Archive for June, 2010

Raw Chef Countdown by mary elizabeth

The Hot Raw Chef Video Recipe Contest deadline has been extended. You can now submit your video as late as July 4th at midnight. Do you enjoy working with deadlines? I sure do. I wouldn’t ever get anything done if it weren’t for deadlines. That’s why my room’s always kind of a mess – I know my mom’s not going to come check. (Maybe I could get Amanda to check?) I like to sneak up on things and do them at the last minute.  Open ended stuff tends to stay open.  Thank goodness working in Living Light’s enrollment department is like being under a big rolling schedule of deadlines.  It works out well.

I’m in a book group. We haven’t been meeting with much regularity lately, but I really like it. Not only do I get to read all kinds of fascinating books, I get to keep in touch with this wonderful group of women.  The book of the month (or season, as we’ve been rocking it lately) creates a commonality that allows for greater connection. We meet for a meal and discuss the book and our lives. It’s refreshing and fun. We try and alternate fiction and non-fiction which is good for me as I’d never read non-fiction on my own.  Well that’s not true. I love memoirs – I couldn’t get through a year without re- reading Haven Kimmel’s.  I read that water book, too – but it has lots of pictures. Anyhow –my book group gets me to read and finish books I may not have chosen on my own because it has a deadline. 

So anyway – if you haven’t uploaded your entry for the video contest yet, relax. You have a couple more days.  And if you don’t want to enter but still want to participate, you can watch all the entries on YouTube starting July 7th and vote for your favorite at  Whoever wins the Peoples’ Choice award gets a $250.00 gift certificate good at any of Living Light’s four businesses.  There’s undoubtedly a deadline for casting your vote – I’ll let you know.


June 30, 2010 at 12:45 pm 3 comments

More Sight Seeing and The Company Raw Food Picnic by hilloah

My son Jason and his family left this morning at 4:30 on their way back home to Southern California. We rode the Skunk Train again – always a treat – and the Train Singer remembered to play my two favorite train songs: The City of New Orleans and Freight Train.

Train Singer

My grandsons Nathan and Aidan had a great time. One of the things they truly enjoyed was splitting logs with Grandpa.

Nathan Chopping Logs

Aidan Giving it a Try!

Their job every afternoon was to collect the kindling for the campfire. The first night we had s’mores, of course, the rest of the time we just sat in front of it and enjoyed the crackling of the fire.

Their mom, Cresta, and I enjoy knitting and crocheting, so we had a great field trip ourselves to Navarro River Knits.  There, the owner, April, helped us with our needs (I needed a circular knitting needle to knit Nathan and Elena’s soon-to-be-born baby an afghan) and our wishes: I am always a sucker for colorful and natural yarns. I have to remind myself: “one project at a time”!

On Sunday we all went to the Living Light Family Picnic at the Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens.  We all brought a dish (I brought potato salad) and totally pigged out! We had raw, vegan, and vegetarian dishes that were so tasty: cauliflower couscous, pate wrapped in kale leaves, raw crackers and raw cookies, raw green bean dish, watermelon, several salads – no two were alike – all were delicious. I wonder if any of the recipes were from our website?

Karen before Max's Transgression

The highlight of the day was Karen’s (the Student Services Manager) dog, Max. I looked up from my plate and there was Max making a bee line for the croquet set. I knew exactly what he was going to do, but he was faster than my mouth (a feat indeed!). “NOOOOO MAX, NO!!!!!!”  Too late. . .he marked the set. Everyone was silent and looked on in horror as he “did his thing”. Karen was mortified, and as she dragged Max away everyone broke out in laughter. Half an hour later I noticed the children playing with the croquet mallets. I started to say something, but realized it was too late as they were already playing. I learned later that one of the adults had wondered why her grandchild’s mallet was so wet.

What are you talking about? I didn't do it!

Opps! Bad dog, Max!

Remember. that the deadline for video submissions  for our Hot Raw Chef Video Recipe Contest is midnight Pacific Time on July 4th, 2010.

June 29, 2010 at 3:07 pm 1 comment

Keeping up your Dehydrated Goodies by amber west

My in-laws are coming.  Which is great and fabulous and has thrown me into a bit of deep cleaning; this in turn, has led to a few momentous accomplishments.

