Friday, April 7, 2017

Celebrate Earth Day: Green Living Tips and Benefits

Celebrate Earth Day :: Green Living Tips and Benefits  

Every year on April 22nd, more than 1 billion people in 190 countries take action to celebrate Earth Day! They plant trees, clean up their communities, contact their elected officials, and more—all on behalf of the environment.  
There are many things we can do collectively to promote a cleaner environment and reduce the harmful effects of climate change. One of them being a cultivation and promotion of Green Living. For example, we can:
1.   Improve the Efficiency of our Water Heater and HVAC System
2.   Get a High-Efficiency Showerhead
3.   Always run the Washing Machine and Dishwasher with a full load
4.   Avoid Cleaning Products with Harmful Chemicals and use Natural or Organic Ones
5.   Be Creative in so many ways when recycling: The best use of an old Claw foot Tub!


6.    Compost
7.    Avoid Buying Genetically Modified Foods (GMO).
8.   Shop from Local Organic Grocery Stores and Farmer’s Markets
9.   Eat Organic and Grow our own Organic Vegetables and Herbs
10.  Use Solar Energy
11.   Drive Electric Cars


Lastly, you can choose to become vegan or at least vegetarian. The United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that the meat industry generates nearly one-fifth of the man-made greenhouse gas emissions that are accelerating climate change worldwide . . . far more than transportation. Collectively we can reduce the harmful effects on climate change by having vegan or vegetarian foods. It's good for our health, and also contributes towards maintaining the natural ecological balance in the environment and preserving our beautiful planet.   

Promote environmental awareness on Earth Day and throughout the year.

Happy Earth Day!

Copyright 2017, Lavender Design + Cuisine

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Roasted Vegetable Medley with Herbs de Provence Recipe!


Oven-roasted vegetables are delicious, highly nutritious and easy to make. You can enjoy them by themselves, on a bed of saffron lemon millet pilaf with a glass of Pinot Noir. You can also make sandwiches with toasted breads such as ciabatta, francese, whole grains or a bread of your own liking. Pesto spread and a slice of cheese (dairy or nondairy) will make this sandwich even lovelier!

Ingredients: 2 medium golden and red beets, 4 medium rainbow carrots, 2 medium parsnips, 2 medium fennels and 1 medium shallot. You can always add other vegetables. The key is to mix vegetables that are colorful and compliments each other in tastes.  

Directions: Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Wash, brush, peal and thoroughly clean all the vegetables. Dry them with paper towel. Chop them into wedges, sticks, basically, into different shapes (see picture above). Place vegetables in a large bowl. Season with sea salt, 1 teaspoon lemon rind, 1 teaspoon of herbes de Provence, drizzle generously with olive oil, and toss them with your hands to coat them evenly. Spread the vegetable on baking sheet and place them in the preheated oven and cook, stirring the vegetables occasionally, until they are tender and golden brown, about 35-40 minutes.

Get inspired and create your own roasted vegetable medley art!

Happy Roasting!

Revitalize Your Life in 3 Steps!


Spring is the season of renewal and celebration and a spring cleaning of your home will nourish and strengthen your energy, cultivating happiness and prosperity in your life!

Get started today. Apply these 3 simple, practical tips to your home and enjoy your happiness and prosperity amplified in amazing ways:

1.    Declutter - First thing first. Declutter your home. Remove any items, I mean any items that you don't have a use for, need or even like. Do a quick evaluation and decide where the item needs to go. Simplify the process by using the chart above. No need to go and buy fancy boxes. Just use what you have or get some boxes from the nearest grocery stores.

2.    Organize - Put everything in its logical place. For example, books should be on the bookshelf, not on the living room floor, dining room table, kitchen counters, etc.

3.    Clean your house top to bottom using non-toxic and eco-friendly products. Windows are a must. These days you can find people who come and clean your windows quickly and inexpensively. If you don’t have time to clean or you don’t like to clean, get some cleaning people to clean your house, yard, garage, etc., The goal is getting your house, hence your home cleaned, so find a creative and inexpensive solution to get it done.

These simple and practical actions will lift up the energy in your home, hence your life.

Happy Spring Cleaning!

Ellie Lavender
Certified Feng Shui Practitioner

Copyright 2017, Lavender Design + Cuisine

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Discover how to Simplify Your Life in 3 Steps.


Living simply results in a rewarding lifestyle because it’s based on mindful consumption. It's about inner richness and gratitude for the things we already have rather than constantly struggling to acquire more and more stuff, which we don’t need. Excess results in mind and environmental clutter and inhibits paths to happiness and prosperity.  
Living mindfully leads to a lifestyle of gratitude. The idea of “less is more” is never more applicable than when living simply. When making do with less, the attitude of gratitude naturally extends into all areas of life, including just being grateful for life itself.

