Picture this: A mountain view. Sunny blue skies. White snow. A beautiful kitchen. 8 beautiful woman celebrating a friend’s 50th birthday. 2 yoga classes a day. Skiing moguls in amazing mountain conditions at Mammoth Mountain. A stack of blueberry pancakes with all the fixings. Lauren in a chef coat in her dream kitchen.
What? Lauren in a chef coat? Yes, friends! For all of you who have been guests in my living rooms and kitchens in Montreal, L.A and Vancouver, for all of you who have sat at my dinner table or on the floor around my coffee table, laughing and chatting away, for all of you who have enjoyed the tastes of my latest recipes, for all of you who cheered me on at my decision to leave lululemon and go to culinary school, I dedicate this entry to you. For without your support and encouragement, I never would have had the courage to agree to be the private chef on a yoga retreat for 8 beautiful woman in Mammoth mountain last weekend!
Thursday evening of last week, I left for Mammoth Mountain with the very talented and inspiring yoga instructor, and owner of Adventure Yoga Retreats ( http://www.adventureyogaretreats.com/), Ted McDonald, the car packed to the brim with food and supplies, menu planned and in hand, butterflies in my stomach, and a silly smile on my face. “Oh my goodness – who am I? What did I just get myself into?” I thought to myself as we got closer and closer to the mountain. Over the course of 3 days, I prepared 3 breakfasts, 2 dinners, 3 afternoon snacks, and 1 very special birthday “cake.”
A breakfast spread of homemade granola, dried fruit and nuts, greek yogurt, fresh fruit, pancakes, eggs and oatmeal, with a guest appearance of my famous chocolate chip banana bread on Sunday.
Homemade guacamole and chips, asparagus soup with herbed goat cheese balls (thank you Giada de Laurentiis!), vegan cream of mushroom soup with cashew cream (thank you Joy The Baker! http://www.joythebaker.com/), bok choy salad with sautéed almonds and sunflower seeds, mixed greens with avocado, dried cranberries, goat cheese, toasted walnuts and red onions, chicken stuffed with goat cheese and basil, quinoa, roasted root vegetables, and sesame roasted asparagus.
And most importantly – dessert! Lemon yogurt cake, homemade crème brulee, watermelon salad, and a tower of salted caramel filled chocolate cupcakes, topped with chocolate ganache and candied hazelnuts for the birthday girl on Sunday night.
I’m proud to say that everything was served hot and on time, and that the food was greeted by rave reviews. To make it all the more wonderful, each one of the ladies on the retreat was absolutely wonderful!
Kristin, Beth, Maia, Diana, Suzanne, Janet, Anne and Minta – you ladies are all shining examples of the strong women that this world needs, and I’m so happy to have had the chance to meet you!
Now I’m going to stop babbling and show you some more pictures! But before I do, I raise my glass to you in cheers, and remind you to trust. Trust that here is exactly where you need to be right now. Have faith and confidence in your fabulous self. Turn your can’ts into cans, and your dreams into plans. And one day, you might find yourself in a chef coat, smiling as you lovingly assemble a birthday cake, every so often staring out across a 10 person dinner table into the backyard with a mountain view, shaking your head at the beauty and magic of it all. Or something like that…
All my love,