Simple Coffee Protein Smoothie

I’d like to say that my love for smoothies knows no season but I found myself slipping away from them during the wintertime.  I felt cravings for fresh fruit and creamy flavors but opted for breakfasts of oatmeal most days, instead.  If the weather seemed mild, I’d make a cup of hot tea and drink my smoothie underneath a blanket on my couch.  The hot and cold drinks allowed me to sip on my beloved smoothie without turning my insides into ice cubes.

Now that the worst of the cold days are behind us, I am sharing one of my favorite smoothies that I was sipping in the winter and into spring.  It is also the perfect pick-me-up any time of year.  Coffee is special like that 🙂

Simple Coffee Protein Smoothie

I usually opt to drink decaf most of the time because the caffeine from coffee is almost impossible for me to tolerate.  Call me a wimp but I just feel jittery and unstable after a mere half cup.  You can totally use regular coffee but make sure it is cooled first because, otherwise, it might melt the ice cubes and reduce the frostiness of the smoothie.  Oh, and do not pass up on the ice cubes! They really make all the difference in this frosty smoothie.

Notice the keyword: frosty.  I can’t stand thin, watery smoothies.  Super thick and creamy is how I like ‘em usually.  The exception is this smoothie.  It isn’t quite as thick or richly creamy, but it is frosty! It is a very refreshing choice and way healthier than a frappuccino, just saying.

As always, leave me a comment if you try it out.  I’d like to know what smoothies you’re drinking on these spring days.

Simple Coffee Protein Smoothie

Simple Coffee Protein Smoothie
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Recipe type: Breakfast, Snacks
Cuisine: American, Vegetarian, Vegan
Author:
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 1 smoothie
Adapted from a Tone it Up recipe, this Coffee Smoothie is easy to make and full of frosty deliciousness!
Ingredients
  • 1 cup of decaf/coffee ice cubes, about 5 cubes*
  • ½ large banana, frozen
  • ½ cup of decaf or regular coffee, cooled
  • ½ cup of cashew milk**
  • 2 scoops of Chocolate Protein Powder***
Instructions
  1. If you have a strong blender, then toss all of the ingredients in and blend away!
  2. If not, I’d recommend blitzing the ice cubes with the coffee and banana first. Then, add in the cashew milk and protein powder. Once it looks like it is all combined and starting to get a little frothy, you are done. Drink up!
Notes
Prep time does not include freezing the ice cubes or brewing coffee
*Simply, pour brewed coffee into an ice cube try and let freeze overnight.
**Can sub other milk but I like the creaminess of cashew milk
***I used Nuzest USA’s plant-based Chocolate Protein Powder. Not all protein powders get frothy when blended. For example, I don’t recommend ALOHA in this smoothie. You can sub other plant-based powders like Perfect Fit but there may be slight variations in thickness.

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Live Nomva Smoothie Packs Review

Recently, I got the opportunity to sample several of Live Nomva’s probiotic smoothie packs.  These little packs are pure health pureed into a drinkable form.  I find them perfect for on-the-go and also an easy way to squeeze (literally!) some healthy fruits and veggies into my day.

Live Nomva Smoothie Packs
Photo from Live Nomva’s website

I tried out the following smoothie pack flavors:

KALE YEAH

STRAWNANA

TROPICARROT

APPLESTACK

EVERBERRY

At the time I tried these out, they had not yet release their ISLANDTIME flavor.   Nonetheless, I really liked the flavors I did try!  They’re basically like applesauce in texture but better! The packs are made with awesome ingredients ranging from banana to kale to apples to quinoa.

To begin with, the TROPICARROT flavor was probably my favorite.  It is made of pineapple, carrot, mango, and pear.  Unfortunately, I do not have a picture of how I used that pack because I literally guzzled that baby down in a minute because it was that good!  For all of the other flavors (that I could exercise a bit more restraint with) I managed to take some pictures:

STRAWNANA Live Nomva Smoothie Pack Chia Pudding Parfait

The STRAWNANA flavor went excellently in a coconut chia pudding, granola, and strawberries parfait that I put together.

