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!

This Oregon Life

I have been eagerly awaiting decent Oregon weather so I can get out in the woods to enjoy some camping.  With my ready made camping vehicle, I can be on the go without much preparation other than food.  It is so awesome to get in and go!  I’ve been really excited to get out in nature and enjoy my beautiful Oregon.  Let me tell you, I desperately need out of Portland these days!  I enjoyed an extra long trip last weekend and this weekend I did an over-niter just because I can! Nature, beauty and primitive camping is not far from Portland.  Less than a two hour drive brings me to the peace I want.

 

My lovely state did not disappoint!  The weather was perfect both weekends.  Last weekend I stayed at a new campground for me and this weekend I went to an old time favorite spot where I have been camping for years.  Both spots brought me the calm solitude and connection with nature I love.

My sweet princess is not a fan of camping.  Her first weekend she spent terrified and preferred the comfort of my lap or on the bed safe inside my rig.  Even with friends she loved, being out and near the camp fire was much too scary for my little one.  Freshly returned from my second camping trip of the season my little girl is exhausted.  This time she was attacked by a dog much larger than her as we were taking a walk.  Irresponsible pet owners did not have their dog leashed at their campsite.  When we walked by, he ran out to us and attacked my baby. Thankfully, she has only minor physical injuries but she is now a skittish, terrified little thing.  I certainly hope she gets back to her usual spunky happy self soon.  My poor, sweet baby.  That was a terrifying experience for us both.

 

We’re taking a couple weeks break from camping to enjoy other weekend activities, but we’ll be back at it again with more adventures and good food in store!!  I’ve got some camping with dog experience behind me now so I think I’m more prepared for future trips. Every chance I get this coming season, I will be out in the great green of Oregon.  If my plans lay out as I hope, this will be my last summer in Oregon so I am taking advantage of what my great state offers so close to home. (I’ll share more about this later!)

As my usual style, food is the center of attention for my camping adventures.  Remember that raspberry sauce I wrote about not long ago?  Here’s the same version with blueberries added.  It made for a delicious pancake sauce this morning.  There’s nothing like freshly made food in the great outdoors.  It just tastes better!  I added a dollop of plain coconut Greek style yogurt, which is actually quite sweet and not tart like typical dairy yogurts. The combination was fantastic!  Add a steeping cup of fresh brewed java, a little fire to watch dance and this morning was divine!20160626_093914

 

 

 

Scrumptious Raspberry Pancake Sauce

Raspberries are in abundance and I have been harvesting so many pounds of these delicious jewels!  The raspberries are incredibly bountiful this year.  I already have some in the freezer, I’ve made some yummy recipes, I’ve popped them in my mouth as is for a fresh, refreshing and healthful snack.  I’m giving them away even!  I’m not kidding!  There are copious amounts of raspberries.  This makes me so very happy because I love raspberries!

I always enjoy working in the kitchen with food.  I find the task of preparing food calming and it brings me back to my happy place, especially in times of distress.  With the recent tragedy in Orlando, I have felt heartache and grief.  I have found the past few days difficult to tend to the essentials in each day.  As such, I have found myself standing in the kitchen more often than usual after spontaneously deciding to see what I can throw together just to take my mind off all the hate and pain in this country.

With so many raspberries in my kitchen I decided to focus my attention on making something with those.  I went with a sauce.  It just sounded good.  I am craving pancakes, so guess what’s next?  Pancakes!  I’m going to make a batch and have breakfast for dinner!

This was super easy and took no time at all.  Check out the recipe below and give it a try yourself!  You won’t be disappointed!

Raspberry Pancake Sauce

3 cups of fresh raspberries20160614_182747

1/2 cup raw cane sugar

1/4 cup of water

a mix of arrowroot powder and water (for thickness)

pinch of salt

squeeze of lemon (about a 1/2 tsp)

Combine all ingredients into a medium saucepan.  Place on stove top and bring to a boil.  In a separate small bowl, make a paste with arrowroot powder and water.  I tend to use about 2 tablespoons of the powder to 2 tablespoons of water.  Add to the sauce when it boils, stir until combined then continue to let it boil for 5 minutes or until it begins to thicken.  Reduce to simmer and let cook until it is your desired sauciness.  Serve warm. Yum!

