Category Archives: Events

Wellness First During the Holidays

BEFORE the most hectic part of the holiday season begins, start a breathing or mindfulness practice. I found two wonderful gurus during my cheffing days at Golden Sparrow, who are experts in mindfulness and have taught me the importance of quieting the mind – just in their presence. One is Dr. Michael Hynes, who is the superintendent for the PatMed school district. The other is Cory Muscara, who will no doubt be world-renown for his research and teachings. I’ve seen how their meditation and mindfulness practices have made them more approachable and calm in hectic daily interactions, so I know the benefits and effects of mindfulness. “I just didn’t have the time they had for meditating.” (Sound familiar?)

 

However minute the first step is, just take it. Not tomorrow, today.


I recently picked up my morning meditation practice, after about a year-long Loss of it. I emphasize the word Loss, because it really started to feel like I had lost a limb and had that phantom limb syndrome. I get up about 5:30 every day, shower and have to be at work by 6:30. I couldn’t imagine going to bed earlier than 10pm the night before and altering my entire schedule, so I could get up earlier than I already do. I stumbled upon www.truewellth.org recently and when they asked for our obstacles in a mindfulness practice, I explained my dilemma. The co-founder actually responded! He encouraged me to just start back with 2 minutes per day. Just 2 minutes.

 

Not to be outdone, I decided to go for 5 minutes (I’m kinda competitive, though I have no idea who I was being “outdone” by!). I’ve been meditating since 11/7, and can’t tell you how good it feels. I’m happier, I adapt to people’s moods better, and seem to be somehow influencing them in a more positive manner. I’m coping with all that has to be done prior to our move, despite being prone to anxiety. I’ve had NO panic attacks, in spite of holiday catering, working as much as usual at my PT job, adding meals to my already hectic client load so they can freeze meals when I leave, researching how to expand the meal delivery service I have, handle two catering and speaking events and a cooking demo, and oh yeah…pack an entire house in a 5-week span of time.

 

It’s just 5 minutes a day that I spend with myself, just being as still as possible. To be brutally honest, we ALL have 5 minutes to ourselves, regardless of the excuses we make. So start that practice today, because it’s so vital to your health, in ways you can’t imagine!

 

If you have more time, meditate longer, or squeeze in 20-30 minutes of exercise, as often as possible (preferably 5-6 days a week). Exercise increases our healthy gut bacteria, aids in digestion, literally makes you smarter, helps release happy hormones, and strengthens and tones your body. Walking is perfectly fine, if you can’t get to the gym or if like me, you don’t enjoy rigorous exercise. If you enjoy yoga, martial arts, or any Eastern philosophy, jump in asap! There are countless DVD’s and even free YouTube channels you can find…just get moving!

 

Eat well. You cannot stay focused and enjoy peace of mind, if your body isn’t being fed properly. If you want to avoid the holiday drain and demands, fruits and veggies are KEY to keeping your immune system balanced and working optimally. Chew. Chew. Chew. Enjoy your food and be mindful about what you’re ingesting and why. We all step outside of our normal routines during the holidays—the sooner you create a healing practice in what you eat, the faster you’ll bounce back when the season has ended. You may even find the desire to overindulge just isn’t there anymore. I promise that happens!

 

You may not even have to worry about those extra 5 pounds you gained during the holidays, if you’re prepared properly. (As an FYI, this isn’t a “normal human weight gain,” as we’ve been led to believe. The winter weight gain isn’t supposed to be gained and lost in a 1.5 month time period, it’s just poor eating habits!)

 

Incorporate relaxation techniques into your daily practice asap. Take baths, enjoy essential oil blends, stop and breathe, and give yourself quick massages whenever possible. Live in the moment, and not in yesterday or tomorrow’s anxious activities. The holiday season didn’t start before Halloween as we’re also led to believe. It starts after Thanksgiving…honour the year and the Spirit of the season, by being GRATEFUL, joyous and caring every day. Falling out of the moment makes us anxious and worried, short-tempered, and miserable.
Sleep, sleep, sleep! I refuse to give up my precious sleep time, after all the research I’ve done over the years and especially recently. I need my 7 hours, as do you. Humans have not been designed for the insomniatic lives we lead, and it shows in our eating patterns, our emotional habits, and our brain capacity. Those who sleep more are more empathetic, are smarter, have better immune systems, and have less cravings. Sleeping for the right amount of time has allowed my brain to process the fears of our move in my dreams, leaving my waking mind and body free to do what it needs to do—help facilitate healing in others.

You deserve more, this holiday season!

 

As they say on the airplanes, put the air mask on yourself first, so you can help others. If you’re out of balance, you can’t possibly enjoy the holidays and spread good cheer.

P.S.A. (or Public Service Update!?!)

First, a moment of gratitude for you.

I never could have imagined the outpouring of love since I announced my departure, nor the feedback I’ve gotten from friends about how I’ve helped them on their journey. Some are private clients, some are clients of Golden Sparrow, and some are people I’ve met thru the years of teaching or vending at various fairs and events.

