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!

20140508-184112.jpg
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!

20140508-222528.jpg
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:

20140508-222959.jpg
Incredible, right? I can do anything. The power lies in my thoughts and this is confirmed more and more everyday.

20140508-223442.jpg

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

20140508-223726.jpg
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 375° 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!

20140509-103701.jpg
Light & Love,
Amanda

Advertisements

Managing our energy

20140402-190200.jpg

Hey everyone!
I talk a lot about raising vibration in my posts. I feel like it is one of the reasons that I was put on Earth; to raise my own vibration, which allows me to spread big love to others and it raises their vibration, ultimately, raising the planet’s! Yeah! Love that! I try to do this on a daily basis through my blog, my yoga practice, the music I listen to, my behaviors, my interactions with people, what I put in my body, my sleep, my thoughts, my meditation practice…everything! I am either in vibration at a high or a low frequency. And, depending on which state I am in, I will attract those high or low level experiences. But, what happens when I walk into situations where I feel powerless over the energies around me and I encounter a bunch of low vibrations? For example, everyday, I either go to work, my internship, out to eat, to school, to a yoga class, the mall, a park or even my own house. All of these places hold their own vibrations, as do the people within them. Depending on where I am at, it can be easy to get knocked off that high vibrational kick if others are spinning around me. Or, it can be easy for me to absorb someone else’s energy and carry it around. Have you ever gone into a store, a job, or wherever and started the day off feeling groovy and light, but then leave feeling depleted of energy or weighed down? Sure, because it is possible to sync up with another person or place’s vibration and get shifted. The world is at the highest vibration that it has ever been at, and so, right now, more than ever, it is important to manage our own energy, which can be tricky at times. I will share with you some of the things I use to keep my energy high, protected and lovely!

1: Send Love
Sometimes, when I am en route somewhere, I will have the thought to send the place that I am going or the room(s) that I will be spending time in some love. I know, I know… But stay with me. Where thoughts go, energy goes. And yes, we have the ability to think loving thoughts and send people, places or things these loving thoughts and affect the vibration of it. Therefore, I do this. I say something like, “I fill this space with love and light” or “I send love to the heart of this person right now and I envelope them in loving light.” I imagine the building, room, space or person just filling up with light. When I do this, my thoughts get lighter, my body relaxes and my heart feels alive. I raise my vibration and whatever space or person that I am shooting love to raises, as well.
2: Take Frequent Light Baths
This is a simple vision or short meditation that you can do just about anywhere. It can last as short as one minute or as long as you’d like. I just started taking light baths recently when I saw Gabrielle Bernstein introduce it at one of her fabulous workshops a couple of weekends ago. I like to use this first thing in the morning, before going to bed at night and then if a funky situation comes up in the middle of my day, it is also nice. I close my eyes. Sometimes, I will lay down or sometimes, I will just sit. I start to imagine that I am getting rained on with these beautiful raindrops of light…just raining, raining, raining down all over me. It’s beautiful and I am completely coated with a beautiful glowing light that leaves me feeling cleansed and protected. Stay calm & take a light bath!
3: Move
Movement is depression’s worst enemy; I have said this before and I believe in it! So, when I feel a depletion of energy or I am around funky energy and low vibrational individuals, then I will get up and move. Sometimes this means that I take a walk outside and breathe in the fresh air and feel the sun on my skin. It could mean that I make a phone call to a friend and I move my mouth and release the stagnant energy through my words. It could be that I grab a bite to eat and I fill my tummy and engage my digestive system a little. Anything to get my cells dancing and out of the lower vibration that makes me feel heavy.
4: Keep Special Things with Good Vibration Around
Everything has vibration; I have already said this. There are some things that I have that make me feel extra lovely when I am holding them or they are in my presence. For example, I really dig energy stones; I like to meditate with them, hold them when I am stressing or just keep them nearby. My favorite stones that I have been working with lately are pink opal, lepidolite and rose quartz. I also have other little tokens that have a grounding effect or the ability to clear unsporting thoughts or energy. It can be anything that does this for you, too. I find myself attracted to certain jewelry, mala necklaces, articles of clothing, books or even incense. Whatever speaks to you, let it be with you!

I have two gluten free/vegan recipes for you today! I hope you enjoy them as much as I did.

My first recipe is…

Quinoa-Kale-Garbanzo Bean Bowl:

20140409-164135.jpg
You will need:
1/2 cup quinoa (prepared according to cooking directions)
1/2 cup garbanzo beans, drained
A nice handful of kale torn up
Thyme, to taste
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste

To Prepare:
Prepare the quinoa. Add in the garbanzos beans and kale. Then sprinkle in the thyme, salt & pepper. It is that simple! Add as a side dish or serve as a complete meal! Yum!

