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While doing yoga with a friend one afternoon, I heard about the Awaken Yoga Festival she was helping to organize and offered to volunteer. The retreat, that took place over an entire weekend, was co-created by Mt Sequoyah and the yoga studios of Northwest Arkansas and I was scheduled to register participants for several different classes. I was then fortunate to be able to attend as many of the events as I wanted – and after a day of Sound Immersion, yoga practice, hearing the incredible, motivational Kim Hodous encourage us to “create and cultivate an empowered mindset”, guiding my daughter and her friends in their eagerness to have a bake sale, and driving my son across town to a birthday party, I was ready to sit down and enjoy a simple, delicious, beautiful meal.

the girls preparing for their bake sale

the girls preparing for their bake sale


crisp baked salmon with fennel olive relish

1 skin-on side of salmon (about 1 1/2 pounds and 1 inch thick)

olive oil

salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 lemon cut into rounds

fennel fronds

Fennel-Olive Relish (recipe follows)

Heat oven to 350F. Drizzle both sides of salmon with olive oil, season with salt and pepper and place on baking sheet, skin side down. Bake until salmon is just opaque in center and skin is crisp, 7 to 9 minutes. Transfer fish to a platter. Drizzle lemon rounds with olive oil, bake until lightly charred about 2 to 3 minutes a side. Transfer to a platter, sprinkle with fennel fronds. Serve with relish.


1/2 fennel bulb, cored and finely diced (about 1 cup)

1/2 cup green olives, pitted and chopped

1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh parsley

6 tablespoons olive oil

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon powdered chile de arbol


Combine fennel, olives, parsley, olive oil, lemon juice and chile de arbol. Season with salt.


Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart