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Jamba Juice Strawberries Wild Smoothie Copycat Recipe

Summer used to be my favorite season of the year. At the end of each school year, I would happily draw up a list of "Must Do Activities" and check them off as I accomplished them.

I mean, what's not to like about Summer? Warm days, no school, later bedtime, and endless playing around outside (unchaperoned) with the only mandate to return home before it got dark. I rode my trusty bike everywhere, read all of my favorite books and met up with friends to play. I basked in the warm Summer sun for hours on end.

Since I have transitioned to the role of being a Stay At Home Mom, my days are filled with activities for the little man. While I may not enjoy Summers as much since I have become a heat wimp with a never-ending to do list, I experience sheer joy watching my son playing at the water park, riding his bike, kicking a soccer ball or blowing bubbles. Most of these things are a daily Summer time ritual for us since the little man loves playing outside.

To cope with the intense heat wave we had lately, we would cool off with this delicious Jamba Juice strawberries wild smoothie copycat recipe. I love this strawberry smoothie so much that I have been making it on a daily basis since my discovery 3 weeks ago.

For us, this is the perfect Summer time drink: cold, refreshing and full of nutrients. The best part about this recipe is that it is takes no time to prepare, so you can take this smoothie with you to the park. It is a great way to hydrate and energize your little ones and yourself as you bask in the summer sun (or hide in the shade like I do these days!). This is one recipe that is definitely on my "Must Do" list for the Summer.

3/4 cup pure apple juice (I like Sunrype 100% Pure Apple Juice)
1 cup fresh strawberries
1 cup plain yogurt
1 frozen banana, peeled
3/4 cup ice cubes
2 tbsp honey

1. In a blender, add the ingredients in the following order: apple juice, strawberries, yogurt, frozen banana, ice cubes and honey. Blend on high for 10 seconds or longer until the ingredients are fully blended and no ice chunks remain. Serve immediately.

Source: Slightly adapted from Rasa Malaysia


10 Minute Cold Sesame Noodle Salad

Vancouver, or Raincouver, as it is fondly known by locals is going through a heat wave this summer. We have had sunny skies for more consecutive days than I can count and being the heat wimp that I am, I have my fingers crossed for cooler weather and some rain.

With such intense heat, the last thing on my mind is standing over a hot stove. I aim for quick meals that require little stove action which taste delicious and are quick to prepare. This recipe has become a family favorite and my husband declared this as one my of best recipes.

Thinking back on my childhood, this was one of my mom's favorite go-to meals in the summer as well: easy and delicious. Her version uses peanut butter instead of seed butter, but I would highly suggest using seed butter (that contain sesame) as it tastes much better and more friendly for those with peanut/tree nut allergies!

454 g spaghetti or thin egg (Chow Mein) noodles
1 large cucumber, julienned
2 medium carrots, julienned
2 stalks green onions (optional)
1/2 cup chopped cilantro (optional)
Sesame seeds, for garnish (optional)

1/3 cup seed butter (preferably one that contains sesame)
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tbsp rice vinegar
3 tbsp sesame oil
2 tbsp brown sugar
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp freshly grated ginger
1/2 tsp Sriracha hot sauce, or hot pepper flakes (optional)

1. Boil water in a large pot over high heat. Cook spaghetti noodles according to package directions, drain and soak the noodles in cold water until it is cool to the touch. Drain again.

2. In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, mix the seed butter, soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil, brown sugar, black pepper, ginger and hot sauce together. Stir and simmer the sauce until it is smooth.

3. Pour the sauce over the cold noodles and toss with cucumber, carrots, green onions and cilantro (if using). Garnish with sesame seeds. This can be chilled or served at room temperature. Personally, I find this noodle salad taste the best after chilling in the refrigerator for a few hours.

Source: Adapted from Food


Healthy Banana Oatmeal Breakfast Cookies (Free of Top Allergens)

I am not a morning person. Never have been, and likely never will be.

My little man on the other hand, loves getting up early.

With an early riser in the family, nowadays I get up as early as 5 am. I have found that since I get up much earlier now, I like to have a light breakfast to tide me over until lunchtime.

I discovered this Healthy Banana Oatmeal Cookie recipe back in April and have made it countless times. This recipe is quick and easy to make, and can be kept in the fridge for up to a week (if it lasts that long).

For those with food allergies, this recipe is free of all the top allergens. I made my own apple sauce from scratch using this recipe and substituted honey in place of sugar to make these cookies even healthier. Did you know you can freeze homemade apple sauce?

These Healthy Banana Oatmeal cookies are a huge hit and a winner in our household as they are delicious, sugar free and good for you.

It makes me feel like a rebel when I tell my little man he can have a cookie at 5 am. Just don't tell him these cookies are healthy! ;)

Makes: 20 to 24 cookies

3 large ripe bananas
2 cups rolled oats (gluten-free or regular)
3/4 to 1 cup sugar free dried fruit (homemade or store bought; I used dried cranberries)
1/3 cup apple sauce (homemade or store bought)
1 tsp vanilla extract

1. Mash the bananas in a large bowl. Add in dried fruit, apple sauce and vanilla.

2. Mix well and allow the mixture to sit at room temperature for at least 15 minutes. Please do not skip this step as the oatmeal needs to soak up all the moisture to bind the ingredients together.

3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

4. Drop cookies by the teaspoonful onto a parchment lined baking sheet. With the back of a large teaspoon, flatten the cookie flat into a round shape.

5. Bake for 20 minutes or until lightly brown.

6. Transfer the cookies to a cooling rack and allow the cookies to cool for 10 minutes before eating. Store in a tight lidded container for up to a week in the fridge.

Source: Adapted from Allrecipes


A Prolonged Absence...

The last four months have been anything but predictable and routine in my life. At the end of February, our family experienced some significant changes and then in mid April, we coped with even more stress with more changes. Without going into my personal life too much, these last four months have been exhausting, challenging and nerve-wrecking.

Our family's diet and this blog took the biggest hit. With a lack of time, I started incorporating more pre-made foods into our diet (check back for a blog post on my thoughts on this). This blog took a back seat as I struggled to find time in my day to do everything. Don't worry though, I still took pictures of some new recipes that will be published shortly.

Through it all, I missed blogging, writing and sharing recipes and neat things I discovered. During my absence, I discovered that in order to maintain this blog, I needed to cut back on the daily posts to posting once or twice a week. This will allow me to have a better work-life-blog balance and hopefully result in more quality, thoughtful posts.

Up next is a recipe that has become a family favorite. Stay tuned for Healthy Banana Oatmeal Cookies which are free of the top allergens and sugar-free!