Feeding my soul

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I am a music junkie. I love all genres and what I choose to listen to each day changes with my mood. Music is like clothes for me. I have a great big closet full (aka my phone with playlists). Its like I get to pick out my outfit for the day, right? According to my mood and energy, thats my musical outfit.  I may want to change what I’m wearing in the middle of the day, sometimes three times a day like a five year old, or add a crazy hat and scarf to the mix because my feelings and moods may change throughout a day. I like to go back and re-read that…”my feelings and moods change.” It is reassuring, especially on the days that I am feeling icky, uncomfortable feelings. They do change. Like a wave washing over me. Music helps me with that. Especially, when I am in a big wave that is tossing me around and around, my face slams into the sand, I swallow a mouthful of salt water, and I all I do is fight to reach the surface. But then, I come up. I reach the surface.

Music feeds my spirit, connects my heart, and makes me wana move! I learn from music, identify with it, cry to it, scream to it, play with it, feel with it, move with it, heal with it, and connect to it.

Another thing that feeds my soul, literally and figuratively, is food. Especially, the food that I create on my own. It is environment and Earth friendly and I feel good on a cellular level when I put it into my body. I also feel like I can connect with all living things on a higher vibration when I eat vegan friendly meals. By creating it on my own, I am channeling my energy into my food, which is just so cool to me. Before I started eating this way, I was never one to sit down and create a meal. It was irritating to me, actually. But, since I made the switch in my diet, I never feel that way anymore, ever. I feel like there is an art to this and I love creating things. I also love to eat. So, to have found a way to channel my creative juices, eat my masterpieces, and then share it with you is beyond me. I owe that to the universe for taking me here.

Today, I have two delicious desserts to serve you. They are both raw, vegan, gluten-free, and even beautiful to look at! They are also both Raw Cheesecake Bars. One is fruit based and the other incorporates your veggies! So, you have choices here, or you can make both, like I did in a matter of a couple days a part from one another, because my taste buds were screaming for more!

Raw Blackberry Cheesecake Bars, inspired by choosingraw.com.

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For the crust:

1 1/2 cups raw walnuts

1 cup dates, pitted

1/8 teaspoon of salt

For the filling:

1 cup blackberries

1 cup raw cashews, soaked at least 2 hours & rinsed/drained

1/2 cup coconut oil, melted so it is liquid

1/3 cup maple syrup

To Prepare:

In a food processor, blend all of the crust ingredients together. It should be ground up as much as possible and sticking together.

Lightly grease a casserole dish or baking pan with coconut oil. Then press the crust ingredients into the bottom of the dish. My crust ingredients did not fill the entire bottom of the dish. I formed it into a square by using a wooden spatula to press down the crust and even the edges. You can make the crust as big or small as you’d like. Keep in mind, the bigger you make the crust, the thinner it will be. So, if you like a medium to thicker crust, like I do, trim it down. After you have your crust set up, put it in the fridge while you prepare the filling.

In a food processor, process the filling ingredients till smooth and creamy-like. Feel free to taste test, I always do, just to make sure you are satisfied because you can always add more of something if needed.

Then bring the crust out from the fridge and gently pour the filling mixture on top of the crust. Again, I used my wooden spatula to spread the top layer evenly over the crust and evening off the edges.

Put the dish in the fridge for up to 2-3 hours. You could serve sooner than that, but keep in mind that the bars will be a little softer. Cut into bar shapes when you are ready to serve. Store in the fridge. Enjoy!

My second set of cheesecake bars I am just so tickled about! I created them myself, with a little inspiration from the blackberry cheesecake bars. I have been racking my brain for some fall recipes and I finally landed with these babies. These are bound to bring the holiday cheer out of your loved ones in the upcoming holiday season! Again, they are raw, vegan, and gluten-free, weeeeeee!

I give you…

Raw Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars

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For the crust:

1 1/2 cups of raw walnuts

1/4 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut

1 cup dates, pitted

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/8 teaspoon salt

For the filling:

1 cup raw cashews, soaked for at least 2 hours, rinsed & drained

1/4 cup water (or less, maybe. choose your consistency)

1/3 cup maple syrup

1/4 cup carrots, shredded

1 cup pumpkin puree

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/8 teaspoon salt

2 or more teaspoons of pumpkin pie spice, to taste ( this spice makes it. I was just adding ingredients, not exactly keeping track of the measurements. So, keep taste testing till you land on your taste.

