new space

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Hi everyone! Happy July! How did you celebrate freedom?! On July 4th, I showed up to one of the sweatiest yoga classes yet. 47 of us yogis soaked up the beauty and magic that freedom gave us on our mats, in our minds and within our hearts. So sweet!

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Then I spent the rest of my holiday weekend playing, playing and more playing! I was able to connect with past friends, present friends and friends-that-I-didn’t-know-existed-friends! I have this new space that the Universe has carved out for me and I have been filling it with the most beautiful of all things; meditation, crafts, music, adventures, yoga, new things I didn’t know I liked, the sunshine, the ocean, more yoga, kids, animals, art, photography, good food, play dates, yoga, conversations that never end with people that I know down to their soul level, windy conversations with people that I have never seen a day in my life, writing, groovy clothes, reading, vegan cooking, being weird, energy stones, healing, relaxing, acroyoga, celebrating, singing, dancing, girls nights, girls days, girls in general, funky coffee shops, desserts, laughing, swimming, crying, yoga, connecting and loving. I believe that I have stepped into this new shade of me and I am digging it completely!

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Today I have the greatest muffin recipe! I could eat one of these babies everyday… And I did, when they were in the house! 😉

Gluten free/Vegan….
Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins

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You will need:
2 1/2 cups gluten free flour
1/2 cup sugar
3-5 tablespoons of coconut oil
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 bananas (preferably ripe)
3 tablespoons of ground flaxseed
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1-2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 package of non-dairy chocolate chips (I dig the So Delicious brand)
2 teaspoons earth balance butter, optional
A couple splashes of almond milk, optional, for consistency

To prepare:
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Prepare the flaxseed egg by mixing together 3 tablespoons of flaxseed and 7 tablespoons of water…maybe a little more. You want the flaxseed to gel up with the water. Then, in a medium sized bowl mash up the bananas well with a fork. After your mashing sesh, add all of the other ingredients and mix together well. You do not want the batter to be too too thick, so I added a couple splashes of almond milk to balance out the consistency. Place the muffin wrappers in the muffin tin and begin to spoon muffin batter into each of the wrappers in the tin. Do not fill too high because they will rise some. Place in the oven for 15-30 minutes. Each time I make these, they seem to vary… So just keep an eye on them. The tops will turn a little golden brown and the smell will be perfect. Maybe, right before taking them out of the oven stick a toothpick or fork in the center to check…but I have confidence that you will use your awesome judgement. Share with friends and enjoy!

I also have another little smoothie recipe I wanted to share with you. I was so pumped to make this smoothie because I had been dreaming about it for days before it appeared…

Mother Earth Smoothie

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You will need:
1 banana
Handful of kale
Mango (I like to use the frozen cubes)
1/2-1 whole fresh lemon juice
Handful of fresh mint leaves
Sprinkles of cayenne pepper
Sprinkles of cinnamon
Slice of fresh ginger, optional
Water

To prepare:
Mix all the ingredients together in a blender and blend until completely combined and you have created a fantastic color of green. Enjoy!

Have a fantastic week!
Light & Love,
Amanda

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Float

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Hi everyone!
Just before I started writing today’s post I was practicing my handstands. My handstand practice has evolved so much. It started as something so rigid, scary and awkward…but, I have watched myself physically and mentally move past the ledge of fear, loosen up the reins, let go and begin to float. And floating is how I wish to feel at all times. When I’m floating through life, there is no pressure, emptiness, or stagnant energy… only lightness that I radiate from the inside out. It is my natural state. Floating has scared me for a long time; maybe, because I thought that once I got up into the air I would continue to float away and away until gone or that I would just fall to the earth and crumble into pieces that could not be put back together. I have been able to practice this trust in the Universe quite a bit during this transition in my life with a long term relationship ending and detaching from two dogs that I loved oh, so much. And, even though it has been scary to let go, make decisions to move forward through sticky emotions and let others love me through it…I have done it. I respect the Universe’s decision to clear the space away for something new to settle in my life. I move through this and I give myself the permission to float.

