30 Day Green Smoothie Challenge: Week 2 Recap

Cyberfunk smoothies

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RAZZY PEACH

2 cups spinach, fresh
2 cups water
½ cup raspberries
1 ½ cup peaches
1 banana

First smoothie of the week that I tried was Razzy Peach. It looked really unappetizing and only tasted marginally better than it looked. The only thing I can figure out so far is that I’m not adding banana and I guess I need a sweeter addition. I used extra raspberry and peach to compensate for the banana and it was still really bitter tasting. All I could taste was the very tart raspberries and the greens. I also added chia seeds because they don’t bother me when I’m using a seeded berry like raspberry or strawberry.

I took the leftovers of Razzy Peach and added Greek yogurt and some strawberries the next day. Much better. I’m wondering if I just need to add more fruit, especially fresh fruit to my smoothies. Since I usually drink these in place of breakfast, I may need to try for an alternate protein source, like eggs, to make sure that I get enough protein in the morning to sustain me through the day.

I also definitely prefer them with some kind of dairy product. But since my son is allergic I’ll have to add it after the fact. It’s amazing how much smoothie that little boy can drink. He’ll drink as much as I do in a sitting, if not more. Wish my daughter felt the same. I tried a little experiment with her.

I made her a small smoothie, about 8-12 ounces. I added a couple of kale leaves, but not a full serving my any means. I blended it up with whole milk. Then I added a cup of strawberries and couple scoops of Fage full fat Greek yogurt. It was beautiful pink color (as opposed to the unappetizing brown that most green smoothies seem to turn when you mix berries and greens), and she agreed to try it. She finished a four ounce cup and asked for more. It’s a start and considering how picky she is, I’m happy she made the effort at all.

 

MANGO PASSION

1 cup kale, fresh
1 cup spinach, fresh
2 cups water
2 cups mango
1 cup pineapple

So today’s smoothie was strange. I could definitely taste the greens, but it wasn’t as gross as I thought it would be. I had cut up the pineapple and mango the day before, the mango definitely wasn’t ripe, so not very sweet. I used a little more pineapple than suggested. It was very pulpy and tasted kind of “green” but it wasn’t bad. There weren’t any leftovers between my son and I.

 

PEACH COCONUT DREAM

2 cups spinach, fresh
1 cup coconut water, unsweetened
2 cups grapes, freeze overnight
1 cup peaches
When I first saw this recipe on the menu I kind of wondered what it would taste like. Grapes and peaches? I didn’t have coconut water so I used 1 cup coconut milk and 1 cup water. The taste was interesting. This is one of the few smoothies I’ve had so far that tastes sweet enough for me. That being said, despite the introduction of chia seeds, it probably still didn’t have enough protein, so I added some Greek yogurt to my portion. This is probably the first time that I actually drank the full recommended 16 ounces. My son drank the other half of the blender full and begged for more. Unfortunately the grape skins were not well processed by my not very good blender and leave the whole smoothie tasting a little chunky. Next time I think I’d rather try two cups peaches and 1 cup grapes.

 

TROPI-KALE 

1 cup kale, fresh
1 cup spinach, fresh
2 cups coconut water, unsweetened
1 banana
2 cups pineapple

This was just too pulpy for me. I know in my head that most of the pulp was pineapple, but it felt like spinach and kale. I used mango and extra pineapple to substitute for the bananas. Half coconut milk, half water for the liquid. It was OK. I’m beginning to think that at least part of the problems I have with these smoothies is related to my poor blender. Everything is just a little too chunky for me. Overall, the sweetness was pretty good though.

 PEACHY PEAR  

2 cups spinach, fresh
2 cups water
2 ripe pears
1 cup peaches

So I think this could be a really good recipe. But I kind of messed it up. After waiting for days for the pears to be ripe I finally gave up and used them crunchy and they weren’t very sweet. I also used frozen peaches because I forgot to defrost them the night before. So the smoothie was very cold and not very sweet. I think I’ve also learned that spinach and kale mixed is actually a better choice than either one alone. I did add Greek yogurt which did make it a bit bitter and all I could really taste was the Greek yogurt and spinach. I’m wondering if there is some kind of binding between the yogurt and greens because it seems like that’s often all I can taste, rather than the two pears and more than cup of peaches.

 Since I had tried all of the previous recipes this week, I decided to go back and try one I hadn’t done before.

BERRY CHERRY JUBILEE

2 cups spinach, fresh
2 cups water
1 cup cherries, pitted
1 cup mixed berries
1 banana

 

I really liked this one, which lets me see an interesting pattern. I definitely prefer smoothies that have lots of berries. The good thing about that is that berries are filled with lots of healthy things. The bad side is that they are very high in sugar and tend to be expensive, even worse if I dare to buy organic, which I usually don’t.

