BLUEBERRY POPEYE SMOOTHIE

April 23, 2014

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Every now and then, do you surprise yourself with doing something out of character, out of spontaneity that you wouldn’t normally do? Getting out of your “comfort zone” and just saying hell with it, I’m going to do x y and z today? Yesterday was one of those days for me. It was my day off, the day was completely open to do whatever I pleased. After hopping out of bed, fueling up with a bowl of cereal and snuggling with the cats, I decided to drive out to Mount Hood National Forest and go on a hike that I had been jonesing to go on for weeks now. I dog-eared my trusty hiking books, double checked the driving directions on Google Maps, filled up my 3 liter hydration Osprey pack, packed some pretzels and Reese’s peanut butter eggs (because Girl Scout Rule #1: if you ever get lost in the wilderness, always be sure to have some candy on hand at all times) and drove an hour (in the pouring rain) out into the mountains. Call me crazy. But it felt simultaneously exhilarating and frightening to be that spontaneous. I do this sometimes.

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After purchasing a NW forest pass to access all hiking trails in Oregon and Washington for the next year, I’ve been inspired to get outdoors more. I’ve been itching to explore. And solo hikes are definitely something I enjoy. I like going at my own pace, not having to worry about walking too fast (which I definitely have a habit of doing) and stopping to take as many photos as I please. However, I do notice myself on high alert, sometimes being a little too jumpy or paranoid about the critters scurrying through the brush, or the sound of snow hitting the ground from rain hitting the tree branches, which was the case yesterday. The hike was supposed to end at Devil’s Point (about 4 miles up a very steep 4,000+ elevation climb), an old fire lookout that is now a first-come first-serve camp refuge for anyone that wants to hike in and stay for a night. As ambitious as I set out to be, I didn’t end up getting to the top. My quads, lungs and soul were in it, but the higher I climbed, the more ice and snow I encountered. Being a logical Girl Scout, my intuition told me to turn around and not chance it. Which is exactly what I did about 1.5 miles in. However, I did manage to spend a few minutes gazing at these beautiful views, and feeling gratitude for what was right before my very eyes. My quads and gluteus muscles are perfectly sore enough today with the amount that I did manage to hike, but next time I will try this again mid-summer and with a partner. For now, I think sticking to solo hikes in the Gorge will be more my speed (and are a bit nicer of a drive).

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Anywho, back to my point. I hiked. I was drenched with rain and melted snow. I stopped for a donut in a teensy little town called Sandy.  And then I drove to a gem store on the way home that I’ve always wanted to go to and bought a few pretty things. And then I came home and made this smoothie because it sounded good. And it just so happen to color coordinate the gemstones I bought at the gem store. Because life is weird like that sometimes. And that was the entire point of this post, was so that I could share the recipe with you.

Sometimes I take the long way home.

After having my Vitamix for about 2 months now, I’ve mostly made green savory smoothies rather than fruity creamy ones. It’s good to have a balance of both, right? I deviated from my green smoothie mode, but just a little. I had to sneak some spinach in there somehow, of course. Like sneaking some greens into a picky palates milkshake or brownies or mac ‘n cheese. I felt like I was feeding my 5-year-old self (although I did eat my broccoli). Can you tell there is leafy green spinach in that beautiful blueberry concoction? Yeah, didn’t think so… sneaky.

This is your ultimate antioxidant, vitamin C power popeye smoothie to the max. You’ll start lifting iron 2x your own body weight, bench pressing more than those gym rats and winning the 50 yard dash sprints (don’t try the 2x your own body weight thing…). Let’s just say this is the perfect pick me up feel good power goodness smoothie and you will love it regardless of how spontaneous your day turns out to be and you just need to sit yourself down and relax and drink a damn good smoothie. The end.

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BLUEBERRY POPEYE SMOOTHIE

Makes one 10 oz smoothie

  • 1/2 frozen banana
  • 3/4 cup frozen blueberries
  • 1 handful spinach leaves (about 1/2 cup packed)
  • 3/4 cup nonfat honey greek yogurt
  • 2/3 cup almond coconut milk (I just fell in love with this brand)
  • 1 tablespoon hemp hearts
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla whey protein powder
  • 1 teaspoon maca powder
  • 1 teaspoon maple syrup
  • bee pollen, for topping  (optional)

Blend on high. Pour. Sip. Enjoy. (Fresh ginger root might also make a great addition to this as well!)

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NO-BAKE CHOCOLATE PEANUT BUTTER OREO TART

April 19, 2014

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Hey guys, if you’re anything like me you like to have your cake and eat it too. Like, when you’re browsing the candy isle and you can’t decide between Reese’s or Oreos, you buy both. This Chocolate Peanut Butter Oreo Tart is definitely one of those “having your Reese’s (and Oreo’s) and eating it too” kind of scenarios. Peanut butter and Oreo’s are a magical combination, if you haven’t heard.

