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

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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Peanut Butter Tuesday

First and foremost, I have to give a shout out to my Miami Heat for winning the 2013 Finals! A week late but woo hoo! I was so stoked I did a head stand for them!

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A lot of hard work those guys put in and it seemed like the games were never going to end! Besides yoga, basketball is my favorite sport and was my life growing up in grade school and in high school! It is where I had fun, connected with teammates, got my exercise, expressed my emotions, learned how to play well with others, laughed, cried, celebrated, trumped my fears, learned hard work, and had an outlet. I do not play ball as much as I wish I would today, but yoga has been able to fill the same shoes now that basketball used to. A basketball court and a yoga mat are my two places where I feel so connected on every level!

And since we are on the subject of balls…ahem…basketballs…I figured that I would keep this next treat in line.

I give you, Peanut Butter Quinoa Balls

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These were SO incredibly simple & so yummy  I could not stand it. It was impossible for me to just have one…or two… 🙂

Ingredients:

1 cup puffed quinoa OR quinoa flakes OR oatmeal would prob work (I could not find the puffed quinoa, so I tried the flakes (as pictured) and they were perfect!)

1/2 cup peanut butter

3-4 table spoons agave OR maple syrup

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

toppings: vegan chocolate chips, melted

coconut…I used the chocolate chips & just sprinkled coconut over the melted chocolate and they were yummy!

Mix together all of the ingredients. Put in the fridge for 15 mins. Form 12 balls. I was able to make 12 out of the measurements listed. Put back into the fridge for 15 more mins. Dip in melted chocolate, if desired. There you have it. Balls. 🙂

And now that we are on the topic of peanut butter…I will add one more delight to the mix. So, if you are not into the peanut butter balls, how about peanut butter cups!?! Ohhh yeah!

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I loved these, too! They were fun to make and they came out adorable, don’t ya think?

Another simple one.

Peanut Butter Cups

You will need:

Mini cupcake wrappers and cupcake tin/pan to help create the shape

Nonstick spray to spray wrappers with

Top layer:

2 tablespoons coconut oil

1 tablespoon agave OR maple syrup will work I’m sure

2 tablespoon cacao powder

Bottom layer:

2 tablespoons peanut butter OR almond butter

1 tablespoons coconut oil

1 tablespoon agave OR maple  syrup

Prep:

Mix together ingredients for top layer in one bowl and ingredients for the bottom layer in another separate bowl. Pour bottom later in cupcake wrapper in cupcake pan and then pour the top layer right over. Put in the freezer to set up. I think I left mine in for at least 30 minutes!

And then you can either enjoy them as is or use with other recipes as toppings maybe. The night after I made these, I had some raw ice cream. You know I used a peanut butter cup for a topper! It was perfect!

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And the Raw Ice Cream is perfect just by itself, too. So easy peasy!

Raw Ice Cream:

Slice up one (or as many as you’d like) banana and place in the freezer until frozen or REALLY cold. Then take out of the freezer and put in food processor and blend until creamy like the ice cream man would do it. Done.

So, you got three desserts in one post! Have fun with that!

Life is short, eat dessert first…especially if its raw or vegan dessert! Ha!

Light & Love,
Amanda