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

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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

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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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

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

Heaven in your Hand

That’s right, this post is about how to create heaven in your hand. Or, maybe I should have said heaven in your belly. Either way, I hope this mini masterpiece that I brewed up today sends your soul to the moon and back like it did for me.

When I made the decision to start eating vegan friendly foods I knew that I was going to be giving up some yummies that I just wasn’t sure I could find good enough substitutes for. Thick, delicious, mouth- watering, tastebud -electrifying cheesecake was one of those yummies on my list. 

Have no fear, cheesecake is here!

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I give you Raw Mini Cheesecake Bites! Aren’t they just adorable?! Adorable in your mouth, too!

Walnut Crust:

2/3 cup walnuts

1/3 cup shredded coconut

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

salt to taste

2 medjool dates, pitted

Filling:

1 cup of cashews, macadamia, maybe even hazelnuts?! (have fun with it!); soaked for at least an hour…could probably even get away with 1/2 hr

1/4 cup water (maybe more, depending on the consistency you like…should be creamy like)

1 lime or 1/2 lemon juice

1 tablespoon coconut oil

2 tablespoons maple syrup (or agave)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract (maybe more, to taste)

salt to taste

*taste test the filling to see if it is to your liking (not like I needed to tell you, ha!)

Prepare the crust by food processing all the ingredients. Then I sprayed some nonstick spray in some cupcake wrappers (just incase, you prob don’t need spray) and place wrappers in cupcake tin. Then scoop out crust combo into wrappers, serving as your bottom layer. Then put in fridge, while preparing the rest. You can make the crust as thin or thick as you’d like.

Then, for the “creamcheese” part, again, in a food processor combine all ingredients. Then bring your crusts back out and scoop the filling on top of each little crust. Again, you can put as much or as little as your prefer. I think I ended up making about 5-6 mini cheesecake bites with the measure ingredients I listed above. Play with it!

Put in freezer to let it set up for at least an hour.

When you are ready to serve, add ANY, and I mean just about ANY topping of your choice. I love these little bites so much for their flexibility with toppings. I added coconut to one, walnuts to another, chocolate chips, cinnamon on one, and shelled hemp seeds work great,too. And if you are into naked plane jane cheesecake bites, then eat it up, because these guys are just as fab without toppings! So much fun coming up with different ideas! I love letting my creativity fire with stuff like this!

I even got real funky with it and created a strawberry surprise with my cheesecake bite! I whipped up some chia seed pudding (1 cup almond milk & 2 tbsp chia seeds), sliced some strawberries, and bathed my cheesecake bite topped with shredded coconut in the strawberry-chia seed bath! So tasty & pretty to look at!

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Light & Love,
Amanda

Breathe & Eat

“I’m breathing in. I’m breathing out.”

Some days, this is my mantra all day long. I learned this mantra from my yoga practice, go figure,and I apply it to my life. Why, you ask? Well, because it works! Where thoughts go, energy goes, right? The first time I used this mantra, it was in one of my Vinyasa flow yoga classes. Because it is summer, it seems as if the heated studios we practice in have been extra sweaty. I am all about the extra sweat and releasing extra toxins, but what comes with that is extra opportunities for me to calm my thoughts that tell me, “Wahh! This is crazy! Give up!” One hot, sweaty, deliciously juicy class not too long ago, my mind was doing just this. It was doing nothing but bringing energy to it and causing my body to freak out, feel weak and want to give up. Giving up would have been fine, too, because it is what it is. However, right at that moment of choosing whether to come out of the pose or stay, my yoga teacher gave me my mantra, “I’m breathing in. I’m breathing out.” I grabbed it up and started saying it to myself while incorporating my breath and moving through the poses while sweat dripped. It was like magic. My body totally and completely hopped on board and I rode the wave till the end of the practice.

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I am so grateful for that class and I will forever be. For not only did my yoga teacher provide me with a mantra-mediation for class, but she gave me a mantra for life. Life shows up and I try to live it as it is delivered, but sometimes it is uncomfortable and my mind wants to take me everywhere but in that moment, which is where I need to be the most; feeling, accepting, learning, and embracing.

