Honeycrisp Apple Cakes

Honeycrisp Apple Cakes

8 servings
For the cakes

3/4 cup raw cane sugar, coconut sugar, or monk fruit

3/4 cup organic unsalted butter

4 eggs

1/2 cup milk, or nut milk

1 tsp vanilla

1 1/2 cups almond meal flour

1/2 cup coconut flour

1/4 tsp salt

2 tsp baking powder

Cake ~ Preheat oven to 350

Cream together the butter and sugar until smooth and fluffy. Add in the eggs, one at a time and beat until fully blended. Add milk and vanilla and mix until just combined.

In a separate bowl, combine flour, salt and baking powder.  Beat the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, and beat until creamy. Do not over mix.

Spread into a greased 9’’x13″ cake pan. The batter will be thick.

Bake at 350 for 30 minutes. Let cool completely on the rack before icing. 

If making small cakes, cut out rounds with a 2″ cookie cutter.   Shortcakes can be made a day Ahead. Store tightly wrapped at room temperature ahead.

Sliced Apples

2 honey crisp apples, sliced

1 tbsp. unsalted butter, or coconut oil

1 tsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. fresh lemon juice

Heat a non-stick pan. Add butter or coconut oil. Then add sliced apples. Saute until browned around the edges. Toss with
cinnamon and lemon juice. 

Coconut Cream

1 can unsweetened  COLD coconut milk, solid parts only. 

1-2 tbsp. maple syrup, or confectioners sugar, preferably organic.

1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract, or paste

Whipping Coconut Creme –

Add cold solid parts only of the coconut milk to a bowl with a whipping attachment. Add
maple syrup, or confectioners sugar and vanilla. Whip on high speed, until fluffy. 

Assembly:  Top with coconut cream, and apples.  Sprinkle with nutmeg.  Optional.

Buon Appetito

For scheduled Cooking Classes in Asheville, Visit: LaurieRichardone.com

The Flavors of Autumn

The Flavors of Autumn

F. Scott Fitzgerald would say: “Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall”. 

The colors are starting to change, the air feels crisp, and the aromatics of the fall harvest are intoxicating. I don’t know about you, but I start to think of the delicious varieties of pies and tarts that the season suggests. The crisp apples, sweet pumpkin, and fragrant pear, come to mind. One of my favorites is an apple tart. It’s very distinctive bouquet recreates some of those magical moments as a child when I was introduced to a new awareness of scent…

Ingredients that are connected to the season are more abundantly available, which almost always means they cost less. With seasonal eating, fresh fruits and produce picked when they are fully developed at the peak of the season, with optimal growing conditions, come higher levels of antioxidants, such as vitamin C, folate, and beta-Carotene! 

I trust I have dispelled any doubt you had about the benefits of seasonal cooking. Another convenience is when we eat with the seasons, we don’t have to be that busy with cooking, unless you love it like I do. 

Case in point: It could be as simple as sautéing autumn veggies in olive oil, and tossing them in your favorite pasta, then sprinkled with some fresh herbs. Tossing sliced apples in a pan with a dab of butter, and a dusting of cinnamon, creates a quick healthy warm dessert.

I think one of the biggest dilemmas of professional women is what am I going to eat? Ladies, if you cook with seasonal ingredients this will keep the menu simple, healthy, and delicious.

Staying true to the philosophy of eating with the seasons, this wholesome indulgence has the taste and feel of autumn.

To your good health…

If you are a curious cook, join me on my Radio Show ~  “A taste for All Seasons”  

We explore the world of food, with the philosophy of eating with the seasons. 

And… as always, l will be sharing cooking tips, seasonal shortcuts and kitchen essentials that will make your life easier in the kitchen. 

Visit: A Taste for All Seasons Show Page @ WPVMFM.ORG. and listen to the October 30th show, for a delicious conversation with one of my favorite farmers. It airs on the last Saturday of every month at 11 am, on WPVM FM 103.7 in Asheville, NC.   

Laurie Richardone is a seasonal gluten free chef and certified health coach.  

For more information, visit LaurieRichardone.com

Women Making Music – Cynthia McDermott

Women Making Music – Cynthia McDermott

I’ve wanted to interview masterful mandolin player, accomplished singer-songwriter Cynthia McDermott since 2018 when I first met and heard her play. The time has finally come!

