Ring Ring…Universe Calling

IMG_1766

“Respond to every call that excites your spirit.” -Rumi

I love this quote. I love many quotes from Rumi. I can connect to them. But this one, can I say, really excited my spirit.

There are a few callings that have been pending for me lately… becoming a yoga teacher and writing a book are the two loudest ones at the moment. And I am sure many more will come. But those are the two currently that the universe is putting in motion for me and I there are times where I question myself, and I ask myself, “Am I really supposed to do those things?!” And then I find myself getting down or discouraged because certain things are not quite in order and I want to do these things right now! Then, I saw this quote. It was like my permission from the universe and it sent electricity through every cell in my body and immediately raised my vibration.

I believe that I have daily callings and life callings. Many of my life callings I feel I am putting into action now or preparing to put them in action, and I believe that more will continue to be revealed to me. As for my daily callings, sometimes they stay the same each day and sometimes they change. Sometimes my calling for the day is to do a crazy dance, paint a pretty picture, write a thank you note, smile at a stranger,  take my pups to a new dog park, stand on my head in yoga, clean the house, call an old friend, smell a flower, have a dance party in my car, have a movie night with my hunnie, swim in the ocean, or just simply rest. Sometimes it is several of those callings in one day. The point is, they all excite my spirit and I think that aside from creating awareness in our mind and space in our hearts, we are here to respond to the callings that excite our souls.

Another thing that excites my spirit is eating food and sharing it with you!

Today I have two salads that are bound to excite your spirit, that’s for sure. They aren’t your ordinary greens and lettuce type of salads, but they will certainly raise your vibration of your taste buds and your body will be thanking you over and over again.

The first salad is the Southwestern Sweet Potato Salad that was inspired by twopeasandtheirpod.com. The colors were like one bug party in my salad bowl and the taste was delicious! I definitely had seconds!

IMG_1596

You Will Need:

4 medium sweet potatoes, peeled & cut into 3/4 inch slices

1 tablespoon olive oil

salt & pepper, to taste

1 ear of sweet corn, husked or frozen corn

1 15oz can black beans, rinsed & drained

1 red pepper, diced

2 green onions, chopped

1/2 cup cilantro, chopped

2 avocados, pit & skin removed, chopped

juice from 2 limes

salt & pepper, to taste

To Prepare:

In a large bowl, toss the sweet potato slices with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Place the sweet potatoes on a grill over medium heat. Cook until tender, about 8-10 minutes on each side. When the potatoes are close to being finished, place the ear of corn on the grill and cook for 3-4 minutes, rotating the cob so all the sides are cooked evenly. I only had frozen corn, so I steamed my corn separately in a pan on my stove. Let the sweet potatoes and corn cool to room temp.

Cut the sweet potatoes into cubes and place in a large bowl. Remove the corn kernels with a sharp knife from the cob. Put the corn in the bowl with the potatoes. Stir in the black beans, red pepper, green onions, cilantro, and avo. Squeeze lime juice over the salad and stir until combined. Season with salt & pepper. Serve & enjoy!

*Salad will keep in fridge for up to 2 days.

If you are not in the southwestern mood, this next salad may be for you. It is the Quinoa Salad with Asparagus, Peas, Avocado & a Lemon Basil Dressing, also inspired by twopeasandtheirpod.com.

IMG_1763

You Will Need:

For the Lemon-Basil Dressing:

3 tablespoons olive oil

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 teaspoon honey or agave or maple syrup

1 garlic clove, minced

1 tablespoon fresh basil, finely chopped

Salt & pepper, to taste

For the Salad:

2 cups water

1 cup quinoa

2 teaspoons olive oil

1 small bunch asparagus, about 15 spears, cut into 1-inch pieces

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1 cup frozen peas

1 avocado, chopped

Salt & pepper, to taste

1/4 cup basil, chopped (optional)

To Prepare:

In a small bowl, combine the dressing ingredients. Whisk to combine or shake up in a jar or container with a lid. Set aside.

Add water and quinoa to a saucepan and bring to boil over medium heat. Boil for about 5 minutes and then turn the heat to low and simmer with lid for 15 minutes, or until the water is absorbed.

