Archive for November, 2010
We have been waiting for the Walla Walla onions to come in since October: you are supposed to plant them in the first part of November. Finally we went to the nursery from which we had ordered them, only to be told that their supplier had gone out of business. Arrgh! We went to another nursery that still had some. Yeah! We bought two bunches of 50 at $3.00 a piece. Joe, of course, got one bunch and three hours after he got them he called us and said to get busy and plant ours! What a pain!!
It was wine country time again this Thanksgiving weekend. Joe, his wife Sandi, Archie and I went to the Anderson Valley to pick up our wine shipments. Since we live so close we choose to pick up our wine rather than have them send it to us. And that way we get to taste their new wines along with our old favorites. It was such a beautiful day! Afterwards we went to dinner at one place in Mendocino Village only to be told they were sold out. Arrgh! However, we were happy to see that our town was busy in this economy. We then went to Patterson’s Pub: a nice place for locals – it’s dark, yet friendly.
We are gearing up for next year’s classes; a full schedule in January, a new workshop in February, and then another full schedule in March. Swoosh! A full schedule includes Associate Chef and Instructor Certification, Gourmet of Raw Food Chef Certification, and The Benefits of Raw Food Nutrition Educator Certification. The February courses include Photographing Food, Food Styling for Photography, Recipe Production, Styling, and Photography, Recipe Book Writing, Recipe Book Production Workshop, and Culinary Demo Video Production for the Media. Yes! We are going to be very busy!
So here I am at Living Light after three days off, working an eleven hour day to make up for time lost. My kids, my boyfriend and I braved the snow and spent this holiday with my father and my brother and sister-in-law. The holidays compel me to visit family, which is good because I probably just wouldn’t otherwise. (Unless it gets so gloomy here we have to follow the sun) I’m always so happy to see them – it’s just hard to get the momentum going. Some kind of inertia keeps me home, like, fifty out of fifty-two weekends a year. That’s okay too, though. It never hurts to stay connected to your local loved ones. Was it worth it? This may not be the best time to ask as it’s almost nine thirty at night and we didn’t get in until about one this morning. But if I could step back for a minute, I’m sure I’d say it was – absolutely.
If you’re a local and staying put this time of year or if you’re making the Mendocino Coast part of your holiday travels, I suggest you come in and check out our Café and Marketplace. First of all, it’s Pastry Arts time here at Living Light which means extra special treats in the Café. Or maybe you’d just like a fresh juice to boost you through a hectic holiday. And the Marketplace is a great place to do some peaceful holiday shopping. We’ve got tons of fabulous culinary tools and tasteful tableware. And don’t forget that holiday bag of mila to keep you on the go. Come in and let Living Light be a part of your season.
Well, we are at the final countdown before the day that officially starts the holiday season, Thanksgiving. Here on the Mendocino Coast the weather has turned cold.
By the end of tomorrow, we’ll already be moving on to the next big holiday gathering, whether that is Christmas, Hanukka, Kwansa, or Solstice. We are at the darkest time of the year, which is why many of us like to decorate our houses with pretty sparkly things, candles, lights, and fragrant greenery that bring to mind all of the years we’ve shared the holidays with our families and friends.
It can be a difficult time of the year for some people, because our expectations may be high, and we often hope to create the “perfect” holiday memories we imagine we “should” have for such occasions. Sometimes we are lucky and spend holidays with family (of birth or choice) and friends. Sometimes, we may stay connected by telephone or webcam.
Or we might choose a different path, and decide to create fresh new traditions.
Our graphic artist Inga is having a quiet celebration with her boyfriend – they are making Indian food for something different. And here at Living Light we are having a Thanksgiving Day Vegetarian/Vegan/Raw Potluck and World Peace Meditation. So no matter what the tradition, or what kind of family you find yourself among, we hope you take a moment to remember who you are: someone who is loved.
Our Thanksgiving celebration will truly a joyful one this year as our friend Joe has had a trying experience. He had something on his brain about a month ago and of course we were all worried that it might have been a tumor. Thank goodness it was not that, but an infection that caused swelling. After many changes of his medication, the swelling is going down and the infection can be dealt with. Yes, we will definitely be thankful this year that he is doing so much better.
