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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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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Check your reflection

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Happy Christmas Eve to all you groovy people out there! Sending all my light and love filled thoughts and energy to you!
‘Tis the season to be with family! Fa la la la la la la la la! Since the holidays have a beautiful way of bringing family members and friends together, I felt like I was being called to create a post about it. In my holiday experiences there has always been so much love bouncing around. Along with the comfort and joys seem to come occasional personality conflicts, windy arguments, and natural stress among family members, too. Let’s be honest, it is almost expected to happen at some point with individuals who are so closely connected and comfortable with one another and I hear about many people fearing this part of the holidays the most. How can you possibly stay lit up with Grinch tip-toeing around your tree?!
Well, you do know how much I have been into using positive affirmations lately because I have been writing about them and sharing them with you. I am here to tell you, that even groovier affirmations can be used in those tense holiday moments. I have come to believe that when I am engaging with a friend, my boyfriend, or a family member, that whatever is showing up or transpiring between me and that other individual is for a reason and they are always opportunities for me and that individual; opportunities to have fun, laugh, play, love, forgive, connect, or even heal. If something shows up that I do not like, am afraid of or makes me feel uncomfortable, in the past, I would typically shut down, lash out or turn into a victim and blame that other person for causing me pain. Most likely, it would take me some time to let it go before I even considered moving into forgiveness. This cycle caused me such a great amount of pain that it finally brought me to my knees. Each time I would get angry at someone for their words or actions that I didn’t like, I would get resentful and a resentment does nothing but take energy from me, block my love and dull my glow. So, I had enough and I shifted. I stopped playing the victim, started taking responsibility and the light within me grewer brighter! Instead of lashing outward, I started looking inward and used my flashlight to shine light on the piece that was hurting it so I could give it love and let it go, while also releasing that individual, too. I started asking myself questions like, “What is it within me that feels uncomfortable or afraid over you?” or “What is my reflection trying to show me?” The outside conditions are merely reflections of my inner conditions. I also started to practice saying loving things to myself and to the person in my head, such as, “I love you,” “I forgive you,” “I support you,” “Please forgive me,” and “Thank you.” When I play through these loving thoughts in my mind, energy goes, and love flows. It is like magic and it is oh-so-groovy! With these thoughts running through my head, I find that I am able to love more, play more and be in the moment, which is where I love to be the most during the holidays with my loved ones!

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Today, I have a simple little cookie recipe that I whipped up this week that is tasty, light and sure to raise your holiday vibration!

Vegan & Gluten free….

Cinnamon Apple Oat Cookies

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You will need:
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened regular apple sauce
1/2 tablespoon plus a sprinkle of cinnamon
1/2 cup glutenfree oats
1/2 cup almonds (ground up in a food processor)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Sprinkle of salt
1/4 cup almond butter

To prepare:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a food processor, create almond flour with the almonds by processing them to a fine texture. Then mix all the ingredients up together in a bowl. Line a pan with parchment paper. Form little balls with your batter and place them on your baking sheet and press them down with a spoon to flatten some. Bake for 15 mins, maybe more. Take out of the oven, let cool, share and enjoy!

Love & Light,
Amanda

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Falling in Love

Falling in Love

Happy Friday the 13th, my friends! I was thinking about the idea of falling in love today. Actually, I think about this just about everyday, I’m sure, but today, it was a little different. When I take a step back … Continue reading

Have a cookie!

Hello! Happy Monday and welcome to December, one of the fastest moving months! Woo! It seems as though Decemeber always seems to creep into November with the Christmas excitement around the corner; Christmas music playing on the radio stations, twinkling lights throughout the neighborhoods, and red and green filling up the shopping centers! After the Thanksgiving holiday passed, I couldn’t help myself…I went into our attic and pulled out the few Christmas decorations we have and decorated our home. It brings a whole new energy to the place and I completely dig it! We can’t get a tree this year because we have two adorable pups that are still under one year old and it would be tragic if they decided to eat a Christmas tree with ornaments for a late night snack, ha! So, we have a little tree up where they can’t reach that will due.
My favorite thing I like about this holiday is the inner child in me that it brings out to play. From holiday cookies to, snow angels, to gingerbread houses, to Christmas lights, to stocking stuffers, to flying reindeer, to the grinch that stole Christmas, to snowballs, to sledding, to family members overload, to yummy food, to the star on top of the tree, to ice skating…. I could go on forever!
My hope for you is to find your inner child throughout this holiday season and bring him or her out to play! Show up fully & get goofy! Some of my happiest memories come from the winter and the holidays!
Every Christmas holiday growing up my mom would create dozens of different kinds of cookies (she still does!). She would freeze them so they stayed fresh and create little plates filled with cookies for friends, family members, and sometimes complete strangers… Which was the best! One special cookie that my mom makes during the holidays and all year round, that all my friends would come to my house and eat up, are her chocolate chip cookies! They are the best and I have modified her recipe to be vegan, gluten-free and just as tasty for the holidays that are speedily approaching! You can never go wrong with a chocolate chip cookie!

Gluten-free/Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies

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You will need:
1 1/8 cup gluten free flour of your choice (Bob’s Red Mill has a great gluten free all purpose flour)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter (Earth Balance vegan spread)
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 flax egg (1 tablespoons ground flax seed + 3 tablespoons water)
1/2 package of your choice vegan chocolate chips
1/2 cup gluten free oats (Bob’s Red Mill has some)

To Prepare:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Prepare your flax egg by mixing the flax & water together to let it gel up a little bit. Mix all the ingredients together.
Form little balls (tablespoonful) out of your cookie dough and place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or greased with vegan butter or a spray to prevent sticking.
Bake for 9-11 minutes and then take out of the over to let cool for a couple of minutes.
Serve with a glass of almond milk. Mmmmm…enjoy!