2 teaspoons cinnamon, to taste (again, taste test!)

1/2 to 1 teaspoon ground ginger, to taste

3-4 tablespoons of coconut oil

Few splashes of almond milk (optional)

To Prepare:

In a food processor, blend all of the crust ingredients together. It should be ground up as much as possible and sticking together.

Lightly grease a casserole dish or baking pan with coconut oil. Then press the crust ingredients into the bottom of the dish. My crust ingredients did not fill the entire bottom of the dish. I formed it into a square by using a wooden spatula to press down the crust and even the edges, just like the blackberry bars. You can make the crust as big or small as you’d like. Keep in mind, the bigger you make the crust, the thinner it will be. So, if you like a medium to thicker crust, like I do, trim it down. After you have your crust set up, put it in the fridge while you prepare the filling.

In a food processor, process the filling ingredients till smooth and creamy-like. Feel free to taste test, I always do, just to make sure you are satisfied because you can always add more of something if needed. Especially with this one, I kept adding more of the spices, pumpkin pie spice and cinnamon, until I was satisfied!

Then bring the crust out from the fridge and gently pour the filling mixture on top of the crust. Again, I used my wooden spatula to spread the top layer evenly over the crust and evening off the edges.

Put the dish in the fridge for up to 2-3 hours. You could serve sooner than that, but keep in mind that the bars will be a little softer. Cut into bar shapes when you are ready to serve. Sprinkle some cinnamon or the pumpkin pie spice on top. Store in the fridge. Enjoy!

Well, that’s a wrap. I hope you love these bars as much as I do. I think I have eaten one, or more than one every day over the past week…I have also shared them with friends, too…which is the best part!  Who knew I would be vegan and eating “cheesecake,” right? I thought those days were over. Ha!

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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.

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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

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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!

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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!

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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

Heaven in your Hand

That’s right, this post is about how to create heaven in your hand. Or, maybe I should have said heaven in your belly. Either way, I hope this mini masterpiece that I brewed up today sends your soul to the moon and back like it did for me.

When I made the decision to start eating vegan friendly foods I knew that I was going to be giving up some yummies that I just wasn’t sure I could find good enough substitutes for. Thick, delicious, mouth- watering, tastebud -electrifying cheesecake was one of those yummies on my list. 

Have no fear, cheesecake is here!

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I give you Raw Mini Cheesecake Bites! Aren’t they just adorable?! Adorable in your mouth, too!

Walnut Crust:

2/3 cup walnuts

1/3 cup shredded coconut

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

salt to taste

2 medjool dates, pitted

Filling:

1 cup of cashews, macadamia, maybe even hazelnuts?! (have fun with it!); soaked for at least an hour…could probably even get away with 1/2 hr

1/4 cup water (maybe more, depending on the consistency you like…should be creamy like)

1 lime or 1/2 lemon juice

1 tablespoon coconut oil

2 tablespoons maple syrup (or agave)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract (maybe more, to taste)

salt to taste

*taste test the filling to see if it is to your liking (not like I needed to tell you, ha!)

Prepare the crust by food processing all the ingredients. Then I sprayed some nonstick spray in some cupcake wrappers (just incase, you prob don’t need spray) and place wrappers in cupcake tin. Then scoop out crust combo into wrappers, serving as your bottom layer. Then put in fridge, while preparing the rest. You can make the crust as thin or thick as you’d like.

Then, for the “creamcheese” part, again, in a food processor combine all ingredients. Then bring your crusts back out and scoop the filling on top of each little crust. Again, you can put as much or as little as your prefer. I think I ended up making about 5-6 mini cheesecake bites with the measure ingredients I listed above. Play with it!

Put in freezer to let it set up for at least an hour.

When you are ready to serve, add ANY, and I mean just about ANY topping of your choice. I love these little bites so much for their flexibility with toppings. I added coconut to one, walnuts to another, chocolate chips, cinnamon on one, and shelled hemp seeds work great,too. And if you are into naked plane jane cheesecake bites, then eat it up, because these guys are just as fab without toppings! So much fun coming up with different ideas! I love letting my creativity fire with stuff like this!

I even got real funky with it and created a strawberry surprise with my cheesecake bite! I whipped up some chia seed pudding (1 cup almond milk & 2 tbsp chia seeds), sliced some strawberries, and bathed my cheesecake bite topped with shredded coconut in the strawberry-chia seed bath! So tasty & pretty to look at!