Simplify Your Life in 3 Steps:

1.  Declutter Your Home, Office/Workspace and Relationships – Release and Let Go
2. Organize  Your Home and Office/Workspace – Be Productive and Feel Empowered
3. Apply Feng Shui – Bring Balance and Harmony into your Life

Inspire Transformation Story - “Ellie helped us to declutter, organize and Feng Shui our whole house, which was neglected for many years! Once, we declutterd, organized and applied Ellie’s creative and inspiring interior design’s solutions, our house was transformed into a beautiful home, a place of joy, comfort and relaxation. The two areas, which needed the most decluttering and organization, were our children’s bedrooms. The immediate positive impact became apparent when we stopped asking our 9 year old daughter and 12 year old son to do their homework, pick up their things, stop arguing, etc. Pleasantly, we noticed our constant nagging had turned into praising them for keeping their bedrooms clean and doing their homework. We are also delighted that every Saturday morning they bring their dirty clothes basket to the laundry room and empty their trash cans, which have helped to keep their bedrooms clean and organized. Our daughter and son are now much happier and calmer. They also sleep better, argue less, and are more focused on their school work. For this amazing transformation and so much more, we can’t thank you enough, Ellie!“ 
Cathy & Steve , Almaden Valley

Copyright 2017, Lavender Design + Cuisine

Moroccan Roasted Rainbow Carrots, Golden Beets and Parsnips Recipe


Organic Roasted Rainbow Carrots, Golden Beets and Parsnips (great substitutes for potatoes) are full of flavors, delicious, nutritious and simply divine. This is a very delightful recipe for lunch or dinner, lovely by itself, and even lovelier over a bed of saffron-lemon millet pilaf or mixed greens. Pour a tablespoon of fresh lemon juice and olive oil dressing (prepare the dressing a few minutes before serving the meal so that it will stay fresh) over the veggies with the pilaf or the mixed green right before serving it. Additionally, a glass of Pinot Noir will complement this dish beautifully.

Ingredients (serving size 4-6):

1 pound rainbow carrots
1 Pound parsnips
1/2 Pound golden beets 
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 Tsp. Moroccan spice Zaatar (Cost Plus sells it)
1/2 Tsp. sea salt
1/2 Cup olive oil

Instruction: 

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. (the high temperature ensures that the veggies will cook quickly, stay crispy outside and tender inside).
2. Peel carrots, beets and parsnips. Wash and damp dry to remove moisture. Cut into 2 inch strips. 
3. In a bowl mix veggies with sea salt, lemon juice, Zaatar spice and olive oil until lightly coated.
4. Spread the veggies evenly on a cookie sheet and bake for about 20-25 minutes.
5. Remove from the oven and let it cool for 5 minutes before serving. 

Happy Cooking.


Copyright 2017, Lavender Design + Cuisine


Friday, February 3, 2017

Aspiring Young Artist Chefs Made Exquisite Chocolate Arts.

The Creative Hands of Aspiring Young Chefs 

















Aspiring Young Artist Chefs Made Exquisite Chocolate Arts.

The amazing Tierra Pacifica Charter School students rocked the kitchen one last time. Today, in our 4th/last class they made Artisan Chocolates with Organic Herbs, Flowers & Fleur de Sel which they loved and promised to make for the Valentine's Day. These enthusiastic foodies and creative young chefs' beautiful teamwork and collaboration was simply amazing. Click here for their beautiful testimonials.  

Thank you Bengie, the amazing aspiring young chef students and the Tierra Pacifica Charter School for the wonderful opportunity to share my love and passion for vegan-vegetarian-Mediterranean cooking with you.

My Amazing Creative Students: Love your wonderful thank you card, it is sitting beautifully in my office. 

Cheers.



Copyright 2017, Lavender Design + Cuisine

Aspiring Young Chefs Heartwarming Testimonials.




Such a beautiful time cooking with Tierra Pacifica Charter School Young Aspiring Chefs and enthusiastic foodies. Over the period of 4 weeks they beautifully collaborated, took turns chopping veggies, sautéing, seasoning, plating, setting up the table, enjoying the foods they made and cleaning up afterward, the most amazing students I have ever had. They rocked in our culinary class adventures:

Class 1 – Moroccan Couscous Salad with Lavender Lemon Tahini Dressing  
Class 2 – Pear Lavender Parfait  
Class 3 – Tangy Veggie Wrap with Yogurt Ginger Dressing 
Class 4 – Artisan Chocolates with Organic Herbs, Flowers & Fleur de Sel  

And below is a list of most heartwarming testimonials they gifted me with along with:

Benito, 5th grade – “The best thing about the class was, we got to make healthy delicious meals, and we all worked together to accomplish a food dish.”

