Instead of Coffee Green Smoothie

Instead of Coffee Green Smoothie | La La Lovely Blog

I know.  You are rolling your eyes at “Instead of Coffee” Green Smoothie.  I would be too.  Except that I drink this green juice (as I call it), these days, instead of coffee.  It’s the closest quick hit of drinkable energy that I’ve found.

I stopped drinking coffee because . . .

Instead of Coffee Green Smoothie | La La Lovely Blog

I know. You are rolling your eyes at “Instead of Coffee” Green Smoothie. I would be too. Except that I drink this green juice (as I call it), these days, instead of coffee. It’s the closest quick hit of drinkable energy that I’ve found.

I stopped drinking coffee because . . .

of some health issues I was having.  This past summer, I was having terrible headaches and trying to get to the bottom of it.  I’ve always been a headache prone person, but recently they had become so frequent and intense that all I wanted to do was to be in a quiet room by myself – which doesn’t work so well when you have four children on summer break.

I started reading books, trying medication, and figured I’d have to start eliminating certain foods to see if that might be the culprit.  I was beginning to notice that my headaches would be much worse when I ate super sugary foods (like icing on cinnamon rolls) almonds, and strong iced coffees (I miss you!).  Before, I relented to denying myself, I had an appointment with an ENT, that was scheduled a month prior.  He told me my sinuses were obstructed.  And, he believed this was the reason for my headaches.  I knew weather was a factor too, so maybe there (is) was something there?  He wanted to do imaging but said my insurance wouldn’t pay for it until I did a round of antibiotics.  Saying something along the lines of…. you may have a sinus infection, anyways (which I was pretty certain I didn’t).  I took the antibiotics because they told me too and because it never crossed my mind to just toss them when I got home and then go back for imaging.  I wish I would have.  About nine days into taking the antibiotics I got a bad rash and was red from head to toe.  I knew something was very wrong when my limbs were getting heavy….so I went to the ER.  They told me it was an allergic reaction to the antibiotic.  They gave me meds and I went home.  I still wasn’t feeling right for about about a week and then became very ill. After another visit to the ER,  it was apparent that the medication had effected my liver.  They couldn’t quite figure out what was wrong with me and were checking me for all kinds of hepatitis and strange viruses, which thank God, all tests came back negative.  To make a long story short, I had acute injury to my liver.  I spent a lot of time back and forth to doctors and labs and it was scary.  My faith sustained me and I truly believe God intervened and healed my liver.

While my liver enzymes normalized, it appears the medication and entire episode seemed to really upset my whole system.  I really couldn’t stomach much.  My digestive system seemed to be entirely out of whack (and still not back to 100%  yet).  In the midst of this, I organically had to eliminate a lot of food groups.  And, about a week into eating close to nothing, I noticed my headaches were almost completely gone.  If I did get a headache it was pretty mild and I could sleep it off (I was so scared to even take an Advil and still a little phobic of meds, as you can imagine).

I became pretty convinced that my headaches had a lot to do with caffeine, chocolate, almonds and aged cheese (and stress).  So I avoided these foods.  Which thankfully was pretty easy to do because I couldn’t digest them well anyways.

Honestly, I don’t miss the caffeine much…maybe just on Thursdays when the week feels long and the temps are sub-zero.  But, I do miss the ritual and taste of coffee.  I know there is always decaf, but I read that it can actually be worse for headaches because of the chemicals they use to extract the caffeine.  So, I’m now the weirdo that goes around asking to smell other’s coffees, candy bars and donuts.

One day as I was reading up on digestion, I came across a recipe for a glowing green smoothie that had many health benefits, and thought I’d give it a try.  I was surprised at how much of a pick me up it was.  I, now, make this most mornings and find that when I skip making it, my body craves it.  It’s my instead of coffee green smoothie.  Literally.  And, here is what’s in it:

Instead of Coffee Green Smoothie



1 cup room temperature water

1 generous handful of spinach

1 generous handful of romaine (I tear up about 4-5  long pieces)

1 celery stalk

1/4 of a handful of cilantro (stems included)

1/4 to 1/2 of fresh squeezed lemon (depending on how tart you like things)

1/2 tsp turmeric

1 apple

1 pear

1 banana

Mix water, greens, lemon and turmeric on low and then add in fruit on high speed.  Blend until smooth.


This makes about two cups (the size pictured).  I usually try to get my husband to drink the extra cup or save it in the fridge (it’s good for up to two days, covered).  When I know I’m making it for only me, I half the recipe.