My In-laws (Robert & Christine) in Egypt with us in Feb

The first thing that this had led to is that I’ve become a dehydrator queen.  As my dried stores have depleted I’ve been making a mental list of yummy breads, crackers and snacks to make up, new recipes to try out, and just a general round of  things that I want to blend up and then dry out.  Well now that family is coming the time is at hand.  So I’ve been making yummy things like Cherry-Vanilla-Almond Buckwheat Granola, Onion Bread, Sour Kraut Crackers, Green Tortillas and Pumpkin Gingersnaps.  I keep all of my dry-stored foods in fun and unique glass jars on a wooden shelf in my kitchen. I love finding interesting and old fashioned lidded jars from thrift shops and antique stores, then bringing them home and painting them with Chalkboard paint.  This is my labeling system. Most of my jars have Chalkboard paint on them and then I use chalk in fun colors to write the name of what’s in the jar.  Its super colorful and fun and a lot easier than some of my old systems (masking tape and

Labeled Jars (with Chalkboard Paint and Chalk)

sharpies, laminated labels and Velcro).  Yesterday I ran into an issue with this system.  I ran out of room on my shelves and jars to put stuff in.  I was so excited about my new creations that I went a little overboard and made a bit too much.  Normally I don’t view this as a problem because dehydrated goodies keep for weeks, if not months, however I hadn’t thought about where I was going to put it all.  Yet somehow this brought me back to an issue that I’ve been meaning to deal with for years.

I still keep wheat flour around.  Weird but true.  I almost never use flour and yet it’s just one of those old-timey staples that I’ve kept for so long that I didn’t know how not to keep it around.  I was trying to remember the last time I used it even.  Christmas?  Yikes!  That’s ridiculous.  So in an instant I did the thing that I should’ve done last time I super cleaned out my cabinets – I threw out all of my flour!  Whole wheat, white (comically labeled “White Flour of Death”),  all of it went into Ziploc bags and away from my house.  It seems like such a ridiculous staple to keep around, like cow milk and eggs; these days my staples are more like lemons, dates, almonds, tomatoes and mixed greens. Even better I didn’t actually throw out the flour (I hate to waste food, even bad-for-you food).  Our office manager, Amanda, along with her team that does the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer Awareness are having a bake sale on Saturday to raise money.  They inherited all of my flour for their baking needs, so though eating that flour wouldn’t have done anything for a woman recovering from breast cancer, possibly selling it will.  Plus to balance out all the raw food my in-laws will be eating with us while they’re here, I’ll take them down to purchase  baked non-raw goodies, which will benefit Amanda, Breast Cancer Awareness and help them not feel deprived.  It all comes full circle in the end.

And now I have large jars available to hold Apple Bars, Banana-Walnut Balls and Lentil Crunchies!  Super fabulous indeed!

~Amber West

For those of you interested, here’s a link to Amanda’s breast cancer walk donation page.  She has to raise $1800 before her walk  in San Francisco on July 10-11, 2010!  Amanda is super- amazing and I personally would support her in any endeavor she chooses to pursue.

Oh and just FYI….Remember that if you want to submit a video for the Hot Raw Chef Contest then the deadline is Wednesday!  If you need inspiration I highly recommend cleaning out your cabinets!

June 28, 2010 at 1:52 pm Leave a comment

Aromatherapy, Saints, and Living Light by kristin

On my most recent Women’s Voices radio show,  I interviewed a fascinating woman named Elizabeth Anne Jones. She has been studying and teaching aromatherapy for 30 years, and recently completed a book Awaken to Healing Fragrance about the subject. One of the things I really loved about the book is that it included portraits of 11 women throughout history who had used aromatherapy for healing and medicinal purposes as well as the sheer pleasure of enjoying scent and how it affects mind, body, and spirit .  Some of my favorite portraits in the book were of Hatshepsut, the first female Pharoh of Egypt and her stunning temple Deir al Bahri, Cleopatra, Catherine de MediciQueen Victoria, and the amazing saint, scholar, musician, sound shaman, visionary, Hildegarde von Bingenand all around Renaissance woman (long before the Renaissance) Hildegarde von Bingen. Hildegard says that she first saw “The Shade of the Living Light” at the age of three and by age five she began to understand that she was experiencing visions. I found it interesting that she described her visions as “Living Light”, since that is also the name of our company. Many people in the raw food world talk about how the light of the sun is trapped inside of plants, and we are nourished by that light when we eat the plants. Imagine the concentration of plant energy in pure  essential oils.

