Simple Green Smoothie

Like most gals these days, I’m a big fan of green smoothies. It’s kind of a no brainer, sometimes you need greens, sometimes you don’t want to eat all that salad. Smoothies are quicker…easier…you can add fruit! In fact, you can add a lot of things, too many things if you ask me. I think in our high stress, go go go world we get a little over-obsessed with turning our smoothies into these grandiose concoctions brimming with every antioxidant ever. I just think it gets too complicated.P1010791This smoothie is my default smoothie when I’m looking to get in some greens but don’t have a lot of time. It’s wholly uncomplicated. It’s hearty, but can be thrown together in a few minutes and doesn’t require any protein powder or other things you might not have on hand. Don’t have chia seeds? No worries, it’s perfectly good without them and I sometimes forget them myself.

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Simple Green Smoothie

1 frozen banana, chopped

2 big handfuls of greens (I used baby kale here, but often use spinach too)

1/4C Greek Yogurt

1/4C old fashioned rolled oats

1t chia seeds (optional)

1-2t honey

1/4-1/2C water (or liquid of your choice to thin it out)

Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until fully incorporated. Pour into cup. Enjoy and feel good about yourself.

7 Shots: Weeks 11 and 12

Now that we’re mostly recovered (do little ones ever really recover from colds? They’re pretty much snotty and sniffly all the time, it just ebbs and flows), it feels good to get back on track with the photos. We’re almost through the first quarter of the year! What a whirlwind so far. I’m glad that the sun is finally starting to come around and I can get away from all these “here we are hanging out on the couch” photos.

12Mar: Made it to the 3rd book. Worlds colliding

12Mar: Made it to the 3rd book. Worlds colliding

13Mar: Happiness

13Mar: Happiness

14Mar: Bacon cheddar waffle dinner

14Mar: Bacon cheddar waffle dinner

15Mar: The sickness begins

15Mar: The sickness begins

16Mar: And hangs out all weekend

16Mar: And hangs out all weekend

17Mar: Now we both have it

17Mar: Now we both have it

18Mar: Lounge bear

18Mar: Lounge bear

19Mar: Mt. Cinnamon

19Mar: Mt. Cinnamon

20Mar: Camo socks and camo pants

20Mar: Camo socks and camo pants

21Mar: Waiting is the hardest part

21Mar: Waiting is the hardest part

22Mar: Budding artist

22Mar: Budding artist

23Mar: Sunshine

23Mar: Sunshine

24Mar: I had such a craving

24Mar: I had such a craving

25Mar: Gonna miss this place

25Mar: Gonna miss this place

Lately…

P1010802Hmmm, it seems that I took a bit of an inadvertent hiatus here. That’s what happens when you wake up in the middle of the night with a feverish little Bear and no one to soothe him but yourself for the next 4 days. Of course, by the fourth day I had my own fever and aches and swollen throat. It’s this sort of thing that makes military life difficult. The day to day aspect of playing single parent aren’t so bad (and to those of you who are full-time single parents…man, you guys are great. I don’t know how you do it.), you fall into a routine easy enough and the life goes on, though always slower than you would like. Then, a little disaster like fever weekend strikes and it sends the whole thing off balance.

It’s not secret that deployments are tough, tough for the person having to go on them and tough for the people who endure them back home. In a little less than two years of marriage DB and I have gone through 3 big ones and 2 small ones. It adds up to well over a year apart, and it sucks. It sucks to have to say goodbye, and it sucks to sleep by yourself, and to keep the house up, and to never have a break. It also sucks when the Bear learns something new or does something hilarious and I have to pray that he’ll be willing to do it again on camera or Skype. It’s total crap that we can’t share in those moments. It gets harder every deployment.

I got this tattoo a few months after I got out of bootcamp as a reminder to keep going no matter how tough things got. I got it before DB and I got together, and I’m glad I have it now. It’s a simple reminder, but I need it. Our life is always changing, just when we feel settled everything goes back into flux, but we hold fast to each other and the Bear, the things that matter, and we make it through fine.

7 Shots: Week 10

This past week has been very iPhone/Mama and Bear centric. Maybe it’s because we’re both feeling the toll of this deployment or the Bear knows he’s bound for daycare soon, or probably it’s just teeth. It’s always teeth. Whatever the reason, he’s wanted lots of hangout on the couch time, and with several days of cloudy/rainy/not quite spring happening outside I’ve been more than happy to oblige.

05Mar: I stick my tongue out in your general direction

05Mar: I stick my tongue out in your general direction

06Marl My desk is a mess

06Marl My desk is a mess

07Mar: Linus

07Mar: Linus

08Mar: Cheerios in my coffee

08Mar: Cheerios in my coffee

09Mar: Happy Saturday

09Mar: Happy Saturday

10Mar: Bowl head

10Mar: Bowl head

11Mar: Work and Play

11Mar: Work and Play

Comfort

P1010778Is there anything that really compares to the comfort a wooly, oversized sweater? Right now, I don’t think so. I started this one back in November and then promptly set it aside for holiday knitting. It’s Tinder from Brooklyn Tweed’s Fall ’11 collection (Raveled here) The yarn is Cascade 220 that I had lying around. It had once been destined to become a crocheted jacket, but then I realized I’m just not a fan of crocheted garments.

