Chai Green Tea Smoothie

Welcome to my 20th blog post!

I had a friend request that I come up with a healthy chai latte recipe. Admittedly, I do not drink chai lattes too often. There are already so many good recipes for a vegan chai latte, so I decided to take the request and adapt it to my own morning routine. *I may decide to come up with my own latte recipe in the future, but I’ll have to think of something creative since it has been done so many times before.

My morning routine consists of vitamins, probiotics, and some kind of smoothie. My smoothie is usually made up of almond milk, maca, and either superfood powder, protein powder, or both. It’s nice to mix things up once in a while, which is why I am so excited to share this recipe.

If you like chai, this is the smoothie recipe for you. I combine chai spices with a matcha tea powder for a refreshing and energizing boost to any morning.

*Continue reading after the recipe to see my coffee hutch repurpose and to learn some new repurposing tips*

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Chai Green Tea Smoothie

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups Vanilla Almond Milk
  • 2 tsp Matcha powder
  • 1 tsp Chai spice (Chai spice recipe below)
  • 1 cup Spinach
  • 1 tbsp Chia seeds
  • 1 tbsp Almond butter or Peanut butter
  • 2 tbsp Agave Nectar

(Additional options: – Vanilla protein Powder – Super green powder – Kale – Ect.)

Chai Spice Ingredients:

  • 3 tbsp Cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp Cardamom
  • 1 1/2 tbsp Ginger
  • 1 tbsp Allspice
  • 1/2 tbsp Ground cloves
  • 1/2 tbsp Nutmeg

*Mix all the spices together and store in a container.

Directions:

Add all the ingredients in a high-speed blender and blend on high until homogenous.

Enjoy!

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 A Trash to Treasure Hutch Repurpose

Back in November, my hubby brought home an old hutch for me to repurpose. It was so incredibly thoughtful for so many reasons. I tend to suffer from seasonal depression and keeping my hands busy on this hutch all winter was so helpful for fighting the winter blues. I can’t thank my hubby enough.

Here are the before and after images and the steps I took to give this beautiful piece of furniture life again. I decided to turn it into a beverage hutch… mostly for coffee and tea.

Step one was to detach the hardware and clean up the surfaces. There was also some really gross contact paper from the 1970’s in the drawers.

The next step was to strip off the varnish and the wood stain underneath. I Googled and used Pinterest for the best ways to do this. Most professionals unanimously agree that Citristrip is the best product for stripping varnish (Citristrip did not pay me to advertise their product. This is just my best recommendation.).

Unfortunatly, I discovered a layer of green paint underneath the varnish and stain. Really? Who uses woodstain over paint?! So I had to use the Citristrip a second time. The stripping agent worked very well. I was able to remove all of the layers.

  • Place a tarp on the ground before starting. This process is very messy!
  • Wear protective gloves. You do not want to get this stuff on your hand.
  • Brush a generous layer of Citristrip onto the surface, let it sit for about two hours.
  • Use a putty knife or a scraper to remove the varnish.
  • I also used a small wire brush to remove anything in grooves and cracks.
  • Keep a garbage bag and paper towels handy for clean up

There was a very sticky film left on my hutch after stripping and I couldn’t seem to clean it off with water or sand it down (it would just get caked onto the sand paper). So I went back to Google and found that Denatured Alcohol works very well for cleaning off stripped wood.                                                                         20171219_164759896058920.jpg

– Use gloves, a glass bowl and steel wool

– Wearing the gloves, pour the Denatured Alcohol into the glass bowl.

– Dip the steel wool into the Alcohol, let it soak and then scrub the wood. The alcohol evaporates very quickly but you can always use paper towels to wipe away excess moisture and grime.

*Denatured Alcohol is highly poisonous. Keep away from animals and children. Keep your hands protected.

After the wood is cleaned off, sand down for an extra smooth and clean surface. I used the alcohol again to clean the sawdust off the surface.

