Creamy Cashew Raspberry Smoothie

smoothie

I’ve been eating a lot of smoothies lately when I’m craving something sweet, and they always seem to satisfy my sweet tooth. Give this smoothie a try next time you want something sweet, but still full of nourishing beauty foods.

I picked up cashew milk at the grocery store this week to try for smoothies, and so far I’m loving it! It seems to give my smoothies a delicious creamy texture. I also love to use almond butter in my blends to add to the creaminess and make it a little more filling. This recipe is perfect for a healthy dessert or snack and is super fast and simple!

Ingredients

1 banana

3/4 cup frozen raspberries

1/2 cup Silk vanilla cashew milk

1 tablespoon almond butter

Directions

Throw all of your ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth and creamy. You can adjust the amount of liquid based on your desired consistency. Top with berries, fruit, granola, nuts, etc. to add some texture and make your smoothie more filling. I topped mine with a sliced fresh peach and granola.

I hope this inspires you to think twice about grabbing a cookie or a muffin when you’re craving something sweet, and instead try blending yourself a simple, nourishing frozen treat!

How to Make Everyday Chores Luxurious

luxurious houseImage via Tumblr

A big component of the lifestyle I am trying to promote here on Down to Earth Dreamer is how to make your every day enjoyable and fulfilling. This means taking pleasure in small things and adding enjoyment to the things you do daily.

The topic I want to discuss here today is how to take pleasure in everyday household chores by making them feel more luxurious. Here are some ideas:

Buy pretty, natural cleaners. I always feel much more motivated to clean my apartment when I have some new, pretty-smelling cleaning products. I love Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day products, especially the basil scented cleaning spray. I’ve also been wanting to try The Honest Company’s natural cleaning line. Purchasing yourself some high quality cleaners can add a sense of luxury to your household tidying.

mrs meyersImage via Northern Belle Diaries

Open your windows and doors. Let the natural light energize you as you work, while also airing out your home.

Dress nicely. You don’t have to wear stilettos and a dress while you do your housework, but it can help you feel more pulled-together and better about yourself if you put a little effort into your appearance. Put on some jeans and a comfy top, put your hair in a simple bun, swipe on a little lip gloss and mascara, and then tackle your daily chores.

Listen to music or a podcast while you do the dishes. This can actually be a stress relieving task because your hands are busy and you can use the time to tune out the world and just listen to whatever is coming out of your speakers. I love to listen to The Simply Luxurious Life’s weekly podcast for lifestyle inspiration and to make my chores more enjoyable.

http://www.thesimplyluxuriouslife.com/thesimplesophisticate/

Go the extra mile. Don’t just mechanically throw things in the laundry and shove dishes in the dishwasher. Be thorough and mindful about your cleaning. Remember why you are doing it – to provide yourself with a clean, luxurious space that you can relax and feel at home in. Go about your tasks in a way that feels as if you are actually treating yourself, like washing your sheets in a relaxing lavender scent and then making your bed to look cozy and inviting. Organize things like cookware and dishes in a way that brings ease to your life, and display things like pretty coffee cups or dishes that bring you joy.

pretty kitchenImage via Pinterest

Make finishing touches. When you’ve finished cleaning up your home, reward your efforts by adding little finishing touches such as displaying a bouquet of fresh flowers or lighting a pretty candle. These simple touches can make all the difference in making your home feel cozy and inviting.

home decorImage via Bright Bold & Beautiful

I hope this post inspires you not to rush through the tasks you do everyday, but instead try to add pleasure to them in any way that you can. Take the time and effort to make your everyday life feel luxurious and fulfilling.

Simple Ways to Embrace the Week Ahead

I hope your week is filled with sunshine on your shoulders and a warm coffee cup in your hand. I hope you make time to read a good book, and snuggle up with someone you love. I hope you savor the simplicity in each day and I hope you remember how beautiful you are.

Here are some simple ways to start your week off on the right foot.

Buy a bouquet of flowers.

flowersImage via Pinterest

Treat yourself to a drink at your favorite coffee shop.

Wash your sheets and make your bed.

Take some deep breaths.

Do yoga.

Paint your fingernails.

Image via Tumblr

Treat yourself to a new book.

Stock up on fresh fruits and vegetables for the week.

turningpoint2: Kara Rosenlund Image via kararosenlund.com

Put on an outfit that makes you feel beautiful.

Image via Glam Luxe Gala

Most of all, I hope you do everything in your power to add simple pleasures to each day and cultivate the life you desire, one small step at a time.