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Light & Love,
Amanda

Breathe & Eat

“I’m breathing in. I’m breathing out.”

Some days, this is my mantra all day long. I learned this mantra from my yoga practice, go figure,and I apply it to my life. Why, you ask? Well, because it works! Where thoughts go, energy goes, right? The first time I used this mantra, it was in one of my Vinyasa flow yoga classes. Because it is summer, it seems as if the heated studios we practice in have been extra sweaty. I am all about the extra sweat and releasing extra toxins, but what comes with that is extra opportunities for me to calm my thoughts that tell me, “Wahh! This is crazy! Give up!” One hot, sweaty, deliciously juicy class not too long ago, my mind was doing just this. It was doing nothing but bringing energy to it and causing my body to freak out, feel weak and want to give up. Giving up would have been fine, too, because it is what it is. However, right at that moment of choosing whether to come out of the pose or stay, my yoga teacher gave me my mantra, “I’m breathing in. I’m breathing out.” I grabbed it up and started saying it to myself while incorporating my breath and moving through the poses while sweat dripped. It was like magic. My body totally and completely hopped on board and I rode the wave till the end of the practice.

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I am so grateful for that class and I will forever be. For not only did my yoga teacher provide me with a mantra-mediation for class, but she gave me a mantra for life. Life shows up and I try to live it as it is delivered, but sometimes it is uncomfortable and my mind wants to take me everywhere but in that moment, which is where I need to be the most; feeling, accepting, learning, and embracing.

Breathing seems so basic and like “duh!” but when life gets crazy, we tend to hold our breath and tense up, when we should be doing the exact opposite. This is funny to me. I think that human beings may be the only creatures that do this in response to stress. I watch my dogs, and when they get stressed or run around, they don’t stop breathing. If anything, I see them breathe more, suckin’ down air, with their tongues all out. Amazing!

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Now, for some mexican feasting!

I recently posted the yummy raw beet ravioli recipe and I mentioned how I am all about the raw dishes, when they aren’t too complicated. I now share with you a raw taco salad recipe that was inspired by ohsheglows.com. I cannot get enough of her recipes!

This recipe is one of my favorites! I know, I know, I say this about every recipe that I post. It’s true though, and I think it’s a good thing! It was so nice to find a vegan taco salad recipe, let alone raw, because just about every time I go out to eat it is at a restaurant with mostly non-vegan dishes with my non-vegan friends and I can more times than not find a taco salad on their menu that I make the appropriate substitutions to.

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Raw Taco Salad:

Walnut Taco Meat

1/2 cup walnuts, soaked 2-8 hours

1 + 1/2 teaspoon chili powder (or more if your taste buds desire)

1/2 teaspoon chili

Sea salt, to taste

Cayenne pepper, to taste

Cashew Cream (aka, your sour cream)

1 cup macadamia or cashew nuts, soaked 2-8 hours

11-12 tablespoons water, for desired consistency (I think I ended up using about 1/2 cup)

2-3 tablespoons of lemon juice

Sea salt, to taste (just over 1/4 teaspoon)

Guacamole

1 large avocado

1/4 cup chopped red onion

1/2 small tomato, chopped

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoons lime juice

Scant 1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Other possible toppings you may like:

green onions, greens of choice, salsa, and some chips or crackers

Taco Meat Prep:

Drain walnuts. Food process walnut meat ingredients on pulse or chop setting until ingredients are combined. Leave walnuts somewhat chunky. Remove and set aside.

Sour Cream Prep:

Drain and rinse cashews/macadamia nuts. Add to processor and process. Stream in water (close to 1/2 cup maybe) and a couple tablespoons of lemon juice. Add water as needed. Sauce should be smooth and not grainy. Add seasonings to taste.

Guac Prep:

Medium size bowl, mash avocado flesh with fork, leaving some chunks. Stir in chopped tomato, onion, lime juice, and seasonings to taste.

To assemble all the layers, first, add a nice amount of greens to bast of the bowl, followed by a nice scoop (1/4 cup)  of the guac mixture. In the middle, spoon 2 tablespoons of salsa (if using) and then add some of your walnut taco meat over that. Put your cashew sour cream into a plastic baggie, twist baggie so cream moves to one corner, and snip off corner so you can squirt your sour cream on the taco salad over the taco meat. Lastly, add some chips or crackers on the side to dip or crunch over your salad. Let your taste buds have a fiesta!

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Breathe. Eat. Namaste.

