Light up the ego

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Hello to you all!
I just adore this quote by Louise Hay. I know that have mentioned her in previous posts; she just has this way of delivering the most liberating information in her books. This quote being one from her book, You Can Heal Your Life.
This quote is the truth, too. When I am stuck or upset about something, I am usually looking at the situation from a victim point of view; or an ego point of view. My ego will separate me from whatever it is that I am upset at and blame it on that, which in turn, does nothing but give all my energy and power away to that person, place, thing or situation that I am in shambles about. When things upset me, I am operating from the ego and in the space of fear. I began A Course in Miracles on January 1, 2014, and I have learned that when I am in fear, it is the ego talking to me, it is a projection of my past and it is not real. In all my life situations I am either coming from a space of love or fear; fear is not real and love is all truth; fear is dark and love is light.
So, here is my solution and my practice when my ego flares up and I seem to be upset; when I am perceiving something from the ego lense, and I feel tense in my body and upset in my mind, it is directly because of my ego-driven thoughts. With practice, I am becoming more aware each day about which thoughts are puppeteered by the ego and which are escorted by love. To release my ego and soften my thinking, I first notice my ego-driven thoughts. In other words, I light up my ego. Once I notice what is happening in my thoughts by lighting up my ego, I can forgive it and move on from the illusion that it created. To forgive also means to overlook something, stop blame, or let go of. When I forgive my ego, it cannot keep me in the victim role head-lock or in the arena of fear any longer; I can move from the constricted space of upset to a much more expansive place of love. When I shine the light of truth on my thoughts, I can own what is happening, stay present and bathe in the love.

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Another way that I stay in the love boat is by creating, tasting and sharing this next recipe with you!Mmmmmmmm! ūüėČ

Gluten free/ and vegan…

BLT (really, BLTA, for the avocado)

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You will need:
2 slices of gluten free bread, or bread of your choice (I use Food For Life’s Rice & Almond)
1/2 avocado
1/2 small tomato
Veganaise, to taste
A little bit of kale, or any other leafy green
Tempeh (for the bacon)

The tempeh bacon recipe was inspired from http://www.chezbettay.com/pages/basics1/basics_How_to_Make_Vegan_Bacon.html

For the tempeh bacon marinade you will need:
1 tablespoon of olive oil or coconut oil
1/8 cup + 1 tablespoon of maple syrup
1/4 cup applecider vinegar
3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 cup tamari
1 teaspoon of liquid smoke
1 teaspoon of black pepper
Sprinkle of cayenne pepper

To prepare tempeh bacon:
Mix together all the ingredients for the tempeh bacon marinade in a pan and start to heat it up. Take the tempeh out of its packaging and cut it so it is in strips… Like bacon would be. Then set each piece in the marinade, cover pan with a kid, and let it summer for 5 minutes. Then, flip each piece of tempeh and cover for another 5 minutes. Viola! Tempeh Bacon!

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I was shocked by how extremely tasty these guys were, despite the weirdest combination ever of ingredients! I could have eaten all the B without the LTA!

For the rest of the sammy, toast the bread in the toaster, if you like that kinda thing. To assemble, lay bread flat on a plate. Add the bacon to a slice of bread, first, that will be the bottom of the sandwich. For the top, gather up a little veganaise and spread it. Then, add the tomato, avocado, and lastly, the kale all piled up on top of the bacon, and close it up with the veganaised slice of bread. So good! I served it with green beans. And, I had left over tempeh bacon, you should, too, to make another BLTA for dinner the next night! Yes!

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Enjoy! Share with others! Stay in the love!

Love & Light,
Amanda

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2014, let’s have some fun!

Happy New Year’s Eve to you all! I hope you all have some groovy plans tonight to welcome the new year, whether that is going out dancing, reading a book, watching the ball drop in Times Square, building a snow man with your kids, cleansing yourself in the ocean, eating yummy food or painting your toe nails! This is my last post of 2013! How incredibly weird and fun is that to say!? I’m certainly looking forward to 2014 and all the magic that it will be bringing!
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My resolution for the new year will be to have fun, spread light and raise my vibration even more than I have been! And by doing any one of these things, I am doing them all! I can’t spread light without having fun or raising my vibration, nor can I have fun, without raising my vibration and spreading light, and, well, you get my point here… It is a fantastic and efficient resolution and I am incredibly pumped! As Gabrielle Bernstein, author of Spirit Junkie, puts it “Measure your success by how much fun you’re having.” I plan to do just that, this year. I have even told friends of mine that when I catch myself not having fun to remind me! It is so much better when you have others supporting you and cheering you on! So, when I am resentful at someone, full of fear, nervous or worrying about something out of my control, I will ask myself, “Is this fun for you right now?” or I’m sure the Universe will remind me, and the plan is to then shift my energy back into the fun zone! This will be a year of movement, flow, love, wellness, connection, happiness, fun, honoring myself and completely stepping into my calling. I am ready baby! I am ready to get jiggy wit it all! I am willing to say “yes” more and forgive often! And I love the idea of miracles unfolding, being completely immersed in the moment, falling in love, not knowing what’s coming next and knowing that I am entirely supported by the Universe!

