Drop the plans and make a pizza

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

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

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

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

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

And I call it the….

Pizza Fantasia

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

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

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

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

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

Cinnamon Banana Hemp Seed Freezer Fudge

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

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

Light & Love,
Amanda

Creating Space

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Hi everyone!
My days are filled with people and situations that provide me with opportunities; opportunities to choose love and happiness or to choose fear and unhappiness. I must remind myself that I have these choices and that they both cannot live in the same space. I am either choosing love or fear…and let me tell you, love always trumps! Love is the miracle-maker and it always gives me exactly what I need. Love opens doors, unlocks the miracles, frees my heart and creates an unlimited amount of space within me to extend out to others. Fear shuts down, puts down, paralyzes and constricts any energy from flowing.
So, how do we integrate a more loving conversation in life? It begins with creating the space in our thoughts. People and situations show up as divine assignments to show me how to heal, learn and let go. My most challenging assignments show up in my relationship with my boyfriend. We attracted one another to heal, love and enjoy one another. One of my biggest lessons with him have been learning how to tap into my inner goddess for self acceptance and love, and not relying on him for those things. Past experiences that he triggers in the present challenge me in these areas. Some days, I am on point and others, the best I can do is have a meltdown. We all get into relationships with our own past experiences that have turned into conversations within the thoughts that run through our heads presently.The thing is, that conversation that was generated from the past, is in the past, there fore, it does not have to be real now in the present moment. It is our job to recognize those conversations as not real anymore and create the space for what is so that love can radiate through us.

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Here are some simple steps that I have been using in my interactions to get myself out of my past conversations that replay in my head and into what’s real in the present moment.

1: Notice. Any behavior change always starts with noticing the behavior first. Nothing can change if you are not aware that it is occurring, right? If I am unable to notice, then I am screwed because chances are I may just be reacting out of ego, and usually these snap reactions are fearbased and imbedded from th past. So, I begin created new neural pathways in my brain by keeping it simple and noticing. Sometimes, I write about what I see myself doing. I notice what is happening around and within me when I feel like I am being triggered. I notice the conversation that is taking place in my head. Is it love or fear-based? If this conversation makes me feel good, it is probably love, but if I start to squirm, it is most likely fear driving them and after the thoughts start rolling in, then the unproductive behavior follows. So, start noticing the thoughts before th behaviors have a chance to rise. And just like anything, this is a practice. Some days, I am extremely aware and I can pause and stay still and allow the untrue thoughts to dissolve. Other days, when I am more sensitive, I will just bypass any noticing and have a knee-jerk reaction, which usually ends up with me in some kind of upset. Whether I roll through a temper tantrum or not, eventually I always get back to noticing my thoughts again. It is important to be gentle with yourself and love yourself through these experiences like you would a best friend!
2: Decide. After I notice what is happening within my thoughts, then I make a decision. I decide whether the conversation in my head is real or not real based off of the situation I am in where I feel triggered. Again, fear makes us act in funky ways. So, if I perceive something as fearful based on my past experiences and I notice myself starting to feel uncomfortable, then I can probably make the assumption that I am operating from ego. I decide if the story I am telling myself is a reenactment of the past or not; real or make-believe. The ego loves to play with the make-believe because we stay stuck here; we search but never seem to find what we are looking for. It can be tricky to see past the ego, so I coach myself through it by giving myself little affirmations such as, “I can see peace instead of this, “What would it look like to let this go?” or “Thank you, Universe, for showing me how to see this differently.” A Course in Miracles says, “When ancient memories of hate appear, remember that their cause is gone,” therefore, it is up to me to forgive the past experiences that are showing up because they are showing up as an opportunity to create space for love by releasing them.

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Now, for a yummy pizza recipe to wrap this up! Today, I have one of my vegan, gluten free, quinoa crust pizzas! So simple and delicious!

