vegan walnut banana bread

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It’s official. 

I’m officially the best wife…to myself.

I spent my day off snowboarding with a girlfriend, drinking peppermint shnapps induced cappuccinos on the mountain, having lunch in the village, coming home to have a cat nap, read a book and bake this legendary banana cake! All in a days work my friends, all in a days work. 

I have had the BIGGEST sweet tooth lately. It’s extreme. Like contemplating running to the gas station at 11PM to get some extra dark chocolate extreme. So here I was at 8PM feeling the sweet tooth coming on and instead of resorting to buying junk I decided to bake something with what I had in the house and it turned out better than I could have imagined. 

I venture to say this is better than regular banana bread (mom yours is still incredible). Now I know the sugar content is rather high but hey people, we all deserve a little treat sometimes – am I right, or am I right? 

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Vegan Walnut Banana Bread 

(adapted from dairyfreecooking.about.com) 

Ingredients 

  • 2 C all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 C white granulated sugar 
  • 1/4 C coconut cane sugar or dark brown sugar 
  • 3/4 t. baking soda
  • 3/4 t. salt
  • 3/4 t. cinnamon
  • 1/2 C unsweetened almond milk 
  • 1 t. apple cider vinegar
  • 2 cups mashed banana, from about 4 large very ripe bananas
  • 1/4 cup olive oil 
  • 2 T. maple syrup
  • 1 t. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 C walnuts 

Preheat the oven to 350 F and lightly grease a pan of your choice with olive oil. Since I live in this tiny condo in Whistler with the most mismatched kitchen utensils ever, I used what I had, a 9X9. 

In a medium sized mixing bowl mix together the flour, sugars, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. 

In a large mixing bowl stir together the almond milk and the apple cider vinegar. Let sit for two minutes. Meanwhile mash your bananas. I used ripe ones I had in the freezer and just defrosted them in the microwave for 1 minute. I think using these made the cake even more moist than it would’ve been. Next whisk together the bananas, olive oil, maple syrup and vanilla until well combined. Add the dry ingredients until just combined, be sure not to overmix here. Fold in the walnuts. I found the batter to be rather thick, but when reading other comments other people had theirs a bit more viscous. Yolo. 

Smooth the batter into your pan. Sprinkle a bit more brown sugar on top as well as some walnuts for garnish. Bake for approx. 1hr. However, I usually just sit around and keep checking in until I feel it’s ready. My cake is super moist and I like it that way. I think mine baked for probably about 45 minutes. 

This cake is legitimately kick ass. 

I hope you love it – spread on some vegan butter or earth balance for extra decadence! 

with mushy banana love and kindness, 

Sarah Alicia Harvison 

 

patience young grasshopper

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“be willing to be uncomfortable. be comfortable being uncomfortable. it may get tough, but it’s a small price to pay for living a dream” – peter mcwilliams 

I must have been seduced by the words “candlelit” and “restorative”. 

As I entered the studio the dim lighting, flickering candles, scent of burning sweet grass and gentle sanskrit chanting must have fooled me. I walked in, as if in a trance and lay down surrounded by props beside my equally a-type personality girlfriend, Kelly. 

As the teacher explained what a yin class was it suddenly dawned on me. This was not going to be the relaxing hour and a half I had anticipated. Yin yoga embraces holding poses and allowing the connective tissues (fascia, tendons, ligaments etc.) to release. Yin is used to compliment a Yang pratice of vinyasa, power yoga and high energy. I have always sought the Yang and tossed away the Yin. I used to lead a run clinic and I was the one who ran home during the 15 minutes of stretching at the end. Scoffed at the foam rollers. The girl who can’t sit still. 

I was trying to concoct an exit plan as she spoke about long, deep holds and releasing tension in your hips and hamstrings. I, of course, had positioned myself directly in front of the teacher and put Kelly’s mat next to mine. I had no exit. 

Our first asana was a wide legged childs pose threading our left arm under our right and coming to rest on one ear. I felt as if I was in the birthing position and my groin was going to tear at any moment. When I couldn’t possibly hold it a second longer, the teacher said – only 2 minutes left. I thought I might scream.

I heard her feet fast approaching me and went into panic mode. If she touched me, I honestly thought I would be permanently stuck. Thank god her footsteps passed my mat. 

My sweet oasis of peace and tranquility had turned into a torture chamber of pain. 

