Creating Space

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Hi everyone!
My days are filled with people and situations that provide me with opportunities; opportunities to choose love and happiness or to choose fear and unhappiness. I must remind myself that I have these choices and that they both cannot live in the same space. I am either choosing love or fear…and let me tell you, love always trumps! Love is the miracle-maker and it always gives me exactly what I need. Love opens doors, unlocks the miracles, frees my heart and creates an unlimited amount of space within me to extend out to others. Fear shuts down, puts down, paralyzes and constricts any energy from flowing.
So, how do we integrate a more loving conversation in life? It begins with creating the space in our thoughts. People and situations show up as divine assignments to show me how to heal, learn and let go. My most challenging assignments show up in my relationship with my boyfriend. We attracted one another to heal, love and enjoy one another. One of my biggest lessons with him have been learning how to tap into my inner goddess for self acceptance and love, and not relying on him for those things. Past experiences that he triggers in the present challenge me in these areas. Some days, I am on point and others, the best I can do is have a meltdown. We all get into relationships with our own past experiences that have turned into conversations within the thoughts that run through our heads presently.The thing is, that conversation that was generated from the past, is in the past, there fore, it does not have to be real now in the present moment. It is our job to recognize those conversations as not real anymore and create the space for what is so that love can radiate through us.

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Here are some simple steps that I have been using in my interactions to get myself out of my past conversations that replay in my head and into what’s real in the present moment.

1: Notice. Any behavior change always starts with noticing the behavior first. Nothing can change if you are not aware that it is occurring, right? If I am unable to notice, then I am screwed because chances are I may just be reacting out of ego, and usually these snap reactions are fearbased and imbedded from th past. So, I begin created new neural pathways in my brain by keeping it simple and noticing. Sometimes, I write about what I see myself doing. I notice what is happening around and within me when I feel like I am being triggered. I notice the conversation that is taking place in my head. Is it love or fear-based? If this conversation makes me feel good, it is probably love, but if I start to squirm, it is most likely fear driving them and after the thoughts start rolling in, then the unproductive behavior follows. So, start noticing the thoughts before th behaviors have a chance to rise. And just like anything, this is a practice. Some days, I am extremely aware and I can pause and stay still and allow the untrue thoughts to dissolve. Other days, when I am more sensitive, I will just bypass any noticing and have a knee-jerk reaction, which usually ends up with me in some kind of upset. Whether I roll through a temper tantrum or not, eventually I always get back to noticing my thoughts again. It is important to be gentle with yourself and love yourself through these experiences like you would a best friend!
2: Decide. After I notice what is happening within my thoughts, then I make a decision. I decide whether the conversation in my head is real or not real based off of the situation I am in where I feel triggered. Again, fear makes us act in funky ways. So, if I perceive something as fearful based on my past experiences and I notice myself starting to feel uncomfortable, then I can probably make the assumption that I am operating from ego. I decide if the story I am telling myself is a reenactment of the past or not; real or make-believe. The ego loves to play with the make-believe because we stay stuck here; we search but never seem to find what we are looking for. It can be tricky to see past the ego, so I coach myself through it by giving myself little affirmations such as, “I can see peace instead of this, “What would it look like to let this go?” or “Thank you, Universe, for showing me how to see this differently.” A Course in Miracles says, “When ancient memories of hate appear, remember that their cause is gone,” therefore, it is up to me to forgive the past experiences that are showing up because they are showing up as an opportunity to create space for love by releasing them.

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Now, for a yummy pizza recipe to wrap this up! Today, I have one of my vegan, gluten free, quinoa crust pizzas! So simple and delicious!

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You will need:
1 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil
3/4 cup quinoa – soaked for at least 8 hours, rinsed & drained.
1/4-1/2 cup water (maybe…according to dough consistency)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 garlic clove
2 teaspoon of dried seasonings (I think I just used some Italian seasoning mixture and a teaspoon of dried parsley)
Toppings: hummus, cucumber, arugula and carrots

To Prepare:
Set the oven to 450 degrees. Spread the tablespoon of coconut or olive oil in a 9-inch round cake pan. In a food processor mix all of the ingredients, except the toppings, together to create your pizza crust. Then, pour the mixture into the oil coated cake pan and place the pan in the oven for about 15-20 minutes. Then, remove the pan, flip the crust over, and bake for another 10-15 minutes. Crust should be brown and crispy on the edges. Remove crust and let cool. Prepare the veggies/toppings but cutting up the cucumber and shredding the carrots. When crust seems cool enough, spread the hummus all over the pizza, first. Then sprinkle on the arugula and cover with cucumber and them the shredded carrots last. Cut up into pizza slices and enjoy! I sure did!

