August:: 10 Things

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It’s the middle of August. I actually can’t believe how fast this year has flown by. When I start thinking about it, it makes me want to take a little more time to enjoy each moment. The past few days I’ve spent time with my sisters and my niece at my older sister’s house. These are the times that I will cherish forever! Because there is nothing like the bond of sisters!

Since my older sister is pretty laid back, I have been able to catch up on some sleep and just relax these past few days. Today, we woke up and decided to be active and went for a walk downtown. My sisters and I love seeing older homes, and I especially love their charm. I’ve decided my dream home needs lots of windows! We also got to enjoy random conversations about whatever came to mind.

It was also nice to be outside even though the heat is always a staunch friend this time of year. Also, the shots I took for today’s post were from outside around my sister’s house. Nature is beautiful.

So if your wondering, I decided to try posting something new! Basically it’s a list of 10 random things about me or things going on in my life. Barefoot Blonde does these types of posts, so I thought I would give it a try! She has an awesome blog, so definitely check her out: www.barefootblonde.com/.

 

1. Grow my hair out      

To me summer screams long locks of curly, wavy hair, and I so badly miss my own long flowy hair and milk-maid braids! So I decided after my last hair cut to grow it out. I just randomly had this urge to have long hair, and now I’m trying to figure out what makes hair grow faster… 🙂

2.  Permanently stop dieting- listen to my body- balance

This is a struggle I’ve dealt with for a long time. I’m an all or nothing person. So when I used to “diet,” I would diet all the way and restrict myself, which ended up causing me to binge eat every weekend and “start fresh” each Monday. So I’ve decided enough is enough and I want peace in my life, including peace in how I eat and exercise. I love being healthy, and I love the way exercising makes me feel, so I want that to be my motivation and not a perfect body. I’m also wanting to get more in tune with my body and listen to its needs, all while learning to enjoy treats without feeling guilty- AKA balance!

3.  Redecorating my room

Currently my room is a disaster… but I’m sorta ok with it since I’m currently redecorating and trying to get rid of some things! So I’m in the middle of updating and maturing my space. I’m transitioning from bright colors to lots of white and neutrals like gray, and I’m also using lots of wood. I’m also adding a few colors like a rosy pink, a deep green, and mint. I’m actually excited about it except for the small amount of stress that comes from all the decisions! So my current mottoes are ‘slow and steady’ + ‘only one thing at a time.’ My favorite thing about my room so far, just might be my new IKEA white, trestle desk. Seriously, IKEA is the place to shop cute, inexpensive furniture!

4. Favorite tv series

My favorite tv series right now is Person of Interest. I’m hooked, my family’s hooked, even some of my friends are hooked. It’s so good, and it makes me secretly want to fight someone. Plus I discovered that I love Jim Caviezel- nothing better than finding out your favorite actor is actually a normal person in real life and a Christian!

5. New favorite face product

Recently, I have struggled with break outs on my face. I tried everything I could think of, while trying to keep it natural. I bought a face scrubber, I tried apple cider vinegar, turmeric, home-aide face-masks, I did a 10 day sugar, gluten, and dairy cleanse, and I tried a natural foundation. I even tried different natural cleansers. I was just about to break and try Pro-Active, something I have fought for a while, when my cousin recommended Shea Moisture. It’s a natural brand for acne and so far I LOVE it. It’s extremely gentle on my skin, and I’ve seen an improvement since using it. Hopefully, it’ll continue to work!

6. Coffee mug

So I needed another coffee mug like I needed a whole in my head, but I wanted a special mug for my desk when I do my devotions and school work. I ended up getting one from Target, and I love it! I call it my heavy duty school mug for intense studying since its super tall, like twice the height of a normal mug. It’s white and has cute dimensional polka dots all over it.

7. Commitment- go to bed earlier

Getting beauty rest is definitely an over-looked health need. Since the beginning of the summer, I developed a bad habit of going to bed at 11:30 or later, but I want to commit to getting more sleep, especially when school begins!

