Annual SPARKLE Market

Local Orlando Businesses, Orlando News and Events
Sparkle is an outdoor event featuring unique, talented, CF artists and their handmade goods. Come peruse the best hand made jewelry, organic body products, pottery and much more. This premier event takes place on Dec 6, 2015, at Dandelion Communitea Cafe. Eat well and shop handmade! This event has free parking. Follow the Facebook event page and invite your friends: Sparkle Facebook Page
Taking vendor applications until November 1.

Looking for new ways to cook healthier for the Holiday’s?

Healthy Food, Organic Herbs and Teas, Orlando News and Events
FRESH STARTS COOKING CAMP 2015 will give you some great ideas. Starts on Tuesday November 3rd at 7pm for a total of 6 classes.
Join Chef Amy, graduate of The Natural Gourmet Institute in NYC and Bauman College of Holistic Nutrition and Culinary Arts in this cooking series to learn how to prepare fresh, healthy, seasonal and organic meals. In each session you will learn about whole organic food and how to prepare it. Each class will include recipes for you take home along with resources on where to find the best quality food. These classes will guide you to become a seasoned home chef ready to prepare what’s growing locally in your neighborhood.

Testimonials from past Campers:

“Amy is the perfect instructor for this series of classes. She moves easily between conversation and demonstration to share her knowledge of nutrition and cooking technique. We all have heard the message that healthy and delicious food choices and preparation are accessible to all of us but Amy will inspire you to actually revise your grocery list and make changes to your daily diet. Greens are great.”

“Amy is a wonderful, friendly, welcoming person. And with her training and experience, she is a very effective teacher and an efficient chef. Her recipes are simple but delicious. She loves answering questions about food and sharing kitchen tips, and you will learn a lot in her class. I know I did!”

“Chef Amy has changed my kitchen forever! My vegetables are no longer just boiled, and chopping them is faster and much more fun! Her recipes are delicious and serve as a great starting point, but her techniques are what make cooking even possible for me. The amount of time they save and the fun they bring get me in the kitchen and wanting to be creative!”


Session 1: Go Green. Chef Amy will kick start the series with an educational lecture on how to select quality ingredients. She will discuss the benefits of eating organically and the realities of how most of our food is produced. We will prepare seasonal dishes with local greens. Dishes may include depending on availability: bok choi, kale, collard greens, sorrel, spinach and Swiss chard.

Session 2: Somewhere Over the Rainbow of Vegetables. Chef Amy will explain how to select the freshest seasonal vegetables and the most nutritious ways to prepare them. Cutting and cooking techniques for fresh vegetables will be the focus. In this class, you will learn how to incorporate vegetables into every meal and snack of the day.

Session 3: Sea Vegetables Aren’t Just for Mermaids. Chef Amy will identify a variety of sea vegetables and discuss the powerful health benefits of incorporating them in your regular diet. We will create easy dishes and snacks from these trace mineral rich treats from the sea.

Session 4: The Great Whole Grain. Chef Amy will discuss what a whole grain is and the benefits of choosing whole grains over refined grains. We will identify a variety of whole grains including oats, quinoa, rice, amaranth, millet, freekah and farro. We will prepare whole grain dishes that may be enjoyed for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Session 5: The Perfect Plant Protein. Chef Amy will demonstrate the best ways to cook dried legumes. She will discuss the benefits of consuming legumes as a staple source of protein. We will cover how to create tasty dishes from our nutritious little seeds.

Session 6: Soups On! Chef Amy loves vegetable soup all year round. Its an easy meal, side dish or snack that you can make ahead of time and enjoy anytime of the day. We will learn how to make a fresh stock as a base for our homemade soup du jour.

Camp Details

Each class will include a health and recipe packet, sampling of the dishes we create and homemade beverages.

Class Schedule:
Tuesday ‘s from 7-9pm
no class week of Thanksgiving

Homegrown Local Food Cooperative
2310 N. Orange Ave.
Orlando, FL 32804

Tuition: $150 for the entire Camp!

To Register email Chef Amy:

Looking for unique used furniture in Orlando?

Local Orlando Businesses

Driving on Edgewater Drive in Orlando/ College Park area today, I saw some furniture sitting outside a store I had not seen before.

The store is called Modern Redemption and carries many Mid-Century Modern pieces. Renj Reeichert, the owner said he has been at the location for about a year. Currently, he is only open on weekends. Yet, if you call him he can schedule a time for you to see a piece you might be interested in adding to your home.

He has some serious skills to restore pieces and has done great work on the furniture. Here is one that was really eye catching he just had finished.

Modern Redemption

Modern Redemption

Here is the link to his Facebook page where you can see some of the pieces for sale.


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, 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.