Wednesday, 22 October 2014


Recently there were fears of a kale shortage.  Seriously, ten years ago who ever thought we'd be worrying about a kale shortage?  But it's suddenly so popular and a major seed distributor ran out of seeds and now everyone is clutching their kale to their panicked hearts (for fun you must read this post-apocalyptic kale shortage story from the New Yorker). 

I struggle a little with kale.  I don't like it cooked.  I don't like it juiced.  I've only prevailed with it thus far because everyone with a health-bee in their bonnet says I should.  I've grown to enjoy the odd kale salad though, depending on what you mix that tough old green stuff with.  My kale salad depends heavily on what's in the fridge but it always has one compulsory component - dates.  Dates make everything tasty.  Would I enjoy a kale salad without dates?  Maybe not, but I'll keep throwing them in there and feeling virtuous about my kale-eating proclivities.  Until it becomes too expensive to buy at the farmers' market and then I'll just go back to good old cos lettuce.  


Sweet and Savory Kale Salad 
Serves 1

A small sweet potato (about 150-200 g), half and sliced
A few handfuls of fresh kale, about 4-5 stalks, roughly chopped
4 dates, roughly chopped
Half an apple, roughly chopped
A handful of cherry tomatoes, halved
A handful of sugar snap peas, roughly chopped
2 tbsp of slivered almonds
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp agave or honey

Preheat the oven to 200 C/400 F.  Toss the sweet potato in a little olive oil and season with salt.  Place on a baking tray and bake for 15 minutes.  Toss sweet potato again and then bake for a further 10 minutes.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool.  
Toss the sweet potato, kale, dates, apple, tomatoes and sugar snap peas together in a bowl or on a serving plate.  Top with slivered almonds.  
For the dressing, mix together the oil, vinegar, mustard and agave.  Drizzle over the salad and toss to serve.  


Recently there were fears of a kale shortage.  Seriously, ten years ago who ever thought we'd be worrying about a kale shortage?  But it's suddenly so popular and a major seed distributor ran out of seeds and now everyone is clutching their kale to their panicked hearts (for fun you must read this post-apocalyptic kale shortage story from the New Yorker). 

I struggle a little with kale.  I don't like it cooked.  I don't like it juiced.  I've only prevailed with it thus far because everyone with a health-bee in their bonnet says I should.  I've grown to enjoy the odd kale salad though, depending on what you mix that tough old green stuff with.  My kale salad depends heavily on what's in the fridge but it always has one compulsory component - dates.  Dates make everything tasty.  Would I enjoy a kale salad without dates?  Maybe not, but I'll keep throwing them in there and feeling virtuous about my kale-eating proclivities.  Until it becomes too expensive to buy at the farmers' market and then I'll just go back to good old cos lettuce.  


Sweet and Savory Kale Salad 
Serves 1

A small sweet potato (about 150-200 g), half and sliced
A few handfuls of fresh kale, about 4-5 stalks, roughly chopped
4 dates, roughly chopped
Half an apple, roughly chopped
A handful of cherry tomatoes, halved
A handful of sugar snap peas, roughly chopped
2 tbsp of slivered almonds
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp agave or honey

Preheat the oven to 200 C/400 F.  Toss the sweet potato in a little olive oil and season with salt.  Place on a baking tray and bake for 15 minutes.  Toss sweet potato again and then bake for a further 10 minutes.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool.  
Toss the sweet potato, kale, dates, apple, tomatoes and sugar snap peas together in a bowl or on a serving plate.  Top with slivered almonds.  
For the dressing, mix together the oil, vinegar, mustard and agave.  Drizzle over the salad and toss to serve.  

Monday, 20 October 2014


A long time ago I wrote a post about selecting music for yoga classes.  I mentioned, and I quote, “Perhaps sexually explicit songs aren’t a good idea.  So, that pretty much rules out virtually anything by Kings of Leon, then.  Sad”.  I lied.  I’m a faithless, dirty liar.  I have a KOL song in virtually every playlist these days.  I don’t even follow the rules I set for myself, for heaven’s sake. This list is all about a bit of female power vocals though – Robyn, Ellie Goulding, Electric Youth, Haerts, Florence (you can never have to much of gorgeous Florence, right?!).  I messed around with this one again and again before I was happy with the mix. I’ve got it – I love it.