Second, with all that love, comes a host of questions that you have, as well as questions I have about the logistics of all this. To make this transition as easy as possible, I figured it was best to outline my thoughts, the moving process for a business, and what my plans are for us (meaning you and I, of course!). Is all the transparency necessary? In my eyes, yes…so keep on readin’!

The first test run of shipping food went out in today’s mail. It’s local (i.e. it’s going from the Islip post office to one in the Hamptons), so it’ll get there tomorrow. It’s a VERY rough version of what will happen, if this proves to be cost-effective for me to ship to you. The containers I used for the meals aren’t correct, as they just can’t sustain a long distance haul and couriers not being mindful of your meals. There’s very specific packaging you need, which is being researched. All during a holiday week, of course. 😉

The containers were a bit smaller than what I currently use and were a different shape. I was unfortunately only able to fit THREE meals in a large flat rate box. The meals did fit in the box well, even with the gel pack…but this is a large flat rate box, which costs about $18 to ship. That’s $18 for just the shipping itself, which doesn’t include the box, the insulation I need to use to keep the food at a safe temp, nor the gel packs themselves. We’re at a cost of at least $25, and that’s not including any actual food yet!

So it’s back to the drawing board, because that option doesn’t seem to be ideal. I need boxes and insulation that can hold at least 10 meals, to make it cost-effective. Unless you just want wraps, which will easily fit in that box! (That’s not a viable solution for me, by the way…I like making MEALS, in addition to wraps.)

But this was all a test of the insulation and gel pack, as well as how it arrives. Remember that initial disclaimer, though…I said this was a local delivery, so the whole kit-n-caboodle is in travel 1-2 days less than they will be when I move to Maine. Nonetheless, testing must happen at some point, and it’s better NOW than in Maine!

So with all that, here’s the basic checklist I need to accomplish before I can begin packaging and shipping food for you. (These are in no specific order, as some will happen simultaneously.)

  • Test run shipment (pending the checking off of this item!).
  • Work on two more catering events I have before I leave, slated for the week before we load the truck and leave.
  • I’m also STILL working on creating the program for you in January. It may be less refined and fancy than I originally hoped, but that’ll just give you a lower cost for the same value and content.
  • Find and price eco-friendly, biodegradable containers. I sanitize the ones I give you currently, and use them for quite some time before recycling them. That option is unfortunately not possible, once I shift to a postal-delivery service. I currently have a distribution company looking into containers that fit the bill of being biodegradable, lightweight, AND leak proof for travelling a distance.
  • Price out ice packs, shipping boxes, and insulation.
  • Find local grocery stores and health markets to find out what ingredients are available at a reasonable cost. Because of the nature of my business and the size, I typically pay retail prices…getting wholesale pricing in a different state, would offset the cost for the packaging!
  • Price out above said food ingredients.
  • Find a kitchen to cook in and price it. The laws are slightly different in Maine, but the basic process is the same as here…you need a commercial kitchen and a license for that kitchen, you need to have it inspected, and pay for all that fun stuff. This takes time, because you’re working with the government, and specifically the Board of Health. There’s also a handful of labeling laws to look into, which I don’t have to worry about currently.
  • Create a menu that’s seasonal, and based off the inventory stores in Maine carry. I’m looking into other supply chains, but there has to be a good local selection first, to maintain part of my Mission Statement of supporting local.
  • Find a post office/UPS location, and also research having it picked up by the courier of whatever kitchen I’m using. There are fees associated to the old “click-n-print” method, so finding a post office is the first priority in just getting this off the ground.
  • Restock supplies and food of inventory being used here, to lighten the shipping haul!
  • Research the legalities of a food business, which was put on hold when we found out we were moving sooner than expected. But hey, when the Universe calls, I’ve learned to answer. And I’m certainly not complaining about the new lifestyle in store for us! (We envision a snowy holiday season in new Pj’s and slippers, with a glass of Proseco or hot chocolate…looking out at acres of woodlands, evergreens, goats and moose!)
  • Unpack our personal belongings and get settled, as well as organizing the business equipment that needs to be stored until I find another kitchen.
  • Research payment methods and an ordering process, which means behind-the-scenes website updates.
  • Find new banks and establish a new business in Maine – I’m legally licensed here in NY and like a car, you need a license to where you live.
  • Work out a new meal prep/delivery schedule, to ensure food is being sent with the least amount of travel time.
  • Find a local delivery person here in NY who is similar enough to what I do, to potentially handle some, all, or a portion of my current client load. Being the only 100% plant-powered, organic/non-GMO delivery service is a great marketing feature…until you move, and feel an obligation to your friends who rely on your weekly feedings! I have a service I’ve found and will share with you shortly – I’m finalizing the details now. I have to know my lil seedlings are being cared for, once I’m not in close contact with them!
  • Recuperate! I WILL BE OFF for the last 2 weeks of December, at bare minimum. It’s the holidays, we’re relocating, and are quite exhausted already. We have 2 trips of driving in store for us, which are about 8-9 hours each way. The first trip is our car and a U-Haul, and the second trip is with our cats. That’s about 24-30 hours of driving in about a 4-day span of time, not to mention the load/unload of the vehicles, cleaning the house we currently live in, and the stress of driving 4 sedated cats for that length of time. But if you know us, you know we need our children to be under as little stress as possible. Having them with us when we load AND unload, is a bit traumatic for their little souls…so they’ll just be unloaded in an unpacked home, when they finally arrive!

