Delicious Breakfast Smoothie

Now that winter is officially over in the East Bay (I hope) it’s time to enjoy the abundance of fruits and vegetables that are coming into season with a delicious breakfast smoothie!! Normally in the winter-time I discourage my patients from drinking smoothies in the morning. A smoothie is cold, damp, and raw and can often make us feel sluggish, quite the opposite of what we set out to do when we drink them. But now that it’s warm and dry outside, it’s the perfect season to start the day with a cool, refreshing, and chock-full-of-vitamins drink!!

Yesterday was actually the first time that I made my own smoothie at home. The desire came from my inclination that I should for some reason start eating yogurt, which I actually despise. It’s just not something that I can eat by itself. Even with cut up fruit, it just makes me gag! But yogurt receives so much positive hype that I decided to jump on the bandwagon. Fortunately when blended into a fruity breakfast drink, it’s not so bad. Happy days!

I downloaded a free little e-book of recipes from EatingWell.com. I chose their “Wake-up Smoothie Recipe” even though it called for bananas, which I detest more than yogurt. Supposedly they are very healthy but in actuality they are evil and I refuse to accept them. To my delight, the instructions said that I could replace them with mango. Yes please. Let’s move on. I also added flax seed for a good dose of Omega-3 fatty acids and some kale for an extra added health benefit, plus I liked the earthy bitterness it brought to this rather sweet and sour drink. Here’s my altered recipe.

Yummy Breakfast Smoothie Recipe

1 1/4 cups orange juice, preferably calcium-fortified
1 mango – NO BANANAS!!
1 1/4 cups frozen berries
1/2 cup low-fat plain yogurt
1 tablespoon flax seeds
1/2 cup of chopping Kale (ribs removed)

Combine all the ingredients in a blender; cover and blend until creamy.
Serve immediately.

breakfast smoothie

Yummy, nutritious smoothies for the All-Star and I to enjoy!!

And for dinner I have to give a shout-out to Jen at My Kitchen Addiction for her absolutely delicious Ham and Bean Soup recipe. It is SOOOOO good. Here’s a photo of the little that’s left over.

ham and been soup

It’s a bit more pureed than Jen’s at My Kitchen Addition. I went a little nutty with the immersion blender. I’m in love with this tool!  Besides, we like mushy soups that look like baby food over here so it’s perfect!  ;-)

 

Please note that I do not judge nor discriminate against those who eat and enjoy bananas. Just please don’t eat them in front of me. Thanks!  ♥

 

Laura

Spring has Sprung – brough to us by Instagrams

It’s definitely spring here in the East Bay. And with the bit of rain we finally got this weekend, the plant life is whistling dixie!

These are growing on the main tree in our yard. I haven’t identified it yet. I’m thinking of getting a book at the library. Any suggestions on good books for identifying trees and plants?

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This little guy refuses to give up. This tree was hacked down by someone but it refuses to not be a tree again! Gotta love the determination of nature.

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This beautiful plant, I just learned, is a sparaxis. It’s an easy to grow bulb, obviously since it just sprouted up next to some rocks. I had a feeling it was some sort of bulb when I saw the green leaves popping up in late winter. My mom plants enough bulbs in her garden for me to recognize those hearty leaves! (Thanks, Mom! This one almost got weed whacked.)

spiraxis

Here’s another little tree that got cut down to size but it looks happier than ever. The red leaves kind of remind me of my favorite tree in the back but I don’t think there are the same. We’ll have to wait and see what it turns into so I can better identify it. Shout it out if you already know!!

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These are hanging over my fence from my landlord’s yard. They look like crab apple blossoms. Or maybe just apple blossoms. I know he has citrus trees.

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Finally is the favorite of the yard which is now started to bud. At first I wasn’t sure if these would turn into flowers but I saw one downtown that had cute little white flowers on it already. But it was a bush. I’m guessing this guy was a bush at one point. Now it’s quite a large tree. Perfect for little climbers.

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So that’s just a little of what’s happening around the yard. I’ve really got to get going on planting some food baring plants. We’re going to New York next week so I’ll get started when we return. There’s actually some mint and rosemary that are growing wild. I think I mentioned that I wanted to get them into pots. We also set up a rope swing which the All-Star needs to tweak a bit. Fun times! It’s so nice finally having a yard.

