Feeding my soul

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I am a music junkie. I love all genres and what I choose to listen to each day changes with my mood. Music is like clothes for me. I have a great big closet full (aka my phone with playlists). Its like I get to pick out my outfit for the day, right? According to my mood and energy, thats my musical outfit.  I may want to change what I’m wearing in the middle of the day, sometimes three times a day like a five year old, or add a crazy hat and scarf to the mix because my feelings and moods may change throughout a day. I like to go back and re-read that…”my feelings and moods change.” It is reassuring, especially on the days that I am feeling icky, uncomfortable feelings. They do change. Like a wave washing over me. Music helps me with that. Especially, when I am in a big wave that is tossing me around and around, my face slams into the sand, I swallow a mouthful of salt water, and I all I do is fight to reach the surface. But then, I come up. I reach the surface.

Music feeds my spirit, connects my heart, and makes me wana move! I learn from music, identify with it, cry to it, scream to it, play with it, feel with it, move with it, heal with it, and connect to it.

Another thing that feeds my soul, literally and figuratively, is food. Especially, the food that I create on my own. It is environment and Earth friendly and I feel good on a cellular level when I put it into my body. I also feel like I can connect with all living things on a higher vibration when I eat vegan friendly meals. By creating it on my own, I am channeling my energy into my food, which is just so cool to me. Before I started eating this way, I was never one to sit down and create a meal. It was irritating to me, actually. But, since I made the switch in my diet, I never feel that way anymore, ever. I feel like there is an art to this and I love creating things. I also love to eat. So, to have found a way to channel my creative juices, eat my masterpieces, and then share it with you is beyond me. I owe that to the universe for taking me here.

Today, I have two delicious desserts to serve you. They are both raw, vegan, gluten-free, and even beautiful to look at! They are also both Raw Cheesecake Bars. One is fruit based and the other incorporates your veggies! So, you have choices here, or you can make both, like I did in a matter of a couple days a part from one another, because my taste buds were screaming for more!

Raw Blackberry Cheesecake Bars, inspired by choosingraw.com.

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For the crust:

1 1/2 cups raw walnuts

1 cup dates, pitted

1/8 teaspoon of salt

For the filling:

1 cup blackberries

1 cup raw cashews, soaked at least 2 hours & rinsed/drained

1/2 cup coconut oil, melted so it is liquid

1/3 cup maple syrup

To Prepare:

In a food processor, blend all of the crust ingredients together. It should be ground up as much as possible and sticking together.

Lightly grease a casserole dish or baking pan with coconut oil. Then press the crust ingredients into the bottom of the dish. My crust ingredients did not fill the entire bottom of the dish. I formed it into a square by using a wooden spatula to press down the crust and even the edges. You can make the crust as big or small as you’d like. Keep in mind, the bigger you make the crust, the thinner it will be. So, if you like a medium to thicker crust, like I do, trim it down. After you have your crust set up, put it in the fridge while you prepare the filling.

In a food processor, process the filling ingredients till smooth and creamy-like. Feel free to taste test, I always do, just to make sure you are satisfied because you can always add more of something if needed.

Then bring the crust out from the fridge and gently pour the filling mixture on top of the crust. Again, I used my wooden spatula to spread the top layer evenly over the crust and evening off the edges.

Put the dish in the fridge for up to 2-3 hours. You could serve sooner than that, but keep in mind that the bars will be a little softer. Cut into bar shapes when you are ready to serve. Store in the fridge. Enjoy!

My second set of cheesecake bars I am just so tickled about! I created them myself, with a little inspiration from the blackberry cheesecake bars. I have been racking my brain for some fall recipes and I finally landed with these babies. These are bound to bring the holiday cheer out of your loved ones in the upcoming holiday season! Again, they are raw, vegan, and gluten-free, weeeeeee!

I give you…

Raw Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars

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For the crust:

1 1/2 cups of raw walnuts

1/4 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut

1 cup dates, pitted

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/8 teaspoon salt

For the filling:

1 cup raw cashews, soaked for at least 2 hours, rinsed & drained

1/4 cup water (or less, maybe. choose your consistency)

1/3 cup maple syrup

1/4 cup carrots, shredded

1 cup pumpkin puree

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/8 teaspoon salt

2 or more teaspoons of pumpkin pie spice, to taste ( this spice makes it. I was just adding ingredients, not exactly keeping track of the measurements. So, keep taste testing till you land on your taste.

2 teaspoons cinnamon, to taste (again, taste test!)

1/2 to 1 teaspoon ground ginger, to taste

3-4 tablespoons of coconut oil

Few splashes of almond milk (optional)

To Prepare:

In a food processor, blend all of the crust ingredients together. It should be ground up as much as possible and sticking together.