Hutch after it's been stripped

After a lot of elbow grease, my hutch was finally ready for it’s makeover. I hit Google again to try to find the best paint for wood furniture repurpose. I really did find THE BEST paint, General Finishes Milk Paint. (General Finishes did not pay for this advertisment. This is just my best recommendation. Although, this paint is so amazing that I would gladly advertise for them if they ever asked.) This paint is smooth and clean. It has the chalky finish of chalk paint, but it goes on more like a stain. I didn’t want to lose that beautiful chalky finish but I wanted to add a protective coat knowing that this hutch would see a lot of activity.  I ordered General Finishes Flat out Flat, another great product! It gives my hutch the protection it needs without taking away from the chalky finish that makes it so beautiful.

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I also added a wood stain and stencil to the countertop of the hutch. Click on the picture to read about how to revamp your old tired furniture by adding a fun stencil.

Now for the fun part, embelishments. Copper is very trendy right now and I am all about it, so I went with copper details. Copper ceiling tiles for the backboard as well as copper hindges and knobs!

Lastly I added a decorative molding piece (Found at the craft store) to the center. Then it was finally time to add it to my kitchen.

Completed repurposed hutch

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This has been my biggest repurposing project yet. It came out exactly how I imagined it should look. What a great feeling to put a lot of energy and time into doing something right and have it be a success. I have a lot of ideas for future repurposing projects and now I know how great it can be for dealing with the winter blues!

 

Irish soda bread

Last year I made Irish soda bread for the first time and I really enjoyed it. It’s not sweet like corn bread, but it does have a subtle sweetness to it; which allows it to be used in a variety of ways. It get’s its name from the baking soda in it that is used as leavening agent instead of traditional yeast. It also bakes faster than yeast bread.

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My favorite way to eat Irish soda bread is with either a hearty vegetable stew or chili. It makes for some great comfort food; especially while being cooped up inside during a long freezing winter.

Another yummy way to enjoy it is toasted with a generous spread of marmalade or peanut butter. My hubby will even just eat it plain for a snack. What is your favorite way to eat Irish Soda Bread?

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Irish Soda Bread

Ingredients:

  • 4 Cups of flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp of baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1 tsp of salt
  • 3 TBS of raw sugar
  • 4 TBS of vegan butter (Melted)
  • 1 flax egg ( 1 TBS ground flax seed + 2.5 TBS of water. Mix and let sit for 5 minutes)
  • 1 1/2 Cups of vegan buttermilk ( 1 1/2 Cups of almond milk mixed with 1 tsp of apple cider vinegar. Let it sit for 5 – 10 minutes)

Directions:

    1. Preheat the oven to 425º and grease a 9” round baking dish.
    2. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. Flour, baking soda, cream of tartar, salt, and sugar. Once the dry ingredients are all mixed in, make a well in the center. Add the wet ingredients to the well and then begin to fold it into a dough with either a wooden spoon or a rubber spatula.
    3. Once the ingredients are mixed in, turn the dough onto a floured surface and knead with your hands until the dough has completely come together. Then form the dough into a ball.
    4. Place the dough onto the prepared baking pan and score an X (about a half inch thick) through the top center with a knife. Sprinkle a dusting of flour on top.
    5. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes. Then reduce the heat to 350º and bake for another 40 minutes. You want the final color to be a golden brown.
    6. Let cool and enjoy!

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Sweet potato breakfast

Have you ever tried a baked sweet potato for breakfast? I love making all kinds of stuffed sweet potatoes. One the favorites in our house is a south western sweet potato; I bake the sweet potatoes and then fill them with all of our favorite taco fixings.

I wanted to try something new for breakfast and I’ll admit this isn’t an original idea of mine. I saw several other vegan bloggers posting delicious pictures of their sweet potato breakfast. But maybe some of my reader don’t follow hundreds of other vegan bloggers like I do. So I tried my own and it was so good. Very filling! I thought I’d share this clever idea and maybe you’ll have something new to try. Because trying new things is good for you!