8. Good reads

Good books are like gold. Currently, I’m working on reading some books that I would highly recommend. The first two are great Christian reads and the second two are good reads for buffing up on your history. Especially Of Plymouth Plantations, because it contains essential knowledge of the history of America’s foundation- the depths of God’s involvement in America’s foundation and in the people who founded America is remarkable!

  1. When God Writes Your Love Story by Eric and Leslie Ludy
  2. Your Best Yes by Lysa Terkeurst
  3. Of Plymouth Plantations by William Bradford
  4. The Wright Brothers by David McCullough

9.  Homemade hot chocolate

You will probably find this recipe in a later post but I thought I would include it. Last night I wanted something sweet, but I had all ready had ice cream and  was wanting something slightly healthier. So I had this random idea to make hot chocolate using some of my coconut sugar and it was so good! Like the best I’ve ever made and I think better than a mix! I basically started out with almond milk in a small pot and heated it with two stevia packets, a spoonful of coconut sugar, a sprinkle of sea salt, around two tablespoons of cocoa powder, some vanilla, and a teaspoon of coconut oil. Ya, it was delicious if I do say so myself!

10. One thing I’m looking forward to

I think by the sounds of my new “heavy duty” mug, you can guess I love coffee. I love it not because of the buzz, because quite frankly, I’ve never felt a buzz from coffee, but because of the taste and smell. It’s just a ritual for me to have a cup, and it makes me look forward to the mornings. Since, hopefully I will be getting my license in the next month, I’m looking forward to my many dates at the coffee shop during the school year- just me and my school books! Well, it’s not the school books I’m looking forward to, but I’m very excited about me and the coffee! I’m thinking I’ll need some nerd glasses to complete the look!

 

I hope you enjoyed this post, and thank you for reading! Cheers to the month of August! It means fall is right around the corner!

Psalm 118:24

“This is the day the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it.”                                                                                                                                          

Smoothie Madness

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All hail the smoothie bowl.

Smoothies are one of my most favorite healthy drinks. I have a smoothie at least 5 or 6 times a week. One of my favorite things about them, are all the different flavors and recipes! Smoothies can be tailored to satisfy any taste-bud! Among my favorites are chocolate and peanut-butter smoothies, as well as, avocado matcha!

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Today, I wanted to inspire your smoothie to go to the next level- all hail the smoothie bowl! ❤ Smoothie bowls are perfect if you want a smoothie plus a crunch, and you can literally pile them high with as many or as few toppings as you like.

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The key to any smoothie bowl is your frozen fruit. What sets smoothie bowls apart is the consistency. Smoothies are liquid-y if you will, but smoothie bowls are thicker and also smooth. So don’t make the mistake of thinking that ice will give you the desired consistency, because it won’t. Too much ice will hinder you from having a smooth smoothie 😉

Frozen fruit, bananas in particular, is what will make your smoothie bowl perfect! It’s best to take a couple of bananas, freeze them, and just keep them on hand. Once you have a frozen banana, the rest is up to your imagination. You can make a chocolate, a chocolate peanut butter, a vanilla, a berry, or a green smoothie, and then add any toppings you like. For my smoothie bowls, I like to start out with a cup of almond milk, my plant protein powder, a little ice and the rest of my ingredients, and then blend. The less liquid the better. So if your blender begins to have trouble blending everything, just add around a tablespoon of water at a time until everything is blended.

My favorite thing about smoothie bowls is that they are loaded with nutrients, and, if made right, have a good balance of carbohydrates, protein, and fat. Plus, there are a wide range a flavors.

>Down below are a list of suggested topping ideas!

Toppings:

  • berries
  • coconut flakes
  •  chia seeds
  • flax seeds
  • oats
  • buckwheat groats
  • granola
  • cinnamon
  • cocoa nibs
  • pepitas
  • sea salt
  • nut butter
  • nuts
  • honey
  • goji berries
  • hemp seeds
  • dried fruit

 

I hope you feel more inspired now with your smoothies! Adding them to your diet with the right toppings is a simple step to tastefully heighten your health! Enjoy ❤

 

Healthy Chocolate Cake?

