Super Green Smoothie

Here it is, people! This is a super green smoothie that will put a smile on your face and a pep in your step. It’s delicious and filled with nutritious foods. There’s fresh pineapple to help boost your immune system. It supports respitory health and provides a good dose of vitamins, potassium, copper and magnesium to name a few. I used spinach for the greens in this smoothie. Spinach is a powerhouse greens filled with niacin, zinc, calcium, iron and even protein! 

So what are you waiting for? Start your morning right. Stay healthy. Stay happy! Enjoy!

Super Green Smoothie

1/2 cup fresh pineapple chunks

1/2 of a medium banana

Juice of 1/2 a fresh lemon

2 cups fresh spinach 

1 cup coconut water (more for a thinner smoothie)

Put the spinach into a blender and add coconut water. Puree until smooth. Add the remaining ingredients then blend again. Pour into your favorite drinking vessel and enjoy!

Mad Mango Green Smoothie

It seems it was just a few days ago that I blogged, but I realize that a bit more than a few days has passed.  I find it ironic that I am about to share about a smoothie I made this morning when my last post was complaining about the inconveniences I experience in making them!

Ha!  I was whining.  I get like that about my kitchen.  It just lacks the space I want.  However, I am quite content with my sweet little place overall.  I am getting so close to having a completely furnished studio apartment!  Yes, heading toward my tenth month of being here; it has taken quite some time to thoughtfully recreate my small home into functional, usable space without being over crowded.  I recently got the perfect bookcase that fits the space I wanted it like it was meant to be right there.  I finally unpacked a box just marked “home” not knowing what I would find inside.  I discovered all my wonderful books and spiritual totems that were in the former “Zen room” as “M” and I liked to call a room at the old house.  It was the only room in the house that felt peaceful and calm to me.  It was the only room “M” did not go into to except for plant watering, thus the tranquility!  It was my refuge and it was the room “M” had much scorn toward.  Too much feeling stuff could happen in that room!  That’s why I loved it.  That is why “M” didn’t.  I remember my beautiful symbols that grounded me and brought me back to center were called “clutter”.  Well, I am thrilled to have my totems, books and pictures that bring me so much happiness displayed where I can see it all again.  This is no clutter!  This is what guides my life! Visible in a lovely cabinet I scored at a bargain price!  A glimpse over to my fireplace mantle, rustic and charming; there is an arrangement of memorabilia dedicated to my childhood and my mom along side my most precious spiritual totems.  It makes my heart so happy.

I woke up way too early this morning.  I’m not sure why and I really wanted to sleep more, but my body said no so I was putzing around before the sun was up.  That used to be a regular waking time for me, however I now enjoy sleeping an average of seven hours nightly and generally sleep much later than in the past.  This is another interesting observation I have made in my time away from “M”.  Some of the worst sleepless nights I experienced were while I was living with “M”.  I now enjoy some of the most restful nights ever in these past nine months! Amazing, isn’t it?  I think it’s fantastic.  I suppose that is why most mornings I wake feeling energetic and motivated to begin my day.  Even though this day began around 4:30 a.m. I feel happy and excited for the day ahead.  I have enjoyed the company of one of my favorite out of town friends this past week and hope to catch one more glimpse of him before he heads back to the east coast later today.  I’ve spent my early morning finding peace in my tranquil environment, candles burning, fall decor surrounds me.  I love this time of year.  My little place is comfortable, homey and cozy.

It put me in the mood to take some time to continue this good feeling by fueling my body with healthful food to start my day.  I have had frozen mango chunks in my tiny freezer and want to move them out so I can make room for jars of chicken soup I’ll be making later today.  I went a little crazy with chicken on my recent shopping trip!  More on that in another blog!  I came up with this delicious breakfast treat that satisfied me and had the perfect flavor.  I also feel really good knowing I’ve begun my day with wholesome, fresh goodness!  Give this smoothie a try, drink (or eat) and feel great!

Mad Mango Green Smoothie

2/3 cup frozen mango chunks

1/2 medium banana

1/2 cup packed purple kale

1 cup cashew “milk” (or other milk of your choice)

sprinkle of nutmeg

drizzle of pure vanilla (about 1/4 tsp)

Blend all ingredients in magic bullet or other blender until smooth.

Mine was just thick enough that I decided to enjoy it with a spoon!!  YUM!

Thick enough to enjoy with a spoon!!

Thick enough to enjoy with a spoon!!

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Clutter?? Phooey!!

Clutter?? Phooey!!

