I honor my human in me

Hello! Happy Saturday! This last week has been a week of different situations strung together all reminding me of one very big thing…humility; the acceptance that I am human. I need to keep this at the forefront of my mind … Continue reading

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

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

Puppies with a side of Graham Crackers!

I would like to introduce you to my little darlings, Maya & Leo.

Maya is about 6 months old now and leo is about 3 months old. They are both Labrador pups and the most delicious pups I have ever laid my eyes on. Wouldn’t you agree?

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My boyfriend, Wade, and I adopted Maya first. We had the idea that we wanted two dogs to keep each other company and bring double the love and fun into our home, but we started with one to make sure we were capable parents. And after lots of getting up in the wee hours of the morning and cleaning up potty accidents, we decided we were ready for our Leo.

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We adopted Leo on my birthday! We brought Maya with us to help pick her brother out and to see if they mingled well, and oh, did they ever! They love to cuddle with each other, as well as with us. And it is so delightful!

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And aside from the cuddling and cuteness, Maya and Leo have brought Wade and I a bucket of opportunities to learn from when it comes to patience, love, forgiveness, kindness, control and being in the moment. How grateful we are to our little fur balls of energy!

Now, aside from chasing our tails, lets get crackin’, graham crackin’, that is! Mmmm…

This past weekend I was looking for a creamy dessert with a crunch, I mean, who isn’t, right? I not only found the dessert sent from heaven, but I also found another one that reminded me of my childhood, which is always a great thing, because that means I get to play!

I remember when my mother would serve me graham crackers with a glass of milk. I would dip the graham crackers in the milk, let them soak up the liquid, and then devour! It was always such a great snack at any time of the day: breakfast, mid-day snack, or after dinner for dessert. Mom was a genius! So, I came across this recipe on ohsheglows.com that called for crushed up graham crackers. I did not have any graham crackers, nor was I going to make a special trip to the grocery store. On the same post, there was a recipe for home made graham crackers (probably for people like me who are not going to make that trip to the store, right?). I just happened to have all the ingredients! And, I was off.

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They not only tasted like, if not better than, the graham crackers I dipped in milk as a child, but they were enjoyable to make and my inner little girl got to make all sorts of fun cut out shapes. It is very similar to making cut out cookies once the dough is made. You just roll it out and design away! I made hearts, along with squares and rectangles and poked holes in them with a fork to give them the traditional graham cracker look!

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Then, once the crackers are made you can do SO many fun creations with them. As pictured above, I put some sunflower seed butter in between two graham crackers and made a mini peanut butter sammy. I also lathered some sunflower seed butter on the heart shaped cracker and sprinkled some shelled hemp seeds on top! Ah-Mazing!

You could also crush up the graham crackers with a few other yummy ingredients and come up with a fabulous pie crust or cheesecake pie crust. Or sprinkle crushed up crackers on top of some ice cream (raw banana ice cream, of course! Recipe to come in the future)! If your an outdoor-campfire seeker, roast up some marshmallows and make s’mores! What fun! Or, if you want to hop into my childhood memory, simple just serve some crackers plane with a nice cup of almond milk to dip them in! So many possibilities!

Here is the recipe for these crackers that sent me down memory lane.

Home Made Vegan Graham Crackers:

Dry Ingredients:

1.5 cup whole wheat pastry flour

1 tablespoons sugar

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/8 teaspoon ginger

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon salt

Wet Ingredients:

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons almond milk

3 tablespoons creamy peanut butter

2 tablespoons maple syrup

2 tablespoons molasses

1/2 tablespoon ground flax seed + 1 tablespoon water (modified egg)

Preheat over to 350 degrees. Mix together the flax seed and water in small bowl and set aside for at least 5 mins to gel up a little bit. Mix all of the dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Then mix your wet ingredients in a small bowl, also adding in your water-flax combo. Combine wet and dry ingredients together. Stir with a spoon. The dough will start to turn really thick, and when this starts to happen, forget about the spoon and use those hands, sista! Form the dough into two balls.

Lightly flour counter top or cutting board and roll out the balls of dough, one at a time. Be careful not to make the dough too thin when you are rolling it out. Each time you roll the dough out, get your cut outs ready or a knife to create shapes! I was able to draw my shapes with a knife just fine. If you do the traditional square/rectangle graham cracker shape, take a fork and make little holes in the dough down the middle of cracker. Most importantly, have fun!

Each shape that you create, place on parchment paper lined baking sheet and maybe sprinkle with a little sugar on top. Put in the over for 15-18 mins, rotating the crackers 180 degrees halfway through, not flipping. But, if you accidentally flip them, like I did, it is not the end of the world! They still came out fabulous! 🙂

Allow the crackers to cool for about 10 mins and then eat ’em up! Enjoy!

Light & Love,
Amanda