3 Ways to Find Love in Your Next Yoga Class

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glutenfreeyogachick.com

It’s Valentine’s season, and images of love are everywhere. Personally I love Valentine’s day and usually spend it making (and eating) gluten free chocolaty deliciousness.  Sometimes the media hype around the holiday is less than sweet, and can fuel unrealistic definitions of love.  Even the Super Bowl was sponsored by a diamond jewelry company urging viewers to buy a ring if you truly love her, or make those of us who don’t have a sparkly rock somehow less loved.

It is not true!

Yoga philosophy reminds us that love is infinite and all around us at any moment ready to be recognized, cultivated, and expanded. If you want to find true love, incorporate these three techniques at your next yoga class.  You will unlock your heart and open your awareness to love that is already right in front of you.

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Looking for Love?

Before Yoga Class – Set Your Awareness on Love

Before your next yoga class or meditation, take a few minutes to focus your awareness on your heart center, or anahata chakra. Close your eyes and begin by taking a few deep centering breaths. Imagine, think or feel a brilliant emerald green light emanating from the center of your chest. With each breath expand that green light throughout your body.  Silently repeat the primordial sound associated with the heart chakra, “YUM, YUM, YUM…”.

When you feel ready, open your eyes. Take a few moments to notice any shifts in your body, mind and spirit before moving on to the yoga asanas.

During class – Circulate Love With Every Breath

Yoga class should always focus primarily on the breath.  Have the intention of circulating love with every breath during your asana practice.  As you inhale, breath in love. As you exhale, give love back. Continue with the awareness of inhaling and exhaling love with every breath.  If your mind begins to drift, lovingly bring it back to the intention of circulating love.

After Class – Keep Your Focus on Love

You hear your yoga teacher say it all the time, “find your drishti”. Drishti is a Sanskrit word that means view or focal point. The ancient yogis discovered that where our gaze is directed our attention naturally follows, and that the quality of our gazing is directly reflected in the quality of our mental thoughts. You can use the drishti concept off the mat and into your everyday life.  After your yoga class make love your focal point.  Practice seeing it in all things; the wag of a dog’s tail, the sound of a soulful song, even graffiti can be love if you are willing to open your eyes to it.

Open your eyes to love – it is everywhere!

See Love Everywhere
See Love Everywhere

Remember that you are loved exactly as you are in this moment.  You don’t need to do anything to be loved, you just need to open your mind, body and spirit up to the love that is all around you.  Use these tools to remind you that your true Self is never without love.

~Namaste~

The Very Best Gluten Free Pumpkin Pie

Eat pumpkin pie and be grateful!

Look into my pies!
Look into my pies!

 

My secret to this pumpkin pie is the crust, which is made from a variation of a shortbread cookie recipe.  Of course you can always use a shortbread cookie mix and make it easy on yourself. Always choose the most nourishing choice for yourself, sometimes that means taking a well-deserved culinary shortcut so you can spend more time with your family during the holidays.  I recommend Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Shortbread Cookie mix.  This recipe was adapted from my mom’s recipe, which was not gluten free.  Using her recipes gives me that connection and feeling of love from her even now that she has past away.  It keeps her alive in my heart when I smell the sweet mix of cinnamon and sugar.  It is my intention to continue that circulation of love by sharing this very special recipe with you.  Happy Thanksgiving!

Mind-Body-Spirit Connection:

If you want to get healthier, give thanks. Thanksgiving is all about celebrating what you are grateful for, and nothing says Thanksgiving more than pumpkin pie.  In the yoga tradition, Sun Salutations are a practice of expressing gratitude to the sun. I teach Sun Salutations in nearly all of my yoga classes to connect with that ancient tradition of giving thanks.  Each movement is connected with a sanskrit mantra that expresses gratitude for the sun’s warmth, light and ability to transform.  These ancient yogis were on to something, as modern day science has proven that an attitude of gratitude can give you an immunity boost, decrease stress in the body, and make you more likely to have better health habits such as eating right and exercising. Read more about the physiological benefits of gratitude here.

mini pie variation makes a great gluten free gift.  I used tart sized tins for these.
mini pie variation makes a great gluten free gift. I used tart sized tins for these.

