Muchness in The Prison Yard….

Sometimes, something happens that just NEEDS to be shared.

Remember the guy at the grayest job on earth who said he felt like he was “rotting from the inside out”? Remember how I wrote that I decided to make it my mission to help him tap into his Muchness?

The truth is, he was already tapping into his Muchness, he just wasn’t giving it the “honor” it deserved… (i.e. owning it & declaring it to be his Muchness.)

See, this guy would light up when talking about his garden. He said he worked on it every weekend with his three daughters and it was one of his favorite things to do. I thought to myself “ok- he mows the lawn and maybe plants some stuff.”

…little did I know…

In the weeks that followed, I heard a bit more about the garden in the small talk co-workers make. “What did you do this weekend?” “Hung out with my family and worked in the garden.”

Sounded lovely.

Then we started joking about planting a vegetable garden in the concrete “prison yard” where we ate our lunch. It was the kind of conversation thick with the sarcasm of an idea that would never happen.

Shortly before my last day there, they asked permission to build a veggie garden. I NEVER, in a million years, imagined that two weeks later I’d be seeing this:


“At the same time I believe that with a little bit of positive energy and effort, the garden at “The Yard” will prove that you can grow food anywhere and better yet give people hope.” -Arnulfo Toro


I was so happy to see it. I felt a little blush of pride knowing that my jumping around that place in my sparkly skirts and colorful shoes had, in some small way, contributed to the birth of a bit of Muchness in what was formerly the Grayest Place on earth.

I hope that garden blooms boatloads of fresh tomatoes and cucumbers and all sorts of goodies that make lunchtime for everyone there much muchier.

And then, yesterday, BONUS! 

I saw on Facebook the most awesome-sauce thing.

He started a blog.


And a business. And I got to see pictures of his garden. And this is nothing like a “mow the lawn and plant some stuff on the weekends” garden. It is incredible! Behold:



Am I right???

And here’s the thing: He is sharing his Muchness with people and building “GardenBox Farms” for other people so they can grow healthy, hormone and drug free foods in their own gardens, wherever they are!

He’d said this was a “work in progress” for a year and a half- and I believe him.

How often do you get an idea in our head that we know is awesome or empowering or will feel fulfilling on a completely different level than the one we are used to vibrating at…. and then don’t do it?

I know I am so guilty of that, many times over.

It becomes some big, insurmountable concept or we talk ourselves out of it for any number of reasons- and there are many. Eventually, we beat ourselves up over it and then get back into default mode of not even allowing ourselves to have big ideas anymore… lest we fail to follow through.

Let me tell you…. when you get a glimpse of where your Muchness lives inside you- whether it’s gardening, or sparkles, or cooking or art or reading or writing – WHATEVER it is — the biggest crime you can commit is NOT paying attention to it. That stuff is the fuel that guides your spirit to the places and things you are put on this earth for. The second biggest crime is keeping it to yourself because sharing YOUR Muchness is also the fuel that sparks others’ to look inside themselves and find their Muchness.

Could you imagine what this world would be like if everyone was In Touch With Their Much?

Guided by their Muchness, instead of their fear, insecurity and feelings of being a being a victim of circumstance? Could you picture what that would look like? The world would feel colorful, alive and optimistic! People would be sharing their gifts, their joys and feeling empowered to express themselves because they’d know that in expressing their truest, muchiest selves they can achieve anything.

When I write posts like this, they are as much a message to myself as they are to you, my cherished reader. (I want to hate the sappiness of that term , but I can’t, because it’s true.) 

It’s been a challenging and scary few weeks here at Casa dé Gold. Let’s all keep our Muchness Magic flowing together.




Muchness cookie bake-off

I volunteered to bring cookies to Molly’s school Thanksgiving meal. When I signed up I had visions of hand decorated, hand baked cookies with icing and candy corn designed to muchy perfection…

Ya know what? That’s a lie.

I had visions of the stuff you buy pre-decorated in the refrigerator section of the supermarket that is sitting next to the yogurt.

And that’s what I bought. Because its fun for the kids and takes about as much time as their attention span will allow.

But, in the spirit of Muchness I bought two different brands so I could do a side by side review!

Pillsbury Thanksgiving Shape Sugar cookies
Nestlé Thanksgiving Friends Sugar Cookies

Fun Factor:
Pillsbury Thanksgiving Shape Sugar Cookies
-Easy little pellets pop out of the bag and onto the cookie sheet. Not much to do.
-Maybe too easy? Very little fun factor.
-All the designs are the same. A lame-o brown and orange turkey in a fedora.