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Along with raising my vibration, spreading light and having fun comes creating healthy food and sharing it with the world! I love the food I put in my body and I love sharing it with you!

Today, I have two recipes for you. They are both gluten free, plant based and bound to get your glow on!

Spaghetti Squash with Green Lentils

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You will need:
1 spaghetti squash
1 cup green lentils
Olive oil
Thyme, to taste
Salt & pepper, to taste
Fresh basil, to taste (optional)

To Prepare:
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Wash, dry and slice you spaghetti squash in half, long ways. Scoop out the seeds with a spoon and set aside, maybe to roast later on for fun. Brush on a little olive oil to the inside of each squash half. Then season with salt and pepper to your liking. Place each half on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper face down. Bake for 30-40 minutes, I’d say, and the squash is finished when a fork can easily pierce through the squash. While your squash is roasting, prepare your lentils by adding a 2 cups of water to 1 cup of lentils in a pot. Bring to a boil and then cover and let simmer for about 20 minutes. When the squash is finished roasting, make your spaghetti by dragging a fork along the inside of the squash. Little spaghetti-like strands will just form…pretty fantastic if you ask me. Scrape as much as you’d like from each squash half and put into a bowl or you can save the squash skin and use it as your bowl! Fun! Then mix in your lentils, sprinkle in some thyme and basil, and add some more salt and pepper to the taste that you prefer. Enjoy!

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My next yummy is for your sweet tooth when the ball drops at midnight!

Avocado-Cacao Mousse Bites

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You will need:
For the crust
1 cup walnuts
1/2 cup pecans
1 cup medjool dates, pitted
1/2 cup unsweetened, shredded coconut
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Sprinkle of salt
For the mousse
1 banana
1 avocado
2 tablespoons cacao
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon almond butter
1 tablespoon maple syrup

To prepare:
Prepare your crust by adding all the ingredients into a food processor and blending together. Then, in what ever dish or cupcake tin you would like to store your bites in, form a crust in that. I used all different kinds of containers; cupcake tins, mini cupcake tins and one little glass dish. I just pressed the crusts down into each of them and put in the fridge while you prepare the mousse.
For the mousse, blend all the ingredients in the food processor until the texture looks like mousse or similar to pudding. Then pull out your crust(s) from the fridge and place spoonfuls of mousse onto your crust(s). Feel free to lick the left over mousse that gets stuck on the sides of the food processor! I did! Yum! Then top off with some shelled hemp seeds, coconut, cinnamon or maybe some fruit. I put mine in the freezer for a bit to let them stiffen up a little more before serving. They are just dreamy! Enjoy!

Enjoy your night tonight and Happy New Year 2014 to you all!
Love & Light,
Amanda

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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

Plant Based Lasagna

Let’s just jump right into this recipe today. I whipped up some plant-based lasagna this past weekend made out of zucchini. This recipe took a few steps to construct and prepare, along with moments of messy, but it was all worth it in the end. Whatever you do, let your inner child out to play with this one!

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The original recipe called for Toffuti Ricotta cheese for the “cheesy” lasagna filling. However, I could not find this ingredient at the store, they were all out that day. No problem, I got to jazz things up and make my own “cheesy” filling thanks to ohsheglows.com¬†and her lasagna recipe.

Ingredients:

5 medium zucchinis

2 avocados

1/2 cup tomato sauce

1/2 cup basil leaves, ripped into small pieces

salt & pepper, to taste

For the “Cheese”/ Lemon Basil Cashew Cheese:

1 cup raw cashews, soaked in water for 30 mins or overnight

2 garlic cloves, peeled

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1/4 cup vegetable broth or water (possibly more as needed)

1 1/2 cups fresh basil

1/2 cup nutritional yeast

salt & pepper, to taste

To Prepare:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Trim the ends off your zucchinis and throw away. Slice the zucchini lengthwise about 1/16″ think (a mandolin may help with this, but a knife works fine, jut not as straight). Place on parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Lightly brush with oil and season with salt and pepper. Bake until soft; about 10 mins. Remove from the oven and let cool.

Smash up your avocados and put them in a food processor with half of your basil, a pinch of salt, and 1/4 cup water. Blend this mixture until smooth. Set this basil-avocado cream aside in a bowl. Rinse out food processor.

