Strawberry Chia Seed Pudding

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chia-pudding I’ve been experimenting with adding new snack and breakfast items to my rotation. Things I can grab when I’m feeling hungry but have very little time. Things that will prevent me from dipping into a bag of chips or stopping at the coffee shop and grabbing a muffin. Chia pudding is a somewhat new-to-me concept, and while I admittedly don’t love these for their decadent, indulgent flavor, I love them for their ease and health benefits. Chia seeds are packed with protein, Omega 3′s and leave me feeling full and nourished, which is the true end goal when I’m craving a snack – something to fill a need so I don’t keep craving junk. All this to say, if you make these, don’t be surprised if you don’t fall head over heels in love with them. They don’t knock your socks off like a fantastic donut or leave you craving more like a bag of chips. But that’s okay. There’s a reason those other foods leave you wanting more, and there’s a reason foods like these exist; to help keep us on track.

If ever there was a crappier sell on a recipe, I’d prove you to find it, but really I’m just trying to be honest. Eating healthy isn’t always fireworks and moon beams. Many times it’s just trying to find the best version of a good-for-you health food you can find. In that case, this particular strawberry chia seed pudding recipe fits the bill perfectly. I tweaked it a few times to get it just how I like it, but feel free to add a bit more honey or maple syrup to make it sweeter, or change up the fruit to use what’s in-season at the time. At any rate, I hope you enjoy it. I divided mine up into little ramekins so I can grab and go, and they’ve done a great job preventing hangry meltdowns on my part.
chia-pudding1

Strawberry Chia Seed Pudding
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Make this quick, easy and healthy chia pudding recipe for quick on the go snacks and breakfasts.
Author:
Recipe type: Breakfast
Cuisine: American
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 1½ cups strawberry
  • 1 ripe banana
  • 1¾ cups almond milk
  • ⅔ cup white or black chia seeds
  • 1 tbsp honey or maple syrup
  • ⅓ cup unsweetened coconut flakes
Instructions
  1. Place all ingredients in a blender and blend on medium speed just to combine and gently stir up the seeds. Once combined, place in a large bowl, cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, then enjoy! This makes exactly 30 ounces you can divide up into 6, 5 ounce single size servings.

 



Happy Easter Cake Banner

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Happy Easter cake topper DIY

I should begin by admitting that I have an addiction to baked-goods accessorizing. It’s true…I can’t whip up a batch of cupcakes without throwing some sprinkles on there. Making a cake? I have to add ribbons glues to toothpicks because, like I said, I have an accessorizing problem. So when you combine the delicious decorating potential of a cake with a holiday, you know there will be some cake-topper magic in the works! For Easter I came up with a no-sew (you heard me) Happy Easter cake banner that is so easy, the Easter bunny could figure it out. All you need is a little Easter spirit (like Christmas spirit but it smells like eggs and chocolate…mmm).

Happy Easter cake topper DIY

Supplies:

- Pieces of felt in spring colors

- Embroidery string in spring colors

- Two kabob or skewer sticks

- Fabric scissors

- Hot glue gun with glue sticks

Happy Easter cake topper DIY

Step 1: I began my Easter cake topper by cutting out felt rectangles at 1.5″ wide by 2″ tall. I cut out one rectangle per letter, which is 11 rectangles if you want to say “Happy Easter” and it would be 11 rectangles if you wanted to say “Happy Spring” and it would be 21 rectangles if you wanted to say “I am a Jehovah’s Witnesses” (just a little DIY comedy for you).

Happy Easter cake topper DIY

Step 2: This step is probably the trickiest step, but I found that if I just took it slow and was thoughtful about the cuts I made the letters turned out great. For step 2 grab your scissors and a felt rectangle to create a mini felt letter. You will do this by cutting away the negative space around the letter. It helps if you use the sides of the rectangle as the boarders of the letter. For example, I pictured the two 2″ sides of my rectangle as the vertical sides of my letter “H”. Then I simply cut out the top and bottom squares that are the negative space in the letter “H”. For “A” I cut out two triangle shapes on the sides. For “S” I said some curse words and after 3 attempts got that sucker just right. Helpful hint: to make sure all the letters are the same proportions, make sure the 2″ sides are the sides of your letter and the 1.5″ sides are the top and bottom of your letter.