So it seems like I’ve liked about half the smoothies so far, but at least I’m still sticking with it. I can’t claim to feel any great surge of energy or have lost any significant weight, but at least I’m getting breakfast every day which is an improvement.

Join the 30 Day Green Smoothie Challenge

30 Day Green Smoothie Challenge: Week 1 Recap

Disclaimer: All recipes are the creations of the ladies at Simple Green Smoothies. I am reproducing them here only for the sake of reviewing them and noting my own variations. I am in no way taking credit for their hard work. I provide links back to their site whenever possible.

Categories: 30 Day Smoothie Challenge, Cooking | Tags: , | Leave a comment

He Says, She Says: He Needs A Recreational Companion

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Photo Credit: kevin dooley via Compfight cc

He Says

In this chapter I found myself disagreeing with Harley much more than I expected. Once again I found myself not relating to what he considers to be a common need for men, shared recreation. But this time it was because of personality, not maleness vs. femaleness. Namely, I’m an introvert. And he doesn’t seem to acknowledge 50% of the population at all. I found that quite surprising.

See, he’s all about husbands and wives sharing their recreational time with each other – to the point where they should only spend time doing recreational activities that the both people enjoy. I have a big problem with that: introverts generally don’t have recreation that they share with others. (It’s kind of the point, you know?) I need time by myself to “recharge my batteries.” Activities like reading, single-player video games, computer programming, writing, various art like drawing and painting … the list goes on… these are, for the most part, solo activities. I can certainly involve Bethany in some way, but, as hard as it is to admit, I get the most enjoyment from them by myself.

Now of course I have things I like that the two of us can do together. I’ve recently gotten into board games again – those should be played with others, naturally, and I’ve found some we both like. And we have a lot of overlap in TV shows and movies we find interesting, so we can share that as well. There are other things, but it probably behooves us to take the interest inventory just to find out if there are some things out there we both like that we haven’t thought of before. (I miss going to plays, Bethany! When are we going to see another play?!)

Yes, I get his point: “Since everyone has an account in your Love Bank, it stands to reason that the person with whom you share your most enjoyable moments will build the largest account. If you want a fulfilling marriage, that person must be your spouse.” I completely agree. It’s why I don’t have other female friends with shared interests; this is deliberate, to avoid the potential of affairs as he describes in the chapter. But spend all my free recreational time with Bethany? I mean this in all honesty: that would be a disservice to her, if I wasn’t fully recharged and ready to give her the attention she deserves. To recharge, I need me-time.

Why oh why Harley did you not address introverts?

She Says

I think for the most part this chapter focuses on a great premise. As husband and wife you must have some things in common or you probably wouldn’t have gotten married. Of all of the recreational activities in the world, there must be some that you would both enjoy. Make sure that you prioritize those activities.

“Engage in only those recreational activities that both you and your spouse can enjoy together.”

However, I have a slight bone to pick with this theory. What if you are introverts? My husband and I are both introverts, he even more so than I. I spend all day dealing with small children and their constant needs and chatter. He works in an office where at least a portion of his job requires him to interact with others. We each need time alone to recharge and this often takes the form of recreational activities.

Yes, we do things that we enjoy together. We play complicated board games. (We’re not talking about Clue and Scrabble here. My husband’s recent additions to the docket include Puerto Rico and Settler’s of Catan). Since we are both writers we belong to and host a writing small group in our home. This has been a wonderful addition to our recreational life in the past three years. While it isn’t time just the two of us, it does give us the opportunity to share our creativity and support each other.

But we definitely require time alone. My husband enjoys video and computer games; most of which are quite complicated (are you sensing a theme here?) and solitary. Sometimes he has introduced me to his games, and occasionally we will play cooperatively; but usually it’s just his time to be alone an recharge. I feel that these kind of activities are exceptions and here is why.

“The couple with separate recreational interests misses a golden opportunity. They often spend some of their most enjoyable moments in the company of someone else.”

Because these activities are solitary, no one else is taking the place of the spouse in meeting this recreational need. This is simply time that each of us require alone to keep us functioning and allow us to be better husband and wife, father and mother.

I also think that there will always be some things that we do that the other person doesn’t. Harley admitted in the last chapter that he and his wife have made an effort to support each other’s interests; his practice of counseling and his wife’s singing and speaking career. I lead the dance ministry at my church. My husband supports me in this by providing care for the children so that I can attend meetings and rehearsals. But in the past he has also helped edit music, and video tape performances. During a period of two years when I was teaching and taking classes at a local dance studio, he even participated in our yearly production of the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by serving as narrator.