EVERBERRY Live Nomva Smoothie Pack Chia Pudding Parfait

I also used their EVERBERRY flavor as a layer in yet another chia pudding parfait.  I mixed in some Puffins cereal, strawberries, and kiwi this time.  Super yum!

Admittedly, you could make your own smoothie and use that in a parfait but it’s hard to make just a small amount of smoothie.  So, these packs are the perfect size!!  I love adding the Nomva smoothie packs to parfaits and other concoctions but they are so delicious on their own.  Plus, they are free from dairy, tree nuts, preservatives, or anything funky.  Pure organic fruit and vegetables + vegan friendly probiotics!

Let’s talk about the probiotics for a sec.  As a mostly plant-based eater, I do not consume yogurt regularly.  That used to be my main source of probiotics.  Sometimes I drink kombucha or eat sauerkraut but these Live Nomva smoothies are totally easy and safe to consume daily because they are made with wholesome, organic produce.  Now, I can get behind that.

Live Nomva KALE YEAH: Productivity Fuel

Twice, I tried the KALE YEAH flavor on an occasion when I felt like I needed a pick-me-up but my stomach was feeling a bit off.  All of the nutritious ingredients and probiotics definitely helped me feel reenergized!

Check out the Live Nomva website to see more about their smoothie pack flavors and find out where you can buy them locally.  I believe you can even get a $1 off coupon to try out their product when you visit their website.

Have you guys tried the Nomva smoothie packs?  If so, what did you think?  As always, I’d love to hear your opinions.

Xoxo,

Melanie

 

DISCLAIMER: The Live Nomva smoothie packs were sent to me as a giveaway prize package.  I am not under any obligation to promote or endorse this product.  I truly enjoyed them so I just want to share my review.

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Zucchini Smoothie Bowl

Zucchini Smoothie Bowl

When I was younger, I was not a fan of vegetables.  Like, at all.  Occasionally I would eat salad out of necessity to add color to my plate.  Though, I was definitely disappointed to learn that my favorite tomatoes and potatoes were not really even actual vegetables!

I’ve come a long way since then.

Heck, I’m all about the plant-based lifestyle these days.

Zucchini Smoothie Bowl

I am a big fan of fruit and always have been.  Though, I know I can go a little overboard on it sometimes so I’m making efforts to incorporate more vegetables into my meals.  Lunch and dinner are easier but breakfast is not usually the place this sweets-lover thinks of eating a vegetable.

A handful of greens can usually sneak by in a smoothie but there’s no disguising the taste.  Zucchini, on the other hand, is basically water.  When frozen, the zucchini adds some frosty thickness to any smoothie or, my fave, a smoothie bowl.

It’s the perfect bowl for getting in some vegetables and keeping sugar intake low.

Many times smoothie bowls can pack a sugar punch but not this one.  You may want to opt for some sweet toppings or peanut butter 😜 because the bowl itself isn’t very sweet.  Let me know what you think if you try it out!

Zucchini Smoothie Bowl

Zucchini Smoothie Bowl
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Recipe type: Breakfast
Cuisine: Vegan, Vegetarian
Author:
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 1 smoothie bowl
A great smoothie bowl for getting in some veggies, greens, berries, and fruit all in one. Yet, it is lower in sugar than traditional fruit-only smoothies. Many times smoothie bowls can pack a sugar punch but not this one. Opt for a few sweet toppings on top, instead.
Ingredients
  • ¼ cup water, beet juice, or milk of choice
  • 1 small handful of baby kale (1/2 cup)
  • 1 serving of protein powder (I used Nativas Naturals Vanilla)
  • ½ medium frozen zucchini (chopped into 3-4 pieces to make it easier on your blender)
  • 1 medium frozen banana, ripe is best
  • ¼-1/3 cup blackberries, fresh or frozen
  • Topping ideas: kiwi, granola, ground flax, or peanut butter
Instructions
  1. Add the liquid (I used beet juice) and kale to the blender first. Blitz until the leaves are broken down.
  2. Then, add in the protein powder, slices of zucchini, banana, and blackberries. Blend thoroughly. (My blender isn't the strongest but it was able to process the ingredients without added liquid. Feel free to add a tablespoon or two of water if your blender needs some help.)
  3. Pour the smoothie into a bowl and top with some of your favorite goods and eat!
Notes
Prep time does not include freezing time for the banana or zucchini