Happy Easter cake topper DIY

Happy Easter cake topper DIY

Happy Easter cake topper DIY

Step 3: Now comes the no-sew part (party!). For step three you will be attaching the felt letters to the embroidery string. I began by turning my word upside-down and backwards. That way I would glue it together in the correct order/direction when I flipped it around. Next, I took my first letter and applied hot glue to the top parts of my letter (for the “H” it was the top of the two vertical lines). Make sure you are gluing the back of your letter to the string. Repeat this for all your letters with each word on it’s own string. Side note: I spaced my letters about 1/4″ apart. I also threw together a little bunting banner for the fun of it.

Happy Easter cake topper DIY

Happy Easter cake topper DIY

Step 4: For the final step (woop woop!) you will simply flip around your glued words so they are facing right-side-up and tie the two string ends to your skewer sticks (one string end to each stick) creating a little banner! I did a three-tiered banner with tier one being a bunting banner, tier two as “Happy” and tier three as “Easter”.

Stick it in your cake and you are done! One cake banner fit for Easter! And now my addiction has been appeased.

Happy Easter cake topper DIY

Happy Easter cake topper DIY



Week In Review – Watching Trainwrecks

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c34b735570c1fd89bee1e3bca32ff5f0 If you are at all involved in some sort of social media, whether you blog or not, you may have heard some hulabaloo about the American Blogger train wreck that won’t quit. Basically, the trailer was released for the film, and all hell broke loose on Twitter (you can search the #americanblogger hashtag on Twitter, which has been trending for a few days now, and get a feel for how poorly it was received in just a few short seconds, or you can do a google search and see the top trending articles). What at first began as valid criticism over the clear lack of diversity in the bloggers featured (and lack of men for that matter), quickly turned into mockery and mean snark.

As most everyone can agree on, I too thought the trailer was terrible, and did a very poor job representing what could very well be an interesting topic. It also did a poor job representing some women I personally know, who are anything but shallow and vapid. But beyond that, I don’t agree it’s something those of us in the community should tear each other apart for, and I certainly don’t think a young aspiring filmmaker should have his career ruined. None of us in the blogging world are without fault and we are all subject to criticism no matter what our niche topic is. Lifestyle is often accused of presenting an unrealistic ideal way to decorate a home or dress or create. Narrative blogs could be accused of divulging too much and not knowing when to keep things private. This has all served as a good reminder to keep myself in check, try to be as real as possible, and just focus on being myself. For starters, I’m throwing away all those stupid cute paper straws. They don’t work and are useless.

There has already been so much written about the subject, so I’m not sure I can add anything useful or different to the conversation, but I will say that we as bloggers can have a tendency to get very used to praise, praise, praise. Yes, we are our own harshest critics, but by way of the medium in which we work, we can very quickly get used to the praise from people who follow us, because those who follow tend to like what we’re doing, for one reason or another. When you make a film or start writing a column like Babble, which reaches a far wider audience, you expose yourself to people who don’t regularly follow you. This week, the Wiegands exposed themselves to a much larger audience, and they unfortunately found out not everyone thinks what they do is beautiful. It sucks, and I feel terrible for them, but mostly I feel terrible for the women featured in the film. Some of whom I personally know and I can confirm are not “rich” or perfect. Talented and stylish, sure, but also hardworking and creative and yes, pretty.

I go through periods where I get pretty burnt out with this whole blogging thing, and this week was one of them. There’s so much I love about blogging, but also so much I truly despise. There are days where I haven’t felt charitable enough, Christian enough, as connected to my kids as I should be. I’ve rolled my eyes after seeing a black and white graphic nursery reveal for the upteenth time, felt a stupid tinge of jealousy seeing another perfectly stylized DIY project produced from the blogger who seems to be too big for her own breaches, and gnashed my teeth at images of stylized work-desks on Instagram. There’s people in this space who are deep and intellectual, those who are shallow, and those who are misunderstood. There’s people of all sizes, shapes, ethnicities and backgrounds, millions of them, floating along on their own piece of the internet. It’s naive to think we can all see eye to eye, that we can all be a true community, that one person could represent us all. It’s naive to also think that our every word is going to be clearly understood, not taken out of context, and our every intention seen as pure. My old boss had a saying he would repeat often: “Perception is reality.” While we may sometimes be “misunderstood”, the perception we put forth every day on Instagram on our blog, on Facebook and on Twitter, is reality to someone else. I learned a lot when one of my articles on Babble went viral last year and I took some horrible heat from it. I learned to be clearer with my words and not to be too hasty with what I publish. I learned that not everyone sees my point of view, no matter how much sense it makes to me. And more than anything, I learned that there is so much snark and meanness in this world it could ruin a person, for even just a small fraction of a second. Call it hate, snark, bullying or just plain sarcasm, when you use your words to intentionally ruin someone else, even for a second, you’re doing nothing more than adding more negativity to a world already so filled with bad.

I think a lot of us definitely agree that the tides may soon turn a little. The backlash this past week to the lifestyle niche of blogging has been overwhelming, and I wonder if it will make many of us think the next time we post a picture drinking out of a mason jar. The whole thing has been such an unfortunate train wreck I hope we can soon move past. Have a good weekend everyone.



Easter Inspired Strawberry Rhubarb Smoothie

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Strawberry Rhubarb Smoothie When I was a little girl, I would watch my grandmother stir a bubbling pot of strawberry-rhubarb sauce on the stove. It was destined for great things, like vanilla ice cream, pie, or angel food cake. And even for a picky, picky eater, that sauce was one of my favorite springtime treats. My grandmother’s garden was always brimming with both fresh strawberries and thick, red rhubarb stalks. That rhubarb plant grew wildly off to the side of her magnificent garden. It was gigantic – so large that in my child mind, it was practically a tree. I looked forward to her yearly harvest and that lovely combination of strawberry and rhubarb. Not much has changed over the years. I’m still a huge fan, which is why I had to turn my two favorite spring time fruits into a deliciously creamy smoothie. rhubarb strawberry smoothie-3

Smoothies are a daily thing at my house. I fell in love first and slowly my kids have followed. My blender is running several times a day to keep up with my kids’ new found love of slurping up their fruit (and veggies!) For me it’s about packing in a little more nutrition into our day, so I start my day with a green smoothie and share with my kids. After school I make another one for them to share. This yummy strawberry rhubarb smoothie is definitely a new favorite. It’s creamy and tart with just a touch of sweetness and a pleasant floral note from orange blossom water. Strawberry Rhubarb Smoothie

California strawberries are in season and that brings a smile to my face. We’re still a few months out from local strawberries where I live. Every time I hit up the grocery store, I come home with another pound or two of strawberries. We simply cannot get enough. Rhubarb is a little more difficult to come by. When I see it, I snatch it right up. It used to be that it was difficult to give away rhubarb – it was kind of spring’s zucchini. Everyone had it growing in their garden. But now I find it to be a little more challenging to find, so when I do it’s a real treat. Rhubarb is very tart on its own, so I added a little raw honey to tame it. Honestly, I never thought of using raw. I mean, my grandmother never did. But it’s really quite refreshing. It doesn’t have quite the same flavor that it acquires from that long simmer on the stove, but it’s wonderful nonetheless. Altogether this smoothie is so bright and refreshing. It would be the perfect addition to an Easter Brunch menu. rhubarb strawberry smoothie ingredients

