Random recipe: Blueberry Spinach Smoothie

I never used to enjoy eating my vegetables. They were always so gross to me. My mom usually purchased frozen or canned vegetables and then I truly think she pulverized them. Overcooked, often with added vinegar (um gross), and if lettuce at all it was usually iceberg. I do not blame her, maybe it was all she knew. I was that girl in college that basically ate cereal at every meal, or anything white (mashed potatoes, corn, pasta) — you get the point.

Until Chris.

Yes, Chris changed my vegetable consuming life. Let me just say we rarely have frozen vegetables, and other than canned tomatoes for a potential recipe, I do not think we ever have canned vegetables. Fresh. Always fresh. We live in the perfect state to enjoy local farmers and their tasty bounty. I now crave vegetables, and make sure to have them during each meal of the day.

For at least the last five years I have consumed a green smoothie for breakfast. Usually it is this fruit version, or this chocolate yummy goodness. Lately though we’ve wanted to try new options to put in the rotation. Every version we have must contain spinach or kale. I think of it like having a salad for breakfast without having to masticate every piece. You do not even know you are drinking all the greenness. I found the original recipe on Averie Cooks, but have adapted it to my liking. The pomegranate juice adds a bit of tart in with the sweet blueberries. Oh, and for those of you that are grossed out by adding spinach, you cannot taste the spinach, but you get all the nutrients.

INGREDIENTS:
12 ounces frozen blueberries
Large handful of spinach
1 med/large ripe banana
3/4 cup  pomegranate juice (can also try blueberry, grape, cherry)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

DIRECTIONS:
1. Combine all ingredients in an amazing blender (my personal favorite is my trusty Vita-Mix and blend until smooth and creamy.
2. Serve immediately.

Bees do more than just sting

I am someone who spews a crazy number of analogies out of my mouth each day. Sometimes they are just all wrong, other times they are spot on, and then others just somewhere in between. In a meeting yesterday I somehow paralleled a situation with a project with the world without bees. How the heck do those compare?

Recently I read an article that shared if we let the bee population die off what it would do to the produce department in our grocery stores. See these images in this Huffington Post article. It reminds me of scenes from Flint, Michigan. Empty, non-existent. It is actually quite scary. I never knew how much we could be impacted by the lost number of bees.

Sure, bees can be annoying. In the summer, the patio at work where we often have meetings and eat outside is often swarming with bees. They literally land on your lunch and take a seat for a while. I think I even have a video on my iPhone of a bee eating bits of a piece of turkey on my salad. Maybe it was starving? I am glad my salad last summer potentially helped keep one more bee alive.

In all seriousness, bees are something we should dedicate more time to saving. Due to all the pesticides, chemicals, and crap we pour into the environment, they are disappearing faster than we can save them. While I do not know too much about the topic, it is one I want to continue to research. How naive I have been. Study up, otherwise your produce department might turn into a ghost town.

A few articles on the topic:

A World Without Bees

List of Foods We Will Lose if We Don’t Save the Bees

Are you a nitpick?

Are you a nitpick? I am.

This article from The Washington Post titled: “Carolyn Hax: A wife who gets things done is judged by a nitpicking husband.” I am the nitpick wife. Is it my dad’s fault? He ingrained in me to do it right the first time.

Why am I a nitpick? I make quick decisions often based on my intuition, but also based on the facts I have. I completely relate to the very first line of this article, the only difference is 9 times out of 10 Chris and I both believe that if it is worth doing it is worth doing right. A house project, a work initiative, a trip, whatever it might be, we focus on the plan, and put time into selecting the right options.

“My wife and I live by two different schools of thought. I believe that if something is worth doing, it’s worth doing right, and put lots of time, energy and resources into things I plan.”

We like to make sure we are both on the same page. If one of us researches, then we show the other our findings, sharing pricing, timing, likes/dislikes, and what we think the next steps are for the project. Yes, in essence we project manage our life, but it means there is no miscommunication. Take a weekend. Yes, this might sound sterile, but often I will coordinate all the different errands we need to do (and the list is usually long) and orchestrate where we need to go and when. It feels slightly militaristic, and yet what it actually does is allow for us to get shit done and the rest of the time is for relaxing. If we did not coordinate, we would probably not get what we needed done, and potentially never find any downtime.