Breathing seems so basic and like “duh!” but when life gets crazy, we tend to hold our breath and tense up, when we should be doing the exact opposite. This is funny to me. I think that human beings may be the only creatures that do this in response to stress. I watch my dogs, and when they get stressed or run around, they don’t stop breathing. If anything, I see them breathe more, suckin’ down air, with their tongues all out. Amazing!

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Now, for some mexican feasting!

I recently posted the yummy raw beet ravioli recipe and I mentioned how I am all about the raw dishes, when they aren’t too complicated. I now share with you a raw taco salad recipe that was inspired by ohsheglows.com. I cannot get enough of her recipes!

This recipe is one of my favorites! I know, I know, I say this about every recipe that I post. It’s true though, and I think it’s a good thing! It was so nice to find a vegan taco salad recipe, let alone raw, because just about every time I go out to eat it is at a restaurant with mostly non-vegan dishes with my non-vegan friends and I can more times than not find a taco salad on their menu that I make the appropriate substitutions to.

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Raw Taco Salad:

Walnut Taco Meat

1/2 cup walnuts, soaked 2-8 hours

1 + 1/2 teaspoon chili powder (or more if your taste buds desire)

1/2 teaspoon chili

Sea salt, to taste

Cayenne pepper, to taste

Cashew Cream (aka, your sour cream)

1 cup macadamia or cashew nuts, soaked 2-8 hours

11-12 tablespoons water, for desired consistency (I think I ended up using about 1/2 cup)

2-3 tablespoons of lemon juice

Sea salt, to taste (just over 1/4 teaspoon)

Guacamole

1 large avocado

1/4 cup chopped red onion

1/2 small tomato, chopped

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoons lime juice

Scant 1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Other possible toppings you may like:

green onions, greens of choice, salsa, and some chips or crackers

Taco Meat Prep:

Drain walnuts. Food process walnut meat ingredients on pulse or chop setting until ingredients are combined. Leave walnuts somewhat chunky. Remove and set aside.

Sour Cream Prep:

Drain and rinse cashews/macadamia nuts. Add to processor and process. Stream in water (close to 1/2 cup maybe) and a couple tablespoons of lemon juice. Add water as needed. Sauce should be smooth and not grainy. Add seasonings to taste.

Guac Prep:

Medium size bowl, mash avocado flesh with fork, leaving some chunks. Stir in chopped tomato, onion, lime juice, and seasonings to taste.

To assemble all the layers, first, add a nice amount of greens to bast of the bowl, followed by a nice scoop (1/4 cup)  of the guac mixture. In the middle, spoon 2 tablespoons of salsa (if using) and then add some of your walnut taco meat over that. Put your cashew sour cream into a plastic baggie, twist baggie so cream moves to one corner, and snip off corner so you can squirt your sour cream on the taco salad over the taco meat. Lastly, add some chips or crackers on the side to dip or crunch over your salad. Let your taste buds have a fiesta!

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Breathe. Eat. Namaste.

Light & Love,
Amanda

Breathe & Eat

“I’m breathing in. I’m breathing out.”

Some days, this is my mantra all day long. I learned this mantra from my yoga practice, go figure,and I apply it to my life. Why, you ask? Well, because it works! Where thoughts go, energy goes, right? The first time I used this mantra, it was in one of my Vinyasa flow yoga classes. Because it is summer, it seems as if the heated studios we practice in have been extra sweaty. I am all about the extra sweat and releasing extra toxins, but what comes with that is extra opportunities for me to calm my thoughts that tell me, “Wahh! This is crazy! Give up!” One hot, sweaty, deliciously juicy class not too long ago, my mind was doing just this. It was doing nothing but bringing energy to it and causing my body to freak out, feel weak and want to give up. Giving up would have been fine, too, because it is what it is. However, right at that moment of choosing whether to come out of the pose or stay, my yoga teacher gave me my mantra, “I’m breathing in. I’m breathing out.” I grabbed it up and started saying it to myself while incorporating my breath and moving through the poses while sweat dripped. It was like magic. My body totally and completely hopped on board and I rode the wave till the end of the practice.

