Green Berry Smoothie

Green Berry Smoothie_1 No. There is no such thing as a green berry (at least not that I know of). The grammar freak inside of me is having a minor meltdown right now over the misplaced modifier - "green." I considered revising the name to "Berry Green Smoothie" but foresaw the "berry" being mistaken as a descriptor of the amount of "green" in the beverage and decided against it. This is neither a smoothie made from green berries nor is it a very green smoothie. Rather, it is a smoothie made with greens and berries - spinach and strawberries, to be exact. If I wasn't determined to give the poor drink a short and, hopefully, memorable name, I might have used the ever descriptive "Spinach and Strawberry Smoothie" title, but golly that sounds boring. So, Green Berry Smoothie it is and ever shall be. In my opinion, and to further the confusion, this delicious concoction of fruits, veggies, oats, and juice tastes like none of the above. For the spinach haters in the crowd, this is probably a good thing. Green Berry Smoothie_3 Now, I love my smoothies super thick (otherwise I'd order a juice - duh) and boy does this one check that box. Thick and almost creamy, a gift from the frozen banana to our taste buds, you can sip on this bad boy through your entire mid-morning meeting - or dig into it with a spoon. It gets bonus points for filling power, preventing the otherwise unavoidable nod-off halfway through the boss's presentation on ______. This particular ingredient combo is well on its way to becoming a staple in my smoothie rotation. Look at all those beautiful ingredients! Green Berry Smoothie_Ingredients Thank you California for providing fresh berries year-round - though the ones in spring do have a little special something that even the best year-round berry farmers can't pack in to their off-season greenhouse growths. Green Berry Smoothie_Ingredients 2 I obviously piled my glass to overflowing - that's just how I roll. But, should you be in a sharing mood, the recipe below makes a full 24 ounces so you could always split it down the middle to share with your BFF, significant other, or one lucky other meeting attendee.

Green Berry Smoothie

A fantastic mid-morning pick-me-up.

  • 1 banana, sliced and frozen
  • 5 – 8 strawberries (depending upon size), hulled
  • 2 handfuls baby spinach (about 1 ½ cups)
  • ½ cup old fashioned oats
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened coconut
  • 1 cup ice
  • ½ cup apple juice

Place ingredients into blender in order listed.

Press smoothie button. If you don't have a smoothie button, blend to preferred thickness.

Pour into a cup.

Top with strawberries, chia seeds, and coconut, if desired.

Papaya Breakfast Boats

Papaya Banana Boat When I was in grade school, once a month or so my mom would take me to get my nails done. We would go to this nail salon in a strip mall by our house and stop in at Jamba Juice for a smoothie on our way. This always made me feel so “adult” and is probably a large contributor to my adult addiction to these frozen beverages (er, meals?). Sidenote: My favorite smoothie place as an adult happens to be in Austin, TX (JuiceLand: with Daily Juice ( coming in a close second. Despite my love affair with green smoothies and acai bowls, sometimes I need to jazz up my morning routine (or just don’t want to wake up the whole house – my son is scared of our BlendTec). Parfaits are a delicious option, especially when topped with homemade granola. The natural progression from parfaits in a bowl is, logically, parfaits in a papaya. Or, as I like to call them, Papaya Breakfast Boats! Seriously easy to put together and yummy to eat, I fill mine with coconut greek yogurt, slivered almonds, halved blackberries, a sprinkling of shredded coconut, and a dash of chia seed. I wanted to top it with a drizzle of fresh, local honey but couldn't get the lid off - where's the hubby when you really need him?! Papaya Banana Boat 4 Then I sit at my kitchen table and pretend I am on a tropical island. Sipping on my homemade vanilla soy latte, lazily eating my way through the papaya’s soft and sweet fruit, it is almost possible to believe the daydream is real. If it’s a weekend morning (and I’m not 8 months pregnant), you just might catch me sipping on a glass of bubbly because seriously, papaya, coconut, and bubbly are a deliciously rockin’ combination. Bonus, one papaya is enough for two meals. I bundle the second half in saran wrap, stick it in the fridge, and repeat the next morning. Other favorite toppings: banana chips, honey, walnuts, pecans, blueberries, strawberries, fresh banana slices, cacao nibs, granola, and crushed graham crackers. I'm thinking our next brunch (or maybe our Summer Solstice Party) will include a Papaya Breakfast Boat buffet. All I have to do is cut the fruit in half, remove the seeds, and set out a bunch of fun toppings. Plates are optional. Ok, now I want to have a party! I'm excited just thinking about it! Papaya Banana Boat 2 Papaya Banana Boat 3

