My Eat, Pray, Love Weekend…

It all started last weekend…I was relaxing at home with my parents after a fabulous Thanksgiving…

Still full from a deliciously scrumptious Thanksgiving meal, we set up shop in our cozy back room and lit up the television with Julia Roberts…and Eat, Pray, Love

I love Julia Roberts…gotta love that laugh even from the days of Pretty Woman…one of my all-time favorite movies…

The story behind Eat, Pray, Love was incredible…quite inspirational, in fact…

I thought the movie could have been done a bit better, but that’s ‘ta chat about at another time.

Right now, I’m all about the EAT … the PRAY … the LOVE.

And, that’s just what I did this weekend.

Except, one lil’ minor change.

No Bali, No Italy, No India…

Just my good ol’ Manhattan.

And I’m still all smiles.

Friday was EAT. And boy o’ boy did I EAT. Yes.  A lot.  Hehehe. But, hey it felt good and tasted incredible and I enjoyed n’ savored each and every bite.  I even caught myself gigglin’ and smilin’ in between bites….dancin’ around my apartment to Christmas Carols by Frank Sinatra..

Food in hand…then mouth…then belly…

Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm….

What did I create…

Well, let’s just say it was everything indulgent that I could imagine…

I started with a pasta dish…added lots of flavor using my special cheeses and toppings…There’s nothin’ like a big bowl of my favorite gluten-free pasta a sprinkle of Garlic Gold Nuggets and Galaxy Parmesan Cheese on top…swimming in a pool of homemade tomato sauce…exceptional. Done and done.  Then, unwashed dishes in my sink. I grinned ear to ear. And what did I do next?

I baked. Delicious Double Raw Cacao Cookies…

Recipe soon to come…

And I clearly polished off half the batch by the end of the night…

And went to bed. Hehe…A Perfect Friday night.  Then, I dreamt about my next two days: Pray… and Love.

Saturday….PRAY….Well, sorry Mom I didn’t attend church or light a candle, as I know you were hoping I was going to say…But I had my own lil PRAY sesh…

YOGA….and lots of it….YOGA YOGA YOGA… just me and my yoga mat… time to clear my mind… think about life, my family, my friends…changes, good and bad and the beauty in life…which will bring me to another post at another time, yet I’ve been really thinking a lot about life lately…perhaps it’s because I miss my lil’ baby sister more than anything in the whole world…she’s half way across the world and I just wish I could hug her and hold her…her distance is so far but we’ve become even closer (somehow) because we’re best friends to begin with so I’m not sure how much closer we could get…but we have and we did…and we’ve talked about life, past-present-future….it’s funny, although she’s younger than me…we’re on the same page..the same wavelength..the same mentality in life…

We want the same things out of our lives….we’re young, we’re single…we’re happy. We love our lives…We’re traveling, exploring, asking questions, learning and teaching others.  We’re quite different from our groups of friends who are in a different spot in their lives and that’s okay. And we’re okay with that. Actually, we’re happy.  Very Happy… And smiling. And taking it all in.  One Day At A Time… And learning.

Learning about life.

About people.

About work.

About our bodies.

About relationships.

About… Life is too short… Take risks…

Open your eyes, your heart…our LIFE…Whether it’s adapting a ‘Clean Eating’ regiment, or picking up n’ movin out to Boulder Colorado…or Paris…or Bali…Why Not, right?

Well, that’s just what Saturday was about…..a lot of thinking…a lot of helping people…working with my clients and taking it all in. Absorbing it all.

And remembering that no matter what happens, I love my life…my food…my family…my close friends and simply, I love the fact that I love all these things…that’s pretty great, huh?   As for my lil’ sis, well she’s still half way over the waters far, far away…but she’ll be home soon for Christmas and I truly am going to run her down when I see her on the runway of JFK Airport here in Manhattan…her Ugg’s in my hands…her favorite Jelly Belly candies…and a huge hug … Get ready, Aly… Only a few more days… and we’ll be together…bakin’ cookies for Santa with mom n’ dad and the whole Valpone family…  I hope you’re ready… You betta rest up on that long, long flight… I’m gunna cook n’ bake with you until we’re all outa gluten-free flour, hehe….xo

Sunday- LOVE. I had a fabulous afternoon with my gal pal, Kerri who is an amazing buddy… Such a fabulous day… again, a lil’ bit of yoga to Love myself in the morning, then an afternoon with my dear friend, a lil’ hot tea, cookies n’ chit chat… Perfect.