And Then I Made The Offer…

For the last two years, my husband Rob and I have been looking to move off of Long Island. We’re not used to being in the same place or job for too long – it seems a decade is our max on anything. When you combine two creative people with LOTS of goals, ambitions, drive, and things they like to dabble in and Master, there’s little room for stagnation. There’s a lot of impatience, honestly.

We’ve travelled around upstate, visited PA, and toyed with the idea of North Carolina. I went to college in Mars Hill near Asheville, so I lived in the Blue Ridge Mountain region for 3 years. My parents lived and died in Asheville, and my aunt still lives there. We even recently went to Seattle, to scope out that area.

Our criteria for housing are pretty odd to most, but like you, we have some standards we require. Moving isn’t just something we will pick up and do.

Right now, we live in an over-populated town (300k+), on a busy connector road. We have the BEST situation possible, though…a great landlord who’s a friend and lets us landscape however we want (we’ve planted bushes, trees, cleaned a 10-year patch of leaves, we compost here, and love our property). We pay an extremely competitive rent, which makes a search for cheaper housing difficult, to be honest. We have a large house, which we fell in love with the moment we traipsed through the snow to see it. No one enters our home without commenting on how calm it is.

But we’re on a busy road. We have a lovely family next to us, who have 5 children (I believe) . 2 are near-teen girls, which we’ve discovered are pretty loquacious and jubilant. We’ve had tenants on the other side of us who swept the dirt lawn at 2-3am. We have a screaming kid two houses down, and a family across the street, who has 4 full-sized garbage cans out at the street 1-2 times a week (a family of 4–who has that much garbage, EVER!?!). We have people parking in front of our house constantly, though every home has ample driveways and their own parking lane on the street. We’ve had car alarms go off repeatedly from an electrical malfunction and then deny it’s their car, when politely confronted about it. We even had a neighbor decide to put her dog’s poop in our recycling bin as well as behind our bushes. Thankfully, it was in a bag, since we had to hand it back to her when we confronted her about it.

Every time we take a walk into town or around the neighborhood, it seems as if there’s an altercation of some sort. A crowd of young girls with adult chaperones bumped into us without apologizing. When we addressed it, it unnecessarily became a “thing” – you apparently can’t tell children how to have manners and respect in these days. (Are we too PC?) We’ve had a child stalk my husband at work. Literally…a 13-year old, who stared and followed him around. Had I not witnessed it when we went for a walk and we accidentally ran into the kid, I wouldn’t have believed it was possible. We had 10-year olds throw rocks at us for no reason, as we walked down to Islip beach. Our last venture 2 weeks ago, led us down to the same beach at night, only have a guy chastise us for not having reflectors on.

You know me personally, so you know I do my best to handle these situations in a peaceful and calm manner. However, you may not know I have a volatile temper, which a couple years of martial arts tamed quite a bit. You also don’t know I was bullied as a child – so most of these instances triggered that feeling again. After the peaceful talking didn’t work in these situations, my ego + Rob’s temper can equal a quick escalation that leaves me shaky and regretful we even left the house.

And you thought I was perfect! 😉

Rob and I want to advance our careers, and move into the next phase of our passions. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE cooking – but I hate delivering. I may have time for podcasts and audiobooks to advance my brain power and relieve stress while driving, but the time wasted is counterproductive. Never mind the sheer 3-4 hours it takes me to drive 80 miles in heavy traffic! (The hugs from clients and their animals has made up for the time issues, thankfully!)

Dean Graziosi says to eliminate the things wasting your time, and focus on the things you love most. Well, I love writing, and I love cooking. With my schedule, I have little time for the aforementioned passion.

I’d love to build programs to help people heal the Mind, Body, and Spirit. I know so much more than just how to cook a healthy meal, which you probably know from the array of topics you’ve seen me teach at library’s, health food stores, and yoga studios.

Rob wants to dive further into creating movies and soundtracks. He wants to write and produce more music (you should see this guy’s resume that I recently helped him create!). None of those things are easy, when you live on a busy road. I remember it taking him a week of 2am recordings, just to create the voiceover for our Food Flix Cinema trailer.

We’ve been let down time and time again by business associates and “friends,” who didn’t have the integrity they spouted to have. We’ve watched as people proclaim to be one way, and live completely differently (I.e. don’t cry poor, when you eat out all the time, and don’t want to pick up extra shifts at work. Don’t claim to be a networking friend, when you do no promotion unless the other person does, and insist on the “like-for-like” mentality).

Sounds judgemental and preachy, I know. And perhaps it is.

The point is, we’ve been let down A LOT in the last couple of years, and it feels as if this island has pushed us away. The amount of trends we’ve had to endure over the last 12 years of living here is insane. I’ve worked with health food stores for a decade now, and he’s tattooed for a little longer than that. You’d think as talented as we are, we’d be millionaires in these fields. But getting people to stick to appointments, promises, and HOLISTIC, proven facts rather than the latest trend, is a difficult battle, to say the least. We’ve hit our limit.