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I fell in love with Sandra Mangas’ “No Bake Chocolate Oreo Tart” last week and put Oreo’s on my grocery list ASAP. Oreo’s are one of those special things I get as a treat every now and then but they become so addictive. Like Cheese-ITS. I ate plenty of snacky junk food back in my day so I know what’s up (anything crunchy and cheesy was my jam). So I go through phases with these sorts of things. After using up nearly an entire package to make these (a few stranglers were left over) I had to go back and buy another just for non-baking purposes. Oreo addiction is real, I tell ya. OK, besides the point, do you see above that I posted my first ever .gif?! Yeah, pretty stoked about it. I don’t know how to make them myself in Photoshop so I used a little cheater online .gif maker but you get the idea. That was fun. Moving on…

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This is super duper easy to make and ridiculously delicious. I made a variation from the original recipe by using peanut butter chips instead of chocolate so it was a no-brainer. You just need to have space in the freezer to accommodate the tart otherwise the cream will get too runny. Enjoy!

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NO-BAKE CHOCOLATE PEANUT BUTTER OREO TART

Serves 12

Adapted from Las Recetas de la Felicidad

Ingredients:

  • 10 oz Oreo cookies, creme filling removed
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 7 oz peanut butter chips
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
  • 4-5 chopped Oreo cookies (for decoration)
  • chocolate chips (for decoration)

Directions:

  1. To make the crust, using a food processor, blend Oreo cookies until the texture of coarse meal or crumbs. Add the melted butter and blend until well combine. Place the mixture into a 4×14 fluted rectangular tart pan (mine has a removable bottom for easy removal of the finished tart) and press onto the bottom and up the sides evenly. Freeze the crust while preparing the peanut butter filling.
  2. In a medium saucepan, bring cream to the boil. Remove from heat, add peanut butter chips and butter, and let rest for 5 minutes. Then stir with rubber spatula until dissolved. Pour peanut butter filling over Oreo crust, and decorate with some chopped Oreo cookies.
  3. Chill for at least 2 hours in the freezer (preferably overnight) and decorate with the chocolate chips. Unmold and go for it!
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WEEKEND GETAWAY ESSENTIALS

April 15, 2014

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what to bring and what to wear… one. a captivating book is essential for downtime. two. affordable & stylish noise-canceling headphones. three. refillable water bottle. four. your favorite shades. five. KIND snack bars. six. violet pastilles for breath fresheners. seven. a spacious tote bag to fit everything (even a cat if you wanted to) in. eight. something to brighten your lips. nine. your camera/DJ boombox/communications medium/iPhone. ten. a versatile every-day summer dress. eleven. hippie necklace. twelve. versatile woven gladiator sandals. thirteen. a “cat nap” travel kit for bright lights/loud noises/wanting to get away from it all. fourteen. moroccan hair oil to keep your hair healthy and smelling luxurious.

Wow, how is it already Spring? The seasons are just flying by faster than I can grasp. It’s the middle of April and we are just now beginning to solidify our weekend trips for the next few months. The biggest trip we have coming up is to Vancouver, BC at the end of May! Since I finally acquired my very first passport (!!!), we can plan a trip to Canada (my boyfriend will get his first very soon, also). I have never been to Canada and have only heard wonderful things about the country. We are staying for 5 days at an Air BNB apartment and I am more than ecstatic to finally book with Air BNB. We wanted something a little more than a hotel, to feel like we were really “living” there during our stay, like locals. Plus, it ended up being more affordable that way! We initially dreamt of taking the train up there so our vacation would start as soon as we hopped on and we could relax, read, listen to music and take it all in, but due to a few snafu’s, we decided we’ll likely end up driving. It’s only about a 5 hour drive from Portland, all things considered, and it would be cheaper (plus no taxi dependence!). Only 2 hours North of Seattle! It’s crazy how close (yet so far) it is. I love how Portland is such a central hub to going pretty much anywhere within a day of driving, if so desired.

In spirit of that, I decided to put together a little “getaway” collage of things I love that I’ll likely be bringing with me on the trips ahead. Besides a trip back home for one of my grandpa’s birthdays (he’s turning 90!), we have camping trips planned for near the Oregon coast and at Silver Falls State Park. I also recently acquired a Northwest Forest Pass to gain access to parking near hiking trails for the next year so I’ll be planning some hiking trips on my days off coming up pretty soon here. Dog Mountain, Angels Rest and Cool Creek are high up on the list. Anyway, what about you? Where are your feet taking you this summer? Have any of you ever been to Vancouver? What are your favorite places I should check out while I’m there? Any helpful hints or tips or recommendations would be greatly appreciated! So far this is my list of places to check out:

Phew! That’s all for now, folks!

DISCLAIMER: All of these products are ones that I own, use and love regularly. I am not “paid” by any of these companies to endorse these products, however some of these items link to my Amazon Affiliate account which I would receive a small portion of each sale from. KIND was kind (ha!) to offer me mailed samples of their product, also. Your support is greatly appreciated and helps fund the time and energy to run this blog. 
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