The second recipe is a groovy little dessert inspired by http://chocolatecoveredkatie.com/2013/08/26/mint-chocolate-nanaimo-bars/

Vegan & Gluten free…

Mint Chocolate Nanaimo Bars

20140409-164610.jpg

You will need:
Crust
1/2 cup pecans (or almonds)
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1/2 cup pitted medjool dates (or like 6-8 dates)
1/8 teaspoon salt

Green Filling
1 1/2 cups macademia nuts, soaked & drained (or cashews)
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4-1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
1/4 cup coconut oil
2 tablespoons maple syrup
3 oz or 2 loosely packed cups of raw spinach

Chocolate Topping
1/2 cup cacao
1/2 cup coconut oil
2 tablespoons maple syrup

To Prepare:

In a pan or squat dish, cover it with parchment paper. Prepare the crust first by mixing together all the ingredients in a food processor. Then put the crust ingredients on the parchment paper to create the bottom later, pressing down and around the sides to form like a rectangle or square shape. Place crust in fridge. Then, mix together all the green filling ingredients until pretty smooth. Slowly add the filling on top of th crust, evening it out. Place in fridge. Then, prepare the chocolate layer by mixing the ingredients together; you may need to melt the coconut oil a little so it is softened. Then, add the chocolate on top of the green layer. Then place bars in the freezer for about 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, remove bars from freezer and cut into squares of your liking. Place the bars back in the FRIDGE to set up the rest of the way. Serve after maybe 30 minutes more in the fridge. Enjoy!

20140409-165704.jpg

Light & Love,
Amanda

Let the love soak in

20140128-183148.jpg

Hey everybody!
In my last post, I wrote about the confusion that I was experiencing with life. I wrote about how life does not have to be this straight and narrow line that I need to walk. It is a path that takes wicked turns and does loopy-loops all over the place. (Hands up, right!? Weeeee!) This week, I am still very confused…the job, the schooling, the boyfriend, my future… It is all still right there dancing about and being weird. Ha ha… But the difference in my thoughts this week compared to last week is where the magic and the miracles lie. I have nestled into the confusion and accepted it for what it is… I don’t even give it a label anymore. My ego does, though. My ego calls it all kind of things… Stupid, not good enough or bad, which is where the sensations of discomfort come from. I notice it and I forgive it anyway. I have settled in, gone within and I am embracing the confusion for what it is and trusting completely in love and the Universe. I am surrendering to the plan that is not mine and going with the flow of life’s natural order, which stems from nothing other than the highest good.
Thinking about my loving self (truth) and my fearful self (ego) reminds me of my most favorite movie, The Black Swan, with Natalie Portman. Incredible movie! When I first saw this, it hit me in such a deep deep way. I thought I knew why, but going through these recent transformations and creating awareness about the different conversations I have with myself, which come from ego or love, has led me to understand why I fell in love with this movie on such a soul level. My black swan is my ego/fear and the white swan is my love/truth. There seems to be this endless dance between the two, right?…my black swan wants to tear down and destroy, while my white swan is learning how to frolic about, dance, love and shine! The black swan feeds illusions and the white swan extends love, love and more love! Today, and now in my future, I will let my white swan dance and I will embrace her awakening! I will love myself and I will let it soak in!

20140128-191219.jpg

This week’s recipe is a groovy little cookie that will bring your light right out to shine brighter than it already is!

A give you a vegan and gluten free….

Lemon-Ginger-Chia Seed Cookie

20140128-194037.jpg

You will need:
1 + 3/4 cup gluten free flour (I use Bob’s Red Mill or Namaste Foods)
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup sugar
1-2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 tablespoon lemon zest
1 + 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
2 tablespoons chia seeds
1/2 cup vegan butter (earth balance)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon flax seed + 3 tablespoons water

To prepare:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Whisk together the water and flax in a small bowl and let it sit to gel up. In a medium/large bowl mix all the other ingredients together with a mixer or beaters. When batter is formed, rolls balls of batter and put on the parchment paper lined baking sheet. Then press each ball down with a fork making a criss cross with the lines of the fork. Place in oven and bake for about 10 minutes. Cookies will get a little golden brown on the bottoms. Take out and let cool. To jazz them up a little more, you can prepare the Vanilla-Lemon Glaze…

20140129-080751.jpg

Vanilla-Lemon Glaze:
Lemon juice, to taste
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 8 oz container vegan cream cheese
1/4 cup vegan butter (earth balance)
1 1/2 cup powdered sugar

Drizzle the glaze on top of the cookie. Sprinkle with cinnamon for extra yum! Enjoy!

Light & Love,
Amanda

20140129-081056.jpg

Step into the light of your purpose & have a cupcake

20140107-161956.jpg

Helloooo!
Things have been moving around pretty quickly these days in my little life. I am just so tickled that I don’t even know where to begin! I notice little shifts start to happen when I have more fun, listen to my inner goddess, converse and listen to feedback from the Universe and take action. And in the last month or so, much bigger shifts have been rolling in. I have no idea what I am doing and I am trying to remain in this space of not judging what is happening, but just noticing it, enjoying it and loving it all as it manifests! The moment I stopped listening to my ego’s thoughts of fears and I started saying “yes” to what showed up… Miracles started to rapidly occur!

