Thursday, March 31, 2011

Smoothies!

I'm a big fan of smoothies.  I can put just about anything in there and my kids will drink it up.  Ever since my boys were old enough to eat all the lovely fruit and yogurt I normally put into my fruit smoothies, they've been loving to drink 'em down.  And, since I have one really picky eater, I can hide some wonderful fruits and ground flax in there and no one will even know!

I've heard about green smoothies recently, and have been intrigued.  I was a little nervous, I heard there was kale or spinach in there or something and I was unsure how that would taste in a smoothie.  So, I put it off until recently, my favorite vegan cookbook author talked about green smoothies on her blog.  She included some recipes, so I knew I couldn't wait any longer, I needed to try making a green smoothie.

What I like best about these smoothies is it's only fruit and veggies.  There's no added juice or yogurt (even soy yogurt) so you don't have the added calories there.  And, of course you get the benefits of the greens you add.


So, my first green smoothie consisted of this:

     ::  about 1-1 1/2 cups of kale (you can try spinach or swiss chard, but I felt like jumping right into the deep end...plus, I heard that kale has a larger amount of calcium and iron which I liked)

     ::  1 cup of frozen mango

     ::  1/2 cup of frozen pineapple

     ::  1 banana

     ::  1/2 apple, cored and cut into chunks

     ::  1/2 pear, cored and cut into chunks (I just happened to have half and apple and pear lying around the kitchen, so that's what I added, you can add one whole apple or pear, whichever you prefer)

     ::  1 Tbs hemp seed

     ::  a few ice cubes to make it nice and chilly (you want it to be nice and cold, so adding frozen fruit is a definite plus, but add ice to make it frosty if your fruit is not frozen)

Blend it like you mean it.  You don't want any pieces or strings of kale floating around.  I have a crummy blender, so I had to stop many times (like 10) and push everything down with a spoon.  Just make sure you stop your blender before you do that!  Then, I let it run and run until I felt like it was nice and smooth.  I added a bit of water too, to get it moving better, because I was having some troubles.




Do you see someone eyeing it up in the background?  Yep, that's my boy!  He couldn't wait to get his own cup full of green deliciousness.




He just didn't like that it got into his nose.

You seriously can't taste the kale at all.  Some of my versions had a nice, fresh smell to it, which reminded me of something that came straight from the garden.  And, a couple of times I may not have blended it long enough.  But, I'm used to having raspberry or blackberry seeds in my fruit smoothies and so I wasn't bothered by the stray hemp seed that got through.

You can add berries too, but I guess it turns it to a very unappealing gray/brown color.  If that doesn't bother you, go right ahead!  I have made another version that swapped the mango for honeydew and substituted 1 orange for the pineapple.  I added half an avocado too.  That wasn't my favorite blend.  I prefer the sweet varieties myself.  I bought some frozen peaches today, so I'm trying that with the pineapple tomorrow.

Let me know if anyone has ever had one before, or if you try one let me know how you like it.

Oh, and if you're a frequent reader, please become a "follower" (ahem...Mom and Adam...).  I'm curious who all reads.

Happy blending!!

Friday, March 25, 2011

How old are you? Two!!

We have a new two-year old in our house.  And, he loves the Happy Birthday song.  He understands the concept of presents, loved his cake, and blew out his candles all by himself.  He's not my little, quiet baby anymore.  He's growing into a very big, active, happy, funny, and smart boy.  He's the best surprise we could have ever asked for (because, unlike our other boys, this baby boy of ours was not planned, so a surprise for us!)



video

We had a low-key party, just my Mom and niece came.  But, I'm sure they enjoyed not having to drive the 8+ hours it used to take them to come to celebrate the kids birthdays.  And, we loved having them here.





Grandma and Aaralynne were helping get the presents out.  We love living closer by our family.  But, we miss all of our WI friends!




No I'm not a professional cake baker.  Can you tell?  But, the important thing is, the birthday boy knew his cake was supposed to be a train.  And, it did look much better than Matthew's second birthday train cake.






And, it tasted good too.  Even our favorite girly, who tends to be picky about her sweets, loved it.







And, after the party was done, the kids were put to bed, Chris and I returned to our room and found someone sleeping in our bed!!  Girly, did you put Elmo to sleep in our bed??


Happy birthday Nickel baby!


Sunday, March 20, 2011

Loooong Run

I did a long run this afternoon.  I'm running a half marathon in less than two weeks and I hadn't been out running in a really long time.  I've been training almost every day on my bike trainer, which has been great.  I wake up early in the mornings and do 30-45 minutes, depending on when I actually make it down to the basement.  I have to be sure to get into the shower on time so I can get the kids ready for school.  I've put off running outside (I don't have a treadmill) because I was concerned it was a little dangerous.  I'm not the most graceful person in the world, and we had quite a nice layer of slippery snow on the roads most of the winter.  I didn't want to risk the very good chance that I would misstep and injure myself in some way.  So, I just regularly trained on my safe trainer (unless I lost my balance and fell off, which is entirely possible in my case) and hoped that I would pick up where I left off, when it came to running.

The previous longest run I did here (since moving in September) was 5 1/2 miles, I think.  So, to do nine miles (I mentioned I was running nine miles right??) I felt like that was a bit of a jump from my previous long run, but considering the half marathon is less than a month away (eek!), and I've been doing 90 minutes on my trainer on the weekends, and I usually do 10 minute miles when I run, which would put me on track, and I also felt like I needed to do it to put my mind at ease.  These long runs aren't just difficult physically, they're hard for me mentally.  That's a long time to be running.  Especially now that I moved away from my running partner.  Jessica M. and I used to have great indepth, personal chats during our long runs.  I had my handy dandy Zune to give me tunes, and it worked just fine for that.  It didn't quite help with the hills though, or the wind and blowing snow.

There aren't many hills where I used to run in Wisconsin, so I'm not quite used to the hills they have here.  It really altered my pace and breathing and the "zone" I usually like to achieve when I'm doing a long run.  So, that was a bummer.  But, I did it.  I was so tempted to turn around early, because my pace was behind what it usually is (thanks hills...) but I knew I would be disappointed in myself, and I would have second thoughts about weather I could do the half marathon next month.  So, I looked at that ominous hill in front of me and took it on.  Then, the snow started.

It was beautiful.  Big, beautiful flakes, but lots of wind was driving it in my face and my eyes, I had to keep my head down, which was difficult since the drivers were unwilling to move over or even slow down as they passed me...thanks a bunch!  I guess they've never been in my shoes, running in rocky, sandy soil with snow flakes pelting my eyes while people whiz by at 60 mph.  Yeah, not so fun to have to break my pace to stop to let the crazy drivers pass by.  Oh well, I shouldn't be complaining, I could be much worse off.  A post on that will come soon.

So, I ran a little over 9 miles in 1 hour 47 minutes.  My goal for the half would be to do better than my other times which was 2 hours 22 minutes for my first race (run in 30 degree temps and blowing snow the whole time, not fun!) and I don't remember my second time exactly, but it was something like 2 1/2 hours.  I didn't train the second time, I'd just started running again and my friend and I were very ambitious.  But, we did it!  And, I lost a toenail in the process.  Fun stuff!

After running, I had to come home and make a big dinner.  I had planned it, but didn't get any prep done before my run.  I made roast chicken (yes, I'm vegan and I still cook meat...gross!) mashed potatoes, stuffing (my husband's favorite food) and roasted brussel sprouts (probably my favorite veggie).  I was going to make chickpea cutlets and mushroom gravy for me, but didn't have time.  I was so sad!  I love those chickpea cutlets and that gravy is so lucious and delicious.  I guess I'll be making them tomorrow!

Since I got dinner started so late, we didn't eat until after 6:30!!!  We usually eat between 5 and 5:30, so this was very late.  Then, I dropped some butter on the bottom of my oven and it burned and made the house so nice and smokey.  sigh  But, everyone loved dinner, so that's what matters.

Alright, it's late and time for bed.  Have a good night everyone.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Fall Pantings and Spring Sprouts

We moved into our home last fall.  I heard that our landscaping was new, from our neighbors, so I thought the previous owners probably hadn't planted any bulbs that would bloom in the Spring.  Since we have such long winters here, I really look forward to those early signs of spring and vibrant, beautiful colors after a long, white and brown winter.

So, this past Fall my Mom and I planted some bulbs, 300 bulbs.  Yes, maybe it was a bit excessive, but I was at Sams and saw that they had some different bulbs that came 100 in a pack.  I bought 100 crocus (because I really want to see those early bloomers!), 100 daffodils, and 100 tulips (red, I think).


I loved having my Mom's help.  We had procrastinated a bit...well, maybe I procrastinated.  That seems to be a common problem to have in my family...procrastination.  We had already had our first snow and it was pretty chilly.  But, the ground was still soft.  We just had to maneuver around the weed barrier that the previous owners had put down.  But, with my Mom's guidance, we mapped out a plan.  We laid out the bulbs on top of the dirt, spacing them out all (those of you who know us, aren't surprised we were so particular with our planning).





Then, we began digging.  Some were easier than others, based on weather we had to go through the weed barrier or not.  I think it took us just under an hour to complete.  And, boy were we glad to be done!


All winter I've been so hoping that we did a good job, not getting any bulbs buried under the weed barrier.  Hoping to see those green shoots this spring telling me that we did a good job and will soon have color in front of our brown house, in our brown yard.

And, guess what?


There they are!  Hooray!

Aack!  Be careful Nicholas! 


Whew, that was close.

Now we wait for the tulips and daffodils.  But, having these early bloomers will help me be patient to wait for the others.

Happy almost Spring everyone.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Long Time

Okay...I know it's been a loooong time since I've written a new post.  I have several ideas in mind, just haven't had the time to type them out.  So, here's a few you can watch for in the coming days/weeks:

My love for my kids Cartoon shows
My Grandma
Bulb planting
Half marathon training
A new 2 year old in the house
Decorating our home

You can watch for one or more of these posts coming in the next day or so.  Now, I must get snacks ready and head to pick up my oldest from school.

Happy Monday!