Learn How to Stress Less at Erewhon



No…Erewhon. It’s the organic natural foods store in Calabasas at the Summit shopping center off the Lost Hills exit of the 101.


My kids and I popped in there for the first time since they recently opened, to check out Erewhon Chats, an in-store demo series that features experts, chefs, and demos. On that evening the topic was “Meatless Mondays,” and a lifestyle expert was talking about non-meat products you can use in recipes. Unfortunately, (depending on how you see it) my kids were starstruck by the store, and they decided that it was time to ogle the dishes in the deli case, or wander the aisles looking at all the packaged foods. So because if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em, we took a stroll through the store to compare prices and selection with the stores where I normally shop.

The organic produce was beautiful and reasonably priced. I even caught my older son wondering about the spaghetti squash, which delighted me because  I thought maybe I could get him to taste it sometime. But no, he saw that Erewhon sells if for 99 cents a pound, and thought “Cha-ching!” We grew spaghetti squash in our garden this year (quite by accident) so he was thinking we could sell our crop!

The healthy foods on offer at Erewhon were intriguing to my kids, who wanted to know what kefir is, and spelt. “Where are the sweets?” asked the younger one, and I am sure they were present, but I managed to steer him back to the deli case, where the most delicious freshly prepared foods were on display. Attendees of the Erewhon Chat were given coupons for 20% off at the deli, so I took advantage of it.


The boys ordered a giant vat of gluten free organic macaroni and cheese, which they inhaled. I got the vegan plate (might as well try something different!) which was tempeh chicken parmesan with non-cheese mozzarella, roasted vegetables, and maple glazed Brussels sprouts. Which I inhaled! (Actually I did save some for my carnivore husband because I wanted to see what he thought of it. He loved it!) The store also treated us to a bottle of freshly juiced…juice. They have a huge selection, and if you buy six they can go home with you in a nifty six-pack burlap carrying bag. The boys and I all loved the tart lemonade made with pure lemon juice, water, and honey.

Erewhon invites you to its next Chat, which is happening Thursday, November 20 at 6:00 PM. The topic is “Stress Less For the Holidays,” something I plan to do every year, don’t you?

Stress Less for the Holidays will feature experts on stress reduction-focused topics as nutrition, vitamins/supplements and acupuncture and demos, along with Q&A, tasty samples, featured products, and more!

Speaker: Monika Klein is a leading clinical nutritionist, weight-loss expert, and health and wellness advocate. She is the founder of Coaching for Health, LLC, creator of the Skinny Jeans Weight Loss Program™, and was the producer and host of Total Health Talk, a cable television show.

Speaker & Demonstration:Denise Noyer-Erez, L.Ac. is president of Integrative Medicine, a practice dedicated to treating women’s health through acupuncture, moxibustion, cupping and diet and nutrition.

Speaker: Superior Source Vitamins’ Matthew Supkoff will discuss the benefits of supplementation for diet, health concerns, energy and lowering stress. Superior Source Vitamins dissolve in seconds with no pills to swallow.

Demo: Siddha will present their flower essences and homeopathic remedies, such as Emotional Detox, Stress Relief and Sleep that help mediate the internal causes of disease.

Demo: Bulletproof will preview their Bulletproof Upgraded Coffee. Its smooth taste and antioxidant rich infusion will improve your performance and help with your focus and energy throughout the day.

Erewhon Market
26767 Agoura Rd.
Calabasas, CA 91302

Easter Traditions, Our Way


Our family has forged ahead through the years with our own special take on holiday traditions – some that we invented, some that we carry forward from our childhoods. Here’s how Easter works at our house.


Mom hauls out the box of Easter gear from the garage and hopes there’s enough stuff to last another year. Then she heads to Cost Plus and CVS to get treats and candy to fill the plastic eggs and the Easter baskets.



This year we added the EGGstravaganza Egg Hunt festival at Grape Arbor Park in Calabasas. (Did you know that the neighborhood north of the Lost Hills exit is Calabasas?  Huh. I thought it was Agoura. Color me updated.)


This is no simple egg hunt, dear friends. It is a full on holiday fair, with snow cones, games, prizes, a petting zoo, and photo ops with the Easter Bunny. The egg “hunt” was done in timed sections: little kids started earlier, then each higher age group got subsequent times. It wasn’t exactly a hunt, though, because the plastic eggs were just dumped out on the baseball field. Once the announcer called “Go!” it was basically a crowd of kids bulldozing their way from one end of the field toward the other. Then each kid had to trade his eggs in for a box of goodies. It was well handled and not too crowded, and we attended with another family who conveniently live in that neighborhood and let us park in their driveway.





Later in the day we did our traditional egg dyeing activity, with the old school PAAS kit, vinegar, and plastic cups. My mother used her old chipped mugs, so this isn’t exactly spot on, but look how pretty.




This is when we get up early to sneak downstairs and hide eggs in the backyard before the kids wake up. Well, our older son has a cold so he was up coughing like crazy at 5AM. We got him settled back down and guess who didn’t want to go back to sleep for an hour? Mom and Dad. So we poked around in the darkness hiding all the eggs, then drank coffee and rested on the couch. The boys didn’t get up until 7:30! Usually there is a big fight between them about who got more eggs, but this year they helped each other. It was cute.






When they came inside they found their Easter baskets – plain baskets with a bit of Easter grass, a plush toy that comes back every year (one kid gets a bunny, one gets a lamb) a chocolate animal, a toy, and some assorted other candies. Not a big deal. No Easter presents. We keep it real here. It’s not Christmas.


After breakfast we headed to church at St. Jude’s, where there is major overflow on Christmas and Easter, so we had to attend the overflow mass in the hall. Both kids acted like they were about to fall asleep, so we actually made one of them go back to bed when we got home! Which was good, because for me, the rest of the day was all about gumbo.

Grandma Bettie’s Holiday Gumbo

Many years ago before we had kids, we realized that Easter was the only holiday for which nobody in town invited us to a celebration. Since we don’t have other family here, we enjoy visiting friends for Thanksgiving, 4th of July, etc., but come Easter, we were just home alone. Since I had always wanted to try making my husband’s mother’s gumbo, I tackled that project on an Easter Sunday, and thus a new tradition was born.

I’ll admit that the first few years did not yield the most delicious gumbo. The basis of most Cajun stewed meals is a roux – a mixture of oil and flour with bell pepper, celery, and onion. It has to be cooked just right or the rest of the dish will be terrible. And it has to be cooked in a cast iron skilled. Don’t ask – it just has to.


It has taken years but I must say, this year I nailed it. Got the roux just right on the first try, and the yummy smell of the gumbo – which eventually had chicken, smoked sausage, and shrimp added to it – filled the house for hours. Bonus – the kids actually ate some of the meat!

The Week After Easter

Oh who am I kidding? Mom eats most of the leftover candy, and that stuff is gone by Tuesday.


What are some Easter traditions that you carry forward from your childhood? What are some that you invented for your kids?