Transition

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Hi everyone!
Oh, how I have missed writing and sharing my energy in this space. For the last month, I have been settling into the new transition(s) taking place in my life and I am really enjoying all that is coming forward. I went up to my hometown, Toledo, Ohio to take a yoga teacher training. I got cracked wide open during the training and had several breakthroughs. I took the time to explore different parts of my hometown that I never knew existed, connect with family and friends, do yoga, teach yoga and most importantly, I was able to explore myself; I got real curious about pieces within myself that I never noticed before. I perfected yoga poses on my mat and I strengthened the practice of loving myself. I learned how to step away from the inner critic and tune into my girl, the inner teacher.
A few times during the training, I caught myself thinking…thoughts like, “what’s going to happen next in my life?” were typical with accompanied with anxiety. My mind is always trying to take me out of the present moment and into one that isn’t here yet. So, I started to notice when that would happen, let it go and come back to the present moment. Because, when I am in a moment that isn’t here, my inner critic lights up and I buy into all these crazy ideas, which never seem to serve me. So, I started to just observe the difference between my inner critic and my inner teacher. The sound of their voices and the vibration that they carry, are quite different. The inner critic is always louder and the first to chime in. My inner goddess is always the quieter one, sitting back, certain and calm, always encouraging me and saying, “You’re doing great, keep going,” or “Relax, breathe and go with the flow.” I like how it feels to listen to my inner girl, the goddess, so I do that more today than ever. And, when life comes, I don’t seem to waver as much as I used to. I breathe deeper, just as I would on my mat in a challenging pose and I love myself through it.

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I did create something fantastic while I was in Ohio. I have been all about lavender lately, so I made some gluten free vegan lavender bread!

Lavender Blueberry Bread

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You will need:
2 1/2 cups gluten free flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup almond milk
3 tablespoons flax seed (plus 5-6 tablespoons water)
1 tablespoon culinary lavender
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoon light brown sugar
2 tablespoon earth balance butter
1/4 cup coconut oil
1 cup blueberries
Juice of one lemon

To prepare:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Whisk together the flax seed and water in a small bowl and set aside to let it gel up. Crush up the lavender, then add it to a pan with the almond milk and heat to just before boiling. Then, in a medium size bowl, mix together the dry ingredients (flour through nutmeg). Mix the blueberries in with the dry ingredients a little to coat them. In another bowl, mix together the other ingredients, including the lavender, almond milk and flax seed and water combination. Finally, mix together all the ingredients. Spray the bread pan or muffin tins with a cooking spray and then pour the batter in and place it in the oven to bake for about 45 minutes, give or take. After baking, remove from oven, and let cool. Serve, share and enjoy!

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Light & Love,
Amanda

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new space

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Hi everyone! Happy July! How did you celebrate freedom?! On July 4th, I showed up to one of the sweatiest yoga classes yet. 47 of us yogis soaked up the beauty and magic that freedom gave us on our mats, in our minds and within our hearts. So sweet!

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Then I spent the rest of my holiday weekend playing, playing and more playing! I was able to connect with past friends, present friends and friends-that-I-didn’t-know-existed-friends! I have this new space that the Universe has carved out for me and I have been filling it with the most beautiful of all things; meditation, crafts, music, adventures, yoga, new things I didn’t know I liked, the sunshine, the ocean, more yoga, kids, animals, art, photography, good food, play dates, yoga, conversations that never end with people that I know down to their soul level, windy conversations with people that I have never seen a day in my life, writing, groovy clothes, reading, vegan cooking, being weird, energy stones, healing, relaxing, acroyoga, celebrating, singing, dancing, girls nights, girls days, girls in general, funky coffee shops, desserts, laughing, swimming, crying, yoga, connecting and loving. I believe that I have stepped into this new shade of me and I am digging it completely!