-They say they are Shaped cookies but the only shape they are is round. Boo.
-They took longer to cook than indicated in the package so I had to sit there like a watchdog. Annoying.

Nestlé Thanksgiving Friends Sugar Cookies
-Nestlé cookies are die cut into a square sheet. You have to pop them out. You Then have leftover raw dough you can roll out and make into more cookies or feed to your little sister when moms not looking.
-assorted designs including “I’m thankful for…” which received the reply “my sister.”… #MuchnessMoment for mom.

-cooked as described on the package

– none really. I mean, they’re not the most incredibly incredible cookie on earth, but they deliver on their promises.

They both pretty much tasted like sugary crap. I should know. I ate at least 3 of each. Personally, I liked the Nestlé better but neither will be winning any awards on The Cooking Channel.

The Overall Winner? Nestlé.


Why? They were much muchier.

That’s it!
I know this post is likely to fascinate you with its insight and sophistication. Or maybe not.
I’m sharing it with you ‘cuz it was fun to think about ways to create a muchness moment of an obligation. I coulda gone bonkers and hand decorated a bunch if hand made cookies but that would have just stressed me out and been no fun at all. Alternatively, I coulda just offered to bring the plastic utensils, but really, what fun would that have been?
What’s something you maybe have to do that you could get creative and make into a Moment of Muchness, without making yourself crazy? Share your thoughts and inspire others in the comments below!
Xox, Tova

Muchness Meals!- Muchkin Style!!

I don’t do the grocery shopping much in our house. Elie is really kinda obsessed with healthy food. His Muchness is going to Whole Foods to play in the Whole Grains sold by weight aisle. For real.

But every now and then I find myself at the grocery store. You can always tell when I’ve gpne shopping vs. when Elie’s gone shopping. When he goes, the kitchen gets filled with Kale, Seitan and Corn meal pizza crusts for homemade cheeseless tempeh Pizza. When I go the kitchen gets filled with Donuts, Ice Cream and Laffy Taffys, and for the kids, M&M Yogurt.

So, last week I found myself at Trader Joes, cuz I passed it on the way back from Michaels Craft store and we needed canned corn. I left with brownie mix. It said it was healthy!!

So, me and the girls decided to make the brownies. Yay! Muchy project! The box said the only ingredients you need are fat free vanilla yogurt. I used the M&M kind and muchified the boring brown brownies!

Step One: Reduce the guilt. Done.

Step Two: Get the kid to do the heavy lifting. That mixing is hard work.

Step Three: MUCHIFY!!

(Secret tip: We used the M&M’s from the yogurt for the brownies, but we also used Rieces Pieces from another yogurt. That way, when you ate it, you never knew what you were gonna get!)

Step Four: Clean up. Again- let the kids do the lion’s share of the work.


Decluttering!!! Doing a little bit every day will keep the momentum going- I can FEEL IT!!!

today was just me and the kids and Ithought “I’m gonna get NO Decluttering done!” But keeping my expectations low, I managed to get through two important drawers and a lot of my Family room shelves. I’ll save the shelves for when they’re REALLY done. but check out some of the drawers:



… I stole those pink baskets from the pens in my other junk drawer- planning to buy as little as possible!!!! And the Ikea kids cutlery made it’s way into a different drawer. Behold:



Those hanging Ikea baskets work great on the rails, and I have them just because I figured they’d be good for SOMETHING (I also keep hair elastics and barrettes in them in the bathroom)

It feels great to open  up the drawers and be able to just grab something…. almost makes me want to do dishes!!! (almost)


What are some of your Before & Afters?

MUCHNESS MEALS – Subject: Mashed potatoes

Molly is a picky eater. What? Almost all three and half year olds are picky eaters? Well, good for them. Molly, if she knew how picky a standard picky eater was, she’d be twice as picky. On purpose. Just to test what would happen. Like most kids, she’ll eat yogurt (but only from the sippy cup, mixed with milk – no- not THAT sippy cup, the pink one. With the other lid. NO! The OTHER lid!!) and she’ll eat macaroni and cheese (except that piece- NO! THAT PIECE!!! the one that looks hard and crispy after it was baked!) and she’ll eat string cheese (NO! I want to open it!!) and she’ll eat chicken  (except that piece- NO! THAT PIECE!!! the one that looks hard and crispy after it was baked!) and that’s about it. Oh, wait. She eats lox. As in, pickled, smoked, greasy disgusting lox. She’ll just devour that stuff like it’s ice cream. Oh, she’ll also eat ice cream.