I love the ending of the article too:

“As a person on the receiving end of this constant oversight, I can tell you the drip drip drip of disapproval is eroding your wife’s affection for you. I can appreciate my husband’s careful ways (we got a great mortgage rate!), but he has no appreciation for someone like me who knows when it’s just time to pull the trigger and buy some damn sheets instead of endlessly researching thread count. You’ve been warned, husband. Find a way to appreciate her ability to get things done or someday she will leave you.”

I agree with the author. I would never leave Chris and often I want him to decide on the damn sheets, but that is just a little conversation we have to move the decision along. We need someone in the marriage that reads the fine print, watches out for where we might be screwed, and keeps us on our toes. Maybe we are both nitpicks. Either way, I like us just the way we are.

No Plan B

I just read a heartfelt article from Fast Company called: “Anderson Cooper: Why ‘No Plan B’ Is the Only Plan.” written by Anderson Cooper himself. I have had a news-crush on him for years. I think it first happened after reading his book: “Dispatches from the Edge” that is about his life growing up and his career in journalism. Maybe because his integrity seems to ooze out. Sure he comes from a rich family, he knows luxury. How could you not when your mom is Gloria Vanderbilt. Yet, he chose a different route.

He chose his passion. How many wealthy kids choose to go and be in the middle of a natural disaster, war, riots, poverty, just to tell the story? Not many that I can think of. He has an interesting life. If you read his article, you will learn a bit more about him — about the loss of his father at the age of ten, and the suicide of his brother when he was in college. I love this idea that he shares:

“I’m a big believer in creating your own opportunity if no one gives you one.”

What if we all did that in life? How many opportunities would we bring to ourselves and the world? When did we stop looking for them?

Maybe I relate to Cooper because I have lost a lot of my family. Losing my parents at such an early age made me in some ways grow a shell. It made me realize that I had to look out for myself, and that there wasn’t any “adult” that was looking out for me. Sometimes I think we have this built-in defense mechanism that says oh my parents will be there to pick up the pieces, even when we are 30 and 40 and so on. That never was a reality for me. The words he shares to explain how he felt after losing his father and brother are exactly how I too felt:

“I wanted to become autonomous, prepare myself for any eventuality, and protect myself from further pain.”

While my autonomy means I still have a Plan B, and C through to Z, my story is different. My fears are mine, how I react to them is my story. I hope Cooper’s story resonates with you. You might just find a new opportunity opens up because you are looking for it.

Badass Witches

Sometimes we come across something that might be a bit out of our realm. We explore it, it opens our mind, and then we want to share it with others. I bet that happens all the time. Well, I suppose first you have to be looking at the world with an open mind, curiosity, and a desire to learn something new. I came across the blog: “Bad Witches” and a specific blog post titled: “Ten Signs You Are a Bad Witch.” It is an interesting read.

A line in #2 is how I live my life: “This may mean that eventually you go into stealth mode so as not to continually create alarm, but you don’t go stealth because you’re hiding or avoidant. You do it because you’ve got things to accomplish and only a limited amount of time here in the third dimension.” That is the way I see the world. I suck the life out of every damn day. I want to look back and know I did all I could.

#5 is a favorite: “You can always tell when someone is full of it.” So true, so true. I feel like my shit detector is always on, awaiting the moment someone goes on and on, and you think: “they are full of it.” Maybe I watch for that because telling the truth and trust are very important things for me. I cannot stand lies. Once they have started it is very hard to ever gain back that trust (at least for me). Mostly because then you never know going forward what is true and what is a lie.

Why else do I like this article? For many years I have had a strong passion for intuition and listening to the way of the world. I am very aware and in the moment to what my body is telling me and what energy I pick up from those around me. I try to always be very aware of the energy of the person/people I am interacting with throughout my day. Are they happy? Are they present? Do they need me to listen? Do they need guidance? Can I help them? Can I just be present with them?

While this article mentions witches (which is not a term that I gravitate towards) the ideas of being your badass self still resonate. Be your own badass witch.