Practising Mindfulness (Yoga Challenge: Day 7)

I missed yoga today.

But I was supposed to. And you can take that sentence two ways: I also really missed practising and the benefits of that daily routine.

Today was a rest day (6 on, 1 off) and today I practised being mindful in everything I was doing. I did a little bit of work this morning, sent out some emails, and ran errands. When I came home from town I started working on a new vegetarian recipe (Quinoa Cakes with Lemon Yogurt Sauce) from a cookbook I recently got from my cousin. And then I made Banana Bread (impressed, Mom?), which is baking in the oven as I type. I am happy to say that I didn’t think about anything else the whole time and I remained 100% present to what I was making. If you read my guest post on freshcrackedpepper.com you’ll learn that this isn’t always the case and sometimes I end up burning food into oblivion.

Mindfulness makes the meal, not great ingredients.

Lesson from Day 7

Remain present in the small things: making a cup of coffee, buying groceries, talking on the phone (come on, we’ve all had conversations and hung up and not had a clue what the person said). Each of these activities will become pleasurable and fulfilling in their own ways. Often we rush through the monotony and everydayness of life and miss out on the lessons and blessings that come with these things. That cup of coffee will taste a thousand times better if you close your eyes and sip it with intention instead of downing it while you work at your computer. At least do this for the first sip.

I’m off to enjoy those Quinoa Cakes with Banana Bread for dessert. They’ll taste that much better, no matter how they turn out, because they were made with love and intention.

© Meghan J. Ward, 2011.

Banff’s New FEAST

*Update November 2012* – Please note that FEAST in Banff is now closed.

Hungry for locally sourced and organic ingredients in Banff?

Banff’s new artisan grocer, FEAST, located at 208 Bear Street, is a dream come true for the conscious eater. Previously, finding local and organic ingredients in Banff, Alberta, was about as rare as seeing a wolverine. Now locals and visitors alike can choose from a variety of seasonal fruits and vegetables, nuts, grains, locally handcrafted products and regional cheeses and charcuterie.

FEAST, Banff’s (only) artisan grocer, is located at 208 Bear Street.

I paid an impromptu visit to FEAST today to check it out and meet the mind behind it. Turns out the store was recently opened by Baker Creek Bistro chef and owner, Shelley Robinson, a passionate advocate for locally and regionally sourced foods and the Slow Food Movement. Her goal is to ensure that items at FEAST are as local as possible, though she acknowledges that certain items cannot be found in Alberta. In these cases, she widens the circle slightly in order to acquire them.

Cherry Tomatoes from Broxburn Farms.

Robinson also ensures that items she acquires to sell are of the utmost quality. For her cheeses, she seeks out Canadian suppliers that use only traditional methods. Charcuterie also must be prepared using methods that are sustainable and humane towards animals. In some cases, she can control the quality in preparation herself. Some of the items for sale at FEAST, for instance, she prepares at Baker Creek Bistro and offers as take-home dinners.

Selection of cheeses at FEAST.

Local apricots.

FEAST also offers cheese and charcuterie platters, catering and gift baskets for Christmas and all occasions. In the summertime, they will be offering boxed lunches as well. Many of their items are great grabs for a dinner party or a picnic in the park.

FEAST allows you to pre-order platters and gift baskets.

“FEAST is somewhat out of the norm for a retail shop,” Robinson explained. Her goal is that the store becomes a community hub where you get to know your neighbours. As well, the shop will be a place where people can find information on ‘eating local.’  This is all part of her food philosophy.

If you’re conscious of reducing your impact on the environment and supporting local suppliers, pay a visit to FEAST.

Your stomach – and the Earth – will thank you.

Thanks to FEAST, Banff can acquire locally sourced and organic ingredients year round.

© Meghan J. Ward, 2010.

Two Posts, Two Worlds

Who would have ever thought that I’d have two posts – one on a food website and the other a skiing magazine –  published on the same day?

Cooking = Small Disaster

The topics couldn’t be more different, but it that shows the diversity of my interests, I suppose.

Food, well… cooking food,  has never been my forte, but I’ve always been willing to try new things! So, when my cousin – a foodie/triathlete/writer – asked me to provide a guest post for her successful food website, fresh cracked pepper, I couldn’t help but take her up on the challenge. The result was a great batch of muffins and a lot of laughs to go with it. You can check it out on freshcrackedpepper.com.

Secondly, I am excited to say that Skiing Magazine took a chance on me and let me write about the World Cup at Lake Louise. I spent two consecutive weekends up at this beautiful ski hill watching both the mens’ and womens’ downhill. I was blow away by the talent of our athletes, some of whom will be fighting for top spots in Vancouver at the upcoming Olympics. In addition to that, I learned some lessons while attending my first World Cup ever. You can find out what I learned in 4 Lessons from the Lake Louise World Cup on the Skiing Magazine website.

© Meghan J. Ward, 2009.