Light & Love,
Amanda

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Make every day a holiday!

‘Tis the season to get groovy! And I have been raisin’ my vibration and dancing all over my house this morning! Nothing gets me going like Madonna, some funky dance moves, and singing along to every word like I’m right there on stage with her! I put on The Immaculate Collection and I was off…in the bathroom, on my computer chair, while I made my avocado toast…Music has this way with me! It’s a high that I never want to come down from! If you would have witnessed the amount of energy that was bouncing around my house this morning, you would have thought it was a holiday or something. Which brings me to my next thought… Why can’t I live each day like it is a holiday?! Holiday means “a day of festivity or recreation,” which to me, sounds like what I try to make every day in some way or another! Even on the days when fear moves in or the light inside of me feels dim, there is always a moment or moments when I am able to shift into my stellar space once again! And the best part about it all, you ask? Well, when I am in this incredible space of bliss and I connect with you, both of our vibrations are raised together and we put that energy out into the world, ultimately spreading the love! In other words, your happiness has a domino effect that is truly magnificet! So, in Madonna’s words, “Let love shine” and create your own holiday! Fa la la la la la la la Ommmm!

As a part of the celebration of today, I have some simple & yummy plant-based & gluten-free recipes.

The first one is such a staple for me when I need a meal quick and healthy! I posted a couple different pics because this is a meal that can be changed around and served in all different ways!

Quinoa Pasta with Raw Zucchini Noodles and Green Veggies!

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You will need:
Gluten free/vegan noodles of your choice
1 zucchini
1 cup of broccoli
1 cup of kale
Pink Himalayan sea salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste
Olive oil, to taste

Or any other green veggie or colorful veggie you can think of!! 🙂

To prepare:
Boil your pasta accordingly.
Peel the skin off of your zucchini and then with the peeler start peeling into the zucchini making your “noodles.” Peel around and around the zucchini until you cannot anymore.
Wash and cut up your broccoli, kale, or any other veggies you want to add in. When your noodles are done, add everything together in a bowl and lightly toss with olive oil and sprinkle your salt and pepper to your liking! Enjoy! 🙂

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My next little treat I have for you is my plant-based and gluten-free…

Macademia Cauliflower Rice with Kale

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You will need:
1 head of cauliflower
1/2 cup of macademia nuts
1 cup (or more?) of kale
Pink himalayan sea salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste
1 clove of garlic, minced

To prepare:
In a pan, with a little olive oil or coconut oil, simmer your minced garlic clove till translucent. In a food processor, chop up your cauliflower until it forms into little pieces and looks like rice. Pour the cauliflower into the pan with the oil and garlic and simmer on low-medium heat for about 4 minutes or so. Add in your chopped up kale and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Serve it up! Your belly and body will thank you!

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Light & Love,
Amanda

Recess

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Hello! I hope your weekend was glorious! Did you find any time to play? Remember when we were children and in school we were given a recess? It was that time in the day that was scheduled in there and you did nothing but play. I can remember my play changing at recess as I grew up. In kindergarten it was about running around on the playground or playing board games if we were kept inside because of the rain. This continued through third grade, I say. Then, from like the third to sixth grade it was about getting curious about the boys, still being grossed out by their existence, but playing games that included them, usually games where boys chased after the girls. It was thrilling and engaging, but awkward because curiosity in the opposite sex was creeping in, and I remember wanting to know what that was about. Then in seventh and eighth grade it was about getting together with my girlfriends to chat (usually about the boys)  and hang out while the boys ran around and played football or basketball at recess. There was no more running around for the girls, but there was still that time that we were allowed to have out of our school day  to do whatever we wanted with. Then came high school and no more recess. What’s up with that?

I think it is important to give ourselves a recess no matter what grade or age you are. And that recess could be so many things for each individual. Whatever it is, I hope it allows you to let you inner child play, shine, sing, dance, run, jump, sparkle, rest, release, imagine, connect, or  bloom.

For this weeks recipe post I have another meatball recipe! This one is even groovier then that last one i posted not too long ago. This recipe is inspired by ohmyveggies.com. This recipe was not origially vegan, so I made some tweaks to make it so. 🙂 It is also gluten-free, weeeee!