While the quinoa is cooking, cook the asparagus. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the asparagus and fresh lemon juice. Cook until tender, about 5 mins. Stir in the peas and cook for an additional 2 minutes.

In a large bowl, combine quinoa, asparagus, peas, and avo. Pour the dressing over the salad and stir until evenly coated. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Stir in fresh basil if you choose. Serve and enjoy!

*I topped my salad off with shredded zucchini I had leftover from another recipe and some shelled hemp seeds. Also, I made this salad again the next day (because it was so tasty, everyone ate it right up!) but I also added some broccoli into the skillet with the peas and asparagus and mixed to together with quinoa. Just as tasty! Feel free to add whatever your tummy is telling you it needs! Just because there is an ingredient list and instructions, doesn’t mean you can’t step outside that and get a little crazy! Whatever excites that beautiful spirit of yours, get it on, my friend!

IMG_1701

Light & Love,
Amanda

Let yourself off the hook!

‘Ello loves! & Happy Friday!

I woke up this morning not the way that I intended to kick off my Friday morning. Not. At. All. I’d like to blame it on a female hormonal imbalance, if you get my drift. Normal morning tasks, like walking the dogs and doing my morning meditation, just seemed so…ugh! Challenging! So, after sitting in the uncomfortable feeling chair for more than I wanted to, a voice came into my head and she said, “Relax. All you have to do is your best for today. And your best for today may be different than your best was yesterday or will be tomorrow. Embrace what shows up.” Immediately, I felt some relief.

I notice that most of the time when I am struggling it is because I am the one putting all the pressure on myself. My ego tells me it is other things…my boyfriend, the dogs, homework, hormones, the weather… But, once I move into some kind of acceptance by opening my heart, embracing what is, and letting myself off the hook, I can breathe normal again.

IMG_0398

So, I made the commitment to myself to do my best today by embracing what shows up and giving myself the permission to let go no matter what. This is my mantra. And when I feel myself starting to tense up, I go right to this, and I kick my ego out of the way. Pow!

Be gentle with yourself.

To go along with today’s gentle theme, I have a real simple, but fun, recipe.

Spaghetti Squash Noodles!

Go get yourself one spaghetti squash from the grocery store…

baked-spaghetti-squash-garlic-butter-4564

Cut the squash in half (long ways)

Scoop out the seeds and set aside (maybe to roast & eat later, hmmm?)

Brush inside of squash halves with tiny amount of olive oil (maybe 1/2 tsp on each half)

Sprinkle salt & pepper over the olive oil coated halves.

Place squash halves on parchment paper lined baking sheet, the cut side down (or inside of squash facing down)

Roast squash for 30-45 minutes @ 375 degrees. (I think I might have done mine for 40 mins, some ovens get a little hotter/cooler than others)

Once you take the squash out of the oven, take a fork and start to scrap away at the inside of each squash half and the “spaghetti-like strands will start to form. I was so very amused with this process. It connected to me then where this squash got its name. 🙂 Leave the strands IN the squash and serve right out of it like a bowl or put strands in an actual bowl. (I just LOVE eating right out of the squash! Makes it so fun!)

Let cool for 5-10 minutes or so.

Season again with salt & pepper, or whatever seasons your wild heart desires and serve!

*I heated up a little spaghetti sauce and poured right on top of the squash, like it was a traditional spaghetti meal. I sprinkled a little nutritional yeast on top. I added a little side salad and some garlic bread, as well.

1003253_10100654641874532_902365329_n

Mmmm. Enjoy!

Light & Love,
Amanda

Hurry up and Slow Down!