Purple Power Smoothie

I was in the mood for something a little different than my usual breakfast smoothie this morning. Digging through my cupboard I happened upon an open bag of raw cocoa nibs. Why I’ve been sitting on this bag of healthful jewels is a mystery to me!  I pulled them out from the basket and decided to use them as part of my smoothie!

Raw cocoa nibs provide some amazing health benefits. They are a great source of iron, manganese and copper.  Cocoa nibs are known to be one of the foods with the highest source of magnesium. They are also high in flavonoids which are plant-based compounds with powerful antioxidant properties.  Believe it or not, they even provide a good source of fiber at nine grams per ounce!  If all that good stuff isn’t enough, these little brown nibs also give you a boost of some essential minerals that we humans are often deficient of so if you’ve got these dark nibs hiding in your kitchen, pull them out and get this smoothie going!

Yesterday was my long day with work then class.  It got me home late, but because of an intense resident issue at work and my excitement over an upcoming community event I’m planning at my “home base” building, I was up even later with thoughts swirling!!  Even with a solid night of sleep, I woke up feeling a little slow to shake the brain fog.  One more thing that is fabulous about cocoa nibs is their caffeine content, though lower than the average cup of coffee, nibs provided an added boost with naturally occurring stimulants called Theobromine and Phenylethylamine, which act as mood enhancers and increase energy.  Like I said, why have I been letting these sit in my cupboard!?

I got on to making an incredible breakfast drink that is waking me up and making me feel ready for my day!  Seriously, give this a try.  It tastes great.  It’s quick and easy to throw together and it’s super satisfying.  Oh, yeah….one more thing; cocoa nibs helps stabilize blood sugars and with that good dose of fiber, your tummy will feel happily full for hours! Cocoa nibs; my new super-food of the day!

Purple Power Smoothie

small banana

1/2 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen)

2 Tbsp flax meal

1 tsp ground cinnamon

2 Tbsp raw cocoa nibs

1 cup almond milk

Add all ingredients to blender.  Blend until smooth.  Pour into a glass.  Enjoy!!

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Clean Eating Brunch

Last weekend the weather was absolutely glorious.  I was feeling energetic and motivated to get my Sunday “church” walk going.  Every Sunday I head out early and hit the trails near my house.  It has become my ritual of sorts.  I love that I can simply walk out my door, up the street a bit and walk right into our beautiful forest in the city.

Once I got my pace going it wasn’t long before my ankle decided not to cooperate. I broke my leg just above my ankle a few years back and my strength in that area has not been the same.  I also think I may be developing some arthritis in there.  Some days it gets quite painful.  I slowed my step, being mindful of how I moved my foot and continued along. Soon my back began its typical ache; it has been giving me some problems again.  I lug around a traveling office now and it is literally a pain!   My slow walking pace became meditative and methodical.  With each physical adjustment I made a mental adjustment.  I reminded myself to go with the flow, enjoy the peaceful scenery and take the opportunity to enjoy it more fully. Well, even with my slow, sure pace I still developed a pain in my hip that hurt enough to stop me.  I took a seat on a fallen tree and just let the presence of nature soothe me as I sat.

I am not sure why I took this whole experience in such stride.  I am usually not so patient with my body when it ails me and slows me down.  This experience gave me a different perspective; one that definitely caused me some concern.  I sat on that tree and wondered what I would have done had I been somewhere different.  My new job keeps me walking all around the downtown/old town area of my city.   I have places to be and I have timelines to meet.  I walk up and down steep hills on my way to and from work.  All of these activities are much more difficult with pain strong enough to disable my walking abilities.

I have only recently accepted that I live with chronic pain even though I have known this fact for quite some time.  I simply do not like limitations in my body.  I have really tried to ignore it to some degree and power on.  I try to stay away from all the triggering foods that will create more ache in my joints.  I do kind things to my muscles and joints in the form of supplements, ointments, soaks and stretches.  I have become much more physically active even when I hurt, I still walk daily because I know it is the best thing I can do for myself. Still, in doing all these great things, I sometimes slip.  Even when I don’t,  I usually experience pain.

I am considering the elimination diet again.  Not because I am concerned I have an allergy to a new food, but because it makes me feel clean on the inside.  It feels somewhat like a detox for me.  Regardless, I know this is an option and I also know now is not the time.  For now, I am being more mindful of my food choices, making sure I incorporate anti-inflammatory foods in abundance.  I came home from my walk and made an amazing brunch.  This egg scramble and green juice concoction was filled with inflammation fighting ingredients.  Try it for yourself and feel great!

This weekend the weather will be fantastic again.  In fact, a little too hot for me!  I will be heading to the beautiful Oregon coast for the weekend where it will be a perfect 70 degrees with blue skies!  My Sunday “church” walk will look a little different yet still just as beautiful.

