Overton Park this morning was magical. We’re so lucky to have a beautiful outdoor space and basically forest less than a mile from our house. We went on an early morning run before it got too stifling hot. Although it was muggy (wouldn’t be the south otherwise!), the air was still cool, which overall made for a surprisingly relaxing experience. I am not a fan of running, nor am I good at it, but something about being completely surrounded by ancient green trees while still in the middle of a city is very cathartic.
I came home from the run and picked a bouquet from my garden. I’m always amazed at how long the flowers continue to bloom in Tennessee. Being from such a windy state, I’m used to the blooms being blown away in a day or two. I’ve been here for two years but I’m still somehow surprised that the city is covered in flowers from the months of May to September.
Inspired by the bright pink of the blooms, and ravenous from running, I treated myself to one of my go-to protein shakes. It’s nowhere near my birthday, but I decided on a Birthday Cake Protein Shake anyways. This recipe is very filling, and actually makes either a rather large protein shake or two smaller-sized protein shakes.
Birthday Cake Protein Shake
Servings: 1-2 (depending on your preferred portion size!)
- 1 large frozen banana
- 1/2 cup almond milk
- few drops of almond extract
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon agave nectar or sweetener of choice
- 1 scoop unflavored protein powder (I used Isopure)
- 1 tablespoon cashew butter
- Optional: sprinkles
- Optional: ice cubes
- Place ingredients in a blender, Vitamix, or Magic bullet. The ice is optional, but I prefer my protein shakes to have more of a frappuccino texture. Trust me, it turns out to be amazing! You could possibly substitute with another nut butter such as peanut butter or almond butter, but I expect the smoothie will not taste as cake batter-ey. Top with sprinkles (if desired) and enjoy!
This was my first venture into non-banana nice cream. What is nice cream, you ask? Traditionally, it is a vegan recipe for ice cream that usually involves frozen bananas pureed with various additives such as peanut butter, cocoa powder, fruit, etc. I have tried several variations that involve a frozen banana, although most recipes seem to taste more like a smoothie to me – not that there’s anything wrong with that! These recipes didn’t really cut it if I was looking for something more ice cream-like and indulgent. This is actually one of my favorite desserts I have ever made. Ice cream is one of my favorite foods, and this recipe is just as, if not more, creamy and delicious as home made ice cream. If you’re a fan of coconut, this recipe is a must.
I had some leftover canned coconut milk from making my favorite Lentil Coconut Curry that I used for this recipe. You do not need an ice cream maker for this recipe, although it would probably work if you used one. I have an ice cream maker, but wanted to test out the ice cube tray method.
Cinnamon French Toast Coconut Nice Cream for One
- 3/4 cup canned coconut milk
- 1-2 tablespoons maple syrup, depending on preference of sweetness. (I really like agave maple syrup, so that’s what I used!)
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 cup milk of choice (I used almond milk)
- splash of vanilla extract
- dash of salt
- cinnamon sugar for serving
- Mix together the coconut milk, syrup, cinnamon, vanilla, and salt. Pour into an ice cube tray and freeze until solid, at least 6-7 hours. Blend ice cubes with milk of choice in a blender, Vitamix, or Magic Bullet. You can put back in the freezer for 20-30 minutes for a firmer ice cream. Top with cinnamon sugar and a splash of syrup, if desired. Enjoy!
AKA the “Stormborn, Queen of the Andals, the Rhoynar and the First Men, Protector of the Realm, Queen of Meereen, Khaleesi of the Great Grass Sea, Mother of Dragons, The Unburnt, Breaker of Chains, Princess of Dragonstone” Smoothie bowl.
But really. If you’re not currently watching Game of Thrones, you need to stop what you are doing right now and immediately binge watch all 6 1/2 seasons. I’m going to try to avoid any spoilers but I am still in shock from the most recent episode. The dragons! And the fire! Wow. What girl doesn’t want to be Khaleesi when she grows up?
Scroll down for the smoothie bowl inspired by the Mother of Dragons herself.
I had honestly never had fresh dragon fruit before but I picked these babies up from the Vietnamese food market and they did not disappoint! The texture is similar to a kiwi but not quite as sweet. They are either pink or white on the inside so buying them and cutting into them is like opening a present – what’s inside is always a surprise!
This has to be my favorite smoothie bowl to date. The creaminess of the coconut milk adds an extra layer that put this healthy lunch over the top! Plus there’s no dairy so it is completely vegan. Although I eat meat and dairy products, I find myself making a lot of vegan desserts and meals. It can’t hurt to at least minimize consumption of animal products – and in some cases I prefer the result to the butter and egg filled version!
Mother of Dragon Fruit Smoothie Bowl
- 1 frozen banana
- 1/4 cup canned coconut milk
- handful of frozen mangoes
- handful of frozen raspberries
- handful of frozen or fresh strawberries
- roughly 1/3 cup chopped dragon fruit or pitaya
- toppings: strawberries, dragon fruit, mangoes, coconut chips, almonds, blueberries
- Blend all ingredients together in a blender. Add toppings and enjoy.
