On top of spaghetti…

1378205_10100793699711512_2089637536_n

 

Happy October!!! Ahh, i love October and it is refreshing to know that this month has begun! So many fun things are going on in my world this month and I am totally pumped! This month reminds me of being a kid more than anything! Halloween, pumpkin patching, apple orchards, corn mazes, scarecrows, skeletons, carving pumpkins, carmel apples, haunted houses, candy corn, hay rides, apple crisp, pumpkin pies, raking leaves, jumping into the piles of raked leaves, and the fall air. I live in Florida and unfortunately many of the things I just named I do not get to see anymore….but, I do have a mother that still lives up north and you better believe that I hit her up for a box of leaves just so I can experience the true season down here in sunny south Florida! Ha! And, you better believe I will be dressing up and hitting up the haunted houses this October! Oh ya!

1377064_10100790019381922_2115547780_n

 

Ahh, isn’t this quote the best? And, the truth. Although, it is so easy for me to look at this quote on a happy October day and say, “Oh, that is so true and I love that!” But catch me on a day where my boat is just full of “visitors” and it is rockin’ me all over the place, hangin’ on for my dear life… it can be challenging. But, still a beautiful quote and after the initial freak out over a particle feeling(s), I can usually move to this place of just sitting down in my boat taking my “visitors” to shore, letting them off, and peacefully rowing away. I like that.

This all reminds me of my yoga practice this week. I practice Vinyasa yoga. Vinyasa is a style of yoga that is known for moving from pose to pose while linking the breath. It is about movement and flowing and breathing through it all. I learned this week that the Vinyasa practice  reflects impermanence and change and teaches one not to hold on to each pose, but let it go and move onto the next pose. Impermanence and change. Kinda like feelings, right? Kinda like life. I like that. Life is a series of poses. Each pose connected to the next and as long as we don’t focus too much on the pose we were in before, we can gracefully move to and experience the others all while riding on the currents of our breath.

Today, I have a vegan and gluten free meatball recipe! This recipe was inspired by the blog.fatfreevegan.com. They look an taste like real meatballs!! I altered the recipes a little and in the future I probably would alter it even more by adding more of the spices and taking out the kasha (which is just buckwheat groats). I like buckwheat, but sometimes it can overtake the other flavors because it has a strong earthly flavor of its own. BUT! It was still a fab recipe! Have fun with it!

1383029_10100792006115492_544214988_n

 

You will need:

1/3 cup chopped walnuts, or other nuts or seeds

1/3 cup gluten free rolled oats or quinoa flakes would work

1/2 cup chickpea flour

1/4 cup kasha (Also known as buckwheat groats…i think it can be optional, you decide!)

1 tablespoon of cornstarch

1 tablespoon nutritional yeast

2 teaspoons of dehydrated onion flakes (I could not find these, so I used onion powder instead)

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon basil

1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic

1/2 teaspoon paprika

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon tomato powder (optional)

1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds (optional)

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)

To Prepare:

In a food processor, chop the nuts and oats . Do not grind the nuts completely; they should be the size of popcorn kernels. Remove combination and set aside.

Add all the remaining ingredients to the food processor and mix well.

Boil 2/3 cup of water.

Combine the nut/oat mix with the combination of all other ingredients you just made up in the food processor in a bowl and add the 2/3 cup of boiling water all together. Stir and let the mixture sit for about 15 minutes.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Using wet hands, form little meatballs and place on an oiled baking sheet. Bake the meatballs for 20-25 minutes, turning them over halfway through.

While your meatballs are baking, prepare your choice of spaghetti. To keep the meal gluten-free, I used quinoa corkscrew noodles. Yum! Also, heat up your spaghetti sauce and prepare any other sides you may want with your meal.

When meatballs are finished, add a few on top of your noodles and cover with spaghetti sauce! You will definitely feel on top of spaghetti after this meal! Enjoy!

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