7, 8, 9

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My last post was on 2/14, the night before my last day at AAA.

There has been so much PROCESSING and simply BEING happening – I am a bit behind on my 52 lists project. I have missed the writing!

Let’s get right to it:

 

#7

sunlight

Who brightens your day:
Recently, John put his hands on my shoulder while I was completing new hire paperwork for Tyler on my lab-top and said, “I’m so proud of you – you are doing THIS”. These words felt like the sun warming my skin and filling my heart with more joy and love then I could ever imagine.
Tonight Clover “leveled up” on her school program called Lexia. The joy she felt as she danced and hugged and sang really was quite electric. We need to figure out a way to harness this exuberance, really we do. My cheeks hurt from smiling. Bodhi somehow burnt his little chin on our newly installed wood burning stove. John and I are not really sure how it happened, he seemed not phased, but he has a small little raised burn on his chin. We placed some bacitracin on it with gauze overnight. He looked up at my with his gorgeous green sleepy eyes and said, “time for sleep now mama, I love you mama”… While he is my little tornado, when his sweet nature is on, it is ON: Mama melting!! Obviously, my snuggly cat Gus who wakes me most mornings a few minutes before my alarm (grr) and my bounding Harvey each day when I return home from work – make my heart soar in gratitude and love.  I’ve started a new groove this week – not sure who I will see daily in this line of work – time will tell!!

 

#8

Favorite Quotes:

bestill

Be still and know. Reminder to have faith in this glorious universe.

 

loveanyway

LOVE THEM ANYWAY. Words to live by.

togetherwerise

Hold hands more, find the common thread we all share and watch us rise above the ashes – together.

letgo

Let go and watch the glorious life you are meant to live unfold.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#9

My favorite and treasured things:

Mom’s jewelry -particularly her diamond in my engagement/wedding ring, books, notebooks, planner, pencils, pens, comfortable clothes, cozy throw blankets, tea, scarfs (lots and lots of them), my contacts (to see of course), books (even if I don’t get to read them as much as I’d like), Clover’s and Bodhi’s artwork, christmas lights year round, fuzzy socks, plants, christmas ornaments and anything that brings back a sense memory: I smell, taste, feel or remember exactly where I was, what I was doing or how incredible that person was while doing what I remember…

One word for all my treasured things: COZY.

pleasesnuggle

 

 

 

F-U-N

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List#6: List ways in which you love to have fun!

For fun, I’ve decided to share my go to strategies on upping the fun in haiku’s! Enjoy…

See if you can guess the way in which I love to have fun for each haiku (answers below)!


shy hearts seek the one

walking amidst the others

fresh air strides ponder



big words fill the air

crisscrossing against culture

a new world awaits



sing notes high or low

inviting strangers closer

discover the bridge



swinging swirls and jumps

hands holding sweet connection

more rhythm more grace



release all that hides

words spilling out quickly now

yields the connection



arms above arms low

twisting spines bending bow pose

deep ocean breath knows



side by side pretzels

blankets cover candles glow

wiggling noses touch



many words unfold

trusting tribe friends all knowing

banter and lean in



jolly and jovial

squinting eyes surrendering

how the joy escapes



the short list from above:

this lady loves to go walking, to listen (podcasts, music), to sing,  to dance, to write,  to stretch, to snuggle, to talk, and most importantly to laugh.

How will you incorporate more JOY and LOVE in your days?

10 Years

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As most of you know, my mother was an elementary ESL teacher. She taught in South Providence, Rhode Island. Most of her kids could not speak English. She would explain that she saw herself in the children, recounting how she was placed in special educational classrooms for not speaking English. It was awful for her. To find escape, she quickly learned not only English, but Spanish as well – nothing was stopping this bad ass mamacita.  She thought teaching was a good path, a safe career and a sure bet. Unfortunately (for her), none of us kids took a liking to it – until now. Well, sort of. I’ll get to that in a moment. 

This week’s list challenge:  How will your life look in 10 years from now?

Ironically this week, I’ve taken a large leap of faith and am trusting the proverbial net will catch me.
I’ve accepted a position at a local software company to train clients on their newly deployed systems. It will be a whirlwind of travel, working from home and well – teaching. Over my years at AAA, I have thoroughly enjoyed facilitating training sessions: from IRS trainings, to customer service refreshers, to point of sale conversion trainings – even a pre-licensing class for teens! These extra duties brought great joy.