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You will need:
1 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil
3/4 cup quinoa – soaked for at least 8 hours, rinsed & drained.
1/4-1/2 cup water (maybe…according to dough consistency)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 garlic clove
2 teaspoon of dried seasonings (I think I just used some Italian seasoning mixture and a teaspoon of dried parsley)
Toppings: hummus, cucumber, arugula and carrots

To Prepare:
Set the oven to 450 degrees. Spread the tablespoon of coconut or olive oil in a 9-inch round cake pan. In a food processor mix all of the ingredients, except the toppings, together to create your pizza crust. Then, pour the mixture into the oil coated cake pan and place the pan in the oven for about 15-20 minutes. Then, remove the pan, flip the crust over, and bake for another 10-15 minutes. Crust should be brown and crispy on the edges. Remove crust and let cool. Prepare the veggies/toppings but cutting up the cucumber and shredding the carrots. When crust seems cool enough, spread the hummus all over the pizza, first. Then sprinkle on the arugula and cover with cucumber and them the shredded carrots last. Cut up into pizza slices and enjoy! I sure did!

Light & Love,
Amanda

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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 >

Forgiveness & Pot Pies

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Hey everyone!
This week has been about stepping into the light of love and creating space by tapping into forgiveness. I have been a student of A Course in Miracles since January 1, 2014 and I have been learning about what it is that I am here to do while living in this world; I am here to be happy, spread love and be a source of light for others! This calling rings true to every cell in my body, especially, when I am fulfilling it, however, as much as I would like to be in this space at all times, I am a human with an ego that tends to step in the way from time to time.
This week, the daily lessons that I have been learning and practicing have strung together into a beautiful theme of forgiveness. I have accepted that one of my functions in this world is to be the light for others, but it can get messy when I hold things against people and I refuse to forgive. Therefore, my light is then temporarily dimmed in certain areas and I cannot shine as bright. I have become aware of myself and my thoughts when I do this. My ego wants to separate certain individuals that I feel need to give me an apology first in order for me to forgive them, right? Sure, but what happiness has this way of thinking brought me? I feel justified to be angry at certain people when I label them as doing me wrong. But, then again, what would it look like to let it go? Usually, when I think about letting a resentment go and visualize what I would feel like, thoughts of peace, calm, relief and love come to my mind. If this is so, then why do I do the constant back-and-forth with myself? The more experience I have with these situations, the more I am finding out that it doesn’t really matter and that forgiveness is the key to my happiness. As Louise Hay says, “When I am stuck, there is usually more forgiving that needs to be done.” Real talk.
I have mentioned before that I am a fan of taking baby steps through opportunities, such as these, when they arise and when the awareness is present. Forgiving, or overlooking, the behavior(s) of a person , place or thing that I feel has wronged me does not always come as gracefully as I would like it to …then again, sometimes it does. I have put together some steps that I like to take when I am trying to move into the space of forgiveness that will propel me back to a space of love and happiness:
1: Notice. I notice my thoughts and the lack of forgiveness along with the discomfort that is showing up because of it. I notice the thoughts and the conversation that I’m having with myself. At this point, I do not need to make any decisions. I just need to notice. Keep it simple.
2: Own it. I own my thoughts about the person, place, thing or situation that I am resistant against. When I can own my thoughts about what is going on, then I can shift the energy away from being a powerless victim. As long as I remain resistant or in blame, then I give whatever it is even more power and find myself even more binded to it.
3: Ask for help. I ask the Universe/Spirit/God/Angels/Higher Power to show me how to forgive. I only need a sliver of willingness for miracles to happen. I say simple prayers of gratitude, such as, “Thank you for showing me how to forgive,” “I am scared, but willing to forgive, thank you for showing me what to do,” or “Thank you for guiding me through this and bringing me back to love.”
4: Move. I try to engage in something that will shift my energy and get my mind off of whatever is causing a struggle or discomfort. I go do yoga, call a friend, eat something yummy, watch a movie, take a shower, clean the house, walk my pups, meet up with friends, take a nap, do something creative… Anything to get me out of the space that does not serve others or myself.

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Today’s recipe is inspired by http://www.thekitchn.com/recipe-vegan-tofu-and-vegetabl-134550. I give you vegan & gluten free:
Plentiful Pot Pie

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You will need:
Crust:
1 cup + 2 tablespoons gluten free flour
1/2 cup vegan butter (earth balance)
Water

Filling:
6-8 oz of tofu (extra firm)
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 small yellow onion, diced
1 carrot,diced (I forgot to add carrot in mine)
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 russet potato, cubed
1/4 cup gluten free flour
2 teaspoons nutritional yeast
2 tablespoons of soy sauce
1 1/4 cup veggie broth
1/2 cup frozen peas
1/2 cup frozen corn
1 teaspoon sage, finely chopped
1 teaspoon thyme
Salt & pepper, to taste

You will also need either some oven safe ramekin dishes (12 oz) or one big oven safe dish.

