My Breakup Letter

How should I put this…
  • It’s not you it’s me
  • I can’t handle how intense my feelings are for you
  • I’m just at a really weird place in my life right now
  • I need my space
  • I need to focus on me
  • You deserve better than me

I’ll start by saying that I am not giving up on blogging. It seems, however, that it has become more of a burden than a labour of love. The more interest by blog has gained, the less interested I became. The {probably self imposed} pressure to post has yeilded sub par and inconsistent content. You’ve noticed, you can be honest. What started as a creative outlet is now a nagging blip on my to-do list. So I’m taking it back. Separating business from pleasure. Here’s to being selfish and indulgent and a fresh, new start.

Thank you all from the bottom of my heart for following me thus far, I hope to see you all over at my new project: ariffalala

Communal Table, Thanksgiving and Recent Eats

A new program has been established at the University of Calgary called The Communal Table. Every month, a group of us takes a crop from a local farmer, prepares it and eats it together. For the first event, we used locally grown potatoes, hand harvested by some of the participants in the program and made gnocchi from scratch.

The objective of the program is to bring back a sence of community and connection in terms of food. It’s rare that in the hustle-bustle of our lifestyles that anyone stops to harvest, cook, share and eat a meal together.

We baked, peeled, mashed, mixed, kneaded, rolled and sliced our way to beautiful little pillows of poatoey dumplings, enjoyed with a fresh salad with local beets and carrots (that tasted like candy) and a dessert of organic berries with honey and cinnamon.

We were also fortunate enough to be addressed by Rod from Leaf & Lyre — a family business using SPIN (small plot intensive) farming to cultivate backyard gardens in the city.

It was a real pleasure to see Rod’s clear passion for local and sustainable practises in an urban environment as well as embracing traditional practices that bring food and people together.

*Insert awkward transition here*

HI! Here’s some brand new information: It’s been busy. I keep trying to remind myself that blogging is much like cleaning my room. Take a little time to do it daily, or wait for it to pile up into a big mess that my mom eventually cleans up out of frustration. 

But some days, when you have every minute stuffed from 5:30 to 11:00, taking pictures of, editing pictures of, and posting pictures of your food just doesn’t happen. Here’s a quick update though!

A few weeks ago I had an incredible green Thai curry with yams, coconut milk and chicken. I recreated it at home with tofu, sweet potato, mushrooms, and broccoli.

Perfect protein pancakes with almond butter and grilled bananas

French toast with cinnamon spiked pumpkin, almond butter, and grilled bananas

One of my favorite combinations —  grilled carrot/ cinnamon/ almond butter wrap

We had our usual Thanksgiving dinner with the family this past weekend. It’s always a great evening of food and family, but the days leading up are nothing less than blood, sweat, tears, screaming babies and shattered glass. I love the holidays.

We are 100% incapable of taking a decent picture together.

On my plate was a heap of salad {my uncle has a secret/ AMAZING dressing recipe. There are rarely any salad left overs}, green beans, mashed potatoes n’ gravy, mac & cheese, and perfect turkey with home-made cranberry sauce. After a full day of cooking and very little eating this plate disappeared in a flash.

After a bit of digestion we dug into dessert which is always my project during the holidays. I joked that I woke up a few weeks ago in a cold sweat after dreaming up this dessert.

1st layer: Browned butter pumpkin blondie
2nd layer: Salted pecan praline
3rd layer: Village Ice cream Salted Caramel Ice cream
4th layer: Cinnamon whipped cream.

Just ridiculous and thoroughly enjoyed, but this week was back to the usual, starting with a neon green beverage.

Romaine, spinach, lemon, apple, ginger. Good news, it’s almost the weekend — aaaand I’m working every day of it. Sad Trombone.

Veggie Potluck

One of my goals for this year at university was to get involved in at least one group/ society/ committee.

One that caught my eye was the Vegetarian and Vegan club. Though I am neither, I was excited to find a group of people who gather to talk about good food, ethical practises and everything in between. Last night was the welcome potluck/ meet and greet and there was a great spread of food and wonderful conversation. I also met a fellow blogger Mallory. She’s had culinary training and is a runner extraordinaire.