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I’m really pleased with the way this turned out. In some ways, it was a nail biter. My initial gauge swatch yielded correct stitch gauge but was way off on row gauge. The second swatch was spot on for row and about 2 off on stitch gauge. After a lot of frantic researching and some brain bending math, I decided to best course of action would be to go off the second swatch, cast on for the size 39″ and with any luck it would even out to a size 36″. Guess what? It worked. It doesn’t always happen that way. Gauge swatching is so important. Even when they don’t come out right, you can work off of them and adjust accordingly. I didn’t spend several weeks knitting this bad boy up only to have it end up unwearable. Wool is expensive, so is my (and your) time. In hindsight, I should have done a separate swatch for the sleeves, they came a bit bigger and needed a bit of fudging during the blocking process.P1010775

Overall, the knitting part of this was quick. The pattern is easy enough that you can do it while watching TV or looking after a rambunctious Bear. I’m sure there are plenty of gals out there who adapted this to be knit in the round, but I like when one craft informs another. In other words, seaming gives me more hand sewing experience and is there for valuable and worthwhile. I steam blocked the pieces individually and then seamed and then wet blocked. I’ve become a firm believer in doing your finishing work as soon as you cast off the last piece. This way I have far fewer UFOs and a nice new sweater to snuggle into during our endless days of rain and mid-40s weather. Oh, Pacific Northwest, don’y you change one bit!P1010776

The length turned out a bit longer than I might have liked, though no longer than is indicated on the model in the pattern. If you make this, you may want to measure from your shoulder and determine which length would best suit you. I did a color-blocked color and hem because I was afraid I didn’t have quite enough of the brown, and also because I liked the idea of breaking it up. After checking out the other finished Tinders on Ravelry, I liked the look of classic leather knot buttons and went with those. P1010754

Oh and PS. I got a little love on Shutterbean today. Isn’t the Internet great sometimes? I like that we can share and exchange and create new things from a community that is supportive and encouraging.

 

Banana Bread with Coconut and Pecans

P1010751Banana bread. Man, some people really go wild over the stuff, and for good reason. It’s a great way to use up some old bananas, you can adapt it to your tastes and since it has fruit and it’s called “bread” and not “cake”, you can tell yourself it’s healthy while you cut off an extra large piece do down with your coffee. One thing that has always bothered me though, those ripe bananas? We pretty much never have them. Bananas go fast around here. I have on more than one occassion found myself wanting to make a banana bread, only to find we are once again out. What to do? Roast the bananas of course! It’s an extra step that really takes the banana flavor to the next level. Plus, you can make it as soon as you bring your bananas home and cling to the desperate hope that they’ll be brown enough before they’re gobbled up.P1010745

I’ve been on a huge coconut kick lately. I used to hate the stuff, but I think that has to do with the unfortunate trend of adorning carrot cake with grated coconut for no good reason. I say no good reason because I never found it to enhance the cake, and as a kid, I always found the stuff scratchy on my throat which just ruined the whole experience. Fast forward a good 20+ years and I’ve come around to the stuff. I like in in things, where it can lend a hint of nuttiness and exotic aroma without overpowering the whole piece. Plus, it’s supposed to be one of those new hot foods that is super good for you. I’m no expert, but regardless of the potential health benefits, I can tell you that the addition to this banana bread gave it a subtle dimension of flavor that I’m really enjoying with my afternoon tea. P1010743

I saw this recipe over on the Shutterbean recently. Tracy uses olive oil as I have done here, but I think you could probably try it with coconut oil instead. Also, making this has highlighted the fact that my loaf pan (10″) is waaay to big and I should invest in an 8″-9″ one instead.P1010746

Banana Bread with Coconut and Pecans (adapted from Shutterbean)

3 medium bananas

3/4C all-purpose flour

1/2C whole wheat flour

1/4C flax seed meal

1/4C shredded coconut

1t baking powder

1t fine grain sea salt

1/2t ground cinnamon

1/2C olive oil

1/2C light brown sugar (lightly packed)

1/4C maple syrup

1 1/2t vanilla extract

2 large eggs

1/2C Greek yogurt

1/2C toasted pecans, chopped (optional)

To roast the bananas:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

1) Place bananas on rimmed baking sheet, and roast 20-25 minutes, until black

2) Set aside on cooling rack and allow to cool slightly

To make the bread:

Keep oven preheated at 350 degrees.

Butter an 8″ x 4″ loaf pan and place a piece of parchment inside, slightly hanging over the side so you can easily remove the bread.

1) In a medium bowl whisk together flours, flaxseed meal, coconut, salt, baking powder, and spices.

2) In a large bowl whisk together the olive oil and brown sugar until smooth. Add the maple syrup and vanilla, whisk to combine. Add the eggs one at a time, whisking to combine after each addition.

3) By now your bananas should be cool enough to handle (too hot and they’ll cook the eggs when combined). Remove the bananas from their skins and mash in a small bowl. Mix the bananas and yogurt with the rest of the dry ingredients.

4) Add the dry ingredients to the wet and stir with a wooden spoon or spatula until combined. Fold in the nuts if using. Batter will be slightly lumpy.

5) Spread batter evenly into prepared loaf pan and bake approximately 45-60 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. Allow to cool in pan and then remove using the parchment handles.