To Prepare:

Crust: Place the flour in a mixing bowl and place in the freezer to chill while the filling is getting prepared. Also, place a fork in the bowl of flour in the freezer.

Filling: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Cut the tofu into 1/3 inch thick cubes. Press a paper towl on the tofu to soak up any excess water.
Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a large skillet on medium heat. Add the tofu in the skillet and cook until tofu is golden brown. Remove the tofu and set aside. Add the remaining 2 tablespoon of olive oil to the skillet along with the onion, carrot and garlic and sauté until the onion and garlic is translucent. Then, add the potato to the mixture, stirring frequently, until tender. Add the flour, nutritional yeast and sou sauce to the veggie mixture. Then, add the veggie broth and stir everything together until combined. Add in the tofu, peas, corn, sage and thyme and store to combine. Season with salt and pepper and remove from the heat.

Back to the crust: Remove the bowl of flour and fork from freezer. Cut up the butter into smaller cubes or slices and add it to the flour. Using a fork, cut the mixture until it resembles coarse meal. Then, with yours hands, combine the mixture even more so that the flour is absorbed. Gradually, add cold water into the bowl with flour while mixing together with the fork to make dough. Shape the dough into a ball and flatten the ball into a circle. Add the flour to a flour surface. Place the ramekins or dish you will be baking pie in upside down so that you can trace around the top. Trace in the dough around the dish, but make the circle about 1/2 inch wider on all sides.

To assemble:
Add the veggie mixture equally between dishes, if you have more than one you are baking in. Place the dough you cut out over top the dish, covering the veggie mixture. Press the dough to deal it around all the edges. Make the crust thicker on the edges. Crimp the edges with a fork.

Bake in the oven for about 30 minutes (give or take), until golden brown on top.

When finished, take the pie out and let cool before serving. Enjoy!

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Have a fabulous week!
Light & Love,
Amanda

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Finding the love in letting go & a lentil suprise

Hi everyone! Today, I felt called to talk about letting things go. Some things are trickier than others. It depends how much the voice of my ego gets in the way. The past week, I have been wrestling with the … Continue reading

Body Talk & Chocolate-Mint Bliss Bites

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Hi everyone!

