Transition

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Hi everyone!
Oh, how I have missed writing and sharing my energy in this space. For the last month, I have been settling into the new transition(s) taking place in my life and I am really enjoying all that is coming forward. I went up to my hometown, Toledo, Ohio to take a yoga teacher training. I got cracked wide open during the training and had several breakthroughs. I took the time to explore different parts of my hometown that I never knew existed, connect with family and friends, do yoga, teach yoga and most importantly, I was able to explore myself; I got real curious about pieces within myself that I never noticed before. I perfected yoga poses on my mat and I strengthened the practice of loving myself. I learned how to step away from the inner critic and tune into my girl, the inner teacher.
A few times during the training, I caught myself thinking…thoughts like, “what’s going to happen next in my life?” were typical with accompanied with anxiety. My mind is always trying to take me out of the present moment and into one that isn’t here yet. So, I started to notice when that would happen, let it go and come back to the present moment. Because, when I am in a moment that isn’t here, my inner critic lights up and I buy into all these crazy ideas, which never seem to serve me. So, I started to just observe the difference between my inner critic and my inner teacher. The sound of their voices and the vibration that they carry, are quite different. The inner critic is always louder and the first to chime in. My inner goddess is always the quieter one, sitting back, certain and calm, always encouraging me and saying, “You’re doing great, keep going,” or “Relax, breathe and go with the flow.” I like how it feels to listen to my inner girl, the goddess, so I do that more today than ever. And, when life comes, I don’t seem to waver as much as I used to. I breathe deeper, just as I would on my mat in a challenging pose and I love myself through it.

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I did create something fantastic while I was in Ohio. I have been all about lavender lately, so I made some gluten free vegan lavender bread!

Lavender Blueberry Bread

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You will need:
2 1/2 cups gluten free flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup almond milk
3 tablespoons flax seed (plus 5-6 tablespoons water)
1 tablespoon culinary lavender
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoon light brown sugar
2 tablespoon earth balance butter
1/4 cup coconut oil
1 cup blueberries
Juice of one lemon

To prepare:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Whisk together the flax seed and water in a small bowl and set aside to let it gel up. Crush up the lavender, then add it to a pan with the almond milk and heat to just before boiling. Then, in a medium size bowl, mix together the dry ingredients (flour through nutmeg). Mix the blueberries in with the dry ingredients a little to coat them. In another bowl, mix together the other ingredients, including the lavender, almond milk and flax seed and water combination. Finally, mix together all the ingredients. Spray the bread pan or muffin tins with a cooking spray and then pour the batter in and place it in the oven to bake for about 45 minutes, give or take. After baking, remove from oven, and let cool. Serve, share and enjoy!

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Light & Love,
Amanda

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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

Summer and Macadamia Nut Mango Bars

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Hi everyone! It has been a little bit since I have written last. Happy June! What have you been doing to welcome in the summer?! I have been walking through some big changes these past couple of weeks that have been incredibly challenging, but relieving and liberating all at the same time. They have been changes made all in the name of self-love. The emotions come in like waves, right. Like, one minute, I will be happy and the next I feel as if my toes have lifted off the ground and the wave is rising up, my head just barely above water. Then, it settles, my feet land and the internal glitter shines! Emotions are like that; I can either choose to sink, swim against them or let them wash over me. I stay connected to the Universe through this time because I know she has my back. I keep my heart open, my head up and I step back to let the light shine beautifully on the path I will walk.

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Today’s recipe is great to surf into summer with!

Macadamia Nut Mango Bars

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You will need:
Crust
2/3 cup pecans or walnuts
1/3 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-3 tablespoons of maple syrup (add tablespoons one at a time for consistency of your choice)
Salt, to taste

Filling
1 cup macadamia nuts, soaked
1-2 cups cubed fresh or frozen mangos (I used frozen)
1 tablespoon of coconut oil
1-2 tablespoons maple syrup
Juice from one lemon
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract, optional
Water, maybe, for consistency
Salt, to taste

To prepare:
Soak the macadamia nuts for at least an hour to activate them. Begin with the crust and a food processor. Process the pecans or walnuts first. Then add in the other ingredients creating a crust that sticks together. Remove the crust from the food processor and place it on a parchment paper lined dish. Then, with a spatula, form the crust into a square. You can make it as thin or as thick as you’d like. Let the crust sit in the fridge while you prepare the filling. Clean out the food processor and drain the macadamia nuts. Add the macadamia nuts to the food processor and blend. Then, one by one, start to add in the other ingredients for the filling. You may or may not need to add water for consistency. It should be on the thicker side. Taste tests are welcome! Then, slowly start to spoon out the filling on top of the crust. Use a spatula to evenly spread out the filling over the crust. Then place the mango bars in the freezer to set up. Let them sit in the freezer for about an hour or so, and then when you’re ready to serve you can cut up the squares with a knife. Enjoy!