Papaya Breakfast Boats

A simple, fast, and delicious way to start the morning.

  • 1/2 of a small papaya
  • 1/2 - 3/4 cup non-fat Greek yogurt, coconut flavor
  • 1 tablespoon raw slivered almonds
  • 8 blackberries, halved
  • 1/2 teaspoon shredded coconut
  • 1/4 teaspoon chia seeds

If the papaya is whole, cut it in half lengthwise and remove the seeds from one half. Wrap the other half in saran wrap and store in the fridge for tomorrow's breakfast.

Fill the papaya with the yogurt and top with the almonds, blackberries, shredded coconut, and chia seeds. For an extra hint of sweetness, drizzle fresh, local honey over the top.

Sit down in a cumfy spot with a cup of coffee (or glass of bubbles!) and let your imagination take you to a sunny, tropical island.

Scrape the flesh of the papaya into the yogurt for a well-rounded bite every time.

When done, toss the skin in the trash, the spoon in the dishwasher, and your purse on your shoulder - then head out to conquer the world.

The Only Banana Bread Recipe You’ll Ever Need

Banana Bread Slices 2 You know that dish (or dishes) that takes you back to your childhood. I mean, the minute you see the recipe, get a whiff of its familiar scent, or take that first bite, you are instantly transported back to eight years old and life suddenly gets just a little bit simpler? I have several of these dishes, of course, but this banana bread is one of my favorites....

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A Letter to Muffins

Cranberry Orange Muffin 1 Dear Muffins, I love you. I really do. Let me count the ways. I love that you're just sweet enough without sending my glucose levels into overdrive. I love the specks of fruit littered throughout your soft and airy dough. I love your slightly crunchy top and delicately soft bottom. I love that you taste fantastic with coffee or iced tea. I love the endless combinations that make you infinitely malleable to my mood and desire....

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Rosemary Olive Loaf

Rosemary Olive Bread_aerial I’ll be the first to admit that I have a slight obsession with small appliances – toasters, coffee pots, ice cream makers, blenders, food processors, slow cookers, and mixers. I even have a Keurig in addition to my coffee pot. Some of these stay out consistently – coffee pot, blender, toaster – while others come out as a craving hits. Normally this time of year, I crave homemade strawberry ice cream and cantaloupe sorbet. But, with the gloomy and rainy weather, I have had a consistent hankering for carbs, namely bread. We're talking good bread, not that white stuff they sell at the store and serve at all-night diners that has been stripped down of all nutrients and flavor. Part of what makes great bread so great is the smell. It’s irresistible. When my home is filled with the smell of freshly baking bread, it is like a big hug to my olfactory system. So, I figured, why not kill two birds with one stone? In came the bread machine from the garage (urge to use bread machine, check) to satisfy my need for the sweet aromas of homemade bread (not to mention a indulgence in the preservative-free freshness of the loaf). I filled it up, turned it on, and six hours later had the most delicious rosemary kalamata olive loaf you can imagine. Toasted with a little butter the next morning made for the perfect (if not most nutritionally balanced) breakfast. I’ve had my bread machine for nearly eight years now and have worn out the recipe book that came with it testing all the different provided ideas. At first I was wary to stray from the recipes and instructions included in the provided manual, but I have tried modifying the recipes to suit my tastes with much success. I’ve even taken other bread recipe ingredients, ignored the instructions, put them in my trusty bread machine, and ended up with a delicious end results (though I’m not sure if this is recommended). Rosemary Olive Bread_bites taken Rosemary Olive Bread_close up of olives in bread Rosemary Olive Bread_slice and olives 2 Rosemary Olive Bread_bites taken 2  

