Get Back on Track with Green Smoothies

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Full disclosure. I try to live a healthy lifestyle. I resist processed food. We raise our own chickens for eggs and meat. But every year when the weather starts to cool and the days shorten so does my my willpower.  As work gets busy and the holidays approach it becomes easier to stop planning and just wing it. As always, that leads to poor choices.  It happened again this year, as it always does.  By Halloween my healthy eating was out the window and my gym days became few and far between. By Thanksgiving I hadn’t been hitting the gym at all and the sniffles were creeping up on everyone in my family. By Christmas we were all full blown sick and just living the days to make it to bedtime.

But New Year’s Day always brings with it a time of renewal. I don’t set resolutions exactly, but it does always seem like a perfect time to pick myself up from the floor and get back at it.

One of the easiest ways to make my health a priority again is by incorporating daily green smoothies. Greens can be tough to get in the diet when you’re eating on the go. Putting them into smoothies allows me to have them as a quick breakfast or snack.

If you’re interesting in getting on track along with me, you should check out Simple Green Smoothies. Their website is packed full of tips and recipes and their thirty day challenge begins January 1st. To get in on this great thirty day experiment, all you have to do is sign up! It’s totally free! You get recipes for thirty days worth of smoothies including easy to use shopping lists! I do their challenges periodically  and I have to say that by half way through the month, I really do feel a difference in my well-being. I hope you’ll join me and let me know how it’s going along the way!

Do you already drink smoothies? Do you put greens in them or are you strictly into fruit smoothies? (If you haven’t tried greens in your smoothies yet, you’ll be amazed at these recipes. You can’t taste the green!)

Popeye Punch Smoothie Recipe

I like to think I’m a pretty healthy eater. I cut back on processed foods years ago and I try to use fruit as a dessert. I get as much protein as I can and I only drink water (ok there’s wine…and craft beer). I will admit to a pretty strong sweet tooth, but I usually limit that to things that are homemade and I pass over store-bought treats. This is starting to sound less healthy than I intended. We all have our things. You know? Anyway, as health conscious as I try to be, I have a very hard time getting in my greens. Salads don’t fill me up and I’m just not very creative when it comes to cooking green foods.

Last year I found a remedy to my not-so-green existence. I took the 30 day smoothie challenge from www.simplegreensmoothies.com. The challenge was simple. Drink a green smoothie every day for thirty days. Believe it or not, at the end of the month I found that I had created a habit that has stuck with me. A year later I am still drinking the smoothies and love the way they make me feel. People ask me all the time what is in the mason jars I carry around. They simply can’t believe that a green liquid can be that delicious. I’m quick to offer them tips and recipes because I truly believe in the power of the green smoothie. I plan to share lots of smoothie tips and recipes in the future, but I wanted to start you off today with a simple one that packs a protein punch and has no spinach taste whatsoever. I promise.

Tropical Popeye Punch (makes three servings) 

Ingredients:

8 oz. Plain or Vanilla Greek yogurt

8 oz. water

2 cups spinach

1 banana

2 kiwis

2 cups pineapple

Mix liquid and greens first and then add other ingredients. If you use plain yogurt you may want to add a little honey for extra sweetness.

I like to pour these into mason jars and store them in the refrigerator for a couple of days, or you can be kind and share with a friend. I typically use Taddler reusable canning lids to store them, but I just happen to be in the grocery store the other day when I spotted Pioneer Woman’s new line of dishes and they had mason jar lids and straws! I swear the woman can see into my soul. I snapped them up and rushed home to make a smoothie, but I have to admit I was pretty disappointed when I realized they only fit 32 oz. mason jars. Not to worry though, I will dig out some wide mouth ones so I can be sure to use them! They are that cute!

If you’re hesitant to try a green smoothie, just go for it. Start here and let me know what you think! If you’re a green smoothie pro, what are some of your favorite smoothie additions?

 

 

 

 

Sake Saturday and Other Thoughts of Charleston

Charleston, South Carolina is one of those places where you can literally feel the history in the air. The tree lined streets beg to be explored. Every corner holds another story. The smell of salt and low country cooking takes me back to a time when men were heroic and history was still being written. The city is beautiful down to the smallest detail.