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Quinoa Taco “Meat” Recipe

Salad with Quinoa Meat

When I was in high school, the cafeteria used to serve junk like pizza, spaghetti and meatballs, or hot dogs.  I like a slice of pizza once in a while but what I love is food that makes me feel good.  There was a limited supply of salads because the school must’ve thought no one would want to eat salads.  On the contrary, everyone would make a beeline for them right at the start of lunch (teachers included).  Every day there was a different lunchtime salad option.  Wednesdays used to be Taco Salad day.

My very favorite!

Salad with Quinoa Meat

You know the one.

It has a bed of lettuce, ground beef crumbles, tomatoes, black or pinto beans, shredded cheese, crunchy tortilla chips, and salsa.  If you order something similar at restaurants, it will probably come with some guacamole, too.  It has all of the yummy taco flavors but is totally healthy because there’s some lettuce in there, am I right?  Well, today’s quinoa taco meat recipe is inspired by my old favorite salad but completely plant-based.

I use a taco seasoning recipe from My Blessed Life which I then add to cooked quinoa, warmed up in a pan.  It provides the Mexican taco flavors but also adds a bit of protein and texture to a salad.  My favorite salad is shown in the pictures.  I like using the quinoa meat with a romaine lettuce base, cilantro, black beans, tomatoes, avocado, and a red salsa for topping.

It is so simple and find myself making this all too often!  Let me know if you give it a try.

Salad with Quinoa Meat  
Quinoa Taco "Meat" Recipe
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Cuisine: Vegetarina, Vegan
Author:
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 1 serving
An easy-to-make "meat" alternative to add some Mexican flair to any dish. It is the perfect base for beans, vegetables, or any other proteins you would like to add.
Ingredients
  • ½ cup cooked quinoa
  • 1 tsp taco seasoning (see notes)
Instructions
  1. There is not really a science to making the taco meat. I throw some quinoa into a pan and warm it up with the spices. Half a cup of quinoa to 1 tsp of homemade taco seasoning or store-bought should work, though adjust based on your taste for spice.
Notes
Easy Homemade Taco Seasoning via my Blessed Life
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp chili powder
Simply, mix all seasoning ingredients together.

Seasoning recipe can be found at My Blessed Life.

 

 

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Homemade Hanging Wall Wreath Decoration

Wreath

As winter tree branches begin to dry up in my backyard, I figured there must be uses for them besides firewood.  In my yard, I have large mesquite trees which are known for their long, limber branches and messy leaves.  I trimmed off some branches that had shed most of their leaves but were still slightly flexible (aka green inside).  I decided to upcycle the lovely branches into a pretty wall wreath decoration for my home.

For this project, you could skip over making your own wreath and just use a store-bought one.  Though, if you’ve got some trees near you and are wondering what you can do with their branches, then look no further.

I love rustic wreaths as they are but the branches can totally be dressed up to look more chic to fit anywhere in your home.  *I’ll include notes at the bottom for how I made the wreath itself.  Keep on reading to see how I decorated the wreath for hanging on a wall.

Wreath Supplies

I like the rustic wooden look so I only want to complement the branches, not conceal them. A long lace ribbon and some flowers helped me do just that.  I went with white but light pink would look lovely, too.  Use whatever colors suit your home.  **Also, feel free to use objects like bells, artificial fruit, or other knick-knacks in place of or in addition to flowers.