Fruit & Yogurt Parfait

Fruit & Yogurt Parfait_edited I am a morning person. I love the quiet of the early hours before the city (and the family) wakes up. I curl up with my coffee and laptop knowing that the day is completely in my control. Except breakfast. I really do not like making breakfast in the morning. It goes against the entire reason I get up early - to have a peaceful and quiet hour to myself. So why, then, would I disrupt it by making a mess in the kitchen? By the time I prep, cook, eat, and clean, the little man is up, the dog needs to be fed, I have to get to the gym, and the realities of the day set in. So, most mornings I wait to eat anything until after I get home from the gym. This could be anywhere between 8am and 12pm. By this time, starvation has taken over and I usually end up eating a balanced meal of goldfish crackers and a spoonful of peanut butter. Much like I combat poor mid-afternoon snack choices with pre-made hummus and veggie cups, I decided to give myself a leg up in the morning with ready-made fruit and yogurt parfaits. Not only are they delicious, but they are also really pretty! It makes me want to eat them. This one I made in a cup, but they are really cute in mason jars. You could make a bunch for the week and leave them at the office. Knowing a yummy breakfast awaits just might make that commute a little less terrible! For this one, I used strawberries because that is what I had, but feel free to mix it up: mango and pineapple, berry medley, papaya and kiwi. I even like to stir a little lemon zest into the yogurt for an extra zing in the morning. What's your favorite parfait combination? PS: Ever since I mastered the art of homemade granola, I haven't given the stuff at the store a second look. One batch takes about an hour to make from start to finish and you get to control exactly what is in it. If you don't already have a favorite, give my Best Ever Granola a try. If you have a favorite, please share! Fruit & Yogurt Parfait_3_edited Fruit & Yogurt Parfait_5_edited

Fruit & Yogurt Parfait

  • 1 cup non-fat plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup granola
  • 8 strawberries, sliced or chopped
  • 1 whole strawberry for garnish
  • 1/2 banana sliced
  • 1/2 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 tbsp honey

Layer 1/3 of the yogurt on at the bottom of the glass.

Sprinkle 1/2 of the granola on top of the yogurt.

Lay 1/2 of the strawberries on top of the granola.

Repeat steps 1 - 3.

Put the last of the yogurt on top.

Arrange the banana slices on top of the final layer of yogurt.

Drip honey over the banana and then the chia seeds

Finish with the chia seeds.

Garnish with a whole strawberry.

*If using a mason jar, close the lid and store in the fridge, otherwise, enjoy!

Peach Rhubarb Smoothie

Peach Rhubarb Smoothie 3 In honor of Mother’s Day, this week's focus will be where it should: on all things mom. From the moment she wakes up to the second her head hits the pillow that night, she will be the main focus, the star of the show. Start mom's day off right with a delicious breakfast – the most important meal of the day. That said, might I suggest that you change up the breakfast-in-bed routine by ditching the cliché scrambled eggs and toast opting instead for lighter peach rhubarb smoothie? If your celebrations / family get-togethers are anything like mine, there will be food and drink in spades all day, so cut her some carb slack during this first meal. If you’re feeling especially generous and want to secure your “daughter / son / spouse of the year award” add a glass of champagne to that breakfast tray. You can thank me later. Peach Rhubarb Smoothie 2 Peach Rhubarb Smoothie 1

Afternoon Energizer Smoothie

Afternoon Energizer Some mornings require a little more help than others – even those with awesome starts. This was one of them. Despite rising with the sun, getting in a butt-kicking kickboxing workout, catching up on the news, and cleaning up my inbox - all before 9am, I needed a pick me up that would last. Alas, it didn’t seem that an 18th cup of coffee was going to do the trick....

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