Making Gratitude a Daily Practice


Every year on Thanksgiving my husband and I take a Gratitude Walk. It’s a tradition we practice to remind us of all we have to thankful for in our lives.

We set aside time to walk for an hour and take turns offering lines of appreciation. Beginning simply with, “I’m grateful for you” to “I’m grateful for Grandpa’s corny jokes.” 

My inspiration wall includes a quote that I repeat throughout the day. “Gratitude is a practice. Make it a priority.” It serves as a reminder of awareness, forces me to be present and keeps life in perspective. I write down three things I’m grateful for everyday in a special journal. And my husband and I share these with each other. Gratitude should not be reserved for Thanksgiving. It plays an important role all year.

Thanksgiving is the one holiday though that celebrates gratitude. This universal language that unifies the country. I’m thankful for this dedicated time and wanted to share the beginning of my list to inspires others to create one of their own. The list can be filled with anything at all. Gratitude has no rules.

30 Things I’m Grateful for this Year 

►My present life.
►My incredible husband.
►My loving, supportive family.
►All of my wonderful, unique friends.
►My health.
►Daily journal and meditation practice.
►My home.
►Living in Brooklyn.
►Technology that allows me to keep up with friends and family.
►The Bikram Yoga Park Slope community.
►Laughing until my belly aches every day.
►Surrounding myself with people who are filled with positivity and love for the world.
►Accepting my eating disorder.
►Willingness to ask for help.
►Freedom to share my thoughts, opinions and art with the world.
►Walks in Prospect Park and hikes away from the city sounds.
►Access to healthy food.
►Home cooked meals with my husband and friends.
►Books that challenge me to be a better person.
►Seeing the world through a camera lens.
►Daily morning dance parties.
►All the friends who have stayed at our home this year.
►The opportunity to pursue dreams.
►Every moment with my grandparents.
►Public transportation and not having to ever drive a car again.
►Ability to travel all over the country this year.
►Wool socks and puffy coats in winter.
►Ability to pursue the life I choose to live.

Pumpkin Pie – Grain-free & Dairy Free

Grain-free & Dairy-free Pumpkin Pie

Last week on the Splendid Table, the editor of Bon Appétit, Adam Rapoport, boldly stated, “No one likes pumpkin pie.” Excuse me? I want to know who this guy is hanging around with. I know plenty of people who don’t consider Thanksgiving complete without a slice of pumpkin pie. It’s even my husband’s favorite dessert.

Pumpkin Pie is also the only dessert that can count as a complete meal, containing protein, fat, carbs and little sugar. It’s typically the healthiest dessert option on the Thanksgiving buffet.

The history of pumpkin pie dates back to 1796 colonial America, where the first recipe was recorded in a cookbook by Amelia Simmons. Two recipes are included, one for a pudding and one with a crust. The ingredients have not changed much in over 200 years.  It calls for pumpkin, cream, eggs, sugar, mace, nutmeg and ginger and then backed for 45 minutes. Some recipes stand the test of time.

The day after Thanksgiving marks the end of pumpkin recipes for me. Until next year.

Grain-free & Dairy-free Pumpkin Pie

Grain-free & Dairy-free Pumpkin Pie

Grain-free & Dairy-free Pumpkin Pie

Grain-free & Dairy-free Pumpkin Pie

Makes 8 servings


½ cup tapioca fl
½ cup coconut flour – sifted
¼ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
4 tbsp butter – melted
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs – whisked
¼ cup maple syrup
¼ cup crushed pecans


1 13.5 oz can pumpkin
1 13.5 oz can coconut milk
2 tbsp maple syrup
2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
⅛ tsp salt
2 eggs

►Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
►Butter a springform pan and line the bottom with parchment. Butter the parchment too.
►To make the crust, mix together both flours, baking soda and salt. Then add in the melted butter, vanilla, eggs, syrup and pecans. Mix well. You can omit the pecans if you like to make it nut-free.
►Spread the crust evenly into the bottom of the pan. Use the palms of your hands to press it down and smooth it out.
►Bake for 12 minutes and then allow to cool 10 minutes before pouring in the filling.

►Bring oven to 425 degrees F.
►For the filling, whisk together all ingredients. Pour into prepared crust.
►Bake for 15 minutes at 425 degrees, then reduce to 350 degrees and continue baking for 35-45 minutes.
►Check for doneness by inserting a knife into the center and it will come out clean. Allow to cool for 30 minutes before serving. Keep all leftovers refrigerated.
►Top will coconut whipped cream or cranberry sauce for a festive addition.

Grain-free & Dairy-free Pumpkin Pie

Halloween and Pumpkins in Colonial America,

Cherry Orange Cranberry Sauce

Cherry Orange Cranberry Sauce

My mom always had canned cranberry sauce in our pantry. You know the one I’m talking about. A cylindrical, molded block that slid perfectly out of the can and plopped onto the plate with no intention of ever losing it’s structure. We had it year round because it was one of my favorite after school snacks. Every 10 year old eats that right? I had a strange food palate.

I’d eat it in slices while watching early 90s reruns of 90210. SO addictive. The show and the sauce.

That canned stuff is thankfully far in my past. If I’d have only known what nasty ingredients were lurking inside. It contains four ingredients and two of them are sugar and more sugar. Cranberries, high-fructose corn syrup, water and corn syrup.

Traditional homemade recipes are not much better. They have at least a cup of sugar plus the orange juice, which is loaded with its own sugar too. All that sweetness could be reserved for dessert instead of included in the main meal. Orange juice adds enough sweet to balance the tartness of the cranberries so there is no need to add refined sugar.

My healthy version of cranberry sauce includes just one tablespoon of maple syrup plus fresh squeezed orange juice. Going from 1 cup to 1 tbsp saves a lot of excess sugar.

You get your money’s worth in nutrition with cranberries too. They have one of the highest levels of antioxidants. One cup of whole cranberries has 8,983 total antioxidant capacity, which is topped only by blueberries with up to 13,427.

Say no to canned cranberries this year. Make this recipe and save your sugar for the gooey butter cake.

Cherry Orange Cranberry Sauce

Cherry Orange Cranberry Sauce

Makes 6 servings.

3 ½ cups fresh cranberries
½ cup whole pitted cherries (fresh or frozen)
1 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
½ cup water
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp orange zest
¼ tsp cloves
1 cinnamon stick
¼ tsp red pepper flakes

►Combine cranberries and orange juice in a saucepan and cook all over medium-high heat until cranberries pop, about 10 minutes.
►Reduce heat to low and add in all remaining ingredients.  Cook for 5 minutes until mixture thickens.
►Stir occasionally to prevent sticking in pan.
►Remove cinnamon stick. Cool and serve.*

*This is a fabulous dessert option too! Just add a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Complete deliciousness.