Enjoying the little things in life

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Little things in Orlando

Little things in life

Little Doors on Trees in Orlando where is 1- 13?


It has long been an axiom of mine that the little things are infinitely the most important. Arthur Conan Doyle



I still get wildly enthusiastic about little things… I play with leaves. I skip down the street and run against the wind. Leo Buscaglia

Paying attention

Little doors can be found by paying attention

My view is that life is too short. I’m not being melodramatic or anything, but when your mother dies in your arms – just you and her, and it’s one o’clock in the morning, and you’re waiting for her to exhale – you just think, life’s too bloody short to argue about the little things. Saffron Aldridge

I don’t have to take a trip around the world or be on a yacht in the Mediterranean to have happiness. I can find it in the little things, like looking out into my backyard and seeing deer in the fields. Queen LatifahI 

Bugs everywhere

Wooden Bear sculpture in a tree

I found that if you take a few minutes out of your day to look around and find a few special little things in life— it is amazing how quickly all the big problems you thought you had all of the sudden seem smaller. Nanette Gregory

Cacao with friends

Organic Herbs and Teas
Cacao with friends

Cacao with friends

Hot chocolate is so lovely to share with friends. Hot cacao is even more lovely, lush even. Cacao is more than a candy bar, and has more than just caffeine in it. When I think of cacao and drink or eat cacao I pause and think of the centuries of reverence and ceremony surrounding this special plant, Theobroma cacao. The Olmecs, Maya, Aztecs, and many other native peoples who lived in the Central American rain forests considered cacao a gift from the gods, and it was an important part of their lives. Experiencing it yourself, it’s easy to see why. This heart opener brings me joy and clear thoughts, and what better traits to share with friends.

This hot cacao “recipe” (as you’ll see, my recipes are often a pinch of this, splash of that, and leave lots of room for creativity) was a truly decadent hit with some friends of mine, and I’d love to share it with you!

All of my ingredients are organic, because that’s what I keep on hand. It’s also how I trick myself into eating healthy: I only keep the good stuff on hand. Not all the time, but I try.  You’ll need:

  • 1-1.5C shredded coconut
  • 4C warm water (I used a tea kettle and let it whistle, then took it off the heat for several minutes to cool down to warm)
  • 1-2C cacao nibs
  • 2T powdered cinnamon (or a cinnamon stick!)
  • 1t powdered ginger (or 1/2t fresh grated ginger)
  • a PINCH of chili powder, or more if you’re a hottie!
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 3-4T maple syrup
  • optional vanilla extract. I used about a capful of some homemade vanilla extract in bourbon

This is a homemade creamy hot cacao made with some deliciously rich  and dead simple homemade coconut milk.

Dead simple homemade coconut milk:
Add your shredded coconut with the warm water to a blender, blitz for 3-5 minutes depending on your blender, then strain. It helps to have cheesecloth or a nut milk bag for straining, but isn’t necessary. I used a simple kitchen strainer.

Hot cacao with friends:
I strained the coconut milk straight into a sauce pan that was already on a medium low heat. To that I added the cacao nibs, cinnamon powder, ginger powder, a pinch of chili powder, small splash of vanilla extract, and a little sea salt. Then stirred frequently and kept on a very low simmer with the lid off for about 10 minutes (or more, if you can stand to wait, your kitchen will start to smell pretty delectable.). I added maple syrup as my sweetener. It wasn’t very sweet, which is what I wanted, so if you like it sweeter feel free to add more than what this recipe calls for.

This mixture needs to be strained, as you’re decocting the cacao nibs and not using something like cacao powder (which I imagine you very well could, but I had a surplus of nibs on my hand so that’s what I used). This is extremely decadent and creamy, feel free to cut with some water while you’re decocting to spread the love a little further. Or be even more adventurous and split this with a complementary heart opening tisane of roses and damiana!

Serves 4.

May cacao bring joy to your heart, mind, and life.

Bio: Nina DiCristina is an herbalist in Orlando, Florida. She’s been studying the plants since 2008 and formally with the guidance of herbalist Emily Ruff at the Florida School of Holistic Living since 2011. She’s also been fortunate enough to study with Rosemary Gladstar, and  Guido Masé. She loves the daily communion with the plants and the joy they bring to those who know them. She writes at www.artemisiamoon.com, can be found pouring the tea at beloved Dandelion Communitea Cafe, teaching at the Florida School of Holistic Living, and enthusiastically assisting at the annual Florida Herbal Conference.

New to Orlando?

Orlando News and Events


The Dandelion community feels very fortunate to live and work in such a diverse city. We encourage all new residents to learn more about our city beyond the land of Disney, as there is a wonderful community of people that doing wonderful things.

Here is the link to the Orlando’s main website where you can find out the basics:


Another link to a USA Today article on Orlando: Orlando’s independent restaurants break the chains.


Mills 50 District: Orlando, Florida

Orlando News and Events
Dandelion Communitea cafe

Dandelion Communitea cafe

Dandelion Communitea Cafe is one of the business members of Mills 50. Mills 50 is a grass-roots, member-based organization made up of local business owners, residents and members of local government committed to making the Mills 50 District more pedestrian friendly and safer for traffic as well as to maintain its unique urban character and charm. Mills 50 Main Street is made possible through the interest, efforts and generosity of The National Trust Main Street Center, the City of Orlando as well as our many members and volunteers.

We encourage you to support the many business that make the Mills 50 district very special.