Examine your wreath and find a center point that appears to be thinnest (note: store-bought wreaths may not appear to have a thinner spot so choose any point).  The thinnest point on the wreath will be the best place to fill with flowers or other large objects.  So, across from it, we will want to start with the ribbon.

Center knot on the wreath

I tied a simple knot on a branch and placed the ribbon over the branches.  Each end of the ribbon should be circling the wreath in different directions.  I took one end of the ribbon and circled it to the left of the wreath, bringing it forward, up, and then behind the wreath. Bring it underneath the wreath and forward again.  Repeat until the ends of the ribbon make it to the top (thinnest) point.  Make sure to keep the ribbon flat, not twisted, for the cleanest appearance.  Do the same for the right side of the wreath, except take the ribbon underneath, behind the wreath, and then forward and underneath again.  Continue until the ribbon end meets the other at the top.

Wrap ribbon around the wreath

Ribbon-wrapped wreath

Extra ribbon for hanging the wreath

I had extra long ribbon so I tied the ribbon ends together to make a hanger for the wreath.  This is optional though.  Alternatively, knot the ribbon ends together or use hot glue to attach them.  Later, hang the wreath with a hammer and extra long nail.  You may also add a sawtooth hanger, like the ones on the back of picture frames.

Now is the time to warm up a hot glue gun so as to add artificial flowers to the wreath.  I went with three medium to large flowers.  I only wanted to add some to the thin part of the wreath but more flowers could be used to cover the entire wreath.

Cut off the stems and place the flowers on the wreath to check the position that they fit best.  Once you are satisfied with their placement, add hot glue to the base of a flower and apply it to the wreath.  Press firmly and hold for a minute to ensure it is well-adhered.  Repeat with additional flowers.

Artificial flowers for decoration

Hot Glue Flowers

Add flowers to wreath

Wreath

Hang and enjoy!  You now have a customized wreath that you can use to jazz up any wall space.

Let me know if you give this a try!

 

 

For the Wall Wreath I used:

A store-bought or homemade wreath

A long ribbon, about 2 ½-3 yards

Artificial flowers**(See post for alternatives)

Scissors

A hot glue gun

Sawtooth hanger (optional; I didn’t use one)

 

*If you are making your wreath by hand, use a large bucket to shape the branches around it.  Keep in mind: green branches are softer and easier to bend into a wreath shape.  Use zip ties to hold the branches in place as you layer them, intertwining the branches as best you can.  As I mentioned, flexible branches are ideal for this.  Layer the branches and zip tie them together until the wreath is as thick as you would like it to be.  Leave the zip ties and let the wreath set in the sun for 5-7 days, or until branches are no longer green.  Once the wreath is dry, now you can decorate it.  See above post.

Hanging Wall Wreath

 

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What’s in My Bag

Hello everyone!

Today is a bit of a different post.  I’m always intrigued to see what people carry around in their hand bag and I’ve got just the right occasion to show what is in mine.

Last week I went to an event on behalf of the State Assembly, which I intern at.  I get to go to all sorts of events happening locally that I wouldn’t otherwise attend (i.e. admission tickets are often upwards of $50).  My coworker invited me to a dinnertime Gala event for a nonprofit that raises funds and sponsors to care for homeless people in our community.  It is quite a worthwhile cause so I was happy to meet the founders behind the organization.  The fun thing about these events is getting to dress up.

Unfortunately, I did not dress up all too much because it was a really chilly night.  Though, the most important accessory to an outfit is the purse.  Am I right?  So, if you’re interested, keep on scrolling to see what I like to keep in my bag.

Liz Claiborne Purse

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have a Liz Clairborne purse that I reserve just for taking to evening events.  It’s a bit dressy but simple in structure so it is easy to tote around.  It fits the mess that I like to store in my bag and then some xD

For the above picture on the right, I’ll start at the top left corner: A travel toothbrush and toothpaste, house keys on a Mortal Instruments key chain, tangled earbuds, sunscreen, a KIND granola bar, nail file, coin purse, a cosmetics bag, pen, a compact brush/mirror, a mock Swiss army knife, Soap & Glory hand cream, and my wallet.  Yupp, that’s Rapunzel on my wallet.