Here are the facts:
-I made the radical decision to go plant-based/vegan with my eating on October 22, 2012.
-I decided I needed to get creative with what I was eating because 6 months into the vegan eating plan I was bored with avocado sandwiches… Although they are quite delicious! So, I hopped online and searched for recipes… Which turned into me sharing these recipes I found off other fabulous blogs, tweaking them to my own flavor or coming up with my own meals and treats to eat. I became an artist with my food creations and I started sharing about it through the popular social medias sites, like Facebook and Instagram.
-I made the decision to create a blog, Eat.Sweat.Play.,because Facebook and Instagram just couldn’t hold all the fabulous information that I needed to share with others…Plus, I felt like giving back and putting vegan recipes out there to the new (and the already established) vegan eaters of the world who were struggling with creativity in preparing food, just like I did in the beginning. Also, I was good at writing and I loved it! Blog was activated on July 6, 2013.
-September 2013, a friend and employer from Lululemon asked me to pose not only in their yoga clothes, BUT also, with a plate of one of my yummy plant based creations in a little photo shoot for their product notification email! They came out to my home, shot some pics and it was another experience of fun and love!
-October 2013, I became a Kid’s Yoga Teacher, got licensed, immediately, and now I have my own little business, Kidding Around Yoga with Amanda. What? I’m now a business owner! What the heck!? Pinch me! The skies opened and the opportunity just dropped into my lap. My role in it all; : I said “yes” and I showed up. At the training I connected with myself, created relationships with some fabulous people, learned how to teach meditation and yoga to kids, had an absolute blast doing it, and fell in love with the entire experience… Even the scary parts! You can check out Kidding Around Yoga with Amanda here:
https://www.facebook.com/Kiddingaroundyogawithamanda
-November 2013, taught my first kid’s yoga class. It felt amazing and I fell in love, yet again!
-End of November 2013, another women’s atheltic clothing store, Lolë in Palm Beach, which is based out of Montreal in Canada, got in touch with me to see if I wanted to do Yoga in the window for them to not only help promote their store, but my kid’s Yoga, as well. For the whole month of December, I said “yes” to showing up every Monday for an hour to do some groovy poses in their beautiful space in some of their beautiful and very functional clothes! I am now friends with the employees, I love their clothes, I love their message they promote to “Live Out Loud Everyday,” and incredible opportunities have stemmed from just saying “yes”to them and showing up! Check out the Lolë sites to learn more about this awesome company! https://www.facebook.com/pages/Lol%C3%AB-Palm-Beach/681454825206886

http://www.lolewomen.com

20140107-184004.jpg

20140107-184039.jpg

-December: Soul Feather is born! I started having little nudges from the Universe to spread my authentic truths and inspirational messages in a bigger way in conjunction with my blog. I was having some blocks with just going out and randomly speaking, so, I decided to create a little meet up group and name it Soul Feather. I created a Facebook page, first, https://www.facebook.com/pages/Soul-Feather/682830458415615 where I could post light and inspiring quotes and messages, along with the Soul Feather meet up dates and relevant information. Again, I said “yes” to what my inner voice was telling me, created the group, set up the event with a date and everything else fell into place… Lolë Palm Beach said that they wanted to be my location for the Soul Feather meet up. Aveda graciously supplied the event with a complimentary tea that was deeelicious and Aveda said that they want to help me promote Eat.Sweat.Play. https://www.facebook.com/AvedaCHSS

20140107-215146.jpg

-January 5, 2014: Soul Feather’s first meet up! Again, no idea what I was doing (I still don’t!) but I just said “yes,” trusted my inner goddess, knew that I was supported by the Universe and I showed up! People came! We had Aveda tea and kale chips I made and brought to share; comfortable and simple. I opened the group with a friendly little intro about myself and how I was drawn to create Soul Feather, everyone engaged in a conversation of what attracted them to Soul Feather, having an opportunity to share their truth, and then I introduced a simple, but, beautiful little meditation with some helpful tips before diving into it. My favorite part: seeing everyone all zenned out after the meditation was over and feeling the energy radiating throughout the room. In love, yet again! There was even a puppy in the room that felt the stellar vibes…he ended up on his back and completely chilled out. I cannot wait until Soul Feather’s next meet up on January 19th! Weeeee!

20140107-220034.jpg

20140107-220050.jpg

So, I just keep saying “yes” to the things that make my heart sing, I show up, trust that the Universe is supporting me completely, and stay on the love zone as much as I can, which takes place in my thoughts! I do move away from that space, though, more than once a day, I’m sure… But I’m not there for too long and to help move myself out of it I just watch my thoughts about myself, what’s happening inside of me and I flood my thoughts with positive affirmations. I cannot wait to see what is next!

20140107-220809.jpg

Now, I know you are just dying for the cupcake part of this post, right? Good, because, trust me, it’s worth it! This little baby is deliciously toothsome and I hope you devour and enjoy it as much as I did!

Gluten free and vegan…

Banana Cupcake with Peanut Butter Frosting

20140107-221447.jpg

You will need:
Cupcake
2 bananas (ripe, preferably)
1 1/4 cup gluten free flour (I used Bob’s Red Mill)
3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup vegan butter (Earth Balance)
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 flax eggs (2 tbs ground flax seed + 6 tbs water)
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt

Frosting
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1 8 oz. package of vegan sour cream
1/2 cup vegan butter (Earth Balance)

Cupcake tin & cupcake wrappers

To Prepare:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare your flax egg by whisking together the flax seed and egg in a little bowl to let it gel up. Peel the bananas and mash up with a fork in a bowl. Then add all the other ingredients including the flax seed after it has time to gel up. Mix with beaters or a mixer until all ingredients are nicely mixed together. Then put a couple tablespoonfuls of th batter in each cupcake wrapper in the tin. Put in the oven to bake for about 20 minutes. While the cupcakes are baking, mix up the frosting by mixing up all the frosting ingredients in a bowl and then placing in fridge to stiffen up a little before frosting. Licking the excess frosting from beaters is always open in my kitchen… And trust me, you will want to lick this frosting off! Mmmmm!
Once your cupcakes are done, let th cool a little before frosting. Then store the finished cupcakes in fridge before serving. Enjoy!