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Chocolate? Um yes, please!

Chocolate is among my favorite foods, especially when it involves peanut butter! However, health is also a top priority to me, and most cakes, pastries, and other goodies on the Little Debbie aisle involve loads of sugar, artificial ingredients, and preservatives. Not exactly healthy! But part of a healthy lifestyle involves balance. Yes, it’s difficult. If you’re like me, food is a big part of most of the plans and gatherings I have with family and friends. And let’s be real, most days around the mid-afternoon, when energy levels are low from a long day and the coffee buzz has warn off, a sweet craving usually makes its appearance. For me I have learned to use fruit as a yummy, refreshing dessert on most days. However, every now and then you want something more. So today, I have a delicious cake for when you want a little something chocolaty! And best of all… it’s dairy and refined sugar free!

The ganache recipe is from Sweet Laurel Bakery featured on The Chalkboard, and the cake and icing recipe is from Hellobee.

Also, a BIG thanks to my sweet older sis for letting me borrow her fabulous camera- it was a dream!

Now to the recipe 🙂

Makes a small 2 layer 8″ cake                                                                                                     >>It’s is important to note that this cake doesn’t rise very high, so two layers is more like one really thick layer.

Chocolate Cake Ingredients:

1 1/4 c whole spelt flour
1/2 c cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
3 ripe bananas
6 tbsp unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
1/4 c maple syrup or honey
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 tsp vanilla

 

Cream Cheese Frosting Ingredients:

2 – 8 oz packages cream cheese, room temperature
3/4 c creamy peanut butter
1/3 c honey

 

Ganache Ingredients:

4 oz unsweetened baking chocolate
4 Tbsp coconut oil
4 Tbsp maple syrup
½ cup almond butter
¼ cup almond milk or coconut milk

 

Recipe Instructions:

1.) Beginning with the cake, heat your oven to 350° and grease two round 8″ inch pans.

2.)Next, add in the spelt flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, salt in a bowl and combine with a spoon or wisk.

3.) In another bowl, mash the bananas well and then add in the melted butter, syrup (or honey), egg, and vanilla. Make sure to mix well. You might want to use a hand mixer to make sure you don’t have any banana clumps.

4.) Once wet ingredients are mixed, add in the dry ingredients, and mix again.

5.) Pour the batter in the pans, and place them in the oven side by side for around 25 minutes. I would set a timer for 20 minutes and then check it every couple minutes after that.

6.) For the cream cheese frosting, place your room temperature cream cheese in a bowl and mix. Then add in your peanut butter and honey and mix until everything is well-combined and smooth.

7.) To make this to-die-for ganache, begin by placing your chocolate and coconut oil in a sauce pan over low to medium heat and let it melt.

8.) Once the chocolate is completely melted, add in the maple syrup and stir together. Then add in the almond butter, and stir well with a spoon. After you have stirred it thoroughly, you can either allow it to sit or pour it.

  • If you are going to drizzle or pour it over something, then you will need to do so shortly after making it, as it becomes thicker the longer it sits. However, if you are going to use it as a filling or to pipe, definitely give it time to sit and stiffen- maybe 20 to 30 minutes.

9.) After the cake has baked and cooled, pour, and using a spatula, smooth a thick layer of ganache on one of the chocolate cake layers. Then place the other cake on top. To keep the cake even, you might want to shave off any “humps” or “lumps” on the tops of the cake layers. Also, if you pour the ganache while it is still “liquidy”, I would recommend putting it in the fridge for 8-10 minutes so the cake doesn’t ooze ganache or slide around 🙂

10.) Next, is the cream cheese icing. Simply use the spatula to ice the whole cake.

11.) To decorate I used banana slices, a dollop of the icing, and sprinkled some whole bucket-wheat groats on top for a crunch! Feel free to decorate anyway you would like. You could pipe roses or even add some coconut!

I hope you enjoy this cake recipe! Happy healthy baking and eating!

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