Pale Blue Dot Carl Sagan Cookies

Carl Sagan is one of my favorite scientists! I get to meet lots of kids when I attend gluten free, allergy friendly, and Celiac Disease events. My goal is always make them feel like they can do anything regardless of their dietary restrictions. I also like to remind them that we are all made of stardust, they are the universe, and to always keep looking up. It means the world to me when I meet parents at expos and conferences who tell me their kids are gluten free nerds too. I love inspiring kids in any way I can to be more excited about space and science!

Below you will find my Pale Blue Dot Cookie Recipe.

Cookie Ingredients:

1 cup of organic cane sugar

2.5 cups of all purpose gluten free flour

1/2 cup of room temperature butter

1 organic egg

1/4 a cup of milk

1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon of salt

1/2 teaspoon of xanthan gum

Baking Directions:

Mix the butter and sugar together on medium speed in a large bowl.

Next, add in the egg, milk, vanilla, and salt.

Lastly, add in the flour and xanthan gum. I like to cover my dough and refrigerate it for an hour.

Make sure to set aside some extra flour for rolling out your sugar cookies and cutting them into specific shapes.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

I usually bake these cookies for about 15 minutes.

Icing Ingredients:

1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 tablespoons milk

Icing Directions:

Mix the powdered sugar, vanilla, and milk into a bowl until the mixtures starts to thicken.

Add food coloring of your choice, I like using the brand Color Garden because it’s gluten free and allergy friendly.

Once the sugar cookies have cooled, then you’ll be ready to spoon blue icing over the tops and add sugar sprinkles.

I hope you enjoy these cookies, and always remember to keep looking up!

Carl Sagan was Earth’s leading advocate for the greatest adventure in human history: missions of discovery to world beyond our own. I am proud to be a member of The Planetary Society because they have inspired the people of Earth to explore other worlds, understand our own, and seek life elsewhere for over 30 years.

The Planetary Society was founded in 1980 by Carl Sagan, Bruce Murray, and Louis Friedman. Our three founders formed The Planetary Society to demonstrate—simply by its existence—that the public strongly supported planetary exploration and the search for extraterrestrial life and to wave that fact in the faces of politicians and policy makers around the world. We succeeded immediately in that, becoming the fastest-growing membership organization of the 1980s.

But it quickly became clear that we were going to have to do more than just exist. To achieve our goals of keeping spacecraft exploring, seeing humans walk on other worlds, and searching for signs of life in the galaxy, to our goal of political advocacy, we added sponsoring research projects, publishing a magazine and a website, holding events to celebrate exploration, and preparing for the future by educating the next generation of space explorers.

Thanks to the strong foundation established by our founders, we continue to be the pre-eminent outreach and advocacy organization for space exploration.

The pursuit of the vision of our founders requires an active and engaged membership.
Please consider joining The Planetary Society today to help ensure the future of space exploration.


Enjoy Life Foods Snickerdoodle Cookie Crisp

It’s officially May, and that means it’s Celiac Disease Awareness Month! Celiac Awareness Month is an event held throughout the United States each May. Celiac disease is a genetic autoimmune disease which damages the small intestine. The small intestine is part of the gut which digests & absorbs nutrients from food. When the small intestine is damaged, the rate of nutrient absorption from food is reduced. Celiac disease can affect people in many different ways and symptoms vary in severity.

This month I’ve partnered with Enjoy Life Foods to come up with a delicious recipe using some of my favorite allergy friendly snacks. Enjoy Life Foods is recognized around the world as being the best source for tasty, allergy-friendly snacks. After being diagnosed with Celiac Disease, Enjoy Life Foods became my go-to safe brand. Having brands that take dietary restrictions seriously means the world to me, I don’t know what I would do without Enjoy Life Foods snacks and baking mixes. Everything they make tastes yummy and you can actually read the ingredients. I hope you love the combination of Enjoy Life Foods products I’ve used to come up with a recipe this month to celebrate Celiac Disease Awareness Month!

Below you’ll find the recipe to my Snickerdoodle Cookie Crisp.


