Monday, September 30, 2019

Vegan Cooking & Wine Pairing Class: A Taste of Spain on Your Plate

 Magnificent Entree: 
Vegan Paella

Decadent Dessert:
Pear Rhubarb Chocolate Lavender Torta w/ 
Lavender Honey, Crushed Pistachios & Orange Rinds

Delectable Appetizer
Smoked Paprika Garbanzo Beans, Preserved 
Meyer Lemon & Fried Basil Chiffonade  

Delightful Salad: 
 Fennel, Orange, Radishes & Black Cured Olives 
w/ Citrus-Basil-Olive Oil Dressing

Veggies Paella w/o Rice

Organic Ingredients 

Organic Ingredients 




Class Menu & Wine 













My students are awesome!

They rocked my Vegan Cooking & Wine Pairing Class: A Taste of Spain on Your Plate!  

They enthusiastically put on their aprons and beautifully collaborated with each other to make 
4 exquisite dishes with organic ingredients from the Santa Cruz Farmer's Market and local organic grocery stores. 

We had an amazing farm-to-table vegan cooking and wine pairing class with 
zero waste. I love that!

Below are the 
exquisite dishes my awesome students made:

1) A Delectable Appetizer – 
Smoked Paprika Garbanzo Beans, Preserved Meyer Lemon & Fried Basil Chiffonade

2) A Delightful Salad – 
Fennel, Orange, Radishes & Black Cured Olives w/ Citrus-Basil-Olive Oil Dressing

3) 
A Magnificent Entree – Paella with organic zucchini, yellow squash, Orange Carrots, Red & Yellow Peppers, Caper Berries, Spanish Green Olives & Lemon-Saffron Santo Tomas Bomba Rice with Shallots, Garlic, Meyer Lemon Juice and Rind

4) A Decadent Dessert – 
Pear Rhubarb Chocolate Lavender Torta w/ Lavender Honey, Crushed Pistachios & Orange Rinds

They enjoyed their 
exquisite culinary creations with a delicious Spanish red wine, the Puerta Plata Reserva 2013, which beautifully complements the Spanish cuisine.

Thank you, my awesome students. You are the center of my culinary world and a great inspiration!

Chef Ellie Lavender 
Vegan Mediterranean Personal Chef
Culinary & Wine Pairing Instructor

Join my network on Facebook & Instagram to receive recipes and information on upcoming chocolate, culinary & wine pairing classes and special events!


Copyright © 2019 Lavender Design + Cuisine, All rights reserved.

Sunday, September 22, 2019

Autumn-Inspired Recipe:Pumpkin Spice Hazelnut Vegan Cookies



Happy Autumn Cookie Lovers!

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

Ingredients: (Makes 30 cookies)

1.  1/2 (4 oz.) Cup sweet melted vegan butter (Earth Balance butter stick)
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

Instructions: 

1.   Preheat oven to 350 F. 
2.  Spread the hazelnuts evenly on a baking sheet and bake for 12-15 minutes until the skins are crackled. Let them cool for 5 minutes. Move the hazelnuts onto paper towel and rub gently to remove the skins. Let them cool for another 15 minutes.
3.  Mix hazelnut milk, melted butter (room temperature) and sugar in a bowl. Let them stand for 15 minutes for the sugar to dissolve.
3.  In a food processor pulse 1/3 cup of toasted hazelnuts until coarsely chopped.
4.  Add flour, pumpkin spice and the mixture (n0. 3) and pulse a few more times.  
5.  Remove the dough from the food processor, flatten it 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. Let them cool for an hour before enjoying or packaging them as presents.

Happy Baking!

Chef Ellie Lavender 
Vegan Mediterranean Personal Chef
Culinary & Wine Pairing Instructor

Join my network on Facebook & Instagram to receive recipes and information
on upcoming chocolate, culinary & wine pairing classes and special events!


Copyright © 2019 Lavender Design + Cuisine, All rights reserved.

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Change of Season Inspirations!