Ingredients:

Pie Filling:

1 can (15 ounces) organic pumpkin puree

1 can (14 ounces) organic Sweetened condensed milk

2 large free range eggs

1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice* (or use 1 part  ground clove, 2 parts ground ginger, and 4 parts ground cinnamon)

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon salt

Pie Crust:

2 sticks (½ pound) organic unsalted butter or Earth Balance vegan buttery sticks

¾ cups organic granulated sugar*

1 large free range egg

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 ⅔ cups white rice flour

¾ cup cornstarch

⅔ cup potato starch (not potato flour)

1 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon xanthan gum

Method:

ALLOW all ingredients to come to room temperature.

PREHEAT oven to 350 degrees.

Crust:

Cream butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy.  Scrape the sides of the bowl with a spatula.  Add egg and mix for 1 minute.  Add vanilla, scrape the sides of the bowl.

In a separate bowl, combine the flour, cornstarch, salt, potato starch and xanthan gum.  Slowly add ½ of the flour mix to the butter mixture and mix for 1 minute.  Add the remaining flour to the mixture and mix until all of the ingredients are combined.

Grease or butter a 9” pie dish, taking care to thoroughly grease the sides to prevent sticking.  Press the crust mixture into the dish working from the inside out, creating an even ¼ inch thick crust.  You will have leftover crust to use to decorate the top of your pie.  Use the leftover crust like cookie dough and cut out festive leave shapes and bake separately on a cookie sheet for 8-10 minutes.

IMG_0207

BAKE the empty pie crust for 8 minutes using a pie crust protector or foil to protect the edges from over baking.  If you use foil, create a ring around the top of the crust.  Meanwhile, begin making the filing for the pie.

Filling:

MIX cinnamon, salt and pumpkin pie spice in small bowl, set aside. Beat eggs in large bowl. Stir in pumpkin and spice mixture. Gradually stir in sweetened condensed milk.  Slowly pour the filling mix into the pie crust.  Reposition the pie crust protector and bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until knife inserted near center comes out clean. Cool on wire rack for 2 hours. Decorate with pie crust cutouts to create a standout pie.  Serve immediately or refrigerate.

I made these gift baskets for all of my friends one year and they were a huge hit.  I still get requests to make these pies from both my GF and non-GF peeps!
I made these gift baskets for all of my friends one year and they were a huge hit. I still get requests to make these pies from both my GF and non-GF peeps!

3 easy recipes for pumpkin that will have you doing headstands!

Turkey Stuffed Pumpkin, Salt and Vinegar Pumpkin Seeds, and Pumpkin Smoothies, oh my!  These recipes are all easy to follow,  gluten free, casein free, and both AIP and Paleo friendly.

inside stuffed pumpkin

This fine orange squash has my creativity chakra spinning!  If you are in North America you are seeing everything pumpkin right now.  Trader Joe’s, one of my favorite grocery stores here in Southern California, is carrying everything from pumpkin butter and pumpkin cheese, to pumpkin coffee and even pumpkin ravioli!  Ok, so the ravioli isn’t gluten free, but it still has me inspired with the tastes of the season.  In my last post I talked about the amazing GI reparative cleanse I was on.  I created this stuffed pumpkin recipe so I could have something amazing to eat while on the cleanse.  I adapted the recipe from my favorite cookbook, The Joy of Cooking.

My muse
My muse!

 

My turkey stuffed pumpkin is AIP and Paleo friendly, casein free and just plain mouth watering. I gave a bite to my office mate, and she was so enchanted she wanted the recipe right away.

 

I am so excited about pumpkin, I have also created a healthy Pumpkin Pie Smoothie and Roasted Pumpkin Seed recipe to give you some additional ideas on how you can incorporate  pumpkin this fall.  By the way, I am pretty famous among my family and friends for my pumpkin pie.  I plan to post that recipe closer to Thanksgiving, so be sure to subscribe to my blog so you don’t miss it!

pumpkin patch 2

The Dharma of Pumpkin:

If you are a yogi or yogini you know that Dharma is a  sanskrit word meaning purpose in life.  In my yoga and meditation classes I ask students to contemplate their own dharma, by asking themselves, “How can I help, how can I serve using my own unique talents and gifts?”.  The gifts of pumpkin are too numerous to count. They can be served in both savory and sweet dishes with grace and ease.  One serving of pumpkin contains 7 grams of fiber, which helps lower cholesterol, lower your risk of heart disease, and helps keep things moving through your digestive tract.  Pumpkin is also high in vitamin A to strengthen vision and immune system, beta carotene for an antioxidant boost, and iron for healthy blood.   Often folks who suffer from Celiac Disease can become iron deficient, so getting enough iron is crucial.  Even the seeds are helping you with a healthy dose of magnesium.  There is not much these orange beauties cannot do!