I keep most of these items in my purse at any given time but there are some extra miscellaneous items that clutter my purse.  I’m hiding nothing!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Inside my cosmetics bag, I do not keep cosmetics.  I keep a Blistex lip balm, hair ties, Riccolas (I had a cold!), band aids, Tummy Drops, toothpicks, tissues, a towelette to clean my glasses, a Pacifica tinted lip balm, a Clinique lip gloss, TUMS, a Mary Kay purse spray, a Taylor Swift Wonderstruck purse spray, napkins + a pad (I always gotta be prepared!), a Bath and Body Works hand sanitizer, and a pill case.

On the right hand-side photo, you’ll see a bit of the trash that floats around in my purse.  I have flyers that people hand to me at events, a quick shopping list, a first aid alcohol towelette, a go macro wrapper (these are so good!), business cards, a dirty penny, and a baggie with mixed nuts.  Okay, the last one isn’t junk.  The baggie is a little ratty but I like to refill it to keep nuts with me at all times.  They are the best hanger-buster!

Also, I can’t be anywhere without my cell phone but right now I’m using it for photos so it does not appear in my bag.

I feel like I have a reasonable amount of things in my purse but it can easily get pretty heavy.  Though, I always say, I like to carry my life with me 😀

What do you keep in your bag? Do you only keep essentials or do you carry first aid alcohol towelettes, too??  Let me know!

 

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Gingerbread Stovetop Oats with Cashew Cream

Gingerbead Oatmeal

Today I was reading about NASA’s recent discovery of exoplanets that may be similar to our planet Earth.  It seems that they are in a prime zone for habitation and may even have oceans.  See the article here.  I don’t avidly follow space and scientific findings but something about the excitement surrounding the discovery of the planets really cheered me up this morning.  I think the optimism about the possibility that life may exist elsewhere is a really neat thought.  It is a wild thought but that doesn’t mean it can’t happen.

I have something a little less wild and not very space-related to share with you today: Gingerbread Oatmeal!

I know we are in the month February but who says the gingerbread flavors are only for November/December?  I’m still totally digging spiced flavors in my breakfast!

I must admit, I’m usually a much bigger fan of overnight oats than I am of warm, cooked oats.  It’s a texture thing.  One exception is this recipe for gingerbread oatmeal.  The molasses and spices are so comforting and delicious that it would be a crime not to try them warm!

Another factor that kept me from liking hot oatmeal in the past was the bland taste of it.  I felt it was necessary to add sugar to make it taste like something!  Hold your horses because there is NO sugar needed for this recipe.  We’re using the au natural sweetness of banana 😀  Then, we top off the oatmeal with some fruit of your choosing ( I like pear) and some delectable cashew cream.  I say we soak some cashews NOW so that we can whip up the cashew cream and this oatmeal for breakfast tomorrow! 😉  Who’s with me?!

Gingerbread Stovetop Oats with Cashew Cream
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Recipe type: Breakfast
Author:
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 1 bowl
A warm bowl of oatmeal, sweetened with banana, and bursting with the flavors of molasses and gingerbread spices. A comforting breakfast for one or double up, as needed, to serve more. Top with fruit of choice and cashew cream.
Ingredients
  • ⅓ cup rolled oats
  • ⅔ cup water
  • 1 medium banana (half mashed, the other half sliced)*
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • ⅛ tsp ginger
  • ⅛ tsp nutmeg
  • ⅛ tsp allspice
  • ⅛ tsp cloves (optional)
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp blackstrap molasses
  • 1 tsp chia seeds
  • 1 tsp ground flax seeds
  • Cashew milk or milk of choice, for serving
  • Sliced pear, optional
  • Cashew cream**, for serving (see notes for recipe)
Instructions
  1. Add the water to a small pot and bring to a boil. Then, add the oats, mashed banana, spices, vanilla, and molasses. Turn down the heat to a medium level.
  2. After about two minutes, once most of the water has been absorbed, stir in the flax and chia seeds until well-dispersed and cook on low for one additional minute.
  3. Take the oatmeal off the heat and let sit for a minute. This is important because the banana makes the oatmeal retain a lot of heat so it will be REALLY HOT if you dig into it right away.
  4. Serve oatmeal with the other half of the banana, sliced pear, a small pour of milk, and a scoop of cashew cream.
Notes
*If desired, applesauce could be substituted for the banana in the recipe.

