I said no to fear and yes to growing.
Tom and I left for Santa Cruz early, enjoyed a beautiful drive through the foothills to the coast and had a little brunch at the Harbor Cafe. It was delicious and funky and all of the servers sort of looked like they just rolled out of bed (the joys of a coastal college community). I had a lovely frittata and am going to be obsessed with learning how to make them - especially since our layers are finally starting to lay and we're going to be inundated with eggs in the next few months. We also hit a Farmer's Market on the way to the school, which helped calm my jangly nerves a little bit more.
Y'all, I could live at that Farmer's Market. Baby artichokes, bloomsdale spinach, leeks and tulips - oh, the tulips! Stunning.
But I didn't drive two hours to buy tulips (though I would!). I drove to take the gluten-free baking community class at Bauman College. I've been researching holistic nutrition schools that offer distance learning, and Bauman has quickly risen to the top of my list. When I found the gluten-free class, I knew it would be a perfect way to learn something new and check out the school a little closer at the same time.
I did learn a few things - I'll definitely no longer be buying almond meal for $11.99 a bag when I can make my own in the food processor in about a minute for a quarter of the cost. Underneath all of that whipped cream and whipped coconut cream (oh.my.heck.amazing) up there, is an almond cake that I adore and intend to make a few spice adjustments to and share soon. It's also going to make a great base for strawberry shortcake once they're in season. Best of all - no wheat or gluten and no refined sugars! We also made a butternut squash tort that I can't wait to play with...as soon as I get some small tart pans. It would be perfect with banana pudding (one of the chef's mentioned a raw banana pudding made with soaked cashews that I can't wait to try) or pumpkin for Thanksgiving. Nor more having to eat around the crust for me!
It was a fairly basic class, with most of the students barely knowing their way around a kitchen, so I don't think I came home with too much new information. I did learn some basic ratios for baking with gluten free flours that I want to work with. And I got to test out some ingredients I've never used before - agar agar, coconut sugar (which I could eat with a spoon and is a very low glycemic sweetener), and coconut cream. We also had a lunch that the chef's prepared for us that included a miso and takame (seaweed) soup that I'm anxious to try on my own.
And I learned that I need to look into Bauman further. Their philosophy is so on with mine - that we honor our bodies and our Creator when we eat in ways that promote health, that what is naturally in the foods we eat is more important that what is processed out, whole foods are vital, low gluten diets for everyone (easier on digestion), and that creating and serving healthful food for others is one of the greatest things we can do. We even see eye to eye on soy (organic only, fermented or sprouted). Their vision of working with individuals, families and communities toward wellness mirrors my own, and I think this might be the place to make it happen.
I was surprised how much I loved working with the chefs. Chef Rebecca was our main instructor and hugged me three times before I left. I've been most interested in Bauman for their distance learning nutrition, but I think perhaps after that I'd love to figure out a way to take the natural chef program also. I will definitely be taking all of the community courses I can!
Next month is Indian food. Anyone want to join me?