Mean Green Smoothis (Kelsey's Kitchen)

Photo Credit Given to Kelsey's Kitchen

Mean Green Smoothie 
Recipe Adapted From: Kelsey's Kitchen (Link HERE)
MAKES 4 CUPS - 2 SERVINGS (171 Calories Per Serving)
  • 2 cups Baby Spinach
  • 1 cup frozen Green Grapes
  • 2 Kiwi's, peeled & diced
  • 1 Green Apple
  • 1 cup Trop 50 Orange Juice (instead of Green Tea)
  • 2 sprigs Fresh Mint Leaves
Place all ingredients in your blender, secure lid and blend until smooth. I used the "Smoothie" button on my Blendtec which blends for roughly 36 seconds. To save myself the time of peeling the Kiwi's each mornings, I peeled and diced 12 Kiwi's and divided them among 6 ziplock bags, along with a cup of grapes. I placed each bag in the freezer to be ready when I need them. It saves a lot of time and cleanup. Personally, I'd rather have the extra 10 minutes of sleep!

Brielle and I had the most fabulous opportunity to meet Kelsey Nixon of Kelsey's Kitchen. She recently released a cookbook called Kitchen Confidence and stopped in her home town of Cache Valley Utah (which happens to be my home town) and sign some books.

Because I know her grandfather through work, I was given a special invitation to meet Kelsey and his home, before her schedule signing. I look giddy... and that's because I was.

She signed MY book to Brielle... so naturally, Brielle thinks it's now hers.

While meeting her, she offered up one of the YUMMIEST green smoothies I've ever had, and it is now our smoothie of the week. Each week, we pick a smoothie and buy the ingredients in bulk. It's cheaper that way and we use the fruit before it goes bad. I've tweaked her recipe a bit and have noted those changes. Hope you love it as much as we do!


The Face of a Fighter

This was the picture shared all over Facebook at the beginning of January. It broke my heart. This beautiful woman that I had known since I was little was going to be sent home from the hospital, under hospice care, to live out the last moments of her life.

Yesterday, I went to see this friend. And this is what I found...


The face of a fighter. A beautiful, smiling woman determined not to die. There is so much faith oozing out of her body it can be felt the moment you enter her home, and it nearly punches you in the face when sitting next to her. I felt a presence there yesterday. The presence of our Heavenly Father, stronger than I've felt in a really long time. So strong, I want to be near it -- and her-- again sooner, rather than later!

I've learned so much from this person watching her cancer journey unfold, and in the few moments I've been able to spend with her. She has taught me so much about having the courage to accept what is and the determination to fight for what you want. She spoke to me yesterday about being grateful for all that you have, because our blessings out-weigh our challenges, no matter how great they might be. And she reminded me of the importance of having faith in the Lord, no matter what.

Being with her and her family yesterday, I saw that she has a lot of life still in her and the determination to live it!

Kale & Pear Green Smoothie

This was last weeks smoothie. I had extra Kale at home after making a Zuppa Toscana copycat soup and I just couldn't pass up the giant bag of beautiful Bartlett pears at Costo last week.

Photo Credit Given to Vitamix

Kale & Pear Green Smoothie
Recipe Adapted from: Vitamix (Link HERE)
MAKES 4 CUPS - 2 SERVINGS (210 Calories per Serving) 

  • 1 cup Trop 50 Orange Juice
  • 1 cups frozen Green Grapes
  • 1 Bartlett Pear
  • 1 Banana
  • 1 cup Kale (stems removed)
  • 1 cup Ice
Place all ingredients in your blender, secure lid and blend until smooth. I used the "Smoothie" button on my Blendtec which blends for roughly 36 seconds.

Blendtec Addict

I'm now on my 4th and final attempt to get healthy. But with our busy lifestyle, getting our fruits and veggies in everyday.... wait - never mind - we just never ate our fruits and veggies. As a result, our family has been riddled with illness this winter, we're (me especially) are tired all the time and energy levels are low. Things needed to change. I've wanted so badly to jump on the green smoothie bandwagon, but couldn't get the results I wanted with the Bosch. 

While I love my Bosch Mixer (it makes the best bread), the Blender attachment always left me disappointed. Milkshakes weren't thick or creamy and smoothies just didn't have that perfectly smooth texture. Chunks of berries, spinach or ice were left to clog up my straw no matter how long I blended. 