I understand cilantro seems a little iffy.  I used to not even be able to take celery in a smoothie or juice but somehow it just all works.  You can substitute parsley for the celery (or do both) to make it a little milder, but cilantro is good for detoxing and I needed that.  I love it in my juice now.  But, feel free to play around with the quantity of ingredients to taste.

Energizing Green Smoothie

Also, I know when we think of the word smoothie we think frozen or freezing cold… you can make yours colder by using very cold water and frozen bananas if you like, but I’ve found a room temperature smoothie to be easier on my system.  In fact, I made a frozen smoothie a few weeks back and got an instant headache.  I guess I’m just super sensitive, but it was enough to make me want to stick with room temperature for the most part.

I hope you give this green smoothie a try!

On a side note : I have been slowly incorporating foods again to see what I do tolerate.  I tried coffee the other week, for the first time in over 3 months.  At first it didn’t even taste that great to me, but after a few minutes it was as good as I remembered.  It didn’t seem to bother me that day, but I’m pretty certain that if I drank it everyday I’d be having more headaches (same with chocolate).  So I’ve decided, at this point, if I want it for a special occasion or once in a while then I’ll have it.  Not having headaches everyday is far better than having coffee.  As of right now, I’m gluten free (another story for another day), mostly dairy free (I have goat cheese occasionally, and will eat things like mashed potatoes if they have a little milk in them), mostly caffeine free (a little chocolate here and there and maybe a small coffee every once in a blue moon), and I avoid greasy foods too.

If you’ve been on health journey, whether by choice or necessity, I’d love to hear about it!

My other smoothie recipes here and here.


*Recipe adapted from Kimberly Snyder’s Glowing Green Smoothie


Power Packed Morning Smoothie

So, do you make smoothies?  It seems like everyone is slurping down some kind of smoothie these days.   There are so many to try, and I do, but mostly I keep coming back to this one.  Ideally, I like to try have this every morning for breakfast (at least on week days).  Some days, however, I crave something warm (like oatmeal) and in turn whizz this up for a power packed lunch, and it’s a great afternoon pick me up.

Here is what’s in my power packed smoothie . . . .



Power Packed Morning Smoothie Recipe | La La Lovely Blog



1 handful of spinach (kale works too)

1 cup of almond milk (give or take, depending on how thick you like smoothies)

1 small frozen banana

1/2 cup frozen mango

1/4 cup frozen blueberries

1 /2 – 1 teaspoon l-glutamine powder

1 tablespoon peanut butter

1 scoop of plant based protein powder

1 tablespoon chia seeds

1 tablespoon hemp seeds


Power Packed #Smoothie Recipe | La La Lovely

I used the word recipe loosely because somedays I add more mango then blueberry and I don’t always measure.  These are my key ingredients that I like to use for their many health properties.  It’s packed with vitamin C, protein, omega 3’s, antioxidants and so on.

I’ve recently been trying out l-glutamine because I have been really low in energy and I read that can help.  It’s an amino acid that is naturally found in our bodies, but at times we produce less then needed.  It’s also supposed to be amazing for your digestive system.  I’ve been using this powder and also trying to supplement with capsules in the afternoon if I start to drag.  Have any of you tried using l-glutamine?  Be sure to read about it or ask a health professional to make sure it is right for you.

As for protein powder, I’ve been using this vanilla flavored plant based one, by Vega One.  It’s good, but, to me, it has a slight after taste.  I’m looking to experiment with some other non-dairy protein powders (share you favorites in the comments).

And, I’m totally sold on this unsweetened almond milk and this creamy peanut butter.  They taste divine on their own, in smoothies, on toast or in cereal!  Super fan!

Do you have a favorite smoothie that you keep coming back to?  Tell me what’s in it or share a link in the comments.

Here is to happy and healthy mornings and days, lovelies!

xo . t

P.S.  You can use less almond milk and make this into a smoothie bowl if you prefer to use a spoon over a straw.  Instead of blending the seeds, sprinkle them on top with a few other berries and goodies.  Yum!


get your green smoothie on



we have been making a lot of green drinks around here.  of course, it’s the new year and everyone is cutting this and that and everything out of their diet.  i’m not good at that.  i never have been.  but, like I told you earlier this week, what am good at is adding good things.  and adding lots of fruits and vegetables is a good thing.  i love vegetables but i don’t always find it easy to eat several servings a day.  what i do find manageable is to drink them in a yummy smoothie. my current favorite combo is:

+ spinach : a big handful
+ cucumber : a quarter of an english cucumber
+ pear : one half
+ banana : one half, frozen
+ mango : one handful, frozen
+ chia seeds : about a tablespoon
+ rice milk : to desired consistency
+ ice : one small handful

its good.  my kids love it, kind of good and there was no bribing or brainwashing them into believing it was hulk juice.  it’s really one of the only smoothies that i don’t put almond butter or yogurt in and i have to say i like it all the more.

do you love to smoothies?  i’d love to hear your favorite combos.

i also love this green smoothie, that i wrote about last year, and when i want a non-green smoothie this recipe is my go to.