To top off the day, I attended the Park Avenue Christmas Tree Lighting and sang Christmas carols with Manhattans Upper East Side…it was such a beautiful night and a fabulous event, where every tree was lit one after the other…from 90th street all the way down to Grand Central Station…

Yes, I still haven’t found my true LOVE yet. But, hey… no one’s givin’ up here … Keep on truckin’ and he’ll appear on that white horse, right mom? Hehee….

The moral of this weekend was to show that although I may not have a million dollars, or even a half or quarter of that … or anything at all… I’m happy. Because I love my life, I love working with people…helping people, learning about life in every stage… understanding that Money does NOT buy you happiness and wishing others could see and understand that. But, hey… To each his own and you’ve just gotta live your life the way you want and remember to do what makes you happy…whether you’re married with 6 kids in Oklahoma or single and struggling in Portland… or simply not sure where the road is going to take you … sit back, relax. Deep breath.  Life will go on…You will find you’re true calling…

But just remember, don’t rush…Life isn’t about the big this, the big that, the fancy car, the glamorous house…the fast car…it’s about YOU and your happiness..and believe me, back from my days when I worked at VOGUE Magazine and Polo Ralph Lauren … I love my nice things, who doesn’t, right? But… there’s a time n’ place for all of this…

Simply put…make sure you are happy with you.

Please.

xo.

Have you Eat, Prayed, Loved?

My ‘POM Wonderful’ Dinner Party

Well, let’s just say it all started with a lil email stating, “You are one of 100 bloggies to host a POM Wonderful Dinner Party“… WOW! Was my first reaction, I sent in my proposal to POM Wonderful with some fun POMMY ideas for foodie fun and I was chosen…

Okay, Thought 1:

I live in Manhattan.

Blank Stare…

Yes, I live in a shoe box.

Well, maybe a pin-hole.

A belly button?

Okay, you get the point.

I am Carrie Bradshaw (heehe, All you Sex n’ the City fans) …

Instead, I write about food…

And I love it.

L-O-V-E, LOVE it.

So, I put on my thinking cap and pondered.

Thought 2: Who shall attend?

Thought 3: What will I cook?  And bake?

Thought 4: Settle down, Amie. You have 2 huge cases of fresh pomegranates at your front door and the FedEx guy thinks you’re nuts!

Thought 4: Stop with the thoughts and Get to Work!

Thought 5: Final Thought….Let’s make it a Gluten-Free POM Party…

‘T’was the night before my POM Party, and all I could think about was the decor, the dishes, the entrees, the desserts and o’ what fun I had developing gluten-free POM recipes using POM Wonderful and the two large crates of pomegranates inside my tiny abode.  There I was…in my ‘lil apt…with the Kitchen Aid mixer buzzin’, the stove heatin’ and my fridge about to burst open with fresh produce and pomegranates!

Then, after a deep breathe, lots of planning and lots of fun…I was ready…

Welcome to my POM Dinner Party.

The dinner was held on November the 12th…a fine Friday evening here in the Upper East side of Manhattan.  My Gluten-Free ‘POM’ dinner party was inspired by a Fall Harvest theme in an intimate setting…

Picture eight Manhattanites, nestled into my cozy Manhattan apartment perched onto eight large maroon colored pillows on hardwood floors with a beautiful display of my homemade POM inspired dinner menu. I cooked and baked everything from scratch using POM Wonderful products in every dish and beverage throughout the evening. My menu consisted of POM infused Pecan Crackers served with POM Conserve for appetizers.  Roasted Turkey, Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Pomegranate Arils, POM n’ Macadamia Stuffed Squash, POM infused Crispy Parsnip n’ Apple Fries with POM infused Sweet Pea n’ Asparagus Guacamole for the main course. And, for dessert, POM Truffles and Gluten Free Red Velvet Pistachio Coconut Muffins, which are both infused with POM.   The beverages for the evening were POM spritzers, hot apple cider infused with POM and hot POM tea in cute little maroon mugs. Each guest was given a bottle of POM Wonderful and a fresh pomegranate in an adorable POM Wonderful gift bag.