Juggling three pre-pandemic music projects, she focuses these days on booking her trio, Pimps of Pompe. It’s a band that specializes in jazzed-up covers of hip-hop and R&B. Cynthia describes it as “swing with swag.”

She reflects on her bandmates saying of Garron Chesson, “he’s a groovy, well-educated upright bass player with a solid sense of time and the ability to float back and forth between hip-hop and jazz voicings.”  And of guitarist Duane Simpson, “he’s a unicorn, and his style, his fills help drive that R&B vibe I’m going for.”  

Where were you born and raised?

I was born in Phoenixville, PA in July of 1985 and when I was four, my mom, stepdad and I took a trip down the east coast in our Toyota Tercel with a pop-up camper towed behind. We traveled to the Florida Keys and back up the Gulf coast. When we got to Panama City Beach, they decided to stay and build their new life together there. Thirty-three years later, they’re still in the house where my younger brother, Nate and I grew up!

Did someone suggest you learn to play & sing?

I was surrounded by music even before the day I was born. Mom was playing guitar for my dad in an old-time fiddle contest when she was 8 months pregnant with me, so the guitar was very close to my tiny baby self!

My mom has a beautiful voice and when I was young, I would harmonize with her when I wasn’t feeling too shy.

When I discovered Nickel Creek, their mandolin player Chris Thile totally blew me away. I started college that year and bought my first mandolin and started taking lessons.

People often regret that they didn’t stick with an instrument they were forced to learn as children. What is it that keeps you motivated to keep at it?

This is a great question because I struggle with motivation but striving to play like the greats whose music I admire so, and makes me feel so deeply is what keeps me going. I’ve learned not to approach practicing/playing with a critical ear, because that’s not conducive to accessing that space where great music comes from.

Who are your heroes and influences?

Jethro Burns is one of those musical heroes whose playing sets the standard for me. He had a joyful, playful, mischievous approach and beautiful sensibilities. He was one of the first mandolin players to branch out into the worlds of early jazz and swing, my favorite styles to listen to and play. He incorporated innovative chord variations and possessed great phrasing; he was also a funny prankster. I have a tattoo of him
on my left bicep!

I met a man who would become my partner for the next seven years. When we met, I played bluegrass and folk. Then I started listening to and began to learn Western swing. We traveled the country together, eventually venturing to Spain and France. We immersed ourselves in Bebop, Bossa Nova, Klezmer and Frank Zappa while keeping our sound rooted in vintage jazz.

The most magic I’ve experienced playing music though, has happened at a long-standing national festival/fiddle contest in Weiser, Idaho. Aside from performances by the contestants, musicians come to camp and jam. It’s an environment where you convene with some of the greatest living swing guitar players. They break down their chords for you, jam with you, sing harmonies with you, tell dirty jokes and pass the bottle with you. I make sure I go every year, no matter how busy my schedule.

How many and what kind of mandolins do you have?

My F-style acoustic mandolin was built by a maker in Birmingham where my dad lives. He had it made for me as a college graduation gift; my workhorse mandolin for a decade. My A-model acoustic was made by my favorite builder, Lawrence Smart. That’s the mandolin I play now. My electric is a crazy Frankenstein, customized by the previous owner (a member of Blue Oyster Cult). He added a couple strings to it, so instead of 5 single strings, the 3 lower strings are singles and the top two, doubled.  I’m excited about having another electric built for me by my friend Ben Bonham from Weiser, ID. 

Who are your vocal influences?

Ella Fitzgerald is my favorite singer for her tone, range, sensitivity and her ability to scat. Billie Holiday cuts straight to your heart and a modern R&B singer I admire is the artist H.E.R, Astrud Gilberto too; for her soft, soothing style.

Original songs you are most proud of and why?

I wrote a song called “This Is How It Is.” Stylistically it’s a mix of Bossa nova and Stevie Wonder, and lyrically it’s based on what I learned from studying yoga philosophy; that life goes smoothly when I accept what is, instead of trying to fight it. That doesn’t mean don’t fight for what I want, but do it from a place of accepting conditions as they are in this moment. The song helps remind me because it conveys that message.