Also, I have found it especially important to connect and play with my girlfriends during this time in my life. Here are some acro yoga pics that I have been trying out with my girls! So fun! Summer is here…don’t forget to play!

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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

Drop the plans and make a pizza

I woke up this rainy Florida morning, summer trying to push through with her humidity and glory, and I read my lesson from A Course in Miracles like I do every morning when I am rising. Every lesson is perfectly put together to unfold in such a way; like layer upon layer to produce this beautiful masterpiece that I am finding out lies within me.
Today’s lesson 135, talks about planning; plans, plans and more plans on top of to-do lists, right? How many of you do this? I know I do. Plans for the day, plans for the month, and plans for the year. I have come to learn that planning is another sneaky trick used by the ego. The Course says that “the mind engaged in planning for itself is occupied in setting up control for future happenings” based out of fear. I began to think about this and how exhausting it is for me. There are so many moments throughout my days where I am busy planning for what’s next instead of living in what’s now! And, it is all because my ego tells me that it is important to have a plan, to make me think that I am in control because, God forbid, if I wasn’t in control something terrible could happen?!! But, then I think to myself what it would look like if I didn’t plan every single detail, allowed room for change and lived like I knew I was being guided every step of the way? When I am busy planning, I’m blocking the unexpected groovy flow of life from streaming in. And, this is not suggesting that we shouldn’t plan, because having a plan is productive, but it becomes unproductive when my attachment to it is interrupting my daily flow of life. Ya dig?

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After I read my lesson, I took time to release my senseless planning and let it soak in through mediation. It was comical to watch my mind dance around and do her thing. I started off in the moment and then, before I knew it, I was planning and thinking about work this afternoon… Ah, but then, I caught myself, and I was able to get right back to soaking up the moment that I was in. My mind did this dance a few times until it settled in the moment and I heard the love trickle in. Beautiful guidance from God/Universe/Spirit/Inner Guide streamed in assuring me that I am where I am supposed to be, things are under control and giving me permission to release my reins on the future an soak up the love in the present moment. When I did this, I felt nothing but love and light flow through me, which allowed my mind and body to release and relax. Then, I finished up the meditation with a beautiful light bath. I imagined raindrops, swollen with light, pouring down on me and coating me with a luminescence that I will carry with me throughout my day!
And, I will leave you with this final quote from The Course, “A healed mind does not plan…If there are plans to make, you will be told of them. They may not be the plans you thought were needed, nor indeed the answers to the problems which you thought confronted you. But they are answers to anther kind of question which, remains unanswered yet in need of answering until the answer comes to you at last.”

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So, I hope that you soak up the idea of not planning and letting your day unfold as it will, opening yourself to new opportunities and groovy love-filled moments that are awaiting you! I am not saying to withhold all planing, because it is necessary in many cases…but just notice when your mind is on “I gotta plan” overdrive and give yourself permission to detach from the plan if it fluctuates and enjoy what comes forth in your moments!

And, it is always good to plan meals! 🙂 I am confident to say that eating is necessary! Let me do the planning for you here…

This first beauty is inspired by on of my favorite vegan restaurants in south Florida, Christopher’s Kitchen! They have a pizza called the Biancoverde Pizza, that looks spectacular, but I did not get to taste it because it is not gluten free, wah! So, I took it upon myself to the-create the pizza with a gluten free crust and a few little twists.

And I call it the….

