Seven Moments

One mantra of mine is to do one thing every day that makes me happy. I’ve been on and off with this attitude for years, but this past year made me realize that I need to focus on myself a bit more. I’m super busy, and sometimes my happy moments are the half hour workouts I can get in. Or maybe they’re getting to bed before 12. However small, however seemingly insignificant, these little moments of happiness belong to me. They’re the one thing I do for myself.

These are my seven moments from the past week.

  1. Seeing Les Misérables on Broadway. This was my 18th birthday present, and it was electrifying. The music and the harmonies were unbelievable and the set was outstanding. From the opening to “One Day More” to the barricade to the finale, every minute was amazing. They forgot nothing and i’m surprised I didn’t cry. (This show is on my list of tear-jerkers).
  2. IMG_1570 Making it through doubles week. Every 3rd week, I do two workouts instead of one. Easy peasy, usually. This week I was sick to the point where I couldn’t breathe (thanks s’much, sinuses), I have a blister on my heel the size of my eye, and I burned my left palm, making it hard to hold weights. Nevertheless, I made it through.
  3. Touching my toes. Probably the dumbest thing to celebrate, but I don’t care. I’ve never been able to touch them before and after stretching almost every day since April, I have accomplished the ability to touch them at any angle.
  4. Activating my club. After a month of finding advisors, working with a budget, planning meetings, and recruiting members, I finally was able to activate my nutrition-based cooking club at school. 
  5. Getting the email about the drama at school. I’ve been uninvolved in theatre for nearly five months, and that is five months too many. It’s going to feel really good to stretch my legs a bit and get back on the stage. Plus, the show is about the IRA, and I had to imitate an Irish brogue for a class my junior year, so i’ve got this in the bag (My brogue is actually tragic, so this should be fun).
  6. Starting a tutoring job. Every year for the past three years, i’ve tutored about 4-5 kids for the school year. Some for volunteering, some for money. It’s always kept me busy and helped me learn to communicate with people in different ways. I love the look on a kid’s face when he finally just gets it, especially in math. I only have one this year so far, but that’s enough for now.
  7. Double fisting Doctor Who. I was supposed to watch the season premiere last week, but decided last minute to see The Scorch Trials with my dad (which is like, twelve moments of happiness in itself). So last night, my parents and I made dinner and sat in front of the TV for two hours to watch last week’s and this week’s episodes. It seems like Clara’s going to have a much bigger role for her finale season, and I want to know what Missy’s story is before she goes and kills someone else.

Paleo Skillet Apple Crumble

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It’s friday, i’m done with class for the day, and we have half a bushel of apples in our fridge. I need to get a workout in, start studying for my biology exam, and plan the main meals I want to eat next week. Even though I have all day, I need a low maintenance dish that won’t weigh me down.

Diane Sanfillipo, a favorite paleo connoisseur of mine, has a very tempting recipe for skillet peach cobbler on her blog. I studied the recipe, combined it with her blueberry crumble recipe, and added apples. This Paleo Apple Skillet Crumble is light but filling, and completely guilt-free. Sweet enough to be a dessert, but with less than three tablespoons of added sweeteners, it’s a perfect breakfast too.

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There are a few swaps you can make with the ingredients here. I used pumpkin pie spice, ghee, and unsweetened coconut milk, but cinnamon, coconut oil, and any kind of milk are fine. I used ghee to give it that buttery, baked-good flavor, but keep it mostly dairy-free. I used coconut milk for the same reason. Don’t try to use coconut flour instead of almond flour because coconut flour absorbs a lot of moisture and the crumble will probably dry out.

Paleo Skillet Apple Crumble

IMG_8011Prep time: 15 min
Bake time: 30 min
Total time: 45 min

For the filling:
6 apples, peeled and diced
1/2 c coconut milk
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp honey
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice

For the topping:
1/2 c almond flour
1 c finely shredded coconut
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 c ghee (melted)
2 tbsp honey

  1. Preheat the oven to 350° F.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the coconut milk, pumpkin pie spice, vanilla, honey, and (measurements for the filling). Stir lightly to combine.
  3. Add the apples into the bowl and mix them around to thoroughly coat with the mixture. When done, pour the coated apples into the skillet and empty the remaining mixture onto the apples.
  4. In the same bowl, combine the almond flour, shredded coconut, pumpkin pie spice, and salt. Combine the ingredients, then add the ghee and honey (all the topping ingredients) and combine.
  5. Pour the topping over the coated apples, and pop it in the oven for 30 minutes. The crumble is done when the topping starts to brown.
  6. Cool for 5 minutes.

The crumble is okay to eat once it’s cooled, but the topping won’t harden until it does get a lot colder.

Apple Picking + G’s Restaurant

  Our weekends have been pretty low-key since school started, and we were trying to think of what to do today when I suggested apple picking last night. We’ve gone every September since I was born (kudos to my parents for pushing a stroller through rows of trees and a pumpkin patch). So today we headed to Soons Orchards in New Hampton, our favorite spot of recent years. It’s small compared to the farm we went to when we were younger. There was a petting zoo and hayrides there, and that’s nice if you want to make a day trip out of it. But this place is perfect for a morning, especially since it’s still so hot this late in September (which I am not unhappy about, trust me).

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  We decided to go with half a bushel, since that’s enough apples to last us a month or so anyway. Apple picking has gotten expensive, and forget about the places that charge you to park or even to access the orchards. Soons has free parking and a pretty large bag for $25, which is a pretty good price if you’re thinking ratios (You can do the actual math). After glancing at the reference for apple types, we decided to go with gala, lady jean, and golden delicious apples. We actually picked too many of the other two and never got a chance to grab some lady jeans.

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  The gala rows were picked almost bare, and it seemed like there were more apples on the ground than in the trees.  Somehow, we found a bunch in the back few trees and filled half the bag (and ate a few too). IMG_7952IMG_7946    Once we finished up, we headed down the street to the Orchard’s Market. It’s like the inside of a barn-turned-country-store, and it’s adorable. They sell all sorts of produce from peppers to zucchini, and of course, apples! They make their own salsas and peanut butters, which I had to sample. The stone fruit salsa was the best.

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  They also have a wide variety of baked goods and ciders. We always get at least half a dozen of the apple cider donuts and a gallon of cider. And I just had a donut now. Reheated in the oven. And drizzled with honey. (Because this whole thing is about my happiness, too, right?) Along with the donuts, we make sure to grab a jar of honey, which the farm sells for an apiary in Westtown. For some reason, my sister grabbed the largest jar available, on the bottom shelf, which is the size of my head. Eighty ounces of honey. Hopefully it lasts us a long time.

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  After the sampling and the buying and the lugging things back to the car, we headed into Warwick to get lunch. The town is adorable and if we had more time to window shop, I could have spent a few hours there.

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  We ended up at G’s Restaurant, which had beautifully painted windows for fall (which I poorly captured in the photo). There was a sign outside advertising pumpkin spice coffee, and I was tempted. I decided to forgo after some miserable attempts with Starbucks’ pumpkin spice latte. I’m just not a big fan of nutmeg in hot beverages.

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  The restaurant inside was nice and airy, and we sat in a booth. I ordered a house salad with lemon pepper chicken and balsamic vinaigrette. My mom got sweet potato soup and a mesclun salad with balsamic. My dad got a grilled chicken sandwich with sweet potato fries and Carly got a burger with fries. The sandwich came with normal fries, so the waitress brought out a plate of sweet potato fries for us for free, which happened to be in the center of the table… Very close to my hands…

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 After lunch, we headed back to Rockland. The Season 9 premiere of Doctor Who airs tonight and tomorrow, we’re heading into the city to see Les Misérables on Broadway. This is my last week with a vacation day before we head into two straight months of five-day weeks, and i’m putting my energy into enjoying myself while I can.