**You will have leftover cashew cream if making this recipe to go with the gingerbread oatmeal.

Cashew Cream recipe is as follows:
¾ cup raw cashews
1/3 cup water, plus more for soaking
1 ½ tbsp maple syrup
¾ tsp vanilla extract
A pinch of pink Himalayan sea salt or kosher salt

Simply place cashews in a bowl and fill with water until they are covered. Let them soak to soften. I recommend soaking cashews overnight in the fridge but between 2-6 hours is all that is necessary. Once cashews have softened and expanded, empty the soaking water and add them to a blender or food processor. Blend up the cashews until crumbly, then add ⅓ water, the maple syrup, vanilla, and salt. The resulting thickness will depend on the power of your blender or food processor. I left mine a bit clumpy but blend until desired consistency is achieved.

Cashew cream yields about 3 servings of ¼ cup portions.

NOTE: Prep time does not include soaking time for the cashews.

 

Let’s embrace the last days of winter and enjoy the warm spices of gingerbread!

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Romantic Valentine’s Day Films Worth Watching

I know Valentine’s Day was this week on Tuesday but so many people I know are celebrating this coming weekend.  A common way to spend the holiday is watching movies with your spouse, partner, or just some gal pals.  So, for that reason, I’ve got some great movie suggestions.

I mean, how many times can we watch Love Actually? It’s a great film, I admit, but each holiday-themed movie list you come across mentions Love Actually.  There’s also film named after the holiday, Valentine’s Day.  That is a fun movie (and Taylor Swift comes out!) but there are many other movies that I think deserve to be mentioned.

I’m not going rogue here and suggesting horror films, though go for it if that’s your thing.  Romantic movies are the obvious (and my favorite!) go-to choice for Valentine’s Day, of course.  I’m shaking it up from the conventional and suggesting some romantic films that you may have forgotten about.  Without further ado, here are some films you should check in celebration of Valentine’s Day or just whenever you need a good romantic movie to watch:

Rom-Coms

1. Music & Lyrics (2007)

Music and Lyrics
Image via IMDB

Hugh Grant is a successful, but past his prime, lyricist. When a hot, young artist wants him to write her next song, he has a difficult time coming up with a hit. That is, until he meets Drew Barrymore—her fresh phrases are exactly what they need to write a winning song.

2. He’s Just Not That Into You (2009)

He's Just Not That Into You
Image via IMDB

What are the rules for dating in the modern times?  Couples juggle the messy world of dating with a multitude of avenues for communication.  It introduces a fun perspective on the idea that sometimes we need to trust our gut instincts in a relationship and stop over-thinking it all.

3. 27 Dresses (2008)

27 Dresses
Image via IMDB

James Marsden is a newspaper writer doing an article on Katherine Heigl, the woman who has been to 27 weddings and has been a bridesmaid each time.  As they spend time together for the article, romantic interests blossom between the two.

4. That Awkward Moment (2014)

That Awkard Moment
Image via IMDB

While this movie is more of a bro-comedy than a romantic comedy, it has a creative look at a dating amongst 20-something adults.  A backdrop of NYC and Zac Efron make this a film worth seeing.

