Coconut Water Smoothies

If you recall a while back I mentioned trying a recommendation from a friend regarding coconut water to aid in charlie horses in one of my legs after a workout. Since posting about this I have gotten a few requests on what type of smoothies I have been preparing since I was not a big fan of the coconut water straight from the bottle. So I thought I would share with you what I have come up with so far and maybe you can get relief with these painful muscles spasms also.

First, let me just say, I did start online researching what everyone else has been adding to their smoothie concoctions. I struggled to find a smoothie that did not add protein powder which I don’t believe in getting in powder form so I ended up starting from scratch. Protein powder has always been, in my option, a fad and I see no reason to not get enough protein in your daily diet rather than by expensive, gritty, powder form in a drink.

So without further ado, here is what I have tested and has been a big hit for me. The first thing I did is made a trip to the grocery store for some frozen fruit. Fresh would also work but it’s winter here so frozen was just more logical. I took it home, thawed it, and blended up my chosen fruits.

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I froze these blended fruits in small cups for single serving smoothies in minutes when needed.

I also purchased coconut water and a blender bottle, found at most discount, drug, or vitamin stores.

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Then it was time to experiment with different blends and here are the favorites so far.

Blueberry Burst:

8-12 oz. coconut water, 6 oz. vanilla yogurt of choice, 1- 4oz. cup of blended blueberries, 2 Tbs. ground flax seed. Shake well and enjoy.

Orange Tropics:

8 oz. coconut water, 4 oz orange juice, 6 oz. vanilla yogurt of choice, 4 oz. blended peaches, and 2Tbs. ground flax seed

Strawberry Fields:  8-12 oz. coconut water, 4oz. blended strawberries, 6 oz. vanilla yogurt of choice, 2 Tbs. ground flax seed

This is all I have come up with so far. Although, I have been thinking about a mixed berry creation, and a mango mixture for the next trip to the grocery store. Honestly, you will have to just experiment with things you enjoy. Think powdered peanut butter, almond milk, cinnamon, nutmeg, mashed banana, chocolate or shredded coconut…..all these would be wonderful additions or ingredients to come up with your own post workout drink.

Also, you may want to read the label on the coconut water you purchase. Many have added sugars that will make them taste better but ultimately won’t be serving the purpose of drinking this rehydrating beverage.

Let me know if you come up with an especially tasty one, I would love to try it myself.

Recent Thoughts, Recent Eats, Recent Randomness

Where should I begin…..

Thoughts, ideas, inspirations, dreams….do you all have them rolling around in your brain like I do? Sometimes they drive me a bit crazy but I often wonder if they aren’t meant to do that. Some of the things rolling around in my head range from where to camp this coming summer,

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to what trails I want to hike this year,

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to what state do I want to toss at my family and see if they are on board to go visit.

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I would love to plan a girls weekend where all my girl friends escape the role of wife and mother and just be us for a few hours. No worries where this child is or that child is, what we will be preparing for dinner, how high the dirty dishes are stacking up or how much laundry I need to eventually make time to get done.

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I am not a big shopper but I want to plan a Trader Joe’s trip(2 hours from us is the nearest) and also want to make a trip to the next REI garage sale day for members(again, another 2 hours from us).

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I have a million recipes I want to try in my new dutch oven. However, I have been using it quite a bit with old recipes and so far I am thrilled…it is fabulous. Big huge thank you to one of my daycare families for this wonderful gift.

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I also have a list of places to research for possible destinations to visit and I am really feeling the need for elevation…..a long trail that’s leads up where no one else is typically found when you finally reach the top. In other words, a little peace and quiet to gather all these thoughts and put them in order of importance.

So let’s move onto an easier topic….recent eats. This last week it’s been all about cleaning up the frig and open food in the pantry. I hate leaving home and having to throw out food. So it’s been a bit of random meals but still good meals per say.I have been really enjoying spicy black bean salads for my lunches. I am not a big side salad person but give me a meal salad and I am all in.

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With winter chill in my bones I have been really enjoying oatmeal for lunch also. Oatmeal is not a family favorite so when I get the chance to make it for just me I do.

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We had one bottle of Trader Joe’s curry sauce left and it was time to enjoy it since I had a few chicken breast we needed to eat up. My son and I were in heaven…..hubby…not so much. He had italian chicken breast instead. He is not a fan of curry in anything…party pooper.

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Let’s see, workouts have been going great. I have been concentrating on weekends at the gym and maybe one day during the week since right now it is so crowded it’s more stressful to go that not to go. Weekends are busy but not nearly what Monday thru Friday are at the moment. I have not been outside to exercise in quite sometime….and even though I miss fresh air, I have no urge what so ever to go outside to “play”! Too much snow for this desert loving girl!

I know my husband is waiting patiently to go ice fishing for the first time this winter which really causes me anxiety. Although, this year it seems he is going with someone new and it could prove to be very interesting to hear about when they get home. We shall see….

