Spring-Ready Smoothie Bowl

Procrastination.

Heard of it? Yes.

Experienced it? Yes.

Regretted it? Yes.

Learned your lesson for next time? No.

Unfortunately, this relentless noun is pretty much the only excuse I can offer for why I haven’t blogged in four months. That, and the fact that the plastic blue dishes in my apartment don’t exactly scream “photograph me.” For some reason, amidst my cost-conscious dishware shopping, I didn’t think to consider the Instagram-worthiness of my purchases.

However, there’s good news. I decided to procrastinate procrastinating (think about that) AND I recently saved enough money to buy a $4.99 ceramic bowl from Target that’s much more photogenic than its plastic cabinet-mates. So, I am now ready for my comeback post.

When I was trying to decide what recipe to feature, I considered a few different options:

A paleo pizza? Those buckwheat pancakes that I can’t stop (and won’t stop) posting on social media? The delicious smoothie bowl that I’ve been making for dinner after my work-outs? Then I remembered that I hadn’t yet found the funds to purchase the matching ceramic plate at Target, so my selection was quickly narrowed to recipes requiring bowls… thus my choice was easy.

BOWL-OF-PALEO-PIZZA.

Just kidding… even though I am now very intrigued by the idea of a pizza bowl. Maybe next post.

Until then, I bring you my new dinner staple. The green smoothie bowl.

Benefits of eating a smoothie out of a bowl instead of drinking from the glass? For one, it lasts longer. I can’t tell you how many times I have made a smoothie, poured it into a glass, sat down, chugged it, stood up, and shamelessly opened the refrigerator. Eating a smoothie out of a bowl with a spoon forces you to slow down and you feel like you’re eating a real meal (which you are). Second, pouring a smoothie in a bowl allows you to sprinkle on an infinite amount of toppings. These toppings not only make the smoothie 10 times more awesome and pretty, but they also give you that satisfying crunch that you need. Granola, nuts, seeds, fruit, cacao nibs, coconut… the possibilities are endless. So without further ado…

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Green Smoothie Bowl:

  • 2 Big Handfuls of Leafy Greens (Kale/Spinach/Romaine/Arugula)
  • 1 Spoonful of Tahini (or any Nut Butter)**
  • 1 Scoop of Plant-Based Protein Powder
  • 1 Cup Nut Milk
  • 1 Serving of Fruit (1/2 Frozen Banana, ½ Apple, 1 C Blueberries, 1/2 C Strawberries, etc)
  • Ice, as necessary
  • Toppings: A sprinkling of pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, granola, unsweetened coconut flakes, sliced almonds, cacao nibs, dried fruit, chopped fruit, etc.

** Note: I use Tahini because if I buy a jar of any nut butter, I dive my spoon right into the jar and it’s gone in 3 days.

Now, for those of you shaking your head and beginning to plan what toppings you’re going to get on your burrito bowl for dinner… I urge you to reconsider. Yes, I know people usually prefer something savory and substantial for dinner – like salmon, broccoli, and a sweet potato. Or a hearty salad. Or Chipotle. But think about it – after you eat your savory dinner, how long before you’re craving something sweet for dessert?

Guilty.

With this smoothie bowl, it takes away the craving to indulge in a sugary treat before bedtime, and it also satisfies your craving for something savory when you add a drizzle of nut butter or roasted/salted nuts and seeds (my favorite are pepitas and sunflower seeds).

So, what are you waiting for? Spring has sprung. Bathing suit season is upon us. And let’s be honest, your winter jacket probably isn’t the only thing you’re eager to shed.

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Chocolate Pumpkin Chia Breakfast Parfait

This fall I have seen pumpkin-spice lattes, pumpkin-spice butter, pumpkin-spice Pringles, pumpkin-spice vodka, pumpkin-spice shower gel, and now…. I have come up with my own pumpkin-infused creation.  Pumpkin chia breakfast parfait.  Maybe not as ground breaking as pumpkin-spice shower gel, … Continue reading

Mint Brownie Ice Cream

I’m going through Spain withdrawal.