“Distinguish the difference between discomfort and pain” she spoke softly. Pain, this was definitely pain, or maybe it was discomfort? Where am I!?

As we moved into our next posture, I caught Kelly’s eye and she looked at me in distress, this girl is a gym queen and ski instructor – I guessed from the look in her eyes she wasn’t a ‘deep holds’ girl either. As I whispered a serious curse word in her ear, the teacher simultaneously spoke about finding peace and depth in the posture. Oh I had found the depth, the peace wasn’t coming anytime soon. 

Kelly and I literally could not look at each other without laughing at the hilarity of us front and centre in class. Surprisingly (not so surprisingly), post savasana I felt incredible. I felt relaxed, open and calm. 

This class was a lesson in so much more than ‘stretching’. Why do we run from the things that we are unfamiliar with? Where we are most uncomfortable? We avoid anything that ventures out of our comfort zone, we avoid discomfort. 

Sometimes getting out of our comfort zone. Literally getting uncomfortable yeilds amazing results. Not just on your mat, but in your life. I never ride all the way home because I don’t know the way and I’m afraid of getting on a black run that I can’t handle. Today I met up with two girlfriends who showed me the way and I don’t know what took me so long. 

The class tonight exercised my willpower and most of all patience. It made me realize there is pleasure in patience. To recognize discomfort and move through it. That my Yang practice isn’t really serving me all that well. I’ve had a lot of insight from my co-workers, family and friends to relax lately. To stop worrying and keeping so busy that I get overwhelmed. To find time to create exactly what I want, to get clear. Tonight I realized a little more Yin, not just on the mat, is exactly what I need. 

Thank you Loka for the space, Kelly for the laughs and the candelit, sweet grass, mantra filled Yin class for the reality check. 

with love and soon-to-be patience, 

Sarah Alicia Harvison

 

 

 

my top ten boarding tunes

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I feel like the luckiest girl in the world to live here.

Especially when I’m on top of the mountain. Every time I turn around a corner and see the snow capped mountains, feel the snow under my board and the cold air across my face – I feel so alive.

I feel so blessed.

Today I went up the mountain with one of my best friends and my roommate. We got up at 5:30 am and took the bus into the village at 6:00 am to wait in line for ‘freshtracks’ a special breakfast on top of the mountain before getting the first lines of the day. It had snowed for the first time in weeks these past 2 days and everyone was eager to get out on the slopes. I couldn’t help but have a permanent grin on my face as we ripped down the hill and heard a group of older skiers whooping and yelling at each other with excitement. There is something so magical about riding. You really feel like you are so connected to nature and your body all at the same time.

I finished the day with a couple of runs on my own and I have to say, I have a pretty rad playlist at the moment. There is truly nothing better than hearing an unreal song come on your iPod as you ride down the mountain.

I just got home and it’s 3:30 in the afternoon. Seven hours on the mountain felt like one today. I think it’s siesta time.

Top 10 Snowboarding Tunes 

February 2014 | 1 hour

  1. SWTRWTHR – Alex Young
  2. Gold – Bondax (Snakehips Remix)
  3. You and Me – Disclosure (Flume Remix)
  4. Doing it Wrong – Drake (Figgy remix)
  5. Sweet Talk – Kita feat. Reija Lee
  6. Punga (original mix) – Klingande
  7. Collect Call – Metric (Adventure Club remix)
  8. Intro – the XX (Jelacee Dubstep Remix)
  9. Million Voices – Otto Knows
  10. Drop it like it’s Beautiful – Oliver Tank

Bonus Tracks

  1. Heads will Roll – Yeah Yeah Yeah’s (A-Trak Remix)
  2. Shoulda – Jamie Woon (Sammy Chelly Remix)

I’m obsessed with this playlist and I hope you like it too,

with mountain love and kindness,

Sarah Alicia Harvison

green veggie bowl with kale coconut sauce topped with curried chickpeas

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“You are the books you read, the films you watch, the people you meet, the dreams you have, the conversations you engage in. You are what you take from these. You are the sound of the ocean, the breath of fresh air, the brightest light and the darkest corner. You are a collective of every experience you have had in your life. You are every single day. So drown yourself in a sea of knowledge and existence. Let the words run through your veins and let the colors fill your mind.”