20140107-223929.jpg

Love & Light,
Amanda

2014, let’s have some fun!

Happy New Year’s Eve to you all! I hope you all have some groovy plans tonight to welcome the new year, whether that is going out dancing, reading a book, watching the ball drop in Times Square, building a snow man with your kids, cleansing yourself in the ocean, eating yummy food or painting your toe nails! This is my last post of 2013! How incredibly weird and fun is that to say!? I’m certainly looking forward to 2014 and all the magic that it will be bringing!
20131231-143541.jpg

My resolution for the new year will be to have fun, spread light and raise my vibration even more than I have been! And by doing any one of these things, I am doing them all! I can’t spread light without having fun or raising my vibration, nor can I have fun, without raising my vibration and spreading light, and, well, you get my point here… It is a fantastic and efficient resolution and I am incredibly pumped! As Gabrielle Bernstein, author of Spirit Junkie, puts it “Measure your success by how much fun you’re having.” I plan to do just that, this year. I have even told friends of mine that when I catch myself not having fun to remind me! It is so much better when you have others supporting you and cheering you on! So, when I am resentful at someone, full of fear, nervous or worrying about something out of my control, I will ask myself, “Is this fun for you right now?” or I’m sure the Universe will remind me, and the plan is to then shift my energy back into the fun zone! This will be a year of movement, flow, love, wellness, connection, happiness, fun, honoring myself and completely stepping into my calling. I am ready baby! I am ready to get jiggy wit it all! I am willing to say “yes” more and forgive often! And I love the idea of miracles unfolding, being completely immersed in the moment, falling in love, not knowing what’s coming next and knowing that I am entirely supported by the Universe!

20131231-145256.jpg
Along with raising my vibration, spreading light and having fun comes creating healthy food and sharing it with the world! I love the food I put in my body and I love sharing it with you!

Today, I have two recipes for you. They are both gluten free, plant based and bound to get your glow on!

Spaghetti Squash with Green Lentils

20131231-150231.jpg
You will need:
1 spaghetti squash
1 cup green lentils
Olive oil
Thyme, to taste
Salt & pepper, to taste
Fresh basil, to taste (optional)

To Prepare:
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Wash, dry and slice you spaghetti squash in half, long ways. Scoop out the seeds with a spoon and set aside, maybe to roast later on for fun. Brush on a little olive oil to the inside of each squash half. Then season with salt and pepper to your liking. Place each half on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper face down. Bake for 30-40 minutes, I’d say, and the squash is finished when a fork can easily pierce through the squash. While your squash is roasting, prepare your lentils by adding a 2 cups of water to 1 cup of lentils in a pot. Bring to a boil and then cover and let simmer for about 20 minutes. When the squash is finished roasting, make your spaghetti by dragging a fork along the inside of the squash. Little spaghetti-like strands will just form…pretty fantastic if you ask me. Scrape as much as you’d like from each squash half and put into a bowl or you can save the squash skin and use it as your bowl! Fun! Then mix in your lentils, sprinkle in some thyme and basil, and add some more salt and pepper to the taste that you prefer. Enjoy!

20131231-151048.jpg

My next yummy is for your sweet tooth when the ball drops at midnight!

Avocado-Cacao Mousse Bites

20131231-151325.jpg
You will need:
For the crust
1 cup walnuts
1/2 cup pecans
1 cup medjool dates, pitted
1/2 cup unsweetened, shredded coconut
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Sprinkle of salt
For the mousse
1 banana
1 avocado
2 tablespoons cacao
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon almond butter
1 tablespoon maple syrup

To prepare:
Prepare your crust by adding all the ingredients into a food processor and blending together. Then, in what ever dish or cupcake tin you would like to store your bites in, form a crust in that. I used all different kinds of containers; cupcake tins, mini cupcake tins and one little glass dish. I just pressed the crusts down into each of them and put in the fridge while you prepare the mousse.
For the mousse, blend all the ingredients in the food processor until the texture looks like mousse or similar to pudding. Then pull out your crust(s) from the fridge and place spoonfuls of mousse onto your crust(s). Feel free to lick the left over mousse that gets stuck on the sides of the food processor! I did! Yum! Then top off with some shelled hemp seeds, coconut, cinnamon or maybe some fruit. I put mine in the freezer for a bit to let them stiffen up a little more before serving. They are just dreamy! Enjoy!

Enjoy your night tonight and Happy New Year 2014 to you all!
Love & Light,
Amanda

20131231-152824.jpg

Teachers and Donuts

“Sometimes when we try to release a pattern, the whole situation seems to get worse for a while. This is not a bad thing. It is a sign that the situation is beginning to move.” -Louise Hay

Happy weekend!!!

