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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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

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