This is a poem I’ve read in a few of my yoga classes that I really needed to read for myself this week. We often hold our identity so closely to external things; our job, our hobby, our partner. If we were stripped of everything; where we live, what we do, who we surround ourselves with – what is left? Just us. These external factors help us shape our lives, influence us and help design what we want our life to look like but they aren’t who we are. Who we are is so much deeper than that and it is personal and unique to each and every person in the world. It is our core values, our life purpose, our dharma. 

I had trouble letting go of something this week that I had become incredibly attached to. I felt that it defined me and without it I would feel lost and unsure of what to do with my time. Initially I felt a range of emotions but eventually came to the conclusion that it is a gift. In the yoga sutras (1:12-1:16), sort of like the ‘bible’ of yoga. Patanjali discusses practice and detachment; abhyasa and vairagya. I’ve heard it described as a scale, they balance each other out. It’s two opposing thoughts “never give up!” and “always let go!” that actually go hand in hand. 

I understand this duality as practicing the life I want to live and the person I want to be without attachment to those external factors. In the sutras, Patanjali explains that with practice we move “…ever deeper towards the direct experience of the eternal core of our being.” Practice, indicates doing something repeatedly. Vairagya, or non-attachment, to me, means being able to accept changes along the way. Patanjali also discusses impermanence. Everything is transient. Your highest high and your lowest low are all impermanent. All we have is who we are, at our core, and that is what matters most. 

So pretty much I’m saying pursue your dreams, go for gold and allow all the detours en route to make you stronger, teach you immensely and make the destination even sweeter.

I made this recipe up today and I’m so stoked on how it turned out. It was clean and oh-so green! Kale was 2 huge bunches for $3 at the local grocery store so I concocted this meal and it is definitely going to be a staple in my cooking repertoire. 

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green veggie bowl with kale coconut sauce and baked curried chickpeas 

for the vegetable bowl

  • 2C brown rice 
  • 1 big bunch of dark green kale, divided in two 
  • 1 can of coconut milk 
  • 1 green pepper, deseeded and chopped 
  • 1 zucchini, chopped
  • 1 crown of broccoli, chopped 
  • 1 bunch of bok choy
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 1C vegetable stock 
  • 2 brown onions, diced 
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced 
  • 1 TB mild-medium curry powder
  • EVOO (extra virgin olive oil) 

for the curried chickpeas

  • 1 can of chickpeas
  • drizzle of EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)
  • 1 TB of curry powder
  • dash of salt 

To make the sauce, go twice around the pan with the EVOO, about two tablespoons and let heat. Add two cloves of minced garlic and one of the diced brown onions. When the onion and garlic become fragrant add half of the kale, ripped into leaves, stems removed. Saute for 5-10 minutes until the kale starts to soften and wilt. Add the can of coconut milk and a couple of teaspoons of curry powder to the pan. Combine and let saute for another 2-3 minutes. Set aside to cool slightly before adding it to your blender or food processor to make into a smooth green sauce.

Boil 4 cups of water, when boiling add the two cups of brown rice and bring to a simmer until it is ready (15-20 minutes). 

In the same pan, saute the other onion and remaining garlic in about two swirls of the pan of EVOO. Add all of the green veggies and let saute for 5 minutes. Then add the 1C of vegetable stock, let simmer 5 minutes longer. 

Drain and rinse the chickpeas. In a small mixing bowl add the EVOO, dash of salt and TB of curry powder to the chickpeas and combine. Lay out on a baking sheet and place into the oven at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. 

While chickpeas are in the oven add the green kale-coconut sauce to the pan with the veggies and mix to combine. Let simmer while the brown rice and the chickpeas finish up. 

In your bowl add a scoop of the brown rice, topped with the kale coconut veggies, followed by a sprinkle of the baked chickpeas and some leafy arugula, if you’re a fan, cilantro would taste amazing in place of the arugula as well. 

I really hope you try out this recipe, it tastes even better than it looks! 

with kale and kindness,

Sarah Alicia Harvison

vegan chocolate peanut butter cup cookies

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I had a beautiful morning.

I went to a boxing class this morning with four of my girlfriends, followed by cappuccinos, a restorative yoga class with Tina James and the most incredible vegan smoothie.

Last night we had an event in-store called ‘Food for Thought’ with our four ambassadors. They spoke about their upbringing, food choices, lifestyle and how they eat to fuel their body. We heard from two yogis, a CrossFit athlete and a runner, soon-to-be naturopath. It was so amazing to hear how these four incredibly fit, accomplished, strong, beautiful women all chose to fuel their bodies in different ways. They have such a wealth of knowledge and I could have listened to them speak for hours.