1 box of Enjoy Life Foods Honey Vanilla Graham Cookies

1 bag of Enjoy Life Foods Semi-Sweet Chocolate Mega Chunks

Raw Organic Coconut Oil

1 pint of Luna and Larry’s Vanilla Island Coconut Bliss Ice Cream

2 personal size packages of Enjoy Life Foods Soft Baked Mini Snickerdoodle Cookies

3 personal packs of Enjoy Life Foods Dark Chocolate Morsels Snack Packs


Add 1 box of Enjoy Life Foods Honey Vanilla Graham Cookies with 1/2 cup of Enjoy Life Foods Chocolate Chunks to your food processor. Once these ingredients have been combined, add 3 tablespoons of melted Raw Organic Coconut Oil to the mixture. Take this base mixture and pour it into a non-stick tart pan. Firmly smash the base into the tart pan and place it into your freezer for 15 minutes. After you remove the dessert base from the frezzer, evenly spread the ice cream over the top of the crunchy cookie base, and put it back in the freezer for 10 minutes. While your dessert is in the freezer, melt 1 cup of Semi-Sweet Chocolate Mega Chunks to drizzle over the top of the dessert. Last but not least, sprinkle Dark Chocolate Morsels and add Mini Soft Snickerdoodle Cookies to the top of the dessert. Freeze to serve.



2017 March for Science Washington, DC

On April 22, we gathered in more than 600 places around the world to voice and demonstrate our support for science and the fundamental role it plays in serving and improving our society through informed-policy. We come from all educational backgrounds, from a rich diversity of human experiences, and from nations around the world: the March for Science reached from the Global South to the North Pole. This week, The Planetary Society will mobilize through a “Week of Action.” We will contact elected officials, support science institutions in our communities, and hold our leaders in society and science accountable to the highest standards of honesty, integrity and fairness. And we will work to bring science and the benefits of scientific research to those who need it most. The Planetary Society salutes everyone who supported the March for Science this past weekend. Keep the momentum going!

We’re raising $100,000 to represent you in Washington, D.C. Take action now. We sit at a key moment to influence the direction for space with the new Administration and Congress. While there is much bipartisan support for NASA, major budget cuts are coming down the line that may severely impact space science and exploration.

We must speak up—right now—to demonstrate public support for space exploration.

Funding for our Advocacy program is critical. The more funding we have, the more effective we can be, which ultimately translates into more missions, more science, and more exploration.

We have a plan to engage the new Administration and the new Congress to build support for space science and exploration. And we need to increase our investment in our Washington, D.C. operations.

How much we increase our D.C. operations depends on you. So does our ability to provide new educational tools and to be present at major space symposiums and meetings around the world.

It’s a small investment now that could pay off in a major way. Our future at Mars, the Moon, Europa, and beyond depends on our ability to advocate for space over the next year.

Your gift today will be doubled thanks to a generous donor who will match your gift dollar for dollar up to $50,000.

Thank you for being part of the strong coalition speaking out for science and exploration.


Yuri’s Night 2017

Yuri’s Night is the World Space Party. Yuri’s Night is a celebration of humanity’s achievements in space, with hundreds of parties and events held around the world each April. Yuri’s Night is an international celebration held every April 12 to commemorate milestones in space exploration. Yuri’s Night is named for the first human to launch into space, Yuri Gagarin, who flew the Vostok 1 spaceship on April 12, 1961. The launch of STS-1, the first Space Shuttle mission, is also honored, as it was launched 20 years to the day of Vostok 1 on April 12, 1981. The goal of Yuri’s Night is to increase public interest in space exploration and to inspire a new generation of explorers. Driven by space-inspired artistic expression and culminating in a worldwide network of annual celebrations and educational events, Yuri’s Night creates a global community of young people committed to shaping the future of space exploration while developing responsible leaders and innovators with a global perspective. These global events are a showcase for elements of culture that embrace space including music, dance, fashion, and art. I had the best time celebrating Yuri’s Night in Los Angeles this year at the California Science Center! I wish it could be Yuri’s Night every night! It’s wonderful to be surrounded by people who celebrate space and science! Still in shock over some of the people I got to meet while at the event, I don’t think I stopped smiling all night, and I can’t wait for next year!