The season autumn  will arrive on Monday September 23rd and with each new season, it's a time to reflect on the past and make plans for the future. The seasons of the year can be compared to various cycles of life. We can all use the changing seasons as a way to purge the old and start fresh

Use this 4 step process at the end of each season and transform yourself and your life in new and exciting ways:

1)   Practice the 3 E’s: Encourage, Embrace and Enjoy change in your life!
2)  Clear out the old: Declutter, release and let go.  
3)  Organize your life: Simplify, simplify and simplify even more to feel empowered.
4)  Set specific goals: Cultivate health, happiness and prosperity by decluttering your life.

There's no room for adventure, excitement or personal growth when you stay in your comfort zone!

Get Inspired! 
  • Do something today.  
  • Start small, even if it's only with a single drawer or cupboard.
  • Make decluttering a quick 15-minute weekly routine.
  • Get in the habit of putting things away, rather than "doing it later."
  • Store away seldom used items, and dispose or donate unused ones.
  • Have friends help, they aren't as attached to your things as you are.
  • Teach your kids to be responsible for their mess.
  • Address the emotional reasons why you collect clutter.
Happy Autumn!

Ellie Lavender
Certified Feng Shui Practitioner
Interior Designer

        Join my network on Facebook & Instagram to receive Feng Shui & Interior Design tips and information on upcoming workshops & special events!

Copyright © 2019 Lavender Design + Cuisine, All rights reserved.

Friday, September 13, 2019

Elevator pitch: 5 tips for creating a strong sales message!


How to Craft a Highly Successful Elevator Pitch That Will Land You Big Business! 

What is an Elevator Pitch? 

This is the 30-60 second business description of what you do and why someone should work with you. It’s called an “Elevator Pitch” because it describes the challenge: “How would you explain your business and make a sale if fate placed you in an elevator with your dream prospect and you only had the time it takes to get from the top of the building to the bottom?”

Why Is Having an Elevator Pitch So Important?

You only have 30-60 seconds to make a powerful first impression. The attention span of the average person is just 30 seconds before their mind starts wandering. The other reason is people have less time today. You need to grab them quickly or lose them forever.

Elevator pitch - 5 tips for creating a strong sales message:

1. Figure out what is unique about what you do
The whole idea behind a great elevator pitch is to intrigue someone. It's an ice-breaker and a marketing pitch — all rolled into one. Your elevator pitch must have a hook. 'I own a café in downtown' doesn't hold a candle to, but 'I own a café in downtown and offer gourmet vegan Mediterranean foods beautifully paired with regional wines' does!

2. Make it exciting
A superior elevator pitch increases your heart rate. It speaks to who you really are and what excites you about your business. It has integrity. What is it about your business that really motivates you? Incorporate that!

3. Keep it simple
A good elevator pitch doesn't try and be all things to all people. Rather, it conveys a clear idea in a short amount of time. It might be a few sentences, but no more than a paragraph or so. Keep it under 30 seconds.

4. Write it down
Use the guidelines above and take a stab at it. Write down your pitch, say it out loud, re-write it, and then re-write it again.

5. Practice, and the practice some more
The first few times you try out your elevator pitch may be a bit uncomfortable, but it gets easier. After a while, it will become second nature to you, and when it does, you will be glad you practiced. You never know what will come from having a great, natural, elevator pitch, but you can bet that you've just increased your chances that it will be good.

-          Elevator pitch opens the door to business
-          Elevator pitch is an intro – meant to open up a dialog
-          Elevator pitch is a work of art in progress
-          Elevator pitch is about why you do what you do
-          Every opportunity is a networking opportunity
-          What is the hook, why you do what you do, how you do it
-          Be yourself, everyone else is taken
-          Who you are and how you present yourself = your ultimate business card
-          Smile, smile, smile and smile some more

Happy Sales Pitching!

Ellie Lavender
Certified Feng Shui Practitioner
Interior Designer
Lavender Design + Cuisine


        Join my network on Facebook & Instagram to receive Feng Shui & Interior Design tips and information on upcoming workshops & special events!


Copyright © 2019 Lavender Design + Cuisine, All rights reserved.

Sunday, August 25, 2019

Feng Shui Tips For A Child’s Bedroom!


Feng Shui Tips For A Child’s Bedroom: Enhance Education, Success and Happy Relationships!