I brought pumpkin cookies using this recipe (used spelt flour and a flax egg) and veggie juice to the potluck. There was a good assortment of grainy and vegetable salads and home made pretzel buns. YUM

This morning I took an RPM class and came home to enjoy a lazy breakfast while catching up with Glee

{Goat yogurt, apple, banana, granola, cranberries, honey and peanut butter}

The weekend is so close!

Well Fed/ Rested


{Salad of spinach, roasted beets, olives, artichoke, lentils, sweet potato, and feta}

It took me exactly one week to burn myself out. Going from 5:30 a.m. until 10:00 p.m. feels great and productive at first, but it is draining and I crashed so easily.

{Overnight oats with berries, bananas, chia seeds, granola and peanut butter}

I’m going to try to say no more often. I am quick to find ways to pick up extra work shifts, pile one the yoga classes, and run (un)necessary errands. I need to remember that my priorities are school, my health, and my family and friends. Over crowding my schedule causes all of them to suffer.

{Quesadilla with smoked turkey, sliced pear, brie, and kale in a spelt tortilla}


Monday Morning

{Making friends at the AIDS Calgary walk for life. Albeit friends dressed as sperm and condoms…}

Well, the universe seems to be telling me to slow. down. Last night, before bed, I triple checked my alarm for 5:29 a.m., turned my phone volume to high and layed out my clothes for RPM. Still, this morning, there was no sign of an alarm having ever gone off and I woke up on my own at 6:25.

I was a bit annoyed at first, thinking “crap! they’re probably on the interval track RIGHT. NOW.” But really, if you beleive in signs, which I do, this was one telling me to take the day off. To eat my breakfast peacefully. To catch up on reading. To actually do my hair.

{Long lost childhood photographs courtesy of Fareen from Food Mamma — and for that matter, reconnecting with Fareen over the blogosphere! She used to play with my brother and I when we were wee little things. Can we take a moment to note my chubby wrists, Buddha belly and floral pants? Thank you.}

{Inspiration abound for these pretties. I’ve been having thoughts of a pumpkin carving party. Roasting seeds, spicy cocktails, cozy sweaters. Anyone?}

{New Ray Bans, New outlook}

{Extra curricular activities}

Days go by

Where did we leave off?

Thursday morning I started my day at the yoga studio for a warm flow practise. It was a perfect, sweaty start to the day ahead. Breakfast was toast with banana, almond butter, honey and granola with a side of summer fruit that just won’t quit

I was invited to a sneak peek at the Calgary Home and Design show, I brought along my friend Torrie since she is obsessed with interior design. We wandered around looking at all of the vendor booths, I paused for a good chunk of time to drool over a Vitamix and wrapped up our tour with a visit to the Fiasco food truck for some gelato.

We also tried one of their Belgian waffles which heavy and doughy and heavenly. I scooped spoonfuls of my cappuccino gelato onto every bite of my half of this monster.

I invited my friend Shifrah over for dinner, wine and Glee, so as soon as we got home we started cooking.

On the menu: Quiona with roasted butternut squash, kale and feta, and broiled tilapia with pesto.

I had also been bitten by the baking bug, so we whipped up a quick batch of vegan almond butter blondies with dark chocolate chips and raspberries stirred in. Serve with a scoop of banana soft serve spiked with coconut cream which I HIGHLY recommend.

Despite a sugar/ white wine hangover, I was recovered enough on Friday morning to go to Body Pump. I’ve been going pretty consistently so I upped the weights and wanted to die by the end (in the best way possible) that is what I love about the pump, it never, ever gets easy.

I took advantage of a short break in my day to catch up on some reading and inhale my lunch — some chickpeas/ quinoa/ hummus/ veggie mix. It’s the quickest, most filling healthy meal I can throw together

Class – Work – Dinner – Crash.

Saturday I was up bright and early, gobbled up an almond butter blondie and caught an early hot class before work. I dilly-dallied on my way home since it was such a beautiful day out and I work in one of the most beautiful parts of the city.

Once I finally made it home I put together a big salad heavy on the toppings

Wild rice mix, green lentils, chopped pear, red onion, blue cheese, walnuts, home-made honey-balsamic dressing over spinach.

