On top of spaghetti…

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Happy October!!! Ahh, i love October and it is refreshing to know that this month has begun! So many fun things are going on in my world this month and I am totally pumped! This month reminds me of being a kid more than anything! Halloween, pumpkin patching, apple orchards, corn mazes, scarecrows, skeletons, carving pumpkins, carmel apples, haunted houses, candy corn, hay rides, apple crisp, pumpkin pies, raking leaves, jumping into the piles of raked leaves, and the fall air. I live in Florida and unfortunately many of the things I just named I do not get to see anymore….but, I do have a mother that still lives up north and you better believe that I hit her up for a box of leaves just so I can experience the true season down here in sunny south Florida! Ha! And, you better believe I will be dressing up and hitting up the haunted houses this October! Oh ya!

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Ahh, isn’t this quote the best? And, the truth. Although, it is so easy for me to look at this quote on a happy October day and say, “Oh, that is so true and I love that!” But catch me on a day where my boat is just full of “visitors” and it is rockin’ me all over the place, hangin’ on for my dear life… it can be challenging. But, still a beautiful quote and after the initial freak out over a particle feeling(s), I can usually move to this place of just sitting down in my boat taking my “visitors” to shore, letting them off, and peacefully rowing away. I like that.

This all reminds me of my yoga practice this week. I practice Vinyasa yoga. Vinyasa is a style of yoga that is known for moving from pose to pose while linking the breath. It is about movement and flowing and breathing through it all. I learned this week that the Vinyasa practice  reflects impermanence and change and teaches one not to hold on to each pose, but let it go and move onto the next pose. Impermanence and change. Kinda like feelings, right? Kinda like life. I like that. Life is a series of poses. Each pose connected to the next and as long as we don’t focus too much on the pose we were in before, we can gracefully move to and experience the others all while riding on the currents of our breath.

Today, I have a vegan and gluten free meatball recipe! This recipe was inspired by the blog.fatfreevegan.com. They look an taste like real meatballs!! I altered the recipes a little and in the future I probably would alter it even more by adding more of the spices and taking out the kasha (which is just buckwheat groats). I like buckwheat, but sometimes it can overtake the other flavors because it has a strong earthly flavor of its own. BUT! It was still a fab recipe! Have fun with it!

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You will need:

1/3 cup chopped walnuts, or other nuts or seeds

1/3 cup gluten free rolled oats or quinoa flakes would work

1/2 cup chickpea flour

1/4 cup kasha (Also known as buckwheat groats…i think it can be optional, you decide!)

1 tablespoon of cornstarch

1 tablespoon nutritional yeast

2 teaspoons of dehydrated onion flakes (I could not find these, so I used onion powder instead)

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon basil

1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic

1/2 teaspoon paprika

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon tomato powder (optional)

1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds (optional)

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)

To Prepare:

In a food processor, chop the nuts and oats . Do not grind the nuts completely; they should be the size of popcorn kernels. Remove combination and set aside.

Add all the remaining ingredients to the food processor and mix well.

Boil 2/3 cup of water.

Combine the nut/oat mix with the combination of all other ingredients you just made up in the food processor in a bowl and add the 2/3 cup of boiling water all together. Stir and let the mixture sit for about 15 minutes.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Using wet hands, form little meatballs and place on an oiled baking sheet. Bake the meatballs for 20-25 minutes, turning them over halfway through.

While your meatballs are baking, prepare your choice of spaghetti. To keep the meal gluten-free, I used quinoa corkscrew noodles. Yum! Also, heat up your spaghetti sauce and prepare any other sides you may want with your meal.

When meatballs are finished, add a few on top of your noodles and cover with spaghetti sauce! You will definitely feel on top of spaghetti after this meal! Enjoy!

Light & Love,
Amanda

Little Bites and Horse Treats!

Hello! Long time no blog! August has been quite the month for me filled with trips to see family, family coming to see me, preparing for a new school semester, work, puppy play, and so much more! I find that when I am juggling so many different balls in the air that it is okay to give myself permission to let one or two or sometimes even three of them drop in order to keep the other ones going. Priorities, right?

