Thursday, November 16, 2017

What is Feng Shui and why is it important?



What is Feng Shui and why is it important?

Feng Shui is the art of arranging your home and work environments to enhance the flow of positive energy (chi), love, health, happiness and prosperity in your life. When energy flow is stagnant or obstructed (i.e. clutter), it can have a direct negative impact on your life! If you have found that your environment doesn’t make you feel good or bring forth happiness, productivity and prosperity, there’s likely an obstruction of energy flow that needs to be addressed.

One of the essential tools in Feng Shui is the Bagua map. It provides a blueprint and a formula to improve and enhance nine significant areas in your life: 1) abundance-prosperity, 2) fame-reputation, 3) love-relationship, 4) health-family, 5) balance-harmony, 6) children-creativity, 7) knowledge-self cultivation, 8) career-life purpose, and 9) helpful people-travel.

Decluttering is the all important first step in the Feng Shui process! If energy (chi) can't flow freely, nothing else can begin to improve! The next step is the organization, which will bring clarity and empowerment. Lastly, the application of Feng Shui principles will cultivate and enhance balance, harmony, love, happiness and prosperity. If this sounds transformational, it is.

Your home is your sanctuary. It represents you and your inner-self. When you mindfully design inspiring living and working environments based on the principles of Feng Shui, you'll cultivate and enhance love, health, happiness and prosperity in your life!

Ellie Lavender
Certified Feng Shui Practitioner
Interior Designer

Copyright © 2017 Lavender Design + Cuisine, All rights reserved.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Heavenly Vegan Lemon-Dill Hummus Recipe!


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Heavenly Vegan Lemon-Dill Hummus Recipe! 

The beauty of making hummus at home is that you can play around with the Ingredients of your liking. I use a varieties of beans and fresh herbs when making hummus!  This is my white kidney beans, lemon-dill vegan hummus, which can be enjoyed with pita bread, wholegrain crackers
and even as spread on sandwich breads.

Ingredients (serving size 4-6 people), pic 7:
• 2 Cans white kidney beans (AKA Fagioli Cannellini bean), liquid drained.
• 1/4 Tsp. sea salt
• 2 Garlic cloves pealed and roughly chopped
• 1/3 Olive oil
• 1/4 Cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
• 1/4 Cup lemon rind
• 1/2 Cup roughly chopped fresh dill
• 1/3 Cup small capers
• 1/2 Tsp. ground Cumin
• A few dill sprigs for garnish

Directions: 
1. Juice and rind the lemon peel, pic. 6
2. Place all ingredients (including lemon juice & rind) into a food processor, pic. 5
3. Process until the hummus is coarsely pureed, pic. 4
4. Place hummus in a bowl, drizzle some olive oil, and garnish with lemon rind, capers and dill, pic. 3
5. Toast pita bread lightly, place a spoon full of hummus on it and garnish lemon rind, capers and dill, pic. 2 & 1
6. Enjoy with a few slices of persimmons or any other fruits of your liking.  


Copyright © 2017 Lavender Design + Cuisine, All rights reserved.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Meet Chef Ellie Lavender!


Greetings!

My name is Ellie Lavender, founder & CEO of Lavender Design + Cuisine. I'm also a Certified Feng Shui Practitioner, Interior Designer, Culinary Instructor, Vegan Mediterranean Personal Chef and Artisan Chocolatier.

My journey as a self-taught vegan Mediterranean chef started at age 7 with my decision to become a vegetarian. Having asked my mom to prepare vegetarian foods, her reply was: “It’s time for you to learn how to cook so that you can make any kind of food you want”. I started cooking and found absolute joy in experimenting with the bounty of fresh fruits, vegetables and herbs (lavender always being my favorite) from our organic garden. This early encounter with the joy of cooking led me to create Lavender Cuisine because cooking truly is my greatest passion! 

The name Lavender Cuisine comes from my wonderful experience with the amazing healing power of lavender—a story that has its origins in my early childhood in the south of France. I was introduced to lavender at the age of six. My mom used to make me a glass of warm milk infused with lavender flowers and honey whenever I had an upset stomach or could not sleep. It always made me feel good and was simply wonderful. 

I learned the art of cooking and baking with culinary lavender at a very early age by experimenting with it and loving the results. Culinary lavender adds a delightful and exotic flavor to any sweet or savory creation.