He participates when appropriate; but he would never suggest that I give up dancing because he isn’t interested in participating. But to his credit; as my Christmas gift this year he is taking six week of English Country Dance lessons with me at the local community college. So I guess he figured out a way to make my interest in dance a mutual activity after all.

He Says, She Says about His Needs, Her Needs

He Says, She Says: Why Your Love Bank Never Closes

He Says, She Says: She Needs Affection

He Says, She Says: He Needs Sexual Fulfillment

He Says, She Says: She Needs Conversation

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Just a quick note. We have in no way been paid for our opinions here. We just like this book and have a passion to see people stay happily married and continue to grow in their marriages. But this post does contain affiliate links which help me afford to keep blogging. Thank you for your support.

Categories: Her Needs, His Needs, His Needs Her Needs, Marriage | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Fasting and Unforgiveness: Lent Week 2014 – Holy Week

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Photo Credit: Keoni Cabral via Compfight cc

Last week I fasted desserts and focused on experiencing a new level of joy, especially in my interactions with the world around me, those in and out of the church. This wasn’t as hard as I thought, in part because of something I discovered when talking to some ladies from my MOPS group. I tend to extend grace to strangers better than to my family.

We’ve been having a rough time with my daughter and discipline. She basically refuses to do anything to help around the house. We’ve begun a new system where her screen time is contingent upon fulfilling of the required chores. There has been very little screen time and even fewer chores accomplished. It is instinct for me to be kind to the check-out girl, the mail man or the receptionist at the doctor’s office. Even if inside I’m fuming, I don’t tend to take it out on an unsuspecting stranger, even perhaps if they deserve it.

My family is another story. I definitely found myself irritable at my lack of dessert. When the kids were finally in bed for the evening it was hard not to feel a little disappointed when I remembered that I was fasting dessert and so there would be no chocolate waiting for me. I wish I could say that I didn’t mind or that it was an easy sacrifice. It wasn’t. I pretty much hated every minute of it. It was already a rough week last week and taking dessert out make it harder for sure.

But it does have me thinking a lot about how to depend on God more. I just helped finish choreographing and practicing a dance for eight little girls to Jars of Clay’s I Need Thee Every Hour. So the song has been in my head a lot. I so desperately need Jesus, every hour. Sometimes all I can ask for is the grace to get through the next hour and try not to think about the one after that.

Matthew 6:34 “So do not worry or be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will have worries and anxieties of its own. Sufficient for each day is its own trouble.” (Amplified Bible)

In the case of a mom, sufficient to the hour is the chaos. I can’t worry about how I will get through today, next week, next month or next year. I need to focus on being here now, for the next hour.

For most Christian traditions, this is a significant week. Holy week. The time we reflect on the last days of Jesus life leading up to the crucifixion. So for this week I’m going to focus on unforgiveness. Christ’s sacrifice extended forgiveness to us; we need to be prepared to do the same to others. What you fast this week doesn’t necessarily matter. Pick something you’ve already fasted or something new. The purpose of the fast is to draw our attention to an area of unforgiveness that needs to be addressed. Is there someone in our lives or in our pasts who we need to forgive? I know we all have them. That one person who you can’t look at without remembering a particular incident? Just being in the same room with them is painful. You find yourself justifying your hostility and anger towards him or her.

It seems easier just to hold onto unforgiveness, especially if the person doesn’t seem particularly sorry. But we need to forgive them anyway, for our own sakes. I know I have a few of these on my heart. It is so much easier sometimes to retreat than to continue to interact with someone that has hurt you, especially if they don’t seem to care or don’t know how they’ve hurt you. But this week I’m going to focus on forgiveness. I’ll be honest, I don’t know how exactly to go about it. I think of it kind of like love. Love isn’t just a feeling, it’s an intentional way of being and acting towards someone. Sometimes the actions actually matter more than the feelings and the feelings will follow. So this week I’m going to focus on behaving in a loving fashion to those who have hurt me, and praying desperately to God for grace to extend.

The past five weeks haven’t been easy ones, and I find myself short of strength and patience. So I must depend even more on Christ. I need his forgiveness, his grace, his love in excess so that I can extend it better to others.

 

Restore My Heart, Thaw My Soul: Lent 2014 Week 1

Learning Intentional Silence and Better Chosen Words: Lent 2014 Week 2

Choosing to Be Present In Real Life: Lent 2014 Week 3

Where Do I Get My Truth? : Lent 2014 Week 4

Fasting From Alternate Intoxications: Lent 2014 Week 5

 

Categories: Faith, Lent | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

Week 6 Final Week of Fit2B Advancing

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So I am finally starting to feel a little stronger, but I still have a long way to go.

