Green Smoothie Bowl

green smoothie bowlHere in North Carolina, spring is well underway with plenty of sunshine and temperatures in the 70s and 80s. Seattleites, don’t be jealous.

While I go crazy for cozy breakfast favorites like steel cut oats during winter, come spring my taste buds change their tune. I start craving fresh fruit and cold smoothies. As I’ve grown older, I’ve moved away from the sweeter flavors combinations, like peanut butter and banana, towards fresher and greener options. Greens pack an unbelievable punch of energy in the morning, much like a caffeine hit but without the ensuing crash. Lately I’ve been enjoying my smoothies a little thicker and from a bowl. Here’s my latest morning concoction, perfect to kick your morning off to a refreshing start.
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Green Smoothing Bowl (serves 1)

Smoothie Ingredients
  • 1/4 ripe avocado
  • 3/4 ripe banana, previously sliced and frozen
  • 1/2 cup frozen pineapple
  • 2 large handfuls spinach
  • 1/4 cup vanilla Greek yogurt, preferably grass-fed
  • 1/2 – 3/4 cup unsweetened non-dairy milk
Topping Ideas
  • Granola
  • Raw nuts and seeds (almonds, pecans, sunflower seeds, etc.)
  • Shredded unsweetened coconut
  • Sliced fresh berries
  • Shredded coconut
  • Cocoa nibs
  • Sliced banana
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Directions
  1. Add smoothie ingredients to your blender and blend until smooth. Start by adding a 1/2 cup milk and then slowly add more if needed. Be careful not to thin it too much. The texture should be pretty thick as you’re eating it through a spoon, not a straw.
  2. Taste and adjust flavor as needed, adding more banana or other fruit for sweetness, or more spinach (or other greens) for that extra punch of veggie power. You can also add some ice to make it a little thicker and colder. I don’t like my smoothies too intensely cold – brain freeze!
  3. For more protein, you can also add your protein powder of choice, almond butter, or if you’re adventurous an egg white.
  4. Pour into a serving bowl and top with toppings of your choosing!
  5. Smoothies are always best devoured immediately, although you can certainly keep leftovers in the fridge for a day.
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green smoothie bowl 2

Just look at that color. Does that scream spring or what?

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green smoothie bowl healthy easy breakfast low fat vegetarian

An early morning smoothie bowl selfie. I’m not wearing any makeup here, which reminds me of Karen’s post on the #YouLookDisgusting campaign.

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How do you like to eat your smoothies, in a glass or in a bowl? Any favorite spring and summer breakfast recipes? While I generally don’t eat dairy, I do eat some full fat and grass-fed Greek yogurt every week to make sure my probiotics are on point. For me, a favorite breakfast treat is a big bowl of vanilla yogurt with granola and berries. It’s about as close to real ice cream as I get these days.
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XOXO,
Jules

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Mini Yoga Moments

yoga poses for waking up relaxation and abs south by northwest seattle blogger

It’s taken me a long time to come around to yoga. As someone who typically likes high energy workouts that leave you transformed into a sweaty ball of pain, it always seemed too slow, too boring. The Shavasana pose? Basically an excuse to publicly nap and call it exercise.
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When I moved to Seattle, my friend Rachel introduced me to her hot yoga studio and I discovered that yoga was not only relaxing, it was also re-energizing. I loved the feeling of the heat soaking into my skin and the burn from holding a position too long.
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Recently between work, making dinner, walking the dogs, and the rest of life’s minutia, I’ve been pretty bad about regularly attending class. However, I have found myself leaning on a few key poses throughout the day to help me better align my body with my mind.
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First Thing in the Morning
Waking up is hard for me! It’s usually about 30 minutes before you can even attempt to have a conversation with me. I’ve started doing a few minutes of the Cat/Cow poses first thing in the morning and it’s really helped me get my head in the game (of life). Here’s a short explanation of how to do the poses. I always exhale as I move from the cow position (concave back) to the cat position (arched back).
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cat cow

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Stress Relief

I carry a lot of my stress in my body, which is pretty common. My body actually gets stiff with tension. I used to just let the tension build and build, but yoga has helped me learn how to release it through breath and stretching. One of my favorite poses for a mini-moment of stress relief is Viparita Karani, or the Legs Up the Wall Pose. It’s a bit hard to use at work, but I often do it right when I get home for about five minutes. It feels great on the neck, back, and the back of your legs. Here’s a link to a quick explanation of the pose.
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Viparita Karani legs up against the wall yoga pose

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Before Going to Bed

At night, it can be hard to unwind. The blue light from staring at my phone messes with my body’s rhythms or I can’t stop thinking about a project that’s in the works. Child’s Pose helps relax my back and quiets my mind. The pose, illustrated below, is incredibly simple with a couple variations explained here. I’ve also started using the 4-7-8 mindfulness breathing technique, but I’ll save that for another time.
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child's pose yoga

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Tightening Up Those Abs
The season of swimsuits and crop tops is quickly approaching, which has most of us thinking about our abs. While I love soft and curvy look of a feminine body, I also think there’s nothing wrong with wanting to tighten things up a bit. Whatever makes you feel confident, go with it! My go to pose for working my abs is the Forearm Plank. It’s great because it works the full range of your abs in addition to several other muscle groups. Again, you can get the gist of the position from the illustration below, but just in case I’ve linked to a short video.
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forearm plank yoga pose

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Do you have any go-to stretches, moves, or mantras you lean on to keep you going? It’s always helpful to hear what others do to de-stress. My friend Erica just joined a meditation studio which she is loving. If you don’t have any strategies yet, I hope you enjoy incorporating some mini yoga moments into your day as much as I have.
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XOXO,
Jules
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Image sources: 1/2/3/4

