What an inspiring 6 months it has been. I am grateful to have found a cooking program based on natural ingredients with a focus on nutrition. As cumbersome as the commute was, being surrounded by like-minded classmates and educated and caring teachers, it was all worth it.
I want to share with you a drink I made for our final showcase. Dates, ginger, cardamom, lime and sparkling water. This non-alcoholic drink is perfect for a brunch or for those who like a celebratory drink without the booze. The cardamom gives it such a unique flavor and adds a great touch. If you want to be fancy, serve it in a champagne flute. But for the everyday, this mason glass works great.
It was one year ago this month that I started to seriously consider going to culinary school. I was excited but also a little overwhelmed with all the details and research it was going to take to move my family out here. I remember my mom telling me, “Somewhere down the road you will probably regret not having done it but you won’t regret having the experience.” She was right on and that really stuck with me.
Getting my family out to California and going to school was absolutely worth it. There of course have been ups and downs, uncertainty and excitement but most of all there has been growth and togetherness and role changes. Eric has gotten the chance to be there for so many small yet mighty moments in our kids lives as I rushed out the door in the morning to battle the traffic on the 101. He packed the kids lunches and found his voice as the kids cried about what socks they were wearing or what was for breakfast. I am not going to lie – there were some morning when I was glad to walk out the door and let him handle the situation. But I am ready to be back home. I missed it.
Max is in Kindergarten and is reading and climbing trees and doing math. He is caring and so very curious about life and all it’s details. Cecilia has one of the dearest souls and is a budding artist and ballerina who also loves to tackle her brother and laugh those deep belly laughs.
Today I am celebrating my family. I couldn’t have done this without their support. Eric’s energy and attitude towards life is positive and encouraging, Our children came to California rather reluctantly but have turned a corner. They are shining in school and in life. My mom has been monumental in this move and has been there to take care of the kids when Eric had to go to Colorado for work. Uncle Andrew came to the rescue several times and the kids loved having their uncle around to show them their school and play. I have such gratitude. And to my father, whom I wish I could cook for today, you were the impetus in all of this. I wish there could have been another way. My goal is to help others and teach them what I have learned so that we can all lead healthier, more vibrant lives. Food is very powerful and I want to help people gain their strength.
Here are a few images from my classes final showcase event. (photos courtesy of Aimee Porter)
- 5 dates, pitted
- 1/8 tsp ground cardamom
- 1 1/4 cups water
- 1 inch ginger
- 2 tsp lime juice, about 1/2 lime)
- pinch of sea salt
- 2 cups sparkling water
Soak dates and cardamom in 1 1/4 cups boiling water for 30 minutes.
Transfer to a blender and puree. Pour dates through a cheese cloth, colander or nut milk bag. Transfer to a mason jar with a tight fitting lid.
Peel and grate ginger. Squeeze out the juice using a cheese cloth (or your fingers, and measure out 1/2 tsp ginger juice. Add ginger juice, lime juice and a pinch of salt to the mason jar. Shake well. Refrigerate for at least an hour, and up to 2-3 days.
Add 2 ounces of date syrup to 4 ounces of sparkling water. (add more syrup to taste)
You can buy a nut milk bag at wholefoods or amazon.com