Egg Scramble

Saute’ 2 garlic cloves in 1 1/2 tsp of olive oil until softened.  Add 1/2 cup shredded kale and cook until just wilted. Crack 2 eggs into pan and scramble with a fork, incorporating the kale and garlic.  Cook to your desired consistency then add 1/4 tsp of cracked pepper to your finished dish.

Green Juice

Chop the following produce into chunks to add to your juicer:

1 beet (I used an orange beet)

1 Bartlett pear

3 carrots (mine were unpeeled)

2 celery stalks

3 good sized kale leaves

I recommend adding the greens last.  That’s just my opinion.  However you juice, enjoy this drink.  Your body will be happy you did!20150531_104347 (1) 20150531_110213

Somewhere Over The Rainbow There Is Strawberry Water

In the early morning hours this past Saturday, one of my sweet kitty companions moved to the other side of the rainbow.  Her time came without warning and from all I could decipher, was quick.  She looked as if she was still peacefully resting when I discovered she was not breathing,

Amelia, more affectionately known as Mama (or fatty, the beast, perfect princess, mama-son) was my “grandchild” cat.  Originally my daughters cat, Amelia and I had tumultuous beginnings.  I often looked in on her when my daughter traveled. Mama was not keen to change and she battled with my attempts at affection and attention when she was in my care.  This cat was like a guard dog watching over my daughters house and I got attacked for having dared enter.  I tried to like her, despite my “battle wounds” for my attempts at sharing some love.  When my daughter traveled to New Zealand, Mama came to live with me for five months.  During this time Mama decided I wasn’t so bad, though like any “child” she certainly tested my patience often enough.  Our relationship developed and I discovered the sweet, incredibly loving side of Mama.  I spent most of her life being “grandmother” like; looking in on her, occasionally housing her, giving her attention when I would come to visit.

Mama came to live with me full time when my daughter was preparing to move to Boston.  She was my constant companion for nearly three years.  By that time she was accustomed to change and still despised it.  She had grown to trust me and the transition was not as rough as past moves for her.  She enjoyed my affections immensely.  Her aggressive head butts and persistence in making sure she got her share of attention was as endearing as it was annoying.  I developed such a love for this cat, who had one of the quirkiest personalities and could display the most “human like” expressions of any cat I have known.  I always knew what Mama was thinking and feeling.  Despite her shortcomings, I think she was absolutely the best cat with the most pure heart; like that of an old soul.  I am so grateful for our time together over her twelve years, but especially in these last years when she was with me.  I find comfort with thoughts of Mama’s last months.  I am sad she had to endure one last traumatizing move.  She did however, adjust quickly to the freedom of roaming where she wanted without a young, sassy “little sister” (M’s cat) ready to pounce on her around every corner.  She had a beautiful and spacious outdoor area where she loved to spend time feeling the sun’s rays.  She adored being able to cuddle up next to me in bed and even found a new level of acceptance with Boy, my other cat.  They actually had begun to interact in a playful way, chasing each other around the apartment.  I marveled at her unusual frisky behavior.  She actually let loose recently and l enjoyed watching her amazing “cat dance” play with a tiny piece of carpet thread-until she saw me watching her.  She then quickly regained her regal like stance and pretended none of that nonsense had just happened.  She was such a hilarious cat!  She gave me so much happiness and I believe that our move brought out her fun loving nature.  I found her endlessly entertaining.  Mama always cheered me up, whether it was watching her antics or getting loved up on when I was feeling down.  Mama reached in to the recesses of my heart and attached herself to me.  I totally adored her and I miss her immensely.

One of Mama’s quirky behaviors was her obsession with water.  Where there was running water, there was Mama frantically crying out for some drizzles of water to drink from.  It truly was a little fanatical at times.  I am pretty sure nothing made “the beast” happier than to drink the water I slowly poured into her bowl at just the right angle for her to sip from, with the exact amount of drizzle to please the “perfect princess”.  She would vibrate her tail with excitement at her favorite activity.

She also had an obsession with fruit.  Not all fruit, but apples and strawberries made Mama very happy.  If I was preparing either of these, she was there begging, curious, making sure I knew she should be involved in what I was doing.  If I was eating them, she was pawing at my hand to get at the fruit.  She would nuzzle her nose into the fuzzy green stem of the strawberry as if she enjoyed the tickle then slowly nibble away at the strawberry.  It was so silly and cute.

