Wednesday, April 29, 2015

heart roar - the barefoot and frolicking interview with bryonie wise

Bryonie Wise is a wise soul. Her equally wise words adorn my social media and make my every day a little bit sweeter.

A yoga instructor, writer, and rebel spirit (not to mention barefoot and frolicking dreamer), Bryonie has recently published Heart Roar: A Book of Tiny Prayers. Each page in this collection of 'tiny poems' acts as instructional moments in which to connect further and attune to the heartspace.

I've taken to sharing some of my favourite quotes at the end of yoga classes I teach, leaving her words to resonate within the spaces of personal transformation.

As an admirer of Bryonie's work for some time, I am thrilled to share her work with you and felt it only fitting to inquire more about her creative process and this beautiful collection of poetic prose.

Enter Bryonie Wise. 

When did you first start practicing yoga and teaching yoga?

I started practicing yoga regularly about nine years ago—teaching came later, just as it does—& I've been doing that for almost six years.

For you, what is the relationship between yoga and the creative process (i.e writing)?

In my experience, the two have always been lovers & are essential to each other. 

As my yoga practice on the mat evolved, the words flooded in & up & out & I began to understand that everything I had been hiding away in body needed a voice. 

When I'm stuck, in mind, body, or heart, I often use movement as a way to access the block.

What are some of the influences that inform your creative process?

Everything we live & breathe—our sorrow, our pain, the sunshine in the sky, the sound of the wind in the tress—everything influences how I see the world & how I create in it. 

Oh! And I read every single day—I've had an insatiable thirst for words since I was a young cub.

To step into another world, stretch our imagination, expand vocabulary & observe the crafting of words in the many ways they come in can greatly inspire how I try to stitch words together.

What inspired you to self-publish "Heart Roar"?

In a previous life, I was a maker of books—I helped birth a great many fine art photography books into life & so I think part of deciding to do this myself was pure curiousity.

Could I create something entirely made up of words that I wrote, & put together something that would (hopefully) be held, coveted, held as sacred?

What would it feel like to have an object—something almost more permanent then words floating around the internet, a tangible, weighty object that in many way declares my commitment to loving bigger?

So, it was my own desire to make something different & challenge my ever-evolving vulnerability—but also, I listened intensely to the whispers from here & there from other beating hearts asking if I was going to write a book, or how they'd love to have a book of my writing.

In the end, I feel like the inspiration comes from how we connect to each other & to a force that's bigger than us. 

In "Heart Roar" you share "tiny prayers" and meditations that centre around an exploration of the heartspace. Do you have any particular favourites from this collection and why?

Ohhh ... I don't know if I have any favorites! 

I still find it challenging to read the book without my inner critic peering over my shoulder & mocking me.

I like the banter between prose—the question-centered pieces that are mixed with the knowing, the humility, the poetry of living. 

If pressed, two of my favorites are the prayers for the mamas & the papas—I wrote 'for the mamas' in memory my mama, who died—& 'for the papas,' for my own, who is still going strong. 

I think every piece is for someone I love & maybe even haven't met yet.

Favourite yoga pose?

Finding my seat & settling into stillness & a river of breath after an active practice. 

Favourite inspirational quote or words of wisdom? 

"To hold our tongues when everyone is gossiping, to smile without hostility at people and institutions, to compensate for the shortage of love in the world with more love in small, private matters; to be more faithful in our work, to show greater patience, to forgo the cheap revenge obtainable from mockery and criticism: all these are things we can do" - Hermann Hesse.


"The best thing you can possibly do with your life is to tackle the motherfucking shit out of it" - Cheryl Strayed.  

For more on Heart Roar: Heart Roar - Elephant Journal. To keep in touch with Bryonie, follow her on Instagram @Heart_Roars, Twitter, Facebook, and her website:  To procure your very own copy of Heart Roar, visit 

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

cacao-coconut haystack squares and a happy new year

2014 is drawing to a close, and as great, brilliant, wonderful fortune would have it, I find myself in one of my favourite cities again, Chicago. I was here this past July to see my fave raves Veruca Salt perform on their reunion tour; not only was it a phenomenal show but I also met the group afterwards, spending time and sharing space with some of my most treasured rock inspirations.

The past few months have been rife with an accelerated sense of change in my life; I've been fortunate to move to a new, beautiful locale, travel to New York City and my current destination.

