Monday, August 24, 2015

My Unorthodox Smoothie Ingredient

OK, I realize that there are a bajillion smoothie recipes out there, and "do we really need another one", you say? Well, I've become a big fan of smoothies for a few reasons:

- You get several servings of fruit in one glass (and I'm a person who doesn't love eating raw fruits, so this way they go down easily.)

- So much nutrition...vitamins, minerals, fiber, antioxidants, calcium, name it, it's in there!

- You can include veggies, liquid vitamins, flax/chia/hemp, etc.

- They're a good way to get an important serving of calcium (again, for women who don't love dairy and struggle to get their daily dose.)

- One word...hydration. (For people like me who thrive on Starbucks and diet soda.)

So...have you figured out what my unorthodox ingredient is? I use a sugar-free, carbonated beverage! I realize it's not as healthy as almond milk, coconut water, etc. But here's the thing...I need to reduce my processed-sugar intake, and this gives a good, sweet taste to the smoothie with no added sugar (or calories, if you are concerned about those.) This method may not be for you, but I love the tad bit of effervescence that the carbonation adds. It's barely noticeable, but I personally recommend it for jazzing up an ordinary smoothie! These drinks can be found in different varieties and brands at most grocery stores and Target.

To make my smoothies I use frozen fruit, which I keep in Ziploc bags in my freezer. Berries can be frozen whole, mango, papaya, pineapple, peaches, pears, etc. can be diced, and sliced bananas make your drinks extra smooth. Other fruits and certain veggies could certainly work as well.

There is no method to my madness when putting a smoothie together. I start with enough liquid in the blender to mix the other ingredients. Then I toss in the frozen fruit (broken up if stuck together) and some fresh spinach leaves (kale works, too.) Blend all of this enough to break up large chunks. Next, I add Greek yogurt with as little added sugar as possible. Let me tell you, some brands have a boatload of it! The yogurt doesn't have to be Greek, but I find that it helps make a thicker smoothie that doesn't melt as quickly. Finally, I toss in about a teaspoonful of flax meal (other choices would be chia or hemp seeds.)

Then, just blend it up and enjoy the healthful benefits in a delicious treat! I actually use this as a "dangling carrot" to drink after I complete my workouts at the gym...obviously the "thrill" of the workout alone does not get me there. Hmmmm...

Sharing with: Cozy Little House, Domestically Speaking, A Stroll Thru Life, Elizabeth & Co, Ivy & Elephants, I Gotta Create

Sunday, August 16, 2015

August Meditations

Feeling nostalgic about summer nearing its end, and playing around with photography and flowers from my yard.

"Whilst August yet wears her golden crown,
Ripening fields lush- bright with promise;
Summer waxes long, then wanes, quietly passing
Her fading green glory on to riotous Autumn."
- Michelle L. Thieme, August's Crown

"Let me enjoy this late-summer day of my heart while the leaves are still green and I won't look so close as to see that first tint of pale yellow slowly creep in. I will cease endless running and then look to the sky ask the sun to embrace me and then hope she won't tell of tomorrows less long than today. Let me spend just this time in the slow-cooling glow of warm afternoon light and I'd think I will still have the strength for just one more last fling of my heart."
- John Bohrn, Late August

"Summer's lease hath all too short a date."
- William Shakespeare

Thanks for joining me today.

Sharing with: Natasha in Oz, Share It One More Time, Between Naps on the Porch
, New House New Home, Cozy Little House, A Stroll Thru Life, StoneGable, Domestically Speaking, The Dedicated House, Ivy and Elephants, Savvy Southern Style, My Own Home, Think and Make Thursday at Dwell Beautiful, The Charm of Home, French Country Cottage, Shabby Art Boutique, Elizabeth & Co

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

A Giveaway! (Let's Get Personal)

Bedrooms are havens for restoration, intimacy, and privacy. They are one of the few areas of our homes where we can be completely authentic and autonomous. Often times, this is reflected by what we choose to keep next to our beds.

The way we wind down at night and begin a new day, which activities relax and rejuvenate us, and our personal styles are all reflected on our bedside tables.

The things that sit on top of, and within, my nightstand are a pretty good representation of who I am...a reflective, creative, dreamer-type who thrives on quiet moments to read, write, plan and recharge. Each morning, I start the day by reading from (currently) two books:

I'm sure many of you are familiar with Simple Abundance by Sarah Ban Breathnach. This happens to be my second year of reading it daily in succession. It's a compendium of wisdom on everything from living with grace, love and beauty to finding our passions and recognizing our blessings and gifts.

Also, this Al-Anon daily reader (for families and friends of alcoholics) is one of the many pieces of literature that has dramatically changed my life for the better! As an ACOA (adult child of an alcoholic) I am now learning how much my life had been affected, and the ways in which I can reconcile my past and improve the future. This coin (or "chip") represents my 4 years of involvement and healing in the Al-Anon program.

See, I told you we were going to get personal ;)

Another therapeutic and helpful thing I do daily is journal. I do this at night and jot down what I accomplished during the day to further my goals, and also one or two things I am grateful for. By doing both of these, it's easier for me to stay focused on where I want my life to go and how much I am already blessed. It's fun at the beginning of each year to choose a new journal with fresh pages for a fresh start, and some new pens. This simple little notebook includes quotes from Buddha on each page for positive inspiration like, "We are what we think. All that we are arises with our thoughts. With our thoughts we make the world."

I also like to include random images when I see something that gets my creative juices flowing. Plus, it pretties-up the pages.

Though I don't consider myself very sentimental, I display gifts from each of my children that are especially meaningful to me...a sweet message on a plaque from my daughter, and roses that were presented to me on Mother's Day from my son that have dried. They are daily loving reminders of my favorite people :)

I also don't consider myself to be an avid reader, but there is always a book or two that I'm currently dipping into. Book Club keeps me reading at least a book per month, and I usually have another one going as well. Right now, my nose is in "Better Than Before" by Gretchen Rubin (author of The Happiness Project.) After this one, I plan to read "Pride and Prejudice" by Jane Austen (can you believe I've never ready any of her work?) One of my dear friends gave me this beautiful copy from Anthropologie for my birthday. Don't you just love it? I'm hoping to get the whole set while they are still available.

It's nice to have at least one drawer in your bedside table for storage. The drawers of mine are jammed with contain all of the following: chapstick, post-it notes, colored markers & highlighters, blank notecards & greeting cards, a book light, adult dot-to-dot and coloring books, word searches, my Nook, special cards from family and friends, folders full of magazine clippings, a photo album.............

That's probably a good place to stop and announce the giveaway that I promised! In the spirit of what's on and within our nightstands, I am offering this collection of gifts to one lucky reader:

Book "True Pleasures: A Memoir of Women in Paris"
Vera Bradley small zippered pouch
Pentel Rollergel pens with violet ink
Peacock notepad
Tissues with Quote

All you need to do to be eligible is leave me a comment about your nightstand and how the items on it reflect your personality. I can't wait to learn new tidbits about my readers! I'll randomly select a winner on September 1st.
Good luck!

Sharing with: Savvy Southern Style, Weekend Craft, Common Ground, Share Your Cup, A Delightsome Life, Dream.Create.Inspire, Ivy & Elephants, Think and Make Thursday , French Country Cottage, Our Crafty Mom, Pieced Pastimes, Natasha in Oz, Between Naps on the Porch, Cozy Little House, Amaze Me Monday, A Stroll Thru Life, Dream Create Inspire