Behind The Butter

I Hold The Secret

Went to my first segment of the Creative and Mindful Cooking Workshop this afternoon!


Already I can tell I’m going to learn a lot. We worked we Chef Chad Luethje, Miraval’s Executive Chef, and covered A LOT in terms of soups, salads and salad dressings.


Personally, I love salad. Great way to get your veggies and a tasty first course. However, salads can also be very, very boring if done wrong. Or, they can be pretty unhealthy when doused with heavy dressings and buttery croutons.

But wait….I have the secret!!!!


Three words: thickened veggie stock. Basically, you just make a slurry out of cornstarch and water and then stir that into simmering stock or broth. It thickens right up and that becomes the base for your salad dressing. It creates a thicker/richer mouthfeel but has practically no calories. I’m going to have to try this trick at home.

Here are some beauties that we made today:






My personal favorite was the Kale Salad (third photo down). It had a lemon dressing and was tossed with Parmesan cheese and toasted panko breadcrumbs. To die for. I will be making this at home. It’s going down in my “top five salads of all time” category and folks, I don’t take that lightly. You shouldn’t either.
Another interesting tidbit I learned was how to make low fat caesar dressing using TOFU as the base! Typical caesar salads rack in about three hundred calories per serving and Miraval’s only has twenty four. You hear me? TWENTY FOUR. And, it was delicious! I’m going to ask Chef tomorrow if I have permission to share some of my favorite recipes with you all…promise.
Today’s lunch (yes, I also had lunch prior to the cooking class…what?):

When in Rome… low-fat chocolate turtle cake as a mid-day snack. And like it.
But wait…there’s more!


Crab cakes and fish tacos for dinner…am I really alive right now or have I been lifted straight up to Heaven? I must be in Heaven. Who am I? Where am I?
Dinner was followed by my first spa treatment—I had Nurture, an outdoor treatment that involved one hundred minutes of scrubbing, rubbing and massaging. I don’t think my skin has ever felt so soft and afterwards I hurried silently back to my room wearing a big white robe and bearing flourless chocolate cake in one hand and herbal tea in the other.
**Warning: this is not my real life. In real life, I live in a six hundred square foot apartment and eat peanut butter sandwiches while brushing Dexter. Last week my car got broken into. My butt is getting bigger.

I don’t know how I feel about that.

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  • jenny
    July 22, 2010 at 9:28 pm

    my butt is getting bigger too :/
    expanding backsides unite!!!

  • Lisa (bakebikeblog)
    July 22, 2010 at 9:28 pm

    Oh my – what a wonderful day you have had. Spa treatment + great cooking class + exquisite food = bliss!!!

  • Jackie (Peaces of Earth)
    July 22, 2010 at 9:32 pm

    Vegetable broth!!!! So genius!! I’m going to have to try that and please see if you can share the recipes. I want one of the best five salads ever!

    You definitely are in heaven, enjoy every second of it! This place is in AZ? I would consider a move to work/live there and spend all of my days there. Amazing!

  • Becki @ HikeBikeEat
    July 22, 2010 at 9:35 pm

    Methinks God is giving you a little much-deserved sanity in this trip 🙂

  • Babycakes
    July 22, 2010 at 9:36 pm

    haha. Love the warning 😉 You DESERVE to have a good time! Enjoy it!

  • April
    July 22, 2010 at 9:36 pm

    They all look tooo pretty to eat! 🙂

  • Heather (Heather's Dish)
    July 22, 2010 at 9:51 pm

    nothin’ wrong with a little booty…i’m just sayin’…plus it makes me feel better about mine 🙂

  • Alyson @ Nourished Fitness
    July 22, 2010 at 9:51 pm

    The disclaimer.. one of the many reasons I love your blog.

  • Janice
    July 22, 2010 at 10:01 pm

    Be still my heart- all those yummy dishes in one place!!! 😉
    U are one Blessed girl !

  • Courtney (Delightful Devours)
    July 22, 2010 at 10:02 pm

    Vegetable broth huh? Thanks for sharing the secret!
    And as for the pampering, enjoy it girlie! It may not be real life but take full advantage I say!

  • Allie (Live Laugh Eat)
    July 22, 2010 at 10:17 pm

    Haha live it up while it lasts dear! That caprese salad is calling mah name!

  • Bethany @ More Fruit Please
    July 22, 2010 at 10:19 pm

    Oh boy, I’m really hoping that you’re able to share some of these recipes with us. Salad dressings without the calories or fat? Sign me up! This post reminds me a lot of Eat, Pray, Love. I’m in the middle of reading it and I love how she talks about enjoying the food in Italy and how it’s so much better than her day-to-day food!

