We are Amy and Gail Shingler, sisters-in-law and friends!

We are passionate about living authentic and intentional lives!

We are enthusiastic about healthy eating!

We created a space to share our favorite recipes & the life philosophies from which they stem!

Our desire is to inspire,

may you be edified by what you read here!

Friday, November 30, 2012

live now ! just " do the dishes "

Last New Year's, my husband Art and I were fortunate to be able---and wise enough---to go to a seminar by Byron Katie.  (and if we had the disposable income right now, you better believe i would be right back there again this year, paying for anyone and everyone who wanted to join the party!)  The first day began with a welcome and a worksheet, asking us to write down the name of someone who had "wronged" us, how they had wronged us, and what we wanted to say to them that would most certainly make them understand how wrong they had been to wrong us in the first place!  before i even started writing, i was laughing...if this was the first exercise of the 4-day seminar, i was certain the name i wrote down would NOT be the one "wrong" by the end of the seminar!  I was right about that...that person wasn't even "wrong" 10 minutes later!

Byron Katie is someone who has "been there," struggling with insecurity, depression, and dwelling on harmful, toxic perceptions of herself, the world and the people in it...she has been paralyzed by guilt and shame and fear...and she learned---and practices regularly---and teaches others how---to turn those life-destroying thoughts around, to give LIFE-GIVING thoughts a throne's seat i her mind and spirit...what we THINK of everything and everyone is our only ONE, TRUE REALITY...and we have a choice about how and what we are going to think...

Byron Katie has free worksheets and videos on her website, she has downloadable sessions with people there, too, they will make you laugh and cry and celebrate life and others!  she has videos on YOUTUBE as well...one of her refrains "is it true?"  As we close out 2012, i encourage you to check out her story and her philosophy and her practice, and to find your own life-giving answers to the question "is it true?" about the life-destroying thoughts we can think each and everyday without even being aware that is what they are, living unaware of their grave ripple through our lives...below is one of Byron Katie's blogposts...i am so happy to share her with you...i am so grateful she is on the planet sharing LIFE with others...

"Become mindful of how often your conversations focus on the past or future.

Be aware of the verbs you use: was, did, will, are going to, etc. To speak of the past in the present is to reawaken and recreate it fully in the present, if only in our minds, and then we are lost to what is present for us now. To speak of the future is to create and live with a fantasy.
If you want to experience fear, think of the future.
If you want to experience shame and guilt, think of the past.
Just focus on the dishes in front of you.
"Doing the dishes" is a practice of learning to love the action that is in front of you. Your inner voice or intuition guides you all day long to do simple things such as doing the dishes, driving to work, or sweeping the floor. Allow the sanctity of simplicity. Listening to your inner voice and then acting on its suggestions with implicit trust creates a life that is more graceful, effortless, and miraculous.
The miracle of now."

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

a great way to start the day!

Start your day with warm water and the juice of half a lemon. This simple detox drink helps balance pH levels, gets the gastrointestinal track moving, flushes toxins and even helps clear skin. Keep the cleansing going by adding two tablespoon of apple cider vinegar to a liter of water and sipping throughout the day.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Movie Reviews

We watched a few great movies this Thanksgiving break.  Three of them were:  Monumental starring my tween crush Kirk Cameron then there was Hungry For Change and then Happy.  

Monumental was a documentary about the pilgrims and our founding fathers.  It uncovered some truths I was unaware of and it made this Thanksgiving especially meaningful.  The Pilgrims persevered against much adversity and they lived out their convictions with passion.  

Then the movie Hungry for Change was from the producers who brought you Food Matters.  This documentary was more adulty and my youngest two were sawing logs about halfway through.  It was food for thought. HA!   

Happy was a documentary about happiness, Uh Duh!  What is at the core of it.  It really got Brad and I thinking about our society and all things.  We are documentary nerds.   I love watching things that spark conversation and contemplation. Check them out and begin the dialogue with the people you surround yourself with.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

celebrate without the " stuffing "

What is it we usually say at the end of a large holiday meal?
"I ate too much." 
"I don't feel so good." 
Whether it's Thanksgiving, Christmas, 
or just another day,
it's common for us to eat until we can't eat any more-
until we're full.

