Aromatherapy Dinner and Wellness Weekend
It’s been a long time since I’ve felt refreshed and at peace, and thankfully this year’s Wellness Weekend with @harpandwellness filled up my cup in a much-needed way. We spent the weekend up in New Hampshire with our husbands at a stunning Airbnb surrounded by mountains and fresh air; away from people, stress, and work. We cooked all our own food at the house and spent our time hiking, playing cards, or meditating. I am so thankful for this time away and a safe space given what a year we’ve had.
One of the highlights of this weekend was a specially prepared Aromatherapy dinner. The three course menu items all contained food grade lavender ingredients, and Nicole (@harpandwellness) walked us through mindfulness exercise to truly engage our senses and nourish not only our bodies, but our palates and minds as well. We lit lavender candles to enhance the experience and ate outside on the deck overlooking the mountains. It was such a wonderful evening.
We started the evening off with a salad made with locally grown kale and red leaf lettuce and tomatoes from Sherman Farm in Conway, NH. We added some chopped cucumbers from Farmer Dave’s in Dracut, MA and I brought up some foraged black berries to sprinkle on top. The salad dressing combined lavender and raspberry balsamic for a thick and creamy topping that was bold and tasty. The kale and red leaf lettuce were selected for their bitter taste to offset the sweetness of the raspberry and lavender dressing.
Nicole and her husband Anthony provided the dressing and recipe, while my husband Russ and I put the salad and berries together.
Salad dressing ingredients and approximate measurements (to taste):
1/4 cup dried food grade lavender buds
1/2 cup raspberry balsamic vinegar
1 cup olive oil
1 tsp dijon mustard
Combine everything and blend with immersion blender.
Next up we had a lavender herbed risotto with honey lavender chicken. We paired this with a refreshing lavender lemonade, perfect for a warm summer evening. Nicole and Anthony prepared the herbed risotto and chicken. The risotto was a butter base that included broth, thyme, rosemary, sage, parsley, salt, pepper. To make, start with organic jasmine rice or rice of choice, and simmer in a stovetop pot with butter. Add broth and continue stirring, allowing the rice to absorb the broth. Add the herbs at the very end, and the last couple of broth pours add some lavender extract into it to taste, then pour that over the rice. Herbs and extract will be to taste.
To make the honey lavender chicken, marinade organic chicken in olive oil, salt, pepper, culinary dried lavender buds, and rosemary for 30 minutes. Next, cook the chicken on the stovetop (grill could work here too). Drizzle honey on top once the chicken is cooked and mix honey with some lavender extract to taste for added flavor.
Shopping list for risotto and chicken dishes:
Food grade lavender buds
While the main courses were simmering on the stove, my husband Russ made a few batches of the lavender lemonade. We also had some leftover beets from Farmer Dave’s CSA so we boiled those too. Here is the lemonade recipe:
Fresh squeezed lemons
Food grade lavender buds
First, boil 2.5 cups water. Once boiling, take off the heat and add a tablespoon of lavender and a ½ cup honey and let it steep for an hour or longer. Next, strain the liquid to get the lavender out, and add 2.5 cups cold water and a cup of fresh squeezed lemon juice to the mix. Chill in the fridge until ready to serve!
The finale of this three course meal was the lavender honey ice cream sprinkled with lavender granola, and foraged blackberries. Nicole and Anthony brought up an ice cream maker and homemade lavender extract and we brought up the homemade lavender granola and berries. Making the lavender granola made the house smell amazing! I highly recommend it! I used a recipe from The Almond Eater's website. Anthony’s lavender extract recipe was 2 cups of vodka mixed with ½ cup of dried food grade lavender buds. Store in a mason jar in a cool, dark place and shake once a day for 2 weeks – 2 months then drain out the buds. The ice cream was dairy free and made with coconut milk. Combine coconut milk, honey, lavender extract, and vanilla extract and mix to taste. YUM!
Seriously all of these foods were so amazing. The chicken and risotto were so flavorful and the ice cream overlooking the mountains was the perfect way to end a day of hiking and reflection. I am beyond blessed and grateful for our little couple's retreat and for nature providing lots of healing vibes as always.
Give yourself permission to rest, relax, and recharge. Wellness weekends don't have to take place in a secluded mountain area, it can be as easy as sitting outside reading a good book in your own backyard. The most important thing is to listen to your body, try to clear your mind, and focus on just being present and enjoying those mindful moments of peace.