The ‘table’ for this meal was Manhattan-style… well, it’s Manhattan-style for me… I laid a beautiful cream linen tablecloth on the floor surrounded by the eight large POM-colored pillows, which were used as seats for my guests, four maroon colored candles burned during the dinner and soft jazz music played in the background.

The POM Dinner Party event started off with each of my guests and I opening a bottle of POM and using it to create every dish and beverage. Each guest was in charge of their own bottle and was instructed to finish it by the end of the evening throughout the cooking and baking in each of their dishes and beverages.  Before we dug into our POM dinner, each guest and myself sat around the table with our own fresh pomegranates in our hands. We went around the ‘table’ and spoke about ways in which we use pomegranates in our everyday lives to add these powerful antioxidants into each meal, snack and beverage! With these unique and fun-filled POM foodie ideas, we elaborated on my ‘Menu’ and by the end of the evening all eight POM Wonderful bottles and all eight pomegranates (plus many more for snackin’ on and tossin’ extra into recipes) were incorporated into our Fall Harvest Feast.

I then broke out my famous ‘How to Open a Pomegranate’ presentation…with a POM Wonderful and a pomegranate in each of our hands…we got to work.  “Okay everyone…aprons on because this is gunna get messy,” I shouted…

Then turned up the jazz music and got to work.

  1. Using a sharp paring knife, gently slice off the crown of the pomegranate.
  2. Place on a flat surface, cut side up and score the skin at each of the sections on the fruit.
  3. Gently open each section and using your fingers, loosen the inside seeds, also known as ‘arils’ into a bowl.  Discard the body of the pomegranate and focus on the arils.
  4. Transfer arils to a mesh strainer and rinse with cool water.
  5. Place onto a paper towel to dry and they’re ready to use in any dish!
  6. Enjoy!

I am honored to share this incredible POM infused evening on The Healthy Apple, where I preach about fresh farm-to-table clean, natural gluten-free food and lifestyles, which is exactly what this dinner party emulated to my guests. This evening was about my effort with eating clean and adding an integral health component with POM infused dishes and beverages.   I am incredibly passionate for the POM Wonderful brand as it truly is a brand that I believe in and love so much. All of the POM products are healthy, clean and delicious, which is what The Healthy Apple encompasses and which is my message to my family, friends, colleagues, readers and the online community.

My energy and passion portrayed POM in a beautiful light and created a unique look on the classic POM beverage…with a Gluten-Free twist, I created a fun, intimate spin on a classic dinner party in Manhattan!

I’m sure you’re all yearnin’ for these delicious POM Gluten-Free recipes mentioned above…so, here is a sneak peak at the POM appetizers that were served.

POM Conserve served with Gluten-Free POM Pecan Crackers

POM Conserve

Ingredients

  • 16 oz. POM Wonderful
  • 4 lbs. fresh pomegranates, roughly chopped
  • 2 Tbsp. agave nectar
  • 1/2 cup crystallized ginger

Directions

  1. In a saucepan, bring POM Wonderful to a boil over medium heat.  Add pomegranates and agave nectar; cook for 20 minutes.  Stir often.  Add ginger, cook for another 20 minutes.
  2. Remove from heat; set aside to cool; mixture will thicken when cooled.
  3. Serve with POM crackers.

Gluten-Free POM Pecan Crackers

Ingredients

  • 2 cups almond flour
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/2 cup pecans, roasted and chopped
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 Tbsp. POM Wonderful
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients; mix until combined.
  3. Prepare a large nonstick baking sheet with parchment paper.
  4. Place dough in the center of the sheet.  Roll dough with a rolling pin until it is 1/2 inch thick and is covering the baking sheet.
  5. Using a sharp knife, slice the dough into 3 inch rectangles.
  6. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown.
  7. Serve with POM Conserve.
  8. Enjoy!

How do you ‘POM’?

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