As an example, it takes about 10,000 pounds of roses to make one pound of  high quality Rose essential oil. For those of you who do not already know, we now have a truly remarkable teacher, Amy Bacheller, M.Ed., N.C., C.M.T. who comes to Living Light several times a year from her home in Santa Barbara to teach a weekend aromatherapy class: The Essence of Raw: Combining Raw Culinary Arts with the Wisdom of Essential Oils, and The Essence of Abundance: Creating Prosperity with Essential Oils.Amy Bacheller with plants I have personally attended Amy’s weekend classes, and found them to be truly beneficial on many levels. On the first day, we experimented with culinary oils. These precious oils are so powerful, and they have the potential to enhance flavor and add to the energetic healing capacity of our foods.

We are so lucky that Amy became a raw foodist after attending Living Light’s Associate Chef and Instructor program, and has agreed to teach us her wisdom gained over the past 20 years as a holistic healer. She is certified in aromatherapy, nutritional counseling, guided imagery, bodywork, energetic healing, and raw foods. The second day of her workshop was even more amazing, as we explored the energies of many of the incredible blends created by Young Living . Several of us in the class had very moving experiences with the oils, and Amy’s gentle guidance, humility, and deep understanding of the properties of each oil helped us integrate our experiences in a joyful way.

Here’s what Amy has to say about Frankincense (one of my personal favorites). Frankincense“The essential oils of aromatherapy are an ancient healing modality and prized treasure, proven by modern science. Frankincense, one of the best known, and part of the ‘gift of the Magi’, is considered to be a universal oil because of its diverse therapeutic properties. It is the number one oil for spiritual alignment, connection, and awareness. It can be used to deepen and enhance any meditation/prayer practice. Frankincense balances and activates the pineal and pituitary glands as well as the associated chakras of the crown and third eye. It has the capacity to repair DNA and has anti-tumor properties, and is wonderful for revitalizing aging skin. It is the oil of choice for depression and grief. Using Frankincense will open and expand your intuitive wisdom as well as strengthen your immune system. Frankincense is considered to be a holy anointing oil in many cultures. It can simply be inhaled or applied to the forehead, temples, back of the neck, thymus and any of the chakras.”

Aromatherapy is a big subject, and a tradition that has been used for many centuries. I am very happy that we are including this important modality in our Living Light curriculum. Because of course, it’s not just about the food, but the whole person, and how each of us relates  to the world around us, including the beautiful plants and their spirits that nourish us all on so many levels. And if you are considering entering the HotRawChef Video Recipe Contest, what about incorporating essential oils into your recipe? Be well….Kristin

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June 24, 2010 at 4:39 pm 1 comment

Hot Chefs, Cool Water by mary elizabeth

One of my favorite books we carry here at Living Light is The Healing Power of Water by Masaru Emoto. I find all the water crystal stuff totally mesmerizing and think it’s fascinating that water has musical tastes, let alone preferences. Apparently it enjoys classical over metal…if we’re reading the crystal patterns accurately. The premise is that water forms crystals differently when pesented with different stimuli and the prettier the pattern, the happier the water. But what if the more elaborate and beautiful the pattern, the more agitated the water? What if water knows what its researchers are expecting and is a major people pleaser? We don’t really know.

But, anyway, it also has a chapter on sacred waters. I love to look at the pictures in that one. My daughter and I hope to one day travel to some of them – a European tour of watery goddess spots: Lourdes, Glastonbury, St. Bridgid’s Well. Of course, my daughter is rocketing into teenagerville and may have different ideas about what a fun European tour would include at this point. Holy watering holes may not be at the top of the list, let alone visiting them with me.  No question about her having tastes and preferences.  But I’m sure by the time we can afford to go, she’ll be well past her teenage years and we’ll be goddess-seeking friends again.

