Wedding Stress & Oatmeal Banana Chocolate Smoothie Recipe

banana chocolate oatmeal smoothieLast night, I tossed and turned for hours while I stressed over tiny wedding planning details. It seems like every couple weeks I have one of these sleepless nights when my anxiety completely takes hold before my emotions simmer down again. Things always seem worst at night in the dark, don’t they?

We’re still more than 6 months away from the big day, but there really is so much to do. Other than our venue, we don’t have anything else confirmed! Now, we’ve made significant progress in narrowing down our other vendors, but I know I’ll feel a lot better when we have a few more deposits down and contracts signed.

My sister reminds me that I should spend at least as much time being happy and excited as I am stressed, but it’s really hard! I am so excited to marry Mike, and I know that our wedding is going to be wonderful, but there are just so many things that I need to get into place between now and then that sometimes, like at 4am last night, it all just seems so tremendously overwhelming.

Wedding planning has also been hard because it really makes me feel my mom’s absence. It’s strange, but even now, 6 years after her death, I sometimes almost forget that she’s gone. It’s that momentary urge to pick up the phone to call her, and lately such a strong presence in absence when I visualize my wedding day. To be honest, since my mom died, I don’t really think of her very much in my day-to-day. When she died, everyone told me that she’d always be with me, and would always be watching (kind of creepy!), but I’ve never felt that. I’ve really never felt her with me, but lately I’ve more strongly felt her absence.

This ties into my stressing lately when I have those moments of feeling sorry for myself because I don’t have a mom to help me plan my wedding, and I don’t have a mom to actually step in and take care of things, like moms do. Before she died, I remember talking to her about this. I remember wondering, “But mom, when you’re gone who is going to help me??” And she logically responded that I’d find differently people to help me depending on what it was that I needed help with. Totally makes sense. If I need help fixing the sink, I’ll call a plumber. If I need help with the seating chart, I’m sure I have a friend that will come help me out.

Her response was comforting to me at the time, but now I realize that it misses that moms offer a sort of help that no one else does; it’s that  comfort and assurance that everything will be ok, always. But even when I’m up all night stressing over how we’re going to coordinate flower pick-up, and who’s going to light the candles for dinner, and how we’re going to learn to dance, I do know that everything will be ok, always. I guess way down underneath all that stress and anxiety, I really do have that comfort and assurance somewhere deep within, so maybe that’s how my mom is helping me after all 🙂

Now I’ll follow that up with a delicious Oatmeal Banana Chocolate Smoothie that is wonderfully thick and creamy and a deliciously indulgent way to start the day.

The trick to getting those rolled oats smooth is to use a high powered blender. Having a great blender is totally key to putting the smooth into smoothie. A good blender can be a big ticket purchase, so if you’re unsure of which blender to choose this blender guide can help!

Oatmeal Banana Chocolate Smoothie
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • 1 cup almond milk, divided
  • 1 chopped and frozen banana
  • ½ cup old fashioned rolled oats
  • ¼ cup raw cacao powder
  • 1 handful raw spinach
  • ½ cup ice
Instructions
  1. Soak oats in ½ cup almond milk overnight, or for at least 1 hour
  2. Add spinach and remaining almond milk to blender and blend until smooth
  3. Add remaining ingredients and blend, adding more almond milk if necessary

banana chocolate oatmeal smoothie

Daily Green Smoothie – Weight Loss Goals

As I’ve mentioned on the blog a few times before, I love my green smoothies. They help set the tone for a healthy day, and they make me feel better on those days when they’re the only green thing I eat.

While I’ve been trying to go to bed earlier, I really struggle to get myself out the door in the mornings, and I think I’ve only ever succeeded once or maybe twice in making a smoothie before heading to work. It just doesn’t happen. So to make sure that I don’t miss out on my smoothie, I try to make a big batch once per week, so that my freezer and fridge are stocked and I can just grab-and-go.

I use my Vitamix to quickly whip up my big batch of weekly smoothies. If you don’t have a high-powered blender yet, you need to get one. No one likes a chunky green smoothie! It can be hard to figure out which blender is right for you, but Chewtheworld.com has done all the hard work in this great comparison of top brands: Top 5 Best Blenders for Green Smoothies.

green smoothies

Recently when I made a weekly batch, I decided to measure all my ingredients so that I’d be able to calculate the nutritional information. I’ve recently started using MyFitnessPal.com to log my daily food and exercise, so I wanted to be able to add a more accurate entry for my daily green smoothie.

Have you ever used MyFitnessPal.com before? I’ve used it here and there before, but I’ve found it hard to log consistently and I run into a bit of a challenge in finding that right balance of using it as a useful tracking and motivational tool versus getting a little calorie-counting crazy. That said, I’m giving it another shot, since I want to lose some weight this year for two big events: my trip to Costa Rica and, of course, my wedding. I have about 3 months until my trip to Costa Rica, so with some consistency, I should be able to slim down a little, so that I can look and feel great. That’s always easier said than done though, isn’t it?

My plan of attack is: green smoothies + MyFitnessPal.com + Kimberly Snyder’s Glowing Lean Meal Plan + my 10K training. While I try my hardest to make all of that fit into my real world life, which is also full of social events and beer and the treat table at work, while maintaining my sanity and perspective.

