Graduate.

Hi everyone!
Ahhh, it feels good to be writing. I have been bouncing around and around trying to keep up with all of these groovy shifts taking place in my life.
I graduated this past weekend! Woohoo! The last couple of weeks have been filled with life celebrations, family time, selfies with girlfriends, catching up with old friends and planning for the future!

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As I have mentioned before in previous blog posts, the girl that moved down to Florida seven years ago is very different from the girl that waltzed across the stage to receive her diploma last Friday morning. Seven years ago, I made the best decision of my life and the first decision towards loving myself. Funny thing is, I didn’t even know it then. What I did know is that I needed help with getting out of the hell hole that I dug and so I transplanted from Ohio to treatment in Florida and never looked back. Almost three years into my recovery, I decided to give school another try. I was terrified. Up in Ohio, I went to two different universities in a year and a half, and for the first time ever, I drove my GPA straight into the ground. I had to drop out because of the unmanageability that drugs and alcohol had created in my life. I remember walking back onto a campus and not knowing what I wanted to do, how I was going to do it and if I would be successful. All of these questions were answered beautifully along the way. Every time I felt discouraged or scared, there was an advisor coaching me along, funds coming through at the right time for tuition, friends loaning me their books for studying, new acquaintances meeting for coffee to chat, my boss giving me the flexibility that I needed for classes, professors teaching me and rooting me on, the sweet and subtle voice of the Universe guiding me through and family members loving me the entire time. Every single time. Every single semester. I went from a broken soul-1 point something GPA- hopeless state of mind drug addict to a groovy-recovery thumpin’-yoga teachin’-light spreadin’-plant based eatin’ summa cum laude honors graduate! Blows my mind! All miracles, all love based! It’s funky to look back at my life and think that I have lived two lives in one lifetime. So, for all of you incredible people in my life that have been apart of this journey and have believed in me until I could believe in myself, you know who you are…thank you and I love you!

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What’s next, you ask!? Pure sweetness! I have been accepted into my school’s advanced standing masters program, which I will begin this fall 2014. This summer will be full of spreading yoga to the little yogis and getting my 200 RYT on to teach the big yogis! Keepin’ the light flowing! And, the fear still creeps in for these exciting upcoming things… Especially, questions like, “How will I pay for it all?” or “Will I be good enough?” These little thoughts can paralyze me,and lately, I have been noticing them and simply responding to myself with this beautiful Gabby Bernstein quote:

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Incredible, right? I can do anything. The power lies in my thoughts and this is confirmed more and more everyday.

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Along with family and friends this past weekend, I whipped up some new yummies inspired by Love & Lemons at http://www.loveandlemons.com/2013/04/10/chocolate-chip-carrot-cookies/.

Chocolate Chip Carrot Cookie Bites

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You will need:
-6 tablespoons of gluten free flour
-1/4 teaspoon baking soda
-1/4 teaspoon salt
-1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
-1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
-1/2 tablespoon ground flax seeds + -1.5 tablespoons water whisked together in a little bowl
-1/2 cup grated carrots
-1/4 cup coconut oil
-3 tablespoons brown sugar
-1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
-1/4 cup gluten free oats
-1/4 cup gluten free/vegan chocolate chips

To Prepare:
In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, nutmeg, cinnamon and salt. In a small bowl, whisk together the ground flax seed with the water. Let that sit for a bit and gel up. In a food processor, pulse the carrots until they are a grated consistency. In the medium bowl flour, add in the grated carrots, coconut oil, brown sugar, vanilla and the flaxseed and mix until combined. Place the mixture in the refrigerator for a few minutes. Preheat the oven to 375Β° and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Remove the mixture from the refrigerator and add in the gluten-free oats and the chocolate chips. Mix until combined. Then, using a tablespoon, scoop batter into balls and place on the cookie sheet at least a few inches apart from one another. Place in the oven and bake for 10 to 12 minutes until golden brown and the edges become slightly crisp. Enjoy!

Here’s a quote that my beautiful yoga teacher shared at the end of a class a couple weeks ago. Tears were rolling down my cheeks as she read it. Have a great week!

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Light & Love,
Amanda

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Groovy ways to start your days