Now for the healthy part! Rhubarb, as I recently learned, is a great source of calcium. One cup provides 10% of the daily recommended value of calcium. Pretty sweet. It also a good source of dietary fiber, potassium, manganese, lutein, Vitamins K and C, and antioxidants. Strawberries and oranges are also excellent sources of Vitamin C. See? You can’t go wrong here. You simply must make this to sip while you’re dipping hard boiled eggs into small pots of color (and before you gnaw off the ear of the chocolate rabbit). rhubarb strawberry smoothie-4

Easter Inspired Strawberry Rhubarb Smoothie
 
Prep time
Total time
 
Make this spring smoothie for a pre-Easter brunch, and all throughout the season.
Author:
Recipe type: Smoothie
Cuisine: Healthy
Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • 2 cups fresh strawberries
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen rhubarb, sliced
  • 1 large orange, peeled
  • ½ cup coconut cream
  • raw honey, to taste (1-2 teaspoons)
  • ½ teaspoon (or more) orange blossom water (optional)
  • ¾ cup ice
Instructions
  1. Place ingredients in blender. Puree until smooth. Pour into glasses and serve.


Daily Style – Statements In Blue

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IMG_4569 Dress – Madewell, Jacket – Zara, Shoes – Zara, Necklace – J. Crew, Bag – Reed Krakoff

The church we’ve been attending for the past few months tends to lean towards the more dressy side, rather than casual. The pastor is never without a dress shirt and sport coat, and most of the congregation makes an obvious attempt at coming to church in their version of Sunday best. I love it, both because I can lean towards a more casual look if I’m feeling like being comfortable, but if I want to get dressed up, I don’t feel the least bit out of place.

I picked up this pretty dress at Madewell right before Alt Summit, and although it wasn’t completely cocktail attire, I knew I could make it work for a number of occasions, and the $40 price tag was just too good to be true. It fits like a glove, although in these pictures it seems a wee bit short, and it’s really nicely made. It even has pockets, a favorite detail of mine for a dress. While I loved this dress best when worn with heels, I think it still works well with flats, and anticipate getting lots of use out of it all year long. IMG_4570 IMG_4579 IMG_4596 Do you snatch up dresses you love at a good price, even if you don’t have an intended use for them? If the price is too good to be true, I tend to do a little dress hoarding. It’s one of those closet items, in my opinion, you can never have too many of. I’m really glad I didn’t let this one get away. IMG_4597



