Making Life Delicious!

Archive for March, 2012

Creamy Red Bell Pepper Chipotle Soup with Coconut Yogurt


My father’s parents were both born in Mexico in the state of Guanajuato, where much of the best farmland in Mexico is located. It’s no wonder they chose Santa Barbara, California when they  immigrated to the U.S. The weather in Santa Barbara is ideal for gardening and growing fruit trees like citrus, avocados, figs, and even bananas. When I was a child we picked our own almonds, walnuts, and olives. I loved going out to the garden and gathering fresh tomatoes and sweet bell peppers and eating them on the spot. We grew the best hot chili peppers, sweet onions and fresh herbs, as well as other wonderful seasonal fruits and veggies. I’m so grateful that I came from a family that appreciated the gifts of the garden – we never wasted food and (as my staff and students will attest) I make the most of our beautiful organic produce and what can not be used to prepare food,  made into crackers or juice, is composted.

Having grown up with Mexican cuisine, I have an affinity for it, but based on years of creating foods with a high degree of general public appeal, I believe it is also one of the most favored cuisines in the world. Mexican cuisine blends spices and herbs beautifully using contrasting flavors and textures that are both stimulating and harmonious.

Here is a great example of a spicy Mexican style soup that reminds me of my childhood. I first prepared it for the 2011 Living LIght Hot Chefs Cool Kitchen Raw Chef Showcase and it was a HUGE hit! I served it slightly warm, but it can be enjoyed either warmed in a deydrator or chiled.  I sometimes garnish it with coconut yogurt, so I included that recipe for you, too.

The video showing step by step how to make both my Red Bell Pepper Chipotle Soup and Jalapeño Onion Corn Bread, as well as all the other great videos from the Chef Showcase, are available at

Creamy Red Bell Pepper Chipotle Soup

Creamy Red Bell Pepper Chipotle Soup with Coconut Yogurt

Yield: 8 cups (6-8 servings)

  •   1 cup cashews, soaked for 1-2 hours
  • 4 cups water (plus one additional cup, if needed)
  • 2 cups red bell peppers, seeded and chopped
  • 1 smoked chipotle pepper, soaked for 1 hour
  • 1 tablespoon light miso
  • 1 ½ teaspoons Himalayan crystal saltRed Bell Pepper Chipotle Soup with Cashew Sour Cream and Corn Bread
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon nutritional yeast
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ⅛ teaspoon white pepper
  • 1 cup tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and chopped
  • Optional garnishes, as pictured:
  • ½ cup Coconut Yogurt (see recipe, below)
  • chives
  • bell pepper confetti
  • thin strips of young coconut

    Cherie's favorite high performance blender

  • chili oil

1. In a high performance blender, combine soaked cashews with 2 cups of the water and blend until creamy.

2. Add chopped bell peppers, soaked chipotle pepper, light miso, salt, lemon juice, nutritional yeast, regular and smoked paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, and white pepper and blend thoroughly.

3. Add the peeled, seeded tomatoes, and 2 more cups of the remaining water and blend again.

4. Add additional water, if needed, to achieve the desired consistency — it should be creamy, like sour cream, but not overly thick.

5. Adjust salt, if needed. Serve will a dollop of Coconut Yogurt (see recipe, below) and Jalapeño Onion Corn Bread (see myJalapeño Onion Corn Bread Blog, posted March 30).

Coconut Yogurt

  • 2 cups young (immature) coconut meat
  • 1 cup of water
  • ¼ teaspoon probiotic powder

1. Blend the coconut meat, water and probiotic in a high-powered blender, adding more water if necessary to achieve a smooth, creamy texture.

2. Select a pint-size (or larger) glass jar and place it in a warm (not hot) location to ferment for 8 to 12 hours. (Less fermentation time is required in warmer weather).

3. After the yogurt has fermented to suit your taste, it may be stored in a sealed glass container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Note:  If yogurt is not tart enough, add 2-3 tablespoons or more of lemon juice per cup.


Jalapeño Onion Corn Bread

 The 2011 Living Light Hot Chefs Cool Kitchen Raw Chef Showcase was an amazing event with 12 of the world’s top raw food chefs strutting their stuff; sharing their latest-greatest recipes with attendees.  It was all captured on camera and the videos are still available online at

One of the recipes I shared at the showcase that was extremely popular with participants was my Jalapeño Onion Corn Bread, which I served with Red Bell Pepper Chipotle Soup (recipe coming soon). This duo of comfort foods was such a hit that, after sampling it, the attendees flocked into the Living Light Cafe and the dynamic duo sold out in 15 minutes!  The secret to this recipe is the freeze dried corn, which is ground into flour using a spice grinder. This is one of my favorite new products  and once I discovered it, my mind immediately went to all the foods I could incorporated it into: tamales, corn fritters, corn cakes, and the list goes on! Another of my favorite new ingredients used in this recipe is Almond Flour by by Divine Organics. Use it in muffins, burgers, cakes, cookies and anywhere you want a flour substitute.