Taj, 6th grade – “The thing I loved about this class was that we got to do teamwork to make our foods.”

Rohan, 5th grade  – “I really liked that we made food from different culture.”

Olivia, 5th grade  – “the best thing about this class was chef Ellie taught us how to cut up veggies and fruits. We also got to work together and cool.”

Richard, 7th grade  – “Eating, learning and flower tastes.”

Ella, 8th grade  – “I really enjoyed the sense of comradery.  It was fun cooking all together.”

Crosby, 7th grade  – “ What I enjoyed in this class was that I got to try foods not from the US. This has inspire me to cook more and in different ways.”

Carmen, 5th grade  – “The class inspired me to be a chef because we used teamwork and collaboration. The food was awesome. Thank you chef Ellie.”

William, 6th grade  – “The class was fun because we got to help out with making food and we got to eat what we made.  I mainly signed up because I wanted to make chocolate, but later, I also loved the other foods we made.”

Desiree, 5th grade  – “I loved this class because I was with all of my friends and I got to cook delicious food with them. Thank you chef Ellie.”

Thank you again the amazing students for your wonderful testimonials, the beautiful card and many thanks to you Bengie for your contribution, you are all simply the best.

Cheers, 



Copyright 2017, Lavender Design + Cuisine

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Valentine’s Day Recipe: Lavender Meyer Lemon Madeleines



A Valentine’s Day gift made with love. There’s nothing quite like making a special gift made with organic, healthy ingredients and ton of love. This lovely Lavender Meyer Lemon Madeleines are absolutely divine and very easy to make.  

Enjoy.
Chef Ellie Lavender

Ingredients: Makes about 15 madeleines.

1.       1/2 cup spelt pastry flour
2.       1/2 cup almond meal flour 
3.       1/2 stick unsalted butter
4.       1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
5.       1 tablespoon lemon zest
6.       1 tablespoon sugar
7.       1 tablespoons of organic dried culinary lavender (finely chopped)
8.       1/2 cup of almond milk
9.       2 tablespoons spelt pastry flour

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 350. 
2.  Melt butter and set aside to cool.
3.  Prepare the madeleine pan by brushing melted butter into the molds with a pastry brush. Then, dust the molds with flour (the 2 tablespoons, no.  9), tap to remove excess flour. 
4.  In a bowl, combine spelt pastry flour, almond meal flour, sugar, lemon zest, and culinary lavender and lightly mix with a fork. 
5.  Add almond milk, lemon juice, lemon zest and melted butter.  Mix with a fork until the ingredients are well combined.  
6.  Use a tablespoon to place 2 tablespoons of the batter in the Madeleines’ mold.
7.  Bake for 10-12 minutes or until the tops of the madeleines spring back when touched.
8.  Transfer the madeleines to a wire rack to cool by inverting the pan. Let them cool for 10 minutes before enjoying it.
9.  Let them cool for an hour before packaging it as a gift.

Copyright 2017, Lavender Design + Cuisine

Promote Love and Sensuality in Your Life.


You Personal Valentine's Day gift to yourself. 

A clutter-free, serene, and mindfully designed bedroom generates a fresh flow of nourishing and sensual energy leading to peaceful rest, an enhanced love life and happy relationships. 

Get Inspired. Apply these simple, practical and powerful Feng Shui enhancements to your bedroom and watch your love life and relationships flourish and strengthen in amazing ways:

1.       Take a fresh look at your bedroom with an eye towards decluttering. Keep what’s essential and remove any items that have no relevance being there.
2.       Remove pictures, objects and art forms (from the past and present) that do not represent, invite, promote or attract love, romance and sensuality.
3.       Keep work-related items such as electronics devices, bookshelves and work desk out of your bedroom. 
4.      Organize your closets. Designate a place for everything in your closets (shoes in one place, shirts, skirts, suits in another and so on) and donate items you haven't worn in six months to a year. 
5.       Bring tranquility to your bedroom. Choose calming colors such as light blue or soft lavender for your bedroom. Invest in high quality beddings with a solid pattern and soft, nourishing texture.
6.      Add light fragrant candles or an essential-oil diffuser to your bedroom. The scent of Lavender induces relaxation. Rose and Jasmine scents promote sensuality, love and romance.
7.       Promote Love and Sensuality in your life.  Add books such as The Goddess' Guide to Love (Timeless Secrets to Divine Romance) and the Art of Sensual Aromatherapy (or other love related books of your own choice) to your nightstands. The goal is to invite love and sensuality into your life. Whether you are single or in a relationship shouldn’t matter.
8.      Be Awesome and Love Yourself Without Limits. 


