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Entries in smoothie (4)

Sunday
Jan052014

Almond Date Banana Smoothie

Almond Date Banana Smoothie

It is a new year. When the calendar on the wall is replaced, my mind drifts to thoughts of resolutions and new beginnings—often whether I'd like it to or not. This time last year I shared with you how I felt I no longer needed to make a list of resolutions. I was already keeping both mind and body healthy; a list to remind me to do so felt redundant. This year, however, is quite a different story.

When I took a teaching job and moved across state lines this fall, it threw my life, my predictable patterns and routines, into disarray. Even though months have passed, I haven't been able to get the fragments back in order. I often feel like a puzzle with the outer edges intact, but missing a few pieces in the middle.

Almond Date Banana Smoothie
Almond Date Banana Smoothie

I pay for a membership to a gym I rarely attend. More often than not, it feels as though I'm paying for the privilege of guilt; a packed gym bag sits in the front seat of the car acting as a silent, but continual reminder. As my days are long and filled with the hours of a first year teacher, I find I do not often cook for pleasure anymore. When dinner rolls around, I opt for the least involved option, which is often take out or some version of plain noodles covered in a fried egg. Truthfully, I eat this type of meal half a dozen times a week, throwing nutrition out the window. I miss food, real food.

I have been working on these changes for awhile, however slow progress may feel at times. Just this afternoon I filled the refrigerator with a real, honest to goodness pork roast. Progress. It seems that when the new year slides in, we compile lists of all the things that we are doing wrong, instead of congratulating ourselves for the things that we are doing well. I, too, am guilty of this, if my prior confessions are any indication. It is noble to want to better ourselves, but I also believe that we shouldn't forget how far we've come on our journeys of self discovery. This is perhaps the most important thing we can do.

Almond Date Banana Smoothie

When I was reading quotes about the new year, I was drawn to the one I shared with you above. As a teacher, I feel that for everything I do right in the classroom, there's a misstep that follows, whether it be a genuine mistake or simply something I could have said or explained better. By the day's end, there's a dozen of these little missteps that follow me to bed, before I bury them and start anew the next morning. If I'm making mistakes, whether I'm in the kitchen inventing a new recipe or leading young minds through the field of physics, I'm learning something new. I'm trying something new.

I may not be perfect, never perfect, but I am strong and doing well. I'm making mistakes because I am putting myself out there and trying something new. While some aspects of my life may be neglected now, I'll figure it out. I always do. For your next year, I hope you make mistakes too.

Almond Date Banana Smoothie

Lately I have been craving a good smoothie, but haven't gotten around to making one until this weekend. This Almond Date Banana Smoothie is naturally sweet and has a character all its own. A frozen banana composes the base, a spoonful of almond butter adds a nutty tone, and a handful of dates gives it a rounded flavor. Small pieces of date are left in the drink, giving a nice little treat for each bite. Though this smoothie may be simple, the flavors are sophisticated and perfect for an early morning or afternoon on the go.

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Friday
Jun292012

Banana Peanut Butter Protein Smoothie

Banana Peanut Butter Protein Smoothie

When I lived in a tiny, but undeniably lovely apartment in Montreal, I spent most of my time around the kitchen table baking, eating, or working. I spent my mornings and evenings in the kitchen, discovering a passion for food in the sugar jar and the heat of the oven. The kitchen was minuscule, incapable of even holding a refrigerator, but the dark, wooden table and the large open windows made the space feel like a home. I wasn't the only one who had the same feelings.

A small mouse moved in, making a nest in a hole behind the stove.

Banana Peanut Butter Protein Smoothie

My roommate was the first to spot the visitor, as he scampered into hiding once his secret had been found out. As we wondered what to do with our little friend (mousetraps were certainly out of the question unless they were humane), my roommate went away for a weekend and my mother came to visit. My roommate and I thought it best that my mother didn't know of our little friend. Firstly, so she wouldn't believe we were living in squalor and, secondly, so that she wouldn't fear sleeping on the futon which rested only a few feet from the mouse's house. Since it had been nearly a week since the mouse's discovery and he hadn't appeared for me, it seemed best to keep mum on the subject.

On the second night of my mother's visit, we sat around the kitchen table enjoying spaghetti squash and fresh figs. In the quiet of the apartment, there was suddenly a tiny scratching sound coming from the inside of one of the cupboard doors. The mouse, it seemed, wanted to say hello. As my mother stared at the cupboard in horror, imagining a range of creatures hiding behind the door, I spilled the secret, backed into a corner by none other than the mouse himself. Though my mother raised her eyebrows at my explanation why the mouse had become my third roommate, she kept her thoughts on the subject to herself.

My mother, to her credit, still slept on the futon.

Banana Peanut Butter Protein Smoothie

It was a few days more until I spotted the mouse for myself. As I quietly worked in the living room, he finally peeked out to look me over. He was so tiny I could have easily held him in one hand, sporting ears as large as elephant's. I couldn't help but fall hopelessly in love. I began to have childish fantasies of transforming the movie Ratatouille into a reality, turning the mouse into a pet with an appreciation for good food.

