Something about a Smoothie

Good Monday morning!  I’m not quite feeling this Monday morning yet, but I’m working on it!  We had a great long weekend thanks go the Mr.’s day off on Friday.  I’ll share more about our weekend later.  Today I wanted to share my new breakfast that I’ve been having each day for just about a week.  I mentioned that I had to pick up a few interesting ingredients from our local Whole Foods for my smoothie creations.  Well, these ingredients are interesting!  IMG_2509

Smoothie (makes 1 serving)

1/2 banana (or a whole depending on taste and desired calorie intake)

Probiotic packet (I’m using up H’s kids while also taking a capsule with water)

1 tbsp. Chia seeds

1/2 tbsp. coconut oil

dash of cinnamon

1/4 c. whole milk

1/2 c. cold water

1 tsp. Royal Jelly

1 tbsp. almond butter

1 heaping tsp. Bee Pollen

1 scoop powdered wheatgrass

add any other fruit you may want **suggestions:  1/4 c. frozen blueberries/other berries, peach, etc.

  1. Be sure to place in blender in this order.  I’ve found it helps to add the wheatgrass last to help it blend better.
  2. Blend for about a minute.  You may want to stop midway to scrape the sides.
  3. Enjoy!

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P.S.  This does taste somewhat like eating a meadow {for lack of a better description!}.  HOWEVER, the taste is not terrible.  It does grow on you.  Be sure to use blueberries if you don’t like seeing the green color.  Remember-IT IS SUPER GOOD FOR YOU!  I confess that I really just wanted my favorite breakfast of oatmeal, almond butter, and strawberry jelly this morning.  I sucked it up and then suck up a smoothie {literally!}.

Below is some reliable information on some of these ingredients.  Be sure to read up and do your research if you decide to try this smoothie out.  My smoothie was adapted from this one.  

Benefits of Wheatgrass from WebMD:

Wheatgrass is a kind of grass. The above-ground parts, roots, and rhizome are used to make medicine. Wheatgrass is primarily used as a concentrated source of nutrients. It contains vitamin Avitamin C, and vitamin E, iron, calciummagnesium, and amino acids.

Wheatgrass is used to treat many conditions, but so far there isn’t enough scientific evidence to support effectiveness for any of these uses.

Wheatgrass is used for increasing production of hemoglobin, the chemical in red bloodcells that carries oxygen; improving blood sugar disorders, such as diabetes; preventing tooth decay; improving wound healing; and preventing bacterial infections.

It is also used for removing deposits of drugs, heavy metals, and cancer-causing agents from the body; and for removing toxins from the liver and blood.

Some people use wheatgrass for preventing gray hair, reducing high blood pressure, improving digestion, and lowering cholesterol by blocking its absorption.

Wheatgrass is also used to treat various disorders of the urinary tract, including infection of the bladder, urethra, and prostate; benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH); kidney stones; and in “irrigation therapy,” the use of a mild diuretic along with lots of fluids to increase urine flow.

Other uses include treatment of respiratory tract complaints, including the common cold, cough, bronchitis, fever, and sore throat; tendency toward infection; gout; liver disorders; ulcerative colitisjoint pain; and chronic skin problems.

Wheatgrass is used for cancer and arthritis in alternative treatment programs. Wheatgrass contains a lot of chlorophyll, the chemical in plants that makes them green and also allows them to make energy from sunlight through photosynthesis. Some people think chlorophyll might fight cancer and arthritis.

Benefits of Bee Pollen from WebMD:  

Bee pollen is available at many health food stores. You may find bee pollen in other natural dietary supplements, as well as in skin softening products used for baby’s diaper rash or eczema.

You may also hear recommendations for using bee pollen for alcoholismasthmaallergies, health maintenance, or stomachproblems, but there is no proof that it helps with these conditions. Before you take any natural product for a health condition, check with your doctor.

Bee pollen is also recommended by some herbalists to enhance athletic performance, reduce side effects of chemotherapy, and improve allergies and asthma.

At this point, medical research has not shown that bee pollen is effective for any of these health concerns.

Benefits of Royal Jelly from WebMD:

Royal jelly is a milky secretion produced by worker honey bees. It typically contains about 60% to 70% water, 12% to 15% proteins, 10% to 16% sugar, 3% to 6% fats, and 2% to 3% vitamins, salts, and amino acids. Its composition varies depending on geography and climate. This product gets its name from the fact that bees use it for the development and nurturing of queen bees. Some people use royal jelly as medicine. Don’t confuse royal jelly with bee pollen or bee venom.