The River – Nitin Sawhney
Breezeblocks – alt-J
Bittersweet – Ellie Goulding
With Every Heartbeat – Robyn
Sweet Disposition – Temper Trap
Cosmic Love – Florence and the Machine
All the Days – Haerts
Love Is Just Another Way to Die – I Am Strikes
Real Hero – College feat. Electric Youth
Hunger of the Pine – alt-J
Cold Desert (Milo Remix) – Kings of Leon
Anthems of a Seventeen Year Old Girl – Broken Social Scene
Last Mile Home (Acoustic) – Kings of Leon
Green Arrow – Yo La Tengo

Normally I'd embed a player but SoundCloud currently HATES me and wont' let me embed despite the fact that I've enable public embedding accesss..... blah blah blah.  But you can find it at https://soundcloud.com/alison-skillen/sets/female-rebel



A long time ago I wrote a post about selecting music for yoga classes.  I mentioned, and I quote, “Perhaps sexually explicit songs aren’t a good idea.  So, that pretty much rules out virtually anything by Kings of Leon, then.  Sad”.  I lied.  I’m a faithless, dirty liar.  I have a KOL song in virtually every playlist these days.  I don’t even follow the rules I set for myself, for heaven’s sake. This list is all about a bit of female power vocals though – Robyn, Ellie Goulding, Electric Youth, Haerts, Florence (you can never have to much of gorgeous Florence, right?!).  I messed around with this one again and again before I was happy with the mix. I’ve got it – I love it.

The River – Nitin Sawhney
Breezeblocks – alt-J
Bittersweet – Ellie Goulding
With Every Heartbeat – Robyn
Sweet Disposition – Temper Trap
Cosmic Love – Florence and the Machine
All the Days – Haerts
Love Is Just Another Way to Die – I Am Strikes
Real Hero – College feat. Electric Youth
Hunger of the Pine – alt-J
Cold Desert (Milo Remix) – Kings of Leon
Anthems of a Seventeen Year Old Girl – Broken Social Scene
Last Mile Home (Acoustic) – Kings of Leon
Green Arrow – Yo La Tengo

Normally I'd embed a player but SoundCloud currently HATES me and wont' let me embed despite the fact that I've enable public embedding accesss..... blah blah blah.  But you can find it at https://soundcloud.com/alison-skillen/sets/female-rebel


Thursday, 9 October 2014


Oh Ali, why on earth would you expect anything more than a teabag in an American café?  They throw their tea into the harbor, after all.  During the fifteen minutes I waited for the waitress to finish setting up the café after opening time, I had a lot of time to decide between tea and coffee, and I eventually decided on tea.  It’s not that there’s anything wrong with tea bags really, but they’re messy and I always feel like I’m paying far too much them.  


While all this dilly-dalllying was going on, I was excited about ordering bircher muesli for the first time since I arrived in LA.  When I ordered, the waitress asked me if there was a bircher in the fridge.  I looked, there was.  She instructed me to take it.  She asked me if I would like a bowl.  Yes, I decided, it would be nice to have a bowl and enjoy the small luxuries of eating breakfast out.  She handed one to me so that I could spoon the muesli from its plastic cup into the bowl myself.  I may have smirked. 



Very basic and slightly lazy service aside, the muesli was yummy and their menus are actually really good.  Their selection of ready-made salads, pastries and cakes looked nice too, but if I was living in the area I’d probably be coming in for their long list of salads and sandwiches to order.   


It’s ridiculously overpriced for what is essentially a glorified deli, but in Silver Lake I’d say it’s one of your best options for quick and healthy food.  Also, it’s so rare that I see bircher on the menu that I would go back and snatch it out of the fridge again – but not until at least 15 minutes after opening time, just to make sure I don’t have to wait so long to be served.  


FoodLab on Urbanspoon


Oh Ali, why on earth would you expect anything more than a teabag in an American café?  They throw their tea into the harbor, after all.  During the fifteen minutes I waited for the waitress to finish setting up the café after opening time, I had a lot of time to decide between tea and coffee, and I eventually decided on tea.  It’s not that there’s anything wrong with tea bags really, but they’re messy and I always feel like I’m paying far too much them.  


While all this dilly-dalllying was going on, I was excited about ordering bircher muesli for the first time since I arrived in LA.  When I ordered, the waitress asked me if there was a bircher in the fridge.  I looked, there was.  She instructed me to take it.  She asked me if I would like a bowl.  Yes, I decided, it would be nice to have a bowl and enjoy the small luxuries of eating breakfast out.  She handed one to me so that I could spoon the muesli from its plastic cup into the bowl myself.  I may have smirked. 



Very basic and slightly lazy service aside, the muesli was yummy and their menus are actually really good.  Their selection of ready-made salads, pastries and cakes looked nice too, but if I was living in the area I’d probably be coming in for their long list of salads and sandwiches to order.   


It’s ridiculously overpriced for what is essentially a glorified deli, but in Silver Lake I’d say it’s one of your best options for quick and healthy food.  Also, it’s so rare that I see bircher on the menu that I would go back and snatch it out of the fridge again – but not until at least 15 minutes after opening time, just to make sure I don’t have to wait so long to be served.  