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I am so grateful for that class and I will forever be. For not only did my yoga teacher provide me with a mantra-mediation for class, but she gave me a mantra for life. Life shows up and I try to live it as it is delivered, but sometimes it is uncomfortable and my mind wants to take me everywhere but in that moment, which is where I need to be the most; feeling, accepting, learning, and embracing.

Breathing seems so basic and like “duh!” but when life gets crazy, we tend to hold our breath and tense up, when we should be doing the exact opposite. This is funny to me. I think that human beings may be the only creatures that do this in response to stress. I watch my dogs, and when they get stressed or run around, they don’t stop breathing. If anything, I see them breathe more, suckin’ down air, with their tongues all out. Amazing!

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Now, for some mexican feasting!

I recently posted the yummy raw beet ravioli recipe and I mentioned how I am all about the raw dishes, when they aren’t too complicated. I now share with you a raw taco salad recipe that was inspired by ohsheglows.com. I cannot get enough of her recipes!

This recipe is one of my favorites! I know, I know, I say this about every recipe that I post. It’s true though, and I think it’s a good thing! It was so nice to find a vegan taco salad recipe, let alone raw, because just about every time I go out to eat it is at a restaurant with mostly non-vegan dishes with my non-vegan friends and I can more times than not find a taco salad on their menu that I make the appropriate substitutions to.

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Raw Taco Salad:

Walnut Taco Meat

1/2 cup walnuts, soaked 2-8 hours

1 + 1/2 teaspoon chili powder (or more if your taste buds desire)

1/2 teaspoon chili

Sea salt, to taste

Cayenne pepper, to taste

Cashew Cream (aka, your sour cream)

1 cup macadamia or cashew nuts, soaked 2-8 hours

11-12 tablespoons water, for desired consistency (I think I ended up using about 1/2 cup)

2-3 tablespoons of lemon juice

Sea salt, to taste (just over 1/4 teaspoon)

Guacamole

1 large avocado

1/4 cup chopped red onion

1/2 small tomato, chopped

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoons lime juice

Scant 1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Other possible toppings you may like:

green onions, greens of choice, salsa, and some chips or crackers

Taco Meat Prep:

Drain walnuts. Food process walnut meat ingredients on pulse or chop setting until ingredients are combined. Leave walnuts somewhat chunky. Remove and set aside.

Sour Cream Prep:

Drain and rinse cashews/macadamia nuts. Add to processor and process. Stream in water (close to 1/2 cup maybe) and a couple tablespoons of lemon juice. Add water as needed. Sauce should be smooth and not grainy. Add seasonings to taste.

Guac Prep:

Medium size bowl, mash avocado flesh with fork, leaving some chunks. Stir in chopped tomato, onion, lime juice, and seasonings to taste.

To assemble all the layers, first, add a nice amount of greens to bast of the bowl, followed by a nice scoop (1/4 cup)  of the guac mixture. In the middle, spoon 2 tablespoons of salsa (if using) and then add some of your walnut taco meat over that. Put your cashew sour cream into a plastic baggie, twist baggie so cream moves to one corner, and snip off corner so you can squirt your sour cream on the taco salad over the taco meat. Lastly, add some chips or crackers on the side to dip or crunch over your salad. Let your taste buds have a fiesta!

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Breathe. Eat. Namaste.

Light & Love,
Amanda

Ringin’ in the Summer

Hello, Summer! So happy to have run into you again!

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When I think of summer, I think of playing. I think of sunshine, picnics, camping, family reunions, swimming, water balloon fights, sprinklers, the smell of fresh cut green grass, the ice cream truck music that rolls around the neighborhoods, vacations, sunsets, lightening bugs, lemonade, fireworks, sleeping in, staying up late, four wheeling, sleepovers, marshmallow roasting, the smell of barbecues, flowers blooming, bright colored clothes, and fruit, lots and lots of fruit! Which is why I decided to kick off the summer, and maybe create a sweet treat on Father’s Day, with some summer quenching fruit recipes!