As time marched forward and the years have ticked on by, a rumble in my soul started to get a little louder. For me, it whispered that maybe it was time to find a new path. At first I thought it was simply being burnt out on managing people for 10+ years. Nope. I still love people. Maybe it was that I’ve grown weary of the corporate world? Nope. That is everywhere you go (to some level).  Maybe I was having an early mid-life crisis? Nope. Aside from this little ache, my life has never been more grounded and AWESOME. 

In a moment of pure honesty, I confided my internal struggles to some friends at a cookout this past summer. And then all the dots started to connect. A good friend’s wife is a Project Manager for an implementation team. “What’s an implementation team?”.  And so it went – a casual dinner with his wife. More points connecting – yes, yes, yes. Thoughts like,  “this is the path I am meant to go down” crept up more and more often. 

Serendipity strikes again:  one email, two phone interviews, one presentation and woila’, I own this new path. A path that shall eventually lead me to project management myself (another passion of mine). 

It’s crazy what a few months will bring you. 

So back to this weeks list:

Ten years, my life will include two teenagers (whoa) and my #1 partner in crime, Johnny V. 

I imagine we’ll be tending to their interests (whatever they turn out to be), our own interests and lots of family fun. 

Our cabin business will be flourishing. 

My work will continue to bring joy and my teacher, mentor & coach hat will be firmly in place (likely very decorated by this point in time). 

There will be more time outside, more art, more love and more memories: a full and glorious life. 

Soundtrack of my life…

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Under the wire, typing up my 4th list for this nearly completed 4th week of the year.

Before I get into my list – my heart is heavy with the terrifying political storm we have brewing in the USA. So many scary actions and inhumane decisions are being made.

I implore you – please JOIN ME and call your senators and your representatives. This is the most effective way communicate dissent. At some point, this will all go too far even for those who supported this administration. Please take a moment and call, as much as you can. Thank you.

Onto our subject at hand…

This weeks list challenge was to create a list of what songs would make up the soundtrack of your life right now.

Whoa, guys, this was so hard. For many reasons soon to be shared my life at this very moment is equal parts joy and heartache. My heart will always be grateful for the incredible life I know I am so very blessed to lead… and simultaneously aches for the worlds hurt that we are enduring now – with a little bit more pressure being felt each passing day.

A beautiful thing happened while I was creating this list, my kids were so engaged. We played the songs on YouTube and what ensued was quite the dance party. Lots of silly kicks, twirls and hand pumping.
A sweet reminder, the future is in the hands of our youth, they are watching!!
In them, there is endless hope.
Take a moment, breath and move a little – shake your groove thing, yeah yeah.

I made a Spotify playlist (since we had so much fun dancing and moving).
It lives here:

Here is the actual list – it has the YouTube videos hyperlinked below.

 

peace

 

With Peace and Unending LOVE,

Team Apczynski

 

Moment by moment

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List #3:

My happiest moments thus far… a photo essay of sorts.

How to summarize a blessed and sweet life? Here’s my simple go at it.

This weeks challenge: create your own favorite moments of your life thus far, return to it when you need reminding of your crazy beautiful life.

 

I do.

I do. 10/10/10.

Baby Yogi Clover circa 2011.

Baby Yogi Clover circa 2011.

We finally snuggled after a long day of getting her earthside. 10/13/11

We finally snuggled after a long day of getting her earth-side. 10/13/11

Visiting my mom's hometown, Galluccio Italy.

Visiting my mom’s hometown, Galluccio Italy. So. Many. Memories.

Aldo & Miranda loving on Clover - Italy, 2012.

Aldo & Miranda (my mom’s best friend) loving on Clover – Italy, 2012.

My Buddha baby, Bodhi 2013.

My Buddha Baby, Bodhi circa 2013.

For many many reasons, his birth healed and saved me. 11/19/13.

For many many reasons, his birth healed and saved me. 11/19/13.

Our discovery vacation, we found our to be forever home and the universe conspired.

Our discovery vacation, we found our to be community and the universe conspired to get us there.

9/30/15, we bought our forever home, DestinationME was truly born.

9/30/15, we bought our forever home, DestinationME was truly born.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sing it with me... "don't stop believing'"...