Royal jelly is used for asthmahay feverliver disease, pancreatitissleep troubles (insomnia), premenstrual syndrome (PMS), stomach ulcers, kidney disease, bone fractures, menopausal symptoms, skin disorders, and high cholesterol. It is also used as a general health tonic, for fighting the effects of aging, and for boosting the immune system.

Some people apply royal jelly directly to the skin as a tonic or to the scalp to encourage hair growth.

Benefits of Chia Seeds from WebMD:

The antioxidant activity of chia seeds is higher than any whole food, even blueberries.  Enjoy chia seeds for their flavor and to boost the fiber, protein, calcium, antioxidants, and omega-3s in your diet.

Benefits of Coconut Oil from WebMD:

Coconut is the fruit of the coconut palm. The oil of the nut (fruit) is used to make medicine.

Some coconut oil products are referred to as “virgin” coconut oil. Unlike olive oil, there is no industry standard for the meaning of “virgin” coconut oil. The term has come to mean that the oil is generally unprocessed. For example, virgin coconut oil usually has not been bleached, deodorized, or refined.

Some coconut oil products claim to be “cold pressed” coconut oil. This generally means that a mechanical method of pressing out the oil is used, but without the use of any outside heat source. The high pressure needed to press out the oil generates some heat naturally, but the temperature is controlled so that temperatures do not exceed 120 degrees Fahrenheit.

Coconut oil is used for diabetesheart diseasechronic fatigueCrohn’s disease, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), Alzheimer’s disease, thyroid conditions, energy, and boosting the immune system. Ironically, despite coconut oil’s high calorie and saturated fat content, some people use it to lose weight and lower cholesterol.

Coconut oil is sometimes applied to the skin as a moisturizer and to treat a skin condition called psoriasis.

Happy sipping!

Natalie

10 Questions + Wednesday’s Travels

Hi there!  Hope your hump day has been happy!  Our day started off with some swimming lessons {H is becoming a regular fish!  Yay!} followed by the find-cool-stuff, spend-lots-of-moola stop aka Whole Foods.  I needed some particular items that one cannot find at Wal-Mart or Food Kitty.  I’m on a smoothie kick, and I wanted some add-ins besides bananas.  Here we are taking a potty break there.

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I’ll blog more on this tomorrow.  We also got to have a picnic lunch with the Mr. in a nice pavilion area next to his office building.

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After we enjoyed some time and food together, H and I headed back to the car.  H must have been upset about forgetting to tell his daddy that he loved him, so he stopped in his tracks in the crosswalk to yell it!  It was so cute and sweet.  I’m thankful no cars were coming though.  😉

Anywho, I thought I’d share a few of my answers to these twenty questions I found on Pinterest.

  1. How do you express your creativity?  Cooking!
  2. What is your most meaningful vacation memory?  Snorkeling with the Mr. on our honeymoon
  3. What is your go-to summer snack?  Fruit (watermelon especially!) or cereal without the milk
  4. Where would you go if you could travel anywhere in the world this summer?  Italy/somewhere on the Mediterranean
  5. What is your summer wardrobe staple?  Shorts, tank tops, cotton dresses
  6. What is your favorite summer activity?  Eating frozen yogurt, NOT HAVING TO GO TO WORK  🙂
  7. What is your favorite family activity?  Being outside, doing something together OR traveling/checking out somewhere/something new
  8. What is your favorite iPhone app?  Instagram
  9. What is your favorite dinner recipe?  burgers in a lettuce wrap with LOTS of mayo
  10. What is your favorite summer workout?  Trail running

Pick your favorite number 1-10 and leave me your answer in the comments below.  I’d love to know!

Natalie

Too Much is Just Too Much! (Tuesday’s Tangent)

Hi there!  I hope your week is going well so far.  Mine sure is!  On Monday, I attended a software training on our new student plan management system.  Today was supposed to be day two, but the instructors were awesome and squeezed everything into one day!  Yay!  I do have another training day coming up soon.  Boo to summer trainings!  I’m so on summer mode that I forgot my logon to the network!  🙂  I’m happily taking a break from cleaning as the little man is at daycare today.  We had already planned for him to be there while I was in the training.  I’m sure it’s fine with him.  He often doesn’t want to leave when I pick him up in the afternoon {which makes me a wee bit sad}.