Good news is, during all these things swirling about in my full life, I still have to eat! God knows that is a big priority for me. Ha! So, I am excited to get back on the blog wagon here and share with you some of the new things I have been concocting. These two recipes I literally just prepared in the last two days and they were so off-the-wall tasty that I could not wait to share them with you. I hope they make you do three somersaults like they did for me!

I call these two recipes my Little Bites! But don’t be deceived by this title of these babies! They may be little, but they are packin’ a mighty punch for your taste buds!

The first of the little bites are for those of you who are craving something on the more chocolatey side. They are made with cacao, which I love because it is considered to be a super food because of the nutrients that are packed in it. Plus, avocado, one of my favorite foods ever, are one of the secret ingredients to this one which makes this recipe awesome!

Gluten Free Vegan Peanut Butter Cacao Bites (say that 3x fast!)

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You Will Need:

1 1/4 cup gluten free all purpose flour (Bob’s Red Mill brand makes this)

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

2/3 cup cacao powder

1/4 cup coconut oil

1/4 cup mashed avocado

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/3 cup almond milk

1/2 cup (or more…taste test, of course!) peanut butter

To Prep:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cacao, baking powder, and salt. Set Aside.

In another bowl, blend coconut oil, ago, and sugars together until creamy and smooth (about 2-3 mins or so). Add you vanilla. With the mixer on low, add half of your flour mixture to the wet ingredients bowl. Add almond milk and the rest of the flour mixture. Mix until the flour disappears.

Form the batter into tablespoon size balls and place on baking sheet. Lightly press them down with a spoon (or form however you want!). Bake for 10 mins. They are finished when the edges are set and the middle is still a little soft. Enjoy!!!

And for those of you who are not craving chocolate, which never happens to me, might I add, these little bites are for you! The chia seeds, like the cacao in the other bites, are another super food packed with good stuff that’ll raise your cellular juju and make your tummy thank you!

Gluten Free Carrot Chia Seed Bites (again, say that 3x fast!)

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You Will Need:

6 tablespoons of gluten free all purpose flour of your choice (Bob’s Red Mill worked for me)

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 tablespoon ground flax seed plus 1 1/2 tablespoons water for your “egg”

1/2 cup grated carrot(s)

1/4 cup vegan butter (Earth Balance is what I used…coconut oil would work, too)

3 tablespoons brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 cup gluten free muesli (Bob’s Red Mill) OR gluten free oats

1/4 cup pecans, chopped up

1 tablespoon chia seeds

To Prepare:

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, nutmeg, cinnamon, and salt.

In a small bowl, prepare your “egg” with the flax and water and let sit for about 5 mins to gel up.

Grate your carrot(s), possibly use a food processor to do this, too. Do not puree the carrots; you want them to be of grated texture, in pieces.

In another bowl, blend together butter, brown sugar, vanilla, and the flax egg mixture. Then add your carrots and the flour mixture. Do not over blend. Add your muesli/oats. Chop up the pecans in food processor and add them last with the chia seeds. Put mixture in fridge for about 30 mins to set up.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Take out your batter from the fridge and form teaspoonful balls and lay out on baking sheet a couple inches apart from one another. Bake for 10-12 mins until they turn a little golden brown and the edges become a little crisp. Let cool and most importantly, enjoy!

BONUS!

I am so tickled to share with you just a taste of what I did when I was visiting my fabulous family up in Ohio. Meet my energy horses and soul mates, Scarlett & Leon. Every time I go up north to visit, I must squeeze in a visit with these guys, sunshine or snow. Especially, Leon, for we have owned him longer and he has assisted me in many different healing processes. Leon is 13 years old and a Tennessee Walker. He is my most favorite horse EVER. He is laid back as can be, assists my mom in her business teaching individuals with special needs therapeutic horse back riding, and he is majestic as ever. Scarlett is also 13 years old and she is a Quarter Horse. She was given to my mom and I have really started to connect with her.  On one of my last days in Ohio on this recent visit I had the idea to combine my two loves, yoga & my horses. What’s a better combination than that, right? With the assistance of my two best good friends, Corie and Andrew and my beautiful mother, we made it happen. It was the most perfect string of moments that could have happened and I am so grateful to have the pictures to have captured it and the memories to hold in my heart forever. I am so grateful to have these opportunities to connect with my animal spirit friends and it will always be so special to me.

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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