From gas lanterns to iron gates, the city itself puffs up its feathers for visitors from around the world.

An opportunity for beauty is never missed, even in the most mundane places.

But what I think makes the city so magical is its proximity to water. Maybe it’s because I’m a Pisces (if you buy into that mumbo-jumbo), but there’s something about the ocean that calls to me. It makes me feel small and powerful at the same time.  Standing on the water’s edge, I feel a hush come over me.

This trip to Charleston held special meaning for me though. This trip was all about the Cooper River Bridge Run. My friends and worked towards the goal of getting over this monster for months and we couldn’t have asked for a better day to do it. If you’re a runner, I highly suggest you put this race on your calendar! If you do, be sure to check out Tips for Running the Cooper River Bridge Run. This is a race that requires a little bit of planning.

 No trip to Charleston (or blog for that matter) would be complete without mentioning what I ate and drank while I was there. We’re talking amazing. AMAZING! The first stop on Friday night was my absolute favorite place in the world. 

Located on the northern end of King Street, it’s easy to walk to and you will need to walk after eating one of these babies. There are different flavors available each day, so you have to go back more than once while you’re there. Luckily, my favorite flavor was waiting for me when I arrived.

Chocolate Tuxedo- chocolate with white chocolate chips, cream cheese icing, and ganache. Seriously.

After the race on Saturday it was impossible to get into any restaurant in Charleston. The place was full of 40,000 sweaty, starving runners and their families so we decided it would be best to get out of town. We headed out to my other favorite place in the world, Folly Beach, and hit up Taco Boy.  This was the perfect post-race relaxation spot. As you can tell by this picture….

The mint that lined the patio smelled so fresh. It really was a gorgeous day. This place has the perfect outdoor seating. Here’s a pic of a few of my favorite people- the best race day buddies ever!

Taco Boy is one of the most popular places on Folly Beach. Here’s why: I love this.

Here’s a philosophy I try to live by- buy local and put as little junk in your body as possible. Taco Boy seems to share my thinking on this. You can taste the difference in their food. This is no Taco Bell.

I had the Baja Fish Taco, but don’t let the pic fool you. I did some serious eating that day. I followed this delicious munchie up with Grilled Shrimp Quesadillas and the largest assortment of salsa, queso, and guacamole you have ever seen. 

A stroll down Center Street led us to a brew pub that is definitely worth a mention. The Folly Beach Brewing Co. takes the phrase “hole in the wall” to a new level. It is literally a small room with a concrete floor and a bar. However, most of the patrons enjoy sitting out on the sidewalk and watching traffic roll by. We took a spot at the bar and became fast friends with the bar dog. You have to love a bar that has a dog. I believe her name was Mookie. Isn’t she adorable? 

Hanging with the locals here made me want to shed my life as mainland school teacher and live the island life. I was so jealous of the bartender with her cute dog and island home.  Wonder if I could talk the husband into making a move? Nope. While I couldn’t be a local, we were treated as such when they shared their tradition of Sake Saturday with us. The locals in the bar started yelling SAKE as loud as they could and we were quickly informed that when this happens everyone in the bar must take a shot of Sake. Um, not so delicious, but why not?

Warning: Sake may make you consume large amounts of ice cream and walk into traffic.  Maybe.

Before leaving on Sunday we had to hit my favorite breakfast spot, Hominy Grill.  This is an absolute “must visit” spot if you are planning a trip to Charleston. Since it’s such a hot spot there is a bit of a wait and parking is a problem, but it is so worth the hassle. We arrived ten minutes before opening to find a line down the street waiting to get in. 

I stepped out of my comfort zone of Shrimp and Grits or Huevos Rancheros and tried the French Toast with Apple Maple Syrup and Pecan Butter.   Out. Of. This. World.

The drive home was a sad one because I don’t have any immediate plans to return to South Carolina. But somehow I get the feeling I’ll find a reason to make a trip. The girls have already been discussing a half marathon in the fall. Savannah, maybe? 

Here’s to good food, great friends, big adventures, and reaching your goals. Isn’t that what life is really about?