Friday Favorites

Hey y’all! Happy end of the work week! By the time you read this, I’ll probably be on the road heading to Nashville for a girls weekend. My dear friend Veronica is getting married this summer, so we’re doing her bachelorette up right in good ole’ Nash-Vegas. Country music and cowboy boots, here I come! Here’s to a fun and friend-filled weekend and enjoy this week’s roundup of favorites.
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FF3.8.2016 (1).
1. International Women’s Day was this week and Microsoft came out with a well done video highlighting the exclusion of women inventors from school curricula, as well as encouraging young women to consider their future contributions to the modern world.
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2. Who doesn’t need a pep talk every now and then. This week Design Sponge interviewed Andy Miller, host of the Creative Pep Talk podcast. It’s a little bit long, but he shares great advice on using seemingly unrelated parts of your story to help you stand out in your main line of work.
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3. Peanut butter and jelly is my jam. Puns aside, I love almost any excuse to combine these flavors together. The Minimalist Baker’s recent Peanut Butter and Jelly Chia Pudding recipe has me drooling with anticipation.
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4. One of our stops this weekend is Pinewood Social. More than a bar, the former trolley barn encompasses a coffee shop, bar, restaurant, swimming pool, and bowling alley. Think I can incorporate my swimsuit into my “out of the town” outfit?
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5. The publishing industry is really stepping up their game when it comes to children’s books. Cookbooks for kids is a newer trend that I’m loving, particularly in this day and age of processed and packaged school lunch. Joanna Goddard, of Cup of Jo, highlighted The Forest Feast this week and the illustrations are so beautiful I want to get a copy for myself!
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XOXO,
Jules

An All American Road Trip (Part 2)

all american road trip destinations travel
Today I’m sharing the second part of my cross-country road trip. If you haven’t read the first part, you can get caught up here.
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Joe and Aggies Arizona Route 66 All american road
After the Grand Canyon, we ending up stopping in Holbrook, Arizona for the night which is located right along Historic Route 66. We grabbed dinner at a cute little Mexican-American diner where we tried our first Navajo Tacos. Navajo Tacos are basically just Indian fry bread topped with taco ingredients. Fry bread can be sweet or savory; most of us know it from state fairs where it’s doused in cinnamon and sugar and sold as elephant ears.
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Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument Santa Fe all american road trip destinations travel
The next day, we visited Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument in New Mexico. It was another bucket list destination and was probably my favorite stop of the trip. Exploring the park involved a several mile hike that took us through a slot canyon. For about a half mile we walked through a narrow crevice with rock towering over us on either side.
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Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument Santa Fe New Mexico all american road trip destinations travel
Once we made it through the canyon, the winding route took us through a series of large conical rock formations for which the park is named. The “tents” were formed by volcanic activity and some of them were pretty massive.
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Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument Santa Fe New Mexico all american road trip desitnations travel
The payoff at the end of the hike was this incredible view. It was in the upper 60’s so it felt great basking in the sun while surveying the vastness of the lands surrounding us. New Mexico is a pretty pretty place. On a side note, please ignore my brother’s shirt. He has a fondness for t-shirts with weird sayings on them.
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Cafe Pasquales Santa Fe New Mexico all american road trip destinations travel food restaurants
That night we pushed on to Santa Fe, where we ended up spending an extra day. The town was beautiful. So much terracotta and stone. My favorite restaurant in Santa Fe was Cafe Pasqual’s, a recipient of the James Beard Foundation award for America’s Regional Classics Award. Let me tell you, that award is well deserved.
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pasquales santa fe new mexico all american road trip destinations travel
My brother ordered the mole enchiladas and they were not only beautiful to look at, they were absolutely delicious. I ordered the daily special, which was a combination plate of several salads and fancy toast.
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Museum of International Folk Art Santa Fe New Mexico all american road trip destinations travel
The Museum of International Folk Art was recommended by several friends as a must stop. I’m a huge fan of folk art, so off to the museum we went. I wasn’t sure what to expect, so I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the artifacts as well as the curation. The exhibit space itself were part of the experience, with cases of different colors and styles.  .
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Santa Fe New Mexico all american road trip destinations travel
The museum is located on Museum Hill, a hub of several cultural institutions.  This striking statue is located right in front of the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture. We didn’t get a chance to go inside, so I’ll have to hit it up on a return trip.
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Cadillac Ranch Amarillo Texas All american road trip destinations route 66 travel
After Santa Fe, we headed to Oklahoma City by way of Texas. As we cruised through Amarillo, Texas, we stopped to check out Cadillac Ranch, one of the quirkiest roadside attractions on Route 66. In 1974, ten Cadillacs were buried nose down in a field as a work of public art. Visitors are encouraged to spray paint the cars to contribute to the installation. As you approach the cars you can smell the paint in the air, and once you get close you can see the layers upon layers of paint just caked on.
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cadillac ranch amarillo texas all american road trip destinations travel
I couldn’t resist throwing in a second picture of this place. The sky was so beautiful that day, it almost looks faked. I brought my gold spray paint with me, but it turns out gold is not a great color for grafitti – not enough pop against day glo orange and neon green.
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After Texas, we swung through Oklahoma City, Memphis, and the Smokey Mountains on our way to our final destination: Durham, North Carolina. Unfortunately, I was under the weather for the final day or two of the trip, so I didn’t capture much. I do want to shout out Oklahoma City’s social media person though, who was super responsive with restaurant recommendations via their Twitter.
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I hope my trip has given you some ideas for an American road trip of your own. It was incredible experiencing the sweeping mountains and scrublands of the Southwest. You really don’t grasp the vastness of our country until you drive it, so I definitely encourage you to give it a try.
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XOXO,
Jules
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Linking up with Carylee from More Pieces of Me today.

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