Light & Love,
Amanda

Breathe & Eat

“I’m breathing in. I’m breathing out.”

Some days, this is my mantra all day long. I learned this mantra from my yoga practice, go figure,and I apply it to my life. Why, you ask? Well, because it works! Where thoughts go, energy goes, right? The first time I used this mantra, it was in one of my Vinyasa flow yoga classes. Because it is summer, it seems as if the heated studios we practice in have been extra sweaty. I am all about the extra sweat and releasing extra toxins, but what comes with that is extra opportunities for me to calm my thoughts that tell me, “Wahh! This is crazy! Give up!” One hot, sweaty, deliciously juicy class not too long ago, my mind was doing just this. It was doing nothing but bringing energy to it and causing my body to freak out, feel weak and want to give up. Giving up would have been fine, too, because it is what it is. However, right at that moment of choosing whether to come out of the pose or stay, my yoga teacher gave me my mantra, “I’m breathing in. I’m breathing out.” I grabbed it up and started saying it to myself while incorporating my breath and moving through the poses while sweat dripped. It was like magic. My body totally and completely hopped on board and I rode the wave till the end of the practice.

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I am so grateful for that class and I will forever be. For not only did my yoga teacher provide me with a mantra-mediation for class, but she gave me a mantra for life. Life shows up and I try to live it as it is delivered, but sometimes it is uncomfortable and my mind wants to take me everywhere but in that moment, which is where I need to be the most; feeling, accepting, learning, and embracing.

Breathing seems so basic and like “duh!” but when life gets crazy, we tend to hold our breath and tense up, when we should be doing the exact opposite. This is funny to me. I think that human beings may be the only creatures that do this in response to stress. I watch my dogs, and when they get stressed or run around, they don’t stop breathing. If anything, I see them breathe more, suckin’ down air, with their tongues all out. Amazing!

IMG_0201

Now, for some mexican feasting!

I recently posted the yummy raw beet ravioli recipe and I mentioned how I am all about the raw dishes, when they aren’t too complicated. I now share with you a raw taco salad recipe that was inspired by ohsheglows.com. I cannot get enough of her recipes!

This recipe is one of my favorites! I know, I know, I say this about every recipe that I post. It’s true though, and I think it’s a good thing! It was so nice to find a vegan taco salad recipe, let alone raw, because just about every time I go out to eat it is at a restaurant with mostly non-vegan dishes with my non-vegan friends and I can more times than not find a taco salad on their menu that I make the appropriate substitutions to.

IMG_7355

Raw Taco Salad:

Walnut Taco Meat

1/2 cup walnuts, soaked 2-8 hours

1 + 1/2 teaspoon chili powder (or more if your taste buds desire)

1/2 teaspoon chili

Sea salt, to taste

Cayenne pepper, to taste

Cashew Cream (aka, your sour cream)

1 cup macadamia or cashew nuts, soaked 2-8 hours

11-12 tablespoons water, for desired consistency (I think I ended up using about 1/2 cup)

2-3 tablespoons of lemon juice

Sea salt, to taste (just over 1/4 teaspoon)

Guacamole

1 large avocado

1/4 cup chopped red onion

1/2 small tomato, chopped

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoons lime juice

Scant 1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Other possible toppings you may like:

green onions, greens of choice, salsa, and some chips or crackers

Taco Meat Prep:

Drain walnuts. Food process walnut meat ingredients on pulse or chop setting until ingredients are combined. Leave walnuts somewhat chunky. Remove and set aside.

Sour Cream Prep:

Drain and rinse cashews/macadamia nuts. Add to processor and process. Stream in water (close to 1/2 cup maybe) and a couple tablespoons of lemon juice. Add water as needed. Sauce should be smooth and not grainy. Add seasonings to taste.

Guac Prep:

Medium size bowl, mash avocado flesh with fork, leaving some chunks. Stir in chopped tomato, onion, lime juice, and seasonings to taste.

To assemble all the layers, first, add a nice amount of greens to bast of the bowl, followed by a nice scoop (1/4 cup)  of the guac mixture. In the middle, spoon 2 tablespoons of salsa (if using) and then add some of your walnut taco meat over that. Put your cashew sour cream into a plastic baggie, twist baggie so cream moves to one corner, and snip off corner so you can squirt your sour cream on the taco salad over the taco meat. Lastly, add some chips or crackers on the side to dip or crunch over your salad. Let your taste buds have a fiesta!

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Breathe. Eat. Namaste.

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

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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