Crafting With Cricut

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IMG_4563 On Saturday night, I hosted an event, along with Cricut, for 20 lovely ladies. Most were friends and family, but a few were guests of friends, and it was nice to meet new faces and spend time being creative, and watch everyone enjoy themselves. The purpose of the event was to introduce craft enthusiasts to Cricut’s new machine, the Explore, and give them a chance to play with it. But the real goal of the night was to just have fun. Thanks so much to Cricut in helping sponsor the event so we could do just that. cricut2 We wanted to show some of the cool and fun things the new Cricut could do, including cut through almost any type of material, while using any sort of design and/or font your heart could desire. With that in mind, I let Alix’s DIY hexagon artwork project serve as inspiration, and asked the team at Cricut to cut out hexagon stencils for us to use that night. The hexagon decor then seemed like a given. They cut out the wall vinyls that hung above the food tables, and hundreds of little hexagon confettis. They also cut out bigger hexagons, which I sewed together to create the big balloon tassels. IMG_4503 While Alix had used press board for her project, I decided to use standard 5/8″ plywood, and had the lumber yard cut out 1 sheet, which cost $40, into 20 individual pieces measuring 12″x18″. I set out the wood, along with some paint and lots of brushes and water cups at each place setting, and they looked so pretty all lined up. I love when something so ordinarily simple and drab comes together to make such a statement. IMG_4502 For thank you gifts, I bought small terra cotta pots from Michael’s and spray painted them the colors of the night, including minty green, burgundy and blush pink. I then filled them with succulent clippings from our yard. They served as the centerpieces all along the table and nestled next to the Cricut workstations. IMG_4507 IMG_4506 We worked in shifts, with a few friends trying out projects from the Cricut project gallery, while most others painted. Some used the stencil itself to map out their design, while others cleverly used the actual hexagon cut outs from the stencils, to create an entirely different pattern. It was amazing to see all the pattern and color variations everyone came up with. IMG_4533 Some placed the boards horizontal, and some turned the boards to create vertical artwork, something I hadn’t even considered. It’s amazing how our creative synapses fire when our brains are not busy tending to the needs and demands of tiny humans.   IMG_4526 IMG_4545 IMG_4537 IMG_4542 With the exception of a container of hummus, I made all the food myself. I tried to keep everything healthy and light, yet filling. We had just the right amount of food, but could have used more drinks. Of course. IMG_4508 IMG_4509 IMG_4511 For the appetizers, I made the goat cheese & ricotta dip from the Bountiful cookbook, a lentil & bruschetta salad, an avocado & kale salad, and a veggie tray with CSA vegetables.  The lentil & bruschetta salad is super easy and all you do to assemble is buy a container of premade bruschetta and a package of cooked lentils, toss them together and serve with some little crackers or toasts. IMG_4516 For dessert, I put out some dark chocolate covered pretzels, and made the no-bake chocolate macaroons from Oh She Glows, but added a dollop of plum jam in the center to give them a little burst of flavor. Some noticed the tartness, some didn’t. Either way, without or without the jam addition, they are a quick and easy dessert to pull together, and make for a cute and impressive presentation. I also made the sweet potato chocolate bars from Bountiful as well. IMG_4513 You may be wondering about the cute studio space we held the event in. It’s Oh Hello Friend’s new studio space, which they rent out for workshops and parties. Truth be told, I hadn’t seen the space in person, just heard about it from Danni. I figured it would be a very basic white studio space, but silly me, I was clearly wrong. The details, from the original brick wall, to the strung cafe lights, to the vintage and thrifted decor throughout, made it a truly enchanting place to spend the evening in. IMG_4555 cricut3 We had held our last Craft Cabinet event in Danni’s shop, and if attendees needed a break from crafting, they got up and browsed the store and shopped a little. I was a little nervous that if all the Cricut stations were taken, they would just be wandering around without anything to do. But of course it was perfect because they wandered around and just took in the visual eye candy. Even though nothing was for sale, I think everyone felt inspired and happy to just be surrounded by such charming and pretty things. IMG_4548 IMG_4547 It was a great night, and I think (hope) everyone had a good time. We gave away a Cricut to one lucky attendee, and everyone else got to go home with a piece of art and a little piece of our home, in a succulent clipping. Some days I really wish Jules and I would start up The Craft Cabinet again, because it really is amazing seeing women get together in a friendly, relaxed way, and just create. It’s inspiring and uplifting. Perhaps in the future we can figure out a way for us to continue hosting such events in a way that doesn’t completely stress us out, but in the mean time, little opportunities like this will just have to do.

For two days this past January, I got to work with the Cricut Explore and witness first hand all the cool things it can do, and the opportunities to create easy projects through the design space. If you’re interested in learning more, peek around the site and watch the video of what it can do. I can’t wait to find some time to actually play with my machine at home, and I hope I can create some projects to share with you all here. Also, if you’re wondering, the new machine does have a space for cartridges from the old machines, but going forward all the files are digital, which is so very cool.

cricut1 Thanks Cricut for helping me throw such a fun party and give me a reason to spend time with some of my favorite people! And special thanks to Cara, our representative from Cricut who flew out for the event, and was our Cricut cruise director for the night.

*This is not a sponsored post. Cricut gifted me a new Explore, and helped with the costs of the party, but all opinions are my own.



Week In Review – Spring Favorites

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Weekly-Loves---Spring-Favorites Hi guys, and Happy Friday! Before I go on, can I just remind you all to enter this giveaway, for $100 credit to Kika and a beautiful gift basket from LaFresh? Also, I’m just 2 away from reaching 2000 Facebook fans on my page. I’d love to reach it this weekend!  Thanks in advance. Okay, moving on.