So I did it. I bit the $329 bullet (Costco price) and bought myself a Blendtec. And I've had a green smoothie everyday since! This sucker is powerful and loud, and strangely gives me a thrill each time I use it. It's how guys must feel using power tools, right?

A Few Things I've Learned...

There's a few things I've learned about the smoothies that I've made so far and how to prepare for a quick daily morning smoothie (hardly an expert, but hey, it would have been good to know).
  1. Fruit is expensive! Especially now, in the winter. Buying fruit in bulk at Costco or Sam's Club will help me save a few bucks and...
  2. Because the fruit can spoil quickly, I'm making the same smoothie each day this week. Next week, I'll buy different fruit and try something new, but for this week, I'll use the bulk items I've purchased before they spoil.
  3. Berries turn green smoothies brown. I can take the color but I'll need to get a cup you can't see into for Brielle. She can't take it.
  4. Trop 50 Orange Juice (only half the sugar & calories) really helps sweeten a green smoothie. I've been using 1 cup of Trop 50 OJ instead of water for a smoothie that yields 2 servings (an extra 25 calories never hurt no one).
  5. Frozen grapes make a huge difference. HUGE!
  6. Make ahead smoothie packets are the way to go. I spent some time Sunday morning pealing 12 Kiwi's and plucking 2 bags of grapes off the stems. I placed 2 peeled and diced Kiwi's and 1 cup grapes to 6 ziplock bags for the freezer for this weeks smoothie (recipe to be posted in a future post).
Idea found on Pinterest

I'll be posting our weekly smoothie recipes here on the blog. If you have a tried and tested recipe, I'd love to try it so please share in the comments! I'm officially addicted.


Late Season Blizzard?

If I hadn't been taking Brielle and a friend skiing on Saturday...


I would have turned around and taken my warm (and dry) butt home. But I didn't.


And I'm glad, because I had fun with these two cute girls.


Valentine's Day

I typically don't get into the whole "Valentine Day" holiday, except to prepare treats for Brielle's classmates. It's just not my favorite holiday and I feel that there are so many expectations surrounding this one day. However, since my Husband (ever so gently) pointed out that I haven't been making holidays around our house very "special," I've decided to put forth some effort.

Thanks to Pinterest, I've found a few ideas that I created for my own family! Here's a link list of my Valentine's Day Pinterest inspirations:

I'm really beginning to wonder why I gave up on making holidays "special"? I really do enjoy the preparation and I love the joy and appreciation I see on Chris & Brielle's face when I succeed. Not to mention, I really have no excuse, what with so many simple and easy things out there to do. Really, the only hard part will be waking up early enough to make that special breakfast for Brielle before she has to get on the bus at 6:55 a.m.!


DECOR THEME... Red & Gray Hearts

I covered the table using yarn in a plaid type pattern. It was cheaper than a table cloth, and looked pretty cute against my black table, but it was time consuming and a challenge! I'd definitely do it again though. I loved the way it turned out!

Believe it or not, the gray place-mats are just sheets of gray felt that I picked up at Hobby Lobby for $0.79 each. Using PowerPoint, I created red & gray hearts, all with different, classic Valentine sayings on them, which I used for the garland and to place inside the red paper plates.

I also tagged the straws with "Be Mine" tags.

And of course, placed random items in the middle of the table, along with a special Valentine's Day gift & outfit for Brielle.

Brielle knows me all too well. I guess when you've received an outfit from your parents the last several Valentine's Days, you come to expect it. Several times yesterday, Brielle casually asked if she should "pick out an outfit for tomorrow." Maybe she was trying to get hints about what I had in store, or maybe she was hoping she'd get it early. Next year, I'm going to have to come up with something different.

She enjoyed French Toast with Buttermilk Syrup, whipped cream and strawberries before racing out the door to school. She told me she loved it! And that's all that mattered to me. Mission Make Holiday's More Special continues to be successful.

Pup Birthday Post & Health Update

Izzy turns 4 today - Valentine's Day! And she couldn't have been born on a day more fitting of her personality. She is a lover. She loves everyone and everything. Here's a look back at this sweetest little pup...