I miss the beautiful beaches of San Sebastian, the narrow, winding city streets of Sevilla, and the outrageous architecture of Barcelona.  And as surprising as it may seem, after my less than appetizing diet while studying abroad in Sevilla, I actually miss the Spanish food.  More specifically, the helado. (Ice cream, for you non-spanish speakers).  I’m pretty sure I had a cup of helado every day while I was there, sometimes substituting it as my lunch or dinner.  It was a fantastic meal plan. The epitome of clean eating.

But now back at home, I’ve tried to avoid the ice cream and get back to my usual healthy diet of green smoothies, omelettes, and colorful salads.  I’ve been doing pretty well, but over the last few days I have been yearning for a rich, creamy cup of helado.  At first I tried to suppress the cravings, but I knew it was only time before I caved and bought the tub of Ben and Jerry’s.  Then, Friday night, came a great realization.

I have an ice cream maker.

I’m not exactly sure how I let this ice cream maker sit idly in my house for the past 5 years, but it has been there – lonely and cold.  And maybe it’s for the best that I didn’t capitalize on its existence five years ago, because who knows what my current state of health would be.  Nonetheless, once I remembered its fine presence, I took complete advantage of the opportunity to make my own ice cream (a healthy version, of course).  And I know you probably won’t believe me, and you will think I’m really exaggerating its success, but this dairy-free, gluten-free, soy-free, vegan ice cream was AMAZING. It actually tasted exactly like the real thing and was easily comparable to my helado in Spain.  So for you nonbelievers who adamantly insist that a “healthy” ice cream could never taste good, much less as good as “normal” ice cream, I challenge you to try out this recipe and taste for yourself.  I have a feeling you’ll be helping yourself to a second scoop.

Vegan Mint Brownie Ice Cream

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Instead of the 1/4 cup of cane sugar that the original recipe calls for, I used a small spoonful of coconut sugar. This less sugar-intense version was definitely sweet enough for me.  Even if you don’t have an ice cream maker, you can freeze the batter and eat it as ice cream, it just probably won’t have the same smooth ice cream texture.

I have a feeling that there will be many more ice cream posts coming in the near future.  But who can blame a girl? It’s summer. It’s hot. And the ice cream maker is calling my name.

 

 

2 Drinks That Won’t Ruin Your 2014 Resolutions

So it’s almost 2 weeks into the New Year.  You’ve been cooking lightly, exercising daily, and are feeling better than ever. You can definitely keep this up for 50 more weeks – easy.  You laugh in the face of those … Continue reading

No-Bake, 10-Minute Chocolate Heaven

Finals week has unfortunately, and quite abruptly, arrived.  All of a sudden, your life consists of hot Starbucks, carefully crafted Pandora playlists, comfy leggings and sweatshirts, elaborate Google Doc study guides, never-before-opened textbooks and… an empty refrigerator.

You finished the last of your groceries a few days ago and vehemently refuse to brave the grocery store for a restock. You will being heading home in less than a week – why waste the time? You’ll just eat out for the next six days.

Except, a tiny problem presents itself. Your refrigerator isn’t the only thing that college sucked dry. A brief peek at your desolate bank account reminds you about that pre-finals, de-stress shopping spree you gladly took part in. And that pre-finals de-stress happy hour adventure…. Uh oh.

Now you’re peering into the dark abyss that is your pantry shelf, surveying the unfortunate meal options you have to choose from. A slimy, black banana that you obviously forgot to eat, some mini boxes of raisins, a bag of mixed nuts, and… vanilla powder? ‘Why did I even buy vanilla powder?’

You get a little more stressed, quickly yearning for a decadent dessert to ease the tension.

Well, my friend. YOU are in luck. In just ten minutes, you can indulge in this nutritious, yet exceptionally delicious dessert that miraculously only requires your pitiful pantry leftovers… (plus a few extra add-ins). It’s vegan, raw, gluten-free, and finals-ready.