5. Funny Face (1957)

Funny Face
Image via IMDB

The oldest movie on this list is not only a musical but a classic.  Audrey Hepburn models fabulous clothes and gets to dance around with Fred Astaire.  Enough said.

Romantic Dramas

6. Notting Hill (1999)

Notting Hill
Image via IMDB

Julia Roberts is a movie star who enters the shop of a charming bookstore owner, played by High Grant.  Another encounter throws them together and a relationship blooms. Roberts has to decide if she wants to go back to her life in Hollywood or take a chance on the love she found in Notting Hill.

7. If I Stay (2014)

If I Stay
Image via IMDB

A car accident put a talented young girl in a coma and she gets to decide her fate.  She had the perfect life but after losing what is most important to her, she wonders if life is still worth sticking around for.

8. The Fault in Our Stars (2014)

The Fault in Our Stars
Image via IMDB

She has lung cancer and he had cancer but now dons a prosthetic leg and a revived confidence in life.  The two meet in a cancer support group and become fast friends.  They connect over a book they both read and decide to take a trip to Amsterdam meet the author.  Romance, adventure, and unexpected circumstances make this teen romance a fun and heart-wrenching film.

Indie Romance Films

9. Stuck In Love (2012)

Stuck in Love
Image via IMDB

A writer finds himself in a funk after his wife leaves him.  The effects have rolled over to his children and their relationships.  The film shows how love can be messy but that does not mean it isn’t worthwhile.

10. 500 Days of Summer (2009)

500 Days of Summer
Image via IMDB

The unique nature of this film has the course of a relationship between two people split up into 500 Days.  From the beginning we have an idea of where the film is going but the intrigue is in seeing how Tom and Summer’s relationship plays out.

11. The Art of Getting By (2011)

The Art of Getting By
Image via IMDB

A boy in his last year of high school has breezed through his life nonchalant and without purpose.  He meets a girl who makes him realize he wants to care about his life and maybe even her.

12. Love Rosie ( 2014)

Love, Rosie
Image via IMDB

A pair of best friends, Rosie and Alex, have a crush on each other during high school but they don’t tell one another.  Their relationship never is able to progress after Rosie gets pregnant and hides it from Alex before he goes away to school.  Over the course of time, the two run into each other and keep up with each other while living different lives.  Their connection is still as strong as it was back in high school though so they could still have a chance at love.

13.  One Day (2011)

One Day
Image via IMDB

A one night stand between two people ends up being a meaningful but tumultuous friendship over the years.

14. Comet (2014)

Comet
Image via IMDB

A couple meets at an LA event to watch a meteor shower and we watch as a tumultuous, bizarre, and romantic relationship unfolds between the two.

Do you have some favorite romance films that I didn’t mention?  Let me know what they are down in the comments.  I’m always looking for new movies to watch!

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Valentine’s Day Smoothie Bowl

Valentine's Day Smoothie Bowl

Hey, so, call me cheesy, but I made a Valentine’s Day themed smoothie bowl.  I felt inspired by a smoothie I saw on Miami Wellness Club that used beets.  You might have seen my smoothie bowl on my Instagram but I thought I’d catalog this recipe here on my blog.

I experimented with some beet juice that I had from Love Beets and used that as the liquid to get this beauty happening.  You could also use the soaking liquid from home-cooked beets or plain nut milk.  It is healthy, fruity, and made a meal with some protein powder.  I used vanilla but I bet chocolate protein powder would taste equally delicious. Valentine's Day Smoothie Bowl

Let me know if you try this smoothie recipe out!