As your children are preparing to return to school, now is the time to set the stage for success. Creating open spaces will allow them focus on where they are going rather than where they were.

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.

7. 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.  

Have fun with your children and enjoy the process!


Ellie Lavender
Certified Feng Shui Practitioner
Interior Designer
Lavender Design + Cuisine

        Join my network on Facebook & Instagram to receive Feng Shui & Interior Design tips and information on upcoming workshops & special events!


Copyright © 2019 Lavender Design + Cuisine, All rights reserved.



Sunday, August 18, 2019

A Taste of Morocco on Your Plate Beautiful Class Pictures!


Students enjoying their exquisite culinary creations! 

Class Group Picture with Robin & David, the 
FlipJack Ranch Owners in Bonny Doon

Class Materials 

Wine: TheTruvee Red Blend Central Coast 2013
 by McBride Sisters

Venue: FlipJack Ranch in Bonny Doon

Class Menu: A 4-Course Meal

Class Organic Ingredients

Class Organic Ingredients

 Organic Purple Figs

Refreshment before the start of the class:
Butter Beans Lemon-Dill Hummus

Refreshment before the start of the class:
Freshly baked & locally made baguettes from 
Companion Bakeshop in Santa Cruz

Refreshment Drink before the start of the class:
Strawberry Rhubarb Lavender Refresher 

Chopped Strawberries & Pink Pearl Apples

Appetizer: Moroccan-Spiced Chickpeas

Salad: Fennel, Orange, Radish & Olives
w/ Citrus Dressing

Entree: Sweet & Savory Moroccan Couscous

Entree: Sweet & Savory Moroccan Couscous

 Dessert: Fig Lavender Tart

 Dessert: Fig Lavender Tart

Dessert: Fig Lavender Tart w/ 
Cardamom-infused Dark Roast Coffee

 Students enjoying refreshments before the start 
of the class & getting to know each other

 Students enjoying refreshments before the start 
of the class & getting to know each other

Students Group Picture 

  Students toasting their culinary creations

Students toasting their culinary creations

Toque Blanche kitchen Store's Discount: 
All student in this class will enjoy a one-time 
10% discount offer on all items on this flyer and all other 
items in the Toque Blanche kitchen store in 
downtown Santa Cruz & on their web site!  

My students are awesome!

They rocked my Vegan Cooking & Wine Pairing Class: A Taste of Morocco on Your Plate at the beautiful FlipJack Ranch, in the magical Santa Cruz mountains!  

They enthusiastically put on their eclectic aprons and beautifully collaborated with each other to make 4 exquisite dishes with organic ingredients from the Santa Cruz Farmer's Market and local organic grocery stores. 

We had an amazing farm-to-table vegan cooking and wine pairing class with zero waste. I love that!

Below are the exquisite dishes my awesome students made:

1) A Delectable Appetizer – Moroccan-Spiced Chickpeas made with fried chickpeas, preserved Meyer lemon, fried shallots and za’atar spice.

2) A Delightful Salad – Fennel, Orange, Radish and olives with a delightful citrus dressing composed of extra virgin olive oil, Meyer lemon and orange juice.  

3) A Magnificent Entree – Sweet & Savory Couscous made with zucchini, yellow squash, red bell peppers, artichoke hearts, fresh dill, Moroccan green olives, almonds, dried apricots, shallots and za’atar spice.

4) A Decadent Dessert – Fig Lavender Tart with orange zest, lavender honey and crushed pistachios, which they enjoyed with a delicious cardamom-infused dark roast coffee.

They also enjoyed their exquisite culinary creations with McBride Sisters' delicious wine, the Truvee Red Blend Central Coast 2013! They took home a bottle of this delicious wine, plus a small bag of organic culinary lavender!

Thank you, my fabulous students for your lovely presence in my class and for your beautiful testimonials. You are the center of my culinary world and a great inspiration!

Chef Ellie Lavender 
Vegan Mediterranean Personal Chef
Culinary & Wine Pairing Instructor

Join my network on Facebook & Instagram to receive recipes and information
on upcoming chocolate, culinary & wine pairing classes and special events!

Copyright © 2019 Lavender Design + Cuisine, All rights reserved.