Then I proceeded to sleep for 11 glorious hours. I am sad to report that my lingering cold snuck up on me again! I caught it early at throat tickles and pumped myself full of Echinacea and vitamin C and I think that did the trick, except for my obnoxious right nostril which refuses to unplug.

Today was most certainly not a day of rest but was probably my favorite day this week.

3 Course Breakfast:

  • 1st course: Echinacea
  • 2nd course: Emergen-C
  • 3rd course: Smoothie with banana, blueberries, almond milk, perfect fit protein, peanut butter, spinach

Then I hopped on a bus and a train to spend the day down at Eau Claire for the AIDS Calgary Walk for Life. If you’ll recall, I’m a volunteer photographer with the society so I was fortunate enough to spend the day capturing moments of fun at the event.

{The extra F in my name is for Fabulous}

I was so, so impressed with every aspect of the event. The passion for this cause is so inspiring between the members of AIDS Calgary Awareness Association, all of the sponsors, volunteers and participants.

I wrapped up the day at Yoga Passage for a fast, hot, and sweaty class that I ended with a few minutes of head standing to try and clear out my sinuses.

Sleep tight.

Hungry days and seasonal delays

Yesterday I rolled out of bed for a pre-sunrise BodyPump class. I love early, early workouts but only if I get the prescribed 7-8 hours of sleep. Otherwise sleep wins every time.

Weight lifting leaves me hungry all. day. long. I drank a big green smoothie as soon as I got home, but grazed throughout the morning until I decided snacks wouldn’t cut it anymore and put together an earlylunch

Braised kale, olives, chickpeas, trail mix, Mary’s crackers, balsamic, honey, truffle oil with veggies and fruit

For the afternoon I headed to class for my Food Culture and Communication class where we spent three hours talking about local food.

After more snackage and my favorite pumpkin drink

Awake tea soy misto with one pump of pumpkin. Boom.

I was planning on sleeping in this morning but found myself creeping people on Facebook at 4:30 in the morning, so I caught another spin class. I just keep growing more and more obsessed with RPM, I used to find myself on the verge of death by the end of this class but my strength and endurance has grown which means I’ve been finding ways to make it more challenging — cranking up the resistance and staying on the saddle durring climbs.

Breakfast — I call this the “Clinging on to Summer”

Overnight oats with banana, berries, and peanut butter. In reality, I am desperate for Calgary to finally settle in to autumn. Meaning I can wear leggings and leg warmers and denim jackets without dying of heat stroke. But while berries are still in the store (and still delicious!) They’ll be on my plate.

Finally, here is lunch from today. Roasted beets, braised kale, tofu ricotta, garlic stuffed olives, almonds, and balsamic vinegar.

I imagine that my insides are stained a bright shade of magenta.

My days have maintained a steady gym-work-school-yoga-study pattern. Tomorrow will offer something new and exciting into the mix. See you then!

Monday with a spin and a flash.

Monday morning came quickly after a fun weekend of work (I’m obsessed with my jobs.), birthday parties, late nights, adult beverages, sweaty yoga practice, and flash-mob rehearsals. If you’re local and interested in joining me and a bunch of other yogis in an exciting, high energy flash mob scheduled for the end of October, join us for rehearsals at Yoga Passage! More information is on the Facebook page, we meet on Sunday nights at 6.

My week started with a 6 am RPM spin class and a cookie.

Breakfast cookie:

  • 1/3 c. rolled oats
  • 1 tbsp. vega protein powder
  • 1/2 banana
  • 1 tbsp. cocoa powder
  • 1 tbsp shredded coconut
  • 1 tbsp. almond butter
  • splash of almond milk.

Mash together, spread onto a plate, refrigerate uncovered overnight and top with cocoa bliss and raspberry chia jam

Then it was right to work for the morning, school in the afternoon, then back to Yoga Passage for a quick Ashtanga practice. I stumbled upon this article which might come in handy for those of you not to familiar with all the yoga lingo. I learnt some new stuff as well.

The nice thing about morning shifts is that I get home at a reasonable hour and am able to eat dinner off of a plate as opposed to from a Tupperware container.

