The Mendocino Coast Botanical Garden has long been a favorite place for me and Archie to visit, even before we moved up here. We would take a picnic lunch and go to the cliff house and watch the whales go by. The rhododendrons are so beautiful and last longer at the coast. We have rhodies at our home, but we are inland by a mile so the time is not quite as long. The gardens have so many plants and show so many ways to decorate your yard. We rarely go without buying at least one. The botanical gardens had their annual spring plant sale this past weekend. Being members we were able to go the evening before for goodies, wine, and the real reason: plants. It was so much fun – cold, but fun.
Coming up soon is the Science of Raw Food Nutrition series. This series includes Level I, Level II, the Benefits of Raw Food Nutrition Educator Certification, Level III, and the Advanced Raw Food Nutrition Educator Certification. If you find nutrition interesting, and would like to learn the science behind a raw vegan diet, please contact me and ask for the descriptions of these stellar classes.
Archie and I were talking about what we were going to do on the weekend and I said I would weed out the snapdragons from our wine barrels as they were done. Then I started to think about it. Do they reseed themselves? Do I leave the roots and a few inches of the stalk above ground? It’s Google time! I went to several sites and basically found out that snapdragons can reseed themselves, however it is best to save the seeds and plant next year. Good to know!
There are so many yummy choices in our Raw Food Café! My favorite, as everyone knows, is Tiramisu. The Pastry Chefs know to let me know when they bring it down to the café. Our next Pastry Arts – Unbaked! class is May 1st through 4th – I can’t wait. My favorite non-dessert is the Not Tuna Sandwich. It doesn’t really taste like tuna, but has the same consistency and the flavor is outstanding! And just think, when you come to Living Light Culinary Institute you will get to learn how to make these yummy dishes!
A couple of weeks ago Archie put our Mason Bees out in one of the gardens and we saw our first one this weekend. It probably was a male for two reasons: one, the antennae were long and females have short antennae; two, the three eggs in the tube closest to the sun are male bees. I do not know how this is done. How does the female bee know which egg will be a male or a female? It is a mystery.
We are also seeing birds enter our bird houses. The Emerald Green-Backed Swallows are here again and they chose the same bird house that they always do. We were wondering if they would as we had to move the house to another tree. The old tree was rotting too much and we had to cut it down. I wish I’d been there to see them first arrive; can’t you imagine it? They swoop to enter the house they remember and it is not there! Ah well, they found it.
It looks like spring in the Living Light Marketplace as well. There are new chef coats: a new shade of purple (Cherie’s favorite color), short sleeves, ¾ sleeves, and a new style – a wrap, so cute! The book shelves – an entire wall full – also look so pretty with all the covers in different colors. Even some of the culinary tools are in color.
One of my favorite coworkers, Terilynn, took care of Dan and Cherie’s dogs, Winky and Rudy, while they were in Costa Rica for their anniversary. Her children adored the dogs and have since asked for visiting rights which, of course, was granted as the dogs also love thechildren. It was (and still is) cold here last February and Terilynn took pity on the small dogs and made sweaters for them. Terilynn knows I love to crochet so she asked me for help. We didn’t really understand the directions, so Terilynn readjusted them and look what she created – wonderful!
One of the fun things that Living Light students get to do is create new raw vegan foods. They start out in Associate Chef and begin creating new dishes. Then in Ethnic Flavors and Raw Fusion Spa Cuisine they really get to let their creative juices flow. Flavor dynamics is a very important part of the culinary experience, especially for raw vegan creations as you are attempting to create a taste similar to the cooked version: not an easy task. By the time you graduate, however, you will rawk!
Last night Archie and I went to a town meeting. Where we live, there are several hundred people living off one particular road with only one way to get to Highway One. They were discussing the possibility of opening another access road and proposed four routes, one of which goes by our home. Several of our neighbors were there and now everyone is upset. All agree we need another access road but no one wants it near their home as the traffic will increase. People will use the new road to get to work in a more efficient manner, etc., and not just in emergencies. We live in the country and know every single vehicle that drives by and if it is not one that we recognize we wonder who it is. If the new road goes in we will have several unrecognized vehicles and a lot more noise. We need the road – fire being the biggest danger – but as I said, no one wants it by their property. The project is scheduled to start in September; I wonder which proposed road it will be?
What WILL be happing in September (and also in July) is the Advanced Raw Culinary Arts Instructor Certification™ Series with internationally renowned chef and author, Jennifer Cornbleet. Master the art of teaching dynamic culinary classes and share the delicious health benefits of raw vegan foods with others. What makes this class so special is you will learn how to organize your notes, your talks, your demos, your internet marketing, and much more! Jenny will wow you with her insight; she has been on television, radio and the internet marketing her talents. Learn how she does it.
Just a few more days left until our next series of culinary classes begins. There are still five spaces left in the six week Gourmet Raw Food Certification course. We are always excited to meet our new students in person and find out what they are planning for their future with the skills they acquire here at Living Light. Frequently potential students ask me about the Gourmet Raw Food Chef training. Do I really need the advanced courses, are they worthwhile?
Of course I am going to say yes, and not only because it is my job. I also do not lie. In my interview with Cherie Soria the first time I met her, I told her: “I will not lie to anyone I speak with, Ms. Soria. I am not a telemarketer, and though I have the “gift of gab” if our classes are not legit, are not truly outstanding, or are not something in which I can believe, I will quit.” That was over four years ago.