Happy Valentine’s Day/Week to you all! I love and honor you and I hope you are doing the same for yourself!
Four years ago, I started making this little holiday a day to celebrate the love for myself. Every day, I focus on loving myself, but this day, four years ago, I stopped smoking cigarettes and I remember telling myself that I was doing it for the love of myself! I was so proud (and I still am)! Each year, I try to do something extra groovy for myself like take a yoga class in a new studio, get a pedicure, go on a date with my hunie, add something healthy into my life, make something extra yummy to share or take my pups somewhere they’ve never been before.This week, I seem to be applying to Graduate school for the love of myself! Weeee! What will you do to show the love?
Another way I show the love for myself daily, is by taking care of my body and maintaining a positive inner dialogue. This leads me into a conversation about the body. I used to be so wrapped up in what people thought about me based on my body and appearance. I was so consumed with these thoughts that they did nothing but paralyze me and cause pain. No matter what I did, I wasn’t good enough and someone was always better than me. I beat myself up with my thoughts because I was stuck in the fear-based ego-state-of-mind and I put my body through the worst things because of it. I would not eat all day long, exercise on top of it, and then eat too much at night. I would over exercise and if I missed a day, I would beat myself up even more. If I did not feel skinny enough or pretty enough, I would not let myself go out in public. I would eat unhealthy things to cope with the feelings and thoughts that were constantly running through my head. I was so self-absorbed and full of fear that I could not truly enjoy the beautiful life that was happening before my eyes. Thankfully, I hit a bottom.
My first step was to recognize and admit that my unhappiness with my body was directly connected to my unloving thoughts about it. I recognized that I was not going to get anywhere healthy if I kept talking to myself in such an awful manner. So, I cut the crap, forgave myself and became my biggest fan. On days that I didn’t like my thighs, I picked out a part that of myself that I did like and I focused on that… All day long, if I had to. Most importantly, I realized that I am not a body; I am a beautiful soul that shines bright, comes from a natural state of love, is granted all the happiness I could possible wish for and any thoughts that do not stem from love are not real. This body is a vessel for me to navigate through this world that I am in.
My second step was to change my internal dialogue by inviting Spirit/God/the Universe in to support me and my thoughts. It was clear that I needed help with this because I had tried and failed too many times on my own. For every unsupportive or unloving thought that popped into my head, I would notice it and invite Spirit in to help reinterpret the conversation or clear away the thoughts. By clearing away the thoughts, I began to create space for love and a groovy new internal dialogue began to manifest itself.
Step three, I started to implement new healthy habits by making little commitments. Thoughts and behaviors go hand-in-hand. When I am thinking in an undeserving way, then I am most likely going to have behaviors that go along with it. Where thoughts go, energy goes. When I had a self-destructive mindset, my behaviors followed suit; I would either deprive myself of food at meal times, overwork my body or fill my body with foods that were not the healthiest choices. Once I became a witness to those negative thoughts, called them out and invited Spirit in, I could then add the healthy behaviors in my life. I started doing things to let my inner glow shine bright! Not only that, I attracted healthy things, as well; Yoga came into my life, healthy people came into my life, I evolved into a vegan and gluten free eater, I knocked off the unsupportive eating habits and behaviors (like smoking!), I started teaching and sharing health tips with others…It was magical and magnetic, and it continues to be! And, whatever weight that I was trying to lose or look I was trying to achieve started to appear. I find that when I align myself spiritually, the weight drops off and everything falls into place. Most of the time in life, I find that all I need to do is forgive myself, shift my thinking into a more loving space and stay connected to the Universe because it always has my back.

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So, along with loving yourself, incorporating healthy behaviors to shine bright and treating yourself during this week of Valentine’s Day, I have a treat for you!

Vegan and gluten free…

Chocolate Mint Bliss Bites

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You will need:
-1 cup of pecans
-1/4 to 1/2 cup of shredded coconut
-2 teaspoons of flax seed
-1/4 cup maple syrup
-1 teaspoon (maybe a little more) peppermint oil
-4-5 medjool dates, pitted (but you can get away without them)
-about 1/2 package of vegan chocolate chips

To prepare:
In a food processor or high speed blender, blend the pecans, first. Then add flax, coconut, peppermint, maple syrup, and dates (optional) and blend together completely. Line a plate with parchment paper. Make balls out of your pecan mixture and press them down a little to flatten like a cookie. Place in the fridge to stiffen up while the chocolate is melted. In a pan, slowly head up a half of a package of chocolate chips. If you turn the temp up any higher, you will burn them. Stir the ch chips whole they melt. When chocolate is almost completely melted, take out the cookies in the fridge and begin to frost them with the chocolate. I found it easiest to dip the one side of the cookie in chocolate, set it on the parchment paper plate chocolate-side down, and the spread frosting on the rest of the cookie with a knife/spoon. The idea is to get the whole cookie covered in chocolate… So, however creative you can get! Then, when all the cookies are lathered in chocolate, stick the plate back in the fridge to let the chocolate harden completely, 30 minutes or so. Then, transfer cookies to a container to store in. Share and enjoy!
Love & Light,
Amanda

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Soul Feather 2/9/14

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Today was Soul Feather meetup number three! So exciting! And don’t worry if you missed it, I am sharing the breathing technique and meditation that I introduced in this post.

We opened up with a Kundalini Yoga breathing technique called alternate nostril breathing. Click on the link below to see more.

http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=A84NKF-16lc

We closed with a meditation. I introduced four Kundalini Yoga mudras to incorporate into meditation and times of stillness. Find more about mudras at the link below.

http://m.youtube.com/watch?feature=c4-feed-u&v=w48KBquC4pU

Then, we meditated with our mudras to this song: http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=5DUCKGyojpE

Next Soul Feather meet up will be February 23, 2014!

