Chocolate + Coconut + Smoothie

IMG_3932Thursdays are like the middle child of weekdays. The anticipation of Friday and hump day Wednesday steal the spotlight causing it to get lost in the mix.  This morning I woke up wanting to acknowledge the excitement of Thursdays. It is one day away from Friday, which means one day closer to the weekend. So what better way to honor a Thursday than to start the day off with a chocolate coconut shake. Special right? It’s not everyday I kickoff the morning with a smoothie that tastes like dessert. It is highly likely it will become my new Thursday morning trend. Although the smoothie tastes like a sweet treat, it is packed full of essential nutrients to start your day off right. Avocado, hemp seeds, banana, almond milk, raw honey…major benefits!

I should add that I love middle children. I don’t think they get lost in the mix, it’s just an old theory. My middle sister is my BFF. If you are a middle child you should feel pretty excited about being compared to a Thursday. Thursdays are awesome, you are awesome and this smoothie is awesome!

Feel free to skip the honey and just use dates to sweeten the chocolate shake. I prefer to use the honey for a nutrient boost, especially the allergy fighting properties it offers. Allergies are killer this time of year in Texas. Another option is to use only honey as a sweetener and skip the dates. Up to you.

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Banana Pancakes

IMG_3820Jack Johnson gets full credit for these Banana Pancakes. Not because he was here in my kitchen cooking with me (how awesome would that be), but because hearing one verse of his song on Pandora inspired this recipe. I’m sure I’m not the first person this has happened too. Now that I think of it, Jack Johnson should get some sort of royalty on Banana Pancakes.

I love bananas, but want my pancakes to taste like pancakes not like a full fledged banana. For that reason, I love this little gem of a pancake recipe. It has a very subtle banana flavor. Just enough to get the point across that they are made with bananas.

I used 2% milk in the recipe. Use any milk you have on hand or your favorite nondairy milk. Just be sure the nondairy milk is unsweetened.

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Peanut Butter + Jelly Smoothie

IMG_3768There are two reasons this peanut butter and jelly smoothie is a current favorite of mine.

#1- It transports me straight back to my elementary school days. Remember the good old days when all that mattered was how well you played in the tether ball game at recess? Yea, those days were the best. So were the PB&J sandwiches my mom would pack in my lunch every so often. She mastered the perfect ratio of peanut butter and jelly, which is essential for a good sandwich. Too much jelly results in it squirting out the sides of the bread causing a big sticky mess. No good. So, thanks mom for keeping my lunches mess free.
#2- It looks like cupid’s heart exploded in my cup. Valentine’s Day doesn’t top my list of favorite holidays, but I am a sucker for the pink hearts and lovey dovey decor. It screams happiness and makes you instantly feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Who doesn’t love that? A bright pink smoothie goes perfectly with the love that is in the air this week.

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Piña Colada Green Smoothie

IMG_3683The entire country seems to be jumping on the cold weather band wagon.  I think it is safe to say we could all use a break from the bone chilling weather. Lucky for you I have a way you can bring a tropical vacation into your kitchen, no airplane ticket or packing required. My Piña Colada Green Smoothie will take you from the numbing cold to white sandy beaches in seconds. It tastes like a vacation.

There are a few reasons this green smoothie has become a favorite of mine. Number 1- It tastes like a vacation. Number 2- it is the smoothie that turned my husband into a green smoothie lover. He is always a bit reluctant to drink my smoothies, but this smoothie was different. He smelled it, took a sip, took another sip and then finished it off in one big gulp. It was a proud moment of mine when he told me he could drink it everyday. I could too.