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Today I have the greatest muffin recipe! I could eat one of these babies everyday… And I did, when they were in the house! 😉

Gluten free/Vegan….
Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins

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You will need:
2 1/2 cups gluten free flour
1/2 cup sugar
3-5 tablespoons of coconut oil
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 bananas (preferably ripe)
3 tablespoons of ground flaxseed
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1-2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 package of non-dairy chocolate chips (I dig the So Delicious brand)
2 teaspoons earth balance butter, optional
A couple splashes of almond milk, optional, for consistency

To prepare:
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Prepare the flaxseed egg by mixing together 3 tablespoons of flaxseed and 7 tablespoons of water…maybe a little more. You want the flaxseed to gel up with the water. Then, in a medium sized bowl mash up the bananas well with a fork. After your mashing sesh, add all of the other ingredients and mix together well. You do not want the batter to be too too thick, so I added a couple splashes of almond milk to balance out the consistency. Place the muffin wrappers in the muffin tin and begin to spoon muffin batter into each of the wrappers in the tin. Do not fill too high because they will rise some. Place in the oven for 15-30 minutes. Each time I make these, they seem to vary… So just keep an eye on them. The tops will turn a little golden brown and the smell will be perfect. Maybe, right before taking them out of the oven stick a toothpick or fork in the center to check…but I have confidence that you will use your awesome judgement. Share with friends and enjoy!

I also have another little smoothie recipe I wanted to share with you. I was so pumped to make this smoothie because I had been dreaming about it for days before it appeared…

Mother Earth Smoothie

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You will need:
1 banana
Handful of kale
Mango (I like to use the frozen cubes)
1/2-1 whole fresh lemon juice
Handful of fresh mint leaves
Sprinkles of cayenne pepper
Sprinkles of cinnamon
Slice of fresh ginger, optional
Water

To prepare:
Mix all the ingredients together in a blender and blend until completely combined and you have created a fantastic color of green. Enjoy!

Have a fantastic week!
Light & Love,
Amanda

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Float

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Hi everyone!
Just before I started writing today’s post I was practicing my handstands. My handstand practice has evolved so much. It started as something so rigid, scary and awkward…but, I have watched myself physically and mentally move past the ledge of fear, loosen up the reins, let go and begin to float. And floating is how I wish to feel at all times. When I’m floating through life, there is no pressure, emptiness, or stagnant energy… only lightness that I radiate from the inside out. It is my natural state. Floating has scared me for a long time; maybe, because I thought that once I got up into the air I would continue to float away and away until gone or that I would just fall to the earth and crumble into pieces that could not be put back together. I have been able to practice this trust in the Universe quite a bit during this transition in my life with a long term relationship ending and detaching from two dogs that I loved oh, so much. And, even though it has been scary to let go, make decisions to move forward through sticky emotions and let others love me through it…I have done it. I respect the Universe’s decision to clear the space away for something new to settle in my life. I move through this and I give myself the permission to float.

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I have felt kind of cheesy this past week, so, I have two recipes today that are incredibly cheesy for you. Both gluten free, both vegan and both tasty as hell.

Cashew Mac & Cheese

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You will need:
1 box of gluten free noodles
1 cup cashews
1 tablespoon earth balance butter (or more if you prefer)
Water, for consistency (I think I used 1/4-1/2 cup)
Lemon juice from 1 lemon
A few splashes of almond milk
3-4 tablespoons of nutritional yeast
Salt, to taste
Cayenne pepper, to taste (I did a few sprinkles)
Rosemary or thyme, to taste

To prepare:
Boil your noodles as directed. While noodles are boiling you can prepare the cheese sauce. Begin by blending the ingredients one by one in a food processor. Add the cashews first with the lemon juice and a little water. Then add the nutritional yeast, earth balance butter and the spices. To level out the consistency, add water slowly, along with the splash of almond milk tossed in there. It should turn out to be a creamy mixture that will massage nicely into the noodles when finished. Taste tests are welcome! When the noodles are finished, gently mix together the cheese sauce and noodles. Serve it up and enjoy!

Next recipe is so simple and brigs me right back to childhood. I had been craving a grilled cheese and decided it was time to make a vegan and gluten free version.