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I have felt kind of cheesy this past week, so, I have two recipes today that are incredibly cheesy for you. Both gluten free, both vegan and both tasty as hell.

Cashew Mac & Cheese

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You will need:
1 box of gluten free noodles
1 cup cashews
1 tablespoon earth balance butter (or more if you prefer)
Water, for consistency (I think I used 1/4-1/2 cup)
Lemon juice from 1 lemon
A few splashes of almond milk
3-4 tablespoons of nutritional yeast
Salt, to taste
Cayenne pepper, to taste (I did a few sprinkles)
Rosemary or thyme, to taste

To prepare:
Boil your noodles as directed. While noodles are boiling you can prepare the cheese sauce. Begin by blending the ingredients one by one in a food processor. Add the cashews first with the lemon juice and a little water. Then add the nutritional yeast, earth balance butter and the spices. To level out the consistency, add water slowly, along with the splash of almond milk tossed in there. It should turn out to be a creamy mixture that will massage nicely into the noodles when finished. Taste tests are welcome! When the noodles are finished, gently mix together the cheese sauce and noodles. Serve it up and enjoy!

Next recipe is so simple and brigs me right back to childhood. I had been craving a grilled cheese and decided it was time to make a vegan and gluten free version.

Grilled Cheeze

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You will need:
Gluten free bread of your choice (I use DeLand Bakery)
2 slices of vegan cheese (I use Daiya’s cheddar cheese slices)
Vegan butter (I use Earth Balance)

To Prepare:
Butter the outside slices of the bread. Place one slice, buttered side down, in a small pan. Add your cheese slices and then add the second piece of bread, buttered side facing out. Start to brown the outside of the one side on a medium heat and then flip over the sammy to brown the other side. The cheese should melt as well. When both sides are browned, remove from heat, cut the grilled cheese in half, serve and enjoy!

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Light & Love,
Amanda

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

Creating Space

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Hi everyone!
My days are filled with people and situations that provide me with opportunities; opportunities to choose love and happiness or to choose fear and unhappiness. I must remind myself that I have these choices and that they both cannot live in the same space. I am either choosing love or fear…and let me tell you, love always trumps! Love is the miracle-maker and it always gives me exactly what I need. Love opens doors, unlocks the miracles, frees my heart and creates an unlimited amount of space within me to extend out to others. Fear shuts down, puts down, paralyzes and constricts any energy from flowing.
So, how do we integrate a more loving conversation in life? It begins with creating the space in our thoughts. People and situations show up as divine assignments to show me how to heal, learn and let go. My most challenging assignments show up in my relationship with my boyfriend. We attracted one another to heal, love and enjoy one another. One of my biggest lessons with him have been learning how to tap into my inner goddess for self acceptance and love, and not relying on him for those things. Past experiences that he triggers in the present challenge me in these areas. Some days, I am on point and others, the best I can do is have a meltdown. We all get into relationships with our own past experiences that have turned into conversations within the thoughts that run through our heads presently.The thing is, that conversation that was generated from the past, is in the past, there fore, it does not have to be real now in the present moment. It is our job to recognize those conversations as not real anymore and create the space for what is so that love can radiate through us.

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Here are some simple steps that I have been using in my interactions to get myself out of my past conversations that replay in my head and into what’s real in the present moment.