I offer the following services throughout Santa Cruz County and the South Bay. I use a wide variety of fresh, organic local produce and ingredients from local farmer’s markets in Santa Cruz County.
  • Personal chef services featuring organic, seasonal, local and sustainable Vegetarian/Vegan Mediterranean gourmet cuisine prepared in your kitchen and tailored to your personal taste.
  • Private, group and corporate culinary classes including artisan chocolate making, Vegetarian/ Vegan Mediterranean cooking, and wine pairing (minimum 5 people, maximum 100)
  • Vegetarian/Vegan Mediterranean catering for all occasions (up to 100 people).
Lavender has touched my life in many magical ways and I would welcome the opportunity to introduce it into yours.

Chef Ellie Lavender
Lavender Design + Cuisine

Copyright © 2017 Lavender Design + CuisineAll rights reserved.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Pear Lavender Tartlet Recipe!

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Take a trip to Provence, the land of heavenly lavender!

The heavenly pears are always in abundance and with a hint of organic culinary lavender flowers they make a delightful tartlet! This is a very lovely recipe, absolutely divine by itself, though lovelier with a shot of espresso, a glass of pinot noir or scoop of vanilla gelato. 

Additionally, a perfect alternative in place of pumpkin pie for the Thanksgiving holiday festivities, which your family and friends might greatly enjoy!

Tartlet Pastry Dough Ingredients (6 tartlets, Pic. 5, tartlet pan size 5x5'):  
      1.  1 1/2 cup spelt pastry flour (or 1 cup flour & 1/2 cup almond meal)
      2.  1/2 Tsp. dried organic culinary lavender flower
      3.  2 Tbsp. sugar
      4.  1 Tsp. Meyer lemon or lemon rind
      5.  1 stick of cold sweet butter cut into 1/2-inch pieces (vegan or dairy butter)
      6.  1/4 cup cold water 
      7.  1/3 Tsp. sea salt

Tartlet Pastry Dough Instructions:  Place spelt pastry flour, lemon rind, lavender flowers, sugar and  in a food processor and pulse 3 times.  Add in the cold sweet butter and pulse a few more times until it forms a coarse texture. Gradually, add in the cold water and pulse lightly until lightly moistened. Transfer the dough on a lightly floured board, flatten and then roll out until the dough is about 1/4 inch thick. Refrigerate the dough for 30 minutes, Then take it out of the fridge, place the tartlet pan on the dough and with sharp knife cut around it. Place the dough in the tartlet pan, press down with your finger until the dough forms the shape of the tartlet pan, pic. 3. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Tartlet Filling Ingredients:
     1.  Two Tbsp. sugar
     2.  One Tsp. dried organic lavender flowers 
     3.  Three large firm pears (Bartlett pears preferred) , sliced into 1/4-inch wedges or use mandolin
      4.  Pour half of lemon juice over the pear to prevent the pear from coloring brown

Tartlet Making Instructions:
     1.   Preheat oven to 375 degrees. 
     2.  Arrange pears on the dough (pic 4).
     5.  Sprinkle with sugar, a few lavender flowers (pic 4).
     7.  Bake until the crust is nicely golden for about 30-35 minutes (pics. 1 & 2).
     8.  Let the tartlets cool, garnish with the lavender petals and enjoy.

      Happy Baking! 

Copyright © 2017 Lavender Design + Cuisine, All rights reserved.

Simplicity is ultimately a matter of focus!


Simplicity is ultimately a matter of focus!

Living simply results in a rewarding lifestyle because it’s based on mindful consumption. Simplicity is a call to experience inner richness and show gratitude for the things we already have rather than constantly struggling to acquire more and more stuff, which we don’t need.

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.

Ultimately, it's about where we place our focus; i.e. health, happiness, inner-peace or other things that matter to us the most. Whatever it is, we must simplify it, as life doesn't have to be complicated unless we choose it to be.

For example: I choose to place my focus on things that promote and enhance health, happiness and inner-peace in my life because these are what matters to me the most.

Happy Simplifying!

Ellie Lavender
Certified Feng Shui Practitioner
Interior Designer


Copyright © 2017 Lavender Design + Cuisine, All rights reserved.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Heavenly Lemon-Saffron Millet Pilaf Recipe.



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Heavenly Lemon-Saffron Millet Pilaf Recipe.

Millet is an ancient grain that is alkaline, heart healthy, protein-rich and is low glycemic. This heavenly millet pilaf (gluten-free) is colorful, delicious, nutritious and packed with flavorful ingredients.  

