Recipe

Raspberry Vegan Nice Cream

August 16, 2016
Birch Juice Blog

I’ve been playing around with a lot of summery recipes after getting a blender last month. I’ve seen a lot on pinterest and most of them turned out tasting like banana even if I added other fruit or chocolate. To me this one tastes good, almost like a soft serve ice cream even before I add in the raspberries. I think the key is a to add a bit of vanilla extract to take away a little bit of that banana taste.

Raspberry Vegan Nice Cream
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
 
Ingredients
  • 2-3 Frozen Bananas
  • 4-5 Tbsp Almond Milk (or milk of choice)
  • ½ - 1 Tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 2-4 Tbsp Frozen Raspberries
Instructions
  1. Take out frozen bananas, let them sit out for 10-15 minutes
  2. Cut them up into smaller pieces
  3. Put into blender and add a few Tbsp of milk
  4. Keep blending until smooth
  5. Add vanilla extract & blend
  6. Add raspberries & blend until smooth
  7. Enjoy!

Please let me know if you have nice cream/ice cream recipes of your own that you enjoy. Summer is almost over but I’m still trying to get some summery desserts in!

P.S. I finally cracked and got SnapChat. Let me know your username or add me – kasikelley :)

Books

July 2016 Reading Wrap Up

August 3, 2016
Birch Juice Blog

Hooray you guys, July was an awesome reading month for me! I have to thank the Booktube-A-Thon that really gave me a push to read more. I have to admit that this month I’m feeling a bit burnt out so I doubt I will be able to read this many books any time soon but for now I will just enjoy the fact that I was able to knock a few books off of my TBR.

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley (4/5) – Just as anyone else I vaguely knew what this book was about. Yes, a creature that was created by Dr Frankenstein. But there is so much more depth to this book than I could have imagined. There is so much struggle and suffering, which is something that I didn’t expect at all. This book is filled with tough decisions and pretty brutal consequences. If you haven’t read it I definitely recommend it.

Girl at War by Sara Nović (4/5) – This one has been on my TBR for a while and I was happy to finally get to it in July. What a well written book! I could not put it down because it was so captivating and interesting. The main character was amazing, I really emphasized with her and had my heart broken so many times. A great book about such brutal human struggles and really overcoming the most horrible of events.

Scarlet by Marissa Meyer (3/5) – I bought this book when I started Lunar Chronicles so I finally got around to reading it. I can’t find too many faults with this book other than in my opinion it’s filled with fluff and lately I’m just not feeling books like that. It was moving along quickly and stuff was happening, but I definitely liked it less than Cinder. I want to finish the series so hopefully next one will be better.

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood (5/5) – What a read! I’ve been looking forward to it and it didn’t disappoint. The start was a tiny bit slow and you don’t get the full sense of what has happened until well over halfway through and it was so dark. A book about the lack of value for women really made me think about the world that we live in and how we are treated.

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury (3/5) – This was a quick read and it was for the most part entertaining. Books about a government that has gone rogue are typically pretty intense and this one is no different. I felt like near the end the action picked up more and things were getting a lot more exciting but in the beginning I wasn’t exactly loving it.

You’ll Grow Out of It by Jessie Klein (4/5) – Such a funny read. Seriously, if you like  reading memoirs of comedians I highly recommend this one. A lot of stories that are very relatable, and she doesn’t try too hard to be taboo. My biggest problem with this book was the fact that even though she’s trying hard to relate to your basic reader, chances are most of us don’t fly across the country for a one night stand. Things like that, I knew what she was saying but I also knew that she’s not just a regular person.

Pet Sematary by Stephen King (4/5) – Pretty creepy and dark, but not as scary as I thought it would be. If you like King’s writing this one is an excellent choice. While it’s on the longish side it’s a very quick read, I pretty much couldn’t put it down. And with a cemetery being involved, you know how creepy things got!

Carrie by Stephen King (3/5) – I guess everyone knows what this book is about, so going into it I had an idea of what I was in for. It’s written almost backwards, where you have the news articles and excerpts from books that were written after the “incident” took place. The book tends to jump around from past to present and as that happens you slowly gather what lead up to the infamous event. It’s not my favorite Stephen King book, unfortunately, but it wasn’t a horrible read.

What are you reading? Have you read any good books lately?

Clothes

Alternative Apparel

July 26, 2016
Birch Juice Blog

Since I’ve started getting more into yoga (aka doing it regularly for a few weeks) I’ve decided that I need to find more yoga apparel companies. I can’t remember which “yoga brand” list I looked through but that’s how I came across Alternative Apparel. Basically they sell clothes that is sustainable and more eco friendly than your other friendly neighborhood clothing stores. I can always get on board with a clothing brand that is willing to take it one step further and actually make something that I can feel slightly better about wearing.

They had a decent July 4th sale so I decided to take the plunge and try out some of their goods. I ended up getting their leggings and a sports bra, both of which were on an excellent sale. Unlike a lot of other stores their sale section is pretty full of great options and they had a lot of sizes available.

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My experience ordering was good and the stuff shipped quickly. I’m always a tad hesitant ordering online because I hate having to track my packages and anxiously check the location of it every 5 minutes. My goods got sent back