Brunch HEALTH Nutrition RECIPES Sweets

QUINOA CINNAMON CRACKER CRUMBLE TOPPING

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SUMMER ENTERTAINING

It is almost July and I’m loving every bit of this summer. Comparing it to last, it is a breath of fresh air and full of moments I’m trying hard to hold on to, as my 3 teen girls are growing up so quickly. Every time I blink I feel they change, morphing by the moment!

In this season of life, summer entertaining at our house more often than not involves teenagers! They have sleepovers, watch movies, and literally ‘hang’ out in our backyard in their hammocks. Did you know portable hammocks are a ‘thing’ with teens right now? They are a super fun way to get your teen outdoors with friends, to hang together & socialize with each other and the whole world on their phones.

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 SMOOTHIE BOWLS

Whenever my teens ask to have a friend sleepover, one of the first thoughts I have is “hmm..what do I have for snacks and breakfast?” We all know food is a very important part of entertaining teens.

My oldest is a cross-country runner and cares about nutrition and health. She wants a healthy breakfast and snacks. My younger two just want tasty and don’t care much about the health status of their snacks, but I’m noticing some of their friends do, so hopefully it will wear off on them!

I have found the perfect healthy solution for both summer sleepover breakfasts & snacks whether the girls have a healthy palate or not…THE SMOOTHIE BOWL!

There is a huge smoothie bowl movement going on and I love it! Just search #smoothiebowl on instagram or twitter and you will see all kinds of beautiful examples.

A smoothie bowl is basically a thick smoothie that you can eat with a spoon, with all kinds of fun toppings. The toppings are a great way to add nutrition to the bowl, and the extra texture makes it feel like a luxurious treat for breakfast.

This is great summer entertainment food for my girls. I can blend up the smoothie in seconds and set out a variety of toppings, from chia seeds to chocolate chips– something to please everyone!

It’s also the perfect food to eat while hammocking outside in the summer sun!

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QUINOA CINNAMON CRACKER CRUMBLE TOPPING

I made the PERFECT topping for our smoothie bowls. I wanted to add a nice hearty crunch, something like granola but more decadent. Something that tastes like a cinnamon roll but with crunch and a bit of health to go along with it.

Enter my Quinoa Cinnamon Cracker Crumble Topping.

That is so fun to type. It is also so fun to create a recipe, because then I get to name it whatever I want!

Breton-Cracker-Ingredients

This Quinoa Cinnamon Cracker Crumble Topping is amazing and good enough to be eaten alone, straight from the jar. It has cinnamon, maple syrup, butter and just a touch of brown sugar. The crunch comes from raw quinoa and delicious chunks of cracker.

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CRACKERS

I used and love Dare Breton Crackers. They are super versatile, great for an extravagant party, an impromptu gathering, or a teenage sleepover. They are loaded with crunch and packed with flavor.

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I coated the cracker chunks with the maple/cinnamon/butter mixture and baked. The quinoa is tasteless but adds amazing crunch factor. Other than the crunch, the best thing about adding quinoa is the protein it adds to the top of your smoothie bowl, which is extra filling and makes my ‘runner girl’ and her friends very happy.

The cracker topping stays nice and crunchy even mixed into a smoothie bowl, down to the very last bite! This cracker topping would also be great on top of yogurt, ice cream, or oatmeal. 

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Breakfast-bowl-toppings

MORE TOPPING IDEAS

I made the smoothie bowls inside, and set my topping bar outside, for guests to help themselves to. I kept the toppings on the healthy side, but really, the sky is the limit when it comes to smoothie bowl toppings. The one topping I will always want now that I’ve tasted it, is the quinoa cracker crunch topping. You guys, I’m telling ya, this recipe is GOOOOD!

 

Here are a few other topping ideas:

chia seeds

chocolate chips

shredded coconut

berries

nuts

hemp seeds

banana

gogi berries

raisins

dried cherries

You could even add some gummy worms when serving teens, although, if I did this I would make the base a green smoothie by adding spinach, to make myself feel better about the worms!

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QUINOA CINNAMON CRACKER CRUMBLE TOPPING

INGREDIENTS:

1/2 sleeve Dare Original Crackers, crumbled (about 1 1/2 – 2 cups crumbled)

1/4 cup melted butter

1/3 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/3 cup maple syrup

1 tablespoon brown sugar

sprinkle of salt

 

INSTRUCTIONS:

Crumble the crackers into a bowl, keeping some nice big chunks. In a separate bowl, melt butter. Add cinnamon, maple syrup and quinoa to the butter and stir well. Pour over crackers and toss to coat.

Spread into a buttered baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes. Be careful not to over-brown.

Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon brown sugar & some salt to taste while still hot. Let cool then toss and store in an airtight container. I love using a mason jar.

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SMOOTHIE BOWL RECIPE

INGREDIENTS:

1/3 cup yogurt (can use smashed avocado to keep it vegan)

1 frozen banana

1 cup frozen strawberries

1-2 tablespoons maple syrup

1/2 – 1 cup milk of choice (I used almond)

INSTRUCTIONS:

Put all ingredients in a blender. Start with 1/2 cup of milk and add more until vortex forms in the middle and ingredients can blend freely. Don’t add too much milk.  The key to the smoothie bowls is keeping it thick enough to eat with a spoon.

Pour into a bowl and add Quinoa Cinnamon Cracker Crumble & your choice of toppings.

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{PIN ME PLEASE?}

WHAT ABOUT YOU?

Have you done much summer entertaining this year?

What are your favorite cracker recipes?

Want more ideas for using crackers in creative ways to entertain? Check out Dare Breton Cracker for a ton of great recipe ideas!

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

ANTI-PROCRASTINATION

Anti-Procrastination Weekly Plan

Framed Be Inspired

 Here Are My Goals…What Are Yours?

{please share your goals in the comments!}

***Notice! Anti-Procrastination Tuesday will no longer be a link up. This will be a page where I share monthly, weekly and daily goals, home zone & hot spot of the week, and my meal plan & recipes I’d like to make for the week. It will be a place where we encourage each other to GET SOMETHING DONE, so be sure to tell me what you are working on in the comments.

ALL MONTH GOALS

~Meaningful Marriage (Love Todd Well)

~Meaningful Parenting (Love Kids Well)

~Meaningful Home (Loving Environment + Beautiful Home Atmosphere)

~Socialize (Social Media Flow + In Real Life Socializing With Loved Ones)

~Computer Clutter (Notes, Reminders, Photos, Emails, Posts)

 

EVERY WEEK GOALS

~Blog Posts Planned For The Week (Work Efficiently)

~Home Blessing Hour (One Hour of Cleaning..Dust, Bathrooms, Sweep, Mop, Vacuum)

~Date With One Of My 3 Lovelies (Girls are Growing Up. Do It Now!)

~Grocery List/Meal Plan (To Feed Them Well)

 

DAILY GOALS

~God Time (journal, Scripture, pray, meditate)

~Move Body (Walk, Yoga, Strength Training)

~Hydrate + Nutrients (Greens & Berries #EatTheRainbow + Vitamins + Water Every Day)

~One Load of Laundry (Folded & Put Away #OneLoadADay)

~One Dishwasher Load (Dried & Put Away)

 

 ~SPECIFIC GOALS LAST WEEK

{none}

 

~SPECIFIC GOALS THIS WEEK

~Clear out the landing area upstairs

~Start decluttering the Laundry Room

~Narrow down summer wardrobe to 10 outfits

~Drop load off at thrift store

 

HOME ZONE THIS WEEK

Living Room/Family Room–(15 minutes/day OR 1 1/2 hours/week in said zone)

 

HOT SPOT THIS WEEK

Landing Area Upstairs– (5 minutes/day OR 25 minutes/week in said hot spot)

 

COMPUTER HOT SPOT

Desktop & Main Inbox–(getting my digital organization on!)

 

PIN TO ACCOMPLISH

Toasted Coconut Vanilla Limeade

{Follow me on Pinterest!}

 

RECIPES I PLAN ON MAKING THIS WEEK

Chicken Fried Rice

Chicken Fried Rice

 

Kale Salad with Curried Almond Dressing

Kale Slaw With Curried Almond Dressing

Cashew “Cheese” Nacho Dip (Vegan)

A Healthy & Delicious “Cheese” Dip Made From Cashews

 Chili Lime Chicken Burgers

(frozen section of Trader Joes)


WHAT ABOUT YOU?

What are you wanting to get done this week?

What recipes are you planning on making?

Are you on Pinterest? Share a favorite pin you want to accomplish.

 

FAMILY Kids/Family Parenting Spiritual

Saturday Morning Summer Musings

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It’s a slow Saturday morning. I’m sitting in our sunroom, crossed-legged on the porch swing, wishing it was padded & listening to a fly buzzing around. It’s hot and muggy, but the cloud cover and breeze in the trees makes me hope for rain and a bit of respite from the heat.

I woke up thinking about the past week, how summer kept me frustratingly busy and unable to find time to write a decent post for this blog. Photos need edited and social channels need updated and I love it all but find myself wanting to post like the old days. The days when I would just type my thoughts and put up a photo with dull lighting and finish feeling satisfied instead of relieved.

This blogging turned job thing is an amazing but interesting blessing. I love taking time to give my best and post with excellence and capture beauty through the lens and share it with you. There is something about working hard to produce good content and the relief it brings when that publish button is pushed and social content is shared & deadlines are met.  I love it and cannot believe I get to call it my job.

But I miss this. This just typing away, unedited blabbing, starting a post without an outline or idea of where it will go or end. How pushing publish can give the same therapeutic feeling I get after spending time with a good friend. I miss it so I’m doing it. Thanks for allowing me, my good friends. I plan to do it more often.

 

Appointments

There is so much to love about this summer! Comparing it to last summer, well, there really is no comparison. Last summer was filled with doctor appointments, tears, illness and fear. This summer is not perfect, but oh what a difference! Doctor appointments do not consist of issues dealing with life or death. There are still appointments, but they are normal and for my teens. Orthodontist for brace tightening. dermatologist to keep teenage acne at bay, dentist for cleanings and optometrist for replacing teen’s lost glasses (for the THIRD time–insert sigh and eye roll here.) Life is still busy and the calendar full, but it is a bearable busy and I’m grasping to hold on to the fleeting moments.

 

Teen Driver

This holding of moments is intensified because I now have a teen driver who is working all of the time! What a relief it has been for me to have a driver, and a responsible one at that. My Teagan walks out the door daily and I watch her back and wonder when my baby became a beauty that sprouted wings and is soaring. Her summer is watching and keeping others safe while lifeguarding in a red tank top with a cross on it, and nannying 3 littles on her ‘off’ days. She is scent of sunscreen, sun-kissed hair in a bun, whistle around her neck, Bible and journal in her bag just in case she gets a few minutes of quiet. She is laughter with friends often bringing them home unexpectedly to entertain and kick us out of the basement mid-movie so that she can connect and socialize. My baby is beauty and I’m missing her already and she has not even flown away yet.

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Camp

My Middle went last week, took a friend and had a blast meeting more. My Youngest goes this coming week and I am excited for the fun she will have. I’m ready for the longing I will have for her to come home that creeps up about 2 days before she is due. With Oldest working all day and another at camp, I get focused time with the one left. This is a new blessing, a quieter house with just one to love on. I’m looking forward to the week and purposefully kept my calendar as empty as possible.

 

Construction

Everyone should have a Cory in the family. He is my hard-working brother-in-law who teaches during the school year and constructs during the summer. His work is seen all over our home, from the swings in our backyard, to our porch, porch railing, drywall in basement, a new kitchen–the list goes on. Last year he gutted our failing kitchen and created a new one that I smile at daily. I have yet to share it with you all but I will! This year he is tearing down old siding and putting up new. It is a gift to have him around. I learn from watching him, he teaches while constructing, showing by example what quality and hard work looks like. His hammering starts most mornings at 7:30, it is a familiar routine that brings a surprising comfort instead of intrusion.  I sit and have my coffee, toast and journaling/prayer time with the background music of a saw and hammer. It pushes me to start my day and continue on, working hard with a servant’s heart, just like Cory.

 

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Swimming

Grandpa and Grandma have a pool. The are amazingly generous and let the family use it. They have a pool house which is very convenient; we don’t have to intrude with our wet suits into their home. They set up a family google pool calendar which allows us to reserve it and share it with others. This has been going on since my 13-year-old was 3 and I still can’t get used to the gift that is. We’ve made so many memories there, and each summer more are created.

 

Flexibility

I am learning this. I love a schedule and predictability, which is probably why I find comfort in early summer morning sounds of tools. I love knowing what to expect. Summer is always a challenge for me to adjust from a schedule to none, especially now that I am a work-at-home Mom. I’m learning to let go of expectations and roll with the punches. I’m learning that parenting teens means being available when needed but letting go and letting wings spread at the same time. I’m learning there is little to no predictability when it comes to teens and summer.

Today I thought my Oldest would be life-guarding all day and my Middle would be with friends all day & I would have a full day at home to do whatever I want until a family wedding tonight. At the beginning of this post I wished for rain and it came and caused both of my girls plans to change. I stopped this post right in the middle of talking about the family swimming pool to rescue my girl from the farmer’s market crowds and rain. I drove with bedhead and in shorts and my Todd’s t-shirt, my slow morning became fast & off I went.  It might be uncomfortable at times to release my schedule, doing whatever I want, and babes who are becoming beauties, but really, is it? It all depends on my perspective. When I think of what could be and what is, I’m so very thankful. Thankful for life, for family, for summer days that bring sun or rain, and for you–my good friends who let me share about it.

HEALTH Nutrition

10 Ways To Fit Healthy Habits Into a Busy Day

HEALTHY-HABITS

It is summer and I’m finding that established healthy habits are what is keeping my health & carrying me through our busy days.

It is a quite enjoyable kind of busy, as I am balancing my 3 teen girls and writing for this blog which I’m lucky enough to call a job.  I found that waking up before my girls and writing in the evenings (sometimes very late evenings) is what is going to work for us this summer. It keeps my days free to enjoy the fleeting and precious moments with my girls.

My oldest is driving now and goes to work every week day, 3 days a week as life guard, 2 days a nanny. She is wonderfully responsible and I just beam with pride when she walks in and out of our front door. I’ve watch her drive off with tears in my eyes– when did she grow up into this beautiful young, hard-working woman who I rarely get to see anymore?!  It is a great reminder to free up time in the middle of my day & focus in on being Mom to my other 2 who ARE around, and make the most of this time I have with them.

This free time really isn’t, as they fill every little bit with active social lives and summertime fun.

If it were not for healthy habits that I have established, I’d really be in trouble when it comes to healthy living, as I am quite close to trouble with all the fun places we like to go for lattes and ice cream!

{Habit: a settled or regular tendency or practice. Routine. Pattern.}

These habits keep me on track even during busy and tempting seasons of life.

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Drink Up!

Fill a water bottle at the beginning of the day — add some lemon. I’ve been using one that is double wall insulated, which keeps ice from melting up to 24 hours! I will be listing it in a ‘what I buy & why’ post coming soon!

Listen Up

Does music soothe or energize you?  Have it playing while you get ready in the morning or while you are cooking dinner. Do certain podcasts inspire you? Swap your music for those. Listen while you walk. Listen while you drive. Listen while you do housework. Listen to what brings you life.

Journal

Just write for 5 minutes as part of an early morning routine or 5 minutes at night before bed. This is a great time to brain dump–get things off your brain and onto paper. Increase the time in increments, go up to 10 minutes and shoot for 15.

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Frozen Berries

During the summer there are beautiful berries available, but I always have frozen berries just in case we are out of fresh. I often will set a bowl of frozen berries out to thaw while making dinner, and eat it as “something sweet” after dinner. Anti-oxidants for dessert!

Stretch

Take just a minute to get up and move around if you are at a desk during the day. At the very least, use the chair you are sitting in to twist and stretch your back muscles, and while you are at it, stretch your neck & roll your shoulders. Good at multi-tasking? Stretch while watching television, while doing dishes, or while in the shower.

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Greens Everyday

Buy large container of organic greens at the beginning of every week. There is so much good in dark leafy greens! Have a daily green smoothie or a salad for lunch or with dinner. Boom. Done.

Take a Daily Walk

20-30 minutes of daily walking has great health benefits.  Just do it. In the sunshine? Even better. Put those ear buds in and listen to what gives you a pep in your step, or just listen to nature as you walk. Use your weekends for a longer workout.

10 HEALTHY HABITS with New Chapter Vitamins

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A Multi-Vitamin Everyday

My favorite trusted go-to brand is New Chapter Vitamins. I take New Chapters Every Woman’s One Daily Multivitamin for many reasons, but I especially love that they do not need to be taken with food, so time of day is completely flexible.  I take vitamins at the same time everyday and very rarely miss a day!

New Chapter ferments the individual vitamins and minerals with beneficial probiotics and whole foods .  The results are whole-food, fermented supplements gentle enough to take anytime, even on an empty stomach. This is so convenient and I am passionate about probiotics so the fermented nutrients and blends of herbs in these vitamins make me happy!

Even though I eat a very nutritious diet, I always take a trusted multivitamin to address any nutritional deficiencies or imbalances. I love  New Chapters Every Woman’s One Daily Multivitamin because it’s formulated with nutrients for energy support, & energy is always a good thing!* Bonus: it can easily be ordered on Amazon.

 

Sleep

Try to go to sleep and wake up at the same time most days. Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep. There are natural sleep aids to help if you have trouble falling asleep. Do what it takes to provide comfort for yourself as you fall asleep–my foam top mattress and pillow that has a layer cooling-gel are 2 items that I splurged on to help me sleep, because sleep is priceless!