Daily Green Smoothie
 
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Author:
Serves: 7
Ingredients
  • 3 heads romaine lettuce (1025 g)
  • a few handfuls of mixed greens (20 g)
  • 1 stalk celery (400 g)
  • 3 pears (300 g)
  • 3 apples (370 g)
  • chunk of ginger (50 g)
  • frozen banana (200 g)
  • Vega protein & greens (60 g)
  • scoop turmeric (15 g)
Instructions
  1. Blend in 3 or more batches
  2. Add greens to blender with 2 cups of cold water and blend until smooth
  3. Add remaining ingredients and blend
  4. Refrigerate or freeze in mason jars (allow room for freezing)
  5. Refrigerate for up to 2 days

 

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Low-Sugar Green Smoothie Recipe | Sugar-Free September

low sugar smoothie recipe | sugar free september

It’s official! August has come to an end. I think we’re all in collective shock that summer flew by so quickly. Fortunately September ushers in many wonderful things: Fall clothes, cool evenings for comfortable runs and, of course, pumpkin everything.

And we have Sugar-Free September to get excited about! Have you cleared out your cupboards yet? Now is your last chance to scarf down that chocolate bar. Go for it because tomorrow we start 30 days of delicious sugar-free eats.

It’s going to be a challenging month. We’re going to get through it by focusing on all the wonderful sugar-free things we can eat, so there won’t be any time to miss those sweets.

I love starting my day with a GGS, so I’ve stocked my fridge and freezer with jars full of low-sugar smoothies. Now, I didn’t swear off higher-sugar fruits, but these smoothies are loaded with leafy greens and a big dose of hemp seeds. Hoping the added protein will stave off those pesky sugar cravings.

This Low-Sugar Green Smoothie is the kind of smoothie that I drink when I’m all enthusiastic about Sugar-Free September. Soon enough I’ll be sharing the smoothies I turn to when pumpkin spice latte cravings strike.

low sugar smoothie recipe | sugar free septemberlow sugar smoothie recipe | sugar free september

If you’re not used to drinking vegetable-based smoothies, add a ripe banana for a little more sweetness. If you’re already down with the green smoothie, then bottoms up!

Having a great blender is totally key to putting the smooth into smoothie. If you’re wondering which blender is right for you, check out this guide from chewtheworld.com: How to find the best blender for green smoothies.

Low-Sugar Smoothies
 
Prep time
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Fills 6 mason jars for the freezer.
Author:
Recipe type: Smoothies
Serves: 5
Ingredients
  • 2 heads Romaine lettuce
  • 1 large bunch kale
  • 1 bunch celery
  • 2 Granny Smith apples
  • ¼ cup hulled hemp seeds
  • 4" ginger root
  • Fresh lemon for serving
Instructions
  1. In a high-powered blender, combine lettuce and kale with 3 cups cold water
  2. Add cored apples, celery, ginger and hemp seeds and blend until smooth
  3. Adjust to taste.
  4. Add fresh juice of ½ lemon immediately before consuming

low sugar smoothie recipe | sugar free september

A smoothie a day…

smoothies

Last August I spent more than a month’s rent on a blender. A year later, I can honestly tell you that every single penny was entirely worth it, and I’ve been drinking green smoothies happily ever since.

In the spring of last year, Mike and I purchased a juicer. It was mostly his idea, since I’d never really given much thought to juicing, but once we brought it home, I was hooked. After about a week, I was noticing that my skin had cleared up and my complexion seemed brighter. Other people noticed too and I remember getting more “your skin looks great” compliments than I’d ever heard before. I knew the juice was working. I was juicing everything. Lots of fruits, of course, but also beets and sweet potatoes, ginger, onions and garlic, too! I had the worst breath, but the best skin.

I’d always eaten lots of vegetables, but now I’d really stepped my game up. I was drinking a few days’ worth of vegetables in a single cup, and I was feeling amazing.

I was bummed to see, however, that an entire bunch of kale would yield only a few tablespoons of juice. What a waste! Blending greens in my regular old blender didn’t work either, since I’d just end up with a lumpy, chunky green mess. As I got more into following healthy food and lifestyle websites and blogs, I kept coming across people singing the praises of this super-duper high powered blender that could make silky smooth work of entire heads of lettuce: the Vitamix. I loved my juicer, but I knew that I needed to have one of those blenders.

When it comes to paying hundreds of dollars for a small kitchen appliance, it can be hard to take the plunge, but I love this summary of all the pros and cons of the top blenders: Blenders for Green Smoothies.

A few months later, while Mike and I were wandering the grounds of the CNE, we were musing that maybe Vitamix would have a booth just as we rounded the corner and came right up on a Vitamix soup demonstration.

It was fate, and thanks to that perfect mix of impulsivity, an enticing deal and available credit we were the proud new owners of a shiny, white Vitamix blender. And that, my friends, is how I met the love of my kitchen appliance life, and we’ve been enjoying our green smoothies almost daily ever since.

Ok, this post was not supposed to be about my love affair with my blender. Instead, it was supposed to be about how drinking a green smoothie each day has affected my life. Like with juicing, the most immediate effect is seen in my skin. While I still get occasional hormonal breakouts, my skin is generally clear, soft and supple. The texture of my hair has also improved from being quite coarse and frizzy to much stronger and smoother. Although I still rarely wear my hair without straightening it, there were a few times this summer when I let it dry naturally and thought it actually looked quite nice and healthy. Continue Reading