Light & Love,
Amanda

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Time limiting thoughts and time saving meals

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Hi everyone! Happy February!
I love this quote from A Course in Miracles. I use it when I have thoughts that are bringing me fear and discomfort. It’s a permission slip for letting myself off the hook. And, I give you permission to use it, too, and often!
Today, I am going to talk about time; creating time, in particular. Lately, I have had several of my friends come to me and ask how I find the time to incorporate a meditation practice into my busy life. As I have mentioned before, I am a full-time student, in the middle of an internship, preparing to graduate in May, I work a job on top of that, I have two crazy lab pups, who might as well be human children, a fantastic Yoga practice (that I also teach now), a loving boyfriend, a home to take care of, a vegan diet to prepare for each day, my Soul Feather meet up group, my Soul Feather blog, a miraculous meditation practice and playtime in between all that. Phew! Yes, it is a quite the balancing act! And I know I am not performing solo in this show, so, if ya feel me, keep reading. 🙂
When I first started meditating, it began very slow and I would do it every once and a while. Actually, the first time I ever sat still long enough to meditate, I was petrified and I cried my eyes out. It was an embarrassing-weird-uncomfortable-funky-scary situation and I remember feeling like “This is not for me…I am doomed…I am broken.” However, meditation always seemed to call me back. Weeks went by after that first time and I found myself asking a friend to sit with me be my meditatation coach. I asked her for all the details. We sat on her dock in the intercoastal and meditated, and I am forever grateful to her. I had put this tremendous amount of pressure on myself for it to be perfect…only to discover later that there is no perfect way to meditate. For me, it started with letting that idea of being perfect go and learning how to just stop, even if it was only for a quick moment, to notice that moment, along with the thoughts wrapped up in it, letting go and shifting it all to my breath and into a space of love. Less and less time started to show up between the times I would practice. Sometimes, I would hit up my meditation space two times in one day. I started to fall more in love with it…to the point where I said to myself, “I’m going to do this everyday.” However, there was one thing that stopped me from an everyday practice; my thoughts. My ego had stepped in and made me think thoughts like, “I can’t commit to everyday… I don’t have enough time.” And that was my block for a while. As long as I kept thinking that I didn’t have time to meditate, that is what kept showing up for me. So, I changed my thinking about the time I had available for meditation and magically, I started to create an everyday practice. I googled and you tubed meditations daily from spiritual guides and gurus that I followed, I learned different breathing techniques to incorporate, I burned groovy incense and invested in some beautiful crystals and stones to share energy with and I started sharing these meditations and what brings me love with others at my Soul Feather meet up groups. I meditate every morning. Sometimes, it is longer than others, depending on what shows up. Then, there are moments throughout my day where I take a few minutes to reconnect with my breath, myself and the Universe. Sometimes, actually, most times, those minutes I take during the day to stop take place in my car; running from my internship to my job… in the Starbuck’s parking lot. Then, at night, I take time before I go to sleep to reconnect. So, from simply shifting my thoughts from “I don’t have enough time” to “I have just enough time” or “the Universe supports me in all that I do,” the time to meditate shows up for me. In the end, I have more energy to take on my full life, more love to spread to others and a space of inner peace that keeps growing each time I hit my meditation mat.

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Another place where I can be in the moment and connect with myself is when I create food and share it.

Today’s recipe are a couple simple recipes that can be used as sides, a snack, or if you make enough, the main meal.

The first treat I have is favorite snack and a staple for my diet…
I give you Avocado Toast:

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You will need:
-gluten free/vegan toast
-1/2 an avocado
-olive oil, to taste
-salt, to taste
-any extras (sprouts, kale, arugula, tomato…)

To prepare:
Toast the bread in a toaster. Cut the avo in half. Scoop it out with a spoon; if you like nice slices, slice the avo with a knife before scooping it out. Put the avo on the toasted bread. Sprinkle a little salt and drizzle on the olive oil. Add other toppings of your choice if you wish. Yumm! I love avocado toast. It is so simple and perfect to eat for breakfast, lunch, dinner, as a side or a snack.

The next recipe is inspired by my girl at http://www.celineeatsavocados.com.