I looked for joyful images for this blog and found so many that it was hard to pick!
Pastry Arts – Unbaked! is wrapping up today, and Pastry Arts – Unbaked! II will start on Saturday, November 27th. I ‘m really looking forward to this class as it is a brand new one, and our students will thrive under the direction of our trio of talented chefs: Pastry Chef extraordinaire Vinnette Thompson, Culinary Programs Manager Martine Lussier, and Living Light’s Pastry Chef Meagan Ricks. Talk about visions of sugar plums dancing in our heads!
Pre-holiday anxiety can set in pretty quickly, so it’s important to do everything you can to stay focused on the joy. Just because I went into the post office today to ship a birthday package to my son in Canada, and there was a long line already, doesn’t mean that I have to get all scrooged up about it. And just because I filled out the longish customs form and was told I had to go back over everything I’d written so that it would show up on the last page of the quadruplicate doesn’t mean that I should feel any anxiety (especially with a long line forming behind me already). It must mean that now is the time to breathe, relax, and enjoy. Hey, Fort Bragg doesn’t even have any traffic to speak of. No malls, no big box stores, no vast parking lots where you can’t find your car. We do have a tree lighting ceremony, a festival of lights in the Botanical Gardens, several craft and art fairs, and a performance of the Nutcracker every year at the groovy refurbished Cotton Auditorium.
Well, actually, we say there is traffic if it takes us 12 minutes to get to work in the morning instead of 10. And we have a holiday truck parade where practically the whole town turns out no matter what the weather, and the aforementioned tree lighting ceremony, and kids parties at the aquatic center and all kinds of fun, small town homey reasons to love the season. Here at Living Light, we’ve already had a meeting to plan the entertainment, food, and decor for our annual party, and we’ve agreed in the admin office to put off playing holiday music until after Thanksgiving. We’ve started to bring in little treats for each other, and take an extra minute to be kind and considerate of our coworkers. That’s how it starts to creep in…that holiday spirit that takes hold of your heart, brings a tear to your eye when you watch the season’s favorite movies for the umpteenth time, and helps you remember the spirit of the season: Peace on Earth, Goodwill towards men (and women, and children, and animals.) Yeah.
If your experience is anything like mine, no matter how hard you try to make lasting hallmarky memories for your children, they tend to remember your less than perfect moments more vividly and frequently. I can’t count the times my son has brought up the time I accidentally hit a pedestrian (well…obviously it was an accident and I didn’t hit him very hard and I gave the guy a ride…) but never mentions the collaborative centerpieces we made for Thanksgiving that one year, or any cultural or community event we’ve attended ever. Who knows how they’ll recollect they’re childhood – happy, horrible or just an inaccessible blur. Only time will tell. And in the mean time I’ll approach this holiday season with a fresh list of memorable monkeyshine to inflict upon them.
We used to have a class here at Living Light called New Holiday Traditions, and although I would argue that traditions can’t, by definition, be new, I know what they mean. It was made up of a fantastic collection of recipes replacing holiday favorites with raw creations. We employees were invited to a holiday potluck after this class last year and the food was perfectly delicious. (Even my kids liked it, although they probably don’t remember….). Anyhow – we no longer offer this class, but don’t despair – you can own all the new holiday traditions you’ll ever need with our new DVD – The Best of New Holiday Traditions! It’s packed with demos by all your Living Light favorites and is guaranteed to create lasting holiday memories.
This weekend we pulled the weeds from in front of one of our gardens. We knew there were a couple of Naked Lady bulbs there so we were very careful when pulling. To our delight there were at least nine bulbs that had already poked their leaves up through the dirt! Archie took the Mantis and tilled the ground in front and around the bulbs while I took the weeds and added to the “berm” we’re making by the side of the road. Then I brought a wheelbarrow full of horse manure and Archie tilled that in. Then we planted Daffodil bulbs in front of the Naked Ladies. I wanted to plant some crocuses in front too, but we didn’t have any left over from last year’s planting. Ah well, it’s gonna look gorgeous!