Another delicious smoothie bowl! I’ve always enjoyed a good smoothie in the summertime because they are light and fresh. I recently switched from smoothies to smoothie bowls because I love that you can put in add ins such as fresh fruit and nuts that add a little crunch rather than just drinking something that’s basically liquid. It ends up being more filling while still being refreshing and nutritious. It’s definitely peach season in the south and these peaches that I picked up from one of the locally grown farms were sweet and delicious!
Summer Peaches and Cream Smoothie Bowl
- 3/4 cup fresh (or frozen) peaches
- 3/4 cup Greek yogurt (Greek Gods Honey Vanilla yogurt paired perfectly with the peach flavor)
- splash of milk
- optional swirl of strawberry jelly
- optional 1 scoop of vanilla protein powder
- toppings: I used chia seeds, pistachios, strawberries, and cut fresh peaches
- Blend ingredients together in a blender or Magic Bullet. Add toppings and enjoy!
Continuing with the blueberry theme of this week, I’m posting about this delicious smoothie bowl I had for lunch recently. It’s easy to make this recipe with simple ingredients that you probably already have in your fridge or freezer, and you can change it up depending on the season or your mood. I’ve started putting bananas that are starting to go brown into a bag in my freezer, so that I always have them on hand. Just make sure you peel them first – definitely haven’t made that mistake before…. 🙂 I added a little something extra to my smoothie bowl for a wonderful afternoon anti-oxidant matcha pick-me-up! The cool blue-green color of the mixture got me wanting to be relaxing on a beach somewhere!
Mermaid-Approved Blueberry Matcha Smoothie Bowl
- 1 frozen banana
- Yogurt of choice (I used Siggi’s Blueberry Yogurt)
- Handful of blueberries (I used fresh, but frozen works too)
- 2-3 tablespoons milk of choice
- 1-2 teaspoons matcha powder (depending on your taste buds)
- Toppings: I used blueberries, oats, slivered almonds, and coconut chips
- Blend banana, yogurt, fruit, milk, and matcha in a blender – I used a Magic Bullet.
- Add toppings and enjoy!
I’m back again to share one of my favorite recipes with you! If you know me at all, you know that I love desserts. You could give me pretty much anything with sugar in it and I would love it. So I find myself trying to make recipes that are lower in sugar but indulgent enough to feel like a dessert – and this recipe definitely delivers. The best part about it is that it makes only two servings, so I don’t have an entire pan of blueberry crumble to eat. It can be made with pretty much any fruit, and this recipe is even delicious with a mix of berries such as blackberries, blueberries, and raspberries.
Pictured above with a delicious scoop of Halo Top vanilla bean ice cream.
Blueberry Crumble for Two
For the blueberries:
- 1 cup of fresh blueberries (can use frozen, but omit sugar)
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1 squeeze lemon juice
- 1 tsp corn starch
For the topping:
- 1 tablespoon butter or coconut oil, melted
- 1-2 tablespoons slivered almonds
- 3 tablespoons oats
- dash of salt
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- drizzle of honey
- dash of cinnamon
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Mix the blueberry ingredients together in a small bowl
- Melt butter and then add the other topping ingredients and stir.
- Stir blueberries and divide between two greased ramekins. This also works in a muffin tin.
- Divide topping between two ramekins.
- Bake for 15-18 minutes or until crust is brown and berries are bubbling.
Today I am sharing my wonderful DIY photo wall. Having a feature wall is a great way to spruce up an otherwise boring hallway without spending a ton of money. I spent < $10 on mine. I love the versatility of changing out the pictures over time as I take new ones.
Right now mine rotates between Christmas cards, wedding photos, pictures of my family and nieces, etc. It this setup can be used to hang paintings, children’s drawings, artwork, in-progress projects, amongst many others!
You will need:
- One package of Eye Hooks with a screw end
- Durable thick (won’t droop with a lot of photos) but pliable wiring
- A ruler
To make the wall:
- Measure out where your screws will go. The width of your project will vary depending on the width of your wall. I measured from the outer walls as well as the distance in between the pegs just to make sure that I was staying in the same vertical plane
- Measure the distance between the two rows. This will vary on how big your photos are. Mine was approximately 8 inches apart.
- Attach the eye hooks by screwing them into the wall
- Thread your wire through the eye hooks, snaking the wire across until you get to the end. You can tie off the wire by wrapping it around itself.
- Attach photos. Be creative! You can do a variety of colors and sizes as I did or go for a very uniform look – such as with square black and white photos. I used office clips to keep my photos on just so I could easily rotate out my photos but you can use string, more wire, colored clips, or clothes hangers.
I’ve been going back and forth trying to decide whether to write a blog for a while now, and I finally decided to go for it. I love that we live in a time when we can browse the internet and become inspired by others and inspire others in return. This will be the place where I will be able to share my crafting ideas, photography, recipes and many other hopefully inspirational things with others! Please enjoy!