“Circling the Earth in my orbital spaceship I marveled at the beauty of our planet. People of the world, let us safeguard and enhance this beauty — not destroy it!”
— Yuri Gagarin, 1st human in space.


March for Science 2017

A letter from Bill Nye: Why we’re marching for science

Greetings, members, supporters and global community,

Big news: The Planetary Society will join the March for Science on April 22, 2017. I am serving as an honorary Co-Chair for the March, and The Planetary Society is an official partner. I will march at the main event in Washington, D.C., but there will be upward of 400 sister marches around the world. We will assemble with citizens everywhere, whether they are formal scientists or thoughtful citizens from other walks of life, to march in support of science.

After all: science is universal.

Why are we marching?

The Planetary Society empowers the world’s citizens to advance space science and exploration. We’re a nonpartisan organization of over 50,000 members, diverse people with a spectrum of political beliefs, united in their support for space and science. We focus on planetary exploration, both robotic and human. We support NASA and the space agencies of countries around the globe. We have a responsibility to support the exploration of the deep cosmos, the Sun, the Earth, as well as our own solar system.

One of the Society’s core values is Science, the rigorous process that has enabled humankind to understand the cosmos and our place within it. Science, and the technology that flows from it, has provided humans with the means to feed billions, and know nature in a way that our ancestors could not have imagined. The Planetary Society’s mission aligns with the mission of the March for Science.

The March for Science champions robustly funded and publicly communicated science as a pillar of human freedom and prosperity. We unite as a diverse, nonpartisan group to call for science that upholds the common good and for political leaders and policymakers to enact evidence-based policies in the public interest.

We march to celebrate science. We celebrate science everyday as we advocate, create and educate to advance our mission. Space science is a prime reason to be excited today and optimistic about our future. There’s immense value in exploring other worlds like Mars, Pluto, and Europa— the moon of Jupiter with twice as much seawater as Earth. As we seek to understand the cosmos and our place within it, we come closer to knowing the answers to these two questions: where did we come from? And, are we alone in the universe? In addition to valuable discoveries, space science creates jobs, produces innovations, and enables investments. The money spent on space is spent entirely on Earth; it supports tens of thousands of jobs in the U.S. alone. Private aerospace companies are making enormous strides in lowering the cost of spaceflight and advancing space science. A next generation of entrepreneurs and inventors is blazing a trail to Mars and beyond. We may find life elsewhere, get humans on the Martian surface, and witness the opening of a new marketplace in space. Space exploration brings out the best in us. It’s uplifting. People are excited. Young innovators are inspired. Space exploration is something to celebrate.

We march to advocate for space. There’s a new movement for space. In just 60 years, we have gone from testing our first rockets, to humans walking on the Moon, to sending robots to all the major planets and Pluto. We’re now learning about planets orbiting distant stars. With each accomplishment in space, new mysteries arise and beckon us to keep exploring, flying farther and deeper into the cosmos. Our work is just getting started. From weather reports, to global navigation, to magnetic ripples from the Big Bang, space benefits and fascinates us. Space is not a partisan issue.

We march to inspire unity. When we explore the cosmos, we come together and accomplish extraordinary things. Space science brings people of all walks of life together to solve problems and experience the unparalleled awe of exploration. Everyone – regardless of race, gender, creed or ability – is welcome in our journey to advance space science. Our future depends on science, and space exploration is an invaluable investment of our intellect and capabilities.

Space brings out the best in us. Science connects us.

Carl Sagan, my astronomy professor at Cornell University, cofounded The Planetary Society. He was a space science champion, advocate and communicator. He inspired the world to experience space science and delight in discoveries: achieved and within reach. His legacy lives on, through us: through you.

See you in Washington, and around the world.


