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

Love Your Leftovers: Clementine Smoothie

clementine smoothie healthy citrus vitamin c
Throughout the cold and dreary days of winter, citrus fruits provide a much needed burst of bright and juicy refreshment. My personal favorite is the clementine, beloved for its easily removable peel and seedless segments. Pretty much every Sunday of the season you can find me in the produce aisle loading a new box of Cuties into my cart. The problem of course is that eventually I become a little overly ambitious and end up with a fridge full of fruit. What to do, what to do?

While smoothies are typically a summer staple, recently I’ve been whipping them up using my excess Clementines and have been loving the early morning energy boost they give me. This smoothie recipe reminds me a little bit of an Orange Julius, only without any additives. A light vanilla flavor is a delicious addition to orange flavors.

clementine smoothie healthy citrus vitamin c

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Clementine Smoothie (serves 1)

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 clementines
  • A few chunks of frozen banana
  • ½ cup yogurt or light coconut milk
  • 1 drop pure vanilla extract
  • 3-4 ice cubes
  • Tiny dash sea salt
  • Optional: drizzle of honey for added sweetness, handful spinach

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DIRECTIONS:

clementine smoothie healthy citrus vitamin c

Peel and segment your clementines. Remove as many of the white strings as possible. I was a little lax with my first batch and they added a weird stringy texture to my smoothie. Still delicious though.

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clementine smoothie healthy citrus vitamin c

Toss your ingredients into a blender and process until smooth.

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clementine smoothie healthy citrus vitamin c

Serve immediately and enjoy! For some extra nostalgia, serve with a soft pretzel and let yourself be whisked away to your glory days cruising the mall.

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If you give this smoothie a try, let me know what you think!
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XOXO,
Jules

Thanksgiving Favorites: Balsamic Roasted Brussels Sprouts

balsamic roasted brussel sprouts (2)Thanksgiving is right around the corner. That three day work week is in my sights, as are the Black Friday sales! I like to start planning my Thanksgiving menu about a week in advance unless we’re squatting at someone else’s house. This year it looks like we’ll be hosting at our place in Seattle. I personally like a Thanksgiving meal that’s a balance between old favorites (buttered rolls, pumpkin pie, etc.) and newer/healthier favorites (roasted butternut squash, kale salad, etc.). This year I’m breaking out a simple recipe for brussels sprouts featuring one of my all-time favorite condiments: balsamic vinegar reduction.
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Balsamic vinegar reduction is simply balsamic vinegar that has been cooked down on the stove to create a sweeter and richer flavor. The liquid becomes thicker, almost like a syrup but no sugar is added. It’s delicious stuff, good on top of almost any recipe, but is especially good when drizzled on top of roasted vegetables.

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balsamic roasted brussels sprouts thanksgiving recipe favorite julia malinowski.

Balsamic Roasted Brussels Sprouts

  • 1 lb brussels sprouts 
  • About 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil or ghee
  • cloves garlic, peeled and lightly smashed
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • tablespoons balsamic vinegar .
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Directions

  1. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Trim off the bottom of your brussels sprouts, and slice in half from top to bottom.
  2. Heat your oil or ghee in a cast-iron pan over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Place your sprouts in the pan cut side down. Only do a single layer so every piece gets nice and brown. Nestle your garlic cloves in the pan and sprinkle everything with salt and pepper.
  3. Let the sprouts cook they begin to brown on bottom – make sure not to stir them until this happens.
  4. While they cook, pour at least 3 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar into a small saucepan. Heat the vinegar over medium-high heat until it reduces by half and develops a syrupy texture. Be sure to stir frequently to prevent it from burning. Remove the reduction from the stove and let it cool for a few minutes.
  5. Once your sprouts have browned, shake the pan to stir and transfer to the oven for about 10-20 minutes. Stir or shake the pan a few times to make sure the sprouts evenly cook. Remove when tender.
  6. Taste and add more salt and pepper if needed. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar reduction and immediately serve.
  7. This recipe serves two, so adjust your ingredients accordingly if you’ll be serving this for a big crew at Thanksgiving.
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balsamic roasted brussels sprouts thanksgiving recipe favorite julia malinowski

Love the color of fresh brussels sprouts. Sprouts can vary by size, so keep this in mind. If yours seem extra large, feel free to cut them in fourths. Conversely, if your sprouts seems extra small, feel free to roast them whole. 

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balsamic roasted brussels sprouts thanksgiving recipe favorite julia malinowski

Getting ready to reduce my balsamic vinegar into syrupy perfection.

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balsamic roasted brussels sprouts thanksgiving recipe favorite julia malinowski

The final and delicious product. Note, this dish is best served right out of the oven. I kept some leftovers in the fridge and they got a little soggy from the balsamic liquid.

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Have you started planning your Thanksgiving menu this year? Another favorite Thanksgiving recipe is this kale salad. You got to have some greens on the table to balance out all those carbs, right? Happy eating!
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XOXO,
Jules

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