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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Enjoying the calm in between the busy

Hi everyone! I mentioned a couple posts back that I graduated at the beginning of this month…so groovy… And I will be continuing on this August to complete my masters and graduate again next May 2015. In the meantime, I have had some extra time in my mornings before I head to work in the afternoon. It’s a funny thing, because I am naturally pretty busy… At least I have been since starting school. I’m used to running from thing to thing with very little spaces in between, but still breathing and loving it all! Now that I have this time, I have been sleeping in, practicing yoga, getting to know some other beautiful souls in the yoga world and local studios though teaching more kids yoga, connecting more w my pups, beaching, reading, writing, playing, meditating and making yummy food, of course! I feel like I am properly welcoming in the summer! ūüôā

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Things will be picking up here very soon, though, so I am enjoying waking up slow in the mornings. Come mid July, I am off to my home town in Ohio for a month to complete my 200 hour registered yoga teacher training! I am so excited I can’t stand it! It is a dream come true to finally be able to do this and I can’t wait to learn more about myself, my body, strengthen my practice and share the beauty of yoga to even more people! So grateful! Happy Summer!

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I did mention that I have had more time to try new recipes out, didn’t I? Here is a new one, but also kind of old. One of my very first posts, I did a Mac & Cheese with a butternut squash sauce inspired by the beautiful http://www.celineeatsavocados.com. This is a reinvention of that with a yummy twist!

Baked Mac & Cheese with a Cauliflower-Butternut Squash Sauce

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You will need:
Pasta noodles (I like the gluten free quinoa ones)
1/4 cup + 3 tablespoons of earth balance butter
1/4 cup veggie stock
1/2 of a cauliflower head
1 cup of butternut squash (I bought frozen organic bs and steamed it)
1 tsp salt
1 tablespoon parsley
1 tablespoon thyme
Pepper, to taste
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 cup almond milk
1/2-3/4 cup nutritional yeast
1-2 cups peas (again, I used frozen peas and just steamed them)
1 cup gluten free bread crumbs

To Prepare:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Steam the butternut squash (if you bought frozen) and cauliflower while you boil the pasta noodles. Boil noodles just until it is slightly tender and then drain water. When you are finished steaming and boiling, add the cauliflower, butternut squash, veggie stock, 1/4 cup earth balance, almond milk, nutritional yeast and spices all together and blend until it turns into a creamy sauce. Taste tests are welcome! You may need to add more almond milk or butter or spices to get the taste and texture that you desire! Measurements are not 100% accurate because I found myself adding a little of this and that…but, they are pretty close to accurate! Also, steam your green peas! When you are finished processing and steaming peas, butter a glass baking dish with a little earth balance butter and pour the pasta noodles in followed by the dreamy sauce you just made and gently mix the sauce through the noodles. Then, add your steamed peas and gently mix them through. In a small pan, add your 3 tablespoons of earth balance butter and the cup of bread crumbs and in a medium heat mix the crumbs together with the butter. When butter seems to be melted and they are melted together, remove from heat and gently sprinkle the bread crumbs over top of the mac and cheese in the glass baking dish. Place in the oven for maybe 15-25 minutes. It should get golden brown on top. When finished, let cool, taste test, serve and enjoy!

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Light & Love,
Amanda

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