I am always looking for new teachers out there to inspire me, raise my vibration, and create new space in becoming the happiest person I know! My teachers come in SO many forms. They are everywhere and it just tickles me to say that because it just lets me know that the universe is always supporting me and sending me little friendly reminders that their is always more work that I get to do! My teachers include, books, audio CDs, Facebook posts, school teachers, movies, lectures, friends, parents, animals, children, my job, homework assignments, public figures, yoga, nature, the cashier at the grocery store,my boyfriend, and complete perfect strangers; the list just keeps getting greater and they always show up right on time.

Right now, one of my guiding lights has been author and spiritual luminary, Louise Hay. I am currently reading her book, How to Heal Your Life and it is nothing short of magnificent. Funny thing is, this book has been on my book shelf for almost 4 years and I just now I noticed it. See what I mean about the universe being right on time? Comical. When I noticed it, I felt a flutter through my body like every cell jumped up because I knew it meant I was ready to receive this information. Each morning I read a chapter and I sit still and meditate after. Louise has this way of gently breaking down the unproductive thought patterns that we have and how they create our external realities and then substitute those thoughts with uplifting-full-of-love affirmations that are rewired into the brain to replace the old thoughts.

The quote I posted at the beginning is one of my favorites! It rang so true to me. So many times when I am trying to implement a new behavior, it feels as if my body and mind are rejecting it at first and I tend to get really discouraged. One day this week, in particular, I felt this discouragement and it was coming out left and right all over my yoga mat and through my thoughts. But you know what, I remembered this quote and I just kept forgiving myself for the thoughts that came in that were not supportive of myself and I kept saying “I approve of myself” all throughout the class no matter what, and after that class came to an end, I felt lighter and even more ready to move forward as the spiritual warrior I am!

On that note, I will complete today’s post with a dreamy recipe that many of you have requested that I put up pronto! I love it & thank you for asking!

This recipe was inspired by another lovely teacher of mine, Oh She Glows I tweaked a few things to make it gluten-free, but these donuts will have your taste-buds shimmying and your tummy doing a little twist & shout dance!

Gluten-free/Vegan Cinnamon Sugar Pumpkin Donuts

20131026-141005.jpg

You Will Need:
1/2 tsp apple cidar vinegar
6 tbsp almond milk
1/2 cup fresh or canned pureed pumpkin
1/4 cup organic cane sugar (or white)
1/2 a banana or 3 tbs unsweetened apple sauce
2 tbsp lightly packed brown sugar
2 tbsp Earth Balance (or other non-dairy butter substitute), melted
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon + 1/2 tsp ginger, + 1/4 tsp nutmeg (or 1.75 tsp pumpkin pie spice)
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup all-purpose gluten-free flour
1/2 cup chick pea flour

For the cinnamon sugar topping:

1/4 cup Earth Balance (or other butter sub), melted (approx estimate only)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon

To Prepare:
1. Preheat oven to 350F. Grease two mini doughnut pans or two regular sized doughnut pans with Earth Balance (or other butter substitute). Or if you’re like me and you don’t have a donut pan, take tablespoonful scoops of batter and find something to press into the batter to form your own hole in the center to creat a donut.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together the vinegar, milk, pumpkin, sugar, applesauce or banana, brown sugar (sift if clumpy), and melted Earth Balance (or other butter sub).
3. Stir in in the dry ingredients (baking powder, baking soda, spices, salt, and flours). Mix until combined.
4. Using a ‘zip-lock’ baggie or pastry bag, spoon the batter into the bag and then secure it with the zip lock or rubber band. Twist the bag slightly and then cut off a hole at the corner to ‘pipe’ out the batter. Pipe the dough around the circle and gently flatten down with slightly wet fingers to smooth. Repeat. Or do the other way that I mentioned in #2 if you don’t have a donut pan on top of parchment paper.
5. Bake for 10-12 minutes at 350F or until they gently spring back when touched. The bottoms will be brown. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes before carefully using a butter knife to remove. Place on cooling rack for another 10-15 minutes.
6. Cinnamon Sugar: Melt Earth Balance in a small bowl and dip the cooled doughnut top into the butter and then dip top into the cinnamon-sugar mixture. You could cover the entire donut but I felt like that was too much, so I just did the tops. Your choice!

I hope you enjoy these as much as my friends and I did!

I leave you with a lovely image and quote that was posted on Facebook by my fav spirit junkie, Gabrielle Bernstein.

