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

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my friends bring the love

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Hey everybody!
I wanted to do a post about friends. It makes me think of the quote, “I get by with a little help from my friends,” by The Beatles. It is the truth for me. The love that I receive from my friends and people around me is endless and perfect! Especially, my lady friends!

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They are there for my moments that I laugh, cry, scream, throw a temper tantrum and celebrate and I honor each and every one of them. Some are near and some are far away. Some were in my life for a short while and some have been in my life always. Some I work, play, meditate or do yoga with. Either way, I am never alone and it is important for me to know this and feel the love from others. And the love is received as well as given away by me. When I am connecting with my girls, I am beaming inside and out. They help me raise my own vibration, as well as the world’s vibration when we are connecting!

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When life gets funky and my ego steps in the way of my happiness and throws me off, one of the best remedies for me has been to call one of my lady loves and let her pull me out of the ego’s arms. I call one of them and talk it out over the phone or through a text, or we meet up an have a playdate. My ego loves nothing more than to make me feel like I am alone. When I bring my energy into a place of love that it shared with another, it has no choice but to rise up and expand. When I go where the love is, I am fulfilling my function of happiness in this world; I am stepping into the light within myself that is always lit no matter what my ego tells me. So, to all of my lady friends out there, I love you all and I honor every one of you.

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One of the best activities I love doing with my girlfriends is making good food and enjoying it together. I love dinner parties… And breakfast, lunch and dessert parties! So, for today’s post, I have two recipes for you and I am going with the green theme, given that this was a green month for St. Patty’s Day!

Green Chakra Breakfast Smoothie

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You will need:
Kale (handful)
1 Banana
Handful of mango (I use frozen)
Almond butter (spoonful)
Almond milk
Cayenne pepper (a few sprinkles, to taste)

To prepare:
Mix everything together in a blender. Taste to make sure you have enough cayenne pepper. I really enjoy this smoothie because I taste all of the ingredients and then there is the kick from the cayenne in the end. It is delightful and will open your heart right up!

Avo-Edamame Sandwich Spread with Kale

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You will need:
1 cup of frozen shelled edamame, steamed
1 avocado
Lemon juice
Veganaise
1 garlic clove, minced
Salt & pepper, to taste
Slices of gluten free bread, toasted
Kale

To prepare:
Steam the edamame. Once steamed, add the edamame to a food processor and pulse until the edamame is all chopped up. Add the avocado and the other ingredients and mix together well in the food processor. Taste testing is welcomed to see if you need more of one ingredient or not. Toast the slices of bread. Spread the edamame mixture on each slice. De-stem the kale and slip it in between the edamame mixture. Cut the sandwich in half and enjoy!

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Love & Light >

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

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

Have a cookie!

Hello! Happy Monday and welcome to December, one of the fastest moving months! Woo! It seems as though Decemeber always seems to creep into November with the Christmas excitement around the corner; Christmas music playing on the radio stations, twinkling lights throughout the neighborhoods, and red and green filling up the shopping centers! After the Thanksgiving holiday passed, I couldn’t help myself…I went into our attic and pulled out the few Christmas decorations we have and decorated our home. It brings a whole new energy to the place and I completely dig it! We can’t get a tree this year because we have two adorable pups that are still under one year old and it would be tragic if they decided to eat a Christmas tree with ornaments for a late night snack, ha! So, we have a little tree up where they can’t reach that will due.
My favorite thing I like about this holiday is the inner child in me that it brings out to play. From holiday cookies to, snow angels, to gingerbread houses, to Christmas lights, to stocking stuffers, to flying reindeer, to the grinch that stole Christmas, to snowballs, to sledding, to family members overload, to yummy food, to the star on top of the tree, to ice skating…. I could go on forever!
My hope for you is to find your inner child throughout this holiday season and bring him or her out to play! Show up fully & get goofy! Some of my happiest memories come from the winter and the holidays!
Every Christmas holiday growing up my mom would create dozens of different kinds of cookies (she still does!). She would freeze them so they stayed fresh and create little plates filled with cookies for friends, family members, and sometimes complete strangers… Which was the best! One special cookie that my mom makes during the holidays and all year round, that all my friends would come to my house and eat up, are her chocolate chip cookies! They are the best and I have modified her recipe to be vegan, gluten-free and just as tasty for the holidays that are speedily approaching! You can never go wrong with a chocolate chip cookie!

Gluten-free/Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies

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You will need:
1 1/8 cup gluten free flour of your choice (Bob’s Red Mill has a great gluten free all purpose flour)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter (Earth Balance vegan spread)
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 flax egg (1 tablespoons ground flax seed + 3 tablespoons water)
1/2 package of your choice vegan chocolate chips
1/2 cup gluten free oats (Bob’s Red Mill has some)

To Prepare:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Prepare your flax egg by mixing the flax & water together to let it gel up a little bit. Mix all the ingredients together.
Form little balls (tablespoonful) out of your cookie dough and place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or greased with vegan butter or a spray to prevent sticking.
Bake for 9-11 minutes and then take out of the over to let cool for a couple of minutes.
Serve with a glass of almond milk. Mmmmm…enjoy!

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And if your lucky… You’ll have some company who will want to lick up the excess cookie dough that got caught on the beaters and the remnants left in the bowl! That was always my favorite thing as a kid…sneaking the raw cookie batter which the biggest spoon possible and running into another room to eat it ferociously before I got caught! Lucky for you, this batter is vegan and completely edible in the raw!! 🙂

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Light & Love,
Amanda

Recess

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Hello! I hope your weekend was glorious! Did you find any time to play? Remember when we were children and in school we were given a recess? It was that time in the day that was scheduled in there and you did nothing but play. I can remember my play changing at recess as I grew up. In kindergarten it was about running around on the playground or playing board games if we were kept inside because of the rain. This continued through third grade, I say. Then, from like the third to sixth grade it was about getting curious about the boys, still being grossed out by their existence, but playing games that included them, usually games where boys chased after the girls. It was thrilling and engaging, but awkward because curiosity in the opposite sex was creeping in, and I remember wanting to know what that was about. Then in seventh and eighth grade it was about getting together with my girlfriends to chat (usually about the boys)  and hang out while the boys ran around and played football or basketball at recess. There was no more running around for the girls, but there was still that time that we were allowed to have out of our school day  to do whatever we wanted with. Then came high school and no more recess. What’s up with that?

I think it is important to give ourselves a recess no matter what grade or age you are. And that recess could be so many things for each individual. Whatever it is, I hope it allows you to let you inner child play, shine, sing, dance, run, jump, sparkle, rest, release, imagine, connect, or  bloom.

For this weeks recipe post I have another meatball recipe! This one is even groovier then that last one i posted not too long ago. This recipe is inspired by ohmyveggies.com. This recipe was not origially vegan, so I made some tweaks to make it so. 🙂 It is also gluten-free, weeeee!

Broccoli Parmesan “Meat”balls

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You will need:

1/2 cup raw almonds

1 large head of broccoli, cut into florets & steamed (makes about 2 cups worth)

1/2 shredded vegan parmesan cheese ( I use the Go Veggie! brand)

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1 flax egg (1 tablespoon ground flax seed + 3 tablespoons warm water)

Salt and pepper, to taste

A muffin tin

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To Prepare:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Make up your flax egg by whisking the flax and water together in a small bowl and setting aside to let it gel up.

Steam your broccoli.

In a food processor, process the almonds until they are coarsely ground (do not under or over- process the almonds). Then place your almonds aside in a separate bowl.

After your broccoli is steamed, add it to the food processor and pulse until it is chopped up. Then add the flax egg, garlic, parmesan cheese, and salt & pepper to the broccoli in the food processor and process until mixed together.

Then add the broccoli-parm combination to the almonds in the bowl. Mix together well.

Spray a muffin tin with a nonstick spray of your choice.

Form balls out of the broccoli mixture and place each one into its own spot in the muffin tin. Bake until the meatballs are golden on the outside and heated through; about 20 mins. Remove the tin from the oven and let cool before popping each ball out.

These guys can be eaten with pretty much anything. They are very flexible & I love how they taste! The day I made them I was in a hurry, so I just pulled them out of the oven and plopped them on top of some quinoa (sorry my picture above looks so plain). But they could be great with spaghetti sauce and noodles, or just plain with the sauce, in a sandwich, or on a salad. Have fun with them! I know I did and I can’t wait to make them again! Enjoy!
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Namaste.

Light & Love,
Amanda

Ringin’ in the Summer

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

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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!

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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!

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

My first recipe was inspired by almondsandavocados.com.

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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!

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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!

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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!

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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.

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Light & Love,
Amanda

Meet me upside down!

So, in my yoga practice I have been really working on inversions.You know, hand stands, head stands, tripods, and wheels, among others. I have found them to be the most liberating and challenging poses all at the same time! Some I can do without assistance and some, well, I use my good friend, Wall, to lean on from time to time. What I have uncovered is that the most challenging aspect of inversions lies in my mind, rather than in my strength. Just like when I am approaching a scary opportunity in life, that fear is all in my mind, too. Funny how life shows up on my yoga mat, er, my yoga mat is a representation of my life. Ha!

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Unforgettable words that my dad used to share with me as a little girl, “Its all in your mind, Amanda. Go for it!” So, I have been. And with the inversions that I still lean on Wall for, well, instead of judging myself that its not good enough and telling myself that I should have gotten this pose by now, I have moved to a place of acceptance and gratitude. I thank my body for showing up for me. And I keep practicing. And I keep noticing my thoughts. And that is what its all about!

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Challenge yourself! Meet me upside down! I try to take a moment out of each of my days to do this. Sometimes it is only for 10 seconds and others its an hour (with breaks) of just practicing inversions, and of course I get to practice my inversions in my yoga classes with the energy of my fellow yogis and my fabulous teachers encouraging and assisting me. It is nice to take a break between my work-homework-puppy shuffle just to play and let my world go upside down. It helps me to change my perception, even if only for a moment. It gets my cells in sync, my blood flowing, cleanses my arteries of toxic substances, and it makes my heart happy and chill. (No really, inverting puts the heart into relax mode!)

What is that saying, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away?” I will add onto this and say, “An inversion a day keeps the doctor away!”

So, here’s to turning your world upside down!

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After all that, I think it is time for a little snack. But, please, do not attempt to make this snack while you are upside down! 🙂

I give you Plant-Based “Tuna” Salad!

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Ingredients:

4 cups of cooked garbanzo beans (chick peas) (your “tuna”)

1/2-3/4 cup of veganaise

2 celery stalks, diced

1/4 onion, diced

3 tablespoons mustard

Splashes of rice wine vinegar

Salt & Pepper to taste

Mash up the garbanzo beans. Then mash and mix all the other ingredients together! Voila!

In this pic I used thin brown rice cakes. I loaded up a generous scoop of my tuna salad onto the rice cake. Then, I sliced up some cucumbers and put a slice of cucumber on top of the “tuna.” So tasty! I could not stop eating this. I ate it right out of the container without any rice cake or cucumber, as well. It was THAT good.

Also, just a little side note for, garbanzo beans are favorable to the pancreas, stomach, and heart, according to my food bible, Healing With Whole Foods, by Paul Pitchford. You can get a double dose of heart-balancing energy from your headstands and garbanzos! YUM!

Enjoy!

Light & Love,
Amanda

Puppies with a side of Graham Crackers!

I would like to introduce you to my little darlings, Maya & Leo.

Maya is about 6 months old now and leo is about 3 months old. They are both Labrador pups and the most delicious pups I have ever laid my eyes on. Wouldn’t you agree?

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My boyfriend, Wade, and I adopted Maya first. We had the idea that we wanted two dogs to keep each other company and bring double the love and fun into our home, but we started with one to make sure we were capable parents. And after lots of getting up in the wee hours of the morning and cleaning up potty accidents, we decided we were ready for our Leo.

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We adopted Leo on my birthday! We brought Maya with us to help pick her brother out and to see if they mingled well, and oh, did they ever! They love to cuddle with each other, as well as with us. And it is so delightful!

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And aside from the cuddling and cuteness, Maya and Leo have brought Wade and I a bucket of opportunities to learn from when it comes to patience, love, forgiveness, kindness, control and being in the moment. How grateful we are to our little fur balls of energy!

Now, aside from chasing our tails, lets get crackin’, graham crackin’, that is! Mmmm…

This past weekend I was looking for a creamy dessert with a crunch, I mean, who isn’t, right? I not only found the dessert sent from heaven, but I also found another one that reminded me of my childhood, which is always a great thing, because that means I get to play!

I remember when my mother would serve me graham crackers with a glass of milk. I would dip the graham crackers in the milk, let them soak up the liquid, and then devour! It was always such a great snack at any time of the day: breakfast, mid-day snack, or after dinner for dessert. Mom was a genius! So, I came across this recipe on ohsheglows.com that called for crushed up graham crackers. I did not have any graham crackers, nor was I going to make a special trip to the grocery store. On the same post, there was a recipe for home made graham crackers (probably for people like me who are not going to make that trip to the store, right?). I just happened to have all the ingredients! And, I was off.

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They not only tasted like, if not better than, the graham crackers I dipped in milk as a child, but they were enjoyable to make and my inner little girl got to make all sorts of fun cut out shapes. It is very similar to making cut out cookies once the dough is made. You just roll it out and design away! I made hearts, along with squares and rectangles and poked holes in them with a fork to give them the traditional graham cracker look!

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Then, once the crackers are made you can do SO many fun creations with them. As pictured above, I put some sunflower seed butter in between two graham crackers and made a mini peanut butter sammy. I also lathered some sunflower seed butter on the heart shaped cracker and sprinkled some shelled hemp seeds on top! Ah-Mazing!

You could also crush up the graham crackers with a few other yummy ingredients and come up with a fabulous pie crust or cheesecake pie crust. Or sprinkle crushed up crackers on top of some ice cream (raw banana ice cream, of course! Recipe to come in the future)! If your an outdoor-campfire seeker, roast up some marshmallows and make s’mores! What fun! Or, if you want to hop into my childhood memory, simple just serve some crackers plane with a nice cup of almond milk to dip them in! So many possibilities!

Here is the recipe for these crackers that sent me down memory lane.

Home Made Vegan Graham Crackers:

Dry Ingredients:

1.5 cup whole wheat pastry flour

1 tablespoons sugar

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/8 teaspoon ginger

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon salt

Wet Ingredients:

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons almond milk

3 tablespoons creamy peanut butter

2 tablespoons maple syrup

2 tablespoons molasses

1/2 tablespoon ground flax seed + 1 tablespoon water (modified egg)

Preheat over to 350 degrees. Mix together the flax seed and water in small bowl and set aside for at least 5 mins to gel up a little bit. Mix all of the dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Then mix your wet ingredients in a small bowl, also adding in your water-flax combo. Combine wet and dry ingredients together. Stir with a spoon. The dough will start to turn really thick, and when this starts to happen, forget about the spoon and use those hands, sista! Form the dough into two balls.

Lightly flour counter top or cutting board and roll out the balls of dough, one at a time. Be careful not to make the dough too thin when you are rolling it out. Each time you roll the dough out, get your cut outs ready or a knife to create shapes! I was able to draw my shapes with a knife just fine. If you do the traditional square/rectangle graham cracker shape, take a fork and make little holes in the dough down the middle of cracker. Most importantly, have fun!

Each shape that you create, place on parchment paper lined baking sheet and maybe sprinkle with a little sugar on top. Put in the over for 15-18 mins, rotating the crackers 180 degrees halfway through, not flipping. But, if you accidentally flip them, like I did, it is not the end of the world! They still came out fabulous! 🙂

Allow the crackers to cool for about 10 mins and then eat ’em up! Enjoy!

Light & Love,
Amanda