Monday, February 21, 2011

[Blog] Valentines' Retreat

My birthday is January 30th, and my husband's birthday is February 11th and as we all know, Valentine's day is February 14th.

For my birthday I had an awesome rawvegan potluck at our apartment. My birthday landed conveniently on a Sunday, so I was able to have the celebration on my birthday itself. I have tons of awesome photos of my birthday potluck posted in their own facebook album: check them out, comment and also feel free to friend me.

For my husband's birthday, which landed on a Friday, we did not manage to do anything in particular, except that I made an elaborate pie:

Birthday Rawvegan Blueberry Pie

The next day however, Saturday, we went to two potlucks.

One in Berkley, hosted by Brian Honeycutt of the Rawfood Oakland Meetup Group. That potluck started early in the afternoon at the RawMana Co-Op with around twenty attendees. Photographs of the event, the food, etc, with descriptions, are here in my facebook album.

The second one in the late afternoon was hosted by Amber Zuckswert in San Fransisco. I also have facebook photo album of that event.

For the other half of the wonderful jam-packed weekend, we attended a rawvegan Valentine's Retreat half an hour south of San Fransisco in a green hilly area of low population. This lovely retreat was hosted by Jillian Love.

Valentines' Retreat
An event of the Raw Revolution: Conscious Cuisine group.

The day began with a thick delicious chocolate coconut elixir.

Since we were the first to arrive, we ventured for a walk.

We appreciated the beautiful outdoors.

We talked about how wonderful it would be to have our own land.

We remarked on how fresh the air smelled, how wonderful the sunshine was.

We delighted in the open space and the day to come.

My husband held my bag for me.

We reveled in the beautiful view.

The trees to left of the path, the beautiful hills rolling away on the right.

We've discovered that a ring around the neck is a much safer location than on the finger.

According to Markus Rothkranz, David Wolfe, and others, I will eventually be able to go into bright sunlight with sunglasses, and even correct my vision entirely.

The yogic tree pose. One of my favorites.

We returned from our walk, and greeted and talked with other people. This is a photograph of Jillian Love.

Jillian served us delicious Strawberries & Cream Revegan Parfaits.

The cream is made from cashews and other wonderful things. This here is my husband.

We were led through a yoga classes and then shown how to give our partner's Thai massages. This is the instructor giving Jillian a massage.

These are balls similar to my fruit ball creations. Rawvegan sweet treats.

We had some laughs just before delving into the delicious balls.

Jillian's knowing look -- you're having thoughts about eating balls, aren't you?

Savoring the smell, and giving my husband a warm smile.

Taking a small nibble.

We were then led on a walk by the man above. This amazing tree was one of the attractions.

Looking up, there were branches as wide as average trees.

Old Growth -- beautiful and wonderful.

Is it really that large of a tree? Or did I somehow just shrink my husband for the photo?

Raederle Phoenix, February 13th 2011

From the tree we walked up to a vantage point and feasted our eyes.

Jay Jacot, February 13th 2011

On top of the world... That's where I am.

It feels wonderful to be on top of the world.

The sky was amazing to behold.

We talked, laughed and enjoyed our walk together.

We began to head back towards the lovely location of our dinner.

We allowed ourselves to be put to the task of making delicious things with Jillian's direction.


Rawvegan chocolate strawberry cake.

Incredibly wonderful endive boats.

They really do look like boats from this angle.

Slivered fennel salad with a delicious pecan topping.

Beet soup with cream topping.

"Noodles" and mushrooms. This one was especially good.

Jillian slicing up the rich pie: the final course of the retreat.

All in all, a great time with great food at an excellent beautiful location. I didn't take any photos of the gong meditation, but that was one of the highlights of the overall experience. No photo could tell you how amazing it is to how sounds flowing through your body from powerful gongs surrounding you. The live music was also a nice touch.

And so, we did nothing in particular on my husband's birthday or on Valentine's day itself (Friday and Monday), but we made up for it with a Saturday and Sunday jam-packed with excitement.

I did make another pie at home shortly after this amazing weekend in a celebration of love in the shape of a heart:

Breakfast on a weekday morning. Gotta love being raw and fabulous.

The recipes for these pies will appear in my upcoming recipe book: Nut-Free Raw Recipes by Raederle -- I am creating this book to enable people with nut allergies to delve into the raw food lifestyle, and also to provide a wide scope of recipes, including desserts, that are not high in nut-fat and thereby can be consumed daily if desired, with no ill effects whatsoever.

Thanks for reading!


~ Raederle Phoenix


  1. OH Wow Wonderful your location and mind blowing your celebration . interesting this post and lovely, colorful recipe i think very very tested its recipe . i loved that and your all photo's very nice . fantastic your celebration really i inspired u r very lovely pair i like that thanks for nice sharing

  2. Thanks for sharing this--and happy belated birthday to you and your husband!

    Jillian Love wasn't around in the Bay Area when I lived there, but the whole look and energy of that retreat as you captured it brings back so much nostalgia: I loved living in that area. Looks like you had a wonderful time in great company. Those redwoods are just awesome, as is the gong-through-the-body thing.

    So you're still in the Bay?

  3. Ela,

    Only for a very short time! We're moving (out of the Bay) at the end of March. I am going to have my first recipe book up for sale on this site before then -- "Nut-Free Raw Recipes by Raederle" -- Has a nice ring to it, doesn't it?

    I do love living here -- but Buffalo calls me back home quite loudly, with many voices.

    I *heart* redwoods a gazillion times over. I want to plant entire forests of them... everywhere... Replace some ranches with some forests!... (ramble, ramble, forest!!!, lol)

    ~ Raederle


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