1: Notice. Any behavior change always starts with noticing the behavior first. Nothing can change if you are not aware that it is occurring, right? If I am unable to notice, then I am screwed because chances are I may just be reacting out of ego, and usually these snap reactions are fearbased and imbedded from th past. So, I begin created new neural pathways in my brain by keeping it simple and noticing. Sometimes, I write about what I see myself doing. I notice what is happening around and within me when I feel like I am being triggered. I notice the conversation that is taking place in my head. Is it love or fear-based? If this conversation makes me feel good, it is probably love, but if I start to squirm, it is most likely fear driving them and after the thoughts start rolling in, then the unproductive behavior follows. So, start noticing the thoughts before th behaviors have a chance to rise. And just like anything, this is a practice. Some days, I am extremely aware and I can pause and stay still and allow the untrue thoughts to dissolve. Other days, when I am more sensitive, I will just bypass any noticing and have a knee-jerk reaction, which usually ends up with me in some kind of upset. Whether I roll through a temper tantrum or not, eventually I always get back to noticing my thoughts again. It is important to be gentle with yourself and love yourself through these experiences like you would a best friend!
2: Decide. After I notice what is happening within my thoughts, then I make a decision. I decide whether the conversation in my head is real or not real based off of the situation I am in where I feel triggered. Again, fear makes us act in funky ways. So, if I perceive something as fearful based on my past experiences and I notice myself starting to feel uncomfortable, then I can probably make the assumption that I am operating from ego. I decide if the story I am telling myself is a reenactment of the past or not; real or make-believe. The ego loves to play with the make-believe because we stay stuck here; we search but never seem to find what we are looking for. It can be tricky to see past the ego, so I coach myself through it by giving myself little affirmations such as, “I can see peace instead of this, “What would it look like to let this go?” or “Thank you, Universe, for showing me how to see this differently.” A Course in Miracles says, “When ancient memories of hate appear, remember that their cause is gone,” therefore, it is up to me to forgive the past experiences that are showing up because they are showing up as an opportunity to create space for love by releasing them.

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Now, for a yummy pizza recipe to wrap this up! Today, I have one of my vegan, gluten free, quinoa crust pizzas! So simple and delicious!

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You will need:
1 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil
3/4 cup quinoa – soaked for at least 8 hours, rinsed & drained.
1/4-1/2 cup water (maybe…according to dough consistency)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 garlic clove
2 teaspoon of dried seasonings (I think I just used some Italian seasoning mixture and a teaspoon of dried parsley)
Toppings: hummus, cucumber, arugula and carrots

To Prepare:
Set the oven to 450 degrees. Spread the tablespoon of coconut or olive oil in a 9-inch round cake pan. In a food processor mix all of the ingredients, except the toppings, together to create your pizza crust. Then, pour the mixture into the oil coated cake pan and place the pan in the oven for about 15-20 minutes. Then, remove the pan, flip the crust over, and bake for another 10-15 minutes. Crust should be brown and crispy on the edges. Remove crust and let cool. Prepare the veggies/toppings but cutting up the cucumber and shredding the carrots. When crust seems cool enough, spread the hummus all over the pizza, first. Then sprinkle on the arugula and cover with cucumber and them the shredded carrots last. Cut up into pizza slices and enjoy! I sure did!

Light & Love,
Amanda

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Managing our energy

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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:

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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

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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!

