Enjoying the calm in between the busy

Hi everyone! I mentioned a couple posts back that I graduated at the beginning of this month…so groovy… And I will be continuing on this August to complete my masters and graduate again next May 2015. In the meantime, I have had some extra time in my mornings before I head to work in the afternoon. It’s a funny thing, because I am naturally pretty busy… At least I have been since starting school. I’m used to running from thing to thing with very little spaces in between, but still breathing and loving it all! Now that I have this time, I have been sleeping in, practicing yoga, getting to know some other beautiful souls in the yoga world and local studios though teaching more kids yoga, connecting more w my pups, beaching, reading, writing, playing, meditating and making yummy food, of course! I feel like I am properly welcoming in the summer! 🙂

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Things will be picking up here very soon, though, so I am enjoying waking up slow in the mornings. Come mid July, I am off to my home town in Ohio for a month to complete my 200 hour registered yoga teacher training! I am so excited I can’t stand it! It is a dream come true to finally be able to do this and I can’t wait to learn more about myself, my body, strengthen my practice and share the beauty of yoga to even more people! So grateful! Happy Summer!

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I did mention that I have had more time to try new recipes out, didn’t I? Here is a new one, but also kind of old. One of my very first posts, I did a Mac & Cheese with a butternut squash sauce inspired by the beautiful http://www.celineeatsavocados.com. This is a reinvention of that with a yummy twist!

Baked Mac & Cheese with a Cauliflower-Butternut Squash Sauce

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You will need:
Pasta noodles (I like the gluten free quinoa ones)
1/4 cup + 3 tablespoons of earth balance butter
1/4 cup veggie stock
1/2 of a cauliflower head
1 cup of butternut squash (I bought frozen organic bs and steamed it)
1 tsp salt
1 tablespoon parsley
1 tablespoon thyme
Pepper, to taste
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 cup almond milk
1/2-3/4 cup nutritional yeast
1-2 cups peas (again, I used frozen peas and just steamed them)
1 cup gluten free bread crumbs

To Prepare:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Steam the butternut squash (if you bought frozen) and cauliflower while you boil the pasta noodles. Boil noodles just until it is slightly tender and then drain water. When you are finished steaming and boiling, add the cauliflower, butternut squash, veggie stock, 1/4 cup earth balance, almond milk, nutritional yeast and spices all together and blend until it turns into a creamy sauce. Taste tests are welcome! You may need to add more almond milk or butter or spices to get the taste and texture that you desire! Measurements are not 100% accurate because I found myself adding a little of this and that…but, they are pretty close to accurate! Also, steam your green peas! When you are finished processing and steaming peas, butter a glass baking dish with a little earth balance butter and pour the pasta noodles in followed by the dreamy sauce you just made and gently mix the sauce through the noodles. Then, add your steamed peas and gently mix them through. In a small pan, add your 3 tablespoons of earth balance butter and the cup of bread crumbs and in a medium heat mix the crumbs together with the butter. When butter seems to be melted and they are melted together, remove from heat and gently sprinkle the bread crumbs over top of the mac and cheese in the glass baking dish. Place in the oven for maybe 15-25 minutes. It should get golden brown on top. When finished, let cool, taste test, serve and enjoy!