Broccoli Parmesan “Meat”balls

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You will need:

1/2 cup raw almonds

1 large head of broccoli, cut into florets & steamed (makes about 2 cups worth)

1/2 shredded vegan parmesan cheese ( I use the Go Veggie! brand)

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1 flax egg (1 tablespoon ground flax seed + 3 tablespoons warm water)

Salt and pepper, to taste

A muffin tin

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To Prepare:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Make up your flax egg by whisking the flax and water together in a small bowl and setting aside to let it gel up.

Steam your broccoli.

In a food processor, process the almonds until they are coarsely ground (do not under or over- process the almonds). Then place your almonds aside in a separate bowl.

After your broccoli is steamed, add it to the food processor and pulse until it is chopped up. Then add the flax egg, garlic, parmesan cheese, and salt & pepper to the broccoli in the food processor and process until mixed together.

Then add the broccoli-parm combination to the almonds in the bowl. Mix together well.

Spray a muffin tin with a nonstick spray of your choice.

Form balls out of the broccoli mixture and place each one into its own spot in the muffin tin. Bake until the meatballs are golden on the outside and heated through; about 20 mins. Remove the tin from the oven and let cool before popping each ball out.

These guys can be eaten with pretty much anything. They are very flexible & I love how they taste! The day I made them I was in a hurry, so I just pulled them out of the oven and plopped them on top of some quinoa (sorry my picture above looks so plain). But they could be great with spaghetti sauce and noodles, or just plain with the sauce, in a sandwich, or on a salad. Have fun with them! I know I did and I can’t wait to make them again! Enjoy!
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Namaste.

Light & Love,
Amanda

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

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

Cauliflower Power!

Happy September! Happy Labor Day weekend! I am soakin’ up this Sunday and day off tomorrow for the holiday and spending it playing with my pups and playing on my yoga mat! What’s new?! Ha! Pups and I just got home from a nice romp around a new doggy park. They are pooped. Perfect opportunity to spit out a little diddy on my blog.

This past week I gathered some new information from my yoga mat. I do this all the time and I love it. I think it is truly amazing when I can take something I learn on my mat and apply it to my life, because I approach my mat the same way I approach life, and vice versa. Its weird and it blows me away. Miracles have happened on my mat, physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually, which has led to transformations in my life. And I can’t get enough of it and I am truly grateful for it, even when it calls for swallowing an enormous truth about myself and owning it; maybe in that moment I’m letting out a big “wah!” but, I eventually move to gratitude. Plus, the best news about all this is when I learn something new, I bring it to you! La la la la! I love to share, especially when its something that lights up my insides and sends energy to my heart.

Having said that, this week one of my beautiful yoga teachers graciously shed some light and I have been applying it all over the place and sharing with others. During one of my practices earlier this week I was in a pose and it was really intense, which is normal. Usually when this happens, I try to remember to breathe through the sensations and quiet my thoughts to stay in the moment. My brain is usually saying obnoxious things to me like, “Ugh, I hate this pose” or “I wonder how long she is going to make us hold this one.” Or sometimes my brain will take me far away to the land of “My To-Do List,” and I miss out on experiencing my body opening and creating this new and beautiful space. Our brains will do crazy things like this to “protect” us, I now know. So, when this was happening in a pose this week, thank goodness I wasn’t too far gone that I heard my teacher say, “Get curious about the sensations you are experiencing in poses that are intense for you.” Get curious. She didn’t say, “Get out of the pose.” She didn’t say, “Embrace the sensation anyway.” She said, “Get curious.” Like, oh, I just felt that, what’s that about? Instead of pulling out of the pose, running away, or bashing what’s going on, I get curious about it all. I probably need the pose more than any of the other ones anyway. The same goes for my life, I found out. When something is happening in my life that makes me feel icky or uncomfortable, normally I will do something to avoid the discomfort, right?! So, now, with this new mantra, I don’t have to run away or avoid, I can just notice and be curious about it. I can ask myself questions about it, without making any decisions. The pressure is off. Get curious.

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I can give you something else to get curious about…Cauliflower! What’s that about? I feel like it is a vegetable that gets left out. Its like a head of broccoli that was dipped in white paint, right? Ya, what can you even do with cauliflower?! Are you curious, yet?

Well, I have two cauliflower recipes that’ll have you feeling a lot more than curious!