Sing it with me… “don’t stop believing'”…

You are a character…

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Back at it this week with List #2 at the #52listsproject: to list my favorite characters from movies and/or books,
Guys, this one is hard because I feel so disconnected from pop culture or any substantial reading for enjoyment since having my kiddos. It’s something I am working on (signed up for audible and hope to re-institute some sort of reading schedule  – even if only for 10 mins a day).
So, the list of characters are, in a word, dated.

I’m going with the first few that came to my mind and am taking the projects suggestion and diving a bit further contemplating their interconnection (since that is like my favorite concept ever).

Here we go…

#1 that came to mind: Annie Hall

Bad Ass Feminist

“Well, la de da, la de da” ~ Annie Hall

Played by Diane Keaton, Annie was just so cool and charismatic. Rocking “men’s clothing” before it was vogue to do so, she was my first exposure to any lady simple not giving a hoot about what anyone thought.  She was herself and made no apologies.

 

 

 

More than her looks was her sass. She’d say it like it was and give to Alvy (Woody Allen) multiple times.

In a nutshell, she rocked my world at a young age and my heart has been saying thanks ever since!

period

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

#2: Amelie

Have you seen this cute little foreign film? Gnomes, polka dots and an adorable bob.
I watched this gem at the Park Avenue Theater in Cranston, RI. An old movie theater, complete with sticky floors and bad concessions.
What can you say about this character? Her sense of wonder, vulnerability and passion (even if bordering on creepy) was something that struck such a cord with me.

Polka dot umbrella

The gorgeous production and tenderness of this film has stayed with me. It had equal parts heartache, adventure and sweet love.

Amelie’s character development just made you love her more. As the film progressed she became more bold and more self assured.

A classic line that stuck with me:   “At least you’ll never be a vegetable – even artichokes have hearts.”

Her sweet deeds (even if a bit meddlesome) are magical.

She is magic. #lifegoals

 

 

 

 

 


 

#3: Beatrice “Trixie” Jordon from the book God Shaped Hole by Tiffanie DeBartolo

This book gave me all the feels when I read it years and years ago. I might need to read it again. Trixie, the narrator was one brave woman. She sees this personal ad (pictured) and responds to it, meeting Jacob Grace. Together they embark on a romantic journey diving into issues of faith and love and life’s meaning. While these words sound cheesy, Trixie’s spirit and tenacity has stood the test of time in my world. Their relationship gave me hope when an 8 year relationship ended and I was reconstructing my life. As a 20 something year old (when I read this), I completely empathized with Trixie and loved her passion and conviction.

Plus, did I mention she was brave? She didn't waste time. I dig that.

Plus, did I mention she was brave? She didn’t waste time. I dig that.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

So, connecting these 3 very different but important characters (to me) – I come up with a new list:

  1. They are all badass ladies
  2. They all promote curiosity and wonder
  3. They all LOVE deeply and passionately
  4. They all embody FEARLESSNESS

You could say these are central themes to my life – it’s been fun to think of characters from movies and books. I’m certain I could come up with more if  time allowed.
What about you, what are you favorite characters and why?
How can you embody the characteristics you align with?

Please share! Until next week xo Sabrina

Hearts

Wishing and Hoping 2017

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Doing something a little different with this post.
I received a book last year entitled the 52 Lists Project.  It is a guided journal to get you writing at least once a week.  Well, I got through list #1 last year and stopped short.
Writing is such a huge release for me – it doesn’t even matter who is reading (although believe me you do matter very much).  What matters most (for my own general health and sanity) is that these words get out.  My goal is to publicly share these lists each week. In turn, I cultivate a better habit of writing and create a deeper connection with you.

Without further ado, List #1:

Hopes and Dreams for 2017

#1.  This will be the year DestinationME gets financially fit:  

Time to shape up baby!!

Time to shape up baby!!

We have begun working with a fee-only financial planner, Eric Simonds at Saltwater Harbor Financial, http://saltwaterharbor.com/.  Eric (aka Si) “follows the fiduciary standard to help clients build, manage, grow, and protect their assets through life transitions”. He is one of the first people I met here in Maine and truly has his clients best interest at heart. Wherever you live, if you want someone who will steer you in the best direction, reach out to him.     

2.  This will be the year we develop a new relationship with food:

Tonight's dinner was roasted spaghetti squash with sauteed balsamic greens and toasted pine nuts. So. Good.