FoodLab on Urbanspoon

Thursday, 25 September 2014



Do Americans not use the expression ‘sickly sweet’?  Apparently not.  When I explained to the waitress at Rawvolution that my iced latte was too sickly sweet to drink, she looked strangely alarmed.  “Sickly sweet?  What does that mean?”  I explained that it was far too sweet.  I guessed at the time that was sweetened with Stevia which I loathe with a passion (I looked up the Longevity recipe later and realised that it was made with seven drops of the evil stuff) and couldn’t bear to drink it.  When she realised that I didn’t mean the coffee had made me want to puke, the waitress looked relieved and offered to take it off the bill. 



In a desperate attempt to be healthy, I had gone to Simply Raw in Santa Monica to find breakfast, only to discover that it was closed ‘until further notice’.  Rawvolution was the next best option and so traipsed back down Main to indulge in an Apple and AB sandwich. 



The only question I have is, how is anyone supposed to eat this without being completed saturated in syrup.  Picking it up with your hands is a messy adventure and you’re sure to get it all over yourself and the ipad you’re trying to read a book on.  Tackling it with a knife and fork is also a chore as the apple bread is not easily cut.  Delicious, but a very sticky, messy adventure.  


Euphoria Loves Rawvolution on Urbanspoon



Do Americans not use the expression ‘sickly sweet’?  Apparently not.  When I explained to the waitress at Rawvolution that my iced latte was too sickly sweet to drink, she looked strangely alarmed.  “Sickly sweet?  What does that mean?”  I explained that it was far too sweet.  I guessed at the time that was sweetened with Stevia which I loathe with a passion (I looked up the Longevity recipe later and realised that it was made with seven drops of the evil stuff) and couldn’t bear to drink it.  When she realised that I didn’t mean the coffee had made me want to puke, the waitress looked relieved and offered to take it off the bill. 



In a desperate attempt to be healthy, I had gone to Simply Raw in Santa Monica to find breakfast, only to discover that it was closed ‘until further notice’.  Rawvolution was the next best option and so traipsed back down Main to indulge in an Apple and AB sandwich. 



The only question I have is, how is anyone supposed to eat this without being completed saturated in syrup.  Picking it up with your hands is a messy adventure and you’re sure to get it all over yourself and the ipad you’re trying to read a book on.  Tackling it with a knife and fork is also a chore as the apple bread is not easily cut.  Delicious, but a very sticky, messy adventure.  


Euphoria Loves Rawvolution on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

(via)
Last week I attended the class of a colleague of mine and she told everyone that they should take a restorative class with me because my Australian accent makes the experience all the more relaxing.  Ha!  I’m not sure about that, as I try not to talk too much in a restorative or yin class, but I appreciated the compliment as such classes are not my natural forte.  I lean towards vinyasa and physically challenging classes in general because I have the attention span of a gnat, and I spend most of a restorative class reminding students that it’s a challenge to remain still, mostly for my own benefit rather than their own!   


A lot of yin and restorative classes I’ve been to over the years have included a soundtrack of repetitive bells, cymbals, sitar and chirping insect noises.  Over an hour of repetitive chimes and bells seems to generate a savage itch in my brain so I lean towards so rock, blues and folk for my restorative and yin classes.  A lot of this list is from a compilation made for me by a girlfriend who hoped it would help me sleep.  It didn’t really help me sleep, but with the lights low and a dozen yogis propped up on bolsters and blocks around the room, it does seem pretty relaxing to me.  


(via)
Last week I attended the class of a colleague of mine and she told everyone that they should take a restorative class with me because my Australian accent makes the experience all the more relaxing.  Ha!  I’m not sure about that, as I try not to talk too much in a restorative or yin class, but I appreciated the compliment as such classes are not my natural forte.  I lean towards vinyasa and physically challenging classes in general because I have the attention span of a gnat, and I spend most of a restorative class reminding students that it’s a challenge to remain still, mostly for my own benefit rather than their own!   


A lot of yin and restorative classes I’ve been to over the years have included a soundtrack of repetitive bells, cymbals, sitar and chirping insect noises.  Over an hour of repetitive chimes and bells seems to generate a savage itch in my brain so I lean towards so rock, blues and folk for my restorative and yin classes.  A lot of this list is from a compilation made for me by a girlfriend who hoped it would help me sleep.  It didn’t really help me sleep, but with the lights low and a dozen yogis propped up on bolsters and blocks around the room, it does seem pretty relaxing to me.  


