Cupcakes and Raindrops

Have you ever witnessed yourself in a moment? Like really in it? The sounds, smells, sights, and sensations all just consume you all at once and its just you and that moment? I think it can be challenging to do in a society that is telling us to do just about everything, but  to be in the moment now. Challenging, yes, but not impossible. And, I my dad always told me, “Practice makes perfect!” and I believe that.

I bring this up because the other day I had the miracle of witnessing myself really engulfed in the juiciest moment and I was incredibly happy. It was only for about five minutes, but it was one of the happiest 5 mins and I plan to keep doing it. Now, I know I have done this before, but this was the most recent time and it just gets better and better each time I practice and catch myself doing it.

It was a typical rainy south Florida Thursday this week and since I am in summer classes right now I was on my way to school. Now, I am pretty sure it has rained just about everyday this week and while I witness so many people complaining about the rain, I try to embrace the rain for what it is and view it as cleansing our Earth. So, its Thursday, and its raining really hard on my way to school, which is slowing up the traffic, which in turn I notice myself tensing up because I want to arrive to school and class all on time, but also be safe. I finally get to school and I park. I pull out my oversized black umbrella and I swiftly take off to class. As I’m walking, almost to a run, a thought pops in my head, “Slow down, you have plenty of time.” Hmmm? So, I checked out my watch and I had 5 mins until my class started. Right when I slowed my body down, my thoughts slowed down, and the magic started to happen.

I felt like someone came in a turned up all my senses to full blast, when in actuality, it was me tuning into the moment. My body relaxed and I just walked. I started to notice my feet; walking through the puddles. I had sandals on, so my feet were getting bathed my the cool rain puddle water and I remember I did not care. Not one bit. Now, if I were still in gotta-get-to-class mode, the idea of my feet getting soaked would have irritated me more. So, my feet are getting soaked by the Earth water, my ears tune into the rain drop tunes pitter-pattering on top of my umbrella, the smell of fresh grass, and rain, and dirt, and Earth completely fill my nose and raise the hair on my arms creating goosebumps throughout my body. And then, I notice the ducks. There are a few different ponds located on my school’s campus and I walk by one of them on my way to this particular class. I looked at the pond and I noticed about a dozen ducks just floating on the pond with the rain coming down all around them. They just bobbed up and down on the water as their heads rested. It was so beautiful. I thought, “Look at them. The rain and wind is swirling about them and they just lean into the sensations of it all and graciously float about.” Oh, how nature is always teaching me things and trying to get my attention and I am so grateful it got my attention in this situation.

I did arrive to class, perfectly on time, completely calm, and filled from head to toe with gratitude and a raised vibration. For it wasn’t about anything else but that moment alone that got me to the state of happiness and gratitude. What a lesson, I’m so happy I was open to it and I encourage you to be, too, even if it is for 5 minutes.

Now, lets get your rain boots on and raise your vibration…your tastebud vibrations, that is. 🙂

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I have two recipes that are just perfect for any rainy or sunny day! They are both cupcake/muffin recipes. One is veggie-based and the other is fruit-based, but both are equally enjoyable! I say cupcake/muffin because you could make them with or without frosting. Plus, we like choices and flexibility, right?

Both recipes are gluten-free, full of protein, and lots of love from the buckwheat flour I chose to use in them. The buckwheat reminds me of the Earth, which I thought was nicely connected to my experience I talked about in this post. It is an earthier flour, much darker in color, and packed with benefits. In my Healing With Whole Foods book, by Paul Pitchford, I found out that buckwheat polishes up and enhances the digestive system. Rutin is a bioflavonoid found in buckwheat that “strengthens capillaries and blood vessels, inhibits hemorrhages, reduces blood pressure, and increases circulation to the hands and feet.” The Rutin is also a counteractant against X-rays and other forms of radiation. So, along with broccoli, maybe we should be telling our kids to eat their buckwheat, too, eh?!

Cinnamon Pear Cupcakes/Muffins

2 ripe pears

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/3 cup coconut oil

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 tablespoons ground flaxseed

6 tablespoons almond milk

1 cup of buckwheat flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

To Prepare:

First, mix together the flax and milk in a little bowl and let the mixture sit for about 5 minutes.

