Follow Your Bliss & See Where It Takes You: Hummingbirds, Cooking Retreats, and Organic, Plant-Based Cooking in New Mexico

 

I’m writing to you from sunny Santa Fe, New Mexico! I decided to do something unexpected and book a cooking retreat through The Conscious Gourmet. I had some reservations with cost, lack of time for a cross-country flight, and the sheer randomness of the trip, but I quickly overcame my doubts when I realized this trip combined all of the things I love: adventure and cooking natural food. Plus, I got to see some amazing hummingbird action. I adore these tiny but fastidious creatures and only spotted on for the first time during my trip to Colorado in June of this year. Naturally, I was elated when I found out my instructor has a feeder right in front of her kitchen window. SOmetimes they distract me from the cooking at hand, but it’s a distraction I will not contend with once I’m home.

The class is very intimate, as there are only three of us learning, along with the instructor and her adorable sidekick, Shadow, who is pictured below. He often distracts us with his adorable personality and periodic solicitations to play with his squeaky toys. When we wrap up a session, he dances with his mom on his two hind legs almost as though he’s celebrating having her all to himself again. Very sweet.

IMG_2273 I’ve learned some wonderful things about menu planning and cooking organic. (mostly) plant-based dishes. Yesterday, I cooked a lovely quinoa pilaf, and helped my fellow students out with their dishes which were non-dairy cream corn soup with road red pepper sauce, halibut, and a carob cake. I learned that some food…well, ok, quinoa, cooks a lot slower in higher altitudes, knife skills are tough; I’m still grappling with my Japanese cutting knife when it comes to the righ positioning of my hand and the direction of the cut, and cooking with others can be a lot of fun. Everyone is excited about the food and learning more about healthy, sustainable living in the kitchen.

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The final product of the non-dairy creamy corn soup. It was delicious!

The final product of the non-dairy creamy corn soup. It was delicious!

My cutting station with a Japanese square tipped knife and skid proof mat for my cutting board. The sponge is for cleaning my station after each prep. That sounds so professional! :)

My cutting station with a Japanese square tipped knife and skid proof mat for my cutting board. The sponge is for cleaning my station after each prep. That sounds so professional! 🙂

Enjoying this lovely carob cake (this was my second piece!) with organic coconut milk on top. What decadent way to finish off the meal we worked hard on!

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