Personally, I am about half-way through ‘Yoga and Vegetarianism’ by co-founder of Jivamukti Yoga, Sharon Gannon. The book is so well-written, weaving the practice of yoga with facts about vegetarianism and the meat and dairy industry. My own path of eating has been interesting. Before moving to Whistler I didn’t eat red meat and very little dairy. When I moved here 10 months ago I decided to cut out meat all together but would consume fish and dabbled in dairy. I would still eat Greek yogurt and if a salad had some goats cheese or feta on it I’d eat it. I’d indulge in a slice of veggie pizza now and then.

I feel that in my life I dabble. I have my hand in a lot of cookie jars (literally and metaphorically) at once. Through reading this book I realize how disconnected so many of us are from our food. The women last night, all eat so differently but are perfectly aligned in the connection they have with what they put in their mouths. They eat consciously and with purpose. They choose to fuel their body with different food but they are connected with what food works for them, where it comes from and why they choose to eat it.

I have decided to fully commit to eating vegan until I leave for Bali on March 10th. The dairy is a convenience thing. I don’t feel good when I eat it, I don’t particularly crave it, I don’t buy it at the grocery store – but if there is a cheese tray at a party…I destroy it. If there is pizza at a staff meeting, I can’t help myself. I am going to end the dabble and commit.

And with that declaration, obviously comes – a cookie.

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Vegan Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup Cookies 

**side note: this recipe does have a fair bit of sugar which I’m sure you could cut down on, also the recipe I was inspired by said that this produced 2 dozen cookies, mine made 10…haha

F0r the Chocolate Dough

  • 1C olive oil
  • 1C sugar (I used coconut cane sugar)
  • 1/4 C pure maple syrup
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2C all-purpose flour
  • 1/3C unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

For the PB Filling

  • 3/4C natural salted peanut butter, crunchy or creamy style (I added 2 tablespoons of almond butter)
  • 2/3C powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons almond milk (I should’ve used less here, you want the filling consistency thick but not runny)
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease one baking sheet with olive or coconut oil.

To start in a large mixing bowl, combine oil, sugar, maple syrup, almond milk and vanilla. Mix until smooth then stir in flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix to form a moist dough.

In a small mixing bowl, mix together peanut butter, almond butter, powdered sugar, 2 tablespoons of almond milk and vanilla to form a moist but firm dough. If peanut butter dough is dry and crumbly (natural peanut butters have varying moisture contents), stir in the remaining tablespoon of almond milk. Mine was very viscous. Here I would’ve eliminated the almond milk because the added almond butter already makes it a bit creamier.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease one baking sheet with olive or coconut oil.

To create the cookies take a spoonful of the chocolate dough and roll it into a ball, flatten into a disc like shape. Add a small scoop of the peanut butter filling to the center. Pinch the sides to trap the peanut butter inside and then roll in your hands to form a chocolate ball with peanut butter in the center. Place on baking sheet. My chocolate dough was rather gooey so I created one disc, put the peanut butter in the center, then I created a second disc and covered it. This created a pocket like effect before rolling them into rather large balls to place onto the baking sheet. Make sure your cookies are fairly uniform in size or some will bake much faster than the others, in turn making them much harder… (lesson learned)

Bake the cookies for approximately 15 minutes. Take them out and let them cool and settle for about 5 minutes before enjoying them!

Enjoy them with a big glass of unsweetened almond milk, my favourite!

I was rather proud of these cookies because I am a shit baker. I love to cook and experiment, toss a little bit of this in, use up the rest of that etc. Experimenting in baking is much less successful but these worked out!

with love, kindness and cookies,

Sarah Alicia Harvison

my top ten workout jams

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I’m a music junkie. Whether it’s searching for songs for my self-practice, a spin class, yoga or just a good ole sweat sesh – I’m always on the hunt. I love to find music on 8tracks and soundcloud but my girlfriend Steph also introduced me to spotify where you can check out playlists from your friends classes, even famous yogi’s favourite jams. I have lots of great playlists I can’t wait to share. From a sultry, rocking flow class playlist to my signature ‘sasha fierce’ playlist with tracks to make you feel like the most powerful woman in the world (sorry boys!) I have lots of songs to share. Here is my latest favourite circuit training playlist, getting you motivated to move at the gym el solo. A few new tracks mixed in with some of my old favourites.