Ringing in the New Year is always a perfect opportunity for personal reflection and I always enjoy writing these sorts of posts, helps to keep tabs on where one has been and where they are going. I keep wondering if the brilliant beauty that seems to be pervading my life is the result of good fortune, good karma, or just plain old luck. Whatever the source, I am so very grateful for each brilliant moment that comes my way, and the incredible new people who have come into my life.

At the beginning of last year, I proclaimed 2014 to be "the year of rock" and in many ways, it certainly has turned out to be so. I cultivated a little syndicated radio show called "The Way Out with Marlie Centawer" and in September, I began my PhD work in Cultural Studies with a focus on popular music studies and youth culture.

It seems to be a fine line between my research and personal interests, which has intersected with travel to some fabulous research destimations, including the Rainbo Club in Wicker Park, Chicago, the John Lennon Imagine/ Strawberry Fields memorial in Central Park, and the Village Vanguard jazz club in Greenwich Village, New York. 

I also saw Eric Burdon of The Animals in concert in Kingston, and Hot Tuna perform at the Beacon Theatre while in NYC. And to boot, I presented a paper at a Love and Rock conference in Montpellier, France and visited Jim Morrison's final resting place in Paris in April. 

Year of rock, indeed. 

2014 also brought forth more grounding, more inner work, and exploration of the self, my self, in relation to others. Apart from teaching yoga, I've continued to work on my personal practice, and have explored Buddhist teachings in the Kadampa tradition. These have helped to foster more knowing of the self but also expansion of my heart and capacity for and to love, what Ram Dass (one of my spiritual teachers) refers to as simply "being love."

The photos below were taken last night in the Rainbo Club's infamous photo booth, also known as the site where Liz Phair took the album cover image for her debut album Exile in Guyville (Matador 1993) (one of my research interests). For me, photo booth and self-portraiture imagery seems to highlight the exploration of the changing self, in all of its many different poses and incarnations. 

Stopping in at the Village Vanguard on a last night in NYC brought forth an incredible performance from Ravi Coltrane. The photo (and the Alexander McQueen spike heels) says it all and captures the beautiful vibrancy of the trip.

All I can possibly attempt to manifest in the new year is a continuation of this same incredible trajectory, and I hope to continue to cultivate the ripening of the seeds of good karma in 2015 not only for myself, but for others. It's important to me that my actions are of benefit and service to others  and their happiness in the new year. That also means continuing to share space and time with you here on barefoot and frolicking, and what better way to do so than with a new recipe.

These Cacao-Coconut Haystack Squares are a perfect accompaniment to your good fortune for this and every year. They make a perfect morning breakfast option or snack. What I love about raw vegan bar recipes (and if you follow this blog, you will notice my affinity for them), is that they are incredibly quick and easy to prepare. 

This recipe immediacy is perfect for my pace of life these days, where I need just a sweet bite of something to get me through the busy days and nights, all the while keeping a balance. 

Cacao-Coconut Haystack Squares
Makes 16 small squares

1 1/2 cup dates
1 cup pecans
1 cup coconut, unsweetened
2 tbsp - 1/4 cup cacao
1 tsp vanilla
1-2 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp coconut sugar
dash of water

Process pecans in a food processor using the 's' blade until crumbly. Add in the coconut, dates, and rest of ingredients, adding in water if mixture is not 'wet' enough. Process until well-combined. Transfer to glass dish and chill for at least 1 hour before serving. 

These bars will keep for a week or so in the fridge, or a few weeks in the freezer. 

Cacao-Coconut Haystacks, all in a row. Feel free to omit the coconut sugar and increase the chocolate for a richer, taste experience. These bites will add wonders to any New Years Eve or other celebratory get together. Like any raw vegan recipe, they are best when shared with those you love. 

What an incredible year it has been, and I hope for you as well. Here's to black tie events, records, feathers, beads, bells, travel, silver necklaces, hugs with good friends, fortune, laughter, smiles, Yaz, sugared pecans, Gibson guitars, Prosecco champagne kisses, fostering good karma and kindness, rock and roll, the good life on Wolfe Island, and love, love, unconditional being love. Thank you to everyone I have crossed paths with this year, you have enriched my life beyond measure. 

Happy New Year and blessings to you during this and every season. 
May you be in the pursuit of magic as I am in 2015 xo

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

from a flower to a garden - the barefoot and frolicking interview with elva tammemagi

It is with the greatest of enthusiasms that I introduce you to Elva Tammemagi, the sweet soul behind Rhizome Farms, an abundantly inspiring piece of land dedicated to growing organic food. Rhizome is one of the farms leading the organic and local food movement in the Niagara Region in Ontario, and judging by some of these photos, you'll understand why.