Grilled Cheeze

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You will need:
Gluten free bread of your choice (I use DeLand Bakery)
2 slices of vegan cheese (I use Daiya’s cheddar cheese slices)
Vegan butter (I use Earth Balance)

To Prepare:
Butter the outside slices of the bread. Place one slice, buttered side down, in a small pan. Add your cheese slices and then add the second piece of bread, buttered side facing out. Start to brown the outside of the one side on a medium heat and then flip over the sammy to brown the other side. The cheese should melt as well. When both sides are browned, remove from heat, cut the grilled cheese in half, serve and enjoy!

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Light & Love,
Amanda

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

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! 🙂

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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

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

Graduate.

Hi everyone!
Ahhh, it feels good to be writing. I have been bouncing around and around trying to keep up with all of these groovy shifts taking place in my life.
I graduated this past weekend! Woohoo! The last couple of weeks have been filled with life celebrations, family time, selfies with girlfriends, catching up with old friends and planning for the future!

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As I have mentioned before in previous blog posts, the girl that moved down to Florida seven years ago is very different from the girl that waltzed across the stage to receive her diploma last Friday morning. Seven years ago, I made the best decision of my life and the first decision towards loving myself. Funny thing is, I didn’t even know it then. What I did know is that I needed help with getting out of the hell hole that I dug and so I transplanted from Ohio to treatment in Florida and never looked back. Almost three years into my recovery, I decided to give school another try. I was terrified. Up in Ohio, I went to two different universities in a year and a half, and for the first time ever, I drove my GPA straight into the ground. I had to drop out because of the unmanageability that drugs and alcohol had created in my life. I remember walking back onto a campus and not knowing what I wanted to do, how I was going to do it and if I would be successful. All of these questions were answered beautifully along the way. Every time I felt discouraged or scared, there was an advisor coaching me along, funds coming through at the right time for tuition, friends loaning me their books for studying, new acquaintances meeting for coffee to chat, my boss giving me the flexibility that I needed for classes, professors teaching me and rooting me on, the sweet and subtle voice of the Universe guiding me through and family members loving me the entire time. Every single time. Every single semester. I went from a broken soul-1 point something GPA- hopeless state of mind drug addict to a groovy-recovery thumpin’-yoga teachin’-light spreadin’-plant based eatin’ summa cum laude honors graduate! Blows my mind! All miracles, all love based! It’s funky to look back at my life and think that I have lived two lives in one lifetime. So, for all of you incredible people in my life that have been apart of this journey and have believed in me until I could believe in myself, you know who you are…thank you and I love you!

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What’s next, you ask!? Pure sweetness! I have been accepted into my school’s advanced standing masters program, which I will begin this fall 2014. This summer will be full of spreading yoga to the little yogis and getting my 200 RYT on to teach the big yogis! Keepin’ the light flowing! And, the fear still creeps in for these exciting upcoming things… Especially, questions like, “How will I pay for it all?” or “Will I be good enough?” These little thoughts can paralyze me,and lately, I have been noticing them and simply responding to myself with this beautiful Gabby Bernstein quote:

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Incredible, right? I can do anything. The power lies in my thoughts and this is confirmed more and more everyday.

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Along with family and friends this past weekend, I whipped up some new yummies inspired by Love & Lemons at http://www.loveandlemons.com/2013/04/10/chocolate-chip-carrot-cookies/.

Chocolate Chip Carrot Cookie Bites

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You will need:
-6 tablespoons of gluten free flour
-1/4 teaspoon baking soda
-1/4 teaspoon salt
-1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
-1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
-1/2 tablespoon ground flax seeds + -1.5 tablespoons water whisked together in a little bowl
-1/2 cup grated carrots
-1/4 cup coconut oil
-3 tablespoons brown sugar
-1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
-1/4 cup gluten free oats
-1/4 cup gluten free/vegan chocolate chips

To Prepare:
In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, nutmeg, cinnamon and salt. In a small bowl, whisk together the ground flax seed with the water. Let that sit for a bit and gel up. In a food processor, pulse the carrots until they are a grated consistency. In the medium bowl flour, add in the grated carrots, coconut oil, brown sugar, vanilla and the flaxseed and mix until combined. Place the mixture in the refrigerator for a few minutes. Preheat the oven to 375° and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Remove the mixture from the refrigerator and add in the gluten-free oats and the chocolate chips. Mix until combined. Then, using a tablespoon, scoop batter into balls and place on the cookie sheet at least a few inches apart from one another. Place in the oven and bake for 10 to 12 minutes until golden brown and the edges become slightly crisp. Enjoy!