For the past 2 1/2 years, Izzy has been suffering. We've been to numerous vets, all claiming it something different. Change her food, do this, do that, but she continued to get worse. I guess because she's a pure bred Labrador (and because of her light coloring) she's prone to allergies and skin problems. She had yeast infections so badly in her ears, her ear drums ruptured, causing so much pain and discomfort. We'd find her wedged behind our barbeque grill literally trying to rub her ears right off. She was depressed, sad and miserable.

I'm happy to report that after finding an old-school farmer vet, two sedations, two rounds of antibiotics, a prescription ointment, Costco brand dog food (minus carbs of any kind) and a supplement called "Dinovite," Izzy is returning to happy, loving self! Her ears are healing, the yeast infection is going away, and her skin and fur is as soft as a puppy's! Not at all coarse like a normal dog her age.

After yesterday's appointment, she wasn't quite ready to come back out of sedation. I just love the way her jowl is squished against her paw...

Because she was sedated, I couldn't get her out of my car! 95 lbs of dead weight was just too much for me. And then Chris (aka... her favorite) came home and this is what happened...

She perked right up! Naturally! She started doing figure 8's around his legs, leaning on him for support, of course, since she was still a little druggy.

Our family is certainly more happy because this sweet pup is in our lives! I can't remember a time without her. Happy Birthday Izzle-fo-Shizzle! Izz-the-Frizz! Izz-Frizz and whatever random nicknames we've given you!


Valentine Cards

Another sign that my baby is growing up (sniff, sniff -- see previous post). She still wants to give out Valentine's to her friends, but now that includes boys. As a result, all Valentine's need to be generic and not gender specific. I guess I should look at the bright side of this scenario and be glad she hasn't asked me to help with a specific Valentine for a specific boy, right?

Valentine Card idea courtesy of Creative Capital B (Link to Site)


In Denial

I've been in denial lately that my daughter is growing up. I see her friends dressing more grown up and I don't want her too. She wants to buy dangley earrings and I still want her to wear the ones shaped like little cupcakes and hearts! She wants to go "hang" at the mall with her friends (without adults) and I want to take them all out for ice cream (with me). She even wants to carry a purse to put her phone and money in. Which makes sense, but still.

The most obviously sign that she's growing up? Besides the mood swings and the overly emotional behavior (adolescence will quite possibly make me shoot myself, BTW)? It's the way she's talking to me! Meaning that she is using grown up words and talking like grown up people do. Not like little kids do.

We were on our way to Starbucks the other day for a steamer when she casually said to me "Mom, you know what is ironic?" Ironic??? Does she even know what ironic means? Of course, she must, since she's using the term correctly! But seriously? I don't even remember what actually was "ironic" because of the shocking realization that my suspicions were correct.

Excuse me while I go cry in a corner cause my baby is growing up.


"Samoa" Cupcakes

Because this past weekend was the Superbowl and because we like lots of food and treats to the watch the game (or the commercials), we had to come up with a good cupcakes. We, meaning me and Brielle.

Brielle has now started "FACS," or as it used to be called... Home Economics. I now have the responsibility of ensuring she complete 10 hours of at-home food preparation (in other words -- parent homework). Each week she has to plan, prep, and oversee a meal and they only allow 15 minutes for cook time. Which means we have to come up with something that will require 45 minutes of prep time. ***Groan***

"Samoa" Cupcakes

These babies were a little sticky to eat, but the flavor did not disappoint. And because we loaded them up with a toasted coconut & caramel topping, each one felt like it weighed 5 lbs. It didn't, but it was heavy.

The inspiration came from Confessions of a Cook Book Queen's Samoa Cake (click link to view). I used her exact filling recipe, but used my favorite white vanilla cupcake recipe and favorite chocolate frosting recipe. You can find links to those recipes below....

Note to Baker... follow the recipe to a T. If you alter the steps, accidentally add too much sugar, take out of the oven too soon, they will not turn out right.

Doubling this recipe will frost 20-24 cupcakes. And since the Vanilla cupcake recipe makes exactly 24 cupcakes, I suggest you double the frosting recipe so that you'll have enough frosting.

Brielle and I still have 9 hours of kitchen time to go. Yeah. My "yeah" oozes with sarcasm, since I prefer alone time in the kitchen. It's like, my happy place... my domain... my sanctuary. Who knows though. Maybe it will be fun.