My father raised me to detest fads (a fact I didn’t actual realize until Rob pointed it out a year ago). I’ve lived through the Mona vie trend, raw food trend, juicing trend, essential oil MLM trends, Acai bowl trend, Paleo fad, tattoo fad (as has Rob, obviously), and now the CBD oil trend. The list is endless, really.

Yet we both struggle to get people to understand nutrition, the importance of healing your body properly, and the real process of tattoos and food vs what’s being shown on reality TV.

Fate heard us.

During the summer, I happened upon a newscast on NPR, about the Live and Work in Maine website. The founder of the site explained how Maine was a great place to live, and was thriving economically. Since Rob and I had the New England area in our radar a few years ago and are looking to open our own business, the interview piqued my curiosity. I updated my resume, signed up for job alerts, and added a search to Zillow for a home. We started researching the different areas, pricing, and how the state was portrayed.

In early October, we took a visit to a log cabin we saw on Zillow. We were already in love with how the state operates politically, socioeconomically, and ecologically. We mapped out different areas, made notes on our interests, and looked at multiple factors for opening a cafe. The state proved to accurately portray its slogans…

“Vacationland.” “A great place to live and work.” “How life should be.” These are mottos of the state/license plate slogans. They weren’t kidding.

We made notes about which towns felt right and fit our criteria as we drove endlessly for 3 days. We envisioned where we could see ourselves living. There’s a different life and world out there, once you leave the island…I’m not from here, so I have less of a connection than Rob does. But even Rob’s outgrown the Long Island pride, having also lived out of the state for a few years and coming back to it. Life here just isn’t fulfilling for us anymore. We have no room for progression.

We felt a sense of calm in Maine…a sort of calm you become obsessed with feeling, especially when you think of how different it is to your current situation. We craved the freedom that came with open land, and a more rural lifestyle.

After several let downs and shattered hopes on homes, we happened across a place near Bangor (yep, yep – Steven King still lives there and yes, we visited his actual house when we were there. Could you visit a famous author’s home here on Long Island easily? Hmmm…).

I contacted the landlord about the home we saw 2 Sunday’s ago, and anxiously waited for a reply. He said the home was available, but there was a bit of a list of other rental inquiries ahead of us.

Rob and I were instantly in love with the home. Despite wanting to move in 6 months (April was our original deadline), we knew this felt right. Down to the core. I said we’d pay 6 months up front, and hit send. This was Sunday November 5, one week prior to me writing this to you.

It was the most terrifying thing I’ve done in probably 10 years. Maybe even 12 years, when I decided to sell my home in Florida and move 1500 miles up north, with only a PT job at a bagel store and Rob managing Starbucks.

After some further research and conversations with the landlord, it all fell into place. Fell into place so easily, you actually question reality. We have no jobs, we have to pack a house by Dec 15th, close our businesses/relocate them, and catch 1-2 outdoor cats we care for so that we can move them with us. We’ve fed them for years, and are now responsible for their well-being. Besides, they’re both black cats, we already caught one stray black cat here, and who doesn’t need 3 black cats!?!

We’re pushed into very uncomfortable places right now, to make these changes. I suffer from anxiety, if I’ve never told you – I’ve had a couple of panic attacks about it all. It’s the most illogical thing you can do, it seems.

But I remember the information I’ve sent you and told you through the years, about following dreams and listening to the Universe. You’ve asked how I get so much done. You ask how I’ve gotten to where I am. You ask how I maintain sanity. You ask how I have energy and manage to stay sane.

It’s time to use the tools I’ve taught through the years, take out my cahoonah’s, and jump from the safety net. If I want to really launch a program in January, now’s the time. We’ve financially set ourselves up, so we don’t have to work in the month of January. If I don’t distance myself from the mayhem of clients and cooking a bit, I’ll just never get to it. If I’m not FORCED to earn an income, I’ll delay it until the program is just perfect.

Time and time again, I read the best way to launch is to just DO IT. Don’t wait for perfection. Don’t wait for the perfect time or perfect website. Don’t wait for the ideal equipment and shooting location.

Just Do It.

I started my meditation practice last week. It’s been lacking, I’ve been craving it, and didn’t see how to fit it in. I had some short conversations with the founder of TrueWellth.org, and he urged me to just get in 2-5 minutes of meditation in the morning. I explained my struggle to him, because I’m up so early already and am so pressed for time, a meditation, yoga and planning the day as they suggest, are just impossible.

I know I have to meditate, if I expect to keep sanity over the next 6 weeks. If I want to stay organized, I had to list out our deadline, all the tasks required to meet that deadline, and when these tasks would be accomplished. I also had to delegate. (Who needs more time? Thank heavens I wrote that blog for you, so I could refer back to it!).

I have to maintain eating well, if I expect to have energy and wake up at the hours we wake up at every day. Never mind that I also need to have the strength to move a 3 bedroom house, drive 9 hours to Maine and back, and THEN move 5-6 cats to a new home.

