My recent Cooking Class at Central Market was focused on all of the wonderful things you can do with chocolate. While I didn’t care for the Chocolate Marinara Sauce, it even sounds bad, I loved the Chocolate Chunk & Cherry Biscotti, the Chocolate Bark with Cranberries and Almonds, but my favorite was the Chocolate Truffles. So decadent!
- 16 ounces of Ghiradelli Chocolate Chips (you’ll need two bags)
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 tsp cinnamon
You can also use fresh mint, almond extract or if you want more decadence – cook down 1 cup of Red Wine. Any of these ingredients can be used in place of the cinnamon and vanilla.
- Heat cream to simmer.
- Add vanilla and cinnamon (or other flavoring).
- Remove cream from heat.
- Add chocolate to cream and stir.
- Allow chocolate to set two hours in refrigerator.
- Scoop out with a spoon and roll into balls with your hands. (This is the tricky – and messy – part!)
- Chill overnight.
- Roll into mixture of 3 tbsp cocoa powder with 1 tsp cinnamon.
These are perfect for a Mindful Eating Exercise. Enjoy!
Chantel Carlson, recently attended the January Detox & Yoga Retreat, as well as a Yoga Nurture Retreat in June. I had the pleasure of visiting with her on both occasions. This is her story.
In May 2016 I made a difficult decision about my health. I was 43-years-old, and I had spent almost 30 years of my life suffering from the debilitating effects of endometriosis. After the latest round of hormone therapy failed me (yet again), I made an appointment to see my gynecologist. When she walked into the exam room, she sat down in front of me and said, “It’s time.” And even though I knew the time for a hysterectomy had come, it was still an emotional journey. I had accepted the fact that I wasn’t going to have any children of my own long before I met my husband, but knowing I was having my uterus, cervix, and one ovary removed was still difficult to imagine – it’s so much of who we are as women. What defines us. But I also knew what defined me was living a meaningful life without pain, and to me, that outweighed the negatives.
It took a full year to get used to my new body, and to be honest, the healing process was not as easy as I had hoped. My friends who had taken this journey told me to be patient and also said that one day I would wake up and forget my surgery had happened.
A year later that time came, and I began to think about my body in a different way. With the “diseased” parts removed, I wanted to honor and celebrate this new beginning, but I wasn’t sure how. I thought about a retreat, so I began doing random Google searches, not really knowing exactly what I was looking for. All I knew is I wanted a place focused on women – not just moms, not just single women, not just divorcees.
I wanted a retreat where women would gather in support of one another…gather in celebration of who we are. In celebration of where we are in our lives no matter what that looked like.
My passion in life has always been to make a difference in the world, specifically with women. I’d dreamed for years of creating a life of empowerment for myself and all women. When my dream became a reality in 2004, I was thrilled. But I had no idea what I was getting into!
When I opened the doors, there were very few retreat centers in the state of Texas. As the yoga industry boomed, so did the retreat business. While I have seen many retreat businesses come and go, I’m proud to say Retreat in the Pines (formerly Yoga in the Pines) is still growing strong. And while Yoga and Meditation are certainly an important part of our retreats, the sharing of stories, laughter and tears while gathered around our community table is the real essence of our retreats.
I was inspired to begin hosting yoga retreats when I was invited to teach at a fitness retreat in 2004. While I was disappointed at the “un-retreat” like weekend – non-existent free time, very little sleep, and highly restrictive meals – I was also inspired. I wanted to create a more “retreat like” experience, inviting women to indulge in some of my (and hopefully their!) favorite things – wine, coffee, chocolate and delicious meals cooked from scratch – all as a complement to yoga. More importantly, I imagined a getaway that would be accessible to women of all sizes, ages, levels of yoga experience and budgets. Focused on that idea, my first retreat was priced ridiculously low at $199! In order to continue to reach more women and cover the costs of doing business, I’ve gradually had to raise the retreat prices. Prices now range from $399 to $499 for two night retreats and $649 (Love Yourself Retreat – a four day life changing retreat). The Retreat Assistance Program allows ALL women to attend a retreat.
I don’t believe in making New Year’s Resolutions. I’ve felt the stress and disappointment when I failed to keep my resolutions too many times. It’s like a diet – knowing I can’t eat something makes me want it even more! I allow myself to eat what I want and my intention each and every year is to treat myself with the love, respect and compassion I deserve. Life is too short to start the New Year any other way.
By intentionally vowing to be good to myself, I’ve found acceptance for who I am in this moment and where I am in my life. By finding acceptance, I’ve discovered peace, contentment and joy.
My practice of being good to myself has allowed the life I’ve envisioned for myself to fall into place.
It’s as if once I believe I’m worthy of living my dream, my dream comes true.
Begin this year with a vow to be good to yourself. Start by joining us for a retreat.
I’m grateful to all of the Retreat in the Pines guests who’ve visited us since 2004. Here’s a sampling of our reviews from the last few years.
