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

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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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Allowing my path to unfold

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Hey, everybody!
I have been on this journey, this cobblestone path, this roller coaster, this yellow brick road of life and I notice that it is far from the straight and narrow that my mind plans it out to be. It happens in more of a zig-zaggity, Alice in Wonderland, pendulum swinging kind of fashion. When I peer back at my walk through life, thus far, I am filled with love, gratitude and happiness. When I look ahead, in this moment, my ego makes me feel like a deer in the headlights and down the rabbit hole I go. I want to know right now what my future holds… But, then again, like unwrapping a birthday present, the suspense is a beautiful thing. The gift wrapping is the outside lining of the treasure that leads to what’s inside;beneath the bows and the glitter, or the cardboard box. Layer by layer I’m peeling off the wrapping paper of my life. It is beautiful that I am even able to look at this right now in this light… clearly the Universe has my hand and is speaking through me as I write each word and miracles are happening. I say this because 24 hours ago my ego had me in an insane choke-hold-head-lock kind of thing. My eyes were watering and my heart was trying to beat through the fear-stricken thoughts that just kept coming. Life will seem as if it’s soaring and then it’ll stop… But usually because my ego steps in and feeds me some thoughts that I allow to rattle my soul. I am in a place right now where life is indeed soaring, but I am also left very confused about my schooling, my relationship, my future career and what it should all look like. I’m trying to force images that won’t quite fit together, it feels a little funky and my ego is all over that; judging it as “bad” or “wrong,” which shifts me out of love and into the circle of fear. So, my solution… Do nothing. I have stopped trying to think my way out of this because it feels forceful and that tells me it is not coming from love. Not to mention, I exert too much energy when I have little outbursts of anger from trying to control my future, or anything of that matter. Yogi Bhajan said, “One emotional outburst of anger consumes the energy you would need for seven hours of hard work.”
I am surrendering to the unknown and turning my trust and faith volume knobs UP! Because, this is where the love is for me. This is where my ego cannot interfere. This is where the light comes in and my soul feels light and easy. This is my natural state. I accept that there is a much greater plan of the highest good than my wonderful, perfect, little brain can muster up in this moment. I will hit up my meditation practice, bathe in the experience, let the Universe do her thing and share it with others. Miracle!

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And yes, your recipe is here! Today, I share with you two different salad recipes.

First, I give you a gluten free and plant based Caesar Salad:

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You will need:
Romaine, kale, or any other lettuce you love
Macademia nuts
Broccoli

Dressing:
Tahini
Fresh lemon juice
Salt
Pepper
Nutritional yeast
Thyme (optional)
Ginger root spice (optional)

To prepare:
So, I whipped up my own dressing and I couldn’t tell you how much of each thing I used, but it was a little if each because I didn’t need much to make a dressing. Feel me? So, to assemble the salad, I tore up some pieces of kale and romaine and tossed it in a bowl. Then, I added broccoli pieces on top to green it up even more. Grind up some macademia nuts in a food processor until they are in fine little pieces; this will serve as your parmesean “cheese.” Sprinkle that on top of the greenery. Then, for the dressing, mix it all up in a little bowl and drizzle on your salad. Enjoy!

Next, I give you a gluten free and vegan Taco Recipe, but I made a Taco Salad out of it… Either of them are mad tasty!

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You will need:
For the taco “meat”
Tempeh
1-2 cloves of garlic, minced
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt & pepper, to taste
Chili powder, to taste
A couple drops of liquid smoke (optional)
1-2 tablespoons tamari
1/4 cup water

To prepare:
Heat up the olive oil in a pan. Add the minced garlic. On a plate or flat surface, pull apart or chop up the tempeh in whatever fashion you like. Add the other ingredients, salt, pepper, tamari, liquid smoke, chili powder and water, together to create the taco marinade. Add the crumbled tempeh to the pan and cook in the marinade maybe 5-10 mins on low, just to heat it up and let marinade soak in. Taste tests are welcome here!

Sour Cream
Macademia nuts
Fresh lemon juice from one lemon
Salt
A little water to help with consistency

To prepare sour cream

Add ingredients into food processor and blend until creamy. Then put liquid into a little zip lock baggy, snip off the end so the cream gathers and squirts out like sour cream would. Don’t snip until you are ready to squirt on top of salad!