But while the stomach is designed to hold a certain amount of food-and can even expand to accommodate more-

we benefit from only eating until we're half-full. 

Our overall health begins with healthy digestion.
If our digestion is strong and balanced,
then our body will develop the resources it needs to remain healthy.
But if we eat large amounts of food-
such as is the case when we feel completely full-
or "stuffed,"
our body has to work overtime to digest that food
and this extra work steals other resources from bodily systems 
like the immune system, 
leaving us susceptible to colds and other illnesses. 

This holiday season, as you put food into your body,
take note of whether you still feel really hungry
or if you simply sense that you can eat more but don't need to. 


Monday, November 19, 2012

to our health!

i came across the "holiday challenge" below in my e-mail this morning...i plan on challenging myself each and everyday, not just through the holidays...what i like about the word choice in this challenge is that it encourages me to be fully me!  i am not a fan of peer pressure or living life on autopilot, i AM a fan of realizing and embracing the power inside of us to stand up and do what is healthy, to not fall back on socially acceptable phrases like "i have no will power" or "i could never be a vegetarian (or vegan)" or "i just can't live without...," because the truth is WE CAN!  

we say and do so many things because they are EASY...we settle, we don't mess with the status quo, we don't rock the boat...not even our OWN boats!  ROCK YOUR OWN BOAT!  let's challenge ourselves to be the BEST that we can be!  let's get and stay healthy and strong to more fully enjoy our limited time on this planet, to be more available to the people around us and more present in our own lives!  a truly healthy body works to develop a healthy mind, to develop a healthy perspective on life and in relationships and regarding oneself, and a healthy body helps develop a healthy attitude as we move through difficult times in our lives...when our bodies are in crisis, whether we realize it or not, whether we admit it or not, WE are in crisis...

I don't want to make room for even a minute of living in crisis!  i want all the room in my spirit and mind and body to be brimming over with care and compassion and understanding and forgiveness and personal affirmations and FOCUS on everyone around me, whether they are just passing through or staying for a while, whether they bring peace or drama with them, i want to be a healthy place for people to be,  a healthy person to be around, that others may leave time with me feeling healthier themselves!

may we all CHALLENGE ourselves beyond where we are now, in our thinking (our world and social views), in our capacity to listen and understand others, and in our care for our own bodies!

here's to our WHOLE health!

"this year, as i celebrate the holidays and enjoy the company of my family and friends, i will make food choices that support my health.

Eat at least one large salad every day
• Eat generous amounts of cooked green vegetables, mushrooms, and onions 
• Eat beans every day
• Eat at least three fresh fruits every day
• Avoid white flour
• Avoid sugars and artificial sweeteners
• Use oils sparingly

I will not allow peer pressure or tempting toxic foods to derail me from my health goals."

Friday, November 16, 2012

i live in the beauty of uncertainty

do not be so sure,
do not be so certain,
do not close the door on others
or on the possibility 
for growth and change 
within yourself.

gail shingler

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Since we are on the pumpkin topic...

For the last few Thursday mornings I have made this delicious breakfast.  It is easy and can be made the night before then put in the oven on the morning of and baked while your brood is getting ready.  My eldest daughter came down stairs this morning and told me the house smelled like a cafe.  At which I agreed.  Of course the smell of fresh coffee didn't hurt either.   I revised this recipe that I originally got from chocolatecoveredkatie.com to accommodate our tastes and size of family.

Here it is:

Serves 6 (with a little left over...if your lucky)
Approximately 1 loaf of whole wheat bread, cubed (I just tear it into pieces)
3 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice (or just add a little extra cinnamon)
3 tbsp sugar
2 cups milk of choice (I use almond milk but coconut would be yummy)
1 pkg MoriNu silken-firm lite tofu, or 1 cup non-dairy yogurt 
3 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 cup pumpkin puree (I used a half of a can of pumpkin) 

In a blender combine spices, milk of choice, tofu (or yogurt), vanilla, and pumpkin.  Blend.  Grease a 9×13-in baking pan, and fill with cubed whole wheat bread. Pour blended wet ingredients over the bread and then sprinkle with 3 TBSP of sugar.  Cover the entire dish with a lid or saran wrap and put in the fridge overnight. The next morning, preheat oven to 400 degrees and cook about 45 minutes or until it is a little crispy on top. Top with maple syrup or your favorite french toast topping.  


pumpkin pie spice!

my secret ingredient in any "spiced" recipe is 1/2-1 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice, no matter how much cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger or clove is already in the recipe!  i forgot to add this secret ingredient to the recipe below, i highly suggest you put it in!

pumpkin mousse pie


The pumpkin filling in this pie can be put into a springform pan, a pre-made pie shell (so you wouldn't need to make the graham cracker crust), tart shells, muffin tins, an 8 x 8 or 9 x 9 square pan, a 9 x 12 pan, or make pumpkin mousse trifles by using float glasses (alternating the graham cracker mixture/the mousse/and some soy whipped topping!)  It's delicious all by itself, too, like whipped mousse pudding!  You'd be crazy not to make this a part of your holiday meals!  And it's HEALTHY!  No fats to raise your bad cholesterol or add weight or “break” your heart!  ;)

Graham Cracker Crust:

1 1/2 cups raw walnuts

2 graham cracker rectangles

1 1/2 cups shredded dried coconut

1/4 cup sugar (you can use honey/agave/maple syrup)

1/2 cup raisins (or about 6-8 more dates)

6 medjool dates, pitted

pinch of sea salt

Place the walnuts, coconut and sugar/sweetener in processor fitted with an s-blade and process until finely ground. Add raisins, dates and salt and process until it begins to stick together.  Spread evenly and press down with hands to compact in any baking dish or form you choose. 
Pumpkin Filling:

2 cups raw or canned pumpkin

1 cup raw cashews soaked to soften, about 30 minutes
1 1/4 cup coconut milk

1/2 cup raw agave nectar

4 medjool dates

2 teaspoons vanilla powder or 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1/8 teaspoon tumeric powder (YES, tumeric!)

1/8 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 cup coconut oil, melted

Place pumpkin, cashews, coconut milk and agave nectar in high speed blender and blend until creamy. Add dates and spices and continue blending until incorporated and smooth. Add coconut oil until completely incorporated and pour evenly over graham cracker crust. Using a spatula, spread evenly. Cover lightly and place in refrigerator on a flat surface for at least 2 hours.

If you don't have an extremely strong blender, soak both the dates and the cashews for the pumkin filling, a 1/2 hour to overnight, you want them to be soft and blendable so you have a creamy, smooth filling!  you can use a hand mixer, too!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012


The person we listen to the most is ourselves via "self talk".  I am not talking about when you catch me talking to myself or in my case singing off pitch to myself.  I mean the words we say to ourselves about ourselves and our circumstances.  We can degrade ourselves and think nothing of it but when someone else says something negative about us we are jolted.  Maybe we have become callous to our own negativity.  OUCH!  Negativity begets negativity.  I decided today to try to become more mindful of the things I tell myself, the thoughts I think, and the attitudes I choose.  I do not have control of circumstances most of the time but I definitely have control of my attitude.  Attitude is a powerful thing.  It can empower or deflate.  It can inspire or destroy.  The truth is, I like to surround myself with positive people.  I am talking about people who can rise above the difficulties of life.  I used to think that I had to act the way I felt.  That it signified authenticity.  However, as I get older, I am more aware that emotions are fickle.  We can momentarily accept them but then we can choose to act "stable".  Let me tell you this is something I am working on daily.  It is not perfected in my life but I am striving to speak words of truth not emotion.  I am mindful of the words I never utter but I have given a platform to in my own mind.  Words have power...whether spoken internally or externally.