Top 10 Workout Jams 

February 2014 | 45 minutes 

1. Turn Down for What – DJ SNAKE ft. Lil John

2. Vegas – Taches

3. Android Porn – Kraddy

4. Hypnotize You – Harvey Banks ft. N.E.R.D

5. Midnight Life – The White Panda

6. Blue Jeans (RAC remix) – Lana Del Rey

7. Power – Kanye West

8. Revolution – Diplo ft. Imanos, Faustix & Kai

9. Promesses – DIMMI ft. B Lacoste

10. Feel the Love – Rudimental ft. John Newman

BONUS: Changed The Way You Kissed Me – Example

Get sweaty ladies and gentlemen,

with love and bass,

Sarah Alicia Harvison

creamy coconut & mushroom soup

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The stars in Whistler, especially when standing on my porch, are so incredibly bright I feel like I could reach out and grab them. They limit the streetlights, especially where I live so that you can see the stars more clearly. I love that. I went to the most beautiful yoga class tonight and to my surprise it had someone playing and singing live music. I went to the cafe in this gorgeous lodge on the water by my house this afternoon to respond to some emails and have an almond milk cappuccino (I think I’m addicted). The cafe is attached to the yoga studio so with 5 minutes to class I jetted over. 

I’ve written about Tina’s classes before but she is just so incredibly loving, genuine and inspiring I am in awe every time I take her class. She is one of those people who you just want to bottle up everything they are saying so you can listen to it over and over again. She speaks with such conviction and passion straight from her heart and everything she says really resonates with me. Tonight she spoke about intention. She said that if you have clear intention you absolutely cannot fail. There may be a few roadblocks or bumps in the road but you can make it a reality. She discussed listening to your heart and your body. Following what feels right for you.

I was introduced to this program last New Year for 2013 called ‘Word of the Year’. You pick one and only one word to guide you throughout that year. A word that if you brought into your life, led your life by this word, let it guide you – you would see a tangible and welcome change. Last year my word was trust, I am still working on that but felt that in moving to Whistler and in a lot of the relationships I’ve made here, I’ve been able to really trust and be trusted by those around me. This year I chose intuition. I am always in between two decisions. Where to live, where to work, what my next step is, whether to say yes or no. I want to silence my mind and listen to my gut this year. Do what is right for me. Intuition and intention go hand in hand. When you listen to your intuition you get so clear on your intention and you can live the life you dream of. 

As a lot of my friends are buying their first house, getting engaged, having babies. I am ecstatic for them and sometimes envious of where they are in their lives. Tina spoke about wealth tonight. That our wealth isn’t measured only financially, but we should also evaluate it by the wealth of love and support around us. The depth of our relationships, our friendships. Where we find happiness in our lives. That is our wealth. When I look at my life that way – I feel like the wealthiest woman in the world. 

On my way home from yoga I looked at all the brilliant stars and felt so lucky for my life. I then went to the grocery store and grabbed some ingredients to make this incredible mushroom soup. This soup was inspired by the cream of mushroom soup found on the VEGA website. I made a few additions and really loved the outcome. Thanks for the inspiration VEGA! 

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Creamy Coconut and Mushroom Soup 

  • 1 TB of coconut oil 
  • 1 large white onion diced 
  • 1 clove of garlic minced 
  • 4 C of cremini or button mushrooms, chopped 
  • 2-3 portobello mushroom caps, chopped
  • 1 C of vegetable stock (or white wine) 
  • 2 cans of coconut milk
  • 2 C vegetable broth
  • a bunch of pea shoots (or any kind of sprout you love)
  • 1 TB of soy sauce or tamari 
  • 1 TB of balsamic vinegar 
  • dash of cracker pepper 

In a large pot over medium heat, melt the coconut oil. Add the onions and garlic and stir until coated, let simmer stirring often until they are translucent and tender. Add all of the mushrooms and let saute until most of the liquid has evaporated (10-15 minutes) stirring often. Next add one cup of vegetable stock (or white wine) to the pot to deglaze. I didn’t have any wine and the BC liquor store was closed unfortunately, I really think the wine would’ve been nice rather than the vegetable stock, next time! 