If you are interested in viewing the video showing step by step how to make both the Jalapeño Onion Corn Bread and my Red Bell Pepper Chipotle Soup, as well as all the other great videos from the Chef Showcase, go to

Jalapeño Onion Corn BreadCorn Bread with Red Bell Pepper Chipotle Soup

Yields 16 pieces (Serves 8)

4 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels

2 cups freeze dried corn, ground using a spice grinder or blender

2 cups white almond flourJust Corn Divine Organics Almond Flour

½ cup coconut butter, warm to soften

½ cup warm water

1 tablespoon Himalayan crystal salt

½ teaspoon cayenne pepper

¼ cup onion, minced, rinsed, and towel blotted

1-2 jalapeño peppers, seeded and minced

1. Put fresh and ground freeze dried corn, almonds flour, soft coconut butter, warm water, and salt in a food processor and process until smooth.

2. Add the minced onions and jalapeño to the food processor and pulse briefly, just to mix. Do not puree.

3. Spread the batter onto a 16–x 16–inch dehydrator tray covered with a nonstick sheet. Spread the batter about ½-inch thick.  Using a dull knife or spatula, score the batter 4”x 4” to form 16 squares.

4. Dehydrate at 125 degrees for 1 hour. Flip the bread and remove nonstick sheet. Reduce the temperature to 105 degrees and dehydrate for another 4-6 hours or until bread is pliable but easy to handle without falling apart.  Serve warm with coconut butter or other spread of choice.

5. Allow to cool thoroughly before storing in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

A Journey of Recovery: It’s all in the mind

I didn’t expect that a week after my ill fated 10K race (see my post, “A Case of Pride)” I would still be limping around, unable to practice karate or even walk on the beach!  I was starting to feel sorry for myself and even caught myself making light of it by calling myself a “cripple” – YIKES! I don’t want to own that thought form! Now I have reformed that negative statement that was so telling about how I was feeling about myself into a more positive self identity as an “athlete recovering from an injury” (it’s all in how you hold it.)

 In February of 1983 (I’ll never forget that date) I was in a very serious airplane crash and the doctors told me I would never again be able to do the things I loved like karate, tennis, skiing, running, and maybe even walking! I had so many injuries; the only thing that didn’t seem to hurt was my left shoulder! I was hospitalized for a week and bedridden for a couple of months; my pelvic region was all fractured and I had super flexion of the spine, multiple broken bones, back and neck injuries that took years to heal, and my sits bones (the bones you sit on) were broken, so I couldn’t stand, sit, or even lie comfortably. It’s a long story I’ll go into another time, but the point is, I am totally convinced that my complete healing is a result of the fact that I never allowed myself to feel that I was a victim and never thought I would be crippled forever.  I always visualized myself doing all the things I loved and would not allow my friends to feel sorry for me.  I needed their strength, not their sympathy! I used only natural healing methods and refused surgery and drugs (even for pain). I found self hypnosis to be really helpful for pain and visualization techniques helped me direct my healing. I actually imagined my bones and soft tissue (ligaments and cartilage) healing. And I did, miraculously heal of my injuries 100% in spite of what the doctors told me.

 I was not the model patient; I refused all traditional treatment (other than a cast to immobilize a broken leg). I questioned everything and listened to what they had to say, but never really felt they were talking about me – I knew I was different and refused to buy their prognosis. Instead, I became my own doctor guiding other health care practitioners: I had a variety of body work modalities: massage, physical therapy, chiropractic, acupuncture, and guided imagery.  I recall the day I had my cast removed, the doctor was amazed to see that my leg, after being in a cast for 6 weeks, had not experienced any atrophy. He didn’t understand how that could be, since some amount of atrophy with a complete plaster cast was inevitable. I told him I was having massage everyday and when the therapist massaged the leg that was not in a cast, I concentrated on exactly how it felt, so when he went to other leg the and massaged it, I visualized how that felt to be massaged, even though it was in a cast (that’s right, I asked him to treat the injured leg, even though it was in a cast, the same way he treated the other leg). Sounds crazy, but our minds are much more powerful than we give credit and I wanted my mind to direct healing into that injured leg and not just ignore it.

 Having a case of “runners knee” is helping to remind me about the incredible power of conscious creative thought and how amazing our bodies and minds are.  We can not separate our bodies and our minds. We will manifest what we think we are, so why not consciously create what we want — rather than what we fear or what others tell us we are or will become.  Of course, taking other steps to manifest healing is important too. Eating the right foods, using essential oils and supplements, having body work and physical therapy all have been important in my personal healing journey. And, perhaps some of their power comes for our willingness to accept that it will help. How much of it is the power of the mind and how much is the body being activated to heal as a result of the other influences? Who knows, I just do it all and it is all an affirmation of the power of the body to heal itself given the right tools.