“There is more to life than increasing its speed.” -Ghandi 

Happy Sunday! I just read this quote this morning as the sun was rising and my pups and I were waking up slowly. At least I was trying to; their agenda is always to wake up and play, play, play! I like this quote, though, and I have really been working on slowing down and noticing what goes on around me, instead of always being on the go. Or, always pushing myself and thinking, “Once I hurry up and finish this, THEN I can be happy…” This is something that my ego tells me and it is completely untrue. For when I do get finish with whatever it is, school, work, running errands, the week…then something else comes up and my ego starts yapping again. This does nothing but take me OUT of that moment, into the future, which has not even occurred yet, and it robs me of my energy, my thoughts, and a moment of happiness in itself. So, when I am in school supposed to be learning something new and bonding with my classmates and my ego starts telling me, “This class is boring…” I have learned to interrupt that ego-driven thought by telling myself, “Or, you can choose to be happy right now, embrace the experience because it may not come again and learn a whole bunch, so you can apply it to your future career.” It is easier said than done, especially in a society that trains people to go, go, go and that you need things on the outside to be happy. I work on it a day at a time and some days I am not as productive as others. I love the times I catch myself really being in the moment.When I am walking my dogs, it is one of the best times. When I am in the center of my moment, walking my dogs, I feel connected to everything. I can hear the birds, I can move with my pups as we walk together, I can smell the trees and grass, I notice colors, I see movement like butterflies fluttering and lizards scampering away to my vibration. Its magical. And if I were on the same walk with my dogs, all in my head with my ego telling me that when I am done walking them I can go on with my day then I would miss the butterflies, and the flowers that bloomed that day, and the birds singing. It amazes me. I will continue choosing happiness and being present in my moments that come along as much as I can.

IMG_0211

 

Today, I share with you one of my simplest recipes and a staple in my mind. They are raw, vegan, and full of life!

Zucchini Noodles

IMG_6894

 

They are one of the most flexible foods and that is why I love them. I can eat them plane or jazz them up with a funky sauce.

For the picture above I skinned 4 small zucchinis with a vegetable peeler. I start from one end of the zucchini and peel to the other end. Repeat thins around the zucchini until you can no longer peel.

The sauce above is an alfredo sauce:

1 cup raw cashews, soaked in water for 20 mins

3/4 cup water

1 teaspoon nutmeg

1 teaspoon lemon juice

1 teaspoon thyme

2 garlic cloves

2 tablespoons nutritional yeast (optional)

salt & pepper to taste

Combine all of the ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth. Gently run the sauce through the noodles. Serve and enjoy!

IMG_0303

 

Here is another batch of zucchini noodles I made up, but with a different sauce. For this sauce I just blended an avocado, lemon juice from a 1/2-1 whole lemon (your choice!), basil, salt, & pepper. I then sprinkled some shelled hemp seeds on top along with some edible flowers to make it pretty!

IMG_0438

 

And this last pic, I just tossed in some broccoli to my zucchini noodle mix. For the sauce I blended some basil, olive oil, salt, pepper, and some italian seasonings together. I would have added lemon juice, but I was out of lemons. I just massaged the sauce into the noodles and served with some shelled hemp seeds on top.

This is definitely a recipe that you can play with. You could even just try plane spaghetti sauce on them and I am sure it’d be lovely!

Whatever you do, be all there.

Light & Love,
Amanda

Dance to my Beets

“Wake up every morning with the thought that something wonderful is about to happen.”

I found this quote and when I read it, every cell in my body was like “OH! I like that!”

And for the most part, I think I do a nice job of having my thoughts flow similar to this one. Happy, full of love and un-fear based. But I am human, therefore, I have plenty of mornings where I wake up and it may take some coffee and a on-the-spot meditation reading to perk me back up to this level. And some days I don’t reach this state of mind until the evening approaches. Either way, I try to be gentle with myself, allow whatever will show up to be, and know that I always have a choice.Where my thoughts go, energy goes.

Sometimes, when I am having trouble interrupting my negative stream of thoughts I will just dance. Have you ever heard that movement is depression’s worst enemy? Ya! I’ll turn on some sounds that get my chakras moving and I dance. And before I know it, because I just moved a little, my once negative stream of thoughts has been shaken out and forgotten about. Sweet!

To go along with my twist and shouts, I decided to bring in the right beets to really get ya movin’!