I've taken part in Elva's fabulous CSA (community supported agriculture) program in the past, and was always delighted with the little gems I received each week, all cultivated and hand picked by Elva's palms. Everything from blackberries, raspberries, fresh greens (and the best heirloom tomatoes and kale you ever did see).

As November moves on day by day, I see the snow fall and am reminded of some of my favourite memories from this past summer: pulling weeds at Rhizome and chatting with Elva about all things under the sun. A thrill and a delight, I present you with a further window into her inspiring and inspired journey.

1. When did you first become interested in organic farming?

When I was a kid, my grandfather owned a hobby farm that he bought when he moved to Canada (the same farm land that I use now). I used to go there as a child. I’ve always been interested in environmentalism and that was a big influence for what I do. While in University [at University of Ottawa for International Development and Globalization, I'm currently studying Food Security through Ryerson University], I experimented growing greens in my apartment and was part of a garden group on campus.

After graduating, I went backpacking across Canada and WWOOFed.  While on one of the farms, I remember one of the supervisors said something to the effect of “you're going to want to know this when you have your own farm” and I was so surprised because at the time I was not planning on running my own farm, but what she said stuck with me.

2. What gets you the most excited about what you do?

There are many reasons I love what I do; working mostly outdoors, watching plants grow through their whole life cycle, watching landscapes go through a whole season, experimenting and learning by making mistakes, working for myself, getting excited about vegetables, sharing that excitement with my customers, knowing that my work contributes to a healthier community, doing hands-on work and not needing to look clean or put together while working…

3. You spent some time out West WWOOFing - how did your experiences shape what you do on your farm?

I spent some time on West coast in 2009 and after that on the East coast in 2010. When I travelled on the West coast, it was more like a primer for getting into organic farming; I got to see how a couple farms operated and different business models. WWOOFing on the East Coast in 2010 was a completely different experience. By that time I was more interested in learning specific growing methods, construction and what was required to become a market gardener.

Now I grow some of the same varieties of vegetables on my farm (for example, growing Mizuna which reminds me of Wild Roots farm in Nova Scotia). I’d say I’m more influenced by the techniques I learned while working as a Field Manager on a farm north of Toronto in 2013.

4. What were some of the reasons for starting your own farm, Rhizome? 

In 2010, I was living and working in Toronto.  I had done some WWOOFing, trying to grow things on my own in my apartment, and was working in an organic produce store.  I was also volunteering at an urban agriculture organization that ran a small CSA. Mid-year, my best friend unexpectedly and traumatically passed away. I ended up going out on a backpacking journey on my own out east, seeking peace, and ended up again on a farm.

The farm was a place where 4 or 5 of us were all recovering from one heartache or another and actively interested growing foods for the market garden. We all found comfort working in the soil and with the land. Upon returning home, I moved to my father’s farmhouse in January 2011, about 6 months after the loss of my friend. Working with the land has had a huge positive impact on my trauma recovery, and continues to strengthen me emotionally and physically.

When I first started Rhizome Farms, it was more of an experiment; I just wanted to see if I could grow food on my own - whatever extras I grew, I gave away for free. I began working with an organization that focused on local food security and began selling excess produce at a farmers market with that group and I was also working with a local organic fruit farmer. After I realized that I could actually grow food and enjoy doing it, I started to take the business more seriously.

I like the CSA model best because it is a more reliable way of selling produce. I know how many baskets I need to put together at the beginning of my day, rather than guessing at what will sell at market. It is also nice because I get to know my customers better and share the enthusiasm for fresh local veggies, and they get to visit the farm, see how things are grown and spend a bit of time outdoors.

5. Any tips for someone wanting to start learning more about organic farming/starting their own farm?

My advice for someone wanting to start their own farm or get involved in organic farming, is to immerse yourself in sustainable food culture; become a human sponge of information, volunteer for as many local food organizations or community gardens as you can but most of all; start small and don’t expect too much.

There is a supportive community out there, but the reality is that you’re probably going to need a second off-farm job in addition to your farming business. Also, stay open-minded and experiment.  Not everything has to be done the way someone else has done it. Be innovative. Most of all, try to keep a positive attitude about your struggles and successes.