Prepare your cupcake tin with the cupcake wrappers.

Preheat over to 350 degrees.

Diced up your pears into little cubes and then mix in a bowl with your wet ingredients: coconut oil, vanilla, and then your flax & milk combo.

In another separate bowl mix together your dry ingredients: flood, baking soda, baking powder, brown sugar, and all the spices.

Then add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix together with a spoon.

Then, add the combination to a food processor and mix it well. You may have to add half of the batter, process, and then add the other half depending on your food processor size. I had to do this because I have a smaller processor size.

After everything is blending nice and smooth, start spooning your batter into the cupcake tin. I filled all the way to the top and I was able to get about 6-8 cupcakes.

Once your tin is filled, place in the oven for 45-60 mins. (Each oven is different, so maybe set timer for 45 mins and check periodically after that. That is what I did.)

Remove your cupcakes when finished and let cool for maybe 20 mins at least, if you plan on adding frosting. Frosting is totally optional! These babies are good either way! I did some of mine with and some without! Get funky!

Frosting:

1/4 cup coconut oil

1- 1 1/2 cup powdered sugar

1/4 cup vegetable shortening

1-1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (only if you want to take away some of the coconut flavor from the coconut oil)

Toppings: I used shelled hemp seeds because they are full of protein and I think that they are just the cutest topping choice…but feel free to use whatever! Have fun with it!

Lastly, share & enjoy!

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My next recipe is more of a veggie-based cupcake/muffin, like I promised. So, if you’re not into being fruity, this is your treat!

Sweet Potato Zucchini Muffins/Cupcakes

2 cups of buckwheat flour

1 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon allspice

1 sweet potato, grated

1/2 zucchini, grated

1/2 cup canola oil (or other neutral tasting oil)

3/4 cup almond milk

1/2 cup raisins

1/2 cup gluten free muesli or rolled oats

To prepare:

First, preheat your oven to 340 degrees.

Prepare muffin/cupcake tin with cupcake wrappers.

Mix together the flour, sugar, salt, baking soda, baking powder, and cinnamon. Wash, peel and grate your zucchini and sweet potato. Then add zucchini and sweet potato to mixture. Then add in milk and oil to mixture and start to mix by hand. Finally, fold in the raisins and muesl with large spoon or spatula.

Then spoon batter into tin and place in oven to bake for 20 mins. After 20 mins, raise the temperature to 375 degrees and bake another 25 minutes.

Let cool for at least 20 mins before frosting or enjoying. The frosting for this recipe is the same as the one I listed above for the other cupcakes.Use toppings, or not. Your choice!

Share & Enjoy!

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& if you can, pay attention to everything that happens in your moment of baking. I was able to notice everything when I was baking these two, from how the batter looked and felt, and then the smells that filled my house once they were baking. And the best part was the taste! It is never hard to be apart of the tasting moment, right?! Ha! Be apart of the moment instead of being ahead of it in its end results.

Light & Love,
Amanda

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Let yourself off the hook!

‘Ello loves! & Happy Friday!

I woke up this morning not the way that I intended to kick off my Friday morning. Not. At. All. I’d like to blame it on a female hormonal imbalance, if you get my drift. Normal morning tasks, like walking the dogs and doing my morning meditation, just seemed so…ugh! Challenging! So, after sitting in the uncomfortable feeling chair for more than I wanted to, a voice came into my head and she said, “Relax. All you have to do is your best for today. And your best for today may be different than your best was yesterday or will be tomorrow. Embrace what shows up.” Immediately, I felt some relief.

I notice that most of the time when I am struggling it is because I am the one putting all the pressure on myself. My ego tells me it is other things…my boyfriend, the dogs, homework, hormones, the weather… But, once I move into some kind of acceptance by opening my heart, embracing what is, and letting myself off the hook, I can breathe normal again.

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So, I made the commitment to myself to do my best today by embracing what shows up and giving myself the permission to let go no matter what. This is my mantra. And when I feel myself starting to tense up, I go right to this, and I kick my ego out of the way. Pow!