Chocolate Caramel Delight

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I would choose to eat this treat over a traditional piece of chocolate cake any and every day. I made it twice within a single week and plan to continue this trend over winter break. It’s roommate-approved and family-approved, meaning it tastes like the real thing.

So go ahead and whip this up as a post-finals reward or a pre-final energizer. It’s easy!

Roommate-Approved, Pumpkin Pie Dip

After a two-week long hiatus from A Smaller Bite, I am back and ready to share with you my new culinary adventures in College Park. It’s been a jam-packed few weeks of reuniting with old friends, getting settled into a new house, … Continue reading

The Ultimate Green Smoothie

I have finally decided to go back to the basics and introduce you to the first raw, gluten-free, and vegan recipe I experimented with this summer. It all began the morning after my first appointment with the health counselor, and … Continue reading

My 3-day, No Food, Just Juice Extravaganza

Last week, I was introduced to my best friend and worst enemy – the juicer.

During one of my visits to my health counselor, she suggested I try a short juice cleanse. I said I was familiar with the concept, and she explained that juicing allows your body to detox, gives your digestive system a rest, and also allows the body to absorb the nutrients in fruits and vegetables much faster and more efficiently than simply eating them or blending them.  With this advice in mind, I had been researching various juice cleanses over the last few weeks, but had not committed to going out and buying a juicer just yet. Juicers themselves are pretty expensive, and although I was eager to try something new and challenging, I didn’t want to spend my money just to realize I didn’t much like the taste of homemade juice.  Fortunately, an unexpected monetary reimbursement arrived at my doorstep last week, and since it was conveniently addressed to me, I found myself driving to Bed Bath & Beyond the very same day to buy the juicer of my dreams… or maybe nightmares.

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I made my first juice right when I got home, consisting of some sort of peach, strawberry, apple, and ginger combination.  It was then that I decided my plans for the upcoming weekend. I decided to do what any average college student would do over a summer weekend — a juice cleanse. I researched online and finally found an abbreviated 3-day juice cleanse endorsed by juice guru Joe Cross and also recommended by Doctor Oz.  It consisted of 5 juices a day, each juice containing a variety of different ingredients (all fruits and vegetables) that you could play around with and substitute if needed. With their convenient ready-made shopping list in hand, I ventured to the grocery store last Friday night to select my produce.  I could barely fit all of the fruits and veggies in the fridge, but after pre-bagging the ingredients for my five juices into five separate bags the night before, I was ready.

Day 1: I started off strong and excited, but after the 3rd juice, I was getting pretty sick of having to clean the juicer every single time I used it. By the time I finished cleaning the kitchen of the mess I had created from one juice… it was time for the next juice. And I wanted a sandwich.

Day 2: I had less cravings and actually only ended up drinking 4 of the juices because I was pretty busy and didn’t have time to be at home hanging out with my juicer all day. Also, my feelings escalated, and I began to utterly despise the cleaning of the juicer.

Day 3: I pre-made my juices in the morning since I was going to be nannying the whole day, and my cravings were horrible because I was around all the crappy food that the kids eat.  By the end of the day, my stomach was hurting and all I could think about was some amazing sandwich that I could not eat.

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And finally… 14 glasses of juice later, my cleanse met its end.

Transitioning back to food has been a little tricky because I am getting fuller much faster, so I’ve had to be extra careful when I’m eating meals to not stuff myself just because I normally eat more.  Overall, I’m glad I did the cleanse and would recommend it to someone who has lots of time and patience for the constant juicing.  Almost all of the juices that I made were really delicious, and I only felt hungry a few times – the rest I knew were just cravings. I noticed that my skin looked much better while I was juicing and I also noticed that I had more energy.  The only basic downfalls were the amount of time and energy put into the prep and cleaning of the juicer, as well as the food shopping beforehand.  The juicer is being put away for now, but I think that I might just have to try another weekend cleanse at the end of the month before I go back to school. Gotta get my money’s worth!