I’m deep in the throes of party prep for the Cricut party I’m hosting tomorrow night at Oh Hello Friend’s studio. It will be a fun evening spent with friends and family, some who I’ve known for years, and some who I’ve been lucky enough to meet through blogging. It’s a day busy with spray painting and making desserts, but I still wanted to share a few things I’m really enjoying these days, and cute things I’ve found around the web.

1. This baseball tee from J. Crew is fantastic. It fits perfectly, it’s really soft, and is 25% off. This will be a Spring favorite, most definitely.

2. I don’t own these sandals, but they sure are chic, right? And quite affordable considering they look very high-end. The Lacey from ShoeMint.

3. I do own a pair of these Painted Bird hand-crocheted sandals though, and I am thoroughly enjoying them. Made in India, I found them at the Penelope Lane Boutique last weekend and have barely taken them off since. They are also having a 25% off discount code this weekend. I have the Mermaid color way and love it, but this more neutral pair, with a pop of color, are pretty too. They run big so size down!

4. I bought this nude Mac lipstick in Blankety a few months back, but have mostly been wearing it in the past few weeks. It’s a nice neutral shade for Spring and Summer.

5. My birthday is next week, and I’ve put rings from Another Feather on my wish list. This trio stacks beautifully.

6. Aren’t these hand painted wooden Easter eggs just gorgeous? There’s more designs too!

Other stuff I’m digging:

  • This article titled, The Terrible Tragedy of the Healthy Eater, is the best thing I’ve read so far this year. Definitley tongue in cheek, I can relate to so much of it. I think us healthy eaters can be our own worst enemies, at times, and can demonize just about any food, if we try hard enough. Like my friend Mary said, “Makes me feel part of a well-meaning anxiety tribe.” Touche.
  • These Easter basket filler ideas are great. Very cute and creative.
  • This carrot cake sure is cute.
  • New Parenting Study finds that if American parents read one more long-form think piece about parenting they will go fucking ape shit. Damn right.

Have a great weekend everyone!



A Backyard Dinner Party

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Mark'sBday-1019 It’s been a little over 6 months since our very good friends moved cross country to Memphis. In a way, I think it’s natural to say that life has resumed as normal since they’ve left, but in so many ways, and quite often, we feel their absence. If just the kids were friends, or just the parents, it would be a different story, but when the entire family is close, it makes their absence that much more obvious. But we focus on the positive, and skype when we can, and the kids write letters back and forth, and we do our best to keep in touch, although it takes no work at all to keep the bonds of friendship tight. We’ve seen our friends 3 times since they’ve moved, and each time we just pick up right where we left off. I had a dream the other night that they moved back to California though, and it was so real, I think it just may happen. Mark'sBday-1026 They visited last month for their spring break, and since their visit was right around Dr. Mark’s birthday, we decided to host a surprise party for him, adults only. I had every single intention of keeping this small dinner party a very casual affair, and in fact 2 days before the party, I hadn’t done much more than order the food. But the night before the party, I decided that this was a special occasion that required a bit of extra attention. Since the weather had been beyond glorious in California, we moved the party outside, and the day of the party I ordered a few simple flower arrangements and rented white table cloths. It was rushed and frantic in the last hour, but no one knew the difference, and the results were so impressive, yet so simple and easy to achieve, I wanted to share with you a few simple things I did to make the tables glow and the mood feel a bit more elegant, yet still casual. Mark'sBday-1011 The key to those beautifully glowing tables were 2 strings of white twinkly lights, hooked up to an extension cord we ran along the ground. You can order white twinkly lights on Amazon, or Target often stocks them year round. We bought ours during summer last year and took them on our Yosemite camping trip, and just leave them in the garage all year round, in a place that’s easy to reach. Twinkly lights, as you know, can transform a room for a special occasion, and they did just that here.