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And if your lucky… You’ll have some company who will want to lick up the excess cookie dough that got caught on the beaters and the remnants left in the bowl! That was always my favorite thing as a kid…sneaking the raw cookie batter which the biggest spoon possible and running into another room to eat it ferociously before I got caught! Lucky for you, this batter is vegan and completely edible in the raw!! 🙂

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Light & Love,
Amanda

Little Bites and Horse Treats!

Hello! Long time no blog! August has been quite the month for me filled with trips to see family, family coming to see me, preparing for a new school semester, work, puppy play, and so much more! I find that when I am juggling so many different balls in the air that it is okay to give myself permission to let one or two or sometimes even three of them drop in order to keep the other ones going. Priorities, right?

Good news is, during all these things swirling about in my full life, I still have to eat! God knows that is a big priority for me. Ha! So, I am excited to get back on the blog wagon here and share with you some of the new things I have been concocting. These two recipes I literally just prepared in the last two days and they were so off-the-wall tasty that I could not wait to share them with you. I hope they make you do three somersaults like they did for me!

I call these two recipes my Little Bites! But don’t be deceived by this title of these babies! They may be little, but they are packin’ a mighty punch for your taste buds!

The first of the little bites are for those of you who are craving something on the more chocolatey side. They are made with cacao, which I love because it is considered to be a super food because of the nutrients that are packed in it. Plus, avocado, one of my favorite foods ever, are one of the secret ingredients to this one which makes this recipe awesome!

Gluten Free Vegan Peanut Butter Cacao Bites (say that 3x fast!)

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You Will Need:

1 1/4 cup gluten free all purpose flour (Bob’s Red Mill brand makes this)

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

2/3 cup cacao powder

1/4 cup coconut oil

1/4 cup mashed avocado

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/3 cup almond milk

1/2 cup (or more…taste test, of course!) peanut butter

To Prep:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cacao, baking powder, and salt. Set Aside.

In another bowl, blend coconut oil, ago, and sugars together until creamy and smooth (about 2-3 mins or so). Add you vanilla. With the mixer on low, add half of your flour mixture to the wet ingredients bowl. Add almond milk and the rest of the flour mixture. Mix until the flour disappears.

Form the batter into tablespoon size balls and place on baking sheet. Lightly press them down with a spoon (or form however you want!). Bake for 10 mins. They are finished when the edges are set and the middle is still a little soft. Enjoy!!!

And for those of you who are not craving chocolate, which never happens to me, might I add, these little bites are for you! The chia seeds, like the cacao in the other bites, are another super food packed with good stuff that’ll raise your cellular juju and make your tummy thank you!

Gluten Free Carrot Chia Seed Bites (again, say that 3x fast!)

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You Will Need:

6 tablespoons of gluten free all purpose flour of your choice (Bob’s Red Mill worked for me)

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 tablespoon ground flax seed plus 1 1/2 tablespoons water for your “egg”

1/2 cup grated carrot(s)

1/4 cup vegan butter (Earth Balance is what I used…coconut oil would work, too)

3 tablespoons brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 cup gluten free muesli (Bob’s Red Mill) OR gluten free oats

1/4 cup pecans, chopped up

1 tablespoon chia seeds

To Prepare:

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, nutmeg, cinnamon, and salt.

In a small bowl, prepare your “egg” with the flax and water and let sit for about 5 mins to gel up.

Grate your carrot(s), possibly use a food processor to do this, too. Do not puree the carrots; you want them to be of grated texture, in pieces.

In another bowl, blend together butter, brown sugar, vanilla, and the flax egg mixture. Then add your carrots and the flour mixture. Do not over blend. Add your muesli/oats. Chop up the pecans in food processor and add them last with the chia seeds. Put mixture in fridge for about 30 mins to set up.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Take out your batter from the fridge and form teaspoonful balls and lay out on baking sheet a couple inches apart from one another. Bake for 10-12 mins until they turn a little golden brown and the edges become a little crisp. Let cool and most importantly, enjoy!

BONUS!

I am so tickled to share with you just a taste of what I did when I was visiting my fabulous family up in Ohio. Meet my energy horses and soul mates, Scarlett & Leon. Every time I go up north to visit, I must squeeze in a visit with these guys, sunshine or snow. Especially, Leon, for we have owned him longer and he has assisted me in many different healing processes. Leon is 13 years old and a Tennessee Walker. He is my most favorite horse EVER. He is laid back as can be, assists my mom in her business teaching individuals with special needs therapeutic horse back riding, and he is majestic as ever. Scarlett is also 13 years old and she is a Quarter Horse. She was given to my mom and I have really started to connect with her.  On one of my last days in Ohio on this recent visit I had the idea to combine my two loves, yoga & my horses. What’s a better combination than that, right? With the assistance of my two best good friends, Corie and Andrew and my beautiful mother, we made it happen. It was the most perfect string of moments that could have happened and I am so grateful to have the pictures to have captured it and the memories to hold in my heart forever. I am so grateful to have these opportunities to connect with my animal spirit friends and it will always be so special to me.

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Light & Love,
Amanda