 

Turkey Stuffed Pumpkin

Ingredients:

1 sugar pumpkin (about 2 pounds)

1 cup fresh bulk turkey sausage*

1 large green apple, cored, and cut into ¼ in cubes

¼ cup fresh sage, chopped

coconut oil

⅛ teaspoon stevia (optional)

salt and pepper to taste

*Use lean ground turkey meat if you are on the GI reparative cleanse

 

Method:

Position rack in center of the oven and preheat to 375 degrees.  Lightly oil a baking dish large enough to hold the pumpkin.

Cut the top off of the pumpkin and remove the seeds and strings.  Save the seeds for roasting!

Brush the pumpkin lightly with coconut oil.  This puts a pretty sheen on the finished product and aids in baking.  Place the pumpkin and pumpkin top on the baking dish and cover with foil.  Bake until almost tender, about 30-40 minutes.

Meanwhile, crumble the turkey in a skillet and cook over medium heat.  Without draining off the fat, add the cubed apple.  If you are using very lean turkey and don’t have any fat in the skillet, add some coconut oil here.  Add the sage,salt and pepper and cook, stirring for a few minutes, until the apple is crisp-tender.  Set aside.

stuffed pumpkin 1

When the pumpkin is cooked, let it cool a bit and scoop out most of the flesh.  Set the pumpkin top aside, you won’t need to bake it again.  Gently mix the pumpkin flesh with the turkey mixture.  Mix in 2 tablespoons coconut oil, and stevia (stevia is optional if you like a sweet touch).  Salt and pepper to taste.  Pile the stuffing into your beautiful pumpkin and lightly drizzle with a little more coconut oil.  Bake, uncovered, until piping hot, 20-25 minutes.  Allow to cool slightly before serving.  I like to put the pumpkin lid back on when serving for a little added drama!

 

*****BONUS RECIPES!*****

 

Salt and Vinegar Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Ingredients:

1-2 cups fresh pumpkin seeds (leftover from your stuffed pumpkin or jack-o-lantern carving project)

¼ cup seasoned rice vinegar or apple cider vinegar

2 tablespoons salt

 

Method:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Remove any pumpkin pulp from the seeds, rinse and pat dry.  In a bowl, drizzle the seeds with the vinegar until lightly coated.  Add salt to taste and toss.  Arrange the seeds on a lightly oiled rimmed baking sheet.  Place in the oven until they just start to turn golden brown, 15 minutes.  Allow to cool and store in an air-tight container.  I left my seeds in the oven too long and they burned, then I got burned pulling them out of the oven.  Casualties of a gluten free yoga chick!  Sorry, no pics for this recipe as I was too busy nursing my wound.

 It's just missing the whipped cream!

Pumpkin Pie Smoothie:

Ingredients:

1 cup cooled herbal chai tea.  I like Trader Joe’s Rooibos Chai or Celestial Seasonings Bengal Spice

½ cup canned pumpkin puree

1 frozen banana

teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

1 scoop of your favorite vanilla nutritional shake powder such as Vega One or Shakeology

Ice

1 tablespoon chopped walnut or granola(optional)

 Method:

In the order above, place all ingredients EXCEPT walnuts into your blender.  blend until smooth.  Enjoy with a sprinkle of walnut or granola on top for a delectable pumpkin pie “crust”.  I won’t tell if you add a dollop of whip cream, too!

 

 

What are your favorite foods and recipes of the season?  Tell me what you think, and be sure to subscribe to my blog so you don’t miss a thing.  lv-GFYC

Paleo Friendly Cauliflower Rice Mediterranean Bowl

 

This Paleo friendly cauliflower rice dish is a delectable way to get more veggies into your diet!

Gluten Free Yoga Chick Cauliflower Rice

Recently I started reparative cleanse to heal my body after accidentally ingesting gluten, and to re-ignite my digestive fire to get it humming harmoniously again.   I believe we are all an advocate for our own health.  It is very frustrating to go to a restaurant and be very diligent about letting the server know you are allergic to a particular food or on a particular diet brave enough to ask about ingredients and menu options, and still come home with a terrible stomach ache, headache, or low energy  that lasts for days and sometimes weeks.   The result of insensitive or perhaps unknowledgeable restaurant staff can be devastating to someone with food allergies. For those with Celiac Disease, the damage done to the small intestine after ingesting gluten is permanent and debilitating. In my case, getting slipped the big G left me with all of the symptoms of the stomach flu, anemia, and skin issues and in need of major gut repair.