The songs I write now are textured, layered, locking into a groove and finding variations. I incorporate personal experiences. If I’m struggling in the dating world, I will write about that! I write songs that reveal my vulnerabilities; that are relatable to people going through the same things.

Notable past or upcoming performances?

The Pimps of Pompe performed at the Django Reinhardt birthday celebration at the Grey Eagle 2 years ago. It was the first time we were on a notable stage with an audience full of avid listeners. They loved us!

We play Sundays at the Battery Park Book Exchange, at The Foundry Hotel Lounge on the 2nd and 4th Thursdays of every month and weekends at the Lobster Trap. We’ll be taking our maiden voyage on the LaZoom Bus October 1st. We will also be on the Grey Eagle patio October 27th.

I’m also part of a group called GypsyGrass, led by the talented Ben Phan as well as Queen Bee (Whitney Moore) and the Honey Lovers. You can keep up with my shows by visiting:



Peggy Ratusz is a vocal coach, song interpreter, and songwriter.
For vocal coaching email her at

Home Remedies for Pregnancy-Related Nausea

Home Remedies for Pregnancy-Related Nausea

An estimated 3 in 4 expecting moms suffer from pregnancy-related nausea and vomiting and it’s often the first sign of pregnancy. The natural increase in hormones, especially human chorionic gonadotropin, or hCG, and estrogen are said to trigger pregnancy-related nausea.

As awful as pregnancy-related nausea can make women feel, it is a positive indicator that the placenta is developing well since hCG comes from a placenta that is healthy and growing normally. Women with nausea and vomiting in pregnancy may have a lower rate of miscarriage.

Here are some helpful remedies to help reduce nausea and vomiting during pregnancy:

Freshly grate 1 tsp. ginger and add to 1 cup of boiling water. Let simmer for 10 minutes and then drink it as tea.

Cardamom seeds improve appetite and relieve nausea and vomiting. Chew on 3 to 4 cardamom seeds, or mix ¼ tsp ground cardamom into warm water.

Many women successfully reduce their nausea and vomiting by eating small meals several times throughout the day. Try eating a small amount of protein or fat every 2 hours.

Remember to eat foods rich in nutrients such as bananas, berries, and yogurt (preferably very low in sugar).

Chinese medicine recommends including more pumpkin, squash, oatmeal, and whole grains to help with digestive Qi.

Avoid foods high in sugar, processed foods, fried foods, caffeine, and soda.

Eat good quality fat such as coconut oil and avocados.

Get adequate protein in soups and stews with slow-cooked proteins (meat, fish, beans, legumes) and veggies.

Incorporate vitamin B6 in sublingual form.

Stay hydrated

Use peppermint oil in a diffuser.

Natasha Kubis is a licensed acupuncturist and certified yoga teacher.
For more
information, visit acuwellhealth.com

September Superfoods

September Superfoods

We usually associate edibles with superfoods. 

Of course,the ingredients we put in our body every day are essential in sustaining our well being. My definition of a superfood includes daily movement, and attention to the thoughts we think throughout the day. 

Just taking five minutes away from your work desk to move and breathe deeply can recalibrate your mindset. That sounds like a superfood to me!

In September comes a wave of cool weather. The colors start to change, the air has a hint of crispness, and the aromatics of the fall harvest start to intoxicate our palate.

With the body’s divine intelligence we begin craving warmer foods. Eating with the seasons brings harmony to the body and the mind, and sustains us while we ease into autumn with our own natural flow. 

With this, comes new delectable opportunities for us to keep moving toward good health with hope and excitement.

It’s the little things that help most of all. Every lifestyle choice, no matter how modest, gets noticed and celebrated by the body’s perceptiveness. If it feels hard to give up certain foods, start slowly, by adding in some nutrient rich whole foods like leafy greens, whole grains, and seasonal spices.

Consuming a colorful diversity of plant foods in your daily life, will promote a well functioning gut microbiota.This allows for a quicker and more effective response to disease-causing organisms. In turn this will create a strong immune system, to support a vibrant body. 

In addition to the foods we eat, a beauty routine that leans on natural ingredients will help you look and feel good ~ without sacrificing your health. 

With our skin being our largest organ, what we put on our body is paramount to our wellness.

In a culture of doing with less being, our health and the way we approach it, has become central to our way of life.