Blueberry Smoothini

Image 2

It’s a smoothie in a martini glass! The way you present your food can have a big impact on how enjoyable and satisfying it is, turning something like a basic healthy snack into a luxurious treat. This “smoothini” is a simple way to feel like you’re indulging while still enjoying the healthy ingredients in this recipe, such as antioxidant-rich berries and heart-healthy fats from the cashew butter. This sweet and creamy smoothie is perfect for when you want a healthy and refreshing treat on a summer day.

Ingredients

1/2 cup frozen blueberries

1/2 cup raspberries (I used fresh, but frozen works too)

1/2 frozen banana

2 tablespoons cashew butter

1/4 cup milk (cow’s, almond, coconut, etc)

Directions

Add all ingredients to the blender and blend until smooth and creamy. Add more milk to achieve desired consistency. Pour into a martini glass, top with berries, and kick back and enjoy your delicious treat!

*Makes one serving.

Image 3

How to Be That Girl.

mother teresa quoteImage via EllieLaneShop on Etsy

Imagine the type of woman you’ve always wanted to be. The one who walks into a room and instantly lights it up with her infectious smile. Who always remembers to send thank you notes and birthday cards. Who is known to be a wonderful listener and a best friend. The woman who is self confident enough to uplift others and never tears anyone down.

I have always wanted to be that person who leaves people feeling happier and better about themselves, and affects the people around her in a positive way.

Here are some ideas I have regarding how to have that infectious, uplifting personality that everyone wants to be around and that leaves people feeling better for having known you.

Smile.

This is the easiest way to spread love and light in your everyday life. Smiles are infectious and will have an immediate impact on those around you.

Avoid Jealousy.

Instead of resenting other people’s successes, praise them. Ask them questions about how they got to where they are. Compliment their achievements. Not only will it make them feel good, but it will erase any bitterness you had toward them.

Have Confidence.

If you are confident about your own decisions and life choices, you will be much happier for other people when they are successful. Take full responsibility for your life and live each day confident with your decisions.

Be Gracious.

Be aware of the things people do for you each day and be sure to thank them for it! Thank your friend for listening to your problems, thank your boyfriend for making you coffee in the morning, and thank the cashier at the grocery store for ringing you up. No matter how small someone’s actions seem, be gracious and others will appreciate your gratitude.

Small Acts of Kindness.

Not only should you appreciate the little things that others do for you, but do little things for others as well! Buy a coffee for the next person in line at the coffee shop or buy your mom some flowers at the farmer’s market just because they’re beautiful. Little things like this can have such a major impact on someone else’s day.

Be a Good Listener.

The art of conversation really is mostly about listening. If you are truly listening to someone, you will know what insightful questions to ask or what to comment on. This will keep the conversation going effortlessly and leave the other person feeling like their life and thoughts are of utmost importance, which everyone needs to feel sometimes!

Pay Compliments.

Don’t be stingy with compliments; give them out generously! Compliment someone’s career, their cooking, their cute shoes… anything that you genuinely mean. Compliments are such a simple way to make other people feel good about themselves and they will appreciate your thoughtfulness.

Speak Positively.

Nobody likes to be around that person who always has something negative to say. Be the one who puts a positive spin on everything, and people will be drawn to you.

~

I hope I have inspired you to be conscious of the effect you have on those around you, and to try some of these tactics for becoming that girl who spreads love and happiness in your everyday life! I would love to hear if you have any other ideas on this topic.

Blender Basics: Simple Tips for Creating the Healthiest, Most Delicious Smoothies!

Smoothies are one of my go-to’s when I want a healthy pick me up or a way to squeeze in some extra fruits and vegetables. They are super simple to make, so if you’re not a smoothie expert yet, don’t be intimidated. Today, I’m going to share some smoothie basics to help out beginners or to improve your blends.

fruit smoothie

1) The blender is important.

Having a powerful blender is key to getting that thick, creamy texture that I love in a smoothie. It also allows you to throw big chunks of fruits and veggies in there without having to waste any time chopping them up. Though the blender is important, you don’t necessarily have to spend your whole paycheck on a Vitamix. I use a Ninja Professional blender, which is about $99.

Here is a link to the one that I have:

http://www.amazon.com/Ninja-NJ600-Professional-Blender/dp/B003VWXXXK

2) Choose a liquid.