Elva is busy at work building a new hoop house for the farm, creating Rhizome's official website, and prepping for the spring CSA registration. For more information about Rhizome Farms and their CSA program, visit the blogFacebook or email Elva directly:

Monday, October 20, 2014

pumpkin spice latte with whipped coconut cream and an autumn lament

It's been about a month since my last post, and wow, so much has happened. I'm fascinated with how life changes everyday, yet subtly stays the same. I feel I've grown eons in such a small amount of time, it could be from the work that I'm doing in my life outside of food blogging (academic writing and research), or the weekly Buddhist meditation classes I've started to take, or even the new nature I'm surrounded by. Learning to slow down while being busy has been quite a task, but I'm making it, and taking it, day by day.

Autumn is the perfect time for rest and renewal. Truth be told, it is my favourite season. There is something about autumn that is so haunting, so ethereal, so beautiful as a temporal season, perhaps the shortest we get to experience, and for that, I find it magical. I take no greater pleasure than looking down at the shades of red, orange, yellow, brown underneath my feet while wrapped up in a warm sweater. Maple leaves abound, and I revel in their company.

Ever find yourself trying to describe the feeling of being in the midst of those  swirling warm winds as summer says goodbye and autumn makes her entrance, and you are left speechless? Me too. What a thrill and delight we are able to experience this moment, and every moment. And what better accompaniment to your next autumn morning than this fabulous recipe.

My dear friends from Truly Organic Foods have a fabulous recipe feature with guest posts from talented raw and vegan chefs. This recipe for a Pumpkin Spice Latte with Whipped Coconut Cream was inspired by one for a Pumpkin Spice Vegan Latte by Maya Eid. Her photos are divine, as is the recipe. You'll also find instructions on how to make whipped coconut cream from a can of coconut milk with her recipe. My version of this recipe uses similar ingredients with a slight twist.

Pumpkin Spice Latte with Whipped Coconut Cream
Serves 1

For the 'tea':
1 cup brewed decaf Pumpkin Spice tea
4 tbsp pureed pumpkin
1 tbsp coconut sugar or 4 dates
1 tsp pumpkin spice

For the whipped cream topping:
1 can full fat coconut milk

Combine tea ingredients in a high-speed blender and blend until smooth. Transfer to your favourite mug and top with desired amount of whipped coconut cream (click on link for easy step-by-step instructions). Swirl with a spoon to make your own latte design.

Sip latte while watching the leaves fall, take with you on your morning commute to keep warm, have as company to ground yourself in the midst of the changing colours. A most perfect accompaniment to autumn. Remember to take in every moment of it.

a perfect fall adage xo

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

peanut butter oat bars and the tides of summer

The tides of summer have rolled their way once more, this time I've changed jobs, locales, and scenery once more (seems to be a running theme of late) and am so grateful to have the opportunity to set up shop, so to speak, in a most beautiful place as the last days of summer are in full effect.

Sometimes it feels like my life is "rolling with the tide" (Jorma Kaukonen reference), but I wouldn't have it any other way despite the obligatory transition period of newness and letting go of 'oldness'.

I'm reminded of sweet words of wisdom from an old friend of mine, who, when the going got tough would remind me to "accept, detach, transcend" any difficult situation. Words to live by.

Anyhow, I first made these no-bake, five ingredient Peanut Butter Oat Bars for a yoga get-together with some sweet friends in the summer.

Now, I'm craving them all the more as I've just moved to a place that requires much walking (or biking, depending on your preference) and as such, much of my energy. These bars do just the trick; lightweight, I can pop one in my purse and it keeps me satisfied all day and all of the night (Kinks reference). 

Peanut Butter Oat Bars
makes 12-16 small square bars

1 cup oats
11-12 pitted medjool dates
1 tsp cinnamon
a handful of cacao nibs (or could use chocolate chips)
4-5 heaping tbsps of organic, unsweetened peanut butter

Process all ingredients in a food processor until well combined. Press the mixture into a tray or roll into balls. Chill for at least 30 minute in the fridge or freezer. Enjoy with your morning mug.

These bars are quite the trip: dense, moist, yet light, dazzling the senses with hints of sweetness. A fab combination if you ask me. I also like that they are a little messy and not too pristine, just as nature intended.

If you are looking for something utterly gluten free, substitute the oats with quinoa flakes, or one could even try ground buckwheat groats. As for raw oats, that's your call; I seem to find they taste like soap whenever I eat them. Et toi?

To the last days of summer, dolls xo

Friday, August 22, 2014

cookbook review and giveaway: be decadent - guilt free recipes for chocolate lovers

Hello barefoot frolickers, are you in for a treat - a sinfulyl sweet decadent treat, I might add. Today, I bring to you a lovely cookbook giveaway courtesy of nutrition coach and author Joanna Steven.