 

 

 

The Sweet Life Of Raspberries

My friends, do you know what time of year we are coming into?  Raspberries, people!!  20160602_174445The precious short season of the raspberry is here and I am so happy! They are a bit early this year and growing abundantly.  I’m so fortunate to have family that share their bountiful harvest.  In fact, picking the berries is most exclusively done by me.  If I don’t they will dry up on the vine.  Age and health issues keeps my loved ones from tending to them as they have in the past.  These happen to be my favorite berry so for the next few weeks, I’ll be a raspberry picking fiend as I pluck as many as I can before they disappear.

Of course, these delicious raspberries must have a coming out party and what better way than with these fantastic scones?20160602_185952  One of my favorite recipes; I’ve made them so many times with different variations.  This time the only change I made was substituting the maple syrup for raw sugar.  Turns out that was not the best choice, but it was all I had and I’m using up my cupboard staples before I buy more.  They are good, but maple syrup is way better.  There’s a reason it’s in the recipe title.  That’s my opinion.  It certainly won’t stop me from munching on these for a mid-morning snack!

I’ve posted this recipe many times before here and if you haven’t given it a try, I highly recommend it.  Go ahead, you deserve this treat!  Happy Friday, y’all!!

http://www.nourishingmeals.com/2009/07/gluten-free-maple-raspberry-scone.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Be Kind. Eat Kind. My Kind of “Kind” Bars

Last week was a huge challenge and stress for me.  I had some pretty crazy things happen and it has thrown me off balance.  My focus has been pulled in many directions.  This week I’m struggling with the after effects of said craziness.  I have truly appreciated the kindness of friends, family and complete strangers recently.  I am purposefully noticing kindness.  Have you ever taken the time to notice random acts of kindness?   I’m not talking the grandiose gestures that get media attention.  I’m talking about the genuine kindness of everyday people you cross paths with as you go about your day. The grocery clerk who wishes good thoughts to you and your family during a difficult time, the person who holds the door because your hands are full, or the couple on a walk who stop to ask if you’re okay and stay to help when it’s clear you need it.   There really are genuinely good and kind people in this world.  When we are constantly bombarded with other types of messages about our fellow human beings,  we tend to forget kindness truly does exist.  I would rather focus on that than be sucked into the negative culture of our world.   So, I focus on the positive things happening around me, take in kindness and give kindness.

As I have mentioned many times in past posts, when my life gets hectic and stress filled, interrupting my usual routine I often forget to eat.  Having ready made, quick foods on hand are essential.   I was motivated to re-create a version of my favorite grab and go bars I spend too much money on when I shop.  You know those bars in grocery stores, KIND bars?  They are an energy type bar made of nuts and dried fruits.  I’m addicted to them.  They have been a regular shopping item that goes into my basket for a long time.  I like the protein punch and energy it provides.  It’s a fantastic portable snack for me.  However, in my ongoing attempts to cut back on expenses so I can save money toward my goals, I am trying to lower my grocery bill.   I decided to get creative and try to make my own kind of bars.

I think they turned out pretty fantastic.  They even got a thumbs up from my colleague.  I cut them into nine bars similar in size to the actual store brand, wrapped them individually and stored them in the fridg. It is the perfect on-the-go snack for me.

Give these a try.  You’ll be happy you did!  Enjoy!

Kinda Kind Nut Bars

Prepare a square or small rectangular baking dish.  Mine was an 8×6 glass baking dish.  Line with plastic or parchment paper.

In a medium bowl mix:

1 cup toasted almonds

1/4 cup toasted cashews, chopped

1/4 cup dried cranberries

2 Tbsp hemp seeds

1/2 cup puffed rice cereal

1/4 cup dried unsweetened coconut

Stir until combined

On the stove top, add to a pan:

1/4 cup coconut oil

1/2 cup maple syrup

1/3 cup brown sugar

1 Tbsp vanilla

pinch of salt

Melt on low heat and stir until combined.  Let cool a bit and pour over nut mixture in bowl.  Mix with hands to incorporate fully, making sure all ingredients are coated.  Dump mixture into prepared baking dish and spread it evenly across the pan with fingers, pressing it down just a bit to mold it together.  Store in fridg until firm.  Cut into bars.

These have a lot of sugar!  Enjoy in moderation!  Ha!  Look who’s talking…..try to anyway!

IMG_3376 IMG_3373

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!!

IMG_3494

Clutter?? Phooey!!

Clutter?? Phooey!!