Tonight’s dinner was roasted spaghetti squash with sauteed balsamic greens and toasted pine nuts. Follow these instructions – cut the squash in circles, no for real: http://eatwithinyourmeans.com/how-to-cook-spaghetti-squash/

I feel like I’ve said this many, many times before – but we are going about it a bit differently this time around. Currently, John and I are participating in the Hypoallergenic Diet (www.hypoallergenicdiet.com). This diet was scientifically developed to soothe the GI system and help us determine the foods that make us feel yucky and those that fuel us (non-scientific words). It has been interesting so far, today is really day 3 (full transparency – January 1st we finished up some wine and spiked eggnog we had lying around). Currently, our meals are veggie laden and cannot contain any allergic foods – no corn, soy, nightshade family foods (peppers etc.), strawberries, apples, citrus etc. etc. No meats unless super locally sourced, wild caught fish. It is tough. But we are getting creative and finding ourselves full and happy. More to follow on this adventure. It is a LONG program: 3 weeks of strict foods then little by little we can introduce each potential allergen for 3 days to “test” ourselves. We have high hopes!!

3.  This will be the year we make a legitimate business plan:

Tucked away, a tiny home to nurture with nature.

Tucked away, a tiny home to nurture with nature.

We will shake out the to-do’s to bring our “tiny house cabins in the woods” idea closer to reality. Time to get to creating a business plan, finding some grants/funding and really working hard towards taking action on our DREAM. Still working on the name of cabins.  In case your curious, some contenders are:  Tiny House Test, Tiny House Trial, Tiny House Try-on. Open to suggestions! The concept is to partner with a Tiny Home builder here in Maine and place 3 different models on our land. Rent them to visitors who want to “try” tiny house living. We’d refer those interested to our builder partner. Lots to figure out here, but man does the whole idea have both John and I jazzed.

4. This will be the year I tend to my mental health:

Treat your head right.

Treat your head right.

Lately the universe has been pointing me towards meditation again and again: on podcasts I listen to, in groups I belong to, in conversations, on the radio, wherever and everywhere – I am feeling the pull and it (the idea of meditating) petrifies me.  Being still is really hard for this big dreamer.  I recently took a YIN YOGA class and COULD NOT RELAX.  The buzzing energy, the kind that keeps me chattering at a hair or massage appointment or when there’s uncomfortable silence in any room, that sort of energy kept my mind racing the entire time. It’s time I learn to quiet down this monkey brain of mine.  My current approach is to take 10 minutes a day first thing in the morning to practice meditation. I am using the word practice on purpose – because this is a new muscle and I am weak.  I am using an app called Headspace and 2 days in I can’t say much except that I’m committed to keep trying. It’s 10 minutes, I can do this.  


Another decision I have made came to me while watching an AMAZING interview of Anthony Robbins on Marie Forleo’s MariaTV: https://www.marieforleo.com/2016/07/tony-robbins-extraordinary-life/.

In the interview, Tony explains how we can choose to suffer or not suffer. He says simply, “consider making the most important decision of your life: I will not suffer anymore.  Life is too short to suffer”.  

Guys, I suffer – I stress – I fixate and hold onto resentment (it likes to hang in my right shoulder the most), fear and anger like it’s my business. Therefore, I am publicly declaring that I choose not to suffer anymore. As Tony so eloquently offers:  I will take the time I need to feel the feelings, be curious about them, not let them attach to me and search for something to be grateful for in those moments. I will find something real to say thank you to and for.   

Because, there is always something to be grateful. 

On this perfect note, I’ll see you all next week with list #2.

For those following along use #52ListsProject.

Peace and love always,

Sabrina

2016, you weren’t all bad…

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What a wild ride this year has been! My word for the year was grounding. I looked for ways to connect with the community and just s l o w  down.  In turn, command my monkey brain to quiet for even just a bit. We sought for ways to create traditions and rituals for our family. There were fairs, hikes, discoveries – all full of laughs and memories made.

There was also plenty of heartache and disappointment this year. Career paths unclear for myself while  we struggled finding our way as John stayed home with kids by day, only to work at night post bedtimes (sometimes to the wee hours of he morning). Not a lot of sleep for any of us. I returned to the insurance world in a rush over the summer and those new responsibilities are shaking out as time marches onward now and into 2017. Our circle of friends near and far experienced their own trials, tribulations and losses. Somehow our love bound us together and we can still say, yeah, we are pretty-ok.

