Time limiting thoughts and time saving meals

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Hi everyone! Happy February!
I love this quote from A Course in Miracles. I use it when I have thoughts that are bringing me fear and discomfort. It’s a permission slip for letting myself off the hook. And, I give you permission to use it, too, and often!
Today, I am going to talk about time; creating time, in particular. Lately, I have had several of my friends come to me and ask how I find the time to incorporate a meditation practice into my busy life. As I have mentioned before, I am a full-time student, in the middle of an internship, preparing to graduate in May, I work a job on top of that, I have two crazy lab pups, who might as well be human children, a fantastic Yoga practice (that I also teach now), a loving boyfriend, a home to take care of, a vegan diet to prepare for each day, my Soul Feather meet up group, my Soul Feather blog, a miraculous meditation practice and playtime in between all that. Phew! Yes, it is a quite the balancing act! And I know I am not performing solo in this show, so, if ya feel me, keep reading. 🙂
When I first started meditating, it began very slow and I would do it every once and a while. Actually, the first time I ever sat still long enough to meditate, I was petrified and I cried my eyes out. It was an embarrassing-weird-uncomfortable-funky-scary situation and I remember feeling like “This is not for me…I am doomed…I am broken.” However, meditation always seemed to call me back. Weeks went by after that first time and I found myself asking a friend to sit with me be my meditatation coach. I asked her for all the details. We sat on her dock in the intercoastal and meditated, and I am forever grateful to her. I had put this tremendous amount of pressure on myself for it to be perfect…only to discover later that there is no perfect way to meditate. For me, it started with letting that idea of being perfect go and learning how to just stop, even if it was only for a quick moment, to notice that moment, along with the thoughts wrapped up in it, letting go and shifting it all to my breath and into a space of love. Less and less time started to show up between the times I would practice. Sometimes, I would hit up my meditation space two times in one day. I started to fall more in love with it…to the point where I said to myself, “I’m going to do this everyday.” However, there was one thing that stopped me from an everyday practice; my thoughts. My ego had stepped in and made me think thoughts like, “I can’t commit to everyday… I don’t have enough time.” And that was my block for a while. As long as I kept thinking that I didn’t have time to meditate, that is what kept showing up for me. So, I changed my thinking about the time I had available for meditation and magically, I started to create an everyday practice. I googled and you tubed meditations daily from spiritual guides and gurus that I followed, I learned different breathing techniques to incorporate, I burned groovy incense and invested in some beautiful crystals and stones to share energy with and I started sharing these meditations and what brings me love with others at my Soul Feather meet up groups. I meditate every morning. Sometimes, it is longer than others, depending on what shows up. Then, there are moments throughout my day where I take a few minutes to reconnect with my breath, myself and the Universe. Sometimes, actually, most times, those minutes I take during the day to stop take place in my car; running from my internship to my job… in the Starbuck’s parking lot. Then, at night, I take time before I go to sleep to reconnect. So, from simply shifting my thoughts from “I don’t have enough time” to “I have just enough time” or “the Universe supports me in all that I do,” the time to meditate shows up for me. In the end, I have more energy to take on my full life, more love to spread to others and a space of inner peace that keeps growing each time I hit my meditation mat.

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Another place where I can be in the moment and connect with myself is when I create food and share it.

Today’s recipe are a couple simple recipes that can be used as sides, a snack, or if you make enough, the main meal.

The first treat I have is favorite snack and a staple for my diet…
I give you Avocado Toast:

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You will need:
-gluten free/vegan toast
-1/2 an avocado
-olive oil, to taste
-salt, to taste
-any extras (sprouts, kale, arugula, tomato…)

To prepare:
Toast the bread in a toaster. Cut the avo in half. Scoop it out with a spoon; if you like nice slices, slice the avo with a knife before scooping it out. Put the avo on the toasted bread. Sprinkle a little salt and drizzle on the olive oil. Add other toppings of your choice if you wish. Yumm! I love avocado toast. It is so simple and perfect to eat for breakfast, lunch, dinner, as a side or a snack.

The next recipe is inspired by my girl at http://www.celineeatsavocados.com.

Roasted Potatoes with Parsley & Avo

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You will need:
Mini potatoes (I like the purple and red potatoe mixture)
Parsley
Avocado
Olive oil
Salt
Pepper
Paprika

To prepare:
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Mix together some olive oil, salt, pepper, and a little paprika in a medium to large sized bowl. Wash the potatoes and cut them in halves. If you only have regular sized potatoes, then cube them up. Then throw the cut up potatoes in the olive oil mixture. Make sure all the potatoes are covered with mixture. Then, put the potatoes on a baking sheet lines with foil and stick in the oven for 25 mins. At the end of the 25 minutes, turn on the broil to make it them crispy and gold brown. After the potatoes are done in the oven, let them cool and transfer into a bowl. Add the fresh chopped up parsley and some avocado slices and serve it up! I also added some quinoa in there for some extra fluff!
These potatoes can be made with any olive oil and spices that you’d like. I also made some with rosemary, olive oil, salt and pepper for the Super Bowl last weekend and they were delish!

Roasted Potatoes with Rosemary and Olive Oil

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Eat, share, enjoy!

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Light & Love,
Amanda

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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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