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


Sunday, January 22, 2017

Tierra Pacifica Charter School Aspiring Young Chefs Rocked the Kitchen.

The Creative Hands of Aspiring Young Chefs 

Pear Lavender Orange Mixture


Yogurt Lavender Orange Mixture


Crystallized Orange 

Chopped Crystallized Orange 

Culinary Lavender 




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 Market. We 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 second cooking class 10 foodies and aspiring young chefs made a Pear Lavender Parfait, which they loved and promised to make it at home. These enthusiastic foodies and creative young chefs' beautiful teamwork and collaboration was simply amazing. Chef kids are simply the best.

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 3rd delicious cooking class, which we’ll be making a Tangy Veggie Wrap with Yogurt Ginger Dressing.

Cheers,



Organic culinary lavender: available at Staff of Life grocery store in Santa Cruz or any other herbs or health food stores. 
Crystallized orange: available at Trader Joe’s. 

Copyright 2017, Lavender Design + Cuisine

Pear Lavender Parfait Recipe


  






Pears are delicious, nutritious and with a touch of culinary lavender and orange zest, they make a heavenly dessert, breakfast or snack.  

| PEAR LAVENDER PARFAIT RECIPE | 

| INGREDIENTS | Serves 4 to 6.  
2 Large Bartlett pears
2 Small orange
2 Cups yogurt. Plain organic dairy yogurt or non-dairy (vegan) almond milk yogurt are the best. Coconut milk yogurt overpowers the aroma of culinary lavender and not recommended.
2 Tbsp. Organic culinary lavender
1/2 Cup crystallized orange

| DIRECTIONS |    

1.    Slice the pears in half, lengthwise.
2.    Remove the core using a melon baller or a teaspoon
3.    Cut pears into half-inch cubes
4.    Put the pears in a frying pan.
5.    Zest and juice one of the oranges and add them to the pears.
6.    Grind ½ Tsp. of the culinary and add to the pear mixture.  
7.    Over medium heat sauté the pear mixture for about 10 minutes until they are lightly tender.
8.    Remover from the heat and let is cool for a few minutes.
9.    Chop crystalized into small pieces.  
10.  In a medium bowl mix together yogurt, zest and juice the other orange (only half of the juice, you can add more if needed. The yogurt mixture should be creamy and not runny) and 1/2 Tsp, of the lavender (grinded).
11.  In a glass or a bowl put one spoon of pear mixture, one spoon of yogurt mixture and repeat the same once, so that there will be 4 layers of pear and yogurt mixtures. Sprinkle the top with few lavender flowers and crystallized orange pieces.  
Refrigerate for an hour before serving.

Enjoy.


Saturday, January 14, 2017

Tierra Pacifica Charter School Aspiring Young Chefs Rocked the Kitchen!

The Creative Hands of Aspiring Young Chefs 










Tierra Pacifica Charter School Aspiring Young Chefs Rocked the Kitchen!

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 Market. We 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 a 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  

Yesterday, in our first cooking class we had a very delicious and fun time with 10 foodies and aspiring young chefs.  We made a Vegan Moroccan Couscous Salad with Lavender Tahini Dressing, which they all loved, enjoyed and promised to make it at home.  I handed out the recipe to all the students in addition to my story as a Vegetarian Mediterranean Personal Chef and Culinary Instructor, which continue to bring immense joy into my life.  I have also posted the recipe on my blog for everyone to enjoy!

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 second delicious cooking class, which we'll be making a Pear Lavender Parfait.

Cheers,


Copyright 2017, Lavender Design + Cuisine

Moroccan Couscous Salad with Lavender Lemon Tahini Dressing Recipe.



Take a trip to Morocco, the land of heavenly spices! 

| MOROCCAN COUSCOUS SALAD | 

| INGREDIENTS |
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
½ cup shallots, thinly sliced
3 garlic cloves, minced
½ cup dried cranberries
½ cup toasted almond
2 cups couscous
1 medium zucchini, thinly sliced
1½ cups roasted artichoke hearts, lightly chopped
½ cup fennel, thinly sliced
1 Meyer lemon or lemon
½ cup small cherry tomatoes
½ cup black and green olives
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
½ teaspoon Za'atar (Moroccan spice) 
½ cup radishes, thinly sliced
½ cup fresh basil, lightly chopped
1 cup canned butter beans or chickpeas

| DIRECTIONS |    
Toast hazelnuts over medium heat (stirring continually) for a few minutes. Remove from stove and let cool. Sauté shallots, garlic, zucchini, artichokes, fennel, radishes and butter beans/chickpeas in olive oil over medium heat for 7–10 minutes until lightly cooked and put aside. Rough chop hazelnuts and Morello cherries and set aside. Boil 2 cups of water with a slice of lemon and put aside.

Place couscous in a large bowl, add olive oil, sea salt, 
Za'atar (Moroccan spice) and pour the boiled lemon water over it. Cover and allow standing for 5 minutes.

Remove cover, fluff couscous with a fork, add the sautéed ingredients and mix lightly. Add the olives, cherry tomatoes, Morello cherries, hazelnuts and basil and mix very lightly. Pour Lavender Lemon Tahini salad dressing over salad right before you serve. Enjoy warm or cold with a glass of fruity wine.
Serves 6 to 8.

| LAVENDER LEMON TAHINI DRESSING | 

|
INGREDIENTS |

1 teaspoon fresh or dried tarragon
½ cup sesame tahini
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 small garlic cloves, lightly chopped
6 tablespoons lemon juice, freshly squeezed
¾ teaspoon sea salt
1/8 teaspoon organic culinary lavender petals, lightly chopped

| DIRECTIONS |    
Place all ingredients, except for the tarragon and lavender petals, in a food processor and pulse until it looks creamy. Add tarragon and lavender petals and pulse 3 more times. Pour in a jar and refrigerate. Before using, take out of fridge and place on kitchen counter for 10–15 minutes until it comes to about room temperature. Drizzle over the salad.

Enjoy.

Chef Ellie Lavender


Tuesday, January 3, 2017

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. 
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. You have the power to transform your home and work environments, hence your life!

Get Inspired! Declutter something today, it doesn't have to be anything grandiose, it could be just a drawer. The important thing is to do something, no matter how small. 

Happy Decluttering! 

Ellie Lavender 
Certified Feng Shui Practitioner 

Inspired-Change Story: Maggie and Steve wanted to get rid of the things they did not need or use, but took lots of space in their home. These items were either inherited or had accumulated over 20 years of Marriage. However, at first this change seemed uncomfortable and anxiety provoking.  Once we created a decluttering and organizing plan based on their goals, Maggie and Steve were able to visualize the end results (their clutter-free home and office) and that made them feel better. They became inspired and spent 5 hours per weekend, 4 weekends in a row to declutter and organize their home. See their inspired-change story below….

”Initially we felt insecure about change in our home and home office, but Ellie inspired us to rise above small worries and approach change with practical solutions and optimism. Thank you, Ellie, for helping us to make our home and office clutter-free, organized and harmonious! We love it!” Maggie and Steve, Los Gatos

Thank you Maggie and Steve for sharing your story of success!

Copyright 2017, Lavender Design + Cuisine