To read more in-depth about the exact cleanse I did, here is the link: Joe Cross’ 3-Day Reboot

Dinner with Grandma

After hearing of the passing of my Grandma this morning, I was sad that my family could not be together in North Carolina to have the proper memorial that she deserves. So I talked with my parents, and we all agreed that we should each do something small today to commemorate and celebrate her.

When I think of my Grandma, I think of flower gardens, crossword puzzles, and food. Surrounding her house in the mountains of North Carolina, were rows and rows of flowers, every color of the rainbow, that she would tirelessly but joyfully tend to. She also did crossword puzzles every morning. Crossword puzzles that I would try to help with, but ultimately fail miserably when I didn’t know the six-letter 1930s best-selling novelist or the nine-letter, 3 word meaning of certain latin term. But most importantly, my Grandma was one of the best cooks, bakers, and peanut-brittlers that I had ever known. Whether she was making homemade biscuits or danish teacakes, I would always follow her around in the kitchen as she worked away. And it is in the kitchen where I remember her the most.

Every time my family and I would take the 9 hour drive down to my grandparents house, there would always be a pasta dinner waiting for us. Now I have had my fair share of pasta, but for some reason, my Grandma’s pasta topped all the rest. The pasta in the pot seemed to be unlimited, as I scarfed down bowl after bowl, topped with her famous homemade pesto. Because of these pasta dinners, which were probably one of the only things that allowed me to get through the never ending car rides down there, my mom and I decided to make a pesto pasta dinner tonight…….. with a twist.

Zucchini Pesto Pasta:

  • 2 zucchinis sliced into thin, pasta-looking strips
  • Sea Salt
  • Pesto (my mom makes hers with some kind of mixture of parmesan, walnuts, olive oil, basil, and maybe a few others)

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And there you have it. No cooking of the zucchini required, simply mix with salt and it turns flimsy and noodle-like.

Pasta with pesto – who knew such an ordinary thing could fittingly celebrate such a incredible life.

Super-Filling Grainless Granola

I had a second appointment with my nutritionist yesterday, and after complaining to her that I needed a little more variety in my diet and/or more ideas for meals, she gave me this recipe and told me to try it for lunch, swapping out my usual salad.  She had actually made this recipe that morning and she proceeded to pull out her mini mason jar carrying the granola.  However, the granola mixture only took up about half of the jar and judging by the amount in there, it looked like I would be able to eat the whole thing in about four generous bites.  Needless to say, when she told me that it was so filling that it could substitute for my lunch and usual afternoon snack, I was already thinking of the 3 or 4 additional snacks I would need to add to my diet in order to compensate for this “meal”.

Well, I was wrong.

I made this “granola” for lunch today and also brought along an afternoon snack for before my workout.  Did I eat the snack? No.

The ingredients for this recipe are kind of intimidating and many of you will probably read this list and think – “Welp, don’t have a single one of those ingredients she listed, next…” But I actually use all of these things in so many of my snacks/meals, so I really recommend going out and getting some of them to have in the kitchen.

Ingredients:

– 2 tbsp chia seeds

-2 tbsp hemp seeds

-1 tbsp ground flax seeds

-1 tbsp coconut oil

-1 tbsp shredded coconut

-2 tbsp raw cacao nibs

-2 tbsp gogi berries

-1/2 scoop protein powder

-handful of blueberries

-1 tsp of agave or honey

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After putting all of the ingredients into a container and mixing, pour almond milk over the mixture until the liquid just covers it.

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Now wait for it……

BAM!Image

In just a few minutes, the seeds soak up the liquid and the mixture turns into a granola/pudding-type consistency, ready to eat! (OR, ready to be covered and taken for later).

I ate this slowly, over the course of maybe 2-3 hours, because just a few bites are deceivingly filling (that’s because it’s loaded with lots of healthy fats).

Just like the “Mounds of Goodness” that I posted before, you can obviously add or subtract any ingredients to make it more appealing, or to make it more do-able, depending on the fixings that you already have in your kitchen.

In other news, I’m off to Charleston tomorrow for a long weekend trip, so maybe I will find some southern inspiration for my next post! See you later..y’all?