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

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