I still haven’t recovered from injuring my foot after my run more than a week ago, so I think I’ll settle for some time on the stationary bike or brisk walking when it comes to my cardio.

That being said, I was terrible about cardio this week. Other than marathon grocery shopping and laundry washing and folding there weren’t any specific cardio sessions in my week. But I was determined to at least get through the three recommended workout days this week.

Warm up – Totally Transverse, then Yoga for Runners and Jump Change

Yoga for Runners

I used the Tummy safe refilmed version of this, rather than the original. Overall, it was a nice stretching routine. I probably enjoyed it as much as Simply Stretching II, but it’s considerable shorter which is nice if you don’t have much time. I appreciate that Beth Learn doesn’t rush through the movements but really gives you time to focus on the stretch and slowly get yourself into and out of the various poses.

Jump Change

Jump Change is a high intensity workout, though not the first time I’ve done it. This time I did have the added challenge of doing the opening squats with my 33 lb two year old wrapped around my waist and sitting on my abs during the modified incline planes. Other than that though, I found it better than the first time I tried it. I did break a sweat. Though I had to be careful not to overtax my knees, which have been aching recently for no reason that I can think of. I liked that it was high intensity but not long. I have trouble maintaining good form with long high intensity workouts, but this was a good length so that I was able to really focus on each movement and not just fail with exhaustion.

Weighted Warrior & Kelly’s Core Cardio

Weighted Warrior

This is the second or third time I’ve done Weighted Warrior and it is a good workout. I like the inclusion of weights because it adds a level of difficulty to the workout, but it isn’t so hard that I can’t control my core when I do it. Workouts like this one have helped me to learn to control my core when lifting significant weight (such as my son or daughter) and still keeping good alignment. It’s so tempting to arch the back, and open up the rib cage when lifting something that feels too heavy for me. Now I try my best to maintain good alignment and keep my core engaged. This is a good upper body workout but still good stretches and strengthening for the legs. But definitely not a beginner workout.

Kelly’s Core Cardio

It seems fitting that I would be highlighting a workout from Kelly Dean, since I’ll be spending a lot of time with her videos in the next few weeks as I do abdominal rehab with the Tummy Team. This is one of my favorite workouts with her. The cardio level is excellent but it isn’t too long so I can really focus on maintaining proper form during the hula hoop sequences. Yep, that’s right, hula hoop. Not using a real hula hoop mind you, it actually reminded me a lot of the Wii Fit hula hoop workout. I used to hate that, but this wasn’t so bad and it definitely helped me keep my hips flexible and moving.

 Mula Bandha and Hold It

Mula Bandha 

I’ve done Mula Banda many times before, though I still wonder if I’m doing it quite right. But I enjoy the workout predominantly because of how calm and soothing it is.

Hold It

So I keep thinking that I’ve done this workout before, but I don’t think I actually have. I was still sore from doing Weight Warrior earlier yesterday, so this was a nice workout. It is difficult, but not high intensity. Slow sustained movements are some of the hardest in my experience. It reminded me of the kind of stamina I used to need during difficult barre workouts in ballet class. Each movement is sustained for 5-10 breaths. Definitely a challenge for the core and the balance. 

Rather than plowing on to Fit2B Challenged, I’m going to take a break and do some abdominal rehab courtesy of the Tummy Team. Come back next week to check out the details and for a coupon code to join me as I work on rebuilding my core.

I will still be exercising, but I’m not going to be pushing myself as hard. Instead I’ll be taking on the Fit2B Studio 30 day movement challenge and providing periodic updates on my progress. If you’d like to join me, you can head over to the member forum and join the challenge.

Thanks for following me as I worked my way through Fit2B Advancing. I think I’ve like to come back to it in the future, and really focus on doing the suggested cardio each week. Please join me next week as I take it down a notch and focus specifically on ab rehab with the Tummy Team.

Starting Slow: Fit2B Beginning Week 1

Building a Habit: Fit2B Beginning Week 2

I’m Finally Enjoying Myself: Fit2B Beginning Week 3

Diastatis Awareness and the Tummy Safe Path

Kicking It Up A Notch: Fit2B Beginning Week 4

Fit2B Beginning: Final Week, Longer and Stronger

Pressing On: Fit2B Advancing Week 1

Fit2B Advancing Week 2: Maintaining the Foundations

Fit2B Advancing Week 3: Lots of Upper Body

Fit2B Advancing Week 4: New Workouts and Some Discouragement

Fit2B Advancing Week 5: Almost Done

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Don’t forget you can use the coupon code laundry blog to save $10 off a Fit2B Studio membership

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30 Day Green Smoothie Challenge: Week 1 Recap

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Photo Credit: ilovemypit via Compfight cc

First official day of making “real” smoothies and I decided to start with Berry Protein Bash, mostly because it was on the official menu for the week and I actually had the ingredients without making a special trip to the store.