      Inspired-Transformation Story - “Ellie helped me harmonize my bedroom, which greatly improved my sleep, hence my love life and relationships. For years I suffered from sleeping difficulties, but after decluttering my bedroom, I slept through the night, and woke up feeling rested and refreshed. At first it was difficult to remove electronic devices and art objects from my past relationships, but with Ellie’s guidance I felt empowered and let go of all of them. Thank you, Ellie, for your encouragement and knowledge!”
      ~ Julia , Santa Cruz

Copyright 2017, Lavender Design + Cuisine

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Tierra Pacifica Charter School Aspiring Young Chefs Rocked the Kitchen.


The Creative Hands of Aspiring Young Chefs 
















                                        

Chef Kids are simply the best. They are a special gift to all of us. 

Nestled in the beautiful neighborhood of Live Oak between the magnificent towns of Santa Cruz and Capitola, Tierra Pacifica Charter School is very special in so many ways!  One of the most special things about this beautiful school is their empowerment of aspiring young chefs. 

Tierra Pacifica Charter School was formed in 1998, as a collaborative effort among parents, teachers and community members committed to the development of the whole child (Kindergarten through 8th grade).  

I met Bengie Hodges, school’s Development Coordinator and a foodie at Live Oak Farmer’s MarketWe made immediate connection as we both share the immense value of hand-on learning such as cooking classes for kids. So, when I was asked by Bengie to teach cooking classes, I immediately said yes. Eating healthy foods starts at a very young age and teaching kids how to make healthy and delicious food is the best way to inspire them. So, with great excitement, I got to work and designed the below series of vegan Mediterranean cooking classes for the students.

Class 1 – Moroccan Couscous Salad with Lavender Lemon Tahini Dressing  
Class 2 – Pear Lavender Parfait  
Class 3 – Tangy Veggie Wrap with Yogurt Ginger Dressing 
Class 4 – Artisan Chocolates with Organic Herbs, Flowers & Fleur de Sel  

This past Friday, in our 3rd cooking class 10 foodies and aspiring young chefs made a Tangy Veggie Wrap with Yogurt Ginger Dressingwhich they loved and promised to make it at home. These enthusiastic foodies and creative young chefs' beautiful teamwork and collaboration was simply amazing.  

Thank you Bengie, Alex, Kitty, the amazing aspiring young chef students and the Tierra Pacifica Charter School for the wonderful opportunity to share my love and passion for vegan-vegetarian-Mediterranean cooking with you!

I look forward to our 4th delicious cooking class, which we’ll be making chocolate arts with organic herbs and flowers. 

Cheers,



Copyright 2017, Lavender Design + Cuisine

Tangy Veggie Wrap and Yogurt Ginger Dressing Recipe


Tangy Veggie Wrap with Yogurt Ginger Dressing

A meal made with love. There’s nothing quite like eating a home-made meal, made with organic healthy ingredients and ton of love. This lovely veggie wrap and yogurt ginger dressing recipe is easy to make and soon to be your favorite meal for lunch, dinner or snack. 

| TANGY VEGGIE WRAP RECIPE | 

| INGREDIENTS | Serves 4 to 6

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/3 cup red onion, thinly chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 medium zucchini
cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch slices
1 medium squash cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch slices
medium fennel cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch slices
1/5 Tsp. sea salt
1/2 cup chopped fresh dill
4-6 Organic lavash bread sheets (10 x 12 inches, plain or flavored) or gluten-free tortilla.

| DIRECTIONS |    

Sauté all the ingredients (except for the bread) in olive oil over medium heat for 10 minutes until lightly cooked. Remove from the stove and let it stand at the room temperature while you are making the yogurt ginger dressing.

| YOGURT GINGER DRESSING | 

|
 INGREDIENTS |

1 Cup yogurt (organic dairy or non-dairy/vegan)
1/2 Tsp. garlic, grated using a zester
1/2 Tsp. ginger, grated using a zester
A pinch of sea salt
1/4 cup of water or fresh lemon juice

| DIRECTIONS |    

Place all ingredients in a food processor, pulse a few times until well blended and looks creamy. Or whisk the entire ingredients in a bowl until creamy. This delightful dressing gives the veggie wrap a subtle background tang and makes it even more delicious.  

| VEGGIE WRAP ASSEMBLY |    

Place a lavash bread sheet (10 x 12 inches) or a tortilla on a plate and line up 2-3 tablespoons of the veggie mix on one side of the bread. Pour a couple of tablespoons of the yogurt dressing on it and start rolling the wrap and closing it with a line of yogurt dressing. Cut the veggie wrap diagonally and enjoy.

Happy Cooking.
Chef Ellie Lavender

Copyright 2017, Lavender Design + Cuisine