*In my recipe I give suggested toppings, but like pancakes the choices for what you want on your sweet potato are infinite.

breakfast baked potato

Ingredients:

  • 1 sweet potato (per person)

Toppings shown:

  • Maple syrup
  • peanut butter
  • banana slices
  • blueberries
  • pumpkin seeds
  • chia seeds

Directions:

    1. Heat oven to 400° F.
    2. Pierce each sweet potato along each opposing side with a fork or a knife. Place the sweet potatoes on a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
    3. Bake until tender, about 45 minutes. Once tender take out of the oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes.
    4. Once the sweet potato is cool enough to handle slice open down the center. And scrape the insides with a fork to break it up and allow the toppings to settle in the potato.
    5. Drizzle with maple syrup or agave for some extra sweetness
    6. Add your desired toppings.
    7. Enjoy!

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What friendship looks like to an introvert.

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I have always been a shy person, but I haven’t always been an introvert. I became an introvert when person after person I opened myself up to began to burn me and judge me for the things I’d say or the things they knew about me.

Moving across the country to Montana, away from all I’d ever known was especially hard. I had the same close friends since I was 2 and 5 years old, Karen and Cody. I had other friends growing up, but those two girls were my go to. So many friends come and go while you’re a kid or a teenager. Sometimes people move away, sometimes you grow apart, and unfortunately sometimes you get burned. But these two were always there for me and I hope they can say the same about me.

In Montana, I found myself in the middle of a whole new terrain, at 25 years old and not really knowing how to go out of my way to strike up new friendships.

Introverts don’t desire to have as many friends as they can possibly have. Most probably wouldn’t even want as many as ten. They desire a few intimate friendships, confidants, someone they can feel safe to be themselves with and this kind of relationship takes a lot of energy and time. I know I’ve spent months, even years keeping people at arms length while feeling out for a potential friend. All the while wondering “Can I trust this person? Will they stick around or get bored and dump me?” Introverts are typically uncomfortable with surface relationships. Small talk can be especially painful. It pains me that people probably think I don’t like them, when really I am just awkward as hell.

Allowing a person to get to know me is terrifying, but for good reason. Example, I’ve only lived in Montana for 5 years and in that short time have already been burned by multiple people. Maybe they didn’t mean to hurt me, but when I open myself up to someone it makes me feel incredibly vulnerable. It’s a big deal for me and if I thought I had a friend when I really didn’t, it leaves me feeling bitter and I tend to hid away for a while to heal before I go back and give someone else a try.

It’s not all just about trusting people. Fact of the matter is, I love my animals and my hubby and 99% of the time I would rather stay in with them than be around other people. In the rare occasion I am at a party in someone’s home, I typically hang out with their pets. Animals don’t play mind games and they’re good company.

*I need to mention that not every introvert will be able to relate to my story. Everyone has their own reasons for being who they are. My husband for example is also an introvert, but he is not shy. He is simply an introvert because he doesn’t really like people. He has very high standards and a very low tolerance for certain personalities.

So what does friendship look like through the heart of this introvert?

  • Being consistent is a huge start.
  • Being included and remembered. Everyone likes to feel included, but I have spent years at a time feeling like I was invisible and could disappear and no one would ever notice.
  • Don’t assume if I’ve turned down an offer to hang out,that I don’t ever want to. Sometimes it’s scary to leave my house (did you know there are people outside?).
  • Share your interests and respect my own.
  • Spending either one on one time together or in a small group. If the group exceeds 4 I am just going to act like I am invisible and think of a way out. If we do go out with a large group, don’t forget that I am there too! If the relationship is new, don’t expect to get to know me around a large group.
  • If I ask you to do something and you turn me down several times in a row, I’m out. Asking anyone do to something is outside of my comfort zone, I can only take so much rejection before I “get the hint”.
  • If I let you into my home, you’re a shoo-in. My home is my safe place, a judgment free zone and I have welcomed you into my safe place. It’s a big fricken deal. The biggest element of friendship for this introvert is when I get to a place in our friendship where I finally feel safe enough to relax and be myself. In other words, I’ve let my guard down. If you’ve been welcomed into my home, it probably coincides with letting my guard down.

Introverts have a lot to offer in friendship. If you can be patient and understanding long enough to earn the trust of an introvert, you will be blessed with a loyal and loving confidant. Someone who fits the true meaning of a best friend.

Classic pancakes and furry children

I love foods that are versatile. It makes it really nice for meal planning when you can keep making a favorite recipe and just play around with the flavors or ingredients a little bit to keep it interesting. And what is more versatile than pancakes? There are infinite ways to eat pancakes, but like with all versatile recipes you’ve got to start with a base first.

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My hubby and I eat pancakes just about every Sunday. It’s one of my favorite times of the week. Here is my classic pancake recipe that I make most often. It is like a blank canvas, now all you have to do is decide what you want to top them with. If you need an idea or want to try something new, I added a very simple recipe for a blueberry yogurt sauce.

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Classic Pancakes (vegan) + Blueberry Sauce

Makes 9-10 with a 1/4 measuring cup for a scoop

Ingredients:

  • 2 Cups flour
  • 2 TBS baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 Cups nut milk
  • 2 TBS maple syrup
  • 2 tsp vanilla

Ingredients for the blueberry sauce:

  • 1 cup of blueberries
  • 1 container of vanilla dairy-free yogurt

Directions:

  1. In a large bowl use a sifter while adding the dry ingredients.
  2. Blend the dry ingredients then make a well in the center.
  3. Add wet ingredients to the well and whisk together with the dry ingredients.
  4. Place a frying pan on the stove at medium heat. Once heated add coconut oil or nonstick spray to the pan (REPEAT this step before every pancake).
  5. My suggested pancake scoop is a 1/4 measuring cup. For larger pancakes, use a larger cup.
  6. Pour the batter in the center of the pan. Wait 2-3 minutes, bubbles should start to appear in the batter. As soon as you see a bubble near or in the center of the pancake, it’s time to flip it. Let the other side cook for about 1 minute and it should be done.
  7. Top with desired toppings

Directions for the blueberry sauce:

  1. Add the yogurt and blueberries to a blender.
  2. Blend until smooth and pour on top of you pancakes.
  3. Enjoy!

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My Furry Children

Many people don’t know this about me, but for the sake of openness and relatability I will share. I cannot have children of my own without the help of special medication (I paused a really long time after typing that… Is this really something I want to share? Yes, I shared this for all of you struggling with infertility, you are not alone.). So aside from the fact that I already adore and respect animals, I truly consider my “pets” to be more like my children. I’d do anything for them. They are so faithful and giving. They love me unconditionally. If I am having a bad day, they are there for me. In fact they have been there for me in more ways than I could ever express. In some ways they’ve even helped save my life.

There may come a day when my hubby and I feel ready to shell out the cash to have a biological child or consider adoption, but for now we are more than happy to share our family and home with these four amazing furbabies. Allow me to introduce them.

Meet Harry Hopper

Harry Hopper

Harry came to us about a year ago and yes he is named after Harry Potter. He started his life at a petting zoo (which anyone who is familiar with rabbits knows what a traumatic experience that must have been for him.). Then he was sold to a rabbit breeder, who soon after adopted him out or sold him (idk) to a kindergarten classroom. I work at the school where he was the kindergarten class pet. He was still fairly small the first time I saw him at school, so he was exchanged quite a bit for the first year of his life. He spent quite a few months as the class pet. Then, knowing my love for animals I was approached about rabbit sitting while the teacher was out of town. I happily obliged.

We had a wonderful week, he got along with our kitties and was enjoying all the space to hop and jump around. When it was time for him to go back to school, it was expressed to me that he’d become a little more of a handful than expected and I was informed that he would be spending most of his time in his cage and weekends alone at school. This broke my heart. I happily offered to adopt Harry.

Neither me nor my husband had ever had a pet rabbit before. We were two cat people deep in a whole new terrain. Having a rabbit is a lot like having a puppy. They pee and poop everywhere, they dig at carpets, they chew on furniture, remote buttons, cords and clothes. But like puppies, they can be trained (FYI: they have to be spayed or neutered first.).

We got Harry neutered almost immediately and then started potty training shortly after. We decided “who needs a dinning room?” and my hubby built him a large 7’x5′ playpen. He’s out of his pen while we’re home to mingle with the rest of the family.

In the beginning, Harry did not like to be picked up. He would jump if he even thought I was going to pick him up and then once I would get a hold of him he would frantically fight his way out of my arms (for months I had scratches all over my arms). After several months of building a trusting relationship, I can honestly say that now Harry actually looks forward to me picking him up. We even have a morning routine, I greet him at the door of his pen every day and scoop him up. He nuzzles his face into my neck and we hug for a short while.

I love this little guy, he has taught me so much, and I am so happy to be able to give him a safe home and a family.Soaking up the sun

Meet Gimli

Gimli is the newest member of our family and yes, he is named after a dwarf from “The Lord of the Rings”. We adopted Gimli when he was just a month old. We adopted him with the hopes that he and Harry could become companions. We were concerned that Harry was feeling lonely. Nearly ten months later they still have not bonded and we have to keep them separated at all times or they will fight.

Gimli was neutered when he was 6 months old and we waited a month for his hormones to level out and then we tried to slowly introduce him to Harry. It went horribly and every attempt since has been just as ugly. Poor Harry is so submissive and patient (he so badly wants a roommate) and Gimli is just out for blood.

Gimli himself is a wonderful little rabbit. He is so sweet and loving. He’s also very clever. My hubby built him a large pen like Harrys and he has figured out at least a half a dozen ways to escape. He can also be mischievous and feisty at times, but he is learning. He’s our binkier (if you don’t know what a bunny binky is, go look it up on YouTube. It is adorable.). When it’s his turn to be able to run around the house, he’s all over the place! He loves running back and forth at top speed, got to get that exercise. But don’t take your eye’s off him! Trouble.

While it has been incredibly frustrating that he won’t bond with Harry, we’re hoping with a little maturing and time he will learn to accept Harry. I certainly won’t give up on him. *If you’ve ever bonded two rabbits successfully I would love some advise.

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Meet our twins Haylie-May & Butters

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We adopted Haylie and Butters over six years ago during our first year of marriage and believe it or not, they are from the same litter. It’s hard to put into words what these two mean to my hubby and I because they literally mean the world to us. They have been through so much with us. When we moved from New York to Montana, I refused to leave them behind, so they and my other kitty at the time (who has since passed on… ♥) made the 1700 mile road trip with me. They’ve moved six times with us, that’s nearly once per year they’ve been alive. They’ve lived in small cramped houses and they’ve lived in big nice houses. They’ve helped us through so many trying times and have even had to endure some themselves, from freezing temperatures (because of a broken heater) to numerous surgeries. There is such a bond between us I can’t gush about them enough, but I will certainly try.

Haylie-May

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Haylie-May is our little sweetie pie and chatter box and my only girl (We have to stick together.). When we brought her home for the first time she was just a little ball of poof.

Haylie has the spirit of a natural nurturer. She loves all the other animals, she gives them all kisses. She’s never scratches or gives my hubby and I attitude. She loves children, whenever we have little visitors she beelines straight for the door to greet them.

She’s only done it for me a couple of times, but she gives my hubby back messages all the time! I get so jealous, but she really has a soft spot for him. She’s a daddy’s girl. Her routine with me is to always be the first one to greet me when I come home and she’ll lay down in front of me and ask for belly rubs. Our cats are not like other cats, they LOVE belly rubs! They can’t get enough of them.

A unique characteristic about Haylie is her fluffy toes. It’s like she has hobbit feet. It is also like she is always earing socks, so this makes her kind of clumsy sometimes. When she’s running too fast she’ll skid across the floor as she tries to come to a halt. And sometimes she slips if she’s running too fast up her cat tree.

To an outsider it may seem odd to say that Haylie has a great sense of humor, but she makes me laugh on a daily basis. It’s a telepathic understanding and with just one look we both get it. She always brightens my day!

Butters

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The biggest baby in the house is Butters. No one ever told him to grow up and stop being a kitten, so he never did. He is the embodiment of innocence. As our most photogenic baby it could be misinterpreted that he is the favorite. As a mommy I do not have favorites. But there is no doubt that I am Butters favorite (hubby is in denial.), he is the biggest mommy’s boy and honors me with unyielding love and attention every day.

Butters is the most peculiar cat I have ever encountered. First of all, he has thumbs. I realize that’s a fairly common occurrence for cats, but he will actually use his thumbs to pick up toys.

When we adopted him he had a strange head tilt, that we found out soon after we brought him home, was from an unattended ear infection. With antibiotics and ear drops his head tilt eventually went away.

Butters also has a very rare condition called Stomatitis, which means he is allergic to his own teeth (roots and all). It was clearly causing him a lot of pain, so the vet recommended his teeth be removed. It was really scary and heart breaking to do, but he’s no longer in pain from it and we won’t have to worry about infections spreading into his throat. Now we call him our gummy bear.

Butters has so many quirks it’s difficult to figure out which ones to share and which to not. He is just so wonderfully odd and really uncat-like. For example, he has the heaviest feet, cats are known for their stealth quiet nature,  but you can hear Butters walking around in the next room.

More than anything, Butters loves to snuggle. I can not sit down without him crawling onto my lap within a minute or two. He can never seem to get close enough either; during weekend mornings, when we sleep in he will literally wrap his body around my head. He’s even tried to wrap himself around my face.

The secret to getting butters to fall asleep is to rub his belly. It’s a nightly ritual. He has his own bed above my pillow. He crawls into his bed when I crawl into mine and I rub his belly until he falls asleep. When we travel away from home, I’ll sleep with my hand above my head without even thinking about it, subconsciously wishing Butters was with me.

I could type on and on about how this little guy brings so much joy into our lives. He just has so much love to give and I am so blessed to be his mama.

Some more snaps of my furbabies

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Gingerbread Pancakes

I have been talking about holiday traditions quite a bit lately. I think about it a lot this time of year. My husband and I haven’t been able to go back home to New York for Christmas the last couple of years. I miss my family and I miss all of our holiday traditions.

Well We won’t be making it to New York for this Christmas either. I could easily feel sad about it, but my house is all decorated bright and cheery and my husband has finally started watching Christmas movies with me, after 6 years of marriage. So instead I find myself wondering what are some traditions hubby and I can enjoy for years to come?

How about these gingerbread pancakes on Christmas morning? Or breakfast for dinner on Christmas eve? They are so yummy and sweet you may not even need syrup, but they would be really good with some dairy-free whipped cream. If you like this recipe, remember to snap a picture and tag me. Let me know what you think.

What are some of your favorite holiday traditions? I would love to hear about them!

Gingerbread pancakes

Gingerbread Pancakes

Ingredients:

  • 2 Cups of Flour
  • 2 TBS of baking powder
  • 1 tsp of cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp of ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp of ground ginger
  • 1 tsp of pumpkin spice
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 Cups of nut milk
  • 2 TBS of molasses
  • 2 tsp of Vanilla

Directions:

  1. Mix the dry ingredients and spices together in a large mixing bowl with a whisk. Make a well in the center.
  2. Add nut milk, molasses, & vanilla to the well. Whisk and blend everything together.
  3. Place a frying pan on the stove at medium/low heat. Coat the pan in either cooking spray or coconut oil (repeat this step before each pancake.).
  4. Use a 1/3 measuring cup to scoop the pancake batter from the bowl to the pan. Flip the pancake when the center starts to bubble.
  5. Serve warm with desired toppings.

Gingerbread Pancakes

 

A bowl full of sunshine

lemon ginger smoothie bowl

I used to hate photographing the color yellow… Because, truthfully I didn’t know how. It’s a tricky color and if you’re not familiar with how to play light off of yellow it can create unflattering pictures.

I would even avoid creating recipes if I new the outcome was going to be yellow. But like everything else, it’s all about practice practice practice! I am by no mean saying I’ve mastered yellow, why just the other day, I attempted to photograph a lime that was way more yellow in the center than it should have been and it totally threw me off! I ended up deleting all the pictures.

A helpful hint when you’re attempting to photograph something yellow, especially food. Add contrasting colors like blue or purple; it helps bring life to the yellow and makes it pop.

There’s been a few occasions when I have collaborated a recipe and a photograph and I truly felt like I had mastered the color yellow that day. One of those instances is my “bowl of sunshine”, a Turmeric banana smoothie bowl; which is my recipe today.

Even though Turmeric is a really old spice and has been used for centuries in homeopathic recipes, it’s almost like it’s been rediscovered as of late. It has so many health benefits plus when you add it to your food or drink it bring out this gorgeous golden yellow color.

Turmeric Banana Smoothie Bowl

tuneric banana smoothie bowl

Makes 1 serving

Ingredients:

  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1/2c of frozen mango
  • 1c of almond milk
  • 1tsp of turmeric powder
  • 1 scoop of Vega protein powder (Not sponsored, Just my preferred protein powder)

*I also added a scoop of super food powder

  • Your choice of toppings. I used Blueberries & almonds.

Directions:

-blend everything together in a blender, pour in a bowl and add desired toppings

Enjoy!

surprise

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My hubby surprised me in the sweetest way the other day.

For about two weeks he let me know he had a surprise coming in the mail for me. His hint was “paperless” and for two weeks he’d look at me and say “paperless”. Then the other day he came home from work with a big goofy grin on his face and a sparkle in his eye. He handed me a package and said “surprise”. It was a brand new American flag. I’ll be honest, I was pretty baffled. He said he got it so I could use it for a background in my pictures. How thoughtful, but I was still pretty thrown for a loop.

I asked how his hint paperless related to the flag. He said “because it’s not made of paper, it’s fabric.”

“Huh?” was my reaction

I kept asking if he was serious. I wanted to be grateful if this was my real surprise, but it was so…. odd. He excitedly grabbed the flag and ran to bedroom to open it; he wanted to see how big it was. I went into the bedroom and my hubby was sitting on the bed smiling with the flag laid out. “What do you think?” he asked.

Still perplexed I answered “Oh it’s nice.” Then our kitty Butters, who loves to hide under blankets, crawled under the flag. I lifted the flag to take a peek at him and sitting besides Butters was a brand new camera. I was shocked and delighted!

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I have really been enjoying food photography and have been talking for months about getting a real camera (other than my phone). My hubby can be very thoughtful, but more often than not, hints are wasted on him. This was certainly one of the most thoughtful things he’s ever done for me and I just love how Butters helped to surprise me as well.

This last weekend we went on a date, a movie and Thai food. I brought my camera along to play with and hopefully capture some fun moments.

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Isn’t funny how you think you can know everything about a person and they can still manage to surprise you?

 

summertime & dragons

I often find it little irritating when I go to a person’s food blog and I have to scroll through 100 pictures and paragraphs before they give me the recipe. In today’s post I would like to share one of my summer adventures. So for the sake of those juts looking for a new recipe to try, I will share my recipe first.

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My dragon fruit smoothie bowl was inspired by my favorite TV show Game of Throne. This week’s episode is the season finale and it’s so very bitter sweet. Of course I don’t want it to end, but I am so ecstatic to see the finale.

I did not actually blend dragon fruit into this smoothie. But the pink hue resembles the outside skin of a dragon fruit and the fruit is my main ingredient for the topping. If you haven’t tried dragon fruit, its inside is a lot like the white center of a kiwi. It’s delicious and I highly recommend it. It can, however, be a little expensive (Just a heads up).

Dragon fruit smoothie bowl

Serves 1

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 roasted beet
  • 1 cup of frozen raspberries
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1 scoop of superfood powder
  • 1 TBS of chia seeds
  • 3/4 cup of nut milk

Topping:

  • Chia seeds
  • dragon fruit
  • blueberries
  • almond slivers
  • coconut slivers

Instructions:                                                            Screenshot_20170827-083800

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Wrap a peeled beet in foil and place in the oven for 1 hour.
  2. Once the beet is cooked through, blend all the ingredients together in a high power blender, and pour into a bowl
  3. A trick for keeping all of your toppings to stay afloat, if you’re trying to create a pretty display, is to first make sure your smoothie is nice and thick. Then sprinkle about a 1/2 tablespoon of chia seeds on top. Let the chia seeds sit for about a minute before you add your other toppings. The chia seeds will cause the smoothie to thicken and when you add your other ingredients they will stay afloat.
  4. Add your desired toppings and enjoy!