This “recipe” which isn’t really much of one, is dedicated to my sweet mama-son, my fatty, my princess.  In honor of the best cat ever- I made strawberry water.  I can think of no better way to say thank you for accepting me into your world, for loving me, for showing me patience, grace and presence.  Cheers to life and love with two of Mama’s favorite things.

There are some great benefits to strawberry water.  I recommend making an entire pitcher to store in your refrigerator.  I made mine in a single glass because unfortunately, I don’t have the room in my tiny fridge to give up space for a pitcher of fruit water.

Fresh strawberries are packed with Vitamin C, rich in potassium, folic acid and fiber.  Strawberry water, or most any fruit water, is excellent for overall body detoxing.  Enjoy a simply made glass, or make enough to enjoy for days.

Mama loved sunbathing

Mama loved sunbathing

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In memory of Mama

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Water with ice in it is grand!

Wake Up Smoothie

Well, It’s official.  I am on my summer break!  It’s also Friday and I need to get myself motivated to go out into this nasty morning weather so I can cross some things off my “to do” list.

I spent yesterday being a complete slug.  The weather was horrible and so was my mood. I’m not sure why I wasn’t skipping around and celebrating my new freedom from work. Instead I sulked and stayed in my pajamas until the afternoon.  Even with the ho hums, I managed to get some essential things complete in preparation for my upcoming road trip.  It was just really difficult to will myself out of the house.  Today is a different story.   I have places to go and people to see.  I am feeling a bit overwhelmed as I begin my day and I could easily sit in my pj’s and melt into the recliner.  The gloomy weather is certainly not enticing me to move from my comfy spot.  I know that in this moment my day of errands seems tedious.  When I get it done I will be thankful for doing it and grateful to be a few steps closer to  getting on the road.

In addition to a little self talk to motivate my mind, I am finding it necessary to motivate my body by fueling it with a super food green smoothie.  My sluggish brain needs a boost and this naturally sweet, creamy drink has energy producing hemp seeds to set me in the right direction for the day.

Here is what I call my Wake Up Smoothie:

1 banana

3/4 cup frozen mango chunks

2 Tablespoons hemp seeds

1 cup chopped kale

6 ounces unsweetened almond milk

Blend together in bullet or blender until smooth and creamy.  Drink and wake up!

Cheers to Friday!  Double cheers to summer!!  I am waking up and it’s time to get going!

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Water. Precious Water.

An E Coli scare in our city’s water has forced all of Portland to boil it’s water.  Water used for any food preparations, drinking or tooth brushing must be boiled for a full minute prior to use.  When I first heard of the order I didn’t fully realize the impact until it came time for me to make food.  Water is so essential.  It is amazing how much we take it for granted until it must be conserved.

Instead of buying a bunch of bottled water and having tons of plastic waste, I boiled our water.  Simple.  Cheap.  Sustainable.  No wasteful plastic to deal with later.  Many Portlanders were buying bottled water; so much that shelves were bare and semi trucks were unloading pallet after pallet of bottled water at our favorite grocery store.  It was a little crazy, in my personal opinion.  In a matter of a few hours there was wide spread water panic as people mobbed stores to get their share.  I didn’t really understand the panic.  Simply turn on the faucet, let it run cold for a minute, fill a pot, put on stove top, boil.  Done. Clean drinking water.  But, that’s just me.

So, boiling water is what I did.  I boiled lots of it.  I cook a lot.  I drink a lot of water.  I wanted safe water readily available.  Image

While I boiled I read up on Dandelion Tea benefits and spontaneously decided that I must have this tea.  Since I was boiling water, what the heck!  I went out to the yard, clipped a few dandelions and enjoyed a healthful cup with my freshly boiled water! Simply steep a few of those lovely yellow flowers for 10-15 minutes in boiling water.  It is that easy!

Here are some benefits received by drinking Dandelion Tea:

  • aids in digestion and helps relieve digestive disorders
  • enhances detoxification by stimulating urination
  • relieves bloat and water retention
  • reduces inflammation for arthritis sufferers
  • provides amazing amounts of minerals & vitamins A,C,D,E & B Complex, calcium, magnesium, iron, zinc when infused in hot water
  • helps boost immunity and combats cancer, heart disease and age-related memory loss
  • aids in health maintenance for people suffering from type-1 & type-2 diabetes

There are so many more incredible health benefits to drinking Dandelion Tea.  But, do I really need to list more?  Get outside and pick those pesky dandelions!  They will do more good in your body than in your grass.  Go on….give it a try!

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Oh, and Portland lifted it’s water ban this evening.  I think I’ll toss some lemon and cucumber slices in my mason jars of boiled water. No sense in pouring it down the drain! Now that would just be wasteful.  Water, I am reminded, is a precious commodity.