Laura

A Visit to San Fran and some Instagrams

It’s somewhat embarrassing to admit that we live 30 minutes from San Francisco and only make it there once a month, if we’re lucky. The same thing happened when I lived on Long Island. New York City was just a train ride away but often I took it for granted and chose to stay local.

Fortunately, one of the great things about living near such a great destination city like San Fran is that people like to visit which gives us added opportunities to venture in.

This week the All-Star’s hip younger cousin (a.k.a. Sad Cheerleader) came to visit us with her boyfriend and Tuesday we hopped in the car to scoop them up and grab some chow after their long day of sightseeing. It’s always an experience when venturing into any city and of course this was no different. We were there just before sunset so we caught the beauty that is dusk and of course all the lights coming alive. San Francisco with its steep hills and valleys reveals many fantastic vistas and peeks of twinkling night life.

I didn’t take a lot of shots, but here are a few that I Instagrammed. I love Instagram (follow me!). It makes me feel like I can actually take good photos.

This snap was taken midway down the crooked part of Lombard Street. See the full moon rising over the Bay Bridge? Pretty awesome.

san francisco moonrise

Here we have the Palace of Fine Arts Rotunda. I just love this place. The All-Star always likes to point out that a scene from The Rock was filmed in there. No one ever seems to care. Poor guy.

presidio

And what visit to San Francisco is complete without a peek at the Golden Gate Bridge. We made a stop at the Golden Gate Promenade to grab this one. Not my favorite, but I have others. :-)

golden gate bridge

So that was our Tuesday evening. It really was the perfect day to go in.

Last night it rained and now everything is wet and was awoken way too early by rain water dripping onto the air conditioner. From 5:30 to 6:30am I lay there pretending I couldn’t here it. Yay, life. ;-)

Just for fun, here’s a wet look at my favorite tree(s) in the yard. I thought the red leaves were its “flowers” but it looks like now some kind of seed is sprouting. I’m excited to see what they mature into! I’m guessing bigger seeds.

our yard

I’m hoping the sun will come out soon so I can get to work on my garden. There’s some herbs growing wild out there that I’d like to get into pots, mostly for esthetic purposes and so I can feel more in control (the mint is actually overstepping its bounds). I think the weed whacker also needs to make an appearance.

Happy Holy Week! (Is that an oxymoron?) ;-)

Laura

This Week’s Eats No. 3

Technically these are last week’s eats but you don’t actually know my true timeline for anything so what’s the difference right?

This Week's Eats

My own pictures of these eats are quite sub-par in my opinion. Our camera broke on our honeymoon so I’m stuck with my android for snapshots at the moment. Any suggestions for a reasonable priced fancy-pants camera??

So this week (last week) I decided to escape from online and use one of my many cookbooks to find recipes. I don’t do this often enough and it’s sad to see my books just collecting dust.

my cook book collection

One reason I love searching the internet for recipes is I prefer one with a picture. I recently received a Cook’s Illustrated magazine in the mail and while the content is very informative, its lack of photos leaves me a bit uninspired. It does have some illustrations of cooking techniques, which I guess is why they call it Cook’s Illustrated. I don’t think I will be subscribing, but I do appreciate receiving a free one in the mail. I now have illustrated instructions for making the perfect soft-boiled egg. Hazah!

My cookbook of choice this week last week is was Food Made Fast Weeknight published by William Sonoma. This book was given to me as a gift years ago. Actually I’m pretty sure most, if not all, of my cookbooks were gifts, accept for maybe How to Cook Everything by Mark Bittman, which I LOVE and reference quite often when preparing new foods. This book also has illustrations and is sans photographs but we forgive it because it’s so flippin awesome!

my favorite cookbook

I made three recipes from the Food Made Fast cookbook and two of them were total winners and will have repeat performances in the future I’m sure.

The first was Sausage with White Beans and Arugula Salad

Sausage w/ White Bean Salad

This would actually work better as a summer dish but it had been warm here and arugula is in season.

I was able to find the recipe on their website so you don’t actually have to buy the book. Their picture is prettier of course. After all it is Williams Sonoma.

sausages with white beans

I hope my photo doesn’t land me on the CraftFail blog. Have you been to this website? It’s pretty funny.