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Light & Love,
Amanda

Time limiting thoughts and time saving meals

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Hi everyone! Happy February!
I love this quote from A Course in Miracles. I use it when I have thoughts that are bringing me fear and discomfort. It’s a permission slip for letting myself off the hook. And, I give you permission to use it, too, and often!
Today, I am going to talk about time; creating time, in particular. Lately, I have had several of my friends come to me and ask how I find the time to incorporate a meditation practice into my busy life. As I have mentioned before, I am a full-time student, in the middle of an internship, preparing to graduate in May, I work a job on top of that, I have two crazy lab pups, who might as well be human children, a fantastic Yoga practice (that I also teach now), a loving boyfriend, a home to take care of, a vegan diet to prepare for each day, my Soul Feather meet up group, my Soul Feather blog, a miraculous meditation practice and playtime in between all that. Phew! Yes, it is a quite the balancing act! And I know I am not performing solo in this show, so, if ya feel me, keep reading. 🙂
When I first started meditating, it began very slow and I would do it every once and a while. Actually, the first time I ever sat still long enough to meditate, I was petrified and I cried my eyes out. It was an embarrassing-weird-uncomfortable-funky-scary situation and I remember feeling like “This is not for me…I am doomed…I am broken.” However, meditation always seemed to call me back. Weeks went by after that first time and I found myself asking a friend to sit with me be my meditatation coach. I asked her for all the details. We sat on her dock in the intercoastal and meditated, and I am forever grateful to her. I had put this tremendous amount of pressure on myself for it to be perfect…only to discover later that there is no perfect way to meditate. For me, it started with letting that idea of being perfect go and learning how to just stop, even if it was only for a quick moment, to notice that moment, along with the thoughts wrapped up in it, letting go and shifting it all to my breath and into a space of love. Less and less time started to show up between the times I would practice. Sometimes, I would hit up my meditation space two times in one day. I started to fall more in love with it…to the point where I said to myself, “I’m going to do this everyday.” However, there was one thing that stopped me from an everyday practice; my thoughts. My ego had stepped in and made me think thoughts like, “I can’t commit to everyday… I don’t have enough time.” And that was my block for a while. As long as I kept thinking that I didn’t have time to meditate, that is what kept showing up for me. So, I changed my thinking about the time I had available for meditation and magically, I started to create an everyday practice. I googled and you tubed meditations daily from spiritual guides and gurus that I followed, I learned different breathing techniques to incorporate, I burned groovy incense and invested in some beautiful crystals and stones to share energy with and I started sharing these meditations and what brings me love with others at my Soul Feather meet up groups. I meditate every morning. Sometimes, it is longer than others, depending on what shows up. Then, there are moments throughout my day where I take a few minutes to reconnect with my breath, myself and the Universe. Sometimes, actually, most times, those minutes I take during the day to stop take place in my car; running from my internship to my job… in the Starbuck’s parking lot. Then, at night, I take time before I go to sleep to reconnect. So, from simply shifting my thoughts from “I don’t have enough time” to “I have just enough time” or “the Universe supports me in all that I do,” the time to meditate shows up for me. In the end, I have more energy to take on my full life, more love to spread to others and a space of inner peace that keeps growing each time I hit my meditation mat.

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Another place where I can be in the moment and connect with myself is when I create food and share it.

Today’s recipe are a couple simple recipes that can be used as sides, a snack, or if you make enough, the main meal.

The first treat I have is favorite snack and a staple for my diet…
I give you Avocado Toast:

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You will need:
-gluten free/vegan toast
-1/2 an avocado
-olive oil, to taste
-salt, to taste
-any extras (sprouts, kale, arugula, tomato…)

To prepare:
Toast the bread in a toaster. Cut the avo in half. Scoop it out with a spoon; if you like nice slices, slice the avo with a knife before scooping it out. Put the avo on the toasted bread. Sprinkle a little salt and drizzle on the olive oil. Add other toppings of your choice if you wish. Yumm! I love avocado toast. It is so simple and perfect to eat for breakfast, lunch, dinner, as a side or a snack.

The next recipe is inspired by my girl at http://www.celineeatsavocados.com.

Roasted Potatoes with Parsley & Avo

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You will need:
Mini potatoes (I like the purple and red potatoe mixture)
Parsley
Avocado
Olive oil
Salt
Pepper
Paprika

To prepare:
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Mix together some olive oil, salt, pepper, and a little paprika in a medium to large sized bowl. Wash the potatoes and cut them in halves. If you only have regular sized potatoes, then cube them up. Then throw the cut up potatoes in the olive oil mixture. Make sure all the potatoes are covered with mixture. Then, put the potatoes on a baking sheet lines with foil and stick in the oven for 25 mins. At the end of the 25 minutes, turn on the broil to make it them crispy and gold brown. After the potatoes are done in the oven, let them cool and transfer into a bowl. Add the fresh chopped up parsley and some avocado slices and serve it up! I also added some quinoa in there for some extra fluff!
These potatoes can be made with any olive oil and spices that you’d like. I also made some with rosemary, olive oil, salt and pepper for the Super Bowl last weekend and they were delish!

Roasted Potatoes with Rosemary and Olive Oil

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Eat, share, enjoy!

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Light & Love,
Amanda