  • Katie
    July 22, 2010 at 10:28 pm

    Your disclaimer was awesome! Glad to see you’re enjoying your vacation, you deserve it! 🙂

  • alex
    July 22, 2010 at 10:42 pm

    The crab cakes and tacos had me at “hello”!!! Who cares about your arse…. just enjoy and live in the present! Looks delish and totally relaxing!

  • Kelly
    July 22, 2010 at 11:10 pm

    Haha, because it’s not your real life you deserve a little fun and relaxation 🙂

  • Amanda
    July 22, 2010 at 11:20 pm

    Good food, a cooking class and a spa treatment? Sounds like a wonderful dream…. You’ve worked so hard, you deserve this vacation!

  • Jo
    July 23, 2010 at 1:45 am

    Nowt wrong with a big butt! I’m glad you’re having a good, relaxing time, you deserve it 🙂

  • Laura (Starloz)
    July 23, 2010 at 2:15 am

    Big butts are hot on skinny white chicks, don’t stress at all..

    Oh i love a grapefruit or orange slice on a plate

  • Jessica @ How Sweet It Is
    July 23, 2010 at 3:12 am

    Even if it isn’t your real life, it’s real for right now! Live it up! 🙂

  • Suzanne de Cornelia
    July 23, 2010 at 3:49 am

    That all looks and sounds amazing. I’d love to move in there. That’s just the kind of food I love—healthy, fresh, beautiful and lean. Will have to see if he has a cookbook. The kale salad sounds delish.

  • Amelia
    July 23, 2010 at 4:03 am

    What a great day! Can we arrange for a giveaway for a trip to Miraval? You have really sold me on this place…if only I could afford it. Maybe after I graduate college, again!

  • Tina
    July 23, 2010 at 4:09 am

    What a cool idea for dressings!! I hope you’re able to share some of the recipes.

    And that spa treatment sounds heavenly.

  • Stacey
    July 23, 2010 at 4:12 am

    Hehehe, sounds like you are having an amazing time. The food looks awesome. And to top of the day a spa treatment and then cake. I’m so jealous.

  • Sarah (Running to Slow Things Down)
    July 23, 2010 at 4:27 am

    You deserve this little extra bit of fun, girly! Keep living it up. 😀

    I’ll have to try your salad dressing technique for the thickened veggie stock. 😀

  • Lauren @ louisianagrown
    July 23, 2010 at 4:27 am

    I’m not sure about how I feel about this veggie or chicken stock salad dressing… but I sure hope you do get permission to share some recipes!

  • Julie
    July 23, 2010 at 4:42 am

    i used to make an alton brown recipe for a ceasar salad that used tofu. I need to make that again! thanks for the inspiration.

  • rachael
    July 23, 2010 at 4:42 am

    Wow, it looks like you are having an amazing time. I have my fingers crossed that you’re allowed to share some recipes!

  • Jen
    July 23, 2010 at 4:47 am

    i second some kind of mirival giveaway!!! 🙂

  • eliza
    July 23, 2010 at 4:54 am

    I would like a new challenge for us all! I dont like buying new jeans!

  • Abby
    July 23, 2010 at 4:55 am

    Wow, that sounds like a LOVELY day!! Reading this blog makes me happy, I love your sense of humor!:) Enjoy the rest of your vacation… I can’t wait to read about it!!

  • Anya @ Fitness & Sunshine
    July 23, 2010 at 5:06 am

    This was a funny post 🙂

    Those foods look amazing! You must’ve learned a lot. I’m not sure how I feel about veggie broth being a dressing base… I’m not really into broths of any kind. But this might change my mind, who knows? 😉

  • jenna
    July 23, 2010 at 5:08 am

    LOL love the last part. Wow sounds likes an awesome experience for you! sounds so dreamy! I bet your poor mom wishes she was there with you again!

  • Amanda (The Nutritionist Reviews)
    July 23, 2010 at 5:12 am

    That food looks so amazing and gourmet!

  • crunchy granola gal
    July 23, 2010 at 5:13 am

    What fun!! This really is a stray from real life, and I like it.

    Aaand now I want shrimp tacos. It’s 8AM. Damn.

  • OK Chick
    July 23, 2010 at 5:19 am

    WOW what a great trip! The food looks awesome!