The cleanse I am on is great because you can eat as much of the approved foods as you want.  That means no need to be hungry, or drink strange juice concoctions.   What you eliminate is any inflammatory food or known allergen.  That means no grains, dairy, sugar, alcohol, nuts, etc.  The hardest part is eliminating my beloved coffee!  Along with this clean diet, I am taking some high-quality digestive enzymes and digestion supporting herbs prescribed by a health coach and fellow Gluten Free Goddess, Kelly Ann Greene.  Be on the look out for a guest blog with Kelly if you are interested in learning more about the cleanse!

Coffee-asana
Coffee-asana

Recipe for the Mind, Body and Spirit:

It is so important to love your food, even on a restrictive diet.  This Mediterranean bowl is cleanse friendly, filling, and a feast for the eyes.  The main attraction of this dish is the cauliflower rice.  Cooking the cauliflower quickly, as in this recipe, will eliminate the sulfur smell and taste.  Add your own herbs and spices to the rice recipe and it can be a great compliment to any main course.  You may not mistake this for real rice, but the texture, flavor, and color satisfies the mind, body and soul.  Cauliflower is high in potassium which regulates body functions, and one serving has almost as much vitamin C as a whole orange!

Ingredients: (Serves 4 people)

Cauliflower Rice:

1 head of cauliflower

1-2 tablespoons of olive oil

3-4 cloves of garlic, minced or finely chopped

¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro

salt to taste

Mediterranean Bowl:

2 cups Spinach

½ head of Romaine lettuce

½  cup pitted green olives

30-40 small or medium size pre-cooked shrimp

1 cucumber: peeled, deseeded, and chopped

1 cup purple cabbage, chopped

½  cup olive oil

½  cup apple cider vinegar

salt to taste

Method:  Cauliflower Rice

photo 1

Cut off any green leaves or brown spots from the head of cauliflower.  Chop the cauliflower head in half and remove the core, then cut the florets into uniform size florets.  In small batches, place the raw florets in a Vitamix on low speed, using the plunger to chop the cauliflower into rice-sized pieces. Be careful not to over chop. I use #3 on my Vitamix dial. If you are using a food processor, use the pulse feature to finely chop your cauliflower.

Gluten Free Yoga Chick Cauliflower rice Prep
Notice my settings on the Vitamix… have I told you how much I love this machine?

In a large skillet heat olive oil on medium heat and add garlic.  Lightly saute the garlic, being careful not to let it turn brown.  Add the rice to the skillet with the salt and saute until slightly toasted, adding the cilantro at the end to wilt into the rice.  Do not overcrowd the pan or you will end up with soggy rice!  Remove from heat and set aside.

photo 4

Method:  Mediterranean Bowl

In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, apple cider vinegar and salt to make the dressing.

Divide the lettuce and spinach in four separate serving bowls.  Layer the rice, cucumber, shrimp, olives and purple cabbage onto your beds of lettuce.  drizzle your oil and vinegar dressing over the top and enjoy!

This recipe serves 4, but it is easy to make more or less if needed.  If you don’t plan on eating all of the cauliflower rice, freeze the uncooked chopped cauliflower in serving size freezer bags.  It makes a great go-to side with any dish.

photo 5

I am on day 9 of this cleanse and with meals like this I feel like I could keep going!  I feel great and lost ½ inch off my belly already.  If you  have been feeling low energy, have had stomach issues, or just want to do a reasonable but effective fall cleanse, I recommend you try this one.  Please leave a message or a comment and let me know if you want to learn more about this cleanse, or have your own experience with a cleanse you would like to share.  Let’s help ourselves and each other love our food, love our bodies, and transform our lives!

20 minutes to Incredible Gluten Free Oatmeal Cookies for Abundance

gluten free oatmeal cookies 2
Love. Bake. Share. Repeat.

This simply scrumptious oatmeal cookie recipe will win over even the most discerning crowd with effortless ease.  It is said that when you give your generosity will be returned to you.  In that case, these tasty treats will open up the floodgates of love and affection!

You only need 20 minutes for this no-fuss cookie recipe, including bake-time.  Whoever said gluten free baking was hard never tried this recipe.  Just be sure to bring your butter, eggs and peanut butter to room temperature before beginning.

Mind/Body/Spirit Connection:

The Law of Giving and Receiving from The Seven Spiritual Laws of Yoga, by Deepak Chopra, states that the universe operates through dynamic exchange.   Share these cookies with your new neighbor, your book club, or even your next tailgate party.  Everyone will love them and you will be circulating love and appreciation that will undoubtedly come back to you tenfold.  Made with all natural peanut butter, real oats, no refined flours and less sugar than most cookie recipes, these treats provide healthy fats and fiber.  Omit the chocolate chips for a healthier version.