Lightly grease a casserole dish or baking pan with coconut oil. Then press the crust ingredients into the bottom of the dish. My crust ingredients did not fill the entire bottom of the dish. I formed it into a square by using a wooden spatula to press down the crust and even the edges, just like the blackberry bars. You can make the crust as big or small as you’d like. Keep in mind, the bigger you make the crust, the thinner it will be. So, if you like a medium to thicker crust, like I do, trim it down. After you have your crust set up, put it in the fridge while you prepare the filling.

In a food processor, process the filling ingredients till smooth and creamy-like. Feel free to taste test, I always do, just to make sure you are satisfied because you can always add more of something if needed. Especially with this one, I kept adding more of the spices, pumpkin pie spice and cinnamon, until I was satisfied!

Then bring the crust out from the fridge and gently pour the filling mixture on top of the crust. Again, I used my wooden spatula to spread the top layer evenly over the crust and evening off the edges.

Put the dish in the fridge for up to 2-3 hours. You could serve sooner than that, but keep in mind that the bars will be a little softer. Cut into bar shapes when you are ready to serve. Sprinkle some cinnamon or the pumpkin pie spice on top. Store in the fridge. Enjoy!

Well, that’s a wrap. I hope you love these bars as much as I do. I think I have eaten one, or more than one every day over the past week…I have also shared them with friends, too…which is the best part!  Who knew I would be vegan and eating “cheesecake,” right? I thought those days were over. Ha!

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Light & Love,
Amanda

Sunshine Starters

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Hello! I hope the weekend treated you well. Mine included lots of sunshine, therefore, I thought that this “bring your own sunshine” picture was necessary because that is how I felt.  And I know there were a few rain clouds that passed through my weekend, but it didn’t mean that I kept my own sunshine tucked away…I brought it wherever I went! I love knowing that I do have that choice available to me. I can bring my own sunshine and spread it to others! Or, sometimes, I have others who bring their own sunshine to me when mine has temporarily gone behind a rain cloud, right? Bring your own sunshine!

I like to think that I bring my own sunshine in my blog posts. And in turn, they help you to find your sunshine and bring it to others! I have been on a smoothie kick lately, and in today’s post, I’m spreading my light through some extra groovy smoothie recipes! Perfect for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or dessert! Get your sun screen on, ’cause these smoothies are just full of light!

Yogi’s Sunshine Smoothie

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In a blender, add one banana, one kiwi, some strawberries, and some frozen mango chunks. Add two tablespoons of chia seeds and added some water and blended it all together. Yum!

Pink Karma Smoothie.

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In a blender, blend together one banana, a handful of frozen (or fresh) strawberries and two tablespoons of chia seeds with water. Blend for a few and pour into your favorite glass. Top off with some shredded coconut flakes! Enjoy!

Green Drishti Smoothie

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In a blender, blend one banana, a handful of spinach, one kiwi, a handful of some mango chunks (frozen or fresh), and one peach (frozen or fresh) with some water. Blend it up well and your yogi drishti will be set in motion for sure!

Buddha’s Choice Smoothie

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In a blender, put in one banana, one peach (frozen or fresh), a handful of carrots, some cinnamon sprinkles (to taste), and some almond milk and blend that magic right up! Sprinkle some cinnamon on top for extra fun!

Chakra Tonic Smoothie

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In a blender, add a handful of fresh kale, one kiwi, some mango chunks (fresh or frozen), one banana, and two tablespoons of chia seeds. Blend that baby, sip it up,  and you will feel your energy zones line up and light up from your crown all the way down to your root chakra!

Om-Shanti-Shanti Smoothie

 

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In a blender, add one banana, one teaspoon of maca powder, some sprinkles of cinnamon (to taste), two tablespoons of chia seeds, two tablespoons your choice of nut butter (I used sunflower seed butter here, but peanut butter or almond butter would be divine, too), a little ice, and some almond milk. Blend it up! Serve it up! Drink it up! And FEEL the sunshine! Sprinkle some cinnamon or some shelled hemp seeds on top for some extra sunshine.

And there you have it. Your sunshine starters. I know that they are mine. I have been kickin’ off my mornings with one of these divas and some times my lunches, too. They get my body and my mind flowin’ and full of good vibration that I can take out and spread into the world! La la la la!

 

Light & Love,
Amanda

Ring Ring…Universe Calling

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“Respond to every call that excites your spirit.” -Rumi

I love this quote. I love many quotes from Rumi. I can connect to them. But this one, can I say, really excited my spirit.