Hi everyone!
Ever feel like you get up on the “wrong side of the bed?” Ha, I think that is such a funny saying. When I was a little girl and I felt this way, I would literally go back to my bedroom, get back into bed and climb out of my bed a second time, with the intention of it being the right side of the bed. Maybe that is all it takes? Starting over. I have been told before that when I am having an off start to my day that I can start my day over as many times as I’d like. And, who knows what throws us off when we rise and shine anyway?! Maybe, we ate something funky the night before, got tumbled up in a funky dream, have the butterflies about a job interview or new life embarkment or we just couldn’t shake an argument we had the day before with a lover or a best friend?! There are so many things out there that can throw our energies off to where we just don’t want to begin the next day…or is it that we don’t know how to begin? Here are some little tricks and tools that I use to help me when I would rather hit the “snooze” button and sleep the day away.
1: Strrrrretchhhhh
In a world that is so face paced and on the go go go, it can be easy to pop up out of bed the minute that alarm buzzes only to get moving again before our bodies even have the chance to wake up. I am guilty of this; I have two adorable pups that nudge me for their breakfast at 6am every morning and it is so typical to jump right up for them and into my day before I am even ready for it. So, I when my alarm sounds or my pups whine, I have tried to let myself slowly wake up. I wiggle my toes, my fingers, blink open my eyes, and I bring my arms above my head, my toes reach out long towards the end of the bed and I give myself a nice long full body good morning stretch to get my blood flowing and energy moving. Then, I sit up and let my toes dangle down to touch the earth. When is the last time you noticed your toes, eh? I notice my toes and my feet and I say, “good morning” to them, for they will be carrying me throughout the rest of my day. πŸ™‚

2: Mirror Talk
Yes, this is exactly as it sounds…self talk in the mirror. It is one thing to talk to yourself out loud while driving in the car or cleaning the house, but to look yourself in the eyes and have a conversation with yourself is incredibly empowering…after you move past the judgement of it being awkward, of course! So, lately to kick off my mornings, once I run the sleep out of my eyes, I mosey on over to the bathroom mirror and I look myself in the eyes and say, “I am going to have a really great day today!” That simple! And if you can think of more to add to that then go for it!
3: Vacuum Meditation This is a new little meditation that I have been using in the mornings and it leaves me feeling light and ready! I do it right at my breakfast table…right after I have said good morning to my toes and did some self talk in the mirror, of course! πŸ˜‰ It is very simple and I even find myself using it throughout my days if I need it. I sit with my feet touching the floor and my hands open on my lap. I start by focusing on my breathing and then I start to imagine my guardian angels circling around me with giant vacuums! They gently start to vacuum all the stagnant energy and unsupportive thoughts that I have running through my mind and body; they suck everything away creating space and leaving me feeling light and airy. It is so lovely! If you don’t dig the angels, then use whatever makes you feel comfortable…even if you just imagine a giant vacuum above your head…that is perfect! I even send my angels with the vacuums above my house, over each of my dogs and my loved ones. The meditation can be as long or as short as you’d like. Have fun with it! Our thoughts are so powerful and this meditation is oh, so sweet!
4: Start Over So, remember how I said that when I was a little girl I would go back to bed and get up on the right side of the bed? Yes, so maybe tapping into your inner child and doing just that will help to reset your morning, followed by a yummy breakfast! And, prepare a meal that appeals to all of the senses…something that has great texture, a yummy taste, colorful and easy on the eyes and fills the room with a beautiful aroma. Mmmm!

Another great way to start your day is by baking this next recipe…

Vegan & gluten free…

Vanilla Dream Cloud Cookies

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You will need:
1 1/4 cup gluten free flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup almond milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Fluffy Frosting
1 can of unsweetened coconut milk, put in fridge overnight, flipped upside down
Powdered sugar, to taste

To Prepare:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Like a baking sheet with parchment paper. First, mix together flour, salt and baking powder in a bowl. Then beat together the coconut oil, almond milk and vanilla until it is creamy. Add the flour mixture in and mix together until combined. If you need more almond milk, another tablespoon or so can be added. Mold the dough into a ball and wrap with plastic wrap; place in fridge for 10-15 minutes. While you are waiting, practice some headstands, handstands or hop into a groovy meditation, right? πŸ™‚
Take the dough out of fridge and on a lightly floured surface roll the dough out and begin to cut out shapes that you fancy. I went with circles and I even drew a heart.

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Lay the cookies on the parchment paper lined baking sheet. When the sheet is all filled up, sprinkle a little sugar on top of each cookie. Place in the oven for maybe 7-10 minutes or so. Be sure to pull cookies out and check bottoms for some golden browning because these babies can be tricky and you do my want to over cook them! Remove cookies and let cool completely.
While cookies are cooling, get ready to make your fluff! Bring out your upside down coconut milk and open it upside down with a can opener. The top liquidy part of the milk you are going to pour off into a bowl and save for a yummy smoothie later…that’s what I did! The part that you want is below that liquid in a more solid form…mmmm….that is your treasure! Scrap the solid coconut milk out of can and into a bowl. Get your beaters out and blend baby, blend! The coconut milk will soften and turn into a whipped frosting. Add a little powdered sugar, if you wish, but this stuff is amazing without! You will have to hold yourself back from licking the bowl, watch! πŸ™‚ When you have whipped the frosting to your liking, begin to frost your cookies, making them look very fluffy and cloud-like, hence the name. For extra fun, you can sprinkle cinnamon on top.

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Serve right away or store in the fridge! I love these cookies…I ate several and shared the rest! I felt like I was eating a cloud! Enjoy!