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Given that strawberries are in season, they are not only gorgeous right now, but they have all kinds of crazy-cool benefits that I found out from my Healing With Whole Foods book, by Paul Pitchford. Strawberries are cooling in thermal nature quality and they are satisfying for the functioning of the spleen and pancreas. They saturate the lungs and promote the production of body fluids. Strawberries are full of groovy nourishing properties, like silicon and vitamin C, that are beneficial for the restoration of connective tissues and arteries throughout the body. And just a little fun fact, if you would like to add some extra oomph to your teeth and gums and remove the yuckies (a.k.a. tartar), then slice a strawberry in half and rub the inside of the berry on and all around your teeth and gums. Leave the berry-goodness on your teeth and gums for 45 mins and then rinse out with some warm water. I feel that these little red goddesses get a bad rep for being on the “dirty dozen” list, but with some extra care in the rinse cycle, these babies can add some special sweetness to your insides!

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Now for some more strawberry fun, I bring out some recipes.

My first recipe was inspired by almondsandavocados.com.

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I give you Fruit Pizza with a scrumptious quinoa crust and a sweet avocado sauce that tastes like frosting! (No really, I may just use it to top off cupcakes one day, it was that delightful!)

Fruit Pizza

1/2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

3/4 cup quinoa, soaked at least 8 hours then drained & rinsed

1/4-1/2 cup water

1 tablespoon maple syrup

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 small or 1/2 large avocado

2 tablespoons water

juice from half a lime or lemon

1 tablespoon maple syrup

Fresh fruit toppings of your choice

Quinoa Crust:

Soak quinoa for AT LEAST 8 hours. This disgruntled me a little because I was ready to eat the fruit pizza yesterday when I first saw the picture of it. But, this step is important for the crust to set up just right. Then, its all a breeze. After soaking, add the quinoa, 1/4 cup water,  1 tablespoon of maple syrup, and 1/4 teaspoon of salt to a high speed blender or food processor. Blend until a pancake-like batter substance forms. You want it to be on the thicker side. Then pour onto a pan on the stove top in olive oil over medium heat. Allow to cook approximately for 5-10 minutes until the edges are brown and crisp. Flip. Repeat on the second side. You will end up with a big pancake.

After making the crust up, you can start right away with the avocado sauce or place the crust in the fridge, which is what I did, until later when you are ready to serve. Once you create the avocado sauce, you will want to serve right away. Keep all this in mind.

Sweet Avocado Cream Sauce:

Process avocado, 2 tablespoons of water, lemon/lime juice, and 1 tablespoon of maple syrup. Blend until smooth. Spread onto the quinoa crust. Be sure to revert back to childhood and lick the remaining avocado cream left behind on the food processor edges. I know I did!

Lastly, decorate your pizza! Get funky with it, too! You can use whatever your big heart desires! I used strawberries, of course, green apples, mango, and then a kiwi slice in the very center. Then I sprinkled unsweetened coconut flakes all around and served! So fresssshhh!

This is the best pizza I have ever indulged in and I didn’t have that carb-cheese hang over afterwards! It sent me to the moon it was so taste bud-quenchingly-awesome, just like my picture below that was snapped in San Francisco last summer!

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My second strawberry-goodness recipe that I have on here is just as lovely as the first.

I used chia-seeds and almond milk to form a pudding-like texture and then I just added the fruit. Ahhh, simplicity sounds so sweet to my ears…and belly!

If you have not checked out chia seeds, well then, I strongly encourage you to. They are the next best thing after glitter! Matter of fact, I give you permission to stop right now and make a trip to the store for these little wonders. I promise you, you won’t regret it. Chia seeds can be used in ANYTHING! You can add them in salads, pasta dishes, desserts, and even just a plane glass of water. Not only do they possess flexibility, but they have great health benefits. Ah-MAZ-ing!

Next to good old flax seed, chia seeds are considered to have the highest source of omega-3 fatty acids. And for your food history lesson, you must know that they were introduced by the Southwest American Indians. They would consume the seeds for energy during their strength competitions. Eat up and power up!

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This little treat can be great for breakfast, a snack, or dessert after dinner.

Chia-Seed Pudding:

Whisk together 2 tablespoons of chia seeds with 1 cup of almond milk for 15 minutes. Then let the mixture settle for 15 mins. Do this for like 3 times, the whisking & settling, because the chia seeds gel up and this helps in the formation of the pudding. Then put pudding in the fridge to chill for a little bit, or eat right away. I like it chilled. Once you are ready to eat, then add your toppings of choice. In this photo I did banana slices, strawberries, and unsweetened coconut flakes.