Monday, November 5, 2012

vote for you!

i love maya angelou...i think i would do anything she asked me to do...i would willingly be her minion...and i think she is the ONLY person of whom i could say that!  

i have a perception of her based only on words from the horse's mouth!  over my many years of listening to her speak and reading what she writes, she has proven to be a source of wise counsel...i admire her ability to laugh at herself...to be the one who challenges herself, she doesn't wait for someone else to point out the issues in her life that need tending to, she sees them and calls herself on her own %^&&$!*#...she walks straight into difficult times with her head high, chin up and shoulders back...she puts on her big girl panties regularly and DEALS WITH IT!  and she is grateful...she came from pain and she is grateful, she lived through years of disappointment and discouraging words from others and she is grateful, she was hurt over and over and over again and she is grateful...i believe she would not give back a second of her hurt, for she is in love with the person she is today because of it all!  she is an extraordinary human being and she never makes excuses...

below is a letter from her to me...yes, i know it's a form letter, i do not live in a delusional world where maya is in my intimate circle of friends!  but i believe her words...and i will be driving, maybe walking, to the local elementary school tomorrow to vote (before i head to the dentist to see why my gums are inflamed and making my face puffy!  my dentist said the words "that's not good" in a serious tone on the phone this morning)!  when i vote i will be making my personal choices regarding candidates and offices, but i will also be saying to myself and everyone around me, especially myself, "I AM HERE, I MATTER, I COUNT!" as my personal affirmation for the day!  it's also a great opportunity to smile at others, engage in real-life vs. computer communication and thank others for their willingness to volunteer their time!  and...of course...there's the ever-cool "I VOTED" sticker i can wear proudly until it gets washed off my shirt in the laundry (cuz it's a safe bet i won't remember to actually peel it off before throwing my clothes in the 'dirty pile!')

ok...enough about ME!  here's maya!

Dear Friends, 

I am not writing to you as a black voter, or a woman voter, or as a voter who is over 70 years old and six feet tall. I am writing to you as a representative of this great country -- as an American.

It is your job to vote. It is your responsibility, your right, and your privilege. You may be pretty or plain, heavy or thin, gay or straight, poor or rich.

But remember this: In an election, every voice is equally powerful -- don't underestimate your vote. Voting is the great equalizer.

As a country, we can scarcely perceive the magnitude of our progress.

My grandmother and my uncle experienced circumstances that would break your heart. When they went to vote, they were asked impossible questions like, "How many angels can dance on the head of a pin?" When they couldn't answer, they couldn't vote.

I once debated with the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. about whether an African American would ever be elected president. He believed it would happen within the next 40 years at the time -- I believed it would never happen within my lifetime.

Yet as Rev. King wrote, "All progress is precarious."

So don't sit on the sidelines. Don't hesitate. Don't have any regrets. Vote.

Go, rise up, and let your friends and family know where they can vote. We must make our voices heard:

Your vote is not only important. It's imperative.

Thank you,

Dr. Maya Angelou

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Sunday Morning Waffles

Sunday mornings are precious to us.  A time to stay in our jammies a little longer, talk about everything from weather to Noah and the flood to why the leaves fall off the trees.  One amazing blessing this week was someone had given me a vintage Kitchen Aid Mixer so I was anxious to take it for a test drive. My husband and I decided to make a new waffle recipe and we were excited about how it turned out.  May it bless you as much as it blessed our tummies. 

These waffles are low fat because they use applesauce instead of oil and there is no egg in it.  You may need to spray your waffle iron thoroughly because low fat waffles tend to stick to the iron a bit more (stubborn but healthier).  This recipe makes enough for a family of 6.

Here it is

1 1/2 cup unbleached white flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
6 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
3 cup non-dairy milk (I used almond)
1 tsp almond extract
1 1/2 cup applesauce

Combine the flour, whole wheat flour, baking powder and salt. Add the non-dairy milk, almond extract and applesauce.  Mix well.  

Pour into a lightly greased waffle iron and cook until golden brown.  Top with maple syrup, agave, powdered sugar, or fruit.