  • Maura
    July 23, 2010 at 5:24 am

    Real life or not, live it up gal! You sure know how to do a solo vaca! Good for you 🙂

  • Tracey @ I'm Not Superhuman
    July 23, 2010 at 5:27 am

    The vegetable broth secret is really interesting, though I’m a plain oil and vinegar kind of girl. I hate creamy dressings.

  • Chelsey
    July 23, 2010 at 5:28 am

    I want my butt to get bigger!!!! Consider yourself lucky!

    And my god, I am living vicariously through you right now – chocolate cake and all.

  • Kristin (Cook, Bake and Nibble)
    July 23, 2010 at 5:29 am

    Real life or not, what an amazing experience!!


  • Kath
    July 23, 2010 at 5:38 am

    Love this post J 🙂

  • Kelly
    July 23, 2010 at 5:41 am

    But it IS your life, my dear 🙂

  • Alison
    July 23, 2010 at 5:55 am

    Love it Jenna! Enjoy every second of it!

  • Krystina
    July 23, 2010 at 6:03 am

    Enjoy yourself. You deserve it!

  • *Andrea*
    July 23, 2010 at 6:21 am

    you’re so funny – my butt is getting bigger 😉 flourless chocolate cake is heaven! all the meals look fabulous and 24 cal caesar salad???? definitely want that recipe hehe

  • caitlin
    July 23, 2010 at 6:22 am

    i would like my butt to get bigger at that spa, too!

  • Jess.
    July 23, 2010 at 6:22 am

    Guess what? This is your life!!! I certainly understand what you are saying but it is important to keep in mind that this is actually your life- no matter how incredible (or terrible) a situation is- it is your life!!!!
    Very excited about the thickened broth as a salad dressing base idea 🙂

  • Michelle
    July 23, 2010 at 6:35 am

    Is it strange that your experiences on this trip remind me of Eat Pray Love? Healing, calming, nourishing, and surreal. Drink it up; you deserve it!

  • Cristin
    July 23, 2010 at 6:44 am

    The whole trip sounds amazing! Enjoy!

  • Jean
    July 23, 2010 at 6:47 am

    OMG – sooo jealous. Everything looks awesome!

  • julia
    July 23, 2010 at 6:57 am

    That kale salad looks amazing, I hope you will be able to share the recipe!

  • Becky
    July 23, 2010 at 7:03 am

    HAHA! Love the disclaimer! I’m jealous Dexter lets you brush him. My cat won’t sit still for it. There’s so much hair falling off the beast (and all over my house) that I could build a whole new cat out of it.

  • theemptynutjar
    July 23, 2010 at 7:14 am

    Well, u are still doing pretty good in CA, you have a car!, you have a book deal, a job, and you have a resort getaway. APpreciate it girl!

    I crashed my car. Beyond repair. Lost my job. Hate my profession. Have a towel for a couch. Struggling to pay rent!
    We are all with u chugging…fighting just to get thru life day by day…a resort sure would help tho 😉

  • Haute Teapot
    July 23, 2010 at 7:17 am

    I was told I was getting muscular the other day by my sister, I was like, hmm is that code for weight gain?

    I can relate, the best part was your disclaimer!

  • lori
    July 23, 2010 at 7:47 am

    this place looks and sounds amazing. my husband came home from work yesterday and i pulled up their website and proceeded to tell him this was the destination of our next get away. I hope we can pull together enough savings soon! I need to stop reading your posts…..I want to go there today!

  • dana
    July 23, 2010 at 8:12 am

    You have an AMAZING LIFE –
    you have to take the bad with the good to appreciate things in life… you are doing what you love, and in my opinion , even if you think you’ve gained a few pounds you have never looked more GORGEOUS and HAPPY . Weight is nothing but a number my dear. Remember that ~ xo

  • Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat
    July 23, 2010 at 9:01 am

    Oh. My. God. If you do get to share recipes, I BEG you to get the Caesar salad one, and the chocolate cake!! You appear to be experiencing my ideal day!! 🙂

  • Amber K
    July 23, 2010 at 10:15 am

    I wish my butt would get bigger! Than sitting would be so uncomfortable! Now if I could just convince my stomach to shift its way down…down…

    Moving on! I think the broth idea sounds interesting, but am a bit worried about the sodium! Isn’t that stuff crazy high in sodium? I guess you could control the amount of sodium if you made it at home.

  • Dee
    July 23, 2010 at 10:51 am

    Everything looks soo delicious! Yum!

  • lindsey
    July 24, 2010 at 9:09 am

    I need a 100 minute massage/scrub!!
    and I love your disclaimer 😀 always love reading what you have to say!