and living on vegetable soup and burnt toast, I am decidedly ready for Thanksgiving! Pumpkin pie being taboo until the actual day, how about some banana bread? Not the saccharine, doughy kind that leaves you with cravings and constipation. This is gluten-free, grain-free, refined sugar-free, high-protein deliciousness hearty enough for a Viking and low-carb for his lady.

Grain-Free Organic Coconut Flour Banana Bread

health benefits of coconut

By Kayla- Radiant Life


3 ripe bananas, organic, mashed

1/3 c grass-fed butter or extra virgin coconut oil, melted

6 eggs (preferably pastured)

2 tbsp raw honey

1 tsp alcohol-free vanilla extract

1/2 c organic coconut flour

1 tsp aluminum-free baking powder

1 tsp pure baking soda

1/2 tsp sea salt

1 tbsp cinnamon

1/3 c sprouted nuts, chopped (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease one loaf pan.

In a medium size bowl combine bananas and melted butter, mixing thoroughly. Add eggs, honey and vanilla. Whisk until eggs are combined.

In a small bowl add remaining dry ingredients, stirring lightly. Combine with wet ingredients, add in nuts and stir.

Transfer batter to greased pan and bake for about 45 minutes. Bread is complete when toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Remove bread from oven and allow to cool in pan for about 5 minutes until transferring to wire racks to continue cooling.


For frosting, try coconut milk. Put a can of coconut milk in the fridge for a few hours to chill. Invert the can, open the bottom and pour off the liquid. Scoop out the solid cream, add vanilla and maple syrup to taste, and mix with electric or hand beaters until fluffy. Store in the refrigerator until ready to serve. Spread on cake and eat! (Fabulous on my famous grain-free carrot cake and crustless pumpkin pie, too…recipes to come!)

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