Ra-Ra-Ra-RAWvioli

IMG_0128

Pink Ravioli!! Can you stand it?? I know I couldn’t

I love eating the plant based way! And I love LOVE eating the raw way, but preparing raw foods still intimidate me a bit. Some of the recipes I have come across have just called for machinery or ingredients that I am not capable of achieving right now. So, when I do raw, I look for the simplest, yet tasty, recipes.

I came across this ravioli made from beets and cashew cream and I was on my pink cloud (he he, get it, pink cloud. Ha!) I was inspired by rawfoodrecipes.com to create this work of art. And that is why raw food amazes me and intimidates me all at the same time. It is like art work to me. Be sure to check out this site if you want to find not only fab raw recipes, but simple ones, too! I know I plan on creating more from this site. It is just FULL of inspirational goodies!

Rawvioli with Beets and Cashew Cream Filling:

2 beets

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons agave

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1/2 cup cashews

1/4 cup water (possibly more)

1 teaspoon dried basil

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 clove garlic

Preparation:

Slice your beets thinly. Then, in a medium bowl whisk together lemon juice, agave and olive oil. Add the sliced beets and toss to coat them. Let the beets marinate in mixture for a few hours, even overnight.

When beets are finished soaking and they are softened, blend the other remaining ingredients (cashews, water, oregano, basil, salt, and garlic) until creamy.

To assemble:

Lay one slice of beet down on plate and place about a teaspoon or so of cashew cream in the center. Top with another beet slice and lightly press down. Drizzle a little olive oil on top when finished assembling beet ravioli.

Have fun with this! I was able to cut out some heart shaped beets with some kitchen scissors when I was sliced up my beets for the marinating. They pleased my inner child and my inner belly! 🙂

Just to really add a little boogie to things, you must know that beets are super special for our bodies! They build the heart muscle, calms the spirit, promotes circulation, purifies the blood, helps out the liver and adds moisture to the intestines! Soak it all up and dance it all out, my friends!

Light & Love,
Amanda

 

Ringin’ in the Summer

Hello, Summer! So happy to have run into you again!

308936_10100348513168912_1372712455_n

When I think of summer, I think of playing. I think of sunshine, picnics, camping, family reunions, swimming, water balloon fights, sprinklers, the smell of fresh cut green grass, the ice cream truck music that rolls around the neighborhoods, vacations, sunsets, lightening bugs, lemonade, fireworks, sleeping in, staying up late, four wheeling, sleepovers, marshmallow roasting, the smell of barbecues, flowers blooming, bright colored clothes, and fruit, lots and lots of fruit! Which is why I decided to kick off the summer, and maybe create a sweet treat on Father’s Day, with some summer quenching fruit recipes!

547147_10100348509186892_2002766168_n

Given that strawberries are in season, they are not only gorgeous right now, but they have all kinds of crazy-cool benefits that I found out from my Healing With Whole Foods book, by Paul Pitchford. Strawberries are cooling in thermal nature quality and they are satisfying for the functioning of the spleen and pancreas. They saturate the lungs and promote the production of body fluids. Strawberries are full of groovy nourishing properties, like silicon and vitamin C, that are beneficial for the restoration of connective tissues and arteries throughout the body. And just a little fun fact, if you would like to add some extra oomph to your teeth and gums and remove the yuckies (a.k.a. tartar), then slice a strawberry in half and rub the inside of the berry on and all around your teeth and gums. Leave the berry-goodness on your teeth and gums for 45 mins and then rinse out with some warm water. I feel that these little red goddesses get a bad rep for being on the “dirty dozen” list, but with some extra care in the rinse cycle, these babies can add some special sweetness to your insides!

168004_728536609932_1263363_n

Now for some more strawberry fun, I bring out some recipes.

My first recipe was inspired by almondsandavocados.com.

9358_10100654643945382_653411880_n

I give you Fruit Pizza with a scrumptious quinoa crust and a sweet avocado sauce that tastes like frosting! (No really, I may just use it to top off cupcakes one day, it was that delightful!)