I am trying to figure out when and how I plan to surprise my boys with something they purchased me for Christmas and of course, I want them to share in the fun of it also. They thought it would be a great gag gift to buy me a brick of ration bars. Why…..who knows??? All I can tell you is, when they least expect good ole mom to have snacks in the snack bag while 10 miles back in the middle of nowhere….this is all I am going to produce and they are going to share in the fun of trying it if they are hungry enough. Fun will be had by all of us;-)

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For now I will leave you with all this. You may not feel better but I feel a bit lighter.

If you feel the need to get something off your mind…feel free in the comment section….I will listen.

 

Braised Cauliflower

I love my vegetables and could never have imagined preparing cauliflower so easily and then also getting my husband to eat it with me. This in itself is a small miracle which makes this recipe a winner. So I thought I would share it with all of you.

Ingredients Needed

1 head of cauliflower

1 pint of tomatoes….grape, cheery, heirloom, whatever you prefer or is available

1 tsp of salt

1 Tbsp. olive oil

1/2  large sweet onion, chunked

dash red pepper flakes

1/4 cup water

pint of fresh sliced mushrooms

4 whole, peeled garlic cloves

Directions:

Wash and peel the leaves from the bottom of the cauliflower head leaving the core in tact but trimmed close to the head itself. Set aside.

Chunk up your onion and slice your mushrooms if they are whole.

Peel your garlic cloves.

Wash and slice your tomatoes in half or if they are large chunk them into large pieces.

Heat your dutch oven and pour in the olive oil. Place your cauliflower head into the pot and spread the onions, tomatoes, garlic cloves and mushrooms around the sides. Pour in the water, and add the red pepper flakes and salt.

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Cover and let this cook on low/medium for 15 minutes. Return and give it a quick stir and baste the cauliflower head with some of the juices you will now find in the bottom of the pot.

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Recover and cook for another 15 minutes or until a butter knife can be easily inserted into the middle of the cauliflower head.

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When its tender, use a spoon to break apart the head and serve over rice, pasta, soba noddles or just as a side dish. We had ours over soba noodles topped with a little shredded parmesan cheese and crushed croutons and it was fabulous.

Enjoy!!!!

Items That Help Me Survive Winter In Wisconsin

It’s no secret winter is not my favorite season. I suffer from seasonal depression and literally count down the days on a calendar until the clocks change again, daylight appears past 4p.m., and I see green grass. Once the holidays are over is when it really gets rough for me. Although, I have lived here my entire life and have found some things that I simply could not live without during the winter months. So for all of you making plans to visit us here in the midwest during the winter or for all of you thinking about moving here from a warmer climate…read on!

#1 Lotion: Once the heat is turned on and the water we shower in is turned up it’s like death to your skin. You dry out, you itch and it’s just plain rough on the skin to be out in the elements of winter.

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#2 Lip Balm: Much like our skin, our lips are every sensitive to the cold also. I have these little tubes of moisture in every little hiding spot I know…..SUV, car, pockets of all my jackets, next to the bed, in my purse, and even in my backpack if the urge would hit for a quick snowshoe hike through the woods somewhere.

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#3 Tea/Coffee etc: You may think being in a warm house you could drink anything and maybe so, but something mentally happens when it starts to snow and you literally crave something warm to drink. We here are not all day coffee drinkers but tea makes an appearance quite often during the days of winter.

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#4 Down: I will never regret buying my down bed comforter and my down winter jacket. They are the best investments I have made to help me survive winter.

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#5 Hobbies: I am not sure if you would call this a hobby but it does take my mind off the snow and the days that are so incredibly short and cold. We do jig saw puzzles during the winter months and its always a goal to see how many we can finish before the snow melts.

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#6 Memories: What once was will come again. I look back at my summer time pictures often during the winter months. They help me recall a much happier time in life and give me something to look forward to.

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#7 Exercise: You know it baby….it’s the only time I can break a sweat during the winter months. Sometimes I will workout twice a day just to feel warm.

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Are you from the midwest?

What is one thing you could not live without during the long winter months?

Fitness and Food In Week #1 of 2017

The first week in 2017 proved to be a challenge but ultimately was successful. Having Monday off was wonderful which meant we could go to the gym anytime of day to try and avoid the crowd which we did with success. Tuesday-Friday the gym was plain old crazy busy so I avoided it like the plague. (We have inside information since our son works at our gym)

All my daycare children returned to normal schedule…..but routine took awhile to find once again. Plus, they all brought back a cold virus of some sort so we shared in all these germs as well. Don’t we all love the holidays?

Being it’s the first week of the new year and I had my hands full during the week with numerous things among a house full of children…..I am pretty happy with my workouts this week.