During a lull in the training yesterday, I had time to peruse news websites.  I love reading the “Health” section of CNN, BBC, etc.  I thought this article was particularly disturbing…

Basically, we are eating too much sugar.  WAY too much.  New recommendations say only 5% of our daily calories should be from it.  Well, we are double or even triple that depending on the age group looked at.  

Sweets, chocolate and jams made up another 19-22% of children’s sugar intake and younger children also get a large proportion of their sugar from cereals – including cakes and biscuits – and drinks including fruit juice. 

For adults aged 19-64, the main sources are also confectionery and jams, soft drinks and cereals. Alcohol adds another 10%.

{quoted from the website}

How scary!??!  I’m not a soda fan, but I admittedly like my sweets, chocolates, and jams!  For those of you that like an adult beverage, uh-oh…even more for you.  When you type “breaking sugar addiction” into Google, you get 741,000 results.  Apparently, we are concerned enough to write/research a lot about it.  But can we do it?

Dr. Mark Hyman wrote these clues that you might be addicted…

Here are five clues you may be addicted to sugar, flour and processed food:

  1. You consume certain foods even if you are not hungry because of cravings.
  2. You worry about cutting down on certain foods.
  3. You feel sluggish or fatigued from overeating.
  4. You have health or social problems (affecting school or work) because of food issues and yet keep eating the way you do despite negative consequences.
  5. You need more and more of the foods you crave to experience any pleasure or reduce negative emotions.

Source

Here’s more the doc had to say on the subject as reported by the New York Daily News

SUGAR BY THE NUMBERS

Sugar is eight times more addictive than cocaine.

The average American eats 1 pound of sugar every day.

There are 600,000 processed food items in our environment, and 80% of them contain added sugar.

90% of kids and 50% of the U.S. population drinks soda once a day.

One can of soda a day increases a kid’s chance of obesity by 60%.

You have to walk 41/2 miles to burn off one 20-ounce soda.

You’d have to run 4 miles a day for a week to burn off one supersize fast-food meal.

15% of our calories come from sweetened beverages.

Obesity (not just being overweight) has risen from 9% to 36% since 1960. It’s projected to hit 50% by 2050.

Nearly 70% of Americans and 1.5 billion people worldwide are overweight.

Isn’t that startling?!?!?  Our country, a superpower, is killing itself by what we put in our mouths.

Here is more from the article…

So what can we do? That’s where this detox diet comes in.

“We need to start outcooking the food industry,” says Hyman, who outlines a whole-food, high-fiber, low-starch, low-sugar meal plan in his book that will be highlighted later this week.

Hyman’s prescription of regular exercise, clean foods, vitamin supplements and meditation is designed to break the cycle of mindless eating that puts many people into a junk-food rut.

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Link to Buy His Book

Whew!  What’s a dessert lover to do?  Some re-training I think!  I made a yummy blackberry cobbler on Sunday that was so good and left me wanting more.  I’m going to try to fight the sugar addiction and use a less sugary recipe.  Truthfully, the Sunday night lot was so sweet it made my teeth clench.  Here’s a recipe I found that I could modify for my blackberries…

Peach Berry Cobbler

Preheat oven to 375

Use a large, deep baking dish:  13x9x3

Filling:

  • 4 lbs. firm, ripe peaches (10-12)
  • 3 cups blueberries*
  • 1 ½ TBSP sugar
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 1 tsp. lemon zest*
  • 2 TBSP lemon juice*

*When our wild blackberries are in season, I use 2 cups blueberries and 1 cup freshly picked blackberries

**This is about the amount of zest and juice of one small lemon

Topping:

  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 TBSP baking powder
  • ¾ tsp. salt
  • 2 TBSP sugar
  • 6 TBSP unsalted butter
  • 1 ¾ cup heavy cream
  • 1 ½ TBSP raw sugar to sprinkle over the top

Put the peaches in a large pot of boiling water and let them boil for about a minute.  Remove them and place them immediately into a large bowl of ice water.  Let them bathe until cool enough to handle, then pull off the skins and cut the fruit into thick slices.  Put the sliced peaches into a large bowl.  Rinse the berries, pat them dry, and add them to the peaches.  Add the flour, sugar, and lemon zest and juice, and stir gently.

In another bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar.  Cut the butter into pieces and drop the pieces into the flour mixture.  “Cut” the butter into the flour mixture using two knives, a pastry cutter, or your fingertips, until it looks like coarse meal.  Stir in the cream, (I use a wooden spoon).  The batter will be very stiff.

Transfer the fruit into your large baking dish.