Next up was our second winner kindly brought to us again by Williams Sonoma, Thai Beef Noodle Salad.

thai beef noodle salad

I’m pretty sure my photo could end up on CraftFail but I assure you, regardless of the appearance, it really was delicious.

thai beef noodle salad

Yum? Oh yea, for sure! I’ve never prepared flank steak before. It is definitely now my steak of choice for a regular at-home-meal night. I prepared it on my little stove top griddle. We don’t have a outdoor grill so it’s what I use and it does the trick! Of course the smoke alarm went off but you have to expect that when you grill meat indoors and have low ceilings like we do. The steak didn’t seem to care and neither did we!

I want to share one more recipe which I did snag it from the internet.

For those who eat with me, don’t be surprised if you find yourself trying this some day.

I found it on Daily Dinner Table. I’m not sure how I happened upon this blog, which is usually the case, but I’m happy that I did. It reminds me of my dear friend, Julia. I’m pretty sure she makes a rice salad. If not, I’m pretty sure she would enjoy it. This one’s for you, Julia!

Once again we insert a crappy picture, but I assure you it’s good.

spinach & rice salad

So that’s it for what’s been in my tummy as of late. The best part is there are lots of leftovers for us to enjoy a second time, which would be this week, so there you go. In fact, I’ll think I’ll go have some  right now!

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Laura

Our Very Own DIY Pallet Shelf

DIY has become so popular these days it’s hard not to jump on the band wagon. It saves money (you can often re-use free stuff), it helps the environment (yea recycling!) it’s a fun hobby, AND you get to have lots of cool and original pieces in your home and be the envy of all your friends. Well maybe not the last part, but if you practice, perhaps so!

Here’s our new DIY Pallet Shelf!!

Pallet shelf  by Laura @ CYW

Seeing that I enjoy all of the above, it was a no brainer for me to start salvaging things that other folks no longer had love for and turning them into something grand! My first step was buying the All-Star some power tools, because, although I have been known to be handy and creative, I don’t trust myself with a circular saw. Plus he looks super cute using them!

 the All-Star uses powertools

Our entryway was looking pretty drab and I knew I wanted some sort of shelf in there but nothing I found at the stores was impressing me so when I found some pictures on Pinterest of shelving made from pallets I knew that was the way to go!

At first I had no idea where to get the pallets. Of course once I started thinking about it, they were popping up everywhere. We quickly acquired three. One from the school down the street, one from a friend, and the third was just sitting there in the alley outside my office. Woohoo, free stuff!

pallet

They sat in our garage for about a month while I thoughtfully planned out the design. (aka, convinced the All-Star to get started sawing – he’s a busy man.)

salvaged pallets

We used two pallets. One for the frame and another for the shelves. I worried that the different types of wood would look strange but it actually gives it even more of a rustic and artsy feel.

the All-Star saws

Once he got all the pieces cut, I started sanding.

LauraCYW sands

We don’t have masks so I used a bandana. Don’t I look so cool?!

LauraCYW

Once the shelves were sanded, the All-Star assembled the pieces.

cute butt

A few nails later we had our masterpiece!

pallet shelves

When using pallets, a lot of the lines won’t be perfect but I think that’s what gives it its charm!

pallet shelves

Two days later, I went to the hardware store to pick up some stain. I stood there for about 20 minutes trying to decide which color to use. I went with a darker, reddish stain. I thought it would compliment the space and the piece and I think I made the perfect choice!

staining shelves

A word to the wise, use gloves when staining. Also, the brush will become stiff and no longer usable unless you have some paint thinner, so be prepared to deal with that.

stained pallet shelf

We let our lovely unit dry overnight, actually two nights, and then drilled it right onto the wall! Drilled in some fancy hardware for hanging things too and we were done!

hardware

Not bad for a first project!DIY pallet ShelfDon’t forget to reward yourself with a glass of wine while you gaze upon the beauty you have created. Lol.

palet shelf

Dressed it up with all gifted nicknacks from family members and a few pictures. I love it!

Pallet shelf  by Laura @ CYW

What DIY projects are you working on?

Laura