We’re leaving “security.” But we also consistently tell friends to take the plunge and move, when it feels right.

I know I’ve been looking into shipping methods for my meal delivery service for some time now. I know we’re two highly intelligent, reliable, and talented people, who can EASILY find jobs. I also know we moved like this once before and when we both have our minds set on something, we can make the “impossible” seem to look so simple to everyone.

So stay with me even when I move…stay with the information I send you. Have patience as I continue to fill your needs. Stay in touch with me and tell me what YOU need me to do to keep you healthy and vibrant. You’re not a client, you’re a friend. You’re the reason this is even possible for us.

I appreciate you deeply. (I’m actually tearing up as I write this to you…)

Follow your dreams no matter how crazy they seem, but do it logically. None of this happened overnight, and it took us years of planning, saving, paying off business/personal debt, and logically analyzing all of our options. When the final part happened, the flood gates opened…so while it seems I’m just up and leaving (OK, I am), this is something we’ve been working towards for years. It’s why I wanted to build a program to “reach those I can’t,” which is part of my mission statement.

“When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.” – Sherlock Holmes

Compassionate Catering 2017

The holiday season is upon us, and I’ve got a Compassionate way to share it with your family & friends…

As the world becomes more aware of the benefits of a plant-based lifestyle, I am forever in debt to those who have served before me, and continue to pass along the messages of Hope, Grace & Ancient Wisdom.

Orders placed prior to 11/15/17 will receive an early bird discounts of 10% on this Compassionate Catering menu. For any questions, contact me at by emailing me at alicia@pandorasproducts.net.

P.S. you won’t even have to mention it’s plant-based, which may save you a lot of unwanted grief! (Because I do understand your position!)


 

Delivery fee included: Babylon to Sayville, Brentwood to Ronkonkoma

$3 delivery & $40 minimum: Northport, Huntington, Commack, Amityville, Smithtown, Patchogue (and surrounding areas)

$5 delivery & $50 minimum: Wantagh, Massapequa (and surrounding areas)

$8 delivery & $65 minimum: Rockville Centre, Port Jefferson/Station, Eastern Suffolk County (and surrounding areas)

Nutritional Wellness FREE Library Event

Nutritional Wellness Free Library Event

July 20 @ 7:00 pm8:30 pm, Central Islip Public Library

What is wellness? For me personally, wellness is something we strive for with the whole of our being—it’s not just the pursuit of healing the mind, body or spirit individually.  I also believe we have a skewed sense of wellness in our culture, for a multitude of reasons too complex to be discussed here.  For instance, being thin doesn’t mean you’re healthy.  Conversely being curvy, doesn’t necessarily make you unhealthy. If you suffer from depression, it’s often not looked at as a condition or dis-ease, but rather as a “mood we need to get over.”  The point is, you can look well on the outside but be depressed, lonely and/or void of any spirituality; wellness comes in many forms and is ever-changing.

Wellness Model

Our system of medicine here in the west is concentrated on symptoms (allopathic medicine as it’s called, which is concerned with curing a symptom, rather than the whole being). For instance, we treat the skin for the condition of eczema, rather than the underlying cause (which may be a food allergy, seasonal allergy, leaky gut, so on and so forth). Wellness is being self-responsible for what is going on in your body and being self-AWARE of it.  It’s a constant striving for balance. We often forget that true wellness involves not only ourselves, but also our immediate surroundings, friends, family and our cosmos as a whole.

In 2003, it was estimated that we spent $1.4 trillion on health care annually. In 2010, that number jumped to about 2.6 trillion. That’s an increase of $1,200,000,000,000 in less than ten years!  In 2015, we hit $3.2 trillion dollars.  We are NOT getting healthier, and we have one of the SADdest diets of any country in the world (SAD=Standard American Diet).

I believe that two of our greatest challenges as a nation are diseases of affluence and confusion on health/what wellness truly means.  Never doubt the power of the media and books in deliberately making wellness more confusing for us…as well as those who have perfectly well-meaning intentions.

I like to think of Wellness as I view religion and politics…we all are saying basically the same thing, if we’d just listen to the core message.

So what is that core message?  Simply put, it’s eat fresh, whole foods as much as possible, and avoid refined carbohydrates, sugars, and genetically modified foods.  Please learn to ignore the daily blasts of superfoods and diet trends.

Remember above, when I said that Wellness is being self-responsible for what is going on in your body and being self-AWARE of it?  That means doing what feels right for YOU, regardless of the latest trend. Start listening to your body and how it reacts. Do you have problems metabolizing coffee, or can you drink a latte and go to sleep with no trouble?  (There’s a specific gene that handles that, by the way—it’s why the research can seem so opposite and confusing from one day to the next!)  Do you eat more than your coworkers, b/c you exercise more? Can you eat before a workout, or immediately after, or do you need liquid fuel instead?

Most of the diets or eating trends are focused on what you eat…we agree on that.  So why are we not focusing on getting our supplementation from food, rather than a pill?  Perhaps it’s because a large number of the vitamin companies are actually tied in to BigPharma.  Perhaps it’s because as a nation, we’re looking for a quick magic pill to fix all of our problems (and is why BigPharma has done so well in the last few decades).