Also, for some extra fluff, here are some Easter pics up Maya and Leo for you to enjoy!

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Love the babies and their bunny ears!

Light & Love,
Amanda

Little Bites and Horse Treats!

Hello! Long time no blog! August has been quite the month for me filled with trips to see family, family coming to see me, preparing for a new school semester, work, puppy play, and so much more! I find that when I am juggling so many different balls in the air that it is okay to give myself permission to let one or two or sometimes even three of them drop in order to keep the other ones going. Priorities, right?

Good news is, during all these things swirling about in my full life, I still have to eat! God knows that is a big priority for me. Ha!Β So, I am excited to get back on the blog wagon here and share with you some of the new things I have been concocting. These two recipes I literally just prepared in the last two days and they were so off-the-wall tasty that I could not wait to share them with you. I hope they make you do three somersaults like they did for me!

I call these two recipes my Little Bites! But don’t be deceived by this title of these babies! They may be little, but they are packin’ a mighty punch for your taste buds!

The first of the little bites are for those of you who are craving something on the more chocolatey side. They are made with cacao, which I love because it is considered to be a super food because of the nutrients that are packed in it. Plus, avocado, one of my favorite foods ever, are one of the secret ingredients to this one which makes this recipe awesome!

Gluten Free Vegan Peanut Butter Cacao Bites (say that 3x fast!)

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You Will Need:

1 1/4 cup gluten free all purpose flour (Bob’s Red Mill brand makes this)

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

2/3 cup cacao powder

1/4 cup coconut oil

1/4 cup mashed avocado

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/3 cup almond milk

1/2 cup (or more…taste test, of course!) peanut butter

To Prep:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cacao, baking powder, and salt. Set Aside.

In another bowl, blend coconut oil, ago, and sugars together until creamy and smooth (about 2-3 mins or so). Add you vanilla. With the mixer on low, add half of your flour mixture to the wet ingredients bowl. Add almond milk and the rest of the flour mixture. Mix until the flour disappears.

Form the batter into tablespoon size balls and place on baking sheet. Lightly press them down with a spoon (or form however you want!). Bake for 10 mins. They are finished when the edges are set and the middle is still a little soft. Enjoy!!!

And for those of you who are not craving chocolate, which never happens to me, might I add, these little bites are for you! The chia seeds, like the cacao in the other bites, are another super food packed with good stuff that’ll raise your cellular juju and make your tummy thank you!

Gluten Free Carrot Chia Seed Bites (again, say that 3x fast!)

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You Will Need:

6 tablespoons of gluten free all purpose flour of your choice (Bob’s Red Mill worked for me)

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 tablespoon ground flax seed plus 1 1/2 tablespoons water for your “egg”

1/2 cup grated carrot(s)

1/4 cup vegan butter (Earth Balance is what I used…coconut oil would work, too)

3 tablespoons brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 cup gluten free muesli (Bob’s Red Mill) OR gluten free oats

1/4 cup pecans, chopped up

1 tablespoon chia seeds

To Prepare:

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, nutmeg, cinnamon, and salt.

In a small bowl, prepare your “egg” with the flax and water and let sit for about 5 mins to gel up.

Grate your carrot(s), possibly use a food processor to do this, too. Do not puree the carrots; you want them to be of grated texture, in pieces.

In another bowl, blend together butter, brown sugar, vanilla, and the flax egg mixture. Then add your carrots and the flour mixture. Do not over blend. Add your muesli/oats. Chop up the pecans in food processor and add them last with the chia seeds. Put mixture in fridge for about 30 mins to set up.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Take out your batter from the fridge and form teaspoonful balls and lay out on baking sheet a couple inches apart from one another. Bake for 10-12 mins until they turn a little golden brown and the edges become a little crisp. Let cool and most importantly, enjoy!

BONUS!

I am so tickled to share with you just a taste of what I did when I was visiting my fabulous family up in Ohio. Meet my energy horses and soul mates, Scarlett & Leon. Every time I go up north to visit, I must squeeze in a visit with these guys, sunshine or snow. Especially, Leon, for we have owned him longer and he has assisted me in many different healing processes. Leon is 13 years old and a Tennessee Walker. He is my most favorite horse EVER. He is laid back as can be, assists my mom in her business teaching individuals with special needs therapeutic horse back riding, and he is majestic as ever. Scarlett is also 13 years old and she is a Quarter Horse. She was given to my mom and I have really started to connect with her. Β On one of my last days in Ohio on this recent visit I had the idea to combine my two loves, yoga & my horses. What’s a better combination than that, right? With the assistance of my two best good friends, Corie and Andrew and my beautiful mother, we made it happen. It was the most perfect string of moments that could have happened and I am so grateful to have the pictures to have captured it and the memories to hold in my heart forever. I am so grateful to have these opportunities to connect with my animal spirit friends and it will always be so special to me.

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Light & Love,
Amanda