Fruit and veggies? No how. No way. I don’t know how she got it in her head that she hates fruit. I mean ANY fruit, except bananas. No berries. No melon. No apples, No grapes. No oranges, No watermelon. No mango (unless it’s dried. and hard and crispy. Go figure.)

And Veggies? Maybe corn. Elie can coax her into eating a couple of peas every now and then. And sweet potato soup (that’s not even a veggie- but it’s the closest we get)

I had a brainstorm. I’m gonna Muchify Mashed potatoes!!! This is NOT about getting her to eat potatoes. It is about getting her to eat the secret muchifier.

The ingredients:

Potatoes. Beets. (GOOD FOR YOU AND FUCHSIA TOO!!!) and some boxed veggie broth.

Those fella’s stain like nobodies business.

peel ‘em

Add salt to the boiling water. Oh? Did I forget to mention that? Boil water. You’re making mashed potatoes. Dur. Oh, and get the kid involved. They like that.

Oh. Chop those suckers into pieces before dumping them into the water. Cut the beets smaller than the potatoes. They like to take their sweet time waiting to get soft.

I decided to dump an ear of corn in my pot. Because, ya know, it was there. I thought maybe the corn would turn pink too!

I yiyi!!! That corn’s not pink!!!

…but it sure is tasty!!

Time to mash the potatoes and beets! The moment of truth!!!

I’m thinking, perhaps, disaster. The potatoes were yellow, not white. The sign at the supermarket said they were good for mashing. I’m no expert. I listen to the signs at the supermarket. Next time I’ll go with the ones they said were good for baking. Those looked white. Besides, what do the signs at the supermarket know? They can’t tell the difference between all those other green leafy things either. Need parsley, come home with cilantro. Need cilantro, come home with dill. Need dill, come home with curly parsley. Wait. Is that just me? Whatever. Moving right along…  So, this stuff I’m mashing, is this what they use on CSI when someone’s guts explode? Oh, no- it looks just like that disgusting bloody fat they suck out of people’s thighs when they get liposuction. On TV. For real. Yick. So, it seems, beets turn red when you cook them. Lesson learned.

meanwhile, across the room … “hello? hello? is someone there???” Why isn’t anyone answering me???”

When fully mixed, they start to resemble cherry snow cones. With bits of brain mixed in. This might not work. Not even in the pink princess bowl.

But wait! What’s this!?! SHE LIKES IT!!! She doesn’t think it looks like brains!!! It’s pink! It’s Muchtastic! It tastes like plain old mashed potatoes with the healing powers of beets!! WooooHoooo! SUCCESS!!!!

Next time, maybe I’ll add HOMEMADE GLITTER to sprinkle on top!

PS- When it cools, it actually turns back to fuchsia again! That makes it Magic color changing Muchy Mashed Potatoes!!! Yahoooo!

****Please note, The Beet Growers Association of America has not provided me with any compensation for writing this post. In case you were worried my opinions were paid for. I wish.****


This is my cousin L’via with my niece. One is related to me through my dad and the other through my husband. They are not related to each other at all. Yet somehow the two of them joined forces to create this incredible cake that is overloaded with Tons of Muchness.

That cake is awe-some.


L’via makes tons of awesome cakes. She is to cakes what I am to glitter. She also makes cakes with glitter. That’s hot.


I’ve never shared a recipe on here before but here goes. The easiest yummiest healthiest recipe for greens you’ll ever see. Wait. Greens? Like, lettuce? No. Like collards or kale- that stuff you look at in the grocery and think “yuck” and “who eats that?” and “ew- must be buggy”….
Anyhow. Here goes:
1- chop
2- wash
3- sauté in a little water. Remove from heat.
4- while greens sauted make a mixture of these three things. Whatever proportions you want so it’s pasty.
5- pour on hot greens and mix
6- eat
7- thank me for showing you how to bring healthy greens in your diet without covering it in mayo and butterfat like Paula Dean would.


Here’s a pic of the finished product. Complete with tempeh, portobella mushroom and onion pizza on a cornmeal crust.