Blending with Tea: Three Smoothies!

It’s been a while since I’ve posted any healthy recipes, but these were much needed. After a highly emotional weekend with ample occasions of eating my feelings, my body was in desperate need of something fresh! Plus, I had a full container of kiwis left from some kombucha I flavored last week that were desperately calling to be utilized (ha– I really do sound like a healthy blogger this week!)

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When I say I ate my feelings, though, I’m not referring to a nice indulgent dessert, a proper “treat yourself” evening. I’m talking about pajamas, ugly crying, graham crackers and tub frosting. That’s exactly what my roommate and I experienced on Friday–it was the night our other roommate Allie, our best friend, got married. We’d spent the entire day with her and her mom, helping her prepare for the ceremony and assembling the bouquet and doing whatever else needed to be done. It was such a sweet day, and we were both incredibly thankful to have been a part of it. I’ve blogged in the past about the preparation for Allie’s wedding day: it had been a long time in the making, and I was fortunate enough to watch every step leading up to it. I was sitting with Allie on her living room floor when she initially told me about some guy named Kenny she really wanted to get to know. I was there the night she sent her first text, helping her engineer the perfect message before she hit send. She’d come over to my apartment to figure out what to wear on their first date, and I’d enjoyed dinner with them minutes before he proposed. I watched them get to know each other, fall in love, and make the decision to spend their lives growing in that love for each other and for Christ. My best friend, the one who used to giggle with me about crushes over sushi and Disney movies, became a wife this weekend.

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So, needless to say, after tearfully watching our best friend drive away from our porch and into her new chapter of life that night, Annie and I couldn’t race to the pantry fast enough.

Our recovery time wasn’t long, though, because after staying in an Airbnb for a night, the newlyweds returned just in time for us to drive them to the airport and say goodbye–for good. They were heading off on their honeymoon and then directly to California for the summer. I struggled to hold it together during the car ride, Allie’s arm tightly around my shoulders in the backseat. I became frustrated with my own mind, which decided to eagerly bring back every wonderful memory I’d ever shared with her to add to the sting of the occasion. We all laughed and chatted, filling up any silence that arose or tears that threatened to arrive early. When Annie asked what airline they were flying, I felt an emptiness unfold in my stomach with the realization that it was actually happening. She gathered her bags as the car came to a stop and picked the perfect airport mask. I followed her out onto the sidewalk, and the four of us tallied up their luggage before initiating the inevitably lengthy series of hugs: Allie and me, Annie and Kenny, me and Kenny, Allie and Annie, Allie and Annie and me, all four of us.

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You can always tell when it’s the last one, though. I’ve experienced enough goodbyes to know the feeling–the hug that’s just a little bit tighter and a little bit longer, the one that has to make up for all the hugs you suddenly realize you won’t have after it. Well, we eventually got to that hug, Allie and me. Another thing about goodbyes is that they instantly make you aware, in one moment, of everything you wish you had said or could say now to someone, all at the same time. As I hugged her, I wished that I would have told Allie more often how her friendship is the deepest I’ve ever experienced outside of family. How she challenges me, loves me, cares for me, and teaches me more than I could ever explain. How I have such admiration for her pursuit of the Lord, her heart for the  students she works with, her selflessness. How she cried with me and laughed with me and held me through my lowest moments. How she doesn’t have even a fraction of an idea just how beautiful she is. How, regardless of where our lives take us, I’ll never forget the experiences we walked through together throughout these last four years. IMG_3266

But I couldn’t say anything in the moment, let alone all of that. Instead we both said a lot of I love you’s, blinked through our soaked eyelashes, and finally stepped apart. As I watched her walk towards the airport, away from me and Annie and a pretty hefty chapter of our lives, my heart felt just about as heavy as I’d expected. When she finally turned her gaze away, though, Allie grabbed Kenny’s arm and dropped her head onto his shoulder; and even though that painfully symbolic gesture could have felt like salt in the wound of our goodbye, it didn’t. Kenny is the reason that I was able to make it through this weekend. Allie didn’t walk away from us on her own that afternoon–she walked away clinging to a person who adores her, who loves her unconditionally, who I know without a doubt will build a life with her rooted in faith and loyalty. What more could I ask for my best friend?IMG_3211

And while that doesn’t negate the need for frosting and graham crackers, it does reassure me that, through the sadness, everything really is going to be okay. For all of those tackling goodbyes in an already difficult time, I feel for you. Know that no amount of devastation can steal your sweet memories (or your sweet frosting 🙂 ).

 

For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

2 Corinthians 4:17-18

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Tea Smoothies!

Ingredients

KIWI MINT SMOOTHIE

  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1 mint tea bag (I used Twinings green mint)
  • 2 kiwis, peeled, chopped and frozen
  • 1 packet stevia
  • 1/2 cup Greek Yogurt (frozen in ice cube trays for a frozen smoothie)

BLUEBERRY PASSION SMOOTHIE

  • 1/2 cup plus 2 TBSP almond milk
  • 1 Tazo “Passion” tea bag
  • 1/2 cup frozen blueberries
  • 1 packet stevia
  • 1/2 cup Greek Yogurt (frozen in ice cube trays for a frozen smoothie)

LOADED BERRY SMOOTHIE

  • 1/2 cup plus 2 TBSP almond milk
  • 1 Trader Joe’s “Berries and Cherries” tea bag
  • 1/2 cup frozen raspberries
  • 1 packet stevia
  • 1/2 cup Greek Yogurt (frozen in ice cube trays for a frozen smoothie)

Instructions

  1. Heat the almond milk, add the tea bag, and allow to steep until milk is cold. Squeeze out tea bag and throw away, stir the brewed milk, and refrigerate until ready to use.
  2. Blend the tea, fruit, Greek Yogurt, and stevia in a blender or Nutribullet. Add more of any ingredient as desired to taste. Enjoy!