Ingredients:

liberated eggs!
liberated eggs!

1/2 cup butter (softened)

1 1/4 teaspoon baking soda

¾ cup organic sugar

¾ cup organic brown sugar

3 cups gluten free quick oats

2 liberated eggs

1 tablespoon cinnamon

1 tablespoon vanilla

¾ cup cranberries or raisins (optional, based on the season)

¾ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (optional)

1 cup all natural peanut butter

Method:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cream sugar, brown sugar and butter in a mixer on high speed.  Turning the mixer to medium speed, add eggs one at a time.  Slowly pour in vanilla, cinnamon and baking soda, then spoon in the peanut butter and mix until thoroughly combined.  Stir in oats, chocolate chips and cranberries on low speed.

Spoon tablespoon sized dollups of cookie dough onto a cookie sheet, about an inch apart.

I used an ice cream scoop to measure these cookies and I think they were too big.  Use a tablespoon to measure and they will come out the right combination of crunchy and chewy.
I used an ice cream scoop to measure these cookies and I think they were too big. Use a tablespoon to measure and they will come out the right combination of crunchy and chewy.

Bake 10-12 minutes or until cookies are lightly brown around the edges.  Allow to cool.

Share often and watch the principle of Giving and Receiving work in your life.  Let me know how abundance unfolds for you when you bake and give from your heart.

The Best GF Lemon Bars

lemon bars
Best Recipe for Lemon Bars. Ever.

I promise you will love this recipe.  These lemon bars are really fresh tasting and have a delicate crust. They are so good no one will know they are gluten free.  In fact, I challenge you to take these bars to your next gathering, and wait until everyone tries one before you mention they are gluten free.  Let me know how your friends react when you tell them. I bet they will be surprised something that tastes so gourmet could also be gluten free!

 

Recipe for your body, mind and spirit :

Lemons are alkalizing for the body: Although lemons are acidic to begin with, they are alkaline-forming on body fluids helping to restore balance to the body’s pH. Lemons are rich in vitamin C and flavonoids that work against infections like the flu and colds.  Allowing yourself a little treat is also nourishing for the soul.

lemons

Ingredients:

The Crust:

1 Package Bob’s Red Mill Shortbread Cookie Mix*

3/4 Cup Organic unsalted butter

1 Egg Yolk

2 Tablespoons water

*Although I have my own shortbread cookie recipe, I cheated and used a cookie mix. This Bob’s Red Mill cookie mix is very high quality. Each product undergoes extensive quality control tests. During this testing phase, the gluten-free offerings are segregated from other products, and tested in special gluten-free-only ‘clean room facilities.’

I will be posting my very special Shortbread Cookie recipe in time for use during the holidays, so be sure to follow my blog so you don’t miss it.  It is very easy and versatile, perfect for Christmas cookie swaps and holiday parties.

The Filling:

Liberated!
Liberated!

4 Large “liberated” eggs + 2 egg yolks

2 Cups Organic sugar

1/2 Cup Bob’s Red Mill All Purpose Gluten Free Flour

2 Cups fresh lemon juice (about 10 organic lemons)

Zest of one lemon

Powdered sugar for dusting

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a 9″ x 13″ glass baking dish with parchment paper, and grease the top of the parchment.

Prepare the cookie dough according to the package directions.  Press the dough into the baking dish evenly along the bottom and 1/2 inch up the sides of the dish to form the crust.  Bake the crust for 10-12 minutes, removing from the oven before it turns brown.  Turn the heat in the oven down to 300 degrees once the crust has been removed from the oven.

Meanwhile, whisk the eggs and yolks, sugar and flour in a mixing bowl until smooth.  Whisk in the lemon juice and zest.  Carefully pour the filling into the baked crust and return to the oven.

Bake until the filling is just set, approximately 30-35 minutes.  Let the bars cool on a rack, then refrigerate until firm, at least 2 hours.  Once the lemon bars have chilled, carefully lift out of the pan using the parchment paper and place on a large cutting board and slice into 1 inch squares.  Dust with powdered sugar.

Let me know if you tried the recipe on your family and friends.  Did they love it?  Did they eat them all, not leaving a crumb?  Did they believe they were gluten free?  Tell me about it!

nom nom nom
nom nom nom