20131026-142818.jpg

Light & Love,
Amanda

Meditation music

Good evening, my friends! I am blogging at night, to shake things up a bit, with some moon light inspiration and some ooh-la-la recipes coming your way! 🙂

Before I get into the goodies, I just wanted to share some thoughts about waiting. Every year in October, my boyfriend, our group of friends, and I all pack up for a one night stay in Tampa, FL to attend Busch Gardens’ Howl-O-Scream. Nothing better than screaming your tush off on night-riding roller coasters, losing your mind in  haunted houses, road tripping through the state of Florida, having a huge sleepover in a hotel, laughing, and romping around with the people you love for a weekend. Sounds like playtime to me! And that it was for us this past weekend. I bring this up because we all know what comes with the joy of amusement parks and rides, right? Yes, lines. Waiting. Patience. Which brings me to my solution for these moments when you find yourself digging for the patience to sit still and wait. Maybe its in the grocery store checking out, at a stop light, during commercials while you’re watching your favorite television show, while you wait for the oven to heat up to cook dinner, or simply in a line for a wild and crazy roller coaster. I was graciously given a solution for these moments. First, I change my thoughts about these moments. Instead of viewing them as irritating and challenging I view them as opportunities. Ah, it even feels good to type that out. Opportunities, I said. Opportunities to grow, giggle, observe your surroundings, notice your breathing, and create space inside your mind and soften your heart. Second, I was told that during these moments I could make the things around me a part of my ongoing meditation music. That’s right, the small child crying because mom said no to the candy bar in front of you at the check-out line in the grocery store, that is your music right there, my friend. Soak it up, or not, the choice is yours! And when you do this, think of me, right there with you, meditating to the sounds of people screaming and the roller coaster wheels clanking around the track as I wait in line for my turn. 🙂

To add to your meditation music playlist, I have a yummy treat for you that will let you meditate while you are waiting for them to bake in the oven!

I give you my gluten-free & vegan Carrot Surprise Whoopie Pies (how fun is that to say?) I am just so incredibly pleased by how these little darlings turned out. They are perfect for the upcoming holidays, pleasing to the eye, light on the belly, and soft to the taste buds! Mmmmmhmmm!

 1385179_10100811301642102_764566694_n

You will need:

1/2 cup chick pea (garbanzo bean) flour

1 banana

1 large carrot or a handful of baby carrots, grated

2-3 tablespoons of water

1/2 tablespoon baking soda

A couple dashes of pumpkin pie spice

1 can of regular, unsweetened coconut milk, chilled in fridge, overnight preferably

Vanilla extract, to taste, optional

To Prepare:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a food processor, process you carrot, banana, chick pea flour, pumpkin spice, and water all together. Should be a smooth batter-like consistency.

Line a pan with parchment paper. Put tablespoonful scoops of batter on parchment paper and bake for about 10 mins. Should be on the softer-puffier side and golden brown on bottoms when finished. Let cool.

While your pies are cooling, take out your can of coconut milk to make some coconut whipped cream. Flip it upside down and open can with a can opener. When you first open the can, you will notice a clear liquid on top. Drain that top liquid and set aside, get rid of, or save it for a smoothie later. Then the more solid white underneath that clear liquid is what you will be working with. Spoon that out into a bowl and blend it up on high with some beaters or a mixer of some kind. Feel free to add a little vanilla extract, if you wish.

Once your coconut whipped cream is ready, that’s right, the fun part! Make your whoopie pie sandwiches. Put some cream in between two pies. Maybe sprinkle a little cinnamon on the cream. I like to put the cream in between the pies with some cinnamon sprinkles, and some cream on top of the pie with some more cinnamon sprinkles. And there you have it, heaven in your mouth! Enjoy!

993724_10100811296612182_1110744486_n

Light & Love,
Amanda

Pumpkin Magic!

IMG_1800

 

“When I am annoyed, sit longer.”

So, I have really been working on my meditation game the past few weeks. Just like my yoga practice, I always, always create some kind of space in my heart and mind and I gather some new awareness from it. There are many times I think, “ugh, i have things to do and I don’t feel like stopping to meditate or stopping to practice yoga,” right?! But, I have come to find out that is when I need them the most! When I am most irritated or annoyed inside my body is when I need the time to stop and be in my body the most and both yoga and meditation provide the space to do that.

I came across this quote, “When I am annoyed, sit longer,” during one of my meditations not too long ago. It was one of those mornings where I had so many different things tugging at me from all directions including my playful and full of life puppies who wanted all my energy on them, but I also wanted to have the time to meditate. I really didn’t want to meditate, but I knew I needed it, and I stopped everything for 15 minutes and did it anyway. My dogs were bouncing all over the place around me, my thoughts were restless, even all the different sounds of life outside my window were irritating me. I kept trying to bring my focus back to my breath, only to get bumped by one of my pups or slammed with a thought about one more thing I should add to my to-do list for the day ahead. Finally, like a top that is done spinning, one thoughts came through and I swear, it saved me, “When I am annoyed, I need to sit longer.” It was a clear thought and it was the truth. So, I did. I sat longer. And eventually, my dogs settled and my thoughts ran out of energy and it was just me, sitting there, with my breath, and a shift to gratitude.

And, if you can’t stop and sit to meditate, maybe you can stop to make up this sweet treat and I am almost sure you can definitely stop to taste it, as well. 🙂

I am still on my pumpkin kick being that it is October and I can’t get enough of it and the Halloween fun! This next vegan treat was inspired by Free People’s  blog.

I give you Pumpkin Spice Almond Butter Fudge

IMG_2050

You will need:

1 cup raw unsalted almond butter

1/4 cup coconut oil, softened

1/3 cup pumpkin puree

2 tablespoons maple syrup

1/4 teaspoon honey

dash of nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

3 ounces of dark chocolate, or vegan chocolate of your choice

To Prepare:

Line a baking dish with parchment paper.