Lately, I’ve been a smoothie making machine.  After having a stare down withLouise’s green shakes everyday on Instagram I decided to give it a try.  I’m not the greatest at cutting out entire food groups but I am ok at adding good things. But when it came down to it, I didn’t start green I went with LA in Bloom’s Date Shake (which is a definite favorite and could easily pass as dessert).  Once I got to blending, I got braver and started throwing spinach in and ever since I got a Vitamix, I’ve been concocting all kinds of vegetable and fruit smoothies.

Right now, I’m really enjoying the combination above.  Kale sounds a little scary but, I promise, it’s not.  My 2 year old drank the mixture and thought it was milk shake.  The key, I find, is to always add a frozen banana.  It stabilizes and smooths out the greens.  When I want a little protein I add a tablespoon of almond butter and use almond milk.  You can change out any fruit, frozen or fresh to your liking.  I think mangos and blackberries are a really lovely combination and I tend to like a good portion of my fruit to be frozen to keep that smoothie consistency.  And, when in doubt, if you are ever in need of smoothie inspiration, then well you know where to go, Pinterest!



A Thing of Comfort

  1. A Thing of Comfort.

Day 32 of Shelter-in-Place.

We are searching for a thing of comfort to help us through this very uncomfortable time.

At least, I can tell you that I am.

A thing. A “some” thing. A “one” thing. An “any” thing.

The comfort of our daily routine, as we knew them, has dissipated into thin air. Unseen, floating, somewhere out there.


The comfort we may be missing is familiarity.


In my life, I’ve often confused comfort for familiarity.


When my life turned upside down, was shaken, and shifted in ways in which I didn’t see it coming, I found it to be unbearably uncomfortable. A new way, a tight space, that had not been arrived upon by way of invitation or personal quest. The shake-up and shut-down, that I experienced, was thrust upon me, in sudden-like surprise.

I had to shelter in a new space—internally.

I sought comfort and, often, it eluded me.

Until I discovered that what I was truly mourning was familiarity.

My familiar way of life. Familiar people. Familiar choices. Familiar systems. Familiar roles. One will eventually notice–if they are the type that pays attention–that when disrupted, even dysfunction can be found to be familiar.

Take a home from childhood with its dysfunction—although flawed, it is not uncommon to look back and focus on what we found comforting. To maximize the good and minimize the bad. The mind is protective of its memories.

We can’t always return to the familiar. Sometimes we shouldn’t return to familiar in an effort to move forward. And other times, familiarity may be just what we need.

I have found it fruitful, in times of discomfort, to rely upon simple familiar comforts.

I realize it is a double-edged sword of sorts as one side of our brain works to let go and grieve the loss of our familiar lives, while the other side of our brain (or is it our hearts?) seeks small familiar comforts to cope, heal and carry on.

I’ve lived long (through) enough to know that the mind and heart work in conjunction and that we can (and should) grieve what must be grieved and, yet we are complicated enough to still experience comfort, even joy, in the midst of dark and difficult times. [This is why I believe beauty is an answer to our ache, a balm to our pain].

I realize that simple familiar comforts may be tricky or hard to come by in our current collective circumstance. For many things which we deem a simple and familiar comfort are quite literally unavailable to us or not allowed. Comforts such as: grabbing coffee with a friend, a meal out, or an afternoon movie. On the other hand, things, which we effortlessly enjoyed as simple pleasures, or daily escapes, may be hard to indulge in at the moment. I’m finding it difficult to concentrate or focus on reading a book or watching a show, let alone trying to decide what to watch or read, in the first place. And, I’ve heard from many of you that your experience is the same.

My tendency, then, is to resort to the mind-numbing (false) safety of social media scrolling. I say, for a sense of a connection (and in these strange times, there is actual validity to this sentiment as it is one of the only ways to connect with others outside of our homes). I scroll, also, because it requires no concentration. But as I’ve learned with much time and observation that social media often gives me a disconnected connection and furthers my distracted mind and inability to concentrate on anything longer than a speedy swipe in front of blurry eyes.

This week, heading in the 5th week of isolation, I’ve decided to turn to familiar comforts, as I’m suggesting to you. Books I’ve already read. Movies I’ve already seen. Foods that have history. Writing just to write. Talking, and not just typing.

