Friday, May 23, 2014

Yoga Retreat Noms (and giveaway winner!)

Last weekend was my annual Spring Yoga Retreat, which I lead at a beautiful retreat center here in Santa Cruz. In years past, I have always co-taught the retreat, but this was my first ever time leading the whole weekend by myself! It was a great experience: we had a really perfect group of people, lovely weather, good focus in class, and friendly connections outside of class... and - of course - good eating! 

Dinners at the retreat center are usually a giant salad full of super fresh greens, soup, and fresh bread. This is pretty much my ideal situation in life... so I was very content. One night we had this veggie soup full of veggies, and the second night we had a really lovely dhal. They also make their own salad dressings every day, and this bright green basil dressing was SO super good... I was happy when it made another appearance at lunch on our last day!

 Dessert is also provided at dinner, which is super fun! The first night we had these amazing chocolate-dipped peanut butter bombs. Holy wowsers - they were decadent and delicious! Also, you can't tell, but they were a serious commitment: they were huge! The second night we had a really nice fruit salad with some fruit juice, shredded coconut and crushed walnuts mixed in. The walnuts were really nice in the fruit salad. I am going to borrow that idea!

Lunches at the center are usually the Big Meal - which (again) is just perfect for me. Saturday we had salad bar, enchiladas, and roasted brussels & cauliflower. Yum Town! The retreat center is always all veg, but for the retreats I lead, they happily accommodate my all-vegan request. The food this time around was really great : full of variety and fresh, seasonal veggies, colorful, and flavorful. It feels like such a luxury to have healthy, home-cooked vegan food prepared for me!

Dessert isn't served with lunch, and so many years ago, I began a tradition of bringing homemade cookies for the retreat attendees. There's always at least one gluten-free person in the mix, so this time I chose the Chocolate Chip Cookies from Oh She Glows and they were amazing!! She tells you that they spread a lot - and they really do, so be warned. Instead of grinding my own almonds and gf oats, I just used almond flour and gf oat flour and they came out great. I will definitely make these again! Also, I made a double batch, which made TONS. This way I could share them with the staff and other guests at the retreat center and still had a few left over.

The center is such a beautiful place. It's located in the redwoods forest and there are vast hiking trails and nature all around. At the top of one of the hills is this beautiful meadow, filled with sunshine and Tibetan prayer flags. The center, Land of Medicine Buddha, is operated by a Tibetan Buddhist organization. All around the property are beautiful temples and statues and prayer wheels. I'm not a Buddhist, but I love the colorful and artistic beauty of it all. And the natural beauty is pretty glorious too!

 There are even two cats who live on the property! This one has only been around for a year or two, and she is semi-feral. Her name is Sherbert and she is very pretty. Sometimes, while I was teaching class, I would look out the window and see her resting out here in the sun... hard not to get distracted!

This was our final lunch on Sunday afternoon: giant salad bar, tofu cakes (you can hardly see them in this picture, but they were really delicious and fun to eat), green beans with sliced almonds, pasta & pasta sauce. I skipped the pasta in favor of multiple pieces of fresh bread (BRED 4EVR), and put the pasta sauce right on my green beans. It was a great lunch!

p.s. Last week I hosted a giveaway for a copy of "Vegan Finger Foods," and today I used the Random Number Generator to pick a winner: #26 Choirqueer! Huzzah! Congrats to you, and may the joy of finger foods be upon you! Thanks to everyone who entered!


  1. Oh I would love to do one of your yoga retreats! with so much delicious vegan food! but I'm a bit far away on the other side of the world.... I'll just enjoy reading about them instead :-)

  2. I do yoga everyday, but I would love to have this great treat in our yoga classes.

  3. That sounds like an amazing weekend Amey, Iove that all of the food's veggie and that they accommodate veganism and I super love that you take cookies to share!

  4. I am glad you had such a wonderful weekend. The food looks fabulous. One day I am coming and you have to teach me some yoga. (Hey and if you want, send me your address. I still wanna send you some tea.)

  5. Wow! that sounds so fun! I would love to do a yoga retreat someday.

  6. Anonymous10:24 AM

    I can certainly relate to the picture of being in a backbend thinking about cookies! Except, I can't even get into a backbend.

  7. YUMMERS! So cool that everything is made vegan by request. And that field of Tibetan prayer flags looks like the most magical place!


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