Then the reality of having a mouse in the house hit me.

The mouse, though tiny as he was, had an uncanny ability to peep about in the baking cupboard. He ignored the baking staples as he looked for his prize—a large bag of almonds. Overnight two pounds of almonds disappeared. Though I was upset about that (almonds certainly aren't cheap), it was the thousands of little crumbs he left behind for me to clean up that drove me to frustration. I cleaned out the cupboard, moving sealed baking supplies and tossing out the rest. When we discovered the corner he treated as a litter box, my desire to have a mouse friend began fading. The mouse, to his credit, was a very quiet house guest, leaving a long enough time between his little surprises that we'd forget we even had a third roommate.

I moved away before the saga of the mouse had come to a head. Sometimes I wonder about that little mouse and his whereabouts, curious how long it took him to eat his almonds. Sometimes I worry that my own kitchen will capture the attention of a little mouse, especially when the dishes begin to pile on the counter top. Perhaps it wouldn't be so bad if it did—he could help me pick up the crumbs from off the floor.

Banana Peanut Butter Protein Smoothie

This Banana Peanut Butter Protein Smoothie is sweet (without added sugar) and absolutely filling. Bananas, peanut butter, tofu, and oats come together to create a robust, flavorful beverage. One serving of the smoothie has roughly twenty grams of protein, making it a good choice when you need to power up. If you are nervous at seeing the word "tofu," don't be worried; like yogurt, it thickens the smoothie but lends no flavor to the final product (just protein!).

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Tuesday
Nov292011

Banana Cocoa Smoothie

Banana Cocoa Smoothie

A year ago today marks the day I changed my life.

A year ago today I stepped into my grad school advisor's office and told him I had enough—I quit. After a disappointed nod of his head, I left the room and cleaned out my desk. I packed up my apartment, my life, and left the beautiful city of Montreal to move back home. I switched from a career in physics and research to pursue a life filled with butter and sugar.

I wondered if I would regret my decision. I wondered if it was silly or irresponsible to pursue baking, especially since I had discovered my oven not more than a year earlier. I wondered if baking was simply an escape from physics and nothing more. I wondered how I was going to explain to people that I had given up on my goals to become a smart and successful scientist so I could make cookies. I wondered all of these things and so much more.

Yet, a decision had been made. I was changing my life path. I crossed my fingers, took a deep breath, and leaped. I jumped off the proverbial cliff and it would take time to see where I would land.

Banana Cocoa Smoothie Banana Cocoa Smoothie

A year later, it feels strange to reflect back on my decision and my uncertainty. All the drama and change feels so much longer than a year ago (and so far away from me today). I almost wish future-me could have visited past-me, if only to whisper everything is going to turn out okay.

It took a couple months, but I eventually found my footing. I'm currently working in a small bakery, mixing up everything from breakfast pastries to cakes and cookies. I fill cases with colorful, decadent desserts and pretend that calories don't exist (and, while I can convince myself, I haven't quite figured out how to convince my waistline). After my job at the bakery, I tutor students of all ages in math and science. It turns out I couldn't turn away from my physics background completely—I simply found a new way to enjoy it.

Life is full of unexpected twists. You can take the physics out of the lifestyle, but it seems you can't take the physics out of the girl. Who knew?

Banana Cocoa Smoothie

I don't regret the decisions I have made that lead me to today. In fact, knowing what I know now, dropping out of grad school may have been one of the best decisions I've ever made. I took a miserable existence and turned it into happiness—no small feat. The concerns that so plagued me just a year ago are miles away from me today. If I had never jumped ship into a sea of butter and cream, I would have spent the rest of my life wondering what if.

I'm not sure where my life is going to take me, or what I'll be doing a year or even five years from now, but I've learned that it's okay not to have a plan. I've learned that I can trust myself. I can (and will) figure it out when I have the experience to know what's right for me. Life is about the journey. It's about trying something new despite the threat of failure. It's about being brave, strong, and having confidence in yourself.

As Bob Moawad so beautifully phrased it, "The best day of your life is the one on which you decide your life is your own. No apologies or excuses. No one to lean on, rely on, or blame. The gift is yours—it is an amazing journey—and you alone are responsible for the quality of it. This is the day your life really begins."

You and I, we'll find our place in this mad, mad world. One day we'll wake up and realize exactly where we belong. Maybe we're already exactly where we need to be. But if you haven't reached that special place, you can't be afraid to pursue your wild and crazy dreams, whatever they may be. This is your life and you deserve to do what you love every single day. It's true. You do.

Banana Cocoa Smoothie Banana Cocoa Smoothie

This Banana Cocoa Smoothie is sweet and refreshing. Though it uses tofu as a base, do not let this deter you. Tofu lends a thick creaminess to the smoothie without any flavor (plus tons of protein!). All the sweetness in the drink comes from the banana, with no added sugar. I added a tablespoon of cocoa powder for a chocolaty twist, since chocolate is always a good decision to make. The combination of chocolate and banana is truly decadent, which makes the fact that this smoothie is healthy so much more sinful.

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