Pineapple Smoothie Bowl

It’s summer time! I have really been looking forward to summer, warm weather, green foliage, beautiful flowers, tan skin, gorgeous sunsets, and most of all summer food!

What I wasn’t prepared for was not having any new summer recipe ideas. Fortunately summer is full of fun inspiration and after a great cup of coffee on a lovely Saturday morning I was able to create a whole list of new ideas, yay!

One of my other passions outside of food is painting. Painting is probably the most therapeutic activity for me. I have been spending a lot of time working on a painting recently. It’s theme is the ocean. To help keep my creativity flowing I have been listening to a lot of Bob Marley and playing beach scene videos on YouTube. It has been such a peaceful escape and now the vibe is flowing into my passion for food.

This weeks recipe was not only inspired by the beginning of summer but also by that perfect day at the beach.

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Pineapple Smoothie Bowl

Ingredients:

  • One pineapple
  • 2 cups pineapple (Frozen is best)
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 scoop protein powder
  • 1 tbs chia seed

Suggested toppings:

  • mango
  • blueberries
  • kiwi
  • dragon fruit

Directions:

  1. Slice the pineapple horizontally in front of the stem. Start carving the pineapple into a bowl leaving a 1/2″ thick rim.
  2. For an extra fresh smoothie, freeze the pineapple innards before blending them.
  3. Add all the ingredients to a high power blender and blend.
  4. Pour the ingredients into the pineapple bowl.
  5. Add toppings and enjoy!

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Thank you to those of you who have been following my blog. I really appreciate the support and kind words that inspire me to keep going. If you haven’t had a chance to check out my “About me” page, click the picture below and allow me to introduce myself.

On the shore of Lake McDonald, Glacier National Park

 

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!

 

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!