Archive for January, 2011
When you have a January birthday, as I do, you truly revel in the winter sunshine. Since my birthday was on the weekend this year, I decided to take an impromptu road trip through the Anderson Valley and up to Calistoga, a pretty little town with natural hot springs. Sometimes its good to just take to the open road and clear your head a little, although it was also a wonderful weekend here on the Mendocino Coast. So I had a good time, and came back refreshed, which is good, because some people around here are getting sick, and that’s no fun, winter or summer. Our Directors, Dan and Cherie just left for a long awaited trip to their honeymoon destination, Costa Rica. They were married there a few years ago, but have been so busy they’ve not gone back together for a couple of years, and it’s high time to revisit that romantic destination.
To keep the spirit of romance alive here at Living Light, we are producing the Hot Raw Chef Sweet Valentine Video Recipe Contest, and all the submissions are in! Now we’re excited to get on with the voting. We’ve received 42 submissions this contest–almost twice as many as our first Hot Raw Chef Video Recipe contest. Voting takes place January 28-February 12, so be sure to Rawk the Vote!
I received an email from my sister about a program helping women who have cancer clean their homes for four months while they undergo treatment. The website is http://www.cleaningforareason.org/. I am continually delighted and amazed how people are helping people.
A former renter dropped by yesterday to see Archie and me. Tami and her dog, Indy, were on our property for three months before we moved up here and about three months after. Once a month she had a septic company come, and had her “grey” water (water from the sink and shower) empty out on a barrel in which she planted flowers. She was always interested in being environmentally “green”.
After she left Fort Bragg she went to Ukiah to teach high school. There she touched people’s lives in ways she did not know. One student who had cerebral palsy came up to her at the end of the term to thank her. He had been trying to kill himself by starving to death. He had ended up in the hospital, but that did not change his mind. One day at school Tami was behind grading papers and decided to put on a movie. She chose a movie about anorexia and bulimia. After watching the movie the student realized he was in control of his actions and decided from that point to change his eating habits and his life. Tami had always treated him with respect and he decided to earn it. She was flabbergasted to hear his story, but so proud of his decision. Next week I’ll share another story about Tami.
I can hardly wait to vote for the Hot Raw Chef contest. Voting will begin this Friday, January 28th and end February 9th. Someone called us today to ask if they could vote for themselves – how sweet! I am sure Obama voted for himself!
I’m over half way through my month of 100% raw and I must say the whole experience is very illuminating. It’s caused me to think about food a lot more than I normally do – A LOT more! Of course, there’s all the pre-planning and shopping and soaking and whatever else, which can be exhausting for some one like me, but I’ve really had to look at my emotional relationship to food as well. It’s so natural to walk across the lobby and get a cookie when I get a little bored at work. It’s so satisfying to have a slice of cake in the evening to end the day on a positive note. Now, I have to make myself smile without a sweet. It’s not hard – but it does take some thought. And it makes me think about all the crap I used to stuff in my mouth without thinking about it. Anyhow, I feel great! I’m super energized and my hair looks terrific!
One piece of advice I’d give to anyone thinking of doing an all raw diet for any length of time: prepare yourself with some raw culinary skills. The whole thing can get a little overwhelmingly boring if you can’t whip up a couple desserts or fancy entrees. And, if you didn’t guess already, one of the great ways to get these skills is to attend some basic classes at Living Light. We just added a mini series to our 2011 line-up: FUNdamentals of Raw Living Foods, Knife Skills Intensive and the Essentials of Raw Culinary Arts. This trio of classes will get anyone fully prepared to set up a home raw food kitchen where they can prepare delicious meals. We’ve also added the ever popular two day Science of Raw Food Nutrition I so you can learn all about why my hair looks so terrific! Anyhow – we’re running a special for locals, so if you’re in the area and want to go raw, give me a call. I’ll get you registered and give you all my tips for staying the course!
Even though the energy is supposedly still curled up tight in January, I always feel a little surge of Spring at this time of the year. Just enough to tease out that little bit of hope that might have lain dormant after the holidays. When I go out to visit the plants on my deck, I see some new fronds and shoots, and a tinge of fresh green, nature’s “hardest hue to hold” as Robert Frost says.
I love inspiration. We are starting to feel extra inspired this year, because we have our first group of students moving into “Chef” as we call it–when they really start using the skills they’ve aquired so far, and do their first public culinary demo at our school, besides learning (and eating!) a variety of truly scrumptious recipes. And we have extra reason to celebrate. Our chef Amber West has decided to follow her passion and complete our Living Light Associate Chef Internship Program.
This means that she’ll be here as a chef/instructor for every Associate Chef and Instructor Series we have throughout the year. We’ve decided that this will be a great opportunity for us to launch another blog, called “The Chef Experience.” Amber will chronicle each of the sessions with students in the Raw Culinary Arts Associate Chef and Instructor Training™ program, and share insights and photos from each group. This will prove to be inspiring to everyone working here, as well as to all the potential Living Light students out there who want to know the “skinny” on the day to day learning process. We’re really excited! We can hardly wait to share a bird’s eye view of our classes with all of you. And don’t forget the Hot Raw Chef Sweet Valentine Video Contest!
This weekend I harvested the last of the carrots. What we don’t eat this coming week I shredded and froze to use as filler in soups or in making carrot bread. There is Swiss chard left in the garden I will also harvest. I wonder if they will make good chips like kale does. I just “Googled” for a chard chip recipe and found some – yeah!
Besides the lime mousse I still need to make, I will try another of Mary Elizabeth’s recipes: stuffed mushrooms. She puts mushroom stems, soaked almonds, nutritional yeast, olive oil, salt & pepper to taste in a food processor and then she stuffs the mushroom caps. She and her daughter, Bridget, said they were great – hope Archie thinks so!