Saturday, 13 September 2014

 


Like most Los Angeles residents, I spend far too much time in my car and I'm always trying to dial it back.  Rather than trek all the way home between two of my private client classes, I often just stop somewhere nearby for a coffee or breakfast to kill the time.  I had the brilliant idea of stopping in at Rawvolution in Santa Monica on Thursday, only to arrive and discover that they don’t open until 10 am.  I would love to start work at 10 am, but most of us are already up and about well before then so I continued on down the road to Venice to go to Café Gratitude. 

I’m in the Rose Avenue Café Gratitude location fairly often because I love their raw vegan dessert counter.  This time I actually stayed for a meal for the first time in a long time, perching at the bar and enjoying some hot tea and a bowl of chia seed porridge.  


Gratitude is not my favourite place for vegan food in LA but when you’re looking for something healthy and energising on the West side early in the morning, it is one of your best options.  It kept me going for my next two classes anyway!


Cafe Gratitude on Urbanspoon

 


Like most Los Angeles residents, I spend far too much time in my car and I'm always trying to dial it back.  Rather than trek all the way home between two of my private client classes, I often just stop somewhere nearby for a coffee or breakfast to kill the time.  I had the brilliant idea of stopping in at Rawvolution in Santa Monica on Thursday, only to arrive and discover that they don’t open until 10 am.  I would love to start work at 10 am, but most of us are already up and about well before then so I continued on down the road to Venice to go to Café Gratitude. 

I’m in the Rose Avenue Café Gratitude location fairly often because I love their raw vegan dessert counter.  This time I actually stayed for a meal for the first time in a long time, perching at the bar and enjoying some hot tea and a bowl of chia seed porridge.  


Gratitude is not my favourite place for vegan food in LA but when you’re looking for something healthy and energising on the West side early in the morning, it is one of your best options.  It kept me going for my next two classes anyway!


Cafe Gratitude on Urbanspoon

Friday, 5 September 2014

 The first time I saw Nitin Sawhney play live was at a festival in Perth when I was still in university.  He was the headlining act and played last in the evening so my friends and I left the sandy pit of the Belvoir Amphitheatre very late.  After waiting for near on an hour to even get out of the car park, we made it about ten minutes down the road before the car died in the middle of an intersection.  We spent another hour waiting for a tow by the side of the road.  Good times.  Now, I always think of this debacle when I hear Nitin Sawhney.   All the same, I’ve topped and tailed my latest power yoga play list with his music because it’s great for yoga I think.  I’m also crazy about the Flic Flac remix of Vance Joy’s Riptide. I played this for my quiet-as-mice power students in Santa Monica last night – I couldn’t tell if they liked it….but I do. 

Sunset – Nitin Sawhney
Riptide (Flic Flac Edit) – Vance Joy
Fools (Peter, Bjorn & John Hortlax Cobra Remix) – The Temper Trap
No Diggity Vs Thrift Shop (Kygo Remix) – Ed Sheeran & Passenger
No Scrubs (Freddy Verano Edit) – Bastille
Over the Love (Of You) – Florence Welch and SBTRKT
15 Step – Radiohead
Face A La Mer (Massive Attack Remix) – Les Negresses Vertes
Exchange – Massive Attack
Single (Photek Remix) – Everything But the Girl
Romeo (Ft. Kele Le Roc) – Basement Jaxx
The Boatman – Nitin Sawhney


 The first time I saw Nitin Sawhney play live was at a festival in Perth when I was still in university.  He was the headlining act and played last in the evening so my friends and I left the sandy pit of the Belvoir Amphitheatre very late.  After waiting for near on an hour to even get out of the car park, we made it about ten minutes down the road before the car died in the middle of an intersection.  We spent another hour waiting for a tow by the side of the road.  Good times.  Now, I always think of this debacle when I hear Nitin Sawhney.   All the same, I’ve topped and tailed my latest power yoga play list with his music because it’s great for yoga I think.  I’m also crazy about the Flic Flac remix of Vance Joy’s Riptide. I played this for my quiet-as-mice power students in Santa Monica last night – I couldn’t tell if they liked it….but I do. 

Sunset – Nitin Sawhney
Riptide (Flic Flac Edit) – Vance Joy
Fools (Peter, Bjorn & John Hortlax Cobra Remix) – The Temper Trap
No Diggity Vs Thrift Shop (Kygo Remix) – Ed Sheeran & Passenger
No Scrubs (Freddy Verano Edit) – Bastille
Over the Love (Of You) – Florence Welch and SBTRKT
15 Step – Radiohead
Face A La Mer (Massive Attack Remix) – Les Negresses Vertes
Exchange – Massive Attack
Single (Photek Remix) – Everything But the Girl
Romeo (Ft. Kele Le Roc) – Basement Jaxx
The Boatman – Nitin Sawhney


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