 My good friend and essential oils guru diva, Amy Bacheller, gave me some great advice about which Young Living essential oils to use to speed recovery from my knee injury.  She recommends:

  • Valor on the soles of the feet for grounding and alignment, 2x/day
  • PanAway layered with Peppermint diluted with a massage oil (could be olive oil) rubbed ALL over both knees. Do this at least 2x/day but more would be better. Helps with pain, inflammation and healing.
  • Try alternating PanAway and Peppermint oil with Idaho Balsam Fir oil layered with Copaiba oil. They are both wonderful anti-inflammatories. 

I will definitely take her advice, since she has been very helpful to me in the past. And, yes I am using Arnica gel and RICE (rest, ice, compression, and elevation), and I plan to get acupuncture – I’ll do all that AND perhaps even more important, I will believe that they all are working toAmy Bacheller heal my knee completely!

Go to to purchase Young Living Essential Oils. Register for the next Essential Oils class at Living Light International with Amy Bacheller. See for schedule or call 707-964-2420 and speak with one of our helpful enrollment



Why be ordinary when you can be extraordinary?

One of my goals is to help students become the best that they can be. I know that each of us can be extraordinary if we just realize our potential and not be afraid to express it.
Many things make you extraordinary already: you are interested in a healthy lifestyle, you have a desire to learn and to live an inspired life, and you want to share your experience of life with others – these core values are things many of us share! When we choose a plant-based diet, we are more connected to the earth and all of its inhabitants, and we become more connected to our spiritual center.

Because of my life experiences, and success in my field, many of you may think I’m special, but I’m no more special than each of you! How many of you are not doing something you once did or want to do, because you don’t think you can do it as well as you want to? My advice to you is just do it!

You’ll be surprised at how your body, mind, and spirit will rise to the challenge. The important thing to remember is not to compare yourself to others or to how you were in the past.

We are all perfect just the way we are right now – which doesn’t mean that we want to stop learning – just that given everything that has led us to this point, where we are now is AMAZING and wonderful AND each of us still has more to learn, create, and do.

Always be sure to remember that you are unique and special – only you have your precious gifts to offer the world!
16 keys to living an extraordinary life!

  1. Start your day with appreciation
  2. Choose healthful habits (food, water, air, relaxation, and positive thoughts)
  3. Enjoy fun activities and exercise
  4. Align and identify yourself with people you admire
  5. Know who YOU are and what you want
  6. Do good deeds
  7. Celebrate your accomplishments
  8. Live with integrity
  9. Express love and appreciation daily (to yourself and others)
  10. Challenge yourself!
  11. Forgive and let go: Forgive everyone for everything that they have ever done to you! After all, we are all co-creators in our own experience and without challenges, we would not be who we are – we would not have learned the valuable lessons we’ve learned! Each experience is essential to the fabric of our existence.
  12. Accept yourself where you are now. Stop blaming yourself. What is past is past
  13. Start fresh each day and know that you can be all you want to be!
  14. Be mindful, conscious, and present in all of your daily choices
  15. Listen to you body – it speaks to you.
  16. And always: choose fresh, ripe, raw, organic foods with high nutrient density, breathe fresh air, and drink clean water (alkaline)

At Living Light, we teach a standard of excellence that sometimes challenges people, but when they leave, they know that they have the ability to live up to the challenge of being extraordinary! 

A Case of Pride

 I’m home with “runners knee” and it has me taking a long hard look at my behavior. I stopped running 12 years ago in favor of sports that don’t include running on pavement, but when I heard that some of our staff were planning to run in the annual Whale Run and Walk along the beach near Living Light,  Dan and I decided to join them. Of course, we could have walked, since neither of us has been running for years. Or we could have chosen to run the 5K instead of the 10 K, but we decided to take the challenge and run the 10K (just over 6 miles) even though we only had a week to train. Crazy? Yeah, now that I look back on it – definitely foolish given the fact that I stopped running because my joints were starting to feel the jarring pavement. But, Dan and I both work out daily; we practice karate (I am a black belt three times over) and we often speed walk 8 miles on weekends in addition to our daily aerobic workouts. Still after our first 6K practice run, neither of us could walk downstairs without wincing! Then we went for a 7.5K run and my ankles started to hurt. That should have been a warning, but NO…I was determined to run that 10K and by god/goddess, I was going to do it (even though my knee was hurting when I got out of bed the morning of the race! )

 So. because I always look for the lessons life offers (especially the painful ones) I’m looking into it. Sure, I can push my body and run 10K (did I say I did it?) but in order to run it, I had to ignore my body. There goes the pact I made with my mind and body years ago when I promised to listen to warnings that I was going down the wrong (unhealthy) path. So, basically, I let my pride rule me instead of listening to my body. I didn’t want to pull out when I had told everyone my goal was to run the whole thing and not walk any of it, even though I have not done that for 12 years. I am going to be 65 this year and maybe that is part of it. I want to make sure I don’t act my age and admit there are things I can’t do anymore.