Drop the batter over the fruit, using a tablespoon, until covers the entire surface.  Sprinkle the raw sugar over the top.  Bake for about 50 minutes, until the crust is golden brown and cooked through, and the fruit filling is bubbly.

Source

eat+less+sugar

Source

Sweetly {but not too sweetly},

Natalie

It’s in the 90s, feels like 100s…let’s go running!

Hi there!  If you’re like me, today has been a sweaty/hot one!  Holden goes to daycare on Tuesdays this summer, so I took advantage of my kid-less time and went to First Landing, our local state park, which boasts both trails and beach access.  Love that place!  I decided to do a five mile run.  At 8 o’clock, it was about 85ish degrees.  The humidity was insane!  I told the Mr. it was like running while breathing in oven air.  Like an oven that is preheating…maybe not 350 degrees yet but definitely preheating!  😉

This picture does NO justice to the amount of sweat I was producing.  Have you ever seen the pores on your legs sweat?  Not pretty.

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I did my post-run stretching by this beauty of a tree.

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I could have gone to the gym.  No shame in the gym treadmill game.  However, there is just nothing that will be a perfect substitution for a hard {physically as well as mentally} run that forces every thought from your mind beside this one – “I may have lost my mind trying to run this today, and I may die/pass out/embarrass myself by vomiting very soon.”  My mind has been far, far too busy, so I was totally okay with torturing myself on this hottest day yet this year.  Just like I thought-all thoughts were banished.  My iPod on shuffle did its job and presented just the songs {with the messages} I needed to hear.  I’m sure everyone has that one thing they do to find some solace and wisdom in this life.  For me, I have to physically exhaust myself to allow my brain to switch off and be open.  What thing(s) do you do to help yourself de-stress, find peace, or perhaps just scare other people with your craziness?  🙂

After that “fun,” I relaxed and journaled a whole heck of a lot.  Then, I consumed a massive amount of sautéed kale and salmon aka leftovers while watching “The Doctors.”  Note:  This NEVER happens when Holden is around.  I compulsively eat in front of the TV or computer when he’s not around.  What can I say?  He makes me live a better/ more adult-like life.

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Cleaning was next on the list.  I’m currently procrastinating the last two rooms.  Roscoe the dog was useless, and I plan to fire him as my assistant.  It’s too hot to send him packing today.  Plus, he’s so cute and such a good cuddler.  I guess I’ll keep the lazy thing.

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Off to pick up the mini Mr.!  Stay cool {in numerous ways, duh!}.

A Home Workout and Introducing my Sous Chef

You’re hearing from a teacher with 1.5 days left of her eighth year teaching!  Can I get an AMEN!?!?  This last week is super crazy with last minutes meetings/to-do’s.  I skipped out on my morning workout today at the gym, AND I had a meeting that went later than expected followed by my participation in a slightly impromptu dance video with the other teachers at my school.  It confirmed that I’m a not-so-hot dancer, BUT I’m slightly less awkward than I was in high school.  So there.

Since I missed my workout time, Holden and I did a little at home workout.  🙂  He’s the best buddy!IMG_1863 IMG_1864 IMG_1865 IMG_1868

Getting his bridge pose on!!

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Coincidentally, we also had tacos for dinner.  I pretended to put toppings on him and eat him like a taco.  We are partial to soft taco shells here.

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Whoops!  Just realized I wrote “piles” instead of “pliés.”  That’s what doing too many things at one time will do!

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This is the workout I did.  I mixed up a few different workouts that I found on pinterest.

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I was a hot, sweaty mess afterwards.  It definitely got my heart rate up!

We whipped up some sausage, corn, cilantro, and black beans tacos for dinner.  I added some garlic powder, diced onion, salt, pepper, and {of course!} smoked paprika.  With LOTS of supervision, my sous chef was a big help!

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This provided lots of opportunity for chatting, {repeating} giving directions, and restating how he needs to credit his mother for all future culinary skills.  You’re welcome, future wife.  Dude will/can cook.

I’m off to take care of lots of dishes and preparation for tomorrow.  We’ve got a movie date with this one…

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Loved, loved, loved the #1!  I’m sure it won’t be as good, but Will Ferrell is my all time favorite funny guy.

Have you seen it?

Who’s your favorite funny actor?

Natalie

Yo, ho, ho…it’s a pirate’s life for me!

