Health | January 16th 2018

My Start to the New Year: Miraval Arizona

I’m always looking for new things to try (…just see my face mask collection!) and places to explore. I had heard amazing things about Miraval Arizona, so when Brendan and I were looking for a warm place to go after New Years, Miraval was top of the list.

Let me tell you – it lived up to the height.

Miraval is all about a meaningful wellness experience. The desert oasis features a variety of wellness programs, from spa treatments to workout classes and meditations and delicious food (alcohol is allowed :))

I was so lucky that I got to schedule my visit at Miraval right at the start of the year – their whole ethos is about using health and wellness to connect inward, which is an awesome way to enter into a new year.

It’s the perfect place for anyone looking for the ultimate “me time” – it’s not just a spa or resort or wellness centre – it’s all of the above. The treatments and classes are full of intention and meaning, and the environment is relaxing and spiritual and a perfect place to reconnect with the earth.

It’s not a weight loss retreat – you can definitely indulge and drink wine – but they are careful to make sure the food is healthy and delicious. The menu is super gourmet with perfectly sized portions, so you don’t feel deprived, but you’re not over-indulging.

My stand out meal was this Butternut Squash Soup – it was so delicious, well-flavored, and nourishing, while still being super light – so I obviously had to share with you guys!

Butternut Squash Soup

Reduced cinnamon-infused rice milk served with this balances the butternut squash and adds a completely different dimension of flavor to the dish.

Soups pureed in a blender have a richer texture. And while the butternut squash mixture can be pureed with a food processor or stick blender, the texture and yield will be different from that made in a blender.

Always be careful when blending hot liquids. Do not fill the blender container more than halfway full and hold down the top with a kitchen towel as you turn on the machine. These safeguards prevent the lid from blowing off and hot liquids flying, which can result in dangerous burns.

Makes 6 cups, or twelve ½-cup servings

¼ teaspoon Miraval Oil Blend (page 000), or vegetable oil

1 cup chopped yellow onion

1 cup chopped celery

½ teaspoon chopped garlic

5 cups peeled, 1-inch cubes butternut squash

¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 bay leaf

5 cups Vegetable Stock (page 000) or canned vegetable broth

1 ½ cups rice milk

2 whole cinnamon sticks

½ teaspoon kosher salt

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Heat a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the oil and swirl to coat the bottom of the pan. Add the onion and celery and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the squash, nutmeg, and bay leaf, and cook until the squash starts to turn brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the stock and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and cook until the squash is fork tender, about 20 minutes.

In a small saucepan, bring the rice milk and cinnamon sticks to a boil. Reduce the heat and cook, whisking occasionally, until light caramel in color and reduced to ¼ cup in volume, 18 to 20 minutes. Remove the cinnamon sticks and cool completely.

In batches, transfer the butternut squash mixture to a blender and puree on high speed until smooth. Transfer to a clean container, stir, and cover to keep warm until ready to serve.

To serve, ladle ½ cup portions into small soup bowls. Decoratively drizzle 1 teaspoon of the rice milk into the center of each serving and serve immediately.

Calories: 50, Total Fat: 0g, Carbohydrate: 12g, Dietary Fiber: 1g, Protein: 1g

They also have great fitness facilities and classes so you can keep up with your workout routine – I loved the yoga flow and pilates.

I was also pleasantly surprised at the range of people I encountered – there were people traveling alone, couples of all ages, girlfriend trips, pregnant women – the experience can be tailored to anyone that is looking for a uniquely spiritual, relaxing place to reflect.

A highlight of our stay was the floating meditation that we did (I know, insane!). The instructor had theses amazing mantras – they were so practical and attainable, which is great if you’re trying to get into a super spiritual place. These were the mantras:

I am safe and secure

I easily flow with the rhythms of life and create a life I love

I believe in myself, and offer my gifts in this world with confidence

I willingly forgive past hurts so that I may love myself and others more deeply

I speak my truth with kindness and listen with patience

I trust my intuition and create a life that nurtures my spirit and the spirit of others

I am one with all that is.  I open to the Wisdom and Abundance of the Infinite

I hope you guys can take these mantras with you as you move through your week – it was such an incredibly special experience for me and I can’t wait to get back!!!