 Did I have fun? Yeah it was fun and I was proud I did it (there is that word again: PROUD) but was it worth it to ignore my body and push it beyond its limits? Was it worth it to give up my normal training routine, miss karate and miss my daily aerobic exercise due to a knee injury? Ask me once the pain is gone and I am working out again. It’s easy to say, “no it wasn’t worth it”, but once the pain is gone, the only memory will be that I trained for a 10K in a week and accomplished it. Foolish as it might have been, I guess my ego still rules because here I am writing about it! And fact is, there aren’t too many things I can’t do that I did when I was 30. Well, I won’t be competing in any karate tournaments, and I won’t be doing any ski racing, and 10K runs might be a thing of the past…but I feel great and maybe that’s why I didn’t doubt that I could run that 10K. And the truth is, other than the knee pain, I felt great after the race. So, yeah, I’m pretty PROUD that at 65 I can still run 10K. Who knows maybe I’ll do it again next year.

Making Life Delicious

 My name is Cherie and I love to share what I have learned on my journey through life.  I enjoy writing about the fullness of life; its lessons and its pleasures. Life has not always been easy for me;  like many of you, I have learned that it is through pain and suffering that we learn life’s lessons best. Life is fraught with challenges; some of them physically and emotionally painful, but that is what makes us strong and powerful. Life isn’t for wimps. I have packed a lot of living in my 65 years: I’ve traveled the world, had a variety of careers, been blessed to have worked with some amazing teachers, enjoyed the company of a few wonderful men and made lots of great friends. I have written several books,Cherie front kick earned three black belts in karate (currently working on a forth), was in a serious airplane crash that took years to heal from, made a million bucks then invested it a vision that people thought was nuts: the worlds first raw vegan culinary school, Living Light Culinary Institute.

Most people know me as the “Mother of Gourmet Raw Vegan Cuisine” because I started creating delicious raw vegan foods, that look and taste likes your favorite comfort foods, when no one though it was possible and have gone on to trained the majority of raw food chefs, teachers and authors in 50 different countries around the planet. My husband and I Living Light Centerown four eco-friendly businesses on the north coast of California, in addition to the school: Living Light Cafe, Living Light Marketplace, and the Living  Light Inn. We have 40 employees and have been honored with several business awards. I’m a popular speaker at events around the world on a variety of subjects from making your passion your career and preparing foods that nourish the body and nurture the soul, to learning to love yourself and create an extraordinary life. I have been a hypnotherapist and spiritual counselor, a hair designer and platform artist, a karate teacher and a photographer’s model. I’ve had breast implants (got those puppies out a long time ago), a tattoo (alas I still have that), and was brought up catholic (love the ceremony; hate the dogma). I have a passion for creating  gourmet raw vegan recipes and love teaching and sharing my years of culinary experience about raw culinary arts and nutrition. I eat a high raw diet, which keeps me young, energetic and healthy, but I am not 100% raw vegan 100% of the time (hate dogma, remember?)  I eat what I want and it’s usually raw vegan food (but not always).

I have a wonderful husband,Dan Ladermann, who is also my business partner. We enjoy playing on the beach with our two 2 doggies, dancing with hoola hoops, working together, traveling together, and just being together. We have a little place in Costa Rica, next door to my best friend of 35 years. It has a year round well and over a hundred fruit trees. One of our goals is to build a learning center there.

So, I have a lot to share about how to make the most of life even with its trial and tribulations; how to be grateful, even when life gives you lemons. And, if you are interested in food, you won’t be disappointed – it’s one of my favorite subjects and I don’t keep any secrets to myself.

In my blog I will offer my thoughts, my fears, my secrets to staying young longer and becoming more beautiful as you age. I will provide recipes and culinary tips, meditations and guidelines for creating mental magic, and share tips I’ve learned over the years that have helped me create a beautiful and meaningful life. For me, life is all about the mind/ body/ spirit connection.

They are all interconnected just like the systems of our physical body; each one does not function independent of the others and the health of one influences the health of the whole. Think of a chess game where all the pieces are moving at the same time and each move effects the others (try wrapping your mind around that!)  Sometime you will find me to be all nuts and bolts and other times I am way out there! Take what you are ready for and leave the rest.

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