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Light & Love,
Amanda

Ups & Downs & Upside-downs

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Hi everyone!
I will start off by saying that this week has been a little all over the place. It has gone up and down and upside-down more than once, and I am still belted in this roller coaster car, while occasionally putting my hands up in the air and letting out a huge scream! I must look at it in this light because when I can make stories out of my life, especially the sensitive and uncomfortable moments, then I can relax and move into acceptance about them, and ultimately, teach others to do the same.
My life has been full of miracles and miracles in disguise. Or, in other words, blessings and blessings in disguise. The miracles in disguise are tricky, though. Their disguises are so genius that I have a hard time identifying them as miracles because I am feeling feelings that really freak me out. And when I feel feelings that do this, I automatically want out and I react. I will give myself credit, I am much much better than I used to be at pausing when the uncomfortablilty arises because of the awareness and space that I have created, but, some feelings can feel really gross and my first thought is “get out!” when they show up. The thing is, when I get out or react too quickly, I miss what is really happening. Usually, I am so focused on the one star in the sky, that I miss all the others that are shining all around it, you know? There is something much bigger than me orchestrating things here and there is a natural order to things that is quite beautiful.
I have talked about my black present analogy before and I will again because I have been speaking about to to people all week and it rings true for me right now more than ever. The Universe gives me these gifts in life… Just like the miracles and the miracles in disguise… I will receive these gifts wrapped in all different packaging; some gifts come to me sprinkled with glitter, some are in bags with colorful tissue paper exploding out of them, some are bedazzled with ribbons and bows… I love those gifts! Bring em on! Then, some gifts come to me in black wrapping paper…with scorpions and snakes slithering all over and the most uninviting aura surrounding them …those I am quick to toss to the side. Who wants to see what’s inside of that package, right? Yeah, but if I pause with that black package, sit with it for a moment and wait for the scorpions and snakes to crawl away and the aura to settle, then I can slowly start to unwrap the black wrapping to see what’s inside. When I do this, I always find a beautiful lesson of love.
So, right now, in my life, I am sitting with my “black package.” It was delivered to me over the weekend, and I quickly discarded it as fast as I could. I felt the package calling me back, though… So, I went to my recycling bin (ha!), and grabbed the package back up. Are ya still with me here? 🙂 …The snakes and scorpions have crawled away, thankfully, and it is not as intimidating; there is even a sense of peace about the black package and my energy. I have begun to peel off the black paper, slowly, one piece at a time, because that is all I can handle, but I feel so loved and supported through it all by the Universe and Spirit. It is a beautiful process and I never thought I would I could admit that. I am anxious, but excited to see what kind of miracle lives inside.

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This week’s recipes are incredibly simple and deliscious! They are both vegan and gluten free spreads for toast, bagel or English muffin. I think they make great snacks, desserts or breakfast treat.

Peach Butter
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You will need:
2 peaches

To prepare:
Peel the peaches and then cut up the pea he into pieces. Place the pieces into a food processor and blend until smooth. Then add the peach yumminess into a pot and heat on medium until it starts to boil. Turn the heat down and simmer, stirring occasionally for a couple minutes. The peaches will thicken. Spread on some toast and sprinkle with cinnamon and viola!

The next toast spread is…

Carrot Butter
You will need:
1 cup steamed carrots
2 tablespoons almond butter
1 teaspoon maple syrup
1/4 teaspoon salt

To prepare:
Steam the cup of carrots until soft. Add the carrots to food processor and purée. You could also mash the carrots in a bowl with a fork. Then add the other ingredients and mix together. Then, spread on some toast or whatever you prefer and maybe sprinkle some hemp seeds on top. Enjoy!

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Light & Love,
Amanda

Finding the love in letting go & a lentil suprise

Hi everyone! Today, I felt called to talk about letting things go. Some things are trickier than others. It depends how much the voice of my ego gets in the way. The past week, I have been wrestling with the … Continue reading

Body Talk & Chocolate-Mint Bliss Bites

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Hi everyone!