There are a few callings that have been pending for me lately… becoming a yoga teacher and writing a book are the two loudest ones at the moment. And I am sure many more will come. But those are the two currently that the universe is putting in motion for me and I there are times where I question myself, and I ask myself, “Am I really supposed to do those things?!” And then I find myself getting down or discouraged because certain things are not quite in order and I want to do these things right now! Then, I saw this quote. It was like my permission from the universe and it sent electricity through every cell in my body and immediately raised my vibration.

I believe that I have daily callings and life callings. Many of my life callings I feel I am putting into action now or preparing to put them in action, and I believe that more will continue to be revealed to me. As for my daily callings, sometimes they stay the same each day and sometimes they change. Sometimes my calling for the day is to do a crazy dance, paint a pretty picture, write a thank you note, smile at a stranger,  take my pups to a new dog park, stand on my head in yoga, clean the house, call an old friend, smell a flower, have a dance party in my car, have a movie night with my hunnie, swim in the ocean, or just simply rest. Sometimes it is several of those callings in one day. The point is, they all excite my spirit and I think that aside from creating awareness in our mind and space in our hearts, we are here to respond to the callings that excite our souls.

Another thing that excites my spirit is eating food and sharing it with you!

Today I have two salads that are bound to excite your spirit, that’s for sure. They aren’t your ordinary greens and lettuce type of salads, but they will certainly raise your vibration of your taste buds and your body will be thanking you over and over again.

The first salad is the Southwestern Sweet Potato Salad that was inspired by twopeasandtheirpod.com. The colors were like one bug party in my salad bowl and the taste was delicious! I definitely had seconds!

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You Will Need:

4 medium sweet potatoes, peeled & cut into 3/4 inch slices

1 tablespoon olive oil

salt & pepper, to taste

1 ear of sweet corn, husked or frozen corn

1 15oz can black beans, rinsed & drained

1 red pepper, diced

2 green onions, chopped

1/2 cup cilantro, chopped

2 avocados, pit & skin removed, chopped

juice from 2 limes

salt & pepper, to taste

To Prepare:

In a large bowl, toss the sweet potato slices with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Place the sweet potatoes on a grill over medium heat. Cook until tender, about 8-10 minutes on each side. When the potatoes are close to being finished, place the ear of corn on the grill and cook for 3-4 minutes, rotating the cob so all the sides are cooked evenly. I only had frozen corn, so I steamed my corn separately in a pan on my stove. Let the sweet potatoes and corn cool to room temp.

Cut the sweet potatoes into cubes and place in a large bowl. Remove the corn kernels with a sharp knife from the cob. Put the corn in the bowl with the potatoes. Stir in the black beans, red pepper, green onions, cilantro, and avo. Squeeze lime juice over the salad and stir until combined. Season with salt & pepper. Serve & enjoy!

*Salad will keep in fridge for up to 2 days.

If you are not in the southwestern mood, this next salad may be for you. It is the Quinoa Salad with Asparagus, Peas, Avocado & a Lemon Basil Dressing, also inspired by twopeasandtheirpod.com.

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You Will Need:

For the Lemon-Basil Dressing:

3 tablespoons olive oil

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 teaspoon honey or agave or maple syrup

1 garlic clove, minced

1 tablespoon fresh basil, finely chopped

Salt & pepper, to taste

For the Salad:

2 cups water

1 cup quinoa

2 teaspoons olive oil

1 small bunch asparagus, about 15 spears, cut into 1-inch pieces

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1 cup frozen peas

1 avocado, chopped

Salt & pepper, to taste

1/4 cup basil, chopped (optional)

To Prepare:

In a small bowl, combine the dressing ingredients. Whisk to combine or shake up in a jar or container with a lid. Set aside.

Add water and quinoa to a saucepan and bring to boil over medium heat. Boil for about 5 minutes and then turn the heat to low and simmer with lid for 15 minutes, or until the water is absorbed.

While the quinoa is cooking, cook the asparagus. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the asparagus and fresh lemon juice. Cook until tender, about 5 mins. Stir in the peas and cook for an additional 2 minutes.

In a large bowl, combine quinoa, asparagus, peas, and avo. Pour the dressing over the salad and stir until evenly coated. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Stir in fresh basil if you choose. Serve and enjoy!

*I topped my salad off with shredded zucchini I had leftover from another recipe and some shelled hemp seeds. Also, I made this salad again the next day (because it was so tasty, everyone ate it right up!) but I also added some broccoli into the skillet with the peas and asparagus and mixed to together with quinoa. Just as tasty! Feel free to add whatever your tummy is telling you it needs! Just because there is an ingredient list and instructions, doesn’t mean you can’t step outside that and get a little crazy! Whatever excites that beautiful spirit of yours, get it on, my friend!

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Light & Love,
Amanda

Cauliflower Power!