Ingredients (serving size 4):

1 cup millet (bulk organic millet available at Whole Foods and other natural grocery stores)  | 1/2 Tsp. sea salt  | 1/2 cup unsalted butter | 1/2 cup shallots finely chopped | 1 large minced garlic clove | 1/2 cup fresh basil, dill or cilantro roughly chopped | 1/2 cup dried cranberries | 1/2  cup toasted almond slivers | 1/2 fresh lemon juice | 1/2 Tsp. lemon rind | 1/2 Tsp. saffron | 1/2 cup olive oil | 1/4 pomegranate seeds

Directions:

1. In a pot bring 3 cups of water to boil. Add millet and sea salt. Let it cook, occasionally stir to see if millets are half open. Remove the pot from stove, scoop out the millet from the pot with a wire fine mesh, tap a few times to get the water out and then place in a bowl, Pics. 1 and 2.

2. In a large sauté pan add olive oil, shallot, garlic, almond, cranberries, a pinch of sea salt and your choice of fresh herb. On a medium heat stir continually for 5-7 minutes until the ingredients are cooked lightly.  Add the millet to the pan, mix them all together, place the mixture on a plate and garnish with pomegranate seeds. 

This delicious millet pilaf can be enjoyed by itself, with a green salad or roasted seasonal vegetable.

Happy Cooking. 



Copyright © 2017 Lavender Design + Cuisine, All rights reserved.


Monday, October 2, 2017

Feng Shui Tips: Promote Abundance and Prosperity in Your Life.


The front door and the surroundings of the home create a first impression for you, for your guests, visitors, and for unlimited opportunities to come your way. It sets the intention for the rest of your home. When you drive up to your home it should emanate an aura of beauty, vitality and abundance. Your home must welcome you, your visitors, guests, and all of your opportunities with loving, open arms.

In Feng Shui, the front door of a house is considered "the mouth of Chi." When a house has plenty of good Chi coming in and the flow of energy is positive and harmonious, the people living in the house will experience heightened levels of abundance and prosperity. 

These 3 simple and practical Feng Shui Enhancements will promote the positive flow of energy in your home, hence, abundance and prosperity in your life:

1.       Assess Your Front Door and the Surroundings of your Home. Do you see cobwebs around your front door, or dried leaves, dead plants, broken branches and piles of wood scattered around your home (decks, patio and garden included)? These all represent stagnant energy. Get rid of them. 
2.       Paint your front door a bright, cheerful color. Purple is the Feng Shui color for abundance and Red is for prosperity. Green is the color of money.  Color is one of the easiest ways to promote and enhance the positive flow of energy in your home, hence abundance and prosperity in your life.
3.       The front door is the doorway to abundance and prosperity – make it look that way. Create good lighting, use an inviting welcome mat, hang a soft wind chime and seasonal wreaths, and place colorful pots of plants and flowers in this area.  
Your Home is Your Sanctuary. It represents you and your inner-self. When you mindfully design and maintain a beautiful, vibrant and inspiring home environment based on the principles of Feng Shui, you’ll invite, promote and enhance the positive flow of energy into your home, and in turn abundance and prosperity in your life

Copyright © 2011-2017 Lavender Design + Cuisine, All rights reserved.

Pumpkin Spice Hazelnut Cookies Recipe!


Happy October Foodies!

Celebrate the change of season and warm up your kitchen with my autumn-inspired recipe! Make Pumpkin Spice Hazelnut cookies. These cookies are super yummy, easy to make and a super fun recipe for the kids too!

Ingredients: (Makes 30 cookies)

1.  1/2 (4 oz.) Cup sweet melted butter (vegan version use Earth Balance butter)
2.  1/2 Hazelnut milk
3.  1/2 Cup sugar
4.  1 Tsp. Pumpkin Spice
5.  1 1/2 Cups spelt pastry flour
6.  1 1/2 Cups hazelnut

Directions:
1.   Lightly toast 1/2 of the hazelnuts at 275 °F. Let it cool for 10 minutes. Remove skin as much as possible.
2.   In a food processor pulse cooled hazelnuts 10-15 times, coarsely chopped (see pic. below)

3.   Mix hazelnut milk, melted butter (room temperature) and sugar. Let it stand for about 10 minutes for the sugar to dissolve
4.   Add flour, pumpkin spice and the processed hazelnut to the mixture and lightly mix. 
5.   Gather up the dough and knead 2 or 3 times. Flatten the dough into a disk, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at an hour. 
6.   Preheat oven to 375 °F.
7.   Roll out the cookie dough (1/2 inch thick), cut out cookies with a 2 inch round mold and place them on a cookie sheet.
8.   Place one hazelnut in the center of each cookie.
9.   Bake for 10-12 minutes.
10. Remove cookies to a cooling rack and let it cool for an hour before eating, serving or packaging.