How to Join The Planetary Society in the March for Science

March: March at one of the 393 (and counting) events worldwide: RSVP today

Sport a “Science is Universal” t-shirt: Our exclusive shirt from Omaze benefits The Planetary Society.

Take Action: Can’t march in person? There are other powerful ways to participate:

Show your support for science by using the hashtag #ScienceIsUniversal on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Create a “Science is Universal” sign and post it with the hashtag.
Sign up for our Space Advocate newsletter for action opportunities.
Send a message to Congress and the Administration by signing our advocacy petition.
Join our Global Volunteer Network.
Join us as a new member or renew, providing vital financial support.


The Gluten Free Nerd goes to Alaska

Traveling is one of my favorite things to do! And going to see the northern lights has been a dream of mine for as long as I can remember. When I saw that The Planetary Society had a trip to Alaska available to its members, I knew I had to go. I sent in my application for the trip and was hopeful everything would work out. Initially, I was nervous my application would be an issue because I have Celiac Disease and food allergies. But food allergies are just part of what makes me who I am. And I like to think having food allergies makes my lifestly more interetesting because it has made me a constant learner of all things food related.

After finding out everything for the trip was in order and I was going to get to go – I couldn’t stop smiling! I got a package in the mail with a book, a suggested reading list, the trip itinerary, and a packing list. The packing list alone was interesting because I live in San Diego and anything below 60 degrees is considered cold weather. Although I have grown up skiing with my family, the temperatures in Alaska for this trip were beyond anything I have ever experienced. Don’t get me wrong, I like the cold, and rainy days in San Diego are my favorite. We get so much sunshine here, it’s nice to have a change in weather.

Everything that came in the package about going to Alaska made me even more excited to get to go on the trip! Aside from reading a few books and tackling the packing list, I needed to plan ahead carefully in terms of what to take with me for snacks, and possibly full meals just in case of a lack of options. I found preparing for which on-the-go snacks and meals to pack for this trip to be a fun challenge. I’ve been dreaming about seeing the northern lights for too long – so I wanted to focus on enjoying my time in Alaska, and not worry about wether I would or wouldn’t have access to gluten free and allergy friendly meals.

Thankfully, there are lots of gluten free and allergy friendly companies out there making products that are great for traveling. Some of my snack essentials while on the trip were: Enjoy Life Foods ProBurst Bites, Moon Cheese, and Simply Snackin protein bars. Sometimes I feel self conscious about carrying food with me at all times. So many others on the trip always had a backpack of some sort filled with camera equipment and extra warm weather gear so I felt better about always having a bag with me. One of the fun things about traveling with so much food is getting to share snacks with others. People tend to ask me what I’m eating often and I like to talk to them about my favorite brands and why I love how they taste so much. I promise, not all gluten free and allergy friendly food tastes like air and cardboard. You just need to know which brands make the good stuff.

The trip lasted a week, but I could have easily stayed in Alaska for a month. Everyone in our tour group was so nice, I had a great time! I would absolutely go back to Alaska again. Especially now that I have this collection of extreme weather gear for freezing temperatures. I learned that the right clothes for extreme temperatures make a big difference . I have acquired a new addiction for all things made by Canada Goose. I would have turned into a human popsicle without all my gear from them while I was in Alaska.

Above you’ll find a video of my week while I was in Alaska with The Planetary Society. My top 5 experiences from the trip include: seeing the northern lights more than once, getting to ride the train from Anchorage to Fairbanks, visiting Poker Flat, watching the Iditarod, and getting to spend time learning from Dr. Tyler Norgren. There isn’t any part of this trip that doesn’t make me smile. I made memories that will last me a lifetime.


Gluten Free & Allergy Friendly Travel Tips from The Gluten Free Nerd

People often ask me how I prepare myself for trips where I am unsure of allergy friendly food options being readily available. The last thing I want to worry about when traveling is thinking about where to find gluten free and allergy friendly meal options. For this reason, I pack lots of snacks and specific products I know will keep me full while I’m on-the-go. Having dietary restrictions is just part of what makes me who I am, and I don’t let that keep me from travel or attending conferences where I already know I won’t have options beyond soda or water. I tend to meet people at food conferences and expos that seem overwhelmed by attending events where they don’t have food options. My goal is for people to be less stressed and learn from my experiences with how I plan ahead for trips and conferences.

