Last year I attended a yoga retreat at Keys Creek Lavender Fields and it was amazing. So when I heard that Saerin was going to be doing it again, I was very interested.
But life is busy, and it was the day before Thatbaby (and therefore my) birthday and I kept putting off signing up.
This has been a really rough year for me mentally and emotionally and Thatboy really encouraged me to sign up and make the time for myself, to center and regroup. And so, I got up early the morning of the retreat, made a batch of cupcakes to frost when I got home, and headed out to the lavender farm.
I had a much harder time focusing this year and didn't find the same sense of peace as last year, but that was definitely on me. Sometimes we're wound so tight, it takes a lot more to loosen the knots. The scenery remained beautiful, the weather was perfect, and Saerin is a fantastic instructor. Her yoga is very woman-centered, aiming for the parts of the body that affect us the most, and positions that listen to how our bodies work.
Last year the retreat was at the end of June, and most of the lavender was already harvested or at the end of the season. This year, in early June, we got to see all the different varieties that grow at the farm. What was most intriguing for me were the varieties that weren't the typical lavender color you expect.
Like the Spanish Lavender - which is a really vibrant shade of pink.
Sweet Lavender was up and down the hillside. This is a pretty familiar variety to most of us.
French Lavender - which is the typical variety you might find growing in...my backyard...and front yard.
Pukehou Lavender, a New Zealand Variety which is bright purple.
Winter Bee Lavender, which is short and round, like a little bumblebee.
And Yellow Lavender, which is, well, yellow. It also has a less flowery smell. More citrusy, or herbal. I really liked it.
We also got to see the distillery in action. This little baby converts those lavender flowers into lavender oil.
As we took the tour, our knowledgeable tour guide grabbed cuttings from many of the different varieties and passed them out. After the tour, we spent the rest of the afternoon poolside, wrapping the cuttings to make lavender bundles.
Even if the retreat wasn't the reset that I was hoping it would be, it was a welcome break from the day to day. And the setting never fails to make me happy. In an attempt to recreate it, I've been trying to use more lavender in my day to day life. I made a littlelavender spray that I've been using on our pillows and the kids pillows, as well as for those pesky mosquito bites we've been getting. Did you know lavender oil stops the itching? I brought home some lavender sleep balm. And of course, using lavender in drinks and desserts. After having some amazing Salt and Straw lavender ice cream last year, I knew I wanted to attempt to make my own. But right now, I just can't bring myself to make ice cream without fruit in it. It's Summer for goodness sakes! My initial plan was lavender ice cream, swirled with a blueberry syrup. But Thatkid suggested plums instead. Goodness knows we have no shortage of plums. We eat them like crazy!
Although Thatkid is the one who made the plum suggestion, he actually was not a fan of this ice cream. I get it, it's kind of a grown up flavor. The overwhelming flavor is honey. Not surprising given that it's in both the base and the plum syrup. But the lavender adds a nice floral taste, which is I think where we lost the kids. The plums? Well they aren't necessary and you're welcome to skip them, but like I said, we're plum crazy over here and I really like what they bring to the dish.
Honey Lavender Plum Ice Cream
2 cups milk
1/4 cup lavender
1/2 cup honey (divided)
5 egg yolks
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup heavy cream
3 plums, peeled, pitted, and chopped
1 Tbsp water
- Combine milk, lavender, and 1/3 cup of honey in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Heat until almost boiling, then cover and remove from heat.
- Let sit for 5 minutes. Strain the mixture through a mesh sieve, reserving the milk and discarding the solids.
- Beat egg yolks and sugar in an electric mixer on medium high speed until pale and creamy.
- Add half of the milk to the egg yolks and whisk until blended.
- Add remaining milk and then pour the entire egg/milk mixture back into the saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.
- Remove from heat and stir in cream.
- Strain again through the sieve and into a bowl set into an ice-water bath. Let cool completely. (or place in refrigerator until cold)
- Place cold milk mixture into an ice cream maker and process according to instructions.
- While the ice cream is processing, combing the plums, water, and remaining honey in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook until the plums fall apart, stirring occasionally to keep the plums from burning. Let cool for 5 minutes.
- Once the ice cream has reached a semi-solid state (think the consistency of soft serve) pour the plum syrup into the ice cream maker. Continue to process the ice cream until it reaches the desired consistency.