You will also need:
Vegan cheese (I used daiya cheese)
Tomatoes
Tortilla chips to crumble in salad if you aren’t making tacos (I like the Way Better sprouted tortilla chips)
Avocado
& any other yummy taco toppings that you desire

Then, you assemble your salad or tacos in whatever delicious and colorful order you choose! Enjoy!

Just to let you in on my little secret…My right hand man behind the scenes is this guy, Leo boy, tearin’ it up in the kitch! 🙂

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Love & Light,
Amanda

Light up the ego

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Hello to you all!
I just adore this quote by Louise Hay. I know that have mentioned her in previous posts; she just has this way of delivering the most liberating information in her books. This quote being one from her book, You Can Heal Your Life.
This quote is the truth, too. When I am stuck or upset about something, I am usually looking at the situation from a victim point of view; or an ego point of view. My ego will separate me from whatever it is that I am upset at and blame it on that, which in turn, does nothing but give all my energy and power away to that person, place, thing or situation that I am in shambles about. When things upset me, I am operating from the ego and in the space of fear. I began A Course in Miracles on January 1, 2014, and I have learned that when I am in fear, it is the ego talking to me, it is a projection of my past and it is not real. In all my life situations I am either coming from a space of love or fear; fear is not real and love is all truth; fear is dark and love is light.
So, here is my solution and my practice when my ego flares up and I seem to be upset; when I am perceiving something from the ego lense, and I feel tense in my body and upset in my mind, it is directly because of my ego-driven thoughts. With practice, I am becoming more aware each day about which thoughts are puppeteered by the ego and which are escorted by love. To release my ego and soften my thinking, I first notice my ego-driven thoughts. In other words, I light up my ego. Once I notice what is happening in my thoughts by lighting up my ego, I can forgive it and move on from the illusion that it created. To forgive also means to overlook something, stop blame, or let go of. When I forgive my ego, it cannot keep me in the victim role head-lock or in the arena of fear any longer; I can move from the constricted space of upset to a much more expansive place of love. When I shine the light of truth on my thoughts, I can own what is happening, stay present and bathe in the love.

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Another way that I stay in the love boat is by creating, tasting and sharing this next recipe with you!Mmmmmmmm! 😉

Gluten free/ and vegan…

BLT (really, BLTA, for the avocado)

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You will need:
2 slices of gluten free bread, or bread of your choice (I use Food For Life’s Rice & Almond)
1/2 avocado
1/2 small tomato
Veganaise, to taste
A little bit of kale, or any other leafy green
Tempeh (for the bacon)

The tempeh bacon recipe was inspired from http://www.chezbettay.com/pages/basics1/basics_How_to_Make_Vegan_Bacon.html

For the tempeh bacon marinade you will need:
1 tablespoon of olive oil or coconut oil
1/8 cup + 1 tablespoon of maple syrup
1/4 cup applecider vinegar
3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 cup tamari
1 teaspoon of liquid smoke
1 teaspoon of black pepper
Sprinkle of cayenne pepper

To prepare tempeh bacon:
Mix together all the ingredients for the tempeh bacon marinade in a pan and start to heat it up. Take the tempeh out of its packaging and cut it so it is in strips… Like bacon would be. Then set each piece in the marinade, cover pan with a kid, and let it summer for 5 minutes. Then, flip each piece of tempeh and cover for another 5 minutes. Viola! Tempeh Bacon!

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I was shocked by how extremely tasty these guys were, despite the weirdest combination ever of ingredients! I could have eaten all the B without the LTA!

For the rest of the sammy, toast the bread in the toaster, if you like that kinda thing. To assemble, lay bread flat on a plate. Add the bacon to a slice of bread, first, that will be the bottom of the sandwich. For the top, gather up a little veganaise and spread it. Then, add the tomato, avocado, and lastly, the kale all piled up on top of the bacon, and close it up with the veganaised slice of bread. So good! I served it with green beans. And, I had left over tempeh bacon, you should, too, to make another BLTA for dinner the next night! Yes!

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Enjoy! Share with others! Stay in the love!

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!
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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!

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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

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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!

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

Avocado-Cacao Mousse Bites

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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

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I honor my human in me

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