The first recipe is Fettuccine Alfredo with Cauliflower Sauce

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You Will Need:

2 1/2 cups chunked cauliflower

1 1/2 cups almond milk

1/3 cup nutritional yeast

3-4 tablespoons tahini

1 clove chopped garlic

lemon juice, to taste

salt & pepper, to taste

fettuccine noodles (I used a gluten free brand)

2 cups broccoli (if you want broccoli)

Cashews, grated for garnish (optional…hemp seeds would work, too!)

To Prepare:

Break up the caulk head of medium sized pieces and add to a pot with almond milk, nut. yeast, tahini, garlic, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Cover and allow to simmer 15-20 mins, but no boil (if it boils, not the end of the world, though!) Cauli will get soft.

Then pour cauli mixture into a blender and blend until creamy. Prepare fettuccine noodles accordingly and get your broccoli steamed.

Drain the pasta and return to pan. Pour the cauli sauce over the fettuccine noodles and gently toss noodles through it. Toss in your broccoli and gently toss some more.

Serve and enjoy!

 

Next, I have something that’ll really blow your fellow Labor Day meat-grilling buddies’ socks right off. This recipe was inspired by Two Peas and Their Pod. They have some really great things and pretty pictures  on their blog that I refer to often!

Grilled Cauliflower Steaks with Pesto

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You Will Need:

1 small head of cauliflower

1 cup of fresh basil

1 garlic clove

1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice

1/3 cup olive oil

salt and pepper, to taste

To Prepare:

Cut the cauli lengthwise, including the stalk, into 3/4-inch slices.

In a food processor or blender, add basil, garlic, and lemon juice. Turn on the machine and pulse a few times. Slowly add the olive oil in a constant stream while the food processor or blender is running. May need to stop to scrape down the sides. Pulse until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.

Brush both sides of the cauli steaks with the pesto sauce you just made. Place on the grill over medium heat. Grill for 3-4 minutes on each side or until the cauli is tender but still firm.

Serve warm and enjoy!

Happy Labor Day weekend!

Light & Love,
Amanda

 

Let yourself off the hook!

‘Ello loves! & Happy Friday!

I woke up this morning not the way that I intended to kick off my Friday morning. Not. At. All. I’d like to blame it on a female hormonal imbalance, if you get my drift. Normal morning tasks, like walking the dogs and doing my morning meditation, just seemed so…ugh! Challenging! So, after sitting in the uncomfortable feeling chair for more than I wanted to, a voice came into my head and she said, “Relax. All you have to do is your best for today. And your best for today may be different than your best was yesterday or will be tomorrow. Embrace what shows up.” Immediately, I felt some relief.

I notice that most of the time when I am struggling it is because I am the one putting all the pressure on myself. My ego tells me it is other things…my boyfriend, the dogs, homework, hormones, the weather… But, once I move into some kind of acceptance by opening my heart, embracing what is, and letting myself off the hook, I can breathe normal again.

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So, I made the commitment to myself to do my best today by embracing what shows up and giving myself the permission to let go no matter what. This is my mantra. And when I feel myself starting to tense up, I go right to this, and I kick my ego out of the way. Pow!

Be gentle with yourself.

To go along with today’s gentle theme, I have a real simple, but fun, recipe.

Spaghetti Squash Noodles!

Go get yourself one spaghetti squash from the grocery store…

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Cut the squash in half (long ways)

Scoop out the seeds and set aside (maybe to roast & eat later, hmmm?)

Brush inside of squash halves with tiny amount of olive oil (maybe 1/2 tsp on each half)

Sprinkle salt & pepper over the olive oil coated halves.

Place squash halves on parchment paper lined baking sheet, the cut side down (or inside of squash facing down)

Roast squash for 30-45 minutes @ 375 degrees. (I think I might have done mine for 40 mins, some ovens get a little hotter/cooler than others)

Once you take the squash out of the oven, take a fork and start to scrap away at the inside of each squash half and the “spaghetti-like strands will start to form. I was so very amused with this process. It connected to me then where this squash got its name. 🙂 Leave the strands IN the squash and serve right out of it like a bowl or put strands in an actual bowl. (I just LOVE eating right out of the squash! Makes it so fun!)

Let cool for 5-10 minutes or so.

Season again with salt & pepper, or whatever seasons your wild heart desires and serve!