“Theresa has worked along with nature to create such a beautiful place. The trees, the sounds, the smells…everything combines to create a perfect space. I highly recommend this to anyone who has never done any yoga (like me)! It was the best introduction!! There is no judgement here. I am different than when I arrived.” ~ Kristen, July 2017
“Never had any idea this place was so close to home. It’s been open over 10 years. I would highly recommend it to ladies who want to recharge and have a wonderful girls weekend. Absolutely wonderful! And the food is great!!! The yoga and the fellowship were fantastic! Can’t wait to go back.” ~ Stephanie, July 2017
“Well worth the 3+ hour drive to the beautiful property. Michelle was awesome and so welcoming and caring. Heather’s food (and that cinnamon coffee!!) was absolutely perfect. The yoga sessions were great, I loved the yoga nidra session (it was my first). This was my very first retreat, and all other retreats will have to live up to this. I will be making a return trip to the pines.” ~ Christi, July 2017
Guests love our latest menu addition, Moroccan Chicken, served over Quinoa with dried cranberries and East Texas pecans mixed in. You can also serve on top of rice or pasta. Or add potatoes and veggies and make a stew. It’s a perfect hearty meal as the weather starts to cool down. And the leftovers can be frozen for another day.
Heather created our Morroccan Chicken Recipe for dinner on Saturday evening. We use leftover roast chicken and roasted veggies from Friday. The following recipe is from scratch.
- 2 cups shredded chicken
- 4 onions- slice 2 onions and roughly chop the other 2
- 2-28 ounce cans crushed tomatoes, preferably fire roasted
- 2 inch fresh ginger(about 1 tablespoon)chopped
- 6 cloves garlic
- 2 teaspoon turmeric
- 1 tablespoon cumin
- 1 tablespoon coriander
- 4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 6 medium carrots (about 6 inches long) peeled and diced
- 4 cups chicken stock
- 4 tablespoons brown sugar
- ¼ cup red wine
Thank you to each of you who participated in our 13th Anniversary Celebration & Giveaway. I have met so many amazing women over the years, each one of you inspires me! If I haven’t met you yet, I look forward to it. We have built this community on love and encouragement. I am grateful to each one of you for your support. I love seeing your comments and I so appreciate you sharing your stories, inspirations, memories and love with us and with each other.
I am humbled to be a part of your journey of yoga, wellness and healing. It brings me an incredible amount of joy. Thank you.
I sometimes get asked if we have private rooms at our Retreats. We don’t. And for good reason. I believe sharing accommodations is a great way to meet new and interesting women, get out of your comfort zone and connect with each other on a deeper level.
A retreat is a great way to find your tribe. If you haven’t found your tribe yet, join us for a retreat. I guarantee you’ll walk away with new friends and a strong sense of connection to the world around you.
Our retreats are full of like minded women who come together for friendship, wine, yoga, laughter and to find relief from the craziness of life. You don’t have to like wine or do yoga to fit in! We welcome all women. All we ask of our guests is the willingness to sit down and chat. Once you start talking, you’ll discover how many shared experiences you have with each other.
We come from different places and it may seem like we have nothing in common, but we really have everything in common.”
“I can bring home the bacon, fry it up in a pan. And never let you forget you’re a man!”
I blame this 1980 perfume commercial for my belief I could do it all. I had no idea doing it all was a myth! I spent years trying so hard to do everything myself without asking for help.
When’s the last time you asked for help? If you have trouble asking for help, you need a retreat – STAT. Once you realize you deserve to take time for you, your life will change.
With recent custody of my two month old grandson, I’m asking for help from my friends, family and oddly enough, my ex-husband. I’ve realized I can’t do this all by myself. Taking care of an infant is a full time job, and I already have a full time job. And while it’s more exhausting than I remember, there is so much joy.
When I was young and believed the myth of doing it all, I would run myself into the ground to accomplish everything. Asking for help was cheating. As I TRIED to do it all, there was little time left for myself. I was too exhausted to notice or care. I was miserable.
Fast forward to 2017, I know a thing or too about taking care of myself. I take time for yoga and the gym, spend time with friends and perform my nightly self-care ritual that makes me feel good. It’s the best thing I can do for myself. And for Mason.
In order to make self-care a priority, I’ve had to delegate, prioritize and most importantly, make peace with leaving things undone. ”
What doesn’t get done at this new place in my life is mostly household chores – my home is a bit of a shambles, I’m not cooking for myself and the laundry is piling up. But Mason is well cared for, I’m running my business and I’m honoring myself.
Feeling irritated, anxious or critical? Feeling uncomfortable and hot, even inside?
Your Pitta may be out of balance. Summer is Pitta season and the bright, hot, sunny days of summer aggravate Pitta. To manage Pitta you must keep yourself cool – not just your body, but even more importantly, your mind and emotions. Balance rest and activity, and set aside time to play and relax.
Pitta is one of three Doshas in the Ayurvedic System. Ayurveda is a sister science to Yoga based on our mind body connection and the healing of the body by using the mind.
If you’re interested in learning more about Ayurveda, check out our Detox & Yoga Retreats.
Awareness of your body is the first step to practicing Ayurveda. Once you’re aware, you can find healing for the mental, physical and emotional symptoms that ail you.”