Mix all of the ingredients together in a bowl, except for the chocolate. Mixture should be creamy and smooth. Pour the mixture into the lined baking dish and smooth it out to your desired thickness and texture with a spoon or spatula. Place in the freezer for an hour or two.

Just before you are ready to take the fudge out of the freezer, melt your chocolate either over a double broiler OR melt SLOWLY in a pan on LOW. Slowly because you do not want chocolate to burn…what a mess that is & not fun to sit there and clean later.

Take the fudge out of freezer and cut into square sizes of your choice. Using a spoon, gather up some melted chocolate from pan and drizzle over the fudge squares. Mine got a little messy, so I ended up just spreading the chocolate all around fudge. Add a sprinkle of cinnamon, sea salt, or shelled hemp seeds if you wish for some extra fun. Enjoy!

*Store in freezer when not enjoying 🙂

My second pumpkin treat is my Pumpkin Lovin’ Smoothie.

IMG_2052

In a blender, combine one banana, 3/4 cup (give or take) pumpkin puree, some carrots, handful of kale, peach slices (I use frozen peaches), and a gracious amount of cinnamon with some almond milk and blend baby blend! This smoothie will have you lighting up like a jack-o-lantern in no time! Enjoy!

Speaking of Halloween, have you picked out your costume yet? I love nothing more than playing dress up on a night where its perfectly acceptable. I like dressing up when its not perfectly acceptable, too. Ha! Anyway, I am getting pumped for this Halloween and my costume is slowly coming together, piece by piece!

IMG_2040

Namaste.

Light & Love,
Amanda

Feeding my soul

20140109-072156.jpg

I am a music junkie. I love all genres and what I choose to listen to each day changes with my mood. Music is like clothes for me. I have a great big closet full (aka my phone with playlists). Its like I get to pick out my outfit for the day, right? According to my mood and energy, thats my musical outfit.  I may want to change what I’m wearing in the middle of the day, sometimes three times a day like a five year old, or add a crazy hat and scarf to the mix because my feelings and moods may change throughout a day. I like to go back and re-read that…”my feelings and moods change.” It is reassuring, especially on the days that I am feeling icky, uncomfortable feelings. They do change. Like a wave washing over me. Music helps me with that. Especially, when I am in a big wave that is tossing me around and around, my face slams into the sand, I swallow a mouthful of salt water, and I all I do is fight to reach the surface. But then, I come up. I reach the surface.

Music feeds my spirit, connects my heart, and makes me wana move! I learn from music, identify with it, cry to it, scream to it, play with it, feel with it, move with it, heal with it, and connect to it.

Another thing that feeds my soul, literally and figuratively, is food. Especially, the food that I create on my own. It is environment and Earth friendly and I feel good on a cellular level when I put it into my body. I also feel like I can connect with all living things on a higher vibration when I eat vegan friendly meals. By creating it on my own, I am channeling my energy into my food, which is just so cool to me. Before I started eating this way, I was never one to sit down and create a meal. It was irritating to me, actually. But, since I made the switch in my diet, I never feel that way anymore, ever. I feel like there is an art to this and I love creating things. I also love to eat. So, to have found a way to channel my creative juices, eat my masterpieces, and then share it with you is beyond me. I owe that to the universe for taking me here.

Today, I have two delicious desserts to serve you. They are both raw, vegan, gluten-free, and even beautiful to look at! They are also both Raw Cheesecake Bars. One is fruit based and the other incorporates your veggies! So, you have choices here, or you can make both, like I did in a matter of a couple days a part from one another, because my taste buds were screaming for more!

Raw Blackberry Cheesecake Bars, inspired by choosingraw.com.

IMG_1942

For the crust:

1 1/2 cups raw walnuts

1 cup dates, pitted

1/8 teaspoon of salt

For the filling:

1 cup blackberries

1 cup raw cashews, soaked at least 2 hours & rinsed/drained

1/2 cup coconut oil, melted so it is liquid

1/3 cup maple syrup

To Prepare:

In a food processor, blend all of the crust ingredients together. It should be ground up as much as possible and sticking together.

Lightly grease a casserole dish or baking pan with coconut oil. Then press the crust ingredients into the bottom of the dish. My crust ingredients did not fill the entire bottom of the dish. I formed it into a square by using a wooden spatula to press down the crust and even the edges. You can make the crust as big or small as you’d like. Keep in mind, the bigger you make the crust, the thinner it will be. So, if you like a medium to thicker crust, like I do, trim it down. After you have your crust set up, put it in the fridge while you prepare the filling.

In a food processor, process the filling ingredients till smooth and creamy-like. Feel free to taste test, I always do, just to make sure you are satisfied because you can always add more of something if needed.

Then bring the crust out from the fridge and gently pour the filling mixture on top of the crust. Again, I used my wooden spatula to spread the top layer evenly over the crust and evening off the edges.

Put the dish in the fridge for up to 2-3 hours. You could serve sooner than that, but keep in mind that the bars will be a little softer. Cut into bar shapes when you are ready to serve. Store in the fridge. Enjoy!

