Sunday, January 30, 2011

Winter 2011 Update: Woohoo! Four blog posts this month... I'm on FIRE!

Well, more like freezer burned. Ahhh... Winter. How you try me. See the sky in this picture? I took this shot because the sky was a pretty shade of blue, verses the more usual gray of the season. Notice the lack of sun. Well, the sun does shine sometimes but it hardly counts, because it is COLD. I don't think we've had one day of packing snow yet this winter. There is an unfortunate lack of snowpeople around due to this and that is just sad. If the snow doesn't pack, it is too cold to seek sun on the skin. That opinion might brand me a wuss but there it is. My winter rule.

However, we endure. A few new things added to our typical lineup have us surviving the cabin without too much fever.

The first helpful addition to our winter-selves is the drinking of green smoothies. "WHAT?!" Right? That is how I reacted I was when I first read about them here. But I was intrigued, and thanks to my Nook and its ability to poof books magically into my home at 2 a.m. I downloaded a book by the Boutenko family and read it into the wee hours. It was one of those life changing moments. That sounds dramatic, but I am pretty serious.

I mean, I've tried to get my kids (and self) to eat greens, but honestly I thought I was awesome when I'd get them to eat a small pile of spinach leaves a few times per week. I'm sorry to admit that we had never eaten enough greens. Ever. Well, this has changed! And oh, after drinking these smoothies for a few weeks now, do I ever feel a difference. And they are EASY! That is the best part. And surprisingly delicious. Which is the other best part.

How we make green smoothies:
I usually make four at a time, two small ones and two large ones. For this amount I use about 2 cups of plain unsweetened coconut milk (this kind) though water works just fine. We just like how the coconut milk mellows it out some. I throw two bananas in the milk. Top with greens of the day. Today was spinach. Spinach is our favorite, but we switch it up mostly because we're supposed to. (Other greens make it have more of a grassy taste, not a bad taste but not as mellow as the spinach.)

Don't worry. We don't stop here. If I just blended this combo the smoothie would be too green for us at this point. I'm sure there are people out there that would be fine with this, but we're newbies. We need sweet stuff to make the medicine go down.

So I add the good stuff. Some frozen berries usually. Sometimes pineapple. Whatever fruit sounds good. Today it was frozen blueberries and strawberries. Which made our smoothies not so green in the end. The weight of the frozen berries really smunches the greens down and makes it look like there isn't a lot in there in this picture. There is a LOT of spinach in it though since the greens are the main point of the whole operation.

 See? Not-so-green, green smoothies. :)

Sometimes they are quite green though!

They taste good no matter what color they end up. Honest. Well, there was one unfortunate smoothie made with mint leaves that we've crossed off the list forever and ever and ever. But other than that one, they have all been pretty awesome. And a welcome burst of nutrition for our sun-starved selves.

Even my dog likes them. She 'hoots' whenever I use the blender now. (Whenever she wants something she makes a noise much like a small owl. It is honestly one of the most adorable things I've ever heard in my life.) So of course: Hoot = Dog gets smoothie. 'Cause I am a complete mush-ball.

The next thing making winter bearable is actually a very recent addition to our days. But it is quickly becoming a family favorite:

Hula hoops!

Oh my gosh, have you hula hooped any time in your adult life? (I'm saying this in a breathless, gushingly dramatic sort of way. If you can't tell, I'm sort of hyper over this one.) If your answer is no, get your hands on an adult sized hula hoop and give it a whirl (pun intended because I am an unapologetic dork). It. Is. So. FUN! I mean, I've seen hula hooping catching on around the net and have at least one friend who has found a home in hooping. (Thanks for the inspiration, M!). But until recently I had never tried it myself.

A few nights ago in a desperate attempt to amuse myself I grabbed the kids' hula hoop and did what I could with that little thing. Which wasn't much. But I could do enough to make me 'get' what the 'hoopla' was about. (Yeah, yeah, I meant that pun too. I don't blame you if you stop reading. I have no control over these things. It is almost February after all.)

The hoops in the picture above are my kids' little hoops and two I've made from irrigation tubing using this tutorial. I need to get more tape asap. I really want to finish my candy cane striped hoop. I ordered a hoop from the local yoga shop, but got impatient waiting for it and knew I wanted a smaller one as well. So I purchased the stuff to make my own hoops, which yes was silly but... Winter. Almost February. There is no logic left in the season.

Anyway... hooping. Again another easy and surprisingly enjoyable thing. I love making hula hoops. I have mad plans to outfit my whole extended family in hula hoops. But as much fun as I have making them - I love playing with them more. And OH. My stomach muscles are sore! Proof that not only do I mentally need a hula hoop this winter, but physically I could use one as well.

And for full disclosure: It is not all fitness drinks and racing hearts at my house. Oh no. Winter has its traditions and my favorites involve blankets, books, cocoa and sleeping in. Things I quite miss in the frenzied, full summer days. So I make sure to get my fill of them now!

Wishing everyone a lovely winter filled with unexpected pleasures and at least enough sun to not go mad. And for those of you not in the middle of winter right now: You can hula hoop outside! What are you waiting for?!


val said...

Life is good, C. Hula hoops in January, fruit smoothies?

We get through it. love you, V

Deb said...

I cannot hoola for the life of me. I'm going to try the green smoothie though. Thanks.

Sara said...

I do the hula hoop game on my Wii Fit, but I have not done a real hula hoop in years. Sounds like a good plan for getting through the winter blahs.

Deb said...

I tried your smoothie. It's delish!

candyn said...

I'm glad you tried it, Deb. :0) I was surprised the smoothies were so good. I love having such an easy way to get nutrition. I think they've made a huge difference with my energy level, which is a big help as I'm usually quite sluggish in the winter.