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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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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Meditation music

Good evening, my friends! I am blogging at night, to shake things up a bit, with some moon light inspiration and some ooh-la-la recipes coming your way! 🙂

Before I get into the goodies, I just wanted to share some thoughts about waiting. Every year in October, my boyfriend, our group of friends, and I all pack up for a one night stay in Tampa, FL to attend Busch Gardens’ Howl-O-Scream. Nothing better than screaming your tush off on night-riding roller coasters, losing your mind in  haunted houses, road tripping through the state of Florida, having a huge sleepover in a hotel, laughing, and romping around with the people you love for a weekend. Sounds like playtime to me! And that it was for us this past weekend. I bring this up because we all know what comes with the joy of amusement parks and rides, right? Yes, lines. Waiting. Patience. Which brings me to my solution for these moments when you find yourself digging for the patience to sit still and wait. Maybe its in the grocery store checking out, at a stop light, during commercials while you’re watching your favorite television show, while you wait for the oven to heat up to cook dinner, or simply in a line for a wild and crazy roller coaster. I was graciously given a solution for these moments. First, I change my thoughts about these moments. Instead of viewing them as irritating and challenging I view them as opportunities. Ah, it even feels good to type that out. Opportunities, I said. Opportunities to grow, giggle, observe your surroundings, notice your breathing, and create space inside your mind and soften your heart. Second, I was told that during these moments I could make the things around me a part of my ongoing meditation music. That’s right, the small child crying because mom said no to the candy bar in front of you at the check-out line in the grocery store, that is your music right there, my friend. Soak it up, or not, the choice is yours! And when you do this, think of me, right there with you, meditating to the sounds of people screaming and the roller coaster wheels clanking around the track as I wait in line for my turn. 🙂

To add to your meditation music playlist, I have a yummy treat for you that will let you meditate while you are waiting for them to bake in the oven!

I give you my gluten-free & vegan Carrot Surprise Whoopie Pies (how fun is that to say?) I am just so incredibly pleased by how these little darlings turned out. They are perfect for the upcoming holidays, pleasing to the eye, light on the belly, and soft to the taste buds! Mmmmmhmmm!

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You will need:

1/2 cup chick pea (garbanzo bean) flour

1 banana

1 large carrot or a handful of baby carrots, grated

2-3 tablespoons of water

1/2 tablespoon baking soda

A couple dashes of pumpkin pie spice

1 can of regular, unsweetened coconut milk, chilled in fridge, overnight preferably

Vanilla extract, to taste, optional

To Prepare:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a food processor, process you carrot, banana, chick pea flour, pumpkin spice, and water all together. Should be a smooth batter-like consistency.

Line a pan with parchment paper. Put tablespoonful scoops of batter on parchment paper and bake for about 10 mins. Should be on the softer-puffier side and golden brown on bottoms when finished. Let cool.

While your pies are cooling, take out your can of coconut milk to make some coconut whipped cream. Flip it upside down and open can with a can opener. When you first open the can, you will notice a clear liquid on top. Drain that top liquid and set aside, get rid of, or save it for a smoothie later. Then the more solid white underneath that clear liquid is what you will be working with. Spoon that out into a bowl and blend it up on high with some beaters or a mixer of some kind. Feel free to add a little vanilla extract, if you wish.

Once your coconut whipped cream is ready, that’s right, the fun part! Make your whoopie pie sandwiches. Put some cream in between two pies. Maybe sprinkle a little cinnamon on the cream. I like to put the cream in between the pies with some cinnamon sprinkles, and some cream on top of the pie with some more cinnamon sprinkles. And there you have it, heaven in your mouth! Enjoy!

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Light & Love,
Amanda

Peanut Butter Tuesday

First and foremost, I have to give a shout out to my Miami Heat for winning the 2013 Finals! A week late but woo hoo! I was so stoked I did a head stand for them!

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A lot of hard work those guys put in and it seemed like the games were never going to end! Besides yoga, basketball is my favorite sport and was my life growing up in grade school and in high school! It is where I had fun, connected with teammates, got my exercise, expressed my emotions, learned how to play well with others, laughed, cried, celebrated, trumped my fears, learned hard work, and had an outlet. I do not play ball as much as I wish I would today, but yoga has been able to fill the same shoes now that basketball used to. A basketball court and a yoga mat are my two places where I feel so connected on every level!

And since we are on the subject of balls…ahem…basketballs…I figured that I would keep this next treat in line.

I give you, Peanut Butter Quinoa Balls

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These were SO incredibly simple & so yummy  I could not stand it. It was impossible for me to just have one…or two… 🙂

Ingredients:

1 cup puffed quinoa OR quinoa flakes OR oatmeal would prob work (I could not find the puffed quinoa, so I tried the flakes (as pictured) and they were perfect!)

1/2 cup peanut butter

3-4 table spoons agave OR maple syrup

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

toppings: vegan chocolate chips, melted

coconut…I used the chocolate chips & just sprinkled coconut over the melted chocolate and they were yummy!

Mix together all of the ingredients. Put in the fridge for 15 mins. Form 12 balls. I was able to make 12 out of the measurements listed. Put back into the fridge for 15 more mins. Dip in melted chocolate, if desired. There you have it. Balls. 🙂

And now that we are on the topic of peanut butter…I will add one more delight to the mix. So, if you are not into the peanut butter balls, how about peanut butter cups!?! Ohhh yeah!

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I loved these, too! They were fun to make and they came out adorable, don’t ya think?

Another simple one.

Peanut Butter Cups

You will need:

Mini cupcake wrappers and cupcake tin/pan to help create the shape

Nonstick spray to spray wrappers with

Top layer:

2 tablespoons coconut oil

1 tablespoon agave OR maple syrup will work I’m sure

2 tablespoon cacao powder

Bottom layer:

2 tablespoons peanut butter OR almond butter

1 tablespoons coconut oil

1 tablespoon agave OR maple  syrup

Prep:

Mix together ingredients for top layer in one bowl and ingredients for the bottom layer in another separate bowl. Pour bottom later in cupcake wrapper in cupcake pan and then pour the top layer right over. Put in the freezer to set up. I think I left mine in for at least 30 minutes!

And then you can either enjoy them as is or use with other recipes as toppings maybe. The night after I made these, I had some raw ice cream. You know I used a peanut butter cup for a topper! It was perfect!

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And the Raw Ice Cream is perfect just by itself, too. So easy peasy!

Raw Ice Cream:

Slice up one (or as many as you’d like) banana and place in the freezer until frozen or REALLY cold. Then take out of the freezer and put in food processor and blend until creamy like the ice cream man would do it. Done.

So, you got three desserts in one post! Have fun with that!

Life is short, eat dessert first…especially if its raw or vegan dessert! Ha!

Light & Love,
Amanda