Roasted Potatoes with Parsley & Avo

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You will need:
Mini potatoes (I like the purple and red potatoe mixture)
Parsley
Avocado
Olive oil
Salt
Pepper
Paprika

To prepare:
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Mix together some olive oil, salt, pepper, and a little paprika in a medium to large sized bowl. Wash the potatoes and cut them in halves. If you only have regular sized potatoes, then cube them up. Then throw the cut up potatoes in the olive oil mixture. Make sure all the potatoes are covered with mixture. Then, put the potatoes on a baking sheet lines with foil and stick in the oven for 25 mins. At the end of the 25 minutes, turn on the broil to make it them crispy and gold brown. After the potatoes are done in the oven, let them cool and transfer into a bowl. Add the fresh chopped up parsley and some avocado slices and serve it up! I also added some quinoa in there for some extra fluff!
These potatoes can be made with any olive oil and spices that you’d like. I also made some with rosemary, olive oil, salt and pepper for the Super Bowl last weekend and they were delish!

Roasted Potatoes with Rosemary and Olive Oil

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Eat, share, enjoy!

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Light & Love,
Amanda

Let the love soak in

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Hey everybody!
In my last post, I wrote about the confusion that I was experiencing with life. I wrote about how life does not have to be this straight and narrow line that I need to walk. It is a path that takes wicked turns and does loopy-loops all over the place. (Hands up, right!? Weeeee!) This week, I am still very confused…the job, the schooling, the boyfriend, my future… It is all still right there dancing about and being weird. Ha ha… But the difference in my thoughts this week compared to last week is where the magic and the miracles lie. I have nestled into the confusion and accepted it for what it is… I don’t even give it a label anymore. My ego does, though. My ego calls it all kind of things… Stupid, not good enough or bad, which is where the sensations of discomfort come from. I notice it and I forgive it anyway. I have settled in, gone within and I am embracing the confusion for what it is and trusting completely in love and the Universe. I am surrendering to the plan that is not mine and going with the flow of life’s natural order, which stems from nothing other than the highest good.
Thinking about my loving self (truth) and my fearful self (ego) reminds me of my most favorite movie, The Black Swan, with Natalie Portman. Incredible movie! When I first saw this, it hit me in such a deep deep way. I thought I knew why, but going through these recent transformations and creating awareness about the different conversations I have with myself, which come from ego or love, has led me to understand why I fell in love with this movie on such a soul level. My black swan is my ego/fear and the white swan is my love/truth. There seems to be this endless dance between the two, right?…my black swan wants to tear down and destroy, while my white swan is learning how to frolic about, dance, love and shine! The black swan feeds illusions and the white swan extends love, love and more love! Today, and now in my future, I will let my white swan dance and I will embrace her awakening! I will love myself and I will let it soak in!

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This week’s recipe is a groovy little cookie that will bring your light right out to shine brighter than it already is!

A give you a vegan and gluten free….

Lemon-Ginger-Chia Seed Cookie

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You will need:
1 + 3/4 cup gluten free flour (I use Bob’s Red Mill or Namaste Foods)
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup sugar
1-2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 tablespoon lemon zest
1 + 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
2 tablespoons chia seeds
1/2 cup vegan butter (earth balance)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon flax seed + 3 tablespoons water

To prepare:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Whisk together the water and flax in a small bowl and let it sit to gel up. In a medium/large bowl mix all the other ingredients together with a mixer or beaters. When batter is formed, rolls balls of batter and put on the parchment paper lined baking sheet. Then press each ball down with a fork making a criss cross with the lines of the fork. Place in oven and bake for about 10 minutes. Cookies will get a little golden brown on the bottoms. Take out and let cool. To jazz them up a little more, you can prepare the Vanilla-Lemon Glaze…

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Vanilla-Lemon Glaze:
Lemon juice, to taste
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 8 oz container vegan cream cheese
1/4 cup vegan butter (earth balance)
1 1/2 cup powdered sugar

Drizzle the glaze on top of the cookie. Sprinkle with cinnamon for extra yum! Enjoy!

Light & Love,
Amanda

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Allowing my path to unfold

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

To prepare sour cream

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

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

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

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

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Love & Light,
Amanda