While these are uncertain times and our political climate is stormy, I remind myself of these bonds, this community and the strength we have within us to keep doing the work of goodness, kindness and love.

While contemplating this year, here’s a small list of 10 items that truly made this year sparkle for Team Apczynski. They are not in any particular and in truth, I could likely come up with another 10+!

Together, they all made this year amazing.

#1.  DISCOVERY:

Bodhi’s diagnosed speech delay was resolved through surgery, hard work and perseverance.  Here he is post surgery malaise smiling at the camera.
The transformation has been amazing to witness. Now speaking in full sentences, he has acquired his fathers quick sense of humor and belly laugh. He is such a love. 

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#2.  FAMILY ADDITION:

Our hearts grew, Harvey joined our family.  After losing Emlee and Ari earlier in 2015, it was time. This little (big guy) stole our hearts. With a temperament of a saint, he enjoys kiddo snuggles the most.  

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See the heart? This dog is nothing but LOVE. Harvey Halftone Dent Apczynski, 4/20/16

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Sweet Harvey hanging with me on the deck!

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A boy and his dog.

#3 TRAVEL ADVENTURES:

Anjali and Clover reunion in Denver, Buffalo 2 X, Rhode Island 4 X, Massachusetts 2 X and many long windy Maine drives for the heck of it!

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This is what pure love and friendship looks like.

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Benny, Bodhi and Clover too busy having fun in Williamsville, NY

#4 CREATIONS:

When we first moved into the house our sliding glass doors dropped off 8 feet!! This past late Spring our deck was built solving this danger.  YAY for lots of outdoor living!
John then worked on our backyard space – let them run wild!!

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Frosty view of the double decker deck and backyard!

#5 MAINE FIRSTS:  

1st Maine Summer in all its glory. There were fairs, Red’s Eats, Sebago Lake 4th of July and on and on… 

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My first RED’S EATS Lobster Roll – did not disappoint.

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Boothbay, Maine

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Pemaquid Point Beach, Maine

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Sebago Lake, Maine with dear friends July 2nd

 

#6 SCHOOL:

Clover began full time school (Kindergarten) and took the bus for the first time!! Mommy might of cried. A LOT.
Bodhi also started preschool 2 full days a week at Children’s School House in Bath, Maine.

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#7 VISITS: 

More than anything this year we focused on connecting to our community and friends. However, we were very blessed with many visits from new found local friends and from family and friends from away.  To name a few (and certainly not all):
Dad, Nancy, Eva
, Maureen, Bela, Lorena, Sara, Marilyn, Lorraine, the Dimbleby’s, the Simond’s, the Casey’s, Gail and Adrianna, Dick, Cindy, and, and, and….

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Auntie Maureen and Auntie Bela visit for our own special Christmas.

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Annual Nutcracker adventure with the D’s.

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Nana and Papa Proulx.

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Auntie Mimi all the way from California.

#8 OCTOBER:

Yes, indeed this month wins the GOLD star of the year: Clover’s birthday, our 6th wedding anniversary, crisp leaves, hikes, Halloween and pumpkin everything.

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Always adventuring.

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#9 DISCOVERING HYGEE:

Learning to embrace the colder days and cultivate serenity has significantly impacted my ability to metabolize heartache, sadness and the melancholy that comes when the days grow short (and a painful election year).  Our family practices hygee through candle lighting, twinkling lights, warm snugly throw blankets, quiet moments and warm tea at night.  

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#10 HOME AKA SLOWING DOWN AKA SAYING NO

Finishing off the year with a week AT HOME…no travels, no crazy commitments. The biggest thing I’ve worked on this week is this post!!  Most of this year I’ve taken long weekends here and there. This is the first full week off ALL YEAR. AMEN.

Team Apczynski has been hanging around a glowing fat tree just being. A small spark of hope and light is anew. Our family may be a little chaotic and crazy, but we are one loving sweet group.

While 2016 has been a different one (sorta a tangled mess), it brought with it many blessings and an abundance of connection.  This list could be substantially longer, with more pictures and moments to share. It is a small slice, a sweet review of some of the gorgeous days 2016 gave us:  A simultaneous thank you, good bye and hello!

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Fat Sparkly Christmas Tree

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Team Apczynski sends you love, light and lots of cozy times ahead in 2017!


Mom’s Wine Biscuits

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wine-bis-3This year I took the plunge and finally made my Mom’s Wine Biscuits. I felt such resistance to actually making them because I knew in doing so I could open up the hurt I feel in missing her.