*I heated up a little spaghetti sauce and poured right on top of the squash, like it was a traditional spaghetti meal. I sprinkled a little nutritional yeast on top. I added a little side salad and some garlic bread, as well.

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Mmmm. Enjoy!

Light & Love,
Amanda

Waking up & Pancakes!

Good Morning!

Did you feel your feet hit the ground this morning?

I know that most mornings, at the first stir of my two pups, I’m up and at ’em without even paying attention to the movements of my body or giving myself the chance to feel what is happening inside and outside my body. I just take off!

I have been making an effort to try to give myself that extra second to rise in the morning. To stretch out my limbs while still laying down. To notice my eyes blinking open after a night with them closed. To feel, really feel, the four corners of my feet hit the ground when I hang them off the side of my bed. When I do this, it makes a difference in the flow of my day. I hope that by blogging about this and throwing it out there into the universe the awareness of this will only deepen for me and I can start to make this an every morning practice.

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Now that you have let your body wake up properly, lets get cookin’! Breakfast! I have two different pancake recipes that I can’t wait to share with you!

The first pancake recipe is for sweet potato pancakes that were inspired by almondsandavocados.com. I made a few changes, but for the most part it is the same.

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Sweet Potato Pancakes

1 small sweet potato, cubed and steamed (you’ll need one cup out of this)

1 cup almond milk

1/2 tablespoon melted coconut oil

2-3 teaspoons pure maple syrup

1 cup flour (whichever you prefer)

2 tablespoon almond flour (optional; I made my own by just processing a handful of almonds)

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Pinch of nutmeg

Pinch of sea salt

1. Cut the sweet potato into small cubes. Bring about 2 inches of water to a boil and steam the sweet potatoes for 7-8 minutes, until tender. When finished, pour softened cubes into a bowl and mash up with a fork or spoon. Measure out 1 cup of the mashed sweet potatoes.

2. Heat a bit of oil in a non-stick pan or skillet over medium heat.

3. Blend the cup of mashed sweet potato, almond milk, maple syrup, and coconut oil in blender or by hand works, too. Mix until smooth. Add the flour, almond flour (optional), baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt and blend until combined. Allow the mixture to sit and thicken a bit and then mix again. The batter should be thick but pourable. Add more flour if too thin.

4. Pour the batter onto the heated pan/skillet. When some bubbles have formed and the batter begins to brown on the edges, then flip and cook until the bottom has browned. Repeat until no more  batter is left.

5. Serve with your favorite toppings. In my picture I used the few extra sweet potato cubes I had left over for my topping, along with a few sprinkles of cinnamon, unsweetened shredded coconut, and some drizzles of maple syrup.

Enjoy!

The second pancake recipe I found was from one of my favorite bloggers out there, celineeatsavocados.com. She is just fantastic! I love the energy her blogs bring into my life! 🙂

I give you Green Pancakes!

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They are healthy, simple, and GREEN!

You will need:

3/4 cup unsweetened apple sauce

1 ripe banana

1-2 handfuls of uncooked spinach

1 cup of flour (of your choice)

Prep:

1. Blend together spinach and apple sauce. Then add banana.

2. Pour mixture into bowl and add the flour, mixing together.

3. Heat up a non-stick skillet and add a tablespoon or two of coconut oil.

4. Pour batter, into the pancake size that you desire, onto the skillet once it is heated up. Flip after the edges start to brown. Once the edges and each side are a little browned, then you can serve.

5. Add any topping your little tummy desires! In my photo I just sprinkled some powdered sugar on top and used a little drizzle of maple syrup.

Enjoy!

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And last but not least, I give you a final pancake recipe that I have used before, which is more comparable to a traditional pancake. For this next one I used a pre-made gluten free pancake mix and added some extra love!

Gluten Free Vegan Chia Seed Pancakes

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I used Bob’s Red Mill gluten free pancake mix. I made the pancakes according to the pancake mix package, with some adjustments. Instead of the egg that it calls for on the packaging, I substituted a flag egg (1 tbsp of ground flax seed + 3 tbsp water. Mix and let combination gel up.) Then for the milk that the mix called for, I substituted almond milk. Then I added 1-2 tablespoons of chia seeds. I combined all the ingredients until batter consistency formed. I heated a little oil on a non stick pan/skillet and poured the batter to my pancake size preference. I let the pancake brown a little on the edges and each side before serving. Then, I topped with fresh strawberries and a little maple syrup on top. Don’t forget to chew slow, taste ever bite, and enjoy!

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