My favorite liquid to use in smoothies is vanilla almond milk. It tastes good with everything and adds to the creamy shake-like texture. If you’re not into almond milk, you can use regular (preferably organic) cow’s milk, coconut water, coconut milk, or even ice tea. Adding fruit juices to your smoothies is delicious (I love using orange juice on occasion) but it can also add quite a bit of sugar to your otherwise healthy snack, so be a bit cautious with this.

3) Experiment with fruit.

smoothie

 

Smoothies are so fun because you can get creative with your concoctions. I’ve rarely made a blend I didn’t like. Usually I will taste it before I pour it out, and just keep adding stuff until I like the taste! Some of my favorite fruits to use are pineapple, mango, blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, and peaches. I usually buy frozen fruit for smoothies because it’s cheaper, lasts longer, and gives the smoothie a better texture than fresh fruit. When you’re using frozen fruit, you won’t need to add ice either, which makes the smoothie creamy instead of slushy and icy (a personal preference).

4) Add frozen banana!

This is my favorite blending trick and the secret to making every smoothie super thick and creamy. It’s also a great use for those spotty bananas lying around in your fruit bowl. Peel a banana, break it in half, and pop it into the freezer in a plastic bag. I typically will add 1/2 a frozen banana to my one-serving smoothie. If I want to make more of a thick, ice-cream texture, I will use a whole one.

5) Bulk it up.

raspberry smoothie

This would be a good time to use some protein powder if you’re into that, or you can add some staying-power to your smoothies by adding a tablespoon or two of nut butter, a scoop of greek yogurt, or a handful of oats (like the one featured above). Another way to add some healthy fats and protein to your smoothies is to throw a small handful of nuts into your blender like almonds or cashews (cashews make it really creamy and delicious!). This will make your smoothie a bit heartier and keep you satisfied.

 

6) Go green!

green smoothie

One of the best aspects of smoothies is that it’s a fantastic way to disguise vegetables. I personally like the taste of vegetables, but I know there are a lot of people out there who shy away from the green stuff. Smoothies are a great opportunity to get a couple servings of glowing goodness into your body. I usually put a couple handfuls of raw baby spinach in my blends. You can also experiment with other greens, such as kale, romaine, etc. If you are new to green smoothies, spinach is your best bet since it blends right in and you won’t taste it at all.

7) Spice it up.

Smoothies are also a great way to sneak in some good-for-you spices. Cinnamon (antioxidants) and cardamom (detoxing) are delicious in sweet, dessert-like smoothies made with peaches or berries. Turmeric (anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory) and ginger (anti-inflammatory and stomach soothing) are great healthy additions to refreshing green smoothies.

8) Blend it!

blueberry smoothie

Blend everything together until you get the consistency you like. Sometimes I want a thinner smoothie I can drink through a straw, and other times I want it super thick to eat with a spoon like ice cream. Adjust the amount of liquid you use accordingly.

I hope these tips showed you how easy it is to make yourself a healthy smoothie for breakfast, an afternoon pick-me-up, or even dessert! They are delicious, satisfying, and the perfect way to get in some of your daily fruits and vegetables. Comment below if you have any other helpful smoothie tips you’d like to share!

Reference: http://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/wellness/spices-and-their-health-benefits/2014/01/07/4f074f24-6f2d-11e3-aecc-85cb037b7236_story.html

Simple Self Care Tips for When You’re Busy

relaxing

Image via Free People Blog

Lately I have been working long hours at a busy coffee shop, which is both mentally and physically demanding. Even though I am completely spent at the end of the day, I sometimes find that it is difficult to make myself slow down and give my body and mind the rest that I need.

I made this list to help myself remember to slow down and take care of myself when I’m busy, and I hope there are some ideas here that you can incorporate into your life as well!

Stretch it Out

Baby-downward-dog

Image via Yoga Retreats

One of the best ways to slow down and tune into your body is to do yoga or some simple stretches. When you’re working long hours or spending a lot of time on your feet, your body can become extremely tense and achy. Stretching it out is a great way to ease tired muscles, as well as take a few minutes to pay attention to what your body needs. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, just do what feels good. Stretch your hamstrings, neck, open up your shoulders, and do some gentle twists. Downward facing dog is one of my favorite all-inclusive poses, as it stretches your hamstrings, calves, back, shoulders, and releases your neck. I try to do at least one of these every day. (Remember it is okay to bend your knees in this pose if you have tight legs, and focus on moving your hips up and back, taking the weight out of your arms).

Legs up the Wall

relaxing stretch

Image via Shape.com

This pose is great when you’ve been on your feet a lot, and is also wonderful for your nervous system. Stay in this pose for anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes to calm your body and mind.