BERRY PROTEIN BASH  |  Serves 2

2 cups spinach, fresh
2 cups almond milk, unsweetened
1 cup strawberries
1 cup blueberries
1 banana
1/2 cup almonds, soaked in water overnight (if possible)

I would totally do this one again. I didn’t use any bananas and I used two cups of mixed berries from my freezer instead of straight blueberries, though I tried to make sure it was heavy on the blueberries. You could feel the texture of the almonds, though I did soak them over night which I think made it easier for my blender to process them. I put the frozen fruit in a mason jar over night with the washed spinach to make things easier in the morning. I wonder if the fact that the fruit was defrosted made a difference in the taste. I also used a high protein vanilla almond milk I had for my son to drink. (We usually buy unsweetened, but they were out last week at the store so I bought vanilla). Though our almond milk doesn’t have much sweetener in it, it definitely helped. It turned out so creamy. I felt like I was drinking a berry milkshake. I loved knowing that it was protein packed enough to keep my blood sugar balanced and it will hopefully keep me full longer. First time I actually drank the full recommended serving. Sadly, there was almost none left. Definitely be coming back to this one soon.

SIMPLE PEACH  |  Serves 2

2 cups spinach, fresh
2 cups water
2 cups peaches
1 banana

I tried the simple peach recipe today. I didn’t love it. I used frozen mango instead of bananas. The peaches were frozen as well. I don’t know if I didn’t add enough mango to compensate for the lack of banana or if it was because the fruit was frozen but I could taste the greens a bit too much. I prefer not to taste them at all. I don’t mind eating greens, in salads, stews or on sandwiches but I don’t like them in my drinks if I can taste them. Next time I’ll try increasing the amount of fruit I use and maybe letting it defrost in the fridge over night. I’ve also discovered that my 10 year old Hamilton Beach blender just isn’t handling the frozen fruit as well as I’d like, so I need to plan accordingly. I also added chia seeds. They were a little more noticeable than in the berry smoothie because peaches don’t have any seeds the way the raspberries and blackberries did, but I didn’t find them bothersome. Also, trying to drink a smoothie made mostly with frozen fruit can cause brain freeze. Ouch. I ate my leftovers of simple peach the next day, since I knew I wouldn’t have time to make a smoothie that morning. I threw the leftovers in my smoothie maker (a tiny cheap little thing I got for Christmas from an extended family member a few years ago). It isn’t powerful enough or large enough to chop and blend a green smoothie but it’s easy and fast with hardly any cleanup if I just want to add an extra ingredient. I added a coupon scoops of Greek yogurt and some natural applesauce to sweeten it up a little. (please refer to my most recent lesson about adding Greek yogurt to smoothies). It wasn’t bad. Not great, but edible. Definitely creamier and better blended the second time around, but it tasted far more of apple sauce than peach, which for me, isn’t a good thing. Much less brain freeze too though.

TROPICAL CRUSH  |  Serves 2

2 cups spinach, fresh
1 1/2 cups water
1 orange, peeled
1 cup pineapple
1 banana

Day one it was only OK. The orange and pineapple just wasn’t enough for it to be very sweet. So the second day. I added some Greek yogurt and mango and it was much tastier. But still not a favorite.

ORANGE JULIUS  |  Serves 2

2 cups spinach, fresh

1 cup almond milk, unsweetened
3 oranges, peeled
1 banana

It might just be the time of year, oranges just aren’t that sweet, or the fact that I don’t use bananas, but I really didn’t like this one. I even added some mango to compensate for the lack of banana, but it was still kind of gross. I drank it, but I didn’t really like it. I combination of almond milk and oranges was a little nauseating. But then again I never did like orange Julius. The following day I added extra pineapple and some Greek yogurt and it was no better. Really hope that next week’s recipes turn out better.   Join the 30 Day Green Smoothie Challenge   Disclaimer: All recipes are the creations of the ladies at Simple Green Smoothies. I am reproducing them here only for the sake of reviewing them and noting my own variations. I am in no way taking credit for their hard work. I provide links back to their site whenever possible.

Categories: 30 Day Smoothie Challenge, Cooking | Tags: | 1 Comment

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