Add one can of coconut milk to your blender along with half of the mushroom/onion mix from your pot. Puree until smooth. Add the mixture back into your pot along with the other can of coconut milk and 2 more cups of vegetable broth/stock. My soup was pretty viscous so I only added one cup, next time I would add a few more mushrooms to make it thicker. Finally add the balsamic, tamari and pepper to taste. The balsamic and tamari added a spiciness the soup was lacking in my opinion. 

Garnish the soup with a few sprigs of whatever sprout you’d like. I added pea shoots. If you like dairy I think that a dollop of Greek yogurt in the center of your soup bowl, finished with the sprouts would be gorgeous and delicious.

This soup was super easy to make, super healthy, filling and delicious. 

I hope you try it and love it! 

with intuition and intention, 

Sarah Alicia Harvison 

roasted eggplant and zucchini pizza topped with caramelized onions, artichokes and arugula

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I love pizza but I am trying to cut dairy out of my diet. I don’t drink milk or buy any dairy products but that enticing piece of pizza from Fat Tony’s has a tendency to call my name. Cheese is my weakness. I made this vegan pizza with all of my favourites on it and I honestly didn’t miss the cheese at all.

After last night, I can also add snowmobiling on Cougar mountain to the list of things I’ve gotten up to in Whistler recently. Snowmobiling was followed by pizza and beer around a campfire with all of my girlfriends. I indulged in some veggie pizza but passed on the beer for some perrier – that counts for something right? haha. I could smell the smokey campfire in my hair this morning and loved it.

I hope you guys love this pizza as much as me. This is the first of many experimental pizza’s I plan on creating. The dough was store bought from a local baker and has an egg in it. Next time I’m going to try to make the dough myself. 

Roasted Eggplant and Zucchini Pizza 

  • 1 fresh pizza dough (bought or homemade)
  • a few shakes of vegetable spice 
  • 1 large eggplant sliced 
  • 1/2 a zucchini sliced 
  • 1 jar of artichokes in oil
  • a few dashes of worcestershire sauce  
  • a few dashes of your preferred hot sauce
  • 1/2 cup of tomato sauce, or crushed tomatoes 
  • 1 large white onion
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar 
  • a few dashes of balsamic
  • 2 TB extra virgin olive oil 
  • 1/4 cup white or red wine (whichever works) 
  • 2 C of arugula (rocket) 

Toss the eggplant and zucchini in olive oil and vegetable spice and lay flat on a baking sheet. Place in a 350 degree oven for 15 minutes. While vegetables are roasting place skillet on the stove top over medium heat. Heat the olive oil in the pan. Add the sugar and keep stirring to let it dissolve into the olive oil. Add the onion to the pan. Cook until the onion is translucent. Add the balsamic vinegar and the wine and let simmer on low continually stirring until the onions get a sticky coating and become caramelized. Set aside. 

Flip the vegetables and let them get another 5-10 minutes on the opposite side. Spread the dough out on a well oiled pan. In a mixing bowl, mix together the tomato sauce, worcestershire sauce and the hot sauce (I like to use Frank’s) until you get your desired taste. Spread this onto the base of your pizza. Take the vegetables out of the oven and spread across the pizza. Top with the artichokes and then sprinkle the caramelized onions on top. Bake for another 15 minutes or until the dough has puffed up and baked through. 

Take out of the oven and top with the arugula. If you’d like a little bit more sweetness, feel free to finish with a drizzle of balsamic reduction. 

Enjoy! 

with love and artichokes, 

Sarah Alicia 

2014 is for lovers.

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Wow. I have been on a bit of a hiatus from this blog. Since my last post I celebrated Halloween as an incredibly convincing Princess Jasmine. Skated on top of Grouse Mountain. Said goodbye to a love. Said hello to a love. Strapped my feet into a snowboard for the first time. Fell of a chairlift. Accidentally went down a black diamond. Watched the sun rise over the mountains at 6000 ft. above sea level on Christmas morning. Linked my turns. Wrote 18 letters. Had the best conversation of my life over a 25 minute gondola ride with a stranger. Bungee jumped off a bridge. Learned a Bollywood dance routine. Drank too many Bailey’s hot chocolates. Sampled most of the yam fries in Whistler. Attended countless yoga classes. Had innumerable dance parties. Spent a ridiculous amount on Skype credit. Missed home more than ever. Felt more at home than ever. Laughed a lot, loved a lot and got a little bit closer to figuring out what I want and who I want to be. 

I’m so excited for what is next. The most exciting part, I couldn’t tell you what it’s going to be. 