Here’s a quote that my beautiful yoga teacher shared at the end of a class a couple weeks ago. Tears were rolling down my cheeks as she read it. Have a great week!

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Light & Love,
Amanda

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 >

Ups & Downs & Upside-downs

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Hi everyone!
I will start off by saying that this week has been a little all over the place. It has gone up and down and upside-down more than once, and I am still belted in this roller coaster car, while occasionally putting my hands up in the air and letting out a huge scream! I must look at it in this light because when I can make stories out of my life, especially the sensitive and uncomfortable moments, then I can relax and move into acceptance about them, and ultimately, teach others to do the same.
My life has been full of miracles and miracles in disguise. Or, in other words, blessings and blessings in disguise. The miracles in disguise are tricky, though. Their disguises are so genius that I have a hard time identifying them as miracles because I am feeling feelings that really freak me out. And when I feel feelings that do this, I automatically want out and I react. I will give myself credit, I am much much better than I used to be at pausing when the uncomfortablilty arises because of the awareness and space that I have created, but, some feelings can feel really gross and my first thought is “get out!” when they show up. The thing is, when I get out or react too quickly, I miss what is really happening. Usually, I am so focused on the one star in the sky, that I miss all the others that are shining all around it, you know? There is something much bigger than me orchestrating things here and there is a natural order to things that is quite beautiful.
I have talked about my black present analogy before and I will again because I have been speaking about to to people all week and it rings true for me right now more than ever. The Universe gives me these gifts in life… Just like the miracles and the miracles in disguise… I will receive these gifts wrapped in all different packaging; some gifts come to me sprinkled with glitter, some are in bags with colorful tissue paper exploding out of them, some are bedazzled with ribbons and bows… I love those gifts! Bring em on! Then, some gifts come to me in black wrapping paper…with scorpions and snakes slithering all over and the most uninviting aura surrounding them …those I am quick to toss to the side. Who wants to see what’s inside of that package, right? Yeah, but if I pause with that black package, sit with it for a moment and wait for the scorpions and snakes to crawl away and the aura to settle, then I can slowly start to unwrap the black wrapping to see what’s inside. When I do this, I always find a beautiful lesson of love.
So, right now, in my life, I am sitting with my “black package.” It was delivered to me over the weekend, and I quickly discarded it as fast as I could. I felt the package calling me back, though… So, I went to my recycling bin (ha!), and grabbed the package back up. Are ya still with me here? 🙂 …The snakes and scorpions have crawled away, thankfully, and it is not as intimidating; there is even a sense of peace about the black package and my energy. I have begun to peel off the black paper, slowly, one piece at a time, because that is all I can handle, but I feel so loved and supported through it all by the Universe and Spirit. It is a beautiful process and I never thought I would I could admit that. I am anxious, but excited to see what kind of miracle lives inside.

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This week’s recipes are incredibly simple and deliscious! They are both vegan and gluten free spreads for toast, bagel or English muffin. I think they make great snacks, desserts or breakfast treat.

Peach Butter
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You will need:
2 peaches

To prepare:
Peel the peaches and then cut up the pea he into pieces. Place the pieces into a food processor and blend until smooth. Then add the peach yumminess into a pot and heat on medium until it starts to boil. Turn the heat down and simmer, stirring occasionally for a couple minutes. The peaches will thicken. Spread on some toast and sprinkle with cinnamon and viola!

The next toast spread is…

Carrot Butter
You will need:
1 cup steamed carrots
2 tablespoons almond butter
1 teaspoon maple syrup
1/4 teaspoon salt

To prepare:
Steam the cup of carrots until soft. Add the carrots to food processor and purée. You could also mash the carrots in a bowl with a fork. Then add the other ingredients and mix together. Then, spread on some toast or whatever you prefer and maybe sprinkle some hemp seeds on top. Enjoy!

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Light & Love,
Amanda

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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