gluten free and apple pie….oh my!

Last week I found out that I have an allergy to gluten.  Initially I was shocked and slightly devastated.  I do tend to feel sluggish and ‘foggy’ after eating anything with white, wheat flour etc, so I shouldn’t have been that shocked.   Being an elementary school teacher I was aware of what this meant: RESTRICTIONS.  The first two days were very hard, no longer could I quickly pick up a panini from the local food store. I realized this was going to take some planning if I wanted to stick with it, to at least see if I felt any different.  So to the computer I went.  There are SO many helpful websites/blogs that share millions of great recipes.

As I was ‘blog-hopping’, I stumbled upon gluten free girl and the chef.  The most recent post was about her trip to Italy (one of my favorite places) and the cooking classes that she taught there, making (you aren’t going to believe it) all gluten free foods!!  To say the least I was hooked.  Perusing through her blog I came upon a post about a pie party… Hmmm? This peaked my interest. Who doesn’t love pie and parties? I love both.  And apparently so do the 224 others that joined the party.  It was hard to believe that I could still have pie even though I was not eating white or wheat flour!  All of you who are novice ‘gluten-free-ers’ are probably thinking pshtt of course you can, hello gluten free flour!  But I’m new to the game….cut me some slack.

I was also intrigued because the last time I made a pie was with my Dad when I was in elementary school.  I have such a clear memory of being in our kitchen, and rolling out the dough with flour all over the place.  Poking the top layer of dough with a fork was my favorite part.  For some reason we only made apple pies.  We did this quite a few times, it was our thing.  So in memory of my Dad and the happy moments we shared baking, I decided to make an apple pie.  The first one I’ve made since I made one with him!  It was  an amazing experience.  It was almost as if he was in the kitchen with me, I could hear what he would have said at different moments.  So here it is, my gluten free apple pie. It looks good, but don’t be deceived, needs a few adjustments!  I’m okay with it though because I’m excited to try it again…

I highly suggest making a pie. I think it can be intimidating, and seems like a daunting task.  But I actually forgot how much I loved it.  The process of seeing the dough form as the ingredients mix together. The anticipation of waiting for the dough to chill, before using the pin to roll it out.  The messiness of the kitchen, the delicious aroma that fills the house. Watching as it turns a golden brown in the oven.  Cutting into the first slice. It could not have been any better.  So thank you gluten free girl for hosting the party, I can’t wait for next year.  But I don’t plan on waiting that long before I make another.

shine on

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writers block…

remember to shine on…that is all for today.

A post all about pie coming tomorrow!!

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a birthday comes ‘once a year’…

*actually a true statement….a statement my mom loves and uses quite often…ex: I have pizza ‘once a year’…a disclaimer that she loves to say before chowing down, true or false, I’ll leave that up to you to decide…

 Happy ‘day after’ birthday Mom!!  I know you are going to love that I am writing about this, because you love your birthday so much.  She loves it so much that my brother, sister and I thought she was 35 until last year….exaggeration, but you get my point.  Well yesterday we celebrated her (!!!!, you actually think I would say) birthday.  I love this picture, one because it is candid and two because she is glowing (NOT just because she is holding a plate of her favorite treats from Rose’s bakery), caught in a moment of such happiness. What a great day on the beach.  Too cold to be in a bathing-suit, able to wear a cozy sweatshirt kind of day.  We had such a great time simply sitting around a table.  One of my favorite past times, sitting around a table with people I love, eating, laughing and sharing stories. In between the sitting, (and the one walk that we took) I whipped up a dessert that I wanted to share because it ended up being pretty tasty, healthy, and even better easy!

(thanks to my sister, Kristy for ‘instagram-ing’ this gem.) Ginger snap cookies (from no other than Trader Joe’s, gluten free to boot!) topped with a dollop of vanilla Chobani yogurt, finished off with some fresh diced strawberries (from Crossroads Farm in Malverne!).

*Sidenote: Speaking of Crossroads Farm, these are the chicks that are being raised at the farm!

So cute, if you are in the area, stop by the farm. They sell great local produce, fruit, cheese, eggs and pies!

I hope you were able to enjoy your weekend, whatever it brought your way.  Getting together with family is not always joyful and full of laughter.  Sometimes family gatherings can be filled with tension, or sadness, but hopefully there is some joy, even if it’s a glimpse.  My wish is that you are able to feel (not cling to) all those feelings and work to be aware of whatever comes up in yourself.  I am constantly practicing this myself.  But I believe awareness is helpful in working through the struggle, being conscious of the struggle, to be able to deal with it in a more compassionate and/or easeful way.

Lastly, I want to wish all Fathers a Happy Fathers Day!  I was especially thinking of my Dad yesterday, who passed away six years ago.  I know I speak for my brother and sister also when I say that we feel so blessed and fortunate that we were able to grow up with a father that lived the way he did.  The lessons he taught us are innumerable.  We carry his spirit with us everyday…

shine on

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why shine on?