So what’s my solution?

It’s best to get your supplements as a whole, and from food. Food is nature’s multi-vitamin!   And if you want to know more on Nutritional Wellness and ask questions, join me for the next Library to host this workshop, free of charge.  Just click here for more info and to RSVP… 

 

Food Flix Cinema designs meals to match movie scenes

Updated

By David J. Criblez  david.criblez@newsday.com

"Re-Imagining the 'TV Dinner' Experience"

“Re-Imagining the ‘TV Dinner’ Experience”

Clockwise from left, David Jarmula from East Patchogue, Victor and Deborah Urbach from Huntington and Kara Sdraley from East Patchogue enjoy dinner and a movie, Food Flix dinner and movie night, Cyrus Chai & Coffee Company, Bayshore, Sept. 24, 2016. (Credit: Yvonne Albinowski)

Dinner and a movie — it’s a classic way to spend an evening, but watching a film while eating food designed to match key scenes is a new twist. Food Flix Cinema, held monthly at Cyrus Chai and Coffee Co. in Bay Shore, takes the movie experience to the next level.

“The food is inspired by characters or events from each film,” says owner Cyrus Kabir. “Every movie and meal is entirely different. But it always makes complete sense when you watch.”

HOW IT BEGAN

The series was born when Kabir decided to do something different with his shop after closing at 6 p.m.

“We wanted to use the space for more than just a coffee shop,” says Kabir. “In the evenings, we let the community use the space. It opens a lot of avenues to do something productive.”

Alicia Randolph-Lucchesi of Islip, who runs her own internationally themed plant-based food delivery service and provides wraps for Cyrus, pitched the idea of a film-themed dinner.

“My husband, Rob, picks the movies, then gives me cues on where a meal could be tied in,” says Randolph-Lucchesi. “We bounce ideas back and forth.”

WHAT TO EXPECT

Up to 20 guests are seated at a table in front of an 80-inch drop-down screen. Five-course prix-fixe menus are printed on a laminated place mat, which serves as a take-home souvenir along with an event button. Servings are plated in an old-school TV dinner tray and a course comes every 15 to 20 minutes. Homemade popcorn dressed in vegan butter and spices garnishes each table, as does Cyrus’ freshly brewed herbal tea.

“Rob will say, ‘This is a great scene. Can you do something with this?’ ” says Randolph-Lucchesi. “Then I will go through cookbooks and match it.”

Last month, the couple showed the film “They Live,” and in the scene where the late Roddy Piper eats stew, the crowd was served vegetable Hobo Stew. During Keith David’s fight scene, the chef followed with Frank’s Back Alley Kidney Punch Salad.

The evening is very social, not hush-hush like a regular movie screening.

“Everybody can see and hear the film, but it’s not so loud that you can’t have a conversation,” Randolph-Lucchesi says.

FILMS ON-SCREEN

Past screenings include “The Breakfast Club,” where breakfast food (a tofu scramble and roasted potato hash) was served, while “Jaws” featured Hooper’s Fish Tacos. During “Clue,” people ate Mrs. Peacock’s Monkey Brains (roasted cauliflower in Alfredo sauce), and “The Goonies” concluded with Chunk’s Rocky Road Bar for dessert.

This month’s flick is John Carpenter’s “Halloween,” where creamy spinach-artichoke dip with bread will be served when Nancy Kyes gets choked in the car by horror icon Michael Myers.

“We like to push them a little bit with the food and the movies,” says Randolph-Lucchesi. “People seem to like the originality of it.”

Melissa Sgambati, 27, of West Islip, has attended every Food Flix Cinema night except one, when she had to work. But Sgambati is such a fan of the event, she ordered the food as takeout and watched the film at home while eating the courses at the appropriate times.

“Alicia’s a great cook, and Rob has great taste in movies, so it’s a magical combination,” Sgambati says. “Each event is very curated, and they think of everything. I put it on my calendar every month.”

Compassionate Catering 2016

As the world becomes more aware of the benefits of a plant-based lifestyle, I am forever in debt to those who have served before me, and continue to pass along the messages of Hope, Grace & Ancient Wisdom.  Stay tuned for early bird discounts on this Compassionate Catering menu, or contact me at by emailing me at alicia@pandorasproducts.net.

It’s almost holiday season, and we’ve got a Compassionate way to share it with family & friends…and PS, you won’t even have to mention it’s plant-based, which may save you a lot of unwanted grief!  (Because I do understand the dilemma, believe me!)

Comforting, Compassionate & delicious!

Comforting, Compassionate & delicious!