Happy Valentine’s Day/Week to you all! I love and honor you and I hope you are doing the same for yourself!
Four years ago, I started making this little holiday a day to celebrate the love for myself. Every day, I focus on loving myself, but this day, four years ago, I stopped smoking cigarettes and I remember telling myself that I was doing it for the love of myself! I was so proud (and I still am)! Each year, I try to do something extra groovy for myself like take a yoga class in a new studio, get a pedicure, go on a date with my hunie, add something healthy into my life, make something extra yummy to share or take my pups somewhere they’ve never been before.This week, I seem to be applying to Graduate school for the love of myself! Weeee! What will you do to show the love?
Another way I show the love for myself daily, is by taking care of my body and maintaining a positive inner dialogue. This leads me into a conversation about the body. I used to be so wrapped up in what people thought about me based on my body and appearance. I was so consumed with these thoughts that they did nothing but paralyze me and cause pain. No matter what I did, I wasn’t good enough and someone was always better than me. I beat myself up with my thoughts because I was stuck in the fear-based ego-state-of-mind and I put my body through the worst things because of it. I would not eat all day long, exercise on top of it, and then eat too much at night. I would over exercise and if I missed a day, I would beat myself up even more. If I did not feel skinny enough or pretty enough, I would not let myself go out in public. I would eat unhealthy things to cope with the feelings and thoughts that were constantly running through my head. I was so self-absorbed and full of fear that I could not truly enjoy the beautiful life that was happening before my eyes. Thankfully, I hit a bottom.
My first step was to recognize and admit that my unhappiness with my body was directly connected to my unloving thoughts about it. I recognized that I was not going to get anywhere healthy if I kept talking to myself in such an awful manner. So, I cut the crap, forgave myself and became my biggest fan. On days that I didn’t like my thighs, I picked out a part that of myself that I did like and I focused on that… All day long, if I had to. Most importantly, I realized that I am not a body; I am a beautiful soul that shines bright, comes from a natural state of love, is granted all the happiness I could possible wish for and any thoughts that do not stem from love are not real. This body is a vessel for me to navigate through this world that I am in.
My second step was to change my internal dialogue by inviting Spirit/God/the Universe in to support me and my thoughts. It was clear that I needed help with this because I had tried and failed too many times on my own. For every unsupportive or unloving thought that popped into my head, I would notice it and invite Spirit in to help reinterpret the conversation or clear away the thoughts. By clearing away the thoughts, I began to create space for love and a groovy new internal dialogue began to manifest itself.
Step three, I started to implement new healthy habits by making little commitments. Thoughts and behaviors go hand-in-hand. When I am thinking in an undeserving way, then I am most likely going to have behaviors that go along with it. Where thoughts go, energy goes. When I had a self-destructive mindset, my behaviors followed suit; I would either deprive myself of food at meal times, overwork my body or fill my body with foods that were not the healthiest choices. Once I became a witness to those negative thoughts, called them out and invited Spirit in, I could then add the healthy behaviors in my life. I started doing things to let my inner glow shine bright! Not only that, I attracted healthy things, as well; Yoga came into my life, healthy people came into my life, I evolved into a vegan and gluten free eater, I knocked off the unsupportive eating habits and behaviors (like smoking!), I started teaching and sharing health tips with others…It was magical and magnetic, and it continues to be! And, whatever weight that I was trying to lose or look I was trying to achieve started to appear. I find that when I align myself spiritually, the weight drops off and everything falls into place. Most of the time in life, I find that all I need to do is forgive myself, shift my thinking into a more loving space and stay connected to the Universe because it always has my back.

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So, along with loving yourself, incorporating healthy behaviors to shine bright and treating yourself during this week of Valentine’s Day, I have a treat for you!

Vegan and gluten free…

Chocolate Mint Bliss Bites

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You will need:
-1 cup of pecans
-1/4 to 1/2 cup of shredded coconut
-2 teaspoons of flax seed
-1/4 cup maple syrup
-1 teaspoon (maybe a little more) peppermint oil
-4-5 medjool dates, pitted (but you can get away without them)
-about 1/2 package of vegan chocolate chips

To prepare:
In a food processor or high speed blender, blend the pecans, first. Then add flax, coconut, peppermint, maple syrup, and dates (optional) and blend together completely. Line a plate with parchment paper. Make balls out of your pecan mixture and press them down a little to flatten like a cookie. Place in the fridge to stiffen up while the chocolate is melted. In a pan, slowly head up a half of a package of chocolate chips. If you turn the temp up any higher, you will burn them. Stir the ch chips whole they melt. When chocolate is almost completely melted, take out the cookies in the fridge and begin to frost them with the chocolate. I found it easiest to dip the one side of the cookie in chocolate, set it on the parchment paper plate chocolate-side down, and the spread frosting on the rest of the cookie with a knife/spoon. The idea is to get the whole cookie covered in chocolate… So, however creative you can get! Then, when all the cookies are lathered in chocolate, stick the plate back in the fridge to let the chocolate harden completely, 30 minutes or so. Then, transfer cookies to a container to store in. Share and enjoy!
Love & Light,
Amanda

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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

Let the love soak in

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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!

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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

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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…

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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

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