Fruit Pizza

1/2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

3/4 cup quinoa, soaked at least 8 hours then drained & rinsed

1/4-1/2 cup water

1 tablespoon maple syrup

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 small or 1/2 large avocado

2 tablespoons water

juice from half a lime or lemon

1 tablespoon maple syrup

Fresh fruit toppings of your choice

Quinoa Crust:

Soak quinoa for AT LEAST 8 hours. This disgruntled me a little because I was ready to eat the fruit pizza yesterday when I first saw the picture of it. But, this step is important for the crust to set up just right. Then, its all a breeze. After soaking, add the quinoa, 1/4 cup water,  1 tablespoon of maple syrup, and 1/4 teaspoon of salt to a high speed blender or food processor. Blend until a pancake-like batter substance forms. You want it to be on the thicker side. Then pour onto a pan on the stove top in olive oil over medium heat. Allow to cook approximately for 5-10 minutes until the edges are brown and crisp. Flip. Repeat on the second side. You will end up with a big pancake.

After making the crust up, you can start right away with the avocado sauce or place the crust in the fridge, which is what I did, until later when you are ready to serve. Once you create the avocado sauce, you will want to serve right away. Keep all this in mind.

Sweet Avocado Cream Sauce:

Process avocado, 2 tablespoons of water, lemon/lime juice, and 1 tablespoon of maple syrup. Blend until smooth. Spread onto the quinoa crust. Be sure to revert back to childhood and lick the remaining avocado cream left behind on the food processor edges. I know I did!

Lastly, decorate your pizza! Get funky with it, too! You can use whatever your big heart desires! I used strawberries, of course, green apples, mango, and then a kiwi slice in the very center. Then I sprinkled unsweetened coconut flakes all around and served! So fresssshhh!

This is the best pizza I have ever indulged in and I didn’t have that carb-cheese hang over afterwards! It sent me to the moon it was so taste bud-quenchingly-awesome, just like my picture below that was snapped in San Francisco last summer!

283646_10100340221969542_1152071158_n

My second strawberry-goodness recipe that I have on here is just as lovely as the first.

I used chia-seeds and almond milk to form a pudding-like texture and then I just added the fruit. Ahhh, simplicity sounds so sweet to my ears…and belly!

If you have not checked out chia seeds, well then, I strongly encourage you to. They are the next best thing after glitter! Matter of fact, I give you permission to stop right now and make a trip to the store for these little wonders. I promise you, you won’t regret it. Chia seeds can be used in ANYTHING! You can add them in salads, pasta dishes, desserts, and even just a plane glass of water. Not only do they possess flexibility, but they have great health benefits. Ah-MAZ-ing!

Next to good old flax seed, chia seeds are considered to have the highest source of omega-3 fatty acids. And for your food history lesson, you must know that they were introduced by the Southwest American Indians. They would consume the seeds for energy during their strength competitions. Eat up and power up!

312120_10100639637608202_1603326116_n

This little treat can be great for breakfast, a snack, or dessert after dinner.

Chia-Seed Pudding:

Whisk together 2 tablespoons of chia seeds with 1 cup of almond milk for 15 minutes. Then let the mixture settle for 15 mins. Do this for like 3 times, the whisking & settling, because the chia seeds gel up and this helps in the formation of the pudding. Then put pudding in the fridge to chill for a little bit, or eat right away. I like it chilled. Once you are ready to eat, then add your toppings of choice. In this photo I did banana slices, strawberries, and unsweetened coconut flakes.

You can add flavor to this chia seed pudding, too. I have added 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon before. I have added carob powder (or cocoa). I have also tried added a little vanilla extract. Whatever you do, have fun with it!

Remember, its summer now! Ring the new season in by engaging in an activity that will let your body know that the seasons are changing! This is important to do for mind, body, and spirit! Buy a new outfit, clean our your closet, paint your toes a bright summery color, chase a butterfly, dance the hokey-pokey, take a bath, bite into a watermelon, or pick some flowers and breathe in their sweet fragrance. Whatever you do, smile a lot!

552094_10100350396868962_2130796094_n

Shout out to my daddy on Father’s Day! I love you and my soul bows to yours. Thank you for always being my hero, my teacher, and my biggest fan! I love  you.

IMG_0074

Light & Love,
Amanda