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Summertime

I just wrapped up my first week of school, summer is officially over. But I can honestly say that because of the great summer vacation I had, I am going back to work this year with a refreshed attitude and a clearer mind.

One of my summer adventures was at Glacier National Park, my favorite place in the world to visit. My hubby and I packed up our 5th wheel camper and drove across the state to meet up with my brother and his wife for a week of camping, rafting, and hiking. Sadly all the trails we had planned on hiking were closed due to grizzly bear activity.

On to plan B. We hiked St. Mary’s and Virginia falls then up Logan’s Pass to the hidden lake overlook. The St. Mary’s trail leads first to St. Mary’s falls. It was a pretty hot day, so naturally when we arrived at the falls my hubby had to jump in the pool and cool off (He’s a daredevil). It was hot enough to tempt me, but I couldn’t get myself to jump in.

St. Mary's Falls

The trail continued up the mountain to Virginia Falls. On our way up to the falls we heard a hiker a short distance ahead of us yell “bear”. My instincts told me to tuck tail and run the other way. My hubby however was too curious, so he asked the other hiker what he saw. The man was as white as a sheet. When you are hiking, you are suppose to make a lot of noise to ward off predators, but that may not always work when dealing with mamas. This hiker yelled “bear” to scare off the black bear that he saw, but didn’t realize until after that it was a mama bear with her cubs. Luckily black bears are a skittish type and she took her cubs and ran away. I don’t blame him for being terrified though. A mama bear is probably one of my biggest fears.

Bear spray in hand we continued up the trail to Virginia Falls. We may or may not have adopted another family temporarily along the way; safety in numbers after all. With all the bear chatter that week, I was pretty relieved that was our only encounter.

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Something we’ve done on just about all of our trips to Glacier is rent a boat to take out onto Lake McDonald. Lake McDonald is absolutely stunning. From the west shore of the lake you can see mountains surrounding the opposite end. The shore is covered in rainbow pebbles and the water is so clean and crystal clear you can 20 – 30 feet down.

Lake McDonald, Glacier National Park

Our other favorite activity to do in Glacier is White water rafting with the Glacier Raft Company. This was mine and David’s third time white water rafting, but it was our first full day trip. The Glacier Raft Company is phenomenal. Three hours into our journey we stopped along the riverbank to have lunch. When I booked the trip I didn’t expect anything fancier than a peanut butter sandwich. The raft guides assembled a buffet table and a grill. We had different kinds of salads, chips & salsa, and they grilled steak & chicken, but the best part was that they had veggie burgers for us non-meat eaters. Did I mention my brother is also a vegetarian? It was above and beyond what I could have hoped for and the rapids this year were wicked! My favorite rapid is called “Bone crusher”.

White water rafting
Rafting in Glacier National Park

Despite having a fun and exciting time in Glacier, towards the end of our trip I found myself feeling a little bummed out. This was our 5th trip to Glacier and I was really excited to explore new trails and new parts of the park I had yet to see. As I said before those areas were closed due to heavy grizzly bear activity. The last thing left on my list, that I just had to try to do, was to wake up before the sun and watch it rise over the mountains at Lake McDonald. Luckily I have an amazing hubby who was willing to wake up with me and take me to the lake.

It was truly humbling, to stand there by the stillness of the water and watch the sky take new shapes and colors. We couldn’t have picked anything better to do on our last morning in the park.

Lake McDonald, Glacier National Park

If you’re ever thinking about planning a trip to Glacier National park and have questions, feel free to ask me. I’ve stayed in a condo, a hotel, camped in a tent, and took my 5th wheel camper.  There are so many great local spots and flavors to try as well! A great vacation spot for vegans and vegetarians.  One of our favorites is The great northern brewery company; if you’re there you’ve got to check it out!