All I know is that whatever I choose, I will choose it with all of my heart and with absolute love. I randomly picked this card up one day after yoga. It is one of my favourite definitions of love and I read it often to remind me of my purpose and how I want to live my life. Full of love. 

 

love

like a river flows. In places it is deeper,
but it is always patient, kind and trusting.
Love readily forgives and holds no grudges;
it protects and honours others. There are
no conditions or expectations.
Love flows freely.

 

I couldn’t come back to the blog without sharing a recipe… If anybody reading this works with me you’ve probably noticed me eating it for every meal plus the huge back stock of it in the fridge. Yes, it’s that good. I went to the grocery store to buy quinoa but at $12 I decided to go for the more economical rice-like pasta, orzo. I’d never cooked with orzo before but it turned out incredibly. Verdict: Obsessed. You can put anything you want in this salad. I went a bit crazy and put all my favourites in, feel free to dumb it down. 

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Mixed Orzo Salad

  • one bag of orzo pasta
  • a handful of cranberries
  • 20 pitted kalamata olives cut in half 
  • a pint of cherry tomatoes 
  • a medium zucchini cut into chunks 
  • two handfuls of pecan halves 
  • a large bunch of flat leaf parsley chopped
  • a jar of artichoke hearts with oil 
  • a can of chickpeas (drained and rinsed) 
  • a can of kidney beans (drained and rinsed)

Cook the whole bag of orzo in 8 cups of boiling water. When tender, drain and pour into a large mixing bowl. Add all the above ingredients plus or minus any more that you choose and mix well. Do this immediately as the orzo will stick together if you let it sit too long. I separated the salad into containers for my lunch and when I eat it drizzle a little bit of extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar on top and if I’m feeling crazy a bit of arugula or ‘rocket’ as you Aussies call it! 

I hope you love this salad as much as I do! 

with love and kindness, 

Sarah Alicia Harvison

the power of one

hiAt my yoga class last week I only had one student attend. I hadn’t seen her for a while, she hadn’t come to her mat by herself, for her own practice in quite some time. That student was me.

I have a new time slot at a studio I haven’t been teaching at very long. When nobody showed up to my class I felt incredibly discouraged. I immediately chose to see it as a reflection of my own teaching and in turn a reflection of who I was. I’d never had an empty class before. After a few minutes of feeling sorry for myself, embarrassed and not wanting to tell anyone my class had an attendance of zero. I decided to shift my perspective.

‘nobody’ didn’t attend my class, somebody definitely showed up, me.

my class wasn’t ’empty’, I was there with an incredible playlist and with intention.

the attendance wasn’t ‘zero’ it was one, and one very important person I hadn’t put first in a long time.

I decided to see this time as a gift, and a much needed one at that. I spend a lot of time over-thinking, planning and worrying. Worrying about my next step, how I’m being perceived, the impact I’m making, what I’m doing with my life. When I practice I get to forget about all of that. I practice a lot in class but very rarely on my own, in a beautiful studio overlooking the mountains I finally had my little slot of time to devote to myself, what my body felt like doing and quieting my mind all on my own.

On the walk home I resisted the urge to call my mom and tell her about my class, to seek sympathy. Instead I looked at the snow on top of the mountains. The bursting yellow, red and orange of the leaves on the trees and chose to experience gratitude, wonderment and peace.

So many of us put our own experience last. We seek to give, to plan, to be so in our head all of the time. This class was a blessing in disguise. I feel that the universe sent me this class as a lesson in not creating a story about myself based on a completely unrelated incidence. As a gift of time and time alone.

I remember on my yoga teacher training we had a day of complete silence. The idea was to be in solitude with ourselves and our thoughts. We were discouraged to connect with others on any level, even eye contact. I found this so incredibly hard. I am such a social person I really hated being alone but when I delved deeper I found some solace in solitude. The ability to write and think and discover how you feel about your life without outward opinions or interactions. I still believe the key to a long and happy life is positive and giving relationships with others but I sometimes forget the benefit of time alone.

I’m committed to giving myself time on my mat and in my life.

I always talk about seeing the positive in whatever situation comes our way, how can we shift our perspective and move to a place of exploration, self-discovery and happiness in all aspects of our life.

I’m so grateful to my one student that day. To her willingness to try something new, to be present and find the gift in every situation.

with love and kindness,

Sarah Alicia Harvison