For so long this blog was being created, an inspiration that had not fully come into my being.  For reasons that would take months worth of posts, it did not become a reality until recently.  I’m not saying that’s a negative or positive thing, it just is the truth.  So I believe that one of those reasons (small but one) was that I did not know what to call it.  I didn’t want something too specific.  I wanted to have the flexibility to be able to post about a variety of topics.  But I did want to have a general focus on my new beginning as a yoga instructor and the type of lifestyle I am, and have been, striving to live.

It may sound cliche, but I am all for being honest here and this is the dead honest truth. I am taking a class in Polarity (what is that you ask? I don’t really know how to describe it in a sentence, I will try in another post one day soon) I think it was the first class actually of the six week series.  It was an incredible six hours of great conversation, soaking in new, inspiring information.  It was also a ‘hands on’ confirmation that there is so much more (energy, life force) in and around us than simply our minds and physical bodies.  When leaving that day, I felt grounded and very connected within myself but also with the outside world.  As we were walking out the door, the teacher said “Shine on!” and that was it!  I knew in that moment that I could check that reason off the list for not yet starting this blog. Reason #54 – What would I call it? was now answered.

Life just is, right? We live in the way we experience, or react to life.  Exhilarating, great, good, blah, not so good, tragic, horrible days.  The spectrum is constantly changing, if we ever got to the point where we were able to NOT react and just be with what is 24/7, we would probably just pouf up into a ball and be gone from this world, because then what? So anyway back to us being humans and reacting…it’s a process, like anything else, that we have the beautiful opportunity to go through, living this one life in a way that we are fully expressing ourselves.  To live fully in the exhilarating moments, allow ourselves to be happy!!  Also allowing ourselves to live fully in grief, to live fully in sadness, to live fully in fear.  Our culture labels those things as not ideal.  We tend to have a hard time being with someone (nevermind being with ourselves) that is in that place, what do I say? how can I make him/her feel ‘better’? what needs to be changed/fixed?

When I say ‘live fully’ I mean to allow yourself to fully experience and express whatever is in the moment, not hold onto it, not attach it to your being (‘I am depressed’ is different that ‘I am feeling depressed in this moment’)…but simply to fully experience and express it ALL.  To allow it to be expressed, rather than shove it down somewhere in your body where it can not be heard.  Which in some cases, I believe, because that energy is still in us, stuck and not moving, can cause a dull pain, or a constant uncomfortable feeling that we tend to medicate as a culture, there is a desire to numb it.  Do not get me wrong, I understand that every situation is completely different. Sometimes the chemicals/hormones in a system are off, and medicinal therapy can be a helpful, necessary solution.  I know because I have been there. Hopefully combined with some other type of therapy/support service, but that is for another post, I’m going off topic, again….

It is my hope that you can carry these two words with you through your day as a reminder that you can (and have the power to) live in full expression of the beautiful being that is your Self.

To shine on –  To allow your Self to live in full expression in each moment, whatever expression that might be: happy, sad, or blah.  To also understand the feeling in the moment is not the essence of you, it’s a feeling that is constantly changing, flowing and just wants to be heard.  This is something I constantly practice.  That is why I have decided to use it as a title, and from the beginning have said it at the end of each post as a reminder to myself and hopefully to you.  So I will say again today, and every day forward…

shine on 🙂

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keep that ‘risk muscle’ moving!

“Everyone has a ‘risk muscle’. You keep it in shape by trying new things.  If you don’t, it atrophies.  Make a point of using it at least once a day.”  – Roger Von Oech

Trying something new doesn’t only have to mean an activity.  It can mean reacting in a different way, communicating in a new way, adjusting your mindset around something that you have always viewed one way, or visualizing something new and positive in your mind.  For me, trying something new can be exhilarating, a fresh experience can awaken the soul.  It can also be frightening.  Not knowing what to expect, imagining the worst, is it possibly dangerous? It’s interesting to think about the way that I react to new things now, as opposed to when I was a child.  Back then I was usually fearless, not worried about the outcome.  Tack on some life experience, society in general and bam just like that fear of failure and/or the unknown sets in.  But if I can get past those moments of fear, by doing something new, I most likely grow no matter how big or small the new experience is.  Most of the things that I fear don’t come to pass, and what’s more I’m unable to anticipate all of the good things that do occur as a result of trying something new.  Much research has backed this idea, including this article in TIME magazine .

I wanted to share or suggest some new things to try, and hopefully you can try them or they will inspire you to create/do some of your own.

Take an alternate route to work, or home from work.

Try a new restaurant in a town near your hometown, that you have never been to before.

Look at a map of a place you dream to visit one day, plan an itinerary, then save to do it!

The next time you feel very angry or upset with someone, visualize yourself genuinely sending him or her love.

Read a non fiction book, or take an online ‘webinar’, about something you want to learn.

Start a gratitude journal.

Volunteer, anywhere.  Even if it is cleaning your parent’s or a friend’s house.