Pizza Fantasia

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You will need:
Crust:
3/4 cup quinoa, soaked in water for at least 8 hours (very important!)
1 teaspoon of salt
1 clove of garlic
1 tablespoon of coconut oil
1/4 cup water, maybe (for consistency)

Macademia Ricotta
1 cup macademia nuts
1 teaspoon salt
Fresh squeezed lemon juice from 1/2 lemon
A little water, for consistency

Toppings:
Arugula
Yellow onion, roasted
3-5 medjool dates, pitted
Avocado
Grape tomatoes, cut in half
Pumpkin seeds
Thyme, to taste
Oregano, to taste
Red pepper flakes or chili pepper flakes, to taste

To prepare:
Prepare your crust first. Heat oven to 450 degrees. Put the tablespoon of coconut oil in a round 8 inch cake pan. Then drain the quinoa as best as you can. Add the quinoa into a food processor with the salt and garlic and blend until the texture turns into a dough-like consistency. If the texture is too thick, you may need to add a little bit of water. Blend until smooth. Then pour the dough into the coconut oil coated pan and put in the oven for about 7 to 10 minutes. The crust should start to turn golden brown and crispy. When the crust is done baking on the one side, then flip it over and bake in the oven for another 7 to 10 minutes. Remove the crust from the oven and let cool. While your crust is cooling, you can mix together the macadamia nut ricotta. Clean out the food processor, and add in the macadamia nuts, salt, lemon juice and water. Slowly add the water a little bit at a time. You want the texture to be similar to ricotta cheese, so not too watery. Also, you may want to slice up some of the onion (just enough for top of pizza) and put in the oven on parchment paper in pan and roast for a few minutes before adding to pizza. When your crust is completely cooled, first lather on the macadamia ricotta cheese. Then sprinkle on your spices, thyme , oregano and the chili flakes. Then, add arugula, topped off with the roasted onions, dates, avocado, the grape tomato halves and pumpkin seeds. You may want to top off with a few sprinkles from each of the spices one more time. Cut the pizza into slices, serve and enjoy a mouthful of Fantasia!

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My next creation was inspired by my girl, http://www.celineeatsavocados.com. Her dreamy recipe is Banana Walnut Cinnamon Freezer Fudge, mmmmm! I did not have walnuts on hand, so I improvised and came up with something just as delish!

Cinnamon Banana Hemp Seed Freezer Fudge

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You will need:
1 cup hemp seeds
1 banana
1/8-1/4 cup coconut oil
2-3 tablespoons maple syrup
1-2 teaspoons cinnamon
Toppings (optional): dairy free chocolate chips, nuts, chia seeds…
Mini cupcake wrappers

To prepare:
In a food processor, blend together hemp seeds, coconut oil, maple syrup banana and cinnamon until creamy. Then, pour about a tablespoon or so into the mini cupcake wrappers, add toppings if you wish and then place them in the fridge to stiffen up, for about 1-2 hours before enjoying. Great for a morning, afternoon or evening treat! 😉

Light & Love,
Amanda

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!

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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!

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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:

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

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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

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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!

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Light & Love,
Amanda

Groovy ways to start your days

Hi everyone!
Ever feel like you get up on the “wrong side of the bed?” Ha, I think that is such a funny saying. When I was a little girl and I felt this way, I would literally go back to my bedroom, get back into bed and climb out of my bed a second time, with the intention of it being the right side of the bed. Maybe that is all it takes? Starting over. I have been told before that when I am having an off start to my day that I can start my day over as many times as I’d like. And, who knows what throws us off when we rise and shine anyway?! Maybe, we ate something funky the night before, got tumbled up in a funky dream, have the butterflies about a job interview or new life embarkment or we just couldn’t shake an argument we had the day before with a lover or a best friend?! There are so many things out there that can throw our energies off to where we just don’t want to begin the next day…or is it that we don’t know how to begin? Here are some little tricks and tools that I use to help me when I would rather hit the “snooze” button and sleep the day away.
1: Strrrrretchhhhh
In a world that is so face paced and on the go go go, it can be easy to pop up out of bed the minute that alarm buzzes only to get moving again before our bodies even have the chance to wake up. I am guilty of this; I have two adorable pups that nudge me for their breakfast at 6am every morning and it is so typical to jump right up for them and into my day before I am even ready for it. So, I when my alarm sounds or my pups whine, I have tried to let myself slowly wake up. I wiggle my toes, my fingers, blink open my eyes, and I bring my arms above my head, my toes reach out long towards the end of the bed and I give myself a nice long full body good morning stretch to get my blood flowing and energy moving. Then, I sit up and let my toes dangle down to touch the earth. When is the last time you noticed your toes, eh? I notice my toes and my feet and I say, “good morning” to them, for they will be carrying me throughout the rest of my day. 🙂

