Friday, September 2, 2011

Private Yoga Retreat: Figueroa Mountain Farmhouse

Last Sunday, I spent 14 hours in my kitchen, prepping all sorts of tasty treats for a yoga retreat. My feet were killing me. My knees were swollen. My apron was filthy. But my nostrils? My nostrils were filled with the sweet smells of food: cinnamon. curry. garlic. tomatoes...

What these ingredients and smells produced was an array of some of my favorite foods I hoped the participants on this yoga retreat would love as much as I do:

Chocolate chip banana bread. Homemade granola. Carrot cake. Cream cheese frosting. Slow roasted salsa. Coconut curry soup. Vegan cream of mushroom soup. Balsamic salad dressing. Guacamole. Grilled zucchini salad with roasted cauliflower, cherry tomatoes and basil oil. Ricotta, parsley, mozzarella pizza with fresh basil. Margaritas with fresh squeezed lime. Homemade peanut butter chocolate ice cream. Peach raspberry cobbler with homemade vanilla ice cream.

Is your mouth watering yet?

All of it was in preparation for a beautiful woman celebrating her 50th birthday with some of her closest friends. The setting? A rustic yet elegant cottage-like house called Figueroa Mountain Farmhouse. Beautiful in its simplicity, it stood 10 miles up a winding dirt road, surrounded by rolling hills. A true escape into nature. Perfect for a girls’ getaway!

Monday morning, I packed up the car, turned up the air conditioning in an attempt to create a faux-fridge to keep the food fresh and cold, and headed up the PCH toward the Farmhouse. I made the mistake of wearing shorts. I was freezing. Then I saw the oven mitts. Have you ever driven past someone wearing oven mitts as she drove down the road at 60 miles per hour? Me neither, but I certainly created that reality for a few lucky drivers on the PCH that day! Ever the dork - this will never change :)

The following 3 days were filled with the unmistakable sounds of laughter, the clinking of wine filled glasses as the ladies cheered each other, and the buzz of conversation flowing from the big wooden dining room table. The retreat schedule included a morning yoga class, breakfast, an afternoon walk or just relaxing and reading in the living room or on the deck, lunch, more relaxing, an evening yoga class, and then dinner.

I was lucky enough to meet another group of amazing women and to reconnect with one of the women from our Mammoth retreat who happened to be friends with the birthday girl on this one (yes, that’s you, Kristin :) ). Ladies - you are all lovely, and I’m so glad to have had the opportunity to meet you and to cook for you! I cannot wait to see you all again!!

If you’re looking for any of the recipes noted above, you can find the majority of them on previous blogs. If you cannot find some, or just want them compiled into one place, e-mail me at and I will get them to you. If you are looking for the chocolate chip banana bread recipe, you will be looking forever, for that is a recipe I will never share. No, it’s not because I don’t love you!! But hey - a Chef has to keep some secrets :)

If you are interested in planning a retreat of your own, contact me when you’re ready and we will get it started!

Have a beautiful labor day weekend! Remember to express gratitude for every breath, every smile, every laugh - everything. Remember to love and to give purely, without ever expecting anything in return. Take time for yourself, relax, and enjoy every moment!

Love always,
Your crazy friend and maker of things sweet and savory,

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