October ’16 Events and links for more details:

It’s my favourite season, and it’s starting off with a real bang with all these October events!  Join me for some amazing ways to “Fall Into Wellness!”

october-2016-events

  • *October 1: Fall Festival 2016 Phoenix Eastern Medical Center, Farmingdale—11am-3pm. Food and Family Fun – Free Massages, Free Yoga Classes, Martial Arts Show, Face Painting, Raffles, organic skincare by Pandora’s Products and more! This event is free.
  • *October 1: After The Noise Clears “Spirituality and Art” Baffa Art Gallery, Sayville – 5:30-10pm. Singing bowl meditation, kirtan, Sacred Geometry Art showing, vegan snacks provided by Pandora’s Lunchbox (and other local eateries). Suggested Donation: $10
  • *October 6: Women’s EXPO Middle Country Public Library, Centereach – 11-6pm. The Women’s EXPO is a showcase and a marketplace for Long Island women entrepreneurs: artisans, importers, designers and distributors of products like Pandora’s Products! This event is free
  • *October 11: DIEts Workshop Deer Park Public Library, Deer Park – 7-8:30 pm In this workshop, we will discuss*Staple foods for a plant-based diet, to keep optimal levels of protein, iron, vitB. *Healthy greens without overdoing it-overcooking or over eating? *GF, Dairy-free, nightshade free…the difference b/w allergies and sensitivities and is elimination truly necessary? *A close look at fad diets; is weight loss really necessary, info about foods that may lead to weight loss/weight gain This is a free event
  • *October 14: Compassion and Your Diet Kundalini Yoga of Long Island, Northport – 7-8:30 pm. In this workshop we will discuss how to maintain a healthy lifestyle on a plant-based diet. Transitioning to any food-style can be difficult and confusing at first. Join Alicia Randolph- Lucchesi to discover how you can make smarter choices about what you’re putting in your body and how it affects the planet. $25 investment prepay – $30 day of event
  • *October 19: Transformation Through MovementHeritage Center, 633 Mt. Sinai-Coram Rd, Mt. Sinai – 12:30-3 pm.  Join us for an afternoon of the ABC’s of Prevention & Fitness (alignment, breathing & centering)-snacks provided by Pandora’s Lunchbox. $25 prepay – $30 day of event
  • *October 22: Dinner and a Movie – Halloween (John Carpenter’s) Cyrus: Chai & Coffee Company, Bay Shore – 6:30-8:30pm. This month, enjoy a horror classic from John Carpenter! For those who haven’t seen it yet, there is little to no blood in this movie, and it has no gore. You’ll find more violence on the nightly news! 😉 Trick or treat! As always, our viewings feature a plant-based multi-course tasting menu, inspired by this cult classic film! Doors NOW open at 6:30, so come grab some coffee or tea, while waiting for the movie to begin at 7. Bring a date, bring a friend, or come alone! *Seating is limited for these engagements, so RSVP/PREPAY IS REQUIRED* $35/PERSON
  • *October 29: Chakra Immersion Series – #7 Sahasrara A Jewel in the Lotus, Islip – 6-8pm. In this immersion, we will study the Chakra’s and teach you how to balance them. This workshop will specifically focus on Sahasrara (the 1,000 petal lotus) with yoga poses, meditation, mudras, basic information about the chakras, essential oils, foods, and so much more! The last session will be a summary in case you miss any during the immersion. Exchange: $35 each
  • *October 30: FALL! Cooking Demo at OT Farm’s monthly Green Fair Organics Today Farm, 169 Washington St, East Islip – 10am-1 pm. We are proud to team up with Organics Today Farm, to offer true Farm-to-Table meals! From OT Farm to our pots and pans, into your belly; come join us and get your organics on, ask cooking questions, sample free food (with options to purchase lunch and hang out with all of us), as well as learn from our cooking demo!   Other vendors are on hand as well, answering questions about organic products, and offering their services.  This event is free, and the demo includes a tasting.

September ’16 Events and details

Please click the title of each September event to be directed to further information on Facebook, as well as RSVP links.  Thank you as always, for your interest in Holistic Wellness!

September 2016 Events copy

  • *September 10: YOGA OPEN HOUSE Celebration Kundalini Yoga of Long Island, Northport—11am-3pm. FREE CLASSES ~ RAFFLES ~ FUN ~ GONG ~organic skincare ~plant-based snacks KYLI offers ALL types of Yoga from Basic to Kundalini! Try different yoga classes, holistic facials and other healing modalities. This event is free.
  • *September 15: Easy plant-based cooking demo with take-home meals! The Golden Sparrow, Bayport – 3-6pm. Learn tricks on how to eat clean without breaking the bank!Not only will you help prepare the meals, but every attendee will leave with a serving of each item. Our goal is to teach everyone easy tricks for prepping meals, so you can stay on track with your health! Come join us and get your organics on, and learn how to make simple and fun recipes! Ask questions on substitutions for allergies/sensitivities, overall health, and anything else food-related.
  • *September 17: Chakra Immersion Series – #6 Ajna A Jewel in the Lotus, Islip – 6-8pm. In this immersion, we will study the Chakra’s and teach you how to balance them. This workshop will specifically focus on Ajna (the third eye chakra) with yoga poses, meditation, mudras, basic information about the chakras, essential oils, foods, and so much more! The last session will be a summary in case you miss any during the immersion. Exchange: $35 each
  • *September 24: Dinner and a Movie – They Live Cyrus: Chai & Coffee Company, Bay Shore – 6:30-8:30pm. This month, enjoy a sci-fi classic from John Carpenter! For those who haven’t seen it, this movie was chosen because of our feelings about the upcoming election. Once you see it, you’ll understand what we mean! 🙂 Plus, it’s got the greatest and longest fight scene EVER – what else would you expect when Rowdy Roddy Piper stars in a movie!?! Believe us when we say this event is out of this world! As always, our viewings feature a plant-based multi-course tasting menu, inspired by this cult classic film! Doors NOW open at 6:30, so come grab some coffee or tea, while waiting for the movie to begin at 7. Bring a date, bring a friend, or come alone! *Seating is limited for these engagements, so RSVP/PREPAY IS REQUIRED* $35/PERSON
  • *September 25: FALL! Cooking Demo at OT Farm’s monthly Green Fair Organics Today Farm, 169 Washington St, East Islip – 10am-1 pm. We are proud to team up with Organics Today Farm, to offer true Farm-to-Table meals! From OT Farm to our pots and pans, into your belly; come join us and get your organics on, ask cooking questions, sample free food (with options to purchase lunch and hang out with all of us), as well as learn from our cooking demo!   Other vendors are on hand as well, answering questions about organic products, and offering their services.  This event is free, and the demo includes a tasting.
  • *September 29: Truth in Labeling Cold Spring Harbor Library, Cold Spring Harbor – 2-3:30pm. This is a FREE EVENT, open to the public! Join us in the fresh fall season, and learn how to read about the chemicals in our food, and what MSG really is, and how it’s used. We will also discuss GMO’s more, caffeine, sweeteners, flavor enhancers, and a host of other additives. This event is free, and is open to the public.
  • *September 30: Tea & Tarot Spaliday Party, Cyrus: Chai & Coffee Company, Bay Shore—6-8 pm. What’s a Tea & Tarot Spaliday Party? It’s a night of relaxation, fun and learning more about your path in life (RSVP is required). Included in the price is a 15-minute tarot card reading, a cup of herbal tea by the brewmasters at Cyrus, and each attendee will create their own organic spray blend with Alicia. If you want to learn more about a spiritual practice or how to easily relax yourself, this is the spot to be! $35/PERSON.

August ’16 Events and links for more details

  • August 4: Alive After Five, Patchogue (in front of Roast Coffee)—5-9:30pm. For our 3rd year, join Pam as she offers mini tarot readings throughout this 4-night event. I’ll have samples of my organic skincare products, with specials you won’t find anywhere else! If you want to learn more about a spiritual practice or how to easily relax yourself, this is the spot to be! We’ll be located in front of my favourite shop in Patchogue, Roast Coffee. This event is free.
  • August 18: Alive After Five, Patchogue (in front of Roast Coffee)—5-9:30pm. For our 3rd year, join Pam as she offers mini tarot readings throughout this 4-night event. I’ll have samples of my organic skincare products, with specials you won’t find anywhere else! If you want to learn more about a spiritual practice or how to easily relax yourself, this is the spot to be! We’ll be located in front of my favourite shop in Patchogue, Roast Coffee.This event is free.
  • August 20: Veggie Venture- Meditative Hike and Lunch Belmont Lake Park (meeting at Deer Park Library first! Babylon – 2:30-5pm. Join Jessica Saraswati and Alicia for an afternoon filled with fun, nature, Spirit and delicious plant-based food. *Please note: This is NOT a silent walking meditation. This is mindful hike infused with enlightening discussions about veggie-living and Spiritual life. Free event, as this is sponsored by Deer Park Library – RSVP is however required.
  • August 20: Chakra Immersion Series A Jewel in the Lotus, Islip – 6-8pm. In this immersion, we will study the Chakra’s and teach you how to balance them. This workshop will specifically focus on Vishuddha, the throat chakra with yoga poses, meditation, mudras, basic information about the chakras, essential oils, foods, and so much more! The last session will be a summary in case you miss any during the immersion. Exchange: $35 each
  • August 26: Dinner and a Movie – Star Wars (the original version)Cyrus: Chai & Coffee Company, Bay Shore – 6 – 9pm. This month’s cult classic film is Star Wars (unedited by George Lucas)!!!  As always, our viewings feature a plant-based multi-course tasting menu, inspired by this cult classic film! Doors open at 6, so come grab some coffee or tea, while waiting for the movie to begin at 6:30. Bring a date, bring a friend, or come alone!  *Seating is limited for these engagements, so RSVP/PREPAY IS REQUIRED* $35/PERSON
  • August 28: End of Summer Cooking Demo at OT Farm’s monthly Green Fair  Organics Today Farm, 169 Washington St, East Islip – 10am-2 pm. We are proud to team up with Organics Today Farm, to offer true Farm-to-Table meals! From OT Farm to our pots and pans, into your belly; come join us and get your organics on, ask cooking questions, sample free food (with options to purchase lunch and hang out with all of us), as well as learn from our cooking demo!   Other vendors are on hand as well, answering questions about organic products, and offering their services.  This event is free, and the demo includes a tasting.