Be gentle with yourself.

To go along with today’s gentle theme, I have a real simple, but fun, recipe.

Spaghetti Squash Noodles!

Go get yourself one spaghetti squash from the grocery store…

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Cut the squash in half (long ways)

Scoop out the seeds and set aside (maybe to roast & eat later, hmmm?)

Brush inside of squash halves with tiny amount of olive oil (maybe 1/2 tsp on each half)

Sprinkle salt & pepper over the olive oil coated halves.

Place squash halves on parchment paper lined baking sheet, the cut side down (or inside of squash facing down)

Roast squash for 30-45 minutes @ 375 degrees. (I think I might have done mine for 40 mins, some ovens get a little hotter/cooler than others)

Once you take the squash out of the oven, take a fork and start to scrap away at the inside of each squash half and the “spaghetti-like strands will start to form. I was so very amused with this process. It connected to me then where this squash got its name. 🙂 Leave the strands IN the squash and serve right out of it like a bowl or put strands in an actual bowl. (I just LOVE eating right out of the squash! Makes it so fun!)

Let cool for 5-10 minutes or so.

Season again with salt & pepper, or whatever seasons your wild heart desires and serve!

*I heated up a little spaghetti sauce and poured right on top of the squash, like it was a traditional spaghetti meal. I sprinkled a little nutritional yeast on top. I added a little side salad and some garlic bread, as well.

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Mmmm. Enjoy!

Light & Love,
Amanda

Waking up & Pancakes!

Good Morning!

Did you feel your feet hit the ground this morning?

I know that most mornings, at the first stir of my two pups, I’m up and at ’em without even paying attention to the movements of my body or giving myself the chance to feel what is happening inside and outside my body. I just take off!

I have been making an effort to try to give myself that extra second to rise in the morning. To stretch out my limbs while still laying down. To notice my eyes blinking open after a night with them closed. To feel, really feel, the four corners of my feet hit the ground when I hang them off the side of my bed. When I do this, it makes a difference in the flow of my day. I hope that by blogging about this and throwing it out there into the universe the awareness of this will only deepen for me and I can start to make this an every morning practice.

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Now that you have let your body wake up properly, lets get cookin’! Breakfast! I have two different pancake recipes that I can’t wait to share with you!

The first pancake recipe is for sweet potato pancakes that were inspired by almondsandavocados.com. I made a few changes, but for the most part it is the same.

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Sweet Potato Pancakes

1 small sweet potato, cubed and steamed (you’ll need one cup out of this)

1 cup almond milk

1/2 tablespoon melted coconut oil

2-3 teaspoons pure maple syrup

1 cup flour (whichever you prefer)

2 tablespoon almond flour (optional; I made my own by just processing a handful of almonds)

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Pinch of nutmeg

Pinch of sea salt

1. Cut the sweet potato into small cubes. Bring about 2 inches of water to a boil and steam the sweet potatoes for 7-8 minutes, until tender. When finished, pour softened cubes into a bowl and mash up with a fork or spoon. Measure out 1 cup of the mashed sweet potatoes.

2. Heat a bit of oil in a non-stick pan or skillet over medium heat.

3. Blend the cup of mashed sweet potato, almond milk, maple syrup, and coconut oil in blender or by hand works, too. Mix until smooth. Add the flour, almond flour (optional), baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt and blend until combined. Allow the mixture to sit and thicken a bit and then mix again. The batter should be thick but pourable. Add more flour if too thin.

4. Pour the batter onto the heated pan/skillet. When some bubbles have formed and the batter begins to brown on the edges, then flip and cook until the bottom has browned. Repeat until no more  batter is left.

5. Serve with your favorite toppings. In my picture I used the few extra sweet potato cubes I had left over for my topping, along with a few sprinkles of cinnamon, unsweetened shredded coconut, and some drizzles of maple syrup.

Enjoy!

The second pancake recipe I found was from one of my favorite bloggers out there, celineeatsavocados.com. She is just fantastic! I love the energy her blogs bring into my life! 🙂

I give you Green Pancakes!

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They are healthy, simple, and GREEN!