Happy weekend!  Mine has been spectacular.  We enjoyed lots of outside time today that started off with a visit to a new playground around the corner from our house.  I love for Holden to get lots of fresh air and exercise on the weekends.  Sometimes, we don’t get in our walks or play time due to weather or just busy weekdays.  IMG_1812 IMG_1815 IMG_1816 IMG_1818 IMG_1820

This particular park/playground had lots of nice trees and a view of the water.  The Mr. had a good time checking out all the different kind of trees while I pretended to be “the crab” and chased Holden to get him with “my pinchers.”  He loves it!  IMG_1821 IMG_1823

I can’t keep this guy off the kids’ equipment!

After our play time, I left the two dudes at home while I ran a million and one {or so it seemed!} errands.  After lunch outside, H went down for a nap while I worked on pasta salad and a double batch of beef, spinach, and cheese casserole.  IMG_1824

This recipe is amazing!  I do cheat and use real bacon bits (whole package) instead of real bacon.  I also used sunflower seeds instead of toasted pecans.  I’m sure their great, but nobody got time for that!

After all our working, we woke H up from his nap to head over to the local light rail system and took our first ride!  This has only been open for us for a few years.  We were WAY EXCITED.  Probably a little too much!

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Holden is studying the promo flag trying to get his bearings, I guess.  🙂

We decided to ride it for fun and also to get up to downtown Norfolk without the hassle of parking there.

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We went aboard a ship from Brazil, and it was cool and all.  HOWEVER, we got stuck forever and a day trying to get back off of it.  The beloved promo fan was lost, so Holden needed a lemonade to drown his sorrows.  This kid loves some lemonade!

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We checked out the other boats/ships, met some pirates, collected a piece of pirate treasure, scored a pirate hat and bandana, AND saw some real mermaids.  😉

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Storm clouds looked to be rolling in, so we didn’t ride the Ferris wheel.  Let me tell you…it took a little convincing to get H to move on from it!  Whispers of Chik-fil-a for dinner mostly did the trick!  We were off on the Tide again!  Don’t let the Mr.’s face fool you.  He loved it nearly as much as Holden.

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Isn’t it funny how having kids will get you to do more fun things??  The Mr. and I have talked about it several times.  We see and do so much more now…we say things like “Holden would love…”  Ever so thankful for this boy!  Apparently, I was slightly a stick in the mud before him!

Hope your Saturday was wonderful!

Natalie

A Sprinkler, Strawberries, and Ice Cream…Is it summer yet?!?!

Goodness, it was hot today!  When I left work, my car thermometer said 92 degrees.  By the time I was home, it had dropped to the mid-80s.  Crazy, hot/humid weather makes me think of July not May.  We’ve been enjoying all those things that typically come with summer…like a sprinkler!

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Holden had a blast running all around the Nemo sprinkler that he got for his birthday!  Roscoe even joined in {and by that I mean was forced to} and got an outdoors bath on Sunday.

Holden and I worked up on some strawberries and made 13ish jars of homemade strawberry jelly.  They are safely tucked away in the freezer.  I don’t “can” food.  Nobody got time for that!

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My little helper was with me the whole time.  Here he is washing the berries or “giving them a tubbie.”

I used some more of the berries to make this delicious strawberry bread tonight.

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I found this recipe on a blog and copy/pasted it into Word.  Sorry, I didn’t keep the blog open and now can’t find the link.  😦

The Mr. worked super hard around the house on Saturday afternoon and Sunday doing various home improvements.  Love our new blue shutters and door!  Unfortunately, he hurt his should in the midst of all his hard work.  We’re hoping some rest and anti-inflammatory meds will do the trick.

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I also got about an inch taken off my hair and all my layers lightened up.  I love a fresh blow-out!  I treated myself with one of my teacher appreciation gift cards to some Skinny Dip fro-yo on the way home.  I love, love, love going there by MYSELF.  I like to eat it super slow much to the Mr. and H’s confusion and disdain.

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Today was quite a busy one, but we are now down to just two more actual Mondays {thank you Memorial Day for the Monday off!}.  I made some brownies to have for treats this week.

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You can see where the Mr. made off with a still warm one.  This is a super good recipe, but I think I prefer another that I’ve been using recently.  The other one uses real chocolate morsels and butter.  How could that not be better?!?!?!

One last random from the weekend…H listening to his daddy tell about how all the antlers came to be in our garage.  The Mr. went into quite a bit of detail {location, description, etc.}.  H was eating it up.  Boys.

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Excuse our messy garage and my drying rack.

Hope your Monday was productive and didn’t completely wear you down!

Natalie