One of my daughter’s aspirations for the future is to be a raw food pastry chef. If I were a raw food chef and not just an enrollment counselor for raw food chefs of the future,  I would enter Living Light’s Hot Chef/Cool Kitchen video contest. It’s pretty cool. You get to make a video of yourself preparing an original raw recipe and submit it for prizes and acclaim. But I’m not a chef, raw or otherwise. My culinary skills are pretty limited.  Unless you think I could win with a mila cocktail. Just add water!

June 23, 2010 at 1:19 pm 1 comment

Sight Seeing in Fort Bragg by hilloah

It’s been fun having our family with us. When they come to stay, we take the opportunity to visit points of interest in our area, and so this past week, we spent time with Archie’s youngest son’s family going places: The Skunk Train is an adventure in itself, and Leggett has huge redwood tree that you can drive right through. We also visited 10 Mile River. Nathan’s wife, Elena, was born and raised in Russia and she was amazed at everything: it was a delight showing them around.

The two older girls decided to sleep in our camper and spent the entire day cleaning it and adding their special touches. When they found out their boy cousins might sleep there as well they were incensed! The first night they heard noises in the dark; they held on tightly to each other and ran to the cabin! We did not realize that they had spent the night in our living room until we got up the next morning.  We explained that the noises were probably deer and birds; they looked at us dubiously.  Archie went to the local hardware store and bought a light for the camper. The next night went well, however it was too cold for them, so they ended up in the cabin after all.

My son, Jason, and his family will be coming up later this week. Not sure what they will want to do: sight see or stay on the land and weed in the gardens, clean up the forest, have camp fires.

smokey the bear

Prevent forest fires

One way to clean up the forest is to get the wood that has fallen and is in the process of rotting. We cut it up and put it in our campfire; most of the time we just sit around the campfire and enjoy the fire, watching the birds, deer, rabbits (thank goodness we have fences around the gardens!), and clouds. Sometimes we talk, other times just sit and enjoy the space in which we live.

Speaking of food, remember to enter the first-ever Hot Raw Chef Video Recipe Contest. Food contests are always so much fun, and this is the first time we have ever held one, so we are very excited!

June 22, 2010 at 3:52 pm Leave a comment

FUNdamentals of Raw Living Foods with New Students by amber west

New students are here!

So much excitement is in the air!

As do many employees, I wear many hats at Living Light.  I work as an Enrollment Specialist downstairs in the front office; however I’m also doing a Teaching Internship upstairs in the kitchen and culinary studio.  Primarily I teach the FUNdamentals of Raw Living Foods class (nicknamed FUN).  This is one of

Some of our Kitchen Staff and Angels sorting and washing the incoming Produce order

our most exciting classes.  We allow more students in this class than any other (maximum of 36) and it is the very first class you take at Living Light if you are a culinary arts student.  The excitement in the air is tangible.  Students show up with their new, shiny Living Light binders and pens ready. This is also one of our most intensive classes. It’s only a 1 day class, however it’s packed with information.  We demonstrate how to make tons of food and provide samples of everything we make to the students.  We cover loads of information and provide a lot of quick tips as we go. It is my favorite weekend to work.

Taking a break

This is the way I spent last weekend.  Though in the days leading up to FUNdamentals I end up at home at night with aching feet and my mind exhausted, come Sunday it was all worth it to see the students so inspired and uplifted. You can see their minds churning with recipe ideas, newly opened to just the beginning of all the possibilities that raw foods has to offer.  I love to overhear them talking.  Sharing ideas and secret recipes that they’ve made. The satisfaction that this gives me is unexplainable.

This particular group is especially amazing.  They are friendly and outgoing, supportive of each other and helpful.  Some classes are quiet, others ask so many questions you hardly have time to teach a demo.  This group is something special. They watch and listen, even smile a little at you while you’re teaching (a teacher’s dream) and then when Q&A time comes, they’re on it.  They have in-depth and well thought out questions.  It’s a great start with a great group.  The next three weeks are gonna be fun!!

I’ll let you know more next week!

~Amber West

June 18, 2010 at 5:32 pm 1 comment

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