Once the white lights were strewn along the center of the table, I laid out some smilax I had purchased from my local florist for $15. It is a very wispy leafy green that can easily be hung together or laid out in patches to resemble garland. This was laid over the white lights so they glowed from underneath, and the greenery added depth and filling to the table, since I only purchased 3 small floral arrangements. The tables, when put together, spanned over 16 feet, so we had a lot of space to fill in, but didn’t want to spend a lot of money. The smilax worked like a charm.
Mark'sBday-1008 In between the floral arrangements, and nestled in between the lights and smilax, we lit about 20 small votive candles. They provided a nice flicker on the table, for about 2 hours, but then of course they burned out. But the white twinkly lights still kept the table glowing beautifully.

The large bulb lights hanging above the table are always hung and we light them up when we go for a night swim. We bought them over 5 or 6 years ago on Amazon, and they’re still going strong. They’re called cafe lights, and ours pretty much look like the ones you see here. There are large size bulbs that are usually hung at restaurants and such, but these smaller ones light up quite nice and are more affordable.
Mark'sBday-1020 Mark'sBday-1017 We had a looped play list going throughout the night, and the night stayed so warm, we even felt too hot by the fire pit. We never needed to turn on the outdoor heater. Of course now it’s turned cold(ish) again in Southern California, and I’m looking at these photos longingly. But we’ll have more of the same soon, so I’ll just cozy up and be patient. Mark'sBday-1023 Of course all of these little details may seem silly and unnecessary, but I loved putting in a little extra effort for friends who mean so much to us. The result was very much worth it in the end. Mark'sBday-1033 It was a wonderful visit, and I’m already daydreaming about the next time we get to spend time with our friends again. These photos perfectly captured such a beautiful night for us all. Until next time.

Photos courtesy of M. Shanti Photography



Almond & Date Smoothie, With Maca

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Almond Date Smoothie With Maca Some days, you just can’t look at another leafy green vegetable based smoothie or juice. Some days you miss the old you, who’d stroll through McDonald’s on a Tuesday afternoon and order a McFlurry and fries on the side, to dip in my McFlurry. Sigh.

But then you remember you invested in that fancy Vitamix and so you better put it to good use, and you’ve sort of committed to this healthy lifestyle thing, so you make yourself a smoothie that is still healthy and nutritious, but feels a little decadent too. That’s where this smoothie comes in. The other day Hayden and I stopped for a snack, and I ordered a very similar smoothie from the juice bar. I took note of the ingredients, and went home to see if I could recreate my own version. After a couple of attempts, I landed on this concoction, and it couldn’t be more delicious. Almond Date Smoothie With Maca This smoothie is filling, and would make a really good breakfast on the go, or when you need a comforting mid-morning snack. The day I ordered it, I was in need of some comforting, it was just one of those days, and this did the trick. Almond Date Smoothie With Maca Ingredients You’ve probably noticed that I added maca powder to this smoothie. Is it entirely necessary to get the same taste? Definitely not, but if you’d like to see if you can reap some of the reported benefits of maca, you can certainly give it a try. A note on the ingredients:

Maca: A plant that grows in the Andes mountains, maca is believed to improve energy, enhance mental clarity, and improve libido in both men and women. While all evidence is anecdotal and not scientific, a lot of the readers who commented on it on the GMMDI IG feed reported experiencing vast improvements in energy and sexual interest. There are no harmful side effects, so if you can afford the $20 price for a bottle, it definitely couldn’t hurt. I spoke to a gentleman at Lazy Acres though, and he did recommend buying the gelatinized form of the powder, as the raw powder can be harder to digest, therefore making it harder for your body to absorb all the nutrients and benefits. Maca is not recommended for pregnant or nursing women.

Almond Breeze Almond Milk: Almonds are naturally low in sugar and a great source of nutrients including fiber, protein, monounsaturated fat, manganese, magnesium and copper, just to name a few. Of course it is also dairy-free and great for vegans and those who are lactose intolerant, and is a great source of calcium, with fewer calories than milk. We drink both cow’s milk and almond milk in our family, but for our smoothies, we always use almond milk because it gives them a lighter texture and adds a nice distinct flavor.