Speaking of gorgeous, next February/March we will be having the first Recipe Book Writing, Design, and Production Workshop. Cherie Soria, our Director and author of Raw Food Revolution Diet, Denise Vivaldo, author of The Food Stylist’s Handbook, and Dianne Jacob, author of Will Write for Food, will be teaching this class. You will learn how to photograph your delicious raw dishes, how to plate them, how to write the recipes, and design and produce your own book either as an e-book or hardcover. How exciting is this?
Now that Halloween is a memory, and the holidays are just around the corner, it’s time to think about family and friends, traditions new and old, and what the spirit of the season means to each of us individually and collectively. Is that almond milk in the bottle? In the world of raw foods, we tend to be trailblazers. We may be the ones who help to change traditions, no matter where we are.
This can sometimes cause a bit of strife at family time, and yet it can also be a wonderful opportunity to bring us together in new ways. In families, it’s important to accept each other as we learn and grow and become more of who we really are. On my radio show Women’s Voices on local NPR affiliate KZYX, I recently interviewed Cathy Jo Cress, who coauthored a book with her daughter Kali Cress Peterson called Mom Loves You Best, Forging and Forgiving Sibling Relationships. I bring this up because during the holidays, when we get together with family, issues can come up, including the issue of what foods we eat.
One way to bring the holiday table up to date is to prepare delicious raw vegan recipes of classic favorites like pumpkin pie, mashed potatoes and gravy, and green beans almondine. And if the thought of studying recipe books and trying to figure out how to translate comfort and tradition into delicious raw foods seems daunting, we’ve come up with a solution. You can get the Best of New Holiday Traditions DVD from Living Light, and see our professional Living Light chefs preparing the most loved recipes from the past four years. 16 recipes step-by-step…and a printed recipe book and bonus DVD – foolproof ways to bring those comforting family recipes to the table. And if you live near Fort Bragg, join us for our Thanksgiving Potluck and World Peace Meditation, Thanksgiving Day from 2:00 PM to 5:00 PM at Living Light Center. Bring a vegan or raw vegan dish to share with new friends. We’re creating our own traditions!
It is getting a little cold here in Fort Bragg (43° F this morning), so Sunday evening we put a dish of our harvested vegetables in the oven. Normally, we focus on fresh, delicious raw vegetables but this weather brings out the baker in me. We’d never had delicata squash before, but now that we’ve tried it we’ll definitely plant lots more next year! Ummm – it tasted like pumpkin: rich and flavorful. We ate the leftovers last night and they still tasted great; no more leftovers!
Speaking of baking, I’m really looking forward to Pastry Arts – Unbaked!™ Level 2. If you’ve never tried the unbaked creations that come out of our first level pastry arts class, you’ve missed a real treat. The new class is this November 27 – 30 following Pastry Arts – Unbaked 1 and Thanksgiving. This class is a recipe development class where students will create their own desserts using the “think tank” method. There will be professional plating done and every student will get the recipes of their peer’s creations as well.
People say that the sooner you learn that no one’s going to take care of you but yourself, the better. Well – okay – this is a good thing to keep in mind and a fabulous fall back position, but in my experience it just isn’t true. Thank goodness. I mean, I know I’m the only one I can really count on, blah, blah, blah, but seriously – my life is now and always has been literally crowded with people who not only will help take care of me but actually want to. Maybe I’m just super lucky, or maybe it’s an inherent by-product of being a grasshopper, but I have to say that by and large, the only things I have to do all by myself are the ones I want to.
More and more these days, people are doing for themselves the projects they used to save for professionals. This is great (unless of course you happen to be one of those professionals) as it is allowing more to get done. More creativity and information and all sorts of things are available to the human collective thanks to self publishing, for example. If you’re thinking of publishing a raw recipe book, then Living Light is just the place for you at the end of this winter. We are offering a recipe book workshop where you’ll learn to take your book from concept to book store. This class is going to be perfect for our graduates out there who are ready to move their creations boldly into the public eye. You can do it – yourself – with a little help from your friends at Living Light.