Deep Breaths

This tip goes really well with the first two ideas. When you’re stretching or relaxing into a soothing pose, it is very beneficial to use deep, restorative breaths to calm your nervous system. Deep breaths are an anxiety-relieving health tip that is accessible to you anytime and anywhere. Use this tactic when you’re stretching and relaxing in the evening, and also periodically during your busy day.

Drink Tea

Image via Venue Magazine

Tea is wonderful for your health and can have relaxing benefits as well. Chamomile and lavender are two teas that are known for their calming effects. My personal favorite tea is ginger, since it has a tummy-soothing effect and has other health benefits such as increasing immunity and relieving stress, which are all important when you’re busy and your body needs some extra attention.  Here is a link to my favorite ginger tea:

http://www.traditionalmedicinals.com/products/ginger-aid/

Light Candles

candles

There is something about candlelight that instantly makes me slow down and relax. Light your favorite candles while you do your stretches or drink your tea in the evening to set the mood for winding down.

Take Care of Your Skin

When you’re busy and stressed, you may experience breakouts, dullness, or dryness in your skin. It can also be difficult to make yourself take care of your skin at the end of the day when all you want to do is pass out. However, taking care of your skin is a great way to soothe yourself and relax, as well as ensuring that you can tackle tomorrow with clear, beautiful skin. Take the time in the evening to cleanse your skin with a purifying organic cleanser, followed by a soothing and calming moisturizer that can work its magic while you sleep. If you feel like you have time for it, treat your skin to an indulgent natural mask that will moisturize and purify your skin. You could leave your mask on while you do your legs up the wall pose to really give yourself some love!

Listen to Your Body

As a lover of fitness, sometimes it is hard for me to justify taking time off from the gym or my workout routine. However, when you’re super busy, it is imperative to listen to what your body is telling you so that you don’t get hurt or sick. If you are completely exhausted, it is okay to give yourself permission to rest. You could also choose to do some restorative yoga instead of an intense workout. Or maybe you do need to just sweat it out! The important thing here is to pay attention to what your body is telling you and not overdo it.

Make Time for Nourishing Food

healthy food

When you’re busy it can be tempting to grab pre-packaged snacks and meals. However, the best thing you can do for yourself when you’re busy is to make sure your body is getting proper nourishment. Take the time each night after work to enjoy a wholesome meal filled with lean protein, healthy carbohydrates, and lots of veggies. You could prepare a simple yet comforting meal of quinoa or brown rice topped with sauteed veggies and maybe some chicken. Eating a nice meal is also a great opportunity to slow down and relax for a few minutes. When you have a busy schedule, it may be a good idea to dedicate a few hours on the weekend to prepping healthy food for the week. Cook some quinoa, chop up veggies, make dressings, and make sure you have healthy snacks to grab on the go. This can make a huge difference later in the week when you’re exhausted and starving.

Drink lots of Water

infused water

I’m pretty sure I am never seen anywhere without my water bottle. Drinking water is so imperative to staying healthy and energized, and is especially important when you’re running around all day. To make it more fun you can throw berries, lemon slices, mint leaves, etc. in a large pitcher and have access to refreshing infused water throughout the week.

Allow Yourself Alone Time

relaxation

Sometimes when you’ve been running around like crazy and dealing with people all day, all you really need is some time on your own to tune into yourself and reflect on the day. Even if you have a family, roommates, etc, make it a priority to have some time by yourself to unwind after a long day. Set up a cozy spot in your home where you can read, drink tea, or just sit and be quiet without anyone demanding things of you. If this is not possible due to others in your house, have a ritual for getting your alone time, such as going to yoga class, the gym, a coffee shop, a bookstore, etc.

Enjoy time with Loved Ones

Sometimes you need alone time, and sometimes you just need to lose yourself in time spent with those you love. After a busy day, it can feel like a treat to savor a delicious dinner with your significant other or family. It is important to not only prioritize yourself when you are busy, but also to make sure those you care about are not feeling neglected. Make sure you are still giving attention to those who deserve it.

Snuggle Up

Sometimes at the end of a hard day, there is nothing better than just curling up on the couch or in bed with your favorite blanket and maybe a loved one. Give yourself time to really just let go and be cozy and comforted.

I hope these tips will inspire you to give yourself the time and permission to relax and rejuvenate when you are busy. It is so important to take care of yourself so that you can tackle your work and life tasks with energy and confidence. Please comment below if you would like to share any of your own tips for taking care of yourself when you’re busy!