Valentine's Day Smoothie Bowl
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Recipe type: Breakfast
Author:
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 1 smoothie
A bright pink (or red) smoothie bowl in honor of Valentine's Day. It's healthy and fruit-filled and makes for the perfect breakfast.
Ingredients
  • 1 small frozen banana
  • ½ cup frozen raspberries
  • ½ cup sliced & frozen strawberries
  • 1 serving of vanilla plant-based protein powder
  • ½ cup Love Beets organic beet juice, more if needed
  • Toppings: strawberries, raspberries, granola (optional)
Instructions
  1. Add the protein powder to the blender first, followed by the beet juice and frozen fruit.
  2. The smoothie might be tough to blend but pause your blender and push down on the sides of the mixture to help it combine.
  3. Once blended, scoop the smoothie contents into a bowl with some toppings, or, simply enjoy as a smoothie on its own.
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Crispy Aquafaba Protein Waffles

If you’ve ever cracked open a can of beans and wondered what the purpose of the smelly liquid is, you’re not alone.  I know the liquid helps preserve the beans for storage but, otherwise, that liquid is just useless, right?  Think again!  Aquafaba, or the murky beige liquid that comes packed in garbanzo bean and white bean cans, can be used for a surprising multitude of purposes.

Now, just to clarify, I do not subscribe to a specific way of eating but I do aim to be as plant-based as possible.

With that being said, I have finally perfected a vegan waffle that utilizes aquafaba. That may sound weird but stay with me here.

In reading, I learned that aquafaba can be used as a binder in place of eggs in baking.  I have dabbled in that and gotten mixed results.  I cannot say that subbing aquafaba for eggs works all the time but, when it does, it adds a great lift to baked goods.  In waffles, the aquafaba helps the batter rise up into all of the nooks and crannies of the waffle iron.  It creates a very structured—not soggy!—waffle 🙂

I call these protein waffles because I use a scoop of ALOHA vanilla plant-based protein powder in them, though they can be made without.  Perhaps with a pinch of raw cane or coconut sugar added.  I highly recommend the protein powder if you can use it.  Alternatively, if plain waffles, sans-protein powder, are your thing, you can still use aquafaba and I’ll add some notes below the post for how you can sub out the protein.  I am also a fan of whole grain wheat flour though these can be made gluten free with a little tinkering.  Again, see the notes.

Now, onto the recipe!

Crispy Aquafaba Protein Waffles
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Recipe type: Breakfast
Cuisine: Vegan
Author:
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 1 waffle
An easy waffle recipe that utilizes aquafaba, aka the beans' cooking liquid, to make crisp, egg-free, and dairy-free waffles. I like to use protein powder in them but the waffles can also be made entirely of your flour of choice.
Ingredients
  • 1 flax egg (1 tbs flaxmeal + 2.5 tbs water)
  • ½ cup aquafaba (plus 2 tbs, if needed)*
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 scoop of ALOHA vanilla protein powder or other plant-based protein powder**
  • ⅓ cup whole wheat flour***
Instructions
  1. Make flax egg by adding flax and water to a small bowl. Let set for 5 minutes. You may prepare your waffle iron during this time by spraying it with nonstick cooking spray or melting a teaspoon of coconut oil into the iron. Preheat iron to desired temperature. A medium to high heat setting works best.
  2. Add aquafaba, baking powder, vanilla, protein powder, and whole wheat flour to the flax egg. Stir just until the consistency reaches a thick but well-incorporated batter. If using whole wheat flour you may need to add the 2 extra tablespoons of aquafaba.
  3. Place batter directly into the center of the waffle iron and seal it. Cook until the waffle iron signifies the waffle is cooked. Mine takes about 5 minutes.
  4. Carefully remove waffle from waffle iron and cool for a few seconds. I like to toss the waffle between my hands just to release the excess heat. Add toppings of choice!
Notes
*Aquafaba from home-cooked beans can also be used.

**Instead of using 1 scoop of a plant-based protein powder you can just use additional flour for a total of ½ cup of flour.

**For a gluten free waffle, replace the flour with oat flour and 2 teaspoons of coconut flour. Additionally, the protein may be subbed out for a total of ½ cup oat flour and 1 tbsp coconut flour. Do not leave out the coconut flour—it is really helpful to give the waffle structure.

DISCLAIMER: I am not being sponsored or compensated by ALOHA for talking about their product. I am merely a fan of their protein powder.

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