The YouTube video above is of me talking about what kinds of snacks I packed for a week long trip to Alaska with the Planetary Society. Seeing the northern lights has always been a dream of mine and I wasn’t going to let having dietary restrictions get in the way of me accomplishing that goal. I’m thankful for the variety of gluten free and allergy friendly products that continue to meet the needs of people with dietary restrictions.

Here’s a list of the snacks I packed for my trip:

Enjoy Life Foods Cinnamon Spice, and Cranberry Orange ProBurst Bites

Enjoy Life Foods Mini Semi Sweet and Dark Chocolate Chips

Enjoy Life Foods Crunchy Mini Chocolate Chip Cookies

Enjoy Life Foods Rice Milk Crunch Chocolate Bars

Enjoy Life Foods Mountain Mambo + Beach Bash Fruit and Seed Mixes

Aleia’s Coconut Macaroons

Happy Baby Kale, Apple, and Avocado Pouches

GoGo Squeeze Apple Sauce Pouches

St. Dalfour Blueberry Jam

Organic Imagine Free Range Chicken Broth

Simply Snackin Artisan Protein Snacks

Moon Cheese

YUM Earth Very Very Cherry Lollipops

That’s It Fruit Bars

White Gold Honey

Cooks Gluten Free Sourdough Bread

Cuties Tangerines



2017 Space Advocacy Update

Today I had the pleasure of being part of a Google Hangout on Air Teleconference for the first Space Advocacy Call of 2017. I am honored to have the opportunity to interact with our top space policy staff and Planetary Society’s CEO Bill Nye.

Topics included the latest insights into the future of NASA, analysis of where the new Administration may take the space program, and what The Planetary Society is doing to engage the new Congress and White House to promote our goals.

Space exploration doesn’t just happen. It results from specific decisions made by government and industries acting on behalf of committed citizens. Knowing why, how, and where the decisions for the future of space are made empowers you to better influence their outcome.

Participants were allowed to submit questions during the Google Hangout on Air. Here are the questions I asked during the teleconference:

(Q1) Mat Kaplan: The Gluten Free Nerd, With plans for Orion and moving forward, should we expect approval to increase budget to Nasa through adjustments in proportions of tax funds allocated to NASA?

Casey Dreier: That would be a very important goal. Lets talk about where we are in terms of the big picture here and this is where I think – if anything we’ve learned from 2016 is making political prognostications is a risky game. This is where we’re trying to be aware of what’s happening, but not to make too many long term predictions.

Bill Nye: Presumptions.

Casey Dreier: Thank you, Bill.

Bill Nye: We’re not going to presume that Nasa’s budget will get increased, but we’re hoping it will be based on the idea that we have bipartisan support.

Casey Dreier: And we’re not just hoping – we’re working to make that happen. Here’s where we are though, here’s the math. This is where I think we do honestly have some very strong supporters in congress who are empowering congress, the republicans, who do want to see this grow. Here’s the math: we have from what we understand a very large tax cut coming through, we have the intention to have a large infrastructure spending bill, we have the intention to have increased spending on the military side of the US budget, and we have also had a stated intention to go after, and to diminish and to decrease the part of the budget that’s called non defense discretionary. Basically that’s what funds what we think of as government. That’s where NASA is funded out of, that where the National Science Foundation is funded, the National Endowment for the Arts, roads, veterans, healthcare…you name it – the FBI, homeland security. All of this is funded out of non defense discretionary. They have stated that they want to diminish this over the years by about 20%, over the next 4 years. If NASA’s pot of money that it draws from shrinks, NASA itself is going to have a hard time maintaining its current budget, basically it means it’s growing in proportion to its shrinking pool that it can draw from, much less grow. Now we don’t know for sure this will be the outcome. Parties in power tend to learn to love deficit spending. Right? Because no one wants to, it tends to be very politically unpopular to cut popular programs, go figure. The issues here is that are we really going to see, and this is what no one really knows yet, there’s a very strong contingent in the house of representative in particular, who are truly committed to cutting big portions of government in order to pay for these other items. We don’t know if they’re a big enough contingent yet to override a more moderate wing or more free spending wing of the republic party, or if they find some sort of coalition of democrats and republicans to come together and pass some bigger spending bills. We’re going to find out here relatively soon basically where people true beliefs systems exist and also how committed they are to them in the face of real political consequences.

