Pumpkin Magic!

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“When I am annoyed, sit longer.”

So, I have really been working on my meditation game the past few weeks. Just like my yoga practice, I always, always create some kind of space in my heart and mind and I gather some new awareness from it. There are many times I think, “ugh, i have things to do and I don’t feel like stopping to meditate or stopping to practice yoga,” right?! But, I have come to find out that is when I need them the most! When I am most irritated or annoyed inside my body is when I need the time to stop and be in my body the most and both yoga and meditation provide the space to do that.

I came across this quote, “When I am annoyed, sit longer,” during one of my meditations not too long ago. It was one of those mornings where I had so many different things tugging at me from all directions including my playful and full of life puppies who wanted all my energy on them, but I also wanted to have the time to meditate. I really didn’t want to meditate, but I knew I needed it, and I stopped everything for 15 minutes and did it anyway. My dogs were bouncing all over the place around me, my thoughts were restless, even all the different sounds of life outside my window were irritating me. I kept trying to bring my focus back to my breath, only to get bumped by one of my pups or slammed with a thought about one more thing I should add to my to-do list for the day ahead. Finally, like a top that is done spinning, one thoughts came through and I swear, it saved me, “When I am annoyed, I need to sit longer.” It was a clear thought and it was the truth. So, I did. I sat longer. And eventually, my dogs settled and my thoughts ran out of energy and it was just me, sitting there, with my breath, and a shift to gratitude.

And, if you can’t stop and sit to meditate, maybe you can stop to make up this sweet treat and I am almost sure you can definitely stop to taste it, as well. 🙂

I am still on my pumpkin kick being that it is October and I can’t get enough of it and the Halloween fun! This next vegan treat was inspired by Free People’s  blog.

I give you Pumpkin Spice Almond Butter Fudge

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You will need:

1 cup raw unsalted almond butter

1/4 cup coconut oil, softened

1/3 cup pumpkin puree

2 tablespoons maple syrup

1/4 teaspoon honey

dash of nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

3 ounces of dark chocolate, or vegan chocolate of your choice

To Prepare:

Line a baking dish with parchment paper.

Mix all of the ingredients together in a bowl, except for the chocolate. Mixture should be creamy and smooth. Pour the mixture into the lined baking dish and smooth it out to your desired thickness and texture with a spoon or spatula. Place in the freezer for an hour or two.

Just before you are ready to take the fudge out of the freezer, melt your chocolate either over a double broiler OR melt SLOWLY in a pan on LOW. Slowly because you do not want chocolate to burn…what a mess that is & not fun to sit there and clean later.

Take the fudge out of freezer and cut into square sizes of your choice. Using a spoon, gather up some melted chocolate from pan and drizzle over the fudge squares. Mine got a little messy, so I ended up just spreading the chocolate all around fudge. Add a sprinkle of cinnamon, sea salt, or shelled hemp seeds if you wish for some extra fun. Enjoy!

*Store in freezer when not enjoying 🙂

My second pumpkin treat is my Pumpkin Lovin’ Smoothie.

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In a blender, combine one banana, 3/4 cup (give or take) pumpkin puree, some carrots, handful of kale, peach slices (I use frozen peaches), and a gracious amount of cinnamon with some almond milk and blend baby blend! This smoothie will have you lighting up like a jack-o-lantern in no time! Enjoy!

Speaking of Halloween, have you picked out your costume yet? I love nothing more than playing dress up on a night where its perfectly acceptable. I like dressing up when its not perfectly acceptable, too. Ha! Anyway, I am getting pumped for this Halloween and my costume is slowly coming together, piece by piece!

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Namaste.

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

Ringin’ in the Summer

Hello, Summer! So happy to have run into you again!

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When I think of summer, I think of playing. I think of sunshine, picnics, camping, family reunions, swimming, water balloon fights, sprinklers, the smell of fresh cut green grass, the ice cream truck music that rolls around the neighborhoods, vacations, sunsets, lightening bugs, lemonade, fireworks, sleeping in, staying up late, four wheeling, sleepovers, marshmallow roasting, the smell of barbecues, flowers blooming, bright colored clothes, and fruit, lots and lots of fruit! Which is why I decided to kick off the summer, and maybe create a sweet treat on Father’s Day, with some summer quenching fruit recipes!

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Given that strawberries are in season, they are not only gorgeous right now, but they have all kinds of crazy-cool benefits that I found out from my Healing With Whole Foods book, by Paul Pitchford. Strawberries are cooling in thermal nature quality and they are satisfying for the functioning of the spleen and pancreas. They saturate the lungs and promote the production of body fluids. Strawberries are full of groovy nourishing properties, like silicon and vitamin C, that are beneficial for the restoration of connective tissues and arteries throughout the body. And just a little fun fact, if you would like to add some extra oomph to your teeth and gums and remove the yuckies (a.k.a. tartar), then slice a strawberry in half and rub the inside of the berry on and all around your teeth and gums. Leave the berry-goodness on your teeth and gums for 45 mins and then rinse out with some warm water. I feel that these little red goddesses get a bad rep for being on the “dirty dozen” list, but with some extra care in the rinse cycle, these babies can add some special sweetness to your insides!