I am so excited about the Hot Raw Chef Sweet Valentine contest, especially since the prize is for $5,000 in Living Light Classes and/or the Living Light Inn: what a treat! Some of the entries are former students, but not all. This just shows that our world RAWks!
It wasn’t an all food weekend: we also went to the ocean. In the morning it was so bright and sunny that as soon as I harvested the carrots, and Archie finished working in the lavender garden, we headed to the 10 Mile River beach. By then it was overcast. Oh well, I sat in a chair knitting and watching the waves roll in and the dogs run from them! Archie walked along the coast line looking for “finds”. What he found this time were mussels. When he returned I looked at him and noticed that his beard and mustache was full of mist. Yes, it was cold, but we had fun anyway.
As Hilloah mentioned, many of us are either going raw for the first time, or (as in my case), finding a way to be mostly raw while still enjoying certain condiments that keep me that way. I remember the first time I went raw–I was at The Ann Wigmore Institute in Puerto Rico and was amazed that some of the people who worked there would sometimes go out for beans and rice, or some other such scandalous food! At the time, I was on the straight and narrow and simply shocked that anyone with access to the cleansing diet would consider anything else. At the end of our two week cleansing regime we had the equivalent of a gourmet raw meal and I woke up the next morning with mucuous in my eyes. The body adapts quickly to a clean diet.
Another time when I visited my friend Jeffree in Puerto Rico (he was super raw and lived in a tree house made of two Mango trees that intertwined), we decided after weeks of raw to roast some Jackfruit in the coals of a fire down by the river. Boy, was that some of the best cooked food I’ve ever tasted. Amazing how the tastebuds are titillated by simple foods when not overstimulated.
Well, times have changed, and I’ve learned that for myself, it is sometimes more rewarding to be a little more lenient and enjoy raw foods even more that way. For instance, this morning after a delicious smoothie of bananas, blackberries, blueberries, oranges, celery, chia, and spirulina, I had some “raw” bread with almond cheese, and just for a treat, I put cured black olives and roasted tomatoes on top. The roasted tomatoes were from the local market, and were so delicious. I enjoyed my raw snack even more than I might have with a fresh tomato slice. I don’t know that I’ll ever choose to be “radically raw” again, even though it feels good. I might just like to relax and enjoy life without too much judgement. And that’s how we are at Living Light. We honor everyone on their path, no matter where they are.
So – my daughter and I are well into our second week of eating 100% raw. And – goodness gracious – am I ever proud of her! She’s thirteen and has been pretty much subsisting on the Standard American Teenaged Diet – whatever we feed her plus lots of chips, gallons of soda and chocolate, chocolate and more chocolate. Since we started, though, she’s eaten nothing but living foods. Although she’s been a bit cranky and has a whopping head cold right now, she absolutely refuses to waver. We found a great website by another raw teenager and we’ve been trying some fun recipes. Don’t tell her, but it’s kind of a bonding experience for us. Anyhow, I’m super proud of her and fortunately, I work at Living Light so I can bring her fantastic raw treats from our dessert case!
Speaking of fun raw recipes, if you want to show off one of your own, now is the time to submit it for our Sweet Valentine Hot Raw Chef Video Recipe Contest. I know Living Light employees can’t enter, but I wonder if my daughter could? I’ll have to read the rules more closely. Anyhow, if some of you reading this aren’t actually related to me, it really is time to make those videos and send them in. The new extended deadline is January 24th. The prizes are fabulous and just entering will give you tons of exposure. And remember – nothing says “happy valentine’s day” like a heart healthy raw treat for your sweetheart. And winning $5000.00 wouldn’t hurt, either.
Mary Elizabeth found a website that gives easy raw recipes and made a lime mousse for her and her daughter who is also going raw. Her daughter, Bridget, is thirteen years old and we all are in awe of her tenacity to stay raw – it can not be easy. They both enjoyed the mousse and said it was delicious. Archie said it sounded good; so I went to the store today to buy the ingredients and we will try it.
Kristin, our Marketing Director, is also going raw and brought in some “to die for” mushroom crackers. When asked for the recipes she said, “Oh! I’ve been doing this forever. Let’s see, just marinate the mushrooms and onions separately in soy sauce, soak the flax seeds overnight, add veggie scraps, parsley, miso, lemon, lime or orange, stir together, and dehydrate. Then poof, you have it!” Ah, ok. The best things are usually accidents; guess it is time for me to start.
Hey – we’re having another video contest! This time it’s themed around Valentines Day. I don’t think the recipe has to be particularly sweet or romantic – it can be anything you’d like – but keep in mind it’s called the Hot Raw Chef Sweet Valentine Video Recipe Contest. There are three fabulous prizes up for grabs. So – let the games begin!
I’m actually a little traumatized by talking about Valentines Day so soon on the heels of the winter holidays. Couldn’t we have some time off from holidays? I had one of the nicest Christmases I’ve had in a while, really, and got tons of fabulous gifts and had a lovely day with friends and family. But – I sure was glad for things to just get back to normal this week. I
don’t care how nice your holidays turn out; it’s still kind of a whirlwind and definitely a schedule changer. But – let’s not get too comfortable! Valentines Day is right around the corner and dang it – we at Living Light are going to be ready!
This recipe contest couldn’t be coming at a better time, really. I may have mentioned my daughter and I and a bunch of us here at Living Light are going raw for thirty days. I may also have mentioned before that I’m not all that comfortable in the kitchen. I’d love to see some fun new recipes to make our raw challenge more exciting. So – all you aspiring stars of the raw food world – make those videos, submit them and maybe you could be the next hot raw chef – sweet valentines style!