Happy September! Happy Labor Day weekend! I am soakin’ up this Sunday and day off tomorrow for the holiday and spending it playing with my pups and playing on my yoga mat! What’s new?! Ha! Pups and I just got home from a nice romp around a new doggy park. They are pooped. Perfect opportunity to spit out a little diddy on my blog.

This past week I gathered some new information from my yoga mat. I do this all the time and I love it. I think it is truly amazing when I can take something I learn on my mat and apply it to my life, because I approach my mat the same way I approach life, and vice versa. Its weird and it blows me away. Miracles have happened on my mat, physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually, which has led to transformations in my life. And I can’t get enough of it and I am truly grateful for it, even when it calls for swallowing an enormous truth about myself and owning it; maybe in that moment I’m letting out a big “wah!” but, I eventually move to gratitude. Plus, the best news about all this is when I learn something new, I bring it to you! La la la la! I love to share, especially when its something that lights up my insides and sends energy to my heart.

Having said that, this week one of my beautiful yoga teachers graciously shed some light and I have been applying it all over the place and sharing with others. During one of my practices earlier this week I was in a pose and it was really intense, which is normal. Usually when this happens, I try to remember to breathe through the sensations and quiet my thoughts to stay in the moment. My brain is usually saying obnoxious things to me like, “Ugh, I hate this pose” or “I wonder how long she is going to make us hold this one.” Or sometimes my brain will take me far away to the land of “My To-Do List,” and I miss out on experiencing my body opening and creating this new and beautiful space. Our brains will do crazy things like this to “protect” us, I now know. So, when this was happening in a pose this week, thank goodness I wasn’t too far gone that I heard my teacher say, “Get curious about the sensations you are experiencing in poses that are intense for you.” Get curious. She didn’t say, “Get out of the pose.” She didn’t say, “Embrace the sensation anyway.” She said, “Get curious.” Like, oh, I just felt that, what’s that about? Instead of pulling out of the pose, running away, or bashing what’s going on, I get curious about it all. I probably need the pose more than any of the other ones anyway. The same goes for my life, I found out. When something is happening in my life that makes me feel icky or uncomfortable, normally I will do something to avoid the discomfort, right?! So, now, with this new mantra, I don’t have to run away or avoid, I can just notice and be curious about it. I can ask myself questions about it, without making any decisions. The pressure is off. Get curious.

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I can give you something else to get curious about…Cauliflower! What’s that about? I feel like it is a vegetable that gets left out. Its like a head of broccoli that was dipped in white paint, right? Ya, what can you even do with cauliflower?! Are you curious, yet?

Well, I have two cauliflower recipes that’ll have you feeling a lot more than curious!

The first recipe is Fettuccine Alfredo with Cauliflower Sauce

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You Will Need:

2 1/2 cups chunked cauliflower

1 1/2 cups almond milk

1/3 cup nutritional yeast

3-4 tablespoons tahini

1 clove chopped garlic

lemon juice, to taste

salt & pepper, to taste

fettuccine noodles (I used a gluten free brand)

2 cups broccoli (if you want broccoli)

Cashews, grated for garnish (optional…hemp seeds would work, too!)

To Prepare:

Break up the caulk head of medium sized pieces and add to a pot with almond milk, nut. yeast, tahini, garlic, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Cover and allow to simmer 15-20 mins, but no boil (if it boils, not the end of the world, though!) Cauli will get soft.

Then pour cauli mixture into a blender and blend until creamy. Prepare fettuccine noodles accordingly and get your broccoli steamed.

Drain the pasta and return to pan. Pour the cauli sauce over the fettuccine noodles and gently toss noodles through it. Toss in your broccoli and gently toss some more.

Serve and enjoy!

 

Next, I have something that’ll really blow your fellow Labor Day meat-grilling buddies’ socks right off. This recipe was inspired by Two Peas and Their Pod. They have some really great things and pretty pictures  on their blog that I refer to often!

Grilled Cauliflower Steaks with Pesto

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You Will Need:

1 small head of cauliflower

1 cup of fresh basil

1 garlic clove

1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice

1/3 cup olive oil

salt and pepper, to taste

To Prepare:

Cut the cauli lengthwise, including the stalk, into 3/4-inch slices.

In a food processor or blender, add basil, garlic, and lemon juice. Turn on the machine and pulse a few times. Slowly add the olive oil in a constant stream while the food processor or blender is running. May need to stop to scrape down the sides. Pulse until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.

Brush both sides of the cauli steaks with the pesto sauce you just made. Place on the grill over medium heat. Grill for 3-4 minutes on each side or until the cauli is tender but still firm.

Serve warm and enjoy!

Happy Labor Day weekend!

Light & Love,
Amanda