I often speak with the students after they’ve finished a class and I ask them: “Was it worth it?” Most say, “Oh my goodness, yes!”
Some say yes, but I would like to see . . .(insert suggestion here).
I love both types of students, and I’ve watched Cherie incorporate our student suggestions time and again. Cherie listens closely to the students and their suggestions, since she wants to help people in the best possible way to succeed and be able to help others. She is a teacher of teachers, after all! We have created several new classes since I first started here, in response to students speaking out and sharing their needs and desires.
Some of the popular new classes we’ve added include Sharpen Up Your Knife Skills, Food Design for Photography, and our newest class with Jennifer Cornbleet, the Advanced Instructor Training Certification Series. More details on the latter coming up in our newsletter and future blogs…only two opportunities to take it in 2011 – July and September. Stay tuned….
One of the raw recipes from Living Light that Archie and I enjoy is the Green Giant. We grow our own kale, spinach and romaine lettuce. This year we will also try to grow our own celery. We did last year, but it was the wrong kind and didn’t taste good. (Oh well, the compost liked it.) Sometimes we add ginger root but we rarely add lemon as I am not a fan of a lemony taste. Come into our cafe on St. Patrick’s day, and whether you like lemon in your juice or not, you may be able to get a great deal on a Green Giant - we’re having all kinds of specials on green stuff that day!
Archie has most of the seedlings for our garden in small pots in the greenhouse right now. Their names are on popsicle sticks. Names like delicata squash, space tomatoes (the seeds actually went into space), a bumpy winter squash called Galeux d’ Eysines (a french heirloom that gets bumps that look like warts – the more bumps, the higher the sugar content!). My girlfriend hates the look of this squash, but Archie and I like it. Archie told Sandi that he will scrape off the bumps to make it look more appealing to her! What do you think? Do you like the bumps or not?
Since I started walking, I have taken away drinking wine on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday and allowed myself only one coffee latte a day (it has been so cold lately I was having two or more!). Last week I added writing and mailing a minimum of one letter a week to family or friends. This week I will add writing one memory for a minimum of five a week.
By memories I do not mean a journal per se, but writing up actual memories of my children. I started out by listing six memories per child – I have four children: one daughter and three sons – and then started writing them out. Once I started, more memories came. This will be a great gift to give them later. Will I ever finish?
I think for the next week or so I will stay status quo: walk, drink less wine and lattes, write letters and memories. Those are pretty good goals.
What is up here at Living Light? We are gearing up for our first “mini series” of FUNdamentals, Knife Skills (which I will be taking), Essentials and the Science of Raw Food Nutrition, Level I. After the series is over we will have a four day break and then we will be starting over again with a full Gourmet Raw Food Chef series as well as the full Science of Raw Food Nutrition series.
What a spring this will be!
Weekends are so precious! Sometimes they are full of chores at home, events with friends, and then getting ready for the work week. This last weekend I had nothing planned, which felt great on the Friday before. So how did I fill in the time?
On Saturday Archie and I had the bottle of champagne he bought me for Valentine’s Day. A few weeks ago I read an article in AARP about a woman who got in shape “accidently” by walking on her lunch hour. So I started to briskly walk for 20 minutes a day Monday and Friday and enjoyed it.
That started me to thinking about a book I had heard about a few years ago. This book was about getting into shape mentally, physically, and if you wished, spiritually. It advocated that you add or take away one thing a week to help you towards your goal. Walking is what I’ve added so far. Stay tuned next week for the take away!
Meanwhile, back at work, The first Gourmet Raw Food Chef Certification is over and now we are heading for the Science of Raw Food Nutrition series. I have taken Level I and was very impressed by Rick and Karin Dina the instructors of the series. In that class you learn where to get your proteins, calcium, vitamin B12, those essential amino acids, and so much more. Too many people become vegetarians, vegans, or raw foodists without a thought about a balance of foods to serve our needs. Did you know that a head of romaine lettuce has 44% of your daily requirements? Not only that but it is a complete protein – it has the amino acids that are so important for our health ! Awesome!
I never thought this day would come; but, well – we have bees in our refrigerator. For those of you who are vegan and wouldn’t want to have bees that produce honey, Mason Bees are a great solution. They are great pollinators but do not produce honey. With all our of our gardens, Archie and I truly need pollinators, and these bees will not live in our fridge forever. In the Spring we’ll release them to begin their adventures with flowers. Another great thing is that Mason bees will not attract bears into our part of the forest (neck of the woods-LOL). The Mason bee’s main lot in life is to procreate. They gather pollen, then go back to a tube, deposit the pollen, lay an egg, partition it off with mud, and start all over again. One tube can hold six to eight eggs. Once the eggs hatch, the liners can be taken out and clean new ones inserted into the tubes. You need at least two nests as the hatchlings do not go back to the one in which they were born, but want a different nest. Another good thing about Mason bees is that they are virtually non-stinging; great for those gardeners who are allergic to bee stings.
Speaking of Spring, this early March for the first and only time Living Light Culinary Institute is offering a “mini series” with a savings of up to $460.00 for four classes, and an option of three nights free when you stay 7 nights at Living Light Inn. So many people do not have the time to come for three weeks, so here is your chance to come for nine days, take the first four courses needed for the Associate Chef & Instructor Certification and at a discounted price. Yahoo!