Almond Butter: Nutritionally, almond butter and peanut butter are almost identical, although almond butter does have a slight advantage over peanut butter in terms of a few vitamins and minerals including Vitamin E and magnesium. Both are great though, so you can use either one here, although if you’re following Paleo, you obviously want to just stick to almond butter since peanut butter is a legume, which is forbidden on paleo.

Cayenne: Even just a pinch of cayenne can be beneficial. Cayenne can help relieve pain, aid in appetite suppression, and is even sometimes used to treat psoriasis. Almond-Date-Smoothie-With-Maca If this smoothie sounds like it’s something you’d like to make out with, or at least take on a date, see the recipe below, and please let me know if you give it a try. Happy Wednesday friends!

Almond & Date Smoothie, With Maca
 
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Cook time
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When you’re craving something indulgent, yet still nutritious, this smoothie hits the spot.
Author:
Recipe type: Smoothie
Cuisine: Healthy
Serves: 16 ounces
Ingredients
  • ¼ cup Dates, pitted and roughly chopped
  • ½ cup Oats, can be quick or slow cooking
  • 1 tsp Maca powder, preferably gelatinized
  • ½ tsp Cinnamon
  • ⅛ tsp Cayenne pepper
  • 3 tbsp Almond butter
  • ½ cup Almond Breeze Almond Milk
  • ½ cup shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 1 whole ripe banana
  • 1 cup ice
Instructions
  1. Place all ingredients in a powerful blender and blend until smooth.

Almond Breeze This post was sponsored by Almond Breeze Almond Milk, although all opinions expressed are my own. I’d like to thank Almond Breeze for their support, so I can develop some wonderful recipes for you all over the next several months. If you would like to see the other recipes I created in the month of March, using Almond Breeze Almond Milk, you can visit my Instagram where I provide the recipes within each post.

On St. Patrick’s Day I made a Lucky Green Smoothie using peaches and kale as the base fruit and veggies., and over the weekend I made a delicious batch of Strawberry Chia Pudding. I’m most appreciative that Almond Breeze is a sponsor, so I can devote some time creating great recipes I can share both on my blog, and on Instagram!



Final Giveaway – Kika & La Fresh

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I have one last giveaway for you all, before we head back into regularly scheduled posts. This past week has been exciting and exhausting. Launching the redesign was almost like starting from scratch because of all the new features and design details we incorporated in, and it still needs some tinkering. But I’m so, so thrilled with where it’s at right now, and appreciate all the kind words you sent my way. The two winners of the first 2 giveaways have been announced on each post, and emails have been sent out. You can check to see if you were the winner here and here. If you didn’t win the first 2 sets of prizes, there’s one last wonderful opportunity for you to win some amazing items right here. Alice-Ink-Frontjpg Los Angeles based clothing designer Kika is a mother/daughter duo who design all of their creations with sustainability and environmental impact in mind. All fabrics are eco-friendly including 100% organic cotton and Tencel, and all their clothing is sourced and produced in the United States. Local, sustainable, eco-friendly, Kika stands for and upholds all the principles which are so important and necessary in this world of fast-fashion. Kika is giving away a $100 shop credit to anything in their store. LA-Fresh La Fresh is also based locally in Southern California, and I was fortunate enough to meet their reps at ExpoWest, and I was immediately drawn to their company values and mission. I took home a few samples, including their travel size face wipes and makeup remover, and within a few days I contacted the company to see if they’d offer up this giveaway, because I knew you all would love their products too! La Fresh offers a wide range of all natural beauty products that are conscientiously produced and sourced, and use considerable less packaging and water than many other beauty brands. They’re affordable too. They’re offering up this wonderful basket of goodies including travel wipes, face cleanser, makeup remover pads and nail polish remover pads.

You can enter this last giveaway below, but please note this is open to US residents only. Giveaway closes on Sunday April 6th at 11:59 pm.  Good luck!
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