You can add flavor to this chia seed pudding, too. I have added 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon before. I have added carob powder (or cocoa). I have also tried added a little vanilla extract. Whatever you do, have fun with it!

Remember, its summer now! Ring the new season in by engaging in an activity that will let your body know that the seasons are changing! This is important to do for mind, body, and spirit! Buy a new outfit, clean our your closet, paint your toes a bright summery color, chase a butterfly, dance the hokey-pokey, take a bath, bite into a watermelon, or pick some flowers and breathe in their sweet fragrance. Whatever you do, smile a lot!

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Shout out to my daddy on Father’s Day! I love you and my soul bows to yours. Thank you for always being my hero, my teacher, and my biggest fan! I love  you.

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Light & Love,
Amanda

Squash Macaroni and Ch-ch-cheese with Peas

‘Tis the season to be rainy! La la la la la…It’s rainy season here in South Florida and nothing makes me want to curl up with a bowl of comfort food more than when the Earth is getting its cleanse on! I always loved when my mom made her home made macaroni and cheese dish for my three other siblings and I during my childhood. When I decided to eat plant-based, I must say, that there was a concern for how I was still going to be able to feed the macaroni and cheese cravings, among the other desires for the masterpieces that my superwoman mother whipped up in the kitchen. However, I trusted that I was not the only vegan eater in the world that loved a good bowl of mac and cheese!

One of my reasons for starting my own blog was motivated not only by the urge to want to interact and share my energy with like-minded individuals, but to follow in the foot steps of my fellow bloggers that came before me. I have spent a lot of time before this reading, searching, and identifying with so many other creators of blog pages, as well as applying the information I gather into my own life and feeling fantastic about it! Thank you for your gracious energy, my fellow bloggers out there! My soul bows to yours and I only can hope that I can be of the same inspiration to someone else! Having said that, many of my blogs will incorporate recipes, as I have mentioned before. Some of those recipes may come from other blogs, in which I will include the resource. My first recipe comes from one of my favorite blogs, www.celineeatsavocados.com. She has fantastic recipes, funky ideas, and inspiring info on her blog. This recipe is my favorite animal and earth friendly meal that I have come across, yet. And, I had a blast making it! Remember, I am all about playing and having fun, too!

I give you Squash Macaroni & Ch-ch-cheese with Peas

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For this noodle & cheese fest you will need:

1 cup uncooked pasta (I used gluten free quinoa macaroni noodles, but any will work)

3/4 cup roasted squash of some kind (I used an acorn squash; Butternut or Kabocha would be fine, too)

1/4 cup Earth Balance butter

1/4 cup veggie stock

3 tablespoons nutritional yeast

1/3 cup peas (frozen or fresh)

1 teaspoon paprika

1 teaspoon fresh thyme (I ended up using the ground thyme and liked it much better; more functional)

1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)

 

Preparation:

Roast your squash first. I cut mine in half and scraped out the seeds. I roasted my squash for about 40 mins. It is finished when you can stick a fork into it and pull it out clean. I also poured 1 inch of veggie stock in bottom of the pan that I roasted squash in to help it roast with some flavor. While squash was roasting, I steamed my peas (6-7 mins) and boiled my pasta. I let pasta boil just before they were timed to be done.

Ch-Ch-Cheese Sauce:

After roasting, I scooped out the squash (save the outer skin of squash, will use later!) and put required amount into a pan to keep warm on stove. I then added my butter, nutritional yeast, thyme, and veggie stock and stirred until the consistency of my preference. I found that I added a little more nutritional yeast because that is what gives the cheesiness to the sauce. Yum! Then I added my peas and noodles all into the pan with the squash sauce and gently mixed together to cover all the pasta noodles evenly.

Now the fun part! Remember your squash skin you saved? Well, that is your BOWL for the macaroni and cheese with peas! No cleaning any extras dishes than you already have to! I told you there would be fun in this! Scoop your macaroni and peas mixture from the pan into the squash and enjoy with a few sprinkles of the paprika and red pepper!

Light & Love,
Amanda