Omelete with goats cheese and salsa verde — excellent combination and a simple salad of romaine, tomato, and garlic stuffed olives (obsessed) with roasted garlic dressing.

Pumpkins and Pancakes

I am happily settling in to the swing of things. My days are busy but not overwhelming and I’m maintaining a happy balance of work, school and play. Clearly I need to be just the slightest bit more organized, though, so that I can squeeze in a few more blog posts in the week! So much to blog so little time!

I wanted to share a new addition to the breakfast rotation. It’s cooling down in the mornings so I’m not having big green smoothies quite as often – I still do enjoy them, after I’m bundled up in sweats, wool socks, my favourite hoodie and nestled underneath a blanket next to a space heater…

I make pancakes every once in a while using spelt, buckwheat or oat flour. Or if I’m feeling particularly lazy, I simply use Kodiak Mix. All of the outcomes are delicious but pancakes have a funny way of leaving me STUFFED at the scene, then famished an hour later. No bueno.

I’ve heard good things of this recipe for protein pancakes. I never thought I would be one to have protein powder as a dietary staple, but it really does help to power me through busy mornings.

Here’s one variation with bananas (cooked inside) with drippy almond butter and raspberry chia jam

and another with pure pumpkin and dark chocolate mixed into the batter with bananas, almond butter and pure maple syrup.

Besides enjoying these comforting short-stacks for breakfast, I’ve officially crossed over into the dark orange side: PUMPKIN EVERYTHING.

Pumpkin Pie Smoothie — You can find the recipe over at YYsCene Magazine, where I contribute posts weekly

Pumpkin Overnight Oats.

  • 1/3  c. oatmeal
  • 1 tbsp. Sunwarrior protein powder
  • 1 tbsp. chia seeds
  • 1/4 c. pure pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 c. almond milk
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. ginger

Leave in the fridge to soak overnight and top with pure maple syrup, chopped pear, almond butter, and trail mix.


House Keeping.

Excited as I am for school having finally started, this week doesn’t really count. This is the house keeping week where professors explain the layout of the class, tell us which textbooks we need (always the expensive ones) and spells out the NO. CELLPHONE. POLICY.

Sunday breakfast: Overnight oats

1/2 c. oatmeal, 1 tbsp. chia seeds, 2/3 c. almond milk, 1 tbsp pumpkin seeds}Soak overnight
+ bananas, raspberries, nectarine and grapes


Spinach, roasted green beans, roasted beets,  Sweet Dijon Salmon, goats cheese, hummus and crackers

My house has been a construction zone for the past two weeks. My lungs are coated in saw dust, wood staining fumes AND paint fumes. But my house looks fantastic. I’ll put up pictures when it’s not in shambles.

Because of renovations, my parents had to camp out in the living room right next to the kitchen. Obnoxious as I am, I couldn’t bring myself to bust out the blender when they were still sleeping ten feet away.

Absence makes the heart grow fonder. Sunday night they moved back into their bedroom and Monday morning after a sweaty 6 am spin class, I blended 1/2 banana, 1/2 c. blueberries, 1 c. almond milk, 1 tbsp. peanut butter, 1/2 scoop vega sport performance protein, and ridiculous amounts of spinach.

It’s getting cooler in Calgary so though delicious, I had to crawl under the covers for a bit next to the space heater for a while. I have Raynaud’s phenomenon, when the cold causes blood vessel spasms and blocks the flow of blood to your extremities. After this smoothie my fingers were ghost white and numb. Worth it.

I spent the bulk of the morning putting my room back together (I was living out of my laundry basket in my basement for the last two weeks) and made a quick lunch before heading to school.

Brown rice tortilla, tempeh, tomato, spinach, hummus and Dijon mustard with grapes and snap peas. The Brown rice tortillas are awesome for quesadillas or tortilla pizza type things but are not meant to wrap things up.

Have I mentioned how obsessed with my schedule I am? I love it. After class yesterday, I headed to Yoga Passage for the 5:10 Ashtanga 2 class. It’s a shorter class, 60 minutes, opposed to 75, but perfect after my morning spin class which twists knots in my hips every time.

I think that catches us up!