Happy Baking!
Copyright © 2011-2017 Lavender Design + Cuisine, All rights reserved.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

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 Roasting.


Copyright © 2011-2017 Lavender Design + Cuisine, All rights reserved.

Declutter Your Mind!


The same way we choose to give away the physical clutter in our home and work environments in exchange for serenity, for simplicity, and for a richer life, we can choose a clutter-free mind for a happier life.

Get Inspired! Apply these simple and practical steps to free your mind from clutter that impacts your clarity, your vision and your power of decision making:
1. Identify the things that bother you.
2. Write next to each thing what needs to happen.
3. Prepare to address things.
4. Address things.
5. Keep Clear and address things as they arise.

Lastly, Keep in mind that decluttering your mind is a process, an adjustment and it takes time but It definitely works, but you must continually make conscious efforts to create room for positivity, for joy, for serenity, for optimism and for happiness.

“Not Everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.” ~ Albert Einstein Happy Decluttering!

Copyright © 2011-2017 Lavender Design + Cuisine, All rights reserved.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Practical Feng Shui Tips For A Child’s Bedroom


Enhance Education, Success and Happy Relationships!

It’s almost mid-summer and a great time to encourage and empower your children to declutter and organize their bedrooms so that they can enter the new school year feeling refreshed and energized.

Applying Feng Shui to a child’s bedroom creates an inspiring environment that fosters enhanced education, success, and happy relationships with parents, siblings, and others. 

However, before you apply the below Feng Shui enhancements to the bedrooms of your children, it’s important that you bring them into the process. Start by discussing the benefits of a clutter-free, organized and inspiring bedroom environment; and then get their permission and full participation. After that, work together to design short and long term plans for creating and maintaining an inspiring bedroom environment that will empower them to thrive in all aspects of life.

Here’s your action plan for this project:

1.       Remove clutter. Partner with your children to support their efforts to clear jammed closets and drawers. Encourage them to remove toys, games, books and clothes no longer suitable for their age. To make this process simple and most effective, provide them with three boxes, 1) items for donation, 2) recycling and 3) trash. Creating space and visual openness helps your child sleep better and feel much more rested, which will lead them to be happier and more productive.

2.      Teach organization skills and maintenance methods. Provide storage systems, a laundry basket and trash can so that children can easily organize and store items, without having to leave them on their beds, desk’s and floors. These simple and practical measures will inspire and motivate your children to keep their bedrooms clean, clutter-free and organized resulting in fewer chores for you!

3.      Create an inspiring bedroom environment. Make sure there is adequate lighting in the bedroom. Also, bedrooms that are painted dark colors create too much oppressive energy. Bright colors, such as yellows, light greens, soft lavender and pinks are good energy and inspiring color choices.  Add inspiring and motivational posters and art to the child’s bedroom!

4.     Bed choice and placement in the bedroom. Make sure your child can see the door from his or her bed easily, but is not in direct line of the door. Bunk beds are not optimal. Children must have room to grow and the bed overhead exerts pressure on the child below. Because there is empty space below them, children on the top bunk may feel less secure. If possible, try to have a separate bedroom for each child. If this isn’t possible, there are many decorative ways to create division and privacy within a room for each child.

5.      Establish a space for study and accomplishments. Having a dedicated space, including a desk and lamp where your child can study demonstrates to your child the importance you place on education, your child’s success and achievement. Display awards, trophies, and tests with good scores in the child’s bedroom.

6.     Praise your children often. Throughout the transformation process and afterward, praise your children often. The practice of this amplifying self-esteem gesture will make them feel good, loved and appreciated, and will also encourage and motivate them to maintain a clean, clutter-free, organized and inspiring bedroom environment for years to come.

Lead by example for your children. Children are like mirrors, reflecting everything that happens in their environment. The examples you set have a significant impact on their present and future development and aspirations. Keep your home environment, clean, clutter-free, organized and inspirational.  

Happy Decluttering.
Ellie Lavender
Certified Feng Shui Practitioner
Interior Designer

Inspired 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 © 2011-2017 Lavender Design + Cuisine, All rights reserved.