Simple Superfood Inspiration ~

Design your own superfood bowl with this savory dukkah recipe that is scrumptious on just about everything.  ~ Keep it colorful, organic, when possible, flavorful, and incorporate texture by adding some crunchy bits like this delicious recipe with a superabundance of essential omega fatty acids.

To your good health…

If you are a curious cook, join me on my Radio Show ~ “A taste for All Seasons”  

We explore the world of food, with the philosophy of eating with the seasons. 

And… as always, l  will be sharing cooking tips, seasonal shortcuts and kitchen essentials that will make your life easier in the kitchen. 

Visit:  A Taste for All Seasons Show Page @ WPVMFM.ORG. and listen to the August 28th show, at 11am, for a delicious conversation with Dairy Farmer Andrea Vangunst of Grassroots Farm.

It airs on the last Saturday of every month at 11 am, on WPVM FM 103.7 in Asheville, NC.   

Laurie Richardone is a seasonal gluten free chef and certified health coach. For more information, visit LaurieRichardone.com

Solo Date Ideas for Your Next Day Out

Solo Date Ideas for Your Next Day Out

In today’s world where hectic schedules seem to be the norm, taking time to care for yourself can be a challenge. And when you do find the time, deciding what to do and who to do it with can turn into a daunting task that ends up robbing you of precious time. But what better way to unwind and indulge in some much-needed self-care than a solo date? Read on for a list of ideas that are sure to give you some inspiration, whether you’re looking for relaxed fun or a bit of an adventure.

Coffee shop  If you’re the kind of person who likes the smell of coffee and the gentle buzz of conversation in a coffee shop, then your solo date could be as simple as some time spent in your local café. You can also explore a new spot around you or order something you’ve never had at your usual haunt to change things up. Pick a comfy seat, grab a book or magazine, and you’re good to go.

Park  Nothing can beat Mother Nature when it comes to providing some peace and quiet. If that’s what you’re looking for, a trip to the park could be just the thing. You can fix yourself a snack and read, draw, journal, or just watch people. Needless to say, the fresh air and sunlight will do you good.

Dinner  Going out for dinner is probably the most popular idea for a date, so why not do it solo? Dining alone can seem a bit intimidating, especially if you’ve never done it before, but that’s even more reason to go for it. You can step out of your comfort zone and enjoy a nice meal at a restaurant of your choice.

Gallery  Whether you’re in the habit of visiting galleries and art shows or not, time spent appreciating art is never wasted. It makes for a great solo activity that is sure to entertain you and open your eyes to new things.

Shopping  Many claim shopping is therapeutic. You may agree, or traipsing around the mall may sound like a chore to you. But how about shopping for what you love? Maybe you’re a comic book fan, or you like collecting antiques. Whatever your passion is, there’s almost certainly a store that caters to it.   

Event  Events are a great way to take a break from your routine and get your mind off things. While it’s true they’re not what they used to be before the pandemic, it’s still worth finding something that interests you, be it live music, poetry readings or even a lecture on a topic you’d like to learn more about.

New skill  It’s hard to come up with a better use of downtime than self-improvement. There’s a wide range of skills you could learn while also having fun. Maybe you’ve been itching to try pottery or take a dance lesson. And who knows? You might even pick up a new hobby along the way.   

Somewhere with a view  The relaxation and the feeling of distance from the daily grind that a great view offers can hardly be matched by anything else. This option is also very versatile, as you can find different places with a view you can enjoy. You could drive to a spot where you can look out at your city, or the sea if you happen to live near one. A rooftop restaurant or bar is another possibility. You could also hike somewhere, adding a sense of achievement to the beauty of the view at the top.

Different cultures  You may not have the luxury of traveling the world, but that doesn’t mean you can’t use a day off to satisfy your sense of adventure. Get a taste of a different culture by sampling foreign food you’ve never had before or exploring a part of town dedicated to a particular culture.

Adrenaline rush  If you spend most of your time sitting at a desk or tackling the same long to-do list every day, you could really benefit from challenging yourself and feeling the high of an adrenaline rush. Use your free time to go on a scary ride, skydive, do some public speaking or any number of things that can get your blood pumping. A word of caution – your safety should always come first.

Now that you’re armed with this list, you know where to look the next time you feel like taking a break and planning a solo date or ten.