I first connected with Joanna through the online raw vegan community some years ago, and have always been inspired by her efforts to bring health and wellness to the attention of many. One of her recent efforts, BE Decadent - Guilt Free Recipes for Chocolate Lovers brings a much needed love and awareness to that precious substance we all know and love, cacao.

Authored by Joanna and published by Tera Warner, this e-book also features contributing authors such as Natalia KW (pictured below), Kristin Suzanne, Bethanne Wanamaker, Heather Pace, Kristin Taylor, all of whom provide recipes that will satisfy any sweet tooth.

What I adored most about this cookbook was the easily accessible layout, author descriptions of each recipe, and inspiring recipes that compelled me to start some long overdue chocolate creation in the kitchen. 

The cookbook offers a thorough break down of key ingredients used in chocolate preparation, along with recipes ranging from smoothies and breakfast ideas to chocolate bars and bite-sized chocolates, puddings, mousses and cremes, gluten free baking, and even ice creams. Just some of the beautiful raw food brilliance can be found below (you'll have to peruse the pages for more):


And guess what? A .pdf copy of this fabulous cookbook could be yours - simply leave a comment below that mentions your favourite recipe using cacao (it does not have to be a specific recipe from thi book, any favourite recipe of yours will do!)

A winner will be selected at random. The giveaway opens right now and closes in one week (next Friday, August 29th at 4pm EST). I look forward to reading your comments!

For more ways to connect with Joanna, find her on Facebook and Twitter. For a direct link to her book, check out 

Saturday, July 5, 2014

strawberry, rhubarb & coconut cream pops

Well, it's officially summer, and it is hot. I'm back in the hot muggy good fortune of Ontario's sweltering temperatures, a far cry from where I was this time last year: on the much milder temperate of Cortes Island in beautiful British Columbia.

The start of summer in any Canadian locale usually brings many fruits (pun intended): berries of all sizes, colours, and flavours (you might remember my expounding on picking strawberries, salmonberries and blueberries from previous posts).

As you may have gleamed, I'm quite the fan of picking local fruit, organic at that, which is the perfect addition to any raw dessert recipe.

I've been teaching lots of yoga lately in a nearby town and one Saturday, driving home after instructing a Vinyasa Flow class, I suddenly realized it was strawberry season with a local Strawberry Festival taking place.

What curious cultural, social events are these: strawberry festivals are held in many a small town that has been affected by the production of strawberries.

Establishing a sense of community around the precious strawberry, a lovely concept, don't you think? What usually links these festivals is the selling of curious strawberry-themed treats and wares, used book and penny sales, live music, and perhaps a strawberry pie or two.

I encountered many a flat and pint of strawberries, elated upon the discovery of organically grown, local ones. Promptly purchasing two pints, I proceeded home to craft a strawberry-themed summer dessert to beat the summer heat.

Enter these succulent and sweet Strawberry, Rhubarb & Coconut Cream Pops with basil or mint chiffonade. That's right, it's your choice. Basil works beautifully, I might add. 

This ice pop kick right now seems to be partly inspired by the influx of popsicle recipes I've come across on Pinterest from time to time. The most interesting flavour combination I discovered was coffee and cream, made with almond mylk, but that's a whole other story entirely.

Strawberry, Rhubarb & Coconut Cream Pops
Makes 12 medium sized pops (depending on the mould)

1 quart fresh local strawberries, chopped
1 stalk fresh rhubarb, chopped
1 can coconut milk (or sub with coconut cream for a creamier version)
1 vanilla bean, de-seeded
1/4 cup + 2 tbsp coconut sugar
basil or mint, chiffonade
ground almond flour (optional)

Blend the strawberries, rhubarb, coconut milk, vanilla been and coconut sugar together in a blender until smooth. Pour mixture into moulds and freeze for at least 6-8 hours. Can top with almond flour before inserting popsicle sticks as an added bonus.

Once solid, remove popsicles form their moulds be de-thawing with warm water. Top with sliced strawberries, basil and/or mint chiffonade. What a treat and oh so good, down to the very last bite. 

I realized a funny thing about this recipe: the ingredients are so pure and nourishing that they can easily double as a face mask. What better way to treat your boy, inside and out, than with strawberry, rhubarb & coconut cream. 

Better yet, simplify and make another face mask with any leftover ingredients: a spoonful of coconut cream, dash of coconut sugar, and mashed strawberries is all you need for a beautifying few minutes of rejuvenation.

A little dab will do you.

For more strawberry sunshine, check out these posts: