The Fantastic Friday Five: Smoothies, Surprise flowers and Dreams

The Fantastic Friday Five is a weekly series featuring odds and ends from my everyday life – food, running, gardening, and more!

Wow, it was a busy week at work! Lots of projects to finish and work to send home and post, along with the usual planning and prep (I’m a teacher). But I still managed to experience some fantastic-ness… duh.



I finally bought a grown-up blender! I should point out that my previous little smoothie blender cost about $15, so although I’ve upgraded, I did not buy a Vitamix-grade blender… I gots bills to pay, people. Well, I LOVE IT! It’s an Oster glass jar blender with “all-metal drive” (with super sharp funky blades), and some pre-programmed settings, like “frozen drinks”. I press the button and it goes forward and reverse and then super fast. My previous blender was good to me, but it had… one button. Pulse. I’ve been making smoothies every morning for us for breakfast this week, and my favorite so far is a take on this recipe from Minimalist Baker – I particularly like adding half orange juice instead of all almond milk, and mostly strawberries (although I’ve liked when I’ve added in a dash of blueberries or mangoes as well).

IMG_3597The first night we got the blender, we made 2 smoothies… a green one to accompany dinner, and this tasty strawberry-mango-coconut beauty for dessert! Then I dreamed of smoothies all night. It was pretty frenzied and anxiety-ridden.  Sigh.  :)

#2:  Baked avocado “fries”

Wow. These were to die for, and so easy! AND vegan and gluten-free (I used chickpea flour/besan – worked great!). Find the recipe at one of my regular blogs, The Almost Vegan. I served them with baked tofu squares and Trader Joe’s frozen multigrain blend with extra veggies.

IMG_3588My tastebuds cried out in pleasure at the first taste of the avocado fries... :)

IMG_3576Battering stations!

#3:  Punk Rope!

I went to my second Punk Rope class this Tuesday! It’s an interval exercise class with fun gym-class style cooperative games worked into standard upper/lower body and core rotations, and of course… jumping rope! It’s super fun and a great workout. I’m not big into classes (mostly because I’m cheap and running is free), but I was feeling that I needed to get some cross-training into my running training. Fun people, fun activities, and fun music. Awesome. Check out the Punk Rope website for more info, and if you’re in the Portland, ME area, join the Punk Rope Portland facebook group for local class information!

#4:  Surprise! There are flowers in that garden.

We moved into our house in October, and although there are many flower beds (and my big vegetable garden patch!), we didn’t get to see all that they had to offer at that point in the season. We did see the house for the first time in August, but I must say that I paid more attention to the weeded-over vegetable garden area with high hopes for a delicious and fresh summer to come… I guess I’m just not much of a flower person (yet?). Well the coming of Spring has brought a ton of cute little shoots in the strip right in front of our house. We have oodles of purple flowers (crocuses?) and some yellow ones, some hyacinth, and now what I have realized are many bunches of daffodils! How do I know that? The first little green shoot of the spring that took forever to bloom… finally did!  Here’s the little cutie:


IMG_3600Now if they can survive the hail/snow/sleet we’ve had all day… Ugh.

#5:  Dreams

This doesn’t directly relate to cooking, exercise, or gardening, but in some ways it has to do with all of them. I often have vivid dreams, and they’re usually not so fun – I’m almost always stressed about something, whether it’s something obvious like trying to evade bad things or people, or trying to add more and more and more into my smoothie…  :) Well I’ve been thinking about my dad a lot lately for various reasons, although thoughts of him are always resting at some level of my consciousness. And last night I dreamed about him. Even if the embodiment of him in my dreams isn’t at full health (he often appears in some state of illness – he died after a 10-year losing battle with Alzheimer’s-like dementia with Parkinsonism), those dreams are hardly ever stressful, and I usually wake up peaceful. I remember being happily surprised in my dream last night to discover that it was a particularly lucid day, and we enjoyed each other’s company. I received some happy and hopeful family news today, and I hope my dream was a good omen.

julie dad hockeyYup, coolest dad ever.  :D

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