Swap kale for spinach or any other greens you have on hand. You’ll still achieve the full tropical vacation effect. If you don’t have any hemp seeds, feel free to use flax seed, chia seed or a mix of all three. They all blend well into this recipe

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Mint + Dark Chocolate Smoothie

IMG_3304Our house is officially ready for Christmas. This past weekend I bought Target, Hobby Lobby and Michaels out of all their Christmas décor and pasted it all over our house. Nothing makes me happier than walking through the door to a festive house. Actually, there is one thing that makes me happier than walking through the door to a festive house…that would be sitting on the couch, watching Home Alone while sipping on a holiday inspired smoothie. That is exactly how I spent my night last night. It was awesome. I put a festive holiday spin on my usual green smoothie by adding fresh mint leaves and dark chocolate. It tasted more like a milkshake than a smoothie. Very indulgent without being super heavy. A green mint smoothie is the perfect addition to a cozy night in or a great way to start a day of holiday shopping.

I used hempseeds in my smoothie. Flax seed or chia seed would also work well.

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Gluten Free + Baked + Pumpkin + Doughnuts

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I have never been a super fan of doughnuts. I like them, but I don’t love them. Well, that all changed on Saturday morning. I was itching to bake something (I blame it on the season change) and knew I wanted to use pumpkin. I had already made pumpkin bread the week before and didn’t feel like making a pie. I was racking my brain on what to bake when I spotted my trusty doughnut pan. Ah-ha…baked pumpkin doughnuts. They ended up being the perfect weekend breakfast along with a cup of chai tea AND they transformed me into a doughnut lover.

Don’t have a doughnut pan? This recipe would work well as a muffins.

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Criss-Cross Applesauce

pumpkinsWelcome back, Fall. The switch from summer to fall seemed to happen in the blink of an eye. Grocery stores swiftly change their entrance displays from flowers to pumpkins, the beloved pumpkin spiced latte makes a comeback, and Halloween super stores pop up out of nowhere. There is zero time to mourn the loss of summer. Although it is still 90 degrees here in Austin, I decided to jump on the fall bandwagon by making cinnamon applesauce. Nothing gets me in the mood for fall faster than the smell of cinnamon and nutmeg wafting through the house. I was ready to throw on my leggings, zip up my boots and wrap a scarf around my neck. Then I remembered I live in Austin and the weather won’t chill out until late October (at the earliest). I was tempted to blast the air conditioning in our apartment just so I could pretend it was a perfect brisk fall day, but decided that would be an irresponsible waste of energy. So instead I sat out on my patio in shorts and a tank top and enjoyed my applesauce full of fall flavors.

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Get Your Peachy Greens On

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Not ready for summer to be over? You aren’t alone. The perfectly ripe and juicy farmers market peach stands with you. Lucky for them (and you), they still have a few weeks before they will officially be out of season. Although they will  soon say a sad farewell, please don’t fret.  We know peaches will be back in style next summer, unlike bright neon and high wasted shorts.

I used the last peach in the fruit bowl for my Sunday morning smoothie, along with some spinach, apple, kale and mint. The combo of mint and peach took my smoothie to the next level.  The fragrance alone gave me an extra spring in my step. That is quite the fete on a lazy Sunday morning.  It is definitely going down in the books as one of my favs.

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Cherry + Almond + Kale Smoothie

We have all heard the saying “breakfast is the most important meal of the day”.  This is as true as saying Justin Timberlake is the most beautiful man on earth (except my husband).  Breakfast  kick starts our metabolism and gives us the brain fuel we need to take on the day. Although I know this to be true, the simple task of making time to sit down for breakfast seems close to impossible.  It is a scramble to get out of bed,  showered, dressed and out the door on time. Which is why smoothies are my saving grace.   They are the perfect  on-the-go breakfast.  Quick, nutritious and delicious. To cut down on prep time in the morning, chop all ingredients the night before and put them in a mason jar. Come morning all you have to do is toss the mason jar contents into your blender, blend and go!

A few more reasons a Cherry Almond Kale smoothie is the right way to start your day…

-It will give you more energy than hitting snooze.

-Eating a nutritious breakfast ensures you won’t get hangry (hungry + angry) before lunch.

-Sitting in traffic is much easier when sipping on a delicious smoothie.

-You will be more focused and productive at work, which will lead to a promotion which means more money to spend at the Nordstrom’s Anniversary Sale

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break the fast