Radical Raspberry Compote

This past week seemed to be calmer than the last, or maybe it was because this week felt more balanced between work and play so that made work seem more tolerable.  I have encountered a lot of firsts in my job recently.  I got to experience the not so pleasant side of my job when I had to break the news to a resident that he was being evicted. On the heals of that, I attended a local rally about the rental crisis that is happening in my city. (#RENTERSOS) Portland is a mess right now. People who are income challenged are being displaced at an alarming rate.  Immediate change needs to happen and it was impressive that our city commissioner proposed new protections for renters the day after the rally.  It’s a short-term solution to a deeper problem, but it is a step in the right direction.

I went to the rally to network with other housing advocates and to get a better pulse on the severity of this crisis.  I was there as a professional, yet this is a deeply personal issue for me.  I am incredibly fortunate that I am not one of the many uprooted Portlanders struggling to find adequate housing.  I very easily could have been.  I honestly do not think one day has gone by that I haven’t sent out a ‘thank you’ for the beautiful place I call home when I enjoy my amazing views from my deck.

I reconnected with my old next door neighbor, who I lived next to when I was with “M”.  We had lunch and caught up on life.  It was nice to share my story with someone else who knows “M” and it felt good to get validation for the inhumanity I experienced by “M”.  She also works with the same populations as I do and, I discovered her office is in the building directly across from my main building where I have my office! We will be working on creating a professional partnership between our organizations. This is super cool!  Her and her partner moved as well and I got an invite to their new house when they are more settled.  I am thrilled to be back in contact with the people I thought were pretty cool neighbors.  She also lives a gluten free lifestyle so it’s exciting to know I’ll have a gluten free lunch buddy when I want to break up my work day.

I hung out with co-workers one night after work.  It was nice to go out and get to know them a little more personally.  We are all so busy during the day and many of us are “out in the field”.  I was happy to have the opportunity to sit around them all and casually mingle.  I spent time with a couple people I haven’t seen in a while, I attended community events and overall had a really busy week, yet it ended with me feeling much less stress than the previous week.  I do believe the nice balance between hard stuff and fun stuff made my week pretty decent.

I’ll be out and about the city doing my usual weekend errands then later having fun with some extra special people.  I am most excited that I will finally be getting some more of my belongings from one of the places it’s been stored.  I am desperately missing a few things and I really hope they are boxed away.  I got rid of so much in my panic of needing to move because I had no idea where I would go.  Thinking I might be in my car, I gave up nearly three quarters of my things.  Now, months later, I have been learning I gave up some precious items I really wish I would not have.  I suppose I will find out if what I want and need got saved a little later on today.  Either way, it is what it is and I have another opportunity to let the past go a little more.

Another one of the firsts I am experiencing in my job is working with veteran’s. Thus far, I can only describe it as an intense experience. This raspberry compote developed after of one of these said veteran’s threatened to steal my food from the community room freezer.  I often keep excess freezer food at work because my home freezer is very tiny.  I am still trying to learn this man’s personality and I could not decide if he was making a threat or a joke, so I just removed the temptation and brought my food home.  I simply had no room for my gallon sized bag of raspberries that I had picked earlier in the summer so I made a compote, poured it into jelly jars and froze those!  They fit snuggly in my little freezer space and will make lovely gifts when the holidays arrive.

I am letting another week go to enjoy my weekend filled with all things good and nurturing!  Here is how I’m starting my morning and my weekend:  IMG_3472Using gluten free oats, I made oatmeal on the stovetop.  While the oats were cooking I added 1 teaspoon of nutmeg, 2 teaspoons of cinnamon, a tiny drizzle of pure vanilla and a dash of sea salt.  I topped it with chopped walnuts, sunflower seeds, flax meal, chopped candied ginger and the raspberry compote.

Raspberry Compote

4 cups of frozen raspberries

2 Tablespoons of cinnamon

1/4 cup of raw cane sugar

dash of sea salt

Put all ingredients into a 2 quart pot and simmer on the stovetop until bubbly.  Allow to simmer on a low heat until the raspberries break down and develop a syrup like texture.  Remove from heat.  Let cool completely then store in air tight glass jars.  Can be frozen for later use or use right away over oatmeal or maybe even over a delicious dairy free “ice cream”!!  Enjoy!

Good Morning, Portland! A glorious view. Thank you.

Good Morning, Portland!
A glorious view.
Thank you.