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Now for some more strawberry fun, I bring out some recipes.

My first recipe was inspired by almondsandavocados.com.

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I give you Fruit Pizza with a scrumptious quinoa crust and a sweet avocado sauce that tastes like frosting! (No really, I may just use it to top off cupcakes one day, it was that delightful!)

Fruit Pizza

1/2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

3/4 cup quinoa, soaked at least 8 hours then drained & rinsed

1/4-1/2 cup water

1 tablespoon maple syrup

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 small or 1/2 large avocado

2 tablespoons water

juice from half a lime or lemon

1 tablespoon maple syrup

Fresh fruit toppings of your choice

Quinoa Crust:

Soak quinoa for AT LEAST 8 hours. This disgruntled me a little because I was ready to eat the fruit pizza yesterday when I first saw the picture of it. But, this step is important for the crust to set up just right. Then, its all a breeze. After soaking, add the quinoa, 1/4 cup water,  1 tablespoon of maple syrup, and 1/4 teaspoon of salt to a high speed blender or food processor. Blend until a pancake-like batter substance forms. You want it to be on the thicker side. Then pour onto a pan on the stove top in olive oil over medium heat. Allow to cook approximately for 5-10 minutes until the edges are brown and crisp. Flip. Repeat on the second side. You will end up with a big pancake.

After making the crust up, you can start right away with the avocado sauce or place the crust in the fridge, which is what I did, until later when you are ready to serve. Once you create the avocado sauce, you will want to serve right away. Keep all this in mind.

Sweet Avocado Cream Sauce:

Process avocado, 2 tablespoons of water, lemon/lime juice, and 1 tablespoon of maple syrup. Blend until smooth. Spread onto the quinoa crust. Be sure to revert back to childhood and lick the remaining avocado cream left behind on the food processor edges. I know I did!

Lastly, decorate your pizza! Get funky with it, too! You can use whatever your big heart desires! I used strawberries, of course, green apples, mango, and then a kiwi slice in the very center. Then I sprinkled unsweetened coconut flakes all around and served! So fresssshhh!

This is the best pizza I have ever indulged in and I didn’t have that carb-cheese hang over afterwards! It sent me to the moon it was so taste bud-quenchingly-awesome, just like my picture below that was snapped in San Francisco last summer!

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My second strawberry-goodness recipe that I have on here is just as lovely as the first.

I used chia-seeds and almond milk to form a pudding-like texture and then I just added the fruit. Ahhh, simplicity sounds so sweet to my ears…and belly!

If you have not checked out chia seeds, well then, I strongly encourage you to. They are the next best thing after glitter! Matter of fact, I give you permission to stop right now and make a trip to the store for these little wonders. I promise you, you won’t regret it. Chia seeds can be used in ANYTHING! You can add them in salads, pasta dishes, desserts, and even just a plane glass of water. Not only do they possess flexibility, but they have great health benefits. Ah-MAZ-ing!

Next to good old flax seed, chia seeds are considered to have the highest source of omega-3 fatty acids. And for your food history lesson, you must know that they were introduced by the Southwest American Indians. They would consume the seeds for energy during their strength competitions. Eat up and power up!

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This little treat can be great for breakfast, a snack, or dessert after dinner.

Chia-Seed Pudding:

Whisk together 2 tablespoons of chia seeds with 1 cup of almond milk for 15 minutes. Then let the mixture settle for 15 mins. Do this for like 3 times, the whisking & settling, because the chia seeds gel up and this helps in the formation of the pudding. Then put pudding in the fridge to chill for a little bit, or eat right away. I like it chilled. Once you are ready to eat, then add your toppings of choice. In this photo I did banana slices, strawberries, and unsweetened coconut flakes.

You can add flavor to this chia seed pudding, too. I have added 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon before. I have added carob powder (or cocoa). I have also tried added a little vanilla extract. Whatever you do, have fun with it!

Remember, its summer now! Ring the new season in by engaging in an activity that will let your body know that the seasons are changing! This is important to do for mind, body, and spirit! Buy a new outfit, clean our your closet, paint your toes a bright summery color, chase a butterfly, dance the hokey-pokey, take a bath, bite into a watermelon, or pick some flowers and breathe in their sweet fragrance. Whatever you do, smile a lot!

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Shout out to my daddy on Father’s Day! I love you and my soul bows to yours. Thank you for always being my hero, my teacher, and my biggest fan! I love  you.

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Light & Love,
Amanda