For the lemon basil cashew cheese, drain the cashews and rinse. Then add the cashews to the food processor along with all the other ingredients (garlic cloves, veggie broth, lemon juice, mustard, basil, nutritional yeast, and salt & pepper) and process until smooth. Then set aside in another bowl.

To Construct Lasagna:

Line the bottom of a 9″ pan with a layer zucchini. Spoon in two heaping spoonfuls of tomato sauce. Then add half of ¬†the basil-avocado cream by teaspoonfuls. Cover with another layer of zucchini and add in the lemon basil cashew cheese. Repeat until you are out of zucchini or pan is full. Then bake for 25 minutes. Let sit for 10 mins before serving. Serve with a little side salad and possibly some garlic bread. Sprinkle some shelled hemp seeds on top for some extra fun. YUM!

*For the constructing of the lasagna, I used 5 zucchinis, but they were kind of small, so I had less zucchini to work with. When I constructed my lasagna, I had to shrink my lasagna square down smaller than the size of the pan, but it still worked out fine.

*Also, you will probably have left over lemon basil cashew cheese, YAY! This is a raw and yummy all by itself. I put my extra cheese aside and had it the next day over some gluten free quinoa pasta and broccoli and it was divine! It would also make a great dip for anything.

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Enjoy, my friends!

Light & Love,
Amanda

Hurry up and Slow Down!

“There is more to life than increasing its speed.” -Ghandi¬†

Happy Sunday! I just read this quote this morning as the sun was rising and my pups and I were waking up slowly. At least I was trying to; their agenda is always to wake up and play, play, play! I like this quote, though, and I have really been working on slowing down and noticing what goes on around me, instead of always being on the go. Or, always pushing myself and thinking, “Once I hurry up and finish this, THEN I can be happy…” This is something that my ego tells me and it is completely untrue. For when I do get finish with whatever it is, school, work, running errands, the week…then something else comes up and my ego starts yapping again. This does nothing but take me OUT of that moment, into the future, which has not even occurred yet, and it robs me of my energy, my thoughts, and a moment of happiness in itself. So, when I am in school supposed to be learning something new and bonding with my classmates and my ego starts telling me, “This class is boring…” I have learned to interrupt that ego-driven thought by telling myself, “Or, you can choose to be happy right now, embrace the experience because it may not come again and learn a whole bunch, so you can apply it to your future career.” It is easier said than done, especially in a society that trains people to go, go, go and that you need things on the outside to be happy. I work on it a day at a time and some days I am not as productive as others. I love the times I catch myself really being in the moment.When I am walking my dogs, it is one of the best times. When I am in the center of my moment, walking my dogs, I feel connected to everything. I can hear the birds, I can move with my pups as we walk together, I can smell the trees and grass, I notice colors, I see movement like butterflies fluttering and lizards scampering away to my vibration. Its magical. And if I were on the same walk with my dogs, all in my head with my ego telling me that when I am done walking them I can go on with my day then I would miss the butterflies, and the flowers that bloomed that day, and the birds singing. It amazes me. I will continue choosing happiness and being present in my moments that come along as much as I can.

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Today, I share with you one of my simplest recipes and a staple in my mind. They are raw, vegan, and full of life!

Zucchini Noodles

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They are one of the most flexible foods and that is why I love them. I can eat them plane or jazz them up with a funky sauce.

For the picture above I skinned 4 small zucchinis with a vegetable peeler. I start from one end of the zucchini and peel to the other end. Repeat thins around the zucchini until you can no longer peel.

The sauce above is an alfredo sauce:

1 cup raw cashews, soaked in water for 20 mins

3/4 cup water

1 teaspoon nutmeg

1 teaspoon lemon juice

1 teaspoon thyme

2 garlic cloves

2 tablespoons nutritional yeast (optional)

salt & pepper to taste

Combine all of the ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth. Gently run the sauce through the noodles. Serve and enjoy!

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Here is another batch of zucchini noodles I made up, but with a different sauce. For this sauce I just blended an avocado, lemon juice from a 1/2-1 whole lemon (your choice!), basil, salt, & pepper. I then sprinkled some shelled hemp seeds on top along with some edible flowers to make it pretty!

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And this last pic, I just tossed in some broccoli to my zucchini noodle mix. For the sauce I blended some basil, olive oil, salt, pepper, and some italian seasonings together. I would have added lemon juice, but I was out of lemons. I just massaged the sauce into the noodles and served with some shelled hemp seeds on top.

This is definitely a recipe that you can play with. You could even just try plane spaghetti sauce on them and I am sure it’d be lovely!

Whatever you do, be all there.

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