Prayer

Would you like prayer to become a habit? Use your daily drive. Chose landmarks to prompt you to pray for certain people and situations.  I was better at the landmark trick when I was driving my girls to school everyday. Now we are driving all over the city depending on the day, so my prayer time is in the morning before their sleepy heads wake up.

…………

What about you? Do you have established healthy habits?

Did you know all of the wonderful things New Chapter Vitamins have to offer?

………..

NEW-CHAPTER-PIN-IT

Every Woman’s One Daily Multivitamin — a few more reasons why they are my favorite:

~does not just address nutrient deficiencies, but supports overall health and certain systems of the body*

~Whole food fermented vitamin D3 supports bone health, while fermented zinc, vitamin C and A support immune function*

~includes targeted nutrients for stress, bone, immune and energy support*

~includes B vitamins for sustained energy and super-foods like Ginger, organic Turmeric and Chamomile*

~New Chapter products are responsible sourced, expertly formulated and meticulously manufactured. Certified organic and Non-GMO project Verified products are all sustainable source, from organic Turmeric in India to wild-caught Alaska Salmon

 

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, care, or prevent any disease.

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

 

FAMILY Love

To Be a Part Of Love Winning

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Love wins.

I tell myself this as I am distressed and stressed, tears stream down while I try to type words and a pit in my stomach all of this day long.

The day after the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S history.

I think of those who died, many who were so young, scared, texting their Mama’s knowing they were going to die, just to say I love you one more time.

It could have been my loved one, texting me one last time, hostage in a bathroom, knowing they were going to die.

I don’t know much, but I do know this one thing and I grasp hard onto it, clinging even as my stomach tightens.  I know this.

Love wins.

In the end, love wins.  Evil loses.

I type that and I have to stop, eyes clinch shut tight and lump in my throat comes up and erupts and I wipe the overflow and my heart feels like it is breaking and I wonder again about those Mama’s whose hearts are in pieces over last texts.

I remember.

I remember when another massacre happened, the Von Maur shooting, the day my little sister once again became my hero. She was working there that day. She knows what it is to hear shots that make your heart stop and race simultaneously. She knows how everything stops but it doesn’t and you have to act and you just do, you just act and react. She gathered customers into a storage closet and hid and acted heroic. I think of the many who acted heroic in Orlando yesterday that did or didn’t have the same outcome as my sister. She ended that day thinking of a precious man whose smile & greeting met her that morning and most workday mornings, who even at that hour was lying at the bottom of the escalator, a smile and greeting snuffed out by evil. She mourns and then heals. She believes that evil does not win.

Love wins.

I remember that day, being ushered to a room where families wait. Some had news, some didn’t. Some were in the middle of receiving the worst news possible. I remember a woman eyes wild, clinging to my arm, begging me to tell her if her own sister was ok. Had I heard? I had no answers for her, just eye contact & a connection. We were two wondering about our sisters, mine lived hers didn’t. The next time I saw this dear woman was on the news, walking behind a casket, her sister’s funeral televised. I think about how without deep love there is not deep mourning. I think about how very, very deep her love was as her shoulders shook while walking behind a casket.

Last night I needed to write articles but my thoughts were low and words would not come so I turn on Netflix to pick up where I left off. I’m watching Grey’s Anatomy, old seasons that I had stopped watching back in the day when hospitals & trauma became a very real part of my life. I am six years out and blessed enough to be able to watch once again. I press play and it is an episode about a mass shooting and I watch actors dressed as nurses and doctors playing a horror that nurses and doctors in Orlando just lived out in early morning hours. I thought how they continue to live it even now as day 2 and day 3 are often critical after surgery. My mind can’t wrap around what I’m watching– that it is real in Orlando and I think about pushing pause, but I keep watching, because I want to feel, I want to be a part of love winning.

Love Wins.

I wake up today and read the names & look at faces. I go about my day with names and faces in my mind & carry them in my heart as I grocery shop & do the mundane. I slight smile at mangos that are just ripe enough at a great price & marvel at the sweet scent of a pineapple not yet broken into. I try to find joy in the mundane despite a heavy heart, for this is another way for love to win. Evil will not steal our joy, hope, smiles or sweet scented moments of life. Even if those moments are memories.

Mid-day I look for more faces to go with the names, because love remembers. Love mourns with those who mourn.

I watch to let others’ pain sink in, to join in their pain and know how to pray, to let it in deep and I think…would I be faithful in prayer without pain?  I want to feel others pain. I want to have ears to hear and eyes to see and a heart that cares enough to stop for a moment and just listen and absorb, to mourn with and feel with. I want to enter into pain with others because this is what love does.

Evil creates pain.

Love enters into the pain.

Love wins.

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