A new book or author may be hard to trust or commit to in a time like this (I don’t really like to write these words as an author, however, as an author, I can only write what pours out and here it is). There is a familiarity in our favorite stories, styles, and shows and this familiarity will bring us comfort. There is a reason we return to things over and again. And I say, now is the time to revisit.

I do believe, of course, in finding new comforting books, authors, stories, poems, movies, shows and follows on social media. Sometimes we find them upon happenstance, and what a lovely treat that is, but more often I ask or pay attention to what is highly recommended by a friend or someone I trust.

If you should so trust me and my recommendations than I thought I’d share a list of my familiar comforts that I’m returning to again, like an old friend who makes you feel like yourself again. And I suppose I should note that many of my selections offer me visual beauty (another thing we which are in dire need of). I am the sort that will watch a show or movie for mere aesthetics and design:



*I am looking for beauty, inspiration, and enjoyment. Should something inspire me I may try a recipe or rearrange some furniture, but no pressure.

Cookbooks (Nigella Lawson’s cookbooks read like a book. She’s an excellent writer)

Old design magazines (I never regret hoarding print)

Design and coffee table books
*I found such comfort looking through my old Shabby Chic books, last night. It brought me back to an origin and reminded me of my continued love for beauty and sharing it (along with my continued affinity for pastels, white paint, old things and squidgy furniture). I’m also really enjoying Rachel Ashwell’s daily IGTV posts (She is a kindred)

Children’s Books. I love to thumb through the illustrations and read the cheeky stories. Lauren Child is my favorite author and illustrator.

Beautiful dishes and china. I’ve decided to start having my tea in my teacups. The delicate beauty is bringing me joy and that I’m using something special my grandmother gave to me.





Word Games (I’m really liking Word Trip)







Toast and cheese
*This is my greatest comfort meal, with a cup of tea. My grandma, once, persuaded me to try raisin toast with a slice of sharp cheddar and it was a winning combination. If only I had some raisin toast. Cinnamon toast is also, lovely.)

Chicken Noodle soup

Mashed potatoes (we often make a meal called “minch.” I wrote about it back in 2008. Read the post if you dare.).

Tacos and guacamole


Chocolate smoothie

Roast Chicken

Banana Bread

Chocolate chip cookies



About Time

About a Boy

Miss Potter

Father Brown

You’ve Got Mail

Mamma Mia

Bridget Jones

It’s Complicated

Sleepless in Seattle

Emma (the new one!!! And I love the 90’s version)

French Kiss


Parent Trap

Midsomer Murders

Sliding Doors

The Office

Downton Abbey

Agatha Raisin


The World’s Most Extraordinary Homes (Netflix)


Nacho Libre


Nanny McPhee

The Crown

The Holiday

Arrested Development

Anything: Nancy Meyer, Nora Ephron, Wes Anderson, Richard Curtis or John Hughes. Masterpiece.

Cooking Shows: I used to love watching Food Network as a way to relax. My favorites have always been: Nigella Lawson, Jamie Oliver, Giada, and Barefoot Contessa.

*I also should note that I’ve started watching movies from my childhood, including the ones I watched but didn’t understand at the time—the one’s my parent’s watched. A few being: First Wives’ Club, The Money Pit, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (it had been awhile and I picked up on so many more details this time around) and Arthur (although, I confess I didn’t get very far with this one).

Any 80s/90s movie suggestions for me?



Jane Austen

Emily and Charlotte Brönte

Madeleine L’Engle

Louise Penny

Kate Morton

Emily Dickinson

Leeana Tankersley

C.S. Lewis

Liane Moriarty

Ruth Ware

Anne Lamott

Fredrik Backman

Pam Weaver

Henri Nouwen



Abiding in Christ

Pride and Prejudice

Jane Eyre

A Still Life

My Grandmother Asked Me To Tell You She’s Sorry

The Dutch House

Psalms in the Passion Translation

Still Writing

Rest: Why You Get More Done When You Work Less

The Secret Keeper

Peter Pan


These lists are not exhaustive. I could carry on. But I shall stop for now. And I must tell you, that simply listing familiar comforts has truly brought a sense of comfort to me. I believe the books we read, movies we love, things we cherish tell so much about us and the life we have lived.

Consider making your own list, today.

AndDear Reader, would you be so kind as to share some of your familiar comforts with me?

Trina McNeilly

Trina McNeilly is a writer and founder of La La Lovely, where she has been blogging for nearly a decade. With an eye for beauty, Trina finds inspiration in styled spaces, other times in the broken places and everywhere in between. Through soulful writing in the voice of a trusted friend she shares her finds and all about being found.


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