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Chocolate, Raspberry, Matcha, “Succulents” (V) 

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Though this week’s recipe is one of plants and sweetness and life, today I write with a heaviness. Over 24 hours, there were two mass shootings in our country: one in El Paso, Texas; and one in Dayton, Ohio. I’m not sure which is more tragic: the sheer number of lives lost to gun violence today, or the fact that a death toll of that magnitude doesn’t even really surprise us anymore.

I, along with many, am beyond frustrated with the lack of progress being made to prevent these incidents from occurring, to establish adequate limitations on guns. Waiting for the accomplishment of any significant change in Washington, let alone one so politically charged as gun rights, can seem hopeless. But while we may not have the ability to change the disheartening pace of lawmaking, we must never forget the abilities we do have, the voice we each possess.

This is my way of speaking through the hopelessness. These words and my prayers go out to the families of the 29 innocent people who died yesterday and today.

Hands

20 people died in a Texas Walmart today

I didn’t know

But I pretended I did 

When my neighbor mentioned how horrible

it was

 

20 minutes later I sit in Highland Park Community Garden

Content among the drooping tomato plants

So laden with fruit that 

I imagine

With one accidental bump

They’d send red and green heaps 

cascading to the ground below

 

I imagine 

the hands that raised these tomatoes

coaxed perfect bright bulbs 

out of seed and sprout 

I imagine my mother’s hands

deep in the dirt of our own garden

packing plants gently 

Into their new homes

her fingers folded around the stems

with a firm but tender touch   

 

Maybe it’s my mother’s fault

that I can’t imagine

Hands

wrapped around the 

cold, hard barrel of 

a gun

Something that’s nothing

 

like tomatoes

 

in her hands,

hands rough with the 

soil and sweat and

Love 

from months of waiting

watering, weeding

Nurturing

Until the first fruit was ready to fall

Into the cup of her

Sweet, selfless fingers

 

My mother’s hands taught me patience

 

The sun drags the blanket of dusk

Across the leafy sea before me and

I let it pull my eyelids heavy 

let the shadow cool my feet, legs, face, 

Hands

 

Growing

Producing

tomatoes in this garden

widows in Texas

 

Maybe it’s my mother’s fault

That I only needed one minute of grief

For each victim

before my life resumed

before my imagination

gave up 

trying to imagine 

as I sat with the tomatoes 

40 hands

Pulling out black shirts and dresses

From the backs of 

closets

 

 

 

 

Therefore I want the men everywhere to pray, lifting up holy hands without anger or disputing.

1 Timothy 2:8

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Chocolate, Raspberry, Matcha, “Succulents” (V)

This interactive dessert brings not only the vibrant flavors of matcha, raspberries, and chocolate–but it re-invents the beloved “worms and dirt” of childhood snack time. 

Ingredients

  • 1 cup cashews (soaked overnight or boiled for 20 minutes)
  • 2 TBSP plus 1 tsp dark cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 TBSP almond milk
  • 5 dates 
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 TBSP vegan butter (earth balance is great)
  • 1 TBSP matcha powder
  • 8 vegan marshmallows (I use Trader Joe’s Brand)
  • 1 1/2 cups puffed rice cereal
  • crushed chocolate sandwich cookies (scrape out frosting, and eat it if you’re me)
  • raspberries

Instructions

  1. Make “pudding”: place soaked cashews, dates, and almond milk in cup of a Nutribullet or bowl of a small food processor. Pulse until smooth.
  2. Add cocoa powder and salt. Blend until incorporated, stirring as needed. Keep in fridge until ready to use.
  3. Make “succulents”: combine butter and matcha powder in a microwavable bowl. Microwave until butter is melted; stir matcha powder until incorporated.
  4. Add marshmallows to bowl; microwave for about 1 minute, stirring halfway through with a spoon. (Grease spoon with oil or shortening to prevent sticking)
  5. Add rice cereal, and stir. When cool enough, turn out the mixture onto a counter or tray lined with parchment paper. Grease your hands, and continue to mix (be careful, it can be hot).
  6. Press mixture out onto parchment, and allow to cool to about room temperature. Mold them into desired plant shapes.
  7. Assemble: in a pot, bowl, or shallow tray, spoon “pudding” to coat the bottom. Press raspberries throughout the “pudding,” leaving a few to make flowers.
  8. Sprinkle crushed cookies onto the raspberries/chocolate to cover completely and form “dirt.”
  9. Arrange sculpted “succulents” on top of the cookie crumbles.
  10. Split/layer remaining raspberries to make “flowers.”
  11. Enjoy! Keep in fridge if saving for the next day.

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