Sunday: almost a 3 mile hike New Years Day

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plus a home total body weight circuit

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Monday: gym: 45 minutes elliptical, rowing, stretching

Tuesday: home: total body weight circuit, 3 mile evening walk outside

Wednesday: rest

Thursday: home: total body weight circuit, 3 mile lap walk at the mall

Friday: rest

Saturday: gym:45 minute elliptical, rowing and stretching

Meals this week were all eaten at our dining room table as a family except for one evening our son was gone. His work schedule changed with the new year and this makes dinner planning much easier. Plus, we all get to eat together, something we have not been able to do for quite sometime. On the menu this week we enjoyed sloppy joe salad with burger fixings. I simply take ground turkey and my homemade sloppy joe sauce and prepare the burger. Then I take salad fixings that would normally be on a cheese burger and plate them up with a serving of sloppy joe meat on top and drizzle it with dijon mustard. Yum!

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Another dinner was Swedish meatballs over pasta. Super easy and a great comfort food in the winter months.

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One night was tortilla soup….a family favorite.

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And Friday we had breakfast for dinner…..which was homemade waffles with my homemade chicken breakfast sausage.

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The next two weeks will prove to be an exciting time if we can pull off everything we have planned. However,  there are some big factors involved that could really hamper our plans. My goals are to stay positive that it will all work out, we will see everything we are hoping to see, and I will finally have part of my “life plan” in place by the time we are done. Now, let’s just hope the stars line up and it all plays out perfectly.

 

First Hike Of 2017

We decided to forgo the gym on January 1st. and hike since the sun was shining and I came down with some sort of nasty respiratory bug which made working out difficult the day before. Plus, my husband was dying to try out his new GPS we bought him for Christmas.

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We headed to my favorite nearby trail to see if the construction signs were removed yet and the trail had reopened. Upon arrival, I was thrilled to see it open….it had been closed for at least the last 6 months. We wasted no time making tracks in the snow since it was too cold to stand around.

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The temperature was about 20 degrees when we arrived but the winds were quite low which made this hike fairly tolerable for this time of year. The trail did have varying depths of snow cover but was still easy to maneuver through.

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It felt so good to be outside and soak up some natural sunshine. It has been weeks since I have ventured onto any trail in the area.

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Even though my toes were cold by the time we were finished, it was a great way to start the new year.

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Today we hiked the first 3 miles(almost) of many more to come this year.

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Did you do anything special on January 1st?

Happy New Year…..First, Let’s Catch Up On The Last Two Weeks

I feel it’s important to catch up on the events of these past two weeks. With me being self employed, I had kids here and there through most of the past few weeks. And now, with the new year upon us, everyone is back to normal schedule, my husband is back to normal schedule, and I am looking forward to getting our routine back.

As most of us have done, we had family and friends to celebrate with but we keep things pretty low key here and that is how I like it. We hosted two gatherings, opened gifts, and had a very nice time chatting and catching up with family. From homemade gifts to fabulous food, we all enjoyed the holidays and the time we spent together.

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In between parties, I lived in my pj’s and just enjoyed the down time I had.

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That is not to say I did not exercise though. I am not going to lie and say it thrills me to death to see all the new people at my gym working on new years resolutions because in all honesty it’s a bit frustrating. However, I know from past years a small few will hang on past a few weeks and it’s just something I have to live with until it thins out a bit. That being said, I do hope all the newbies find health happiness and keep up the good work. It’s a hard step to take and once your past the front door why not keep going. It only gets better from there.

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Let’s see…..in case your wondering my outdoor life has been pretty scarce for quite some time already. We have plenty of snow in my opinion…..ok, maybe in my opinion we have too much snow already. And the worse part is I know there is still so much left to come. So outdoor adventure for me is simply not happening anytime soon.

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During our few weeks off, we did celebrate something other than Christmas and New Years….our son had his 23rd birthday. Yes, he was almost a Christmas baby but I kept my legs crossed for this not to happen…..and thankfully he was born 8 hours later. So every year he gets a few gifts wrapped in birthday paper to make sure his birthday is never forgotten.

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Meals lately have been all over the place. I have always said and still believe that Christmas should be called the “cream cheese holiday” since we consume so much of this food during this holiday. So after all the holiday get togethers were over, I made a big batch of chili and it was a perfect way to get back on a daily meal schedule.

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Plus, I have a new addition in my kitchen and I was dying to give it a try. I have been working on some new recipes to share in the new year while I enjoy cooking with my new dutch oven.

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Speaking of meals…..I am trying something new after my workouts. The past year I have been having issues with charlie horses in my leg after workouts. It’s only one leg and it’s the leg that caused me such issues after surgery on my abdomen….I know, who would have thought…anyhow, someone told me to try coconut water after a workout. Well, I did and this drink is not good! However, I really wanted to see if it would help so then someone told me to try making it into a smoothie which I did and now it tastes a whole lot better. Since I do not have a fancy blender and don’t wish to buy one, I simply purchased a Blender Bottle and have been experimenting with different mixtures. Happily, I can report, I have seen great improvement in my leg pains after workouts and have been enjoying the smoothies I have been coming up with.

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That pretty much sums up the past few weeks. I am looking forward to January and hope it brings some fun along with a bit of adventure in the new year.