My second set of cheesecake bars I am just so tickled about! I created them myself, with a little inspiration from the blackberry cheesecake bars. I have been racking my brain for some fall recipes and I finally landed with these babies. These are bound to bring the holiday cheer out of your loved ones in the upcoming holiday season! Again, they are raw, vegan, and gluten-free, weeeeeee!

I give you…

Raw Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars

IMG_1971

For the crust:

1 1/2 cups of raw walnuts

1/4 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut

1 cup dates, pitted

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/8 teaspoon salt

For the filling:

1 cup raw cashews, soaked for at least 2 hours, rinsed & drained

1/4 cup water (or less, maybe. choose your consistency)

1/3 cup maple syrup

1/4 cup carrots, shredded

1 cup pumpkin puree

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/8 teaspoon salt

2 or more teaspoons of pumpkin pie spice, to taste ( this spice makes it. I was just adding ingredients, not exactly keeping track of the measurements. So, keep taste testing till you land on your taste.

2 teaspoons cinnamon, to taste (again, taste test!)

1/2 to 1 teaspoon ground ginger, to taste

3-4 tablespoons of coconut oil

Few splashes of almond milk (optional)

To Prepare:

In a food processor, blend all of the crust ingredients together. It should be ground up as much as possible and sticking together.

Lightly grease a casserole dish or baking pan with coconut oil. Then press the crust ingredients into the bottom of the dish. My crust ingredients did not fill the entire bottom of the dish. I formed it into a square by using a wooden spatula to press down the crust and even the edges, just like the blackberry bars. You can make the crust as big or small as you’d like. Keep in mind, the bigger you make the crust, the thinner it will be. So, if you like a medium to thicker crust, like I do, trim it down. After you have your crust set up, put it in the fridge while you prepare the filling.

In a food processor, process the filling ingredients till smooth and creamy-like. Feel free to taste test, I always do, just to make sure you are satisfied because you can always add more of something if needed. Especially with this one, I kept adding more of the spices, pumpkin pie spice and cinnamon, until I was satisfied!

Then bring the crust out from the fridge and gently pour the filling mixture on top of the crust. Again, I used my wooden spatula to spread the top layer evenly over the crust and evening off the edges.

Put the dish in the fridge for up to 2-3 hours. You could serve sooner than that, but keep in mind that the bars will be a little softer. Cut into bar shapes when you are ready to serve. Sprinkle some cinnamon or the pumpkin pie spice on top. Store in the fridge. Enjoy!

Well, that’s a wrap. I hope you love these bars as much as I do. I think I have eaten one, or more than one every day over the past week…I have also shared them with friends, too…which is the best part!  Who knew I would be vegan and eating “cheesecake,” right? I thought those days were over. Ha!

IMG_1893

 

Light & Love,
Amanda

Brownies with oomph!

Hello and Happy 4th of July, my friends! Happy Freedom! Happy Love! Happy Life!

Today, I introduce you to a brownie recipe that I happen to stumble upon, and grateful that I did, er, maybe that’s my belly talking. 🙂

Anyway, these babies were inspired by a post on minimalistbaker.com. First time I had ever been to this site and it is full of lovely pictures and vegan recipes that I will be trying out because this one came out so perfect.

And let me warn you, this is no ordinary brownie. This is a brownie with some extra oomph! The best brownie my taste buds have ever laid their eyes on…and I’m not just saying that. And, they have a healthy kick to ’em! The cacao, black beans, and flax offer some fiber and protein! Nothing better than eating dessert and knowing that there are some benefits aside from the sugar rush you may have get, right?! These brownies have black beans in them!!! I know what you’re thinking. But, I ask you to be open minded and willing here and I promise, if you do those things, these brownies will take you to the moon! They did for me and the lucky people I shared them with! Let’s get started…

IMG_0466

Gluten Free Vegan Black Bean Brownies

1 15 oz. can or 3/4 cup black beans, rinsed well & drained

2 large flax eggs (2.5 tablespoons flaxseed meal + 6 tablespoons water)

3 tablespoons coconut oil

3/4 cup cacao powder or cocoa powder (I love cacao!)

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 heaping cup of sugar

1.5 teaspoon baking powder

Toppings: walnuts, coconut, chocolate chips, whatever you like! (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees

2. Lightly grease a 12-slot standard size muffin pan

3. Prepare flax egg by combining flax & water in the bowl of the food processor. Pulse a couple of times and then let mixture sit for a few minutes.

4. Add the remaining ingredients, except for the toppings, and puree the ingredients (3-5 minutes) while scraping down the sides, as needed. Texture should be smooth, kinda like frosting. If it appears too think, add a little water, but you don’t want to be runny.

5. Evenly pour or scoop out batter into the muffin tin and smooth over the tops with a spoon.

6. Add your toppings you desire.

7. Bake for 20-26 mins or until the tops are dry and edges are pulling away from the sides.

8. Remove from the oven and let cool for 30 minutes before removing from the pan.

9. Taste. Enjoy. Smile.

IMG_0465

And just a little side note…while you are waiting for your brownie babies to cool for those 30 minutes or so, do something to get your chakras moving. Raise that juju! Do a head stand, sing a crazy song, run around outside barefoot (it grounds you!), dance with your animal…Me, oh, I did yoga poses on my kitchen counter!

IMG_0478

Light & Love,
Amanda