To my surprise (although not really all that surprising), I felt closer to her rather than further away.  I felt her love and spirit all around me while prepping and baking them. Once we finished the first batch, I made 3 more batches.

Ultimately, sharing these little nuggets of love brought me SO MUCH JOY. We delivered them with our other Christmas cookies to our neighbor friends.  Knowing that her wine biscuits were going out into the word felt like spreading love and that feels freaking good!

So without further ado, here is the simple magical recipe (typed up for me from my amazing cousin, Barbara DeCubellis):

4 cups flour

4 Teaspoons – Baking Soda

1 cup sugar

1 cup oil

1 cup wine (red is best)

Sugar to sprinkle

1 egg (for egg wash)

Mix flour, baking soda, sugar, oil and wine together.

Roll out pieces and either connect ends to form a circle, twist or pretzel style twist.

Brush them with beaten egg. Sprinkle each cookie twist with sugar.

Bake at 350 for approx 15-17 minutes until light brown.
*A note on this recipe:  these are softer biscuits. They are not like biscotti in texture. They are not super sweet.  They are such a lovely treat with coffee or an espresso.

Godere con la famiglia!

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Keeping it Spicy

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A spicy DestinationME Treat...

A spicy DestinationME treat…

A spicy DestinationME treat…One funky and spicy holiday tradition courtesy of DestinationME!

It started a few years ago, John had to make something for his holiday work potluck.

Typically, I bought him a box of Pizza Strips – those of you in Rhode Island and nearby Massachusetts know what these are, amazing strips of dough with a special red sauce, NO melted cheese.  In fact, they are served cold – maybe some sprinkled cheese on top, that’s it. Anyhow, I was brought up on these bad boys. Consequently, I will always hold a special place in my heart for this bakery pizza known as pizza strips. Alas, I digress.

John was determined to do something different this time around. He happened upon a caramel popcorn recipe and decided to kick it up with bacon and cayenne. The results have been outstanding and well received year after year since.

Here’s the recipe – I will warn you now, it’s seriously addictive.

Spicy Caramel Bacon Popcorn 

What you’ll need:

5-6 slices of bacon (I use more… why be cheap when it comes to bacon)

Nonstick cooking spray

3 tablespoons vegetable oil (I use the bacon fat – much more bacon flavor this way)

1/2 cup popcorn kernels

1-1/2 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (more or less depending on spice level desired – maybe even habanero to really kick it up)

3 cups white granulated sugar

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 teaspoons sea salt

How you’ll do it:

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. On a baking rack (cooling rack) lay bacon side-by-side – you could use parchment paper if you wanted to. Transfer baking sheet to hot oven and cook bacon for 15 minutes, and until crispy and brown. Remove and place on paper towels to drain. When cool, cut into dice-sized pieces. (Save the fat – listen here, always save the bacon fat!!)

2. Lightly coat two large heatproof rubber spatulas and a large mixing bowl with nonstick cooking spray. In a large saucepan or pot with a lid, heat the bacon fat over medium-high heat. Add the popcorn kernels, cover, and keep the saucepan moving until all of the kernels have popped, about 4 minutes. Transfer the popped popcorn to the large prepared bowl, removing any unpopped kernels. 

3. In a small bowl, whisk together the baking soda and cayenne pepper. In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar, butter, salt, and 1/2 cup water. Cook over high heat, without stirring, until the mixture becomes a light golden-yellow caramel, about 10 minutes. You will want to stir:  Do Not Stir.  

Here is what it looks like just before the golden hue is right:

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Remove from the heat and carefully whisk in the baking soda mixture (the mixture will bubble up). Quickly fold in bacon bits. Pour the caramel over the popcorn and toss, like a salad, until all of the popcorn is evenly coated with the caramel.  WARNING:  do not use your hands – you could burn them severely.  

4. Pour the popcorn onto a large baking pan and quickly flatten and separate it into small pieces while it is still warm. You could make shapes at this point if you wanted to – just wear gloves (again, no gloves and you could seriously burn your hands!!!)

5.  Cool to room temperature, about 15 minutes. Once it is cool, store it in a well-sealed airtight container.

6.  Caramel popcorn will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days (4 days?!? HAHA).

Team Apczynski wishes you all a very merry spicy warm holiday season ahead! Heart-of-Winter