2: Mirror Talk
Yes, this is exactly as it sounds…self talk in the mirror. It is one thing to talk to yourself out loud while driving in the car or cleaning the house, but to look yourself in the eyes and have a conversation with yourself is incredibly empowering…after you move past the judgement of it being awkward, of course! So, lately to kick off my mornings, once I run the sleep out of my eyes, I mosey on over to the bathroom mirror and I look myself in the eyes and say, “I am going to have a really great day today!” That simple! And if you can think of more to add to that then go for it!
3: Vacuum Meditation This is a new little meditation that I have been using in the mornings and it leaves me feeling light and ready! I do it right at my breakfast table…right after I have said good morning to my toes and did some self talk in the mirror, of course! 😉 It is very simple and I even find myself using it throughout my days if I need it. I sit with my feet touching the floor and my hands open on my lap. I start by focusing on my breathing and then I start to imagine my guardian angels circling around me with giant vacuums! They gently start to vacuum all the stagnant energy and unsupportive thoughts that I have running through my mind and body; they suck everything away creating space and leaving me feeling light and airy. It is so lovely! If you don’t dig the angels, then use whatever makes you feel comfortable…even if you just imagine a giant vacuum above your head…that is perfect! I even send my angels with the vacuums above my house, over each of my dogs and my loved ones. The meditation can be as long or as short as you’d like. Have fun with it! Our thoughts are so powerful and this meditation is oh, so sweet!
4: Start Over So, remember how I said that when I was a little girl I would go back to bed and get up on the right side of the bed? Yes, so maybe tapping into your inner child and doing just that will help to reset your morning, followed by a yummy breakfast! And, prepare a meal that appeals to all of the senses…something that has great texture, a yummy taste, colorful and easy on the eyes and fills the room with a beautiful aroma. Mmmm!

Another great way to start your day is by baking this next recipe…

Vegan & gluten free…

Vanilla Dream Cloud Cookies

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You will need:
1 1/4 cup gluten free flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup almond milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Fluffy Frosting
1 can of unsweetened coconut milk, put in fridge overnight, flipped upside down
Powdered sugar, to taste

To Prepare:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Like a baking sheet with parchment paper. First, mix together flour, salt and baking powder in a bowl. Then beat together the coconut oil, almond milk and vanilla until it is creamy. Add the flour mixture in and mix together until combined. If you need more almond milk, another tablespoon or so can be added. Mold the dough into a ball and wrap with plastic wrap; place in fridge for 10-15 minutes. While you are waiting, practice some headstands, handstands or hop into a groovy meditation, right? 🙂
Take the dough out of fridge and on a lightly floured surface roll the dough out and begin to cut out shapes that you fancy. I went with circles and I even drew a heart.

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Lay the cookies on the parchment paper lined baking sheet. When the sheet is all filled up, sprinkle a little sugar on top of each cookie. Place in the oven for maybe 7-10 minutes or so. Be sure to pull cookies out and check bottoms for some golden browning because these babies can be tricky and you do my want to over cook them! Remove cookies and let cool completely.
While cookies are cooling, get ready to make your fluff! Bring out your upside down coconut milk and open it upside down with a can opener. The top liquidy part of the milk you are going to pour off into a bowl and save for a yummy smoothie later…that’s what I did! The part that you want is below that liquid in a more solid form…mmmm….that is your treasure! Scrap the solid coconut milk out of can and into a bowl. Get your beaters out and blend baby, blend! The coconut milk will soften and turn into a whipped frosting. Add a little powdered sugar, if you wish, but this stuff is amazing without! You will have to hold yourself back from licking the bowl, watch! 🙂 When you have whipped the frosting to your liking, begin to frost your cookies, making them look very fluffy and cloud-like, hence the name. For extra fun, you can sprinkle cinnamon on top.

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Serve right away or store in the fridge! I love these cookies…I ate several and shared the rest! I felt like I was eating a cloud! Enjoy!

Also, for some extra fluff, here are some Easter pics up Maya and Leo for you to enjoy!

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Love the babies and their bunny ears!

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