Create a playlist of your all time favorite songs and dance, I mean really dance, around your kitchen while cooking dinner. (maybe this isn’t a new thing for some of you)

Call your grandparents on a weekly basis, if you are lucky enough to still have them.  Or go to the local nursing home, sit and talk with whoever is sitting in the lobby. They will be happy to have someone there.

Try a food you have never eaten before.

Come to one of my yoga classes, or schedule a private lesson 🙂

Learn how to play an instrument, or a new sport.

Draw or paint a picture.

“Don’t fear failure so much that you refuse to try new things.  The saddest summary of a life contains three descriptions: could have, might have and should have.” – unknown

shine on

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the power to choose

Ya know when you hear or learn something for the first time, then all of a sudden you start hearing about it or seeing it more and more?  I wish there was a word for this, because it happens to me a lot!  I guess it could be called awareness, but it feels like the concept is more particular than just that.

The first time I heard something Viktor Frankl said, years ago, I was intrigued because I had never heard his name before and the quote really resonated with me.  From that point on, I kept noticing books by him, or quotes in various places that were his.  For a long time I had stopped hearing about him…until yesterday he popped back up on my radar.  My yoga teacher shared this quote (which happen to be the first one I heard)…

“Between stimulus and response, there is a space.  In that space is our power to choose our response.  In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”

When I hear this I feel empowered, I also feel like ‘oh sh%@’.  Because a lot of times, it can be very challenging, and difficult to choose the response that I have paused and realized is the most true, timely appropriate, and necessary in that moment.  Or on the other hand, I have allowed for space and know which response would be more beneficial, allow for growth in that moment, but instead I go with the response that does not allow room for growth.  I can also be so stuck in a pattern of behavior that I don’t see the space, I don’t allow for the space between the stimulus and response.  It’s a knee jerk reaction to the stimulus, which most often even though it feels like YES YOU HAVE TO SAY/DO THIS in the moment, after it comes out or is done,  I realize that it was not the most true, at the most appropriate timing, and was not necessary in that moment.  OR after the pause I realize oh no I don’t think I can say that, I can’t say no, or I can’t say yes to that, I have to do this….

After situations occur like these, (and I’m sure you have your own scenario playing in your mind right now of what this means to you) I look back and realize what a better response/action would have been.  There lies the growth for me, to help me realize the next time that I do have the power to say or do what felt like the better response/action. This quote helps me to realize that I can take the time (and have the power) to choose a response that I would not have to ‘re do’ ….rather I would grow in that moment and have the freedom to adjust my pattern of behavior by choosing a response that would really work in that moment, that would create a more peaceful experience for myself and others around me.

So next time you find yourself in a situation where you hear that voice screaming at you to say or do something that feels it HAS to be said or has to be done, take a moment, see the space where you have the power to choose a response/action that would allow for your growth and freedom, one that would not have to be ‘re done’.

shine on


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a shout out to Trader Joe’s

I would love to meet the people who created this fabulous food store.  I walked in there earlier today and “September” by Earth Wind and Fire was pumping through the store, which got me PSYCHED to be food shopping (not always the case).  I suddenly forgot about the dreary day outside, everything brightened up, and I was ready to browse!  It was such an enjoyable experience, everyone that works there is so friendly and helpful. I usually have a routine of going there once a week, and I have never had a bad experience. I thought I would mention a few products that I have a hard time going through the week without.

This Kettle Brewed Green and White Tea is A-mazing, especially on ice with a splash of TJ’s Cranberry Harvest juice.. my hubs also likes to add some seltzer (that he is obsessed with making in our new soda machine, and pretty much forces our friends to try whenever they come over, whether they want to or not…Jaffa and Brian know what I’m talking about.)

It was hard to get a good picture of these two ‘bag o nuts’. But this was the best attempt.  They are both filled with mini bags that are great for on the go or adding into a yogurt for breakfast which I will talk about in a second…the one on the left is ‘Go Raw Trek Mix’, the right is ‘Just a Handful of Almonds’.

These are a new purchase/gold that I just stumbled upon last week.  I don’t know how I ever lived without them!  You would have thought Ryan Gosling walked into my house by the way I reacted when that thin piece suddenly became a new, clean sponge after pouring some water on it!  They come in a package of 12, does it get any better than that?!

  This is the yogurt I was talking about before. You can get this yogurt in places other than TJ’s. It’s the FAGE, I like the total 0% kind.  A breakfast staple in our house is this yogurt mixed with some fresh TJ’s berries, a sliced banana and a bag of the go raw nut mix! Delicious and very simple.  *An easy, healthy lunch: add oatmeal, cinnamon and protein powder to the yogurt and berries in a tupperware.

Love this for a snack! With the Falafel Pita Chips (which I didn’t get this trip).  Also really good with bite size carrots, cut up celery and broccoli (or whichever veggie you choose!).

What are some of your favorites from Trader Joe’s?

shine on

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