You will need:

3/4 cup unsweetened apple sauce

1 ripe banana

1-2 handfuls of uncooked spinach

1 cup of flour (of your choice)

Prep:

1. Blend together spinach and apple sauce. Then add banana.

2. Pour mixture into bowl and add the flour, mixing together.

3. Heat up a non-stick skillet and add a tablespoon or two of coconut oil.

4. Pour batter, into the pancake size that you desire, onto the skillet once it is heated up. Flip after the edges start to brown. Once the edges and each side are a little browned, then you can serve.

5. Add any topping your little tummy desires! In my photo I just sprinkled some powdered sugar on top and used a little drizzle of maple syrup.

Enjoy!

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And last but not least, I give you a final pancake recipe that I have used before, which is more comparable to a traditional pancake. For this next one I used a pre-made gluten free pancake mix and added some extra love!

Gluten Free Vegan Chia Seed Pancakes

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I used Bob’s Red Mill gluten free pancake mix. I made the pancakes according to the pancake mix package, with some adjustments. Instead of the egg that it calls for on the packaging, I substituted a flag egg (1 tbsp of ground flax seed + 3 tbsp water. Mix and let combination gel up.) Then for the milk that the mix called for, I substituted almond milk. Then I added 1-2 tablespoons of chia seeds. I combined all the ingredients until batter consistency formed. I heated a little oil on a non stick pan/skillet and poured the batter to my pancake size preference. I let the pancake brown a little on the edges and each side before serving. Then, I topped with fresh strawberries and a little maple syrup on top. Don’t forget to chew slow, taste ever bite, and enjoy!

Light & Love,
Amanda

Brownies with oomph!

Hello and Happy 4th of July, my friends! Happy Freedom! Happy Love! Happy Life!

Today, I introduce you to a brownie recipe that I happen to stumble upon, and grateful that I did, er, maybe that’s my belly talking. 🙂

Anyway, these babies were inspired by a post on minimalistbaker.com. First time I had ever been to this site and it is full of lovely pictures and vegan recipes that I will be trying out because this one came out so perfect.

And let me warn you, this is no ordinary brownie. This is a brownie with some extra oomph! The best brownie my taste buds have ever laid their eyes on…and I’m not just saying that. And, they have a healthy kick to ’em! The cacao, black beans, and flax offer some fiber and protein! Nothing better than eating dessert and knowing that there are some benefits aside from the sugar rush you may have get, right?! These brownies have black beans in them!!! I know what you’re thinking. But, I ask you to be open minded and willing here and I promise, if you do those things, these brownies will take you to the moon! They did for me and the lucky people I shared them with! Let’s get started…

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Gluten Free Vegan Black Bean Brownies

1 15 oz. can or 3/4 cup black beans, rinsed well & drained

2 large flax eggs (2.5 tablespoons flaxseed meal + 6 tablespoons water)

3 tablespoons coconut oil

3/4 cup cacao powder or cocoa powder (I love cacao!)

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 heaping cup of sugar

1.5 teaspoon baking powder

Toppings: walnuts, coconut, chocolate chips, whatever you like! (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees

2. Lightly grease a 12-slot standard size muffin pan

3. Prepare flax egg by combining flax & water in the bowl of the food processor. Pulse a couple of times and then let mixture sit for a few minutes.

4. Add the remaining ingredients, except for the toppings, and puree the ingredients (3-5 minutes) while scraping down the sides, as needed. Texture should be smooth, kinda like frosting. If it appears too think, add a little water, but you don’t want to be runny.

5. Evenly pour or scoop out batter into the muffin tin and smooth over the tops with a spoon.

6. Add your toppings you desire.

7. Bake for 20-26 mins or until the tops are dry and edges are pulling away from the sides.

8. Remove from the oven and let cool for 30 minutes before removing from the pan.

9. Taste. Enjoy. Smile.

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And just a little side note…while you are waiting for your brownie babies to cool for those 30 minutes or so, do something to get your chakras moving. Raise that juju! Do a head stand, sing a crazy song, run around outside barefoot (it grounds you!), dance with your animal…Me, oh, I did yoga poses on my kitchen counter!

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Light & Love,
Amanda