(Q2) Mat Kaplan: The Gluten Free Nerd, how do you expect Pruitt’s appointment to impact the program based on your current view on the administration’s take on human impact on the environment? And that is the new Secretary of the Interior.

Bill Nye: Mm-hmm.

Casey Dreier: Of the EPA.

Mat Kaplan: I’m sorry, EPA director. Sorry, my mistake.

Bill Nye: EPA, yeah, not Secretary of the Interior. You know, the names are thrown around. Well, I, I think one of the things you talked about a few times, Casey, was regulation and space launches have regulations just like airplane runways and airports. So I imagine they’ll be a way to, I can imagine Mr. Pruitt wanting to enable more launches with fewer, with less energy spent on environmental impact statements. I’m imagining that. And people want to have space ports in New Mexico and Texas. Spaceport is like an airport. But there’s concerns down range. I went by the pad where the big explosion was last September. Man, when a rocket blows up, it’s serious business. So I imagine the Environmental Protection Agency will work less with the Federal Aviation Administration on rocket launches. Casey, do you have any opinion on that?

Casey Dreier: I don’t have any much more to add than that.


Here is the link to watch the entire 2017 Space Advocacy Update.

Space exploration brings out the best in all of us. When we learn more about the universe, we learn more about ourselves. At The Planetary Society, passionate space fans like you join forces to create our own missions, nurture new science and technology, advocate for space, and educate the world—all to advance space exploration. We’re your place in space!

Let’s change the world together.


SpaceX CRS-10 Launch from 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center

❤I'm in tears 😊 beyond gratefully to have been part of the #NasaSocial Team this week for the @spacex CRS-10 launch!! SpaceX's Dragon launched to the International Space Station today carrying two more Earth science instruments that are dedicated to observing and increasing our understanding of our home planet.🌎 . . . To see more, make sure to add me on Snapchat: gluten-freenerd👻 . Twitter: EstherTrevino 🐥 . #NASA #Space #Science #KennedySpaceCenter #SpaceX #Lifestyle #Blogger #GlutenFreeNerd 📲vc: @erinsharoni . . If you haven't tapped on the little dots on the top right corner of my profile page to turn on post notifications, you are missing out on stories like this one. Just saying. 😏

A post shared by The Gluten Free Nerd ™ (@theglutenfreenerd) on


NASA Social SpaceX CRS-10 Launch

I can’t begin to tell you how excited I am to be a part of the #NasaSocial Team this week for the SpaceX CRS-10 launch! This is the first time Nasa has had a launch from pad 39A since shuttle missions. The Dragon will carry 5,500 lbs of science research, crew supplies and hardware to the orbiting laboratory in support of the station crew members. When SpaceX’s Dragon launches to the International Space Station on Sunday, it will carry two more Earth science instruments that are dedicated to observing and increasing our understanding of our home planet. Launching tomorrow is a sequel to a successful lightning study mission that will use the unique vantage point of the International Space Station. The Lightning Imaging Sensor (LIS) will be mounted to the station and is designed to measure the amount, rate and optical characteristics of lighting over Earth. Some science that’s on board the shuttle includes: Sage III, an ozone modular instrument looking at the health of our earth’s earth sunscreen from the International Space Station.  Burke Research Laboratories is sending a protein crystallograpy experiment that’s going to be focused on better understanding Keytruda, which is an FDA approved drug for cancer patients. And The Mayo Clinic is sending a stem cell investigation to the ISS National lab to assist those who have suffered strokes.