Sunday, January 27, 2013

Freezing Fantasies: Fun 2013 Getaways to Distract You From the Cold

“Oh the weather outside is frightful…” As I’m sure you’ve heard since all of social media is atwitter about the nationwide - and international ! – winter freeze. Even everyone in LA was complaining about the “frigid” 60-degree temperatures (you poor things). To all of my East Coast friends complaining about the weather, I responded “quels whimps!” I survived four years in Hanover, New Hampshire. You think this is cold? … and then I went outside and freezed mes fesses off and came crying back inside for a weeklong marathon of unlimited hot cocoa and haven’t taken off my wool hat and gloves in days (yes, even inside - this is me making dinner, Eskimo-style). 

This glacial attack has had me yearning for sunny skies, beaches and fresh coconuts. I’ve been dreaming about succulent salads and sandy shores (say that five times fast). To add to my daydreaming, I’ve been tantalized by a few famous friends planning fabulous trips later this year.  Just in case you’re cold or hungry, I thought I’d share these amazing opportunities with you. And, if you do decide to go, I remind you that I can fit into most standard sized suitcases, merci beaucoup.

     1) Ani’s 15-hour Raw Food Course in Los Angeles, CA

It may be cold, but my kitchen is on Phyo thanks to Ani Phyo’s amazing – and amazingly accessible –  cookbooks. Ani has written several books that have become the bibles of cuisine in the raw food world. Now, she’s launching her first ever Raw Food Home Chef Certification Course from March 15th – 17th. The course will be held on the Santa Monica coast complete with ocean views at luxury boutique hotel The Shore Hotel. This Level 1 class will feature a certification of completion, meals from popular local raw food restaurants (like Juliano’s! I’m salivating just thinking about it), plus a signed copy of The Bible aka “Ani’s Raw Food Essentials.” The group will be limited to a select few, so sign up soon for the chance at such a unique, intimate experience. Ani will focus on “essentials” like stocking the home kitchen, food shopping, blending, food processing and making basic sauces, wraps, rolls, pastas and decadent (and decadently healthy!) desserts. The course is geared toward those simply looking to hone their skills as a home chef or to step their skills up a notch to entertain family and friends or even to launch their own health food businesses or careers. Ani is such an inspiration and despite her colossal global success, she is so down-to-earth. The fact that she’s hosting such an intimate gathering to share her personal experiences and culinary prowess is very exciting. The course is geared towards cooking, but Ani will also share her vast knowledge of all things health and happiness. You’ll learn the following:

- Menu planning /recipe development
– Food safety /hygiene
– Vegetable preparation
– Plating / presentation

– Ani’s Eco-Raw Food Wellness Philosophy
– Raw food basics / superfood functions
– How to make great meals at home
– Quick and easy techniques / recipes

And, perhaps even more exciting, Ani will also be launching upper level Mastery courses starting in June focusing on helping people to launch successful raw food businesses.
The Level 1 class is a prerequisite for that, so get those healthy hinies out to CA to get started. Many raw food chefs focus exclusively on flavor and creativity and sacrifice health while others are so health-conscious that they promote bland, tasteless fare. Ani is one of the rare chefs and health educators who has somehow managed to strike a perfect balance between the two. She’s open-minded and flexible in her cooking and lifestyle philosophies and makes eating well not only easy for those with active, modern lifestyles, but also DELICIOUS. She’s managed to merge her Eastern upbringing with today’s Western lifestyle in a fun, enjoyable way.

Here’s more info on Ani’s website:


     2) Vegan Fusion European Cooking Immersion with Mark Reinfeld

You may not have met him yet, but Mark Reinfeld is your bowl mate. He cooks healthy and delicious food and brings something from wherever he travels to his creative culinary creations. There’s a little bit of something for everyone in his recipes that are flavor fusions of world cuisine, but also surprisingly easy to make chez vous. Monsieur Reinfeld’s latest book “The 30 Minute Vegan’s Taste of Europe” is fabulous. It takes traditional recipes from all over the continent – France, Italy, England, Spain, Portugal, Ireland, Greece and Germany – and turns them into vegan masterpieces. As you know, cuisine is a major part of any culture and Mark not only mixes ingredients together, he brings each culture into the kitchen… but with a veggie-centric twist, bien sûr! Mark will be in Paris for a 5-day Vegan Fusion Immersion course in the Fall, from September 23rd – 27th. The intimate course will be held in a beautiful home in the center of the city – très chic! Mark will focus on kitchen stocking, shopping, chopping, blending and other basics, and will share his tricks of the trade. He’ll explore the healing quality of vegan foods, but make sure that the presentation and taste are impressive too.
The schedule:

Day 1 Vegan Soups/ Salads & Dressings
Day 2 The World of Grains and Beans/Tofu, Tempeh & Seitan Dishes
Day 3 Casseroles and Sauces/Wraps, Spreads, Sandwiches and Rolls
Day 4 Vegan Desserts/Raw Cuisine 1 Smoothies, Pates, Pasta & Pudding
Day 5 Raw Cuisine 2 Elixirs, Soups, Plant Cheeses, Ravioli, Parfaits & Ice Cream/Raw Cuisine 3 Nut and Seed Milks, Granola, Pizza, Tacos, Live Pies

I had the pleasure of taking one of Mark’s cooking classes when he came to Paris last year and it was such a wonderful experience. I learned so much and my taste buds are still pining for his wizardry in the kitchen. (Note: You do NOT need to be Vegan to appreciate this experience – even my carnivorous mother still requests “Mark’s sauce” whenever I cook anything. True story.)

If you can’t make it to the City of Lights, Mark will also be hosting immersions and workshops in Portland, Madison, Maui, Miami and Stafford, England this year.

So voilà! The info, mes amis:

3) Yoga Retreat in Italy with Anne Vandewalle

“Le chien, la tête en bas” – that’s “downward dog” in French. I’m not quite sure how to say it in Italian, but you’ll probably learn if you attend this retreat in Umbria. In fact, Umbria will turn into OMbria for this special trip. Anne Vandewalle is an English-speaking yoga teacher with a chic French accent who will be leading this trip in July/August at this lovely spot .
Anne is Anusara-trained and her love for yoga and zest for life are contagious. I’ve enjoyed her classes in Paris these past few years (and miss them terribly). 

The daily yoga sessions à la Anne will take place looking at the Tuscan countryside. The morning sessions will be energy-stimulating and the evening classes will be relaxing and feature massage and meditation to unwind. The retreat is for yogis and yoginis of all levels. So, in sum, inspiring daily yoga classes, sun, a beautiful countryside landscape, Italian accents everywhere and unlimited amounts of pesto, pasta and puttanesca? Uhh, how do you say “Namaste” in Italian?

And now back to la réalité. I’m going to put on a fleece and hat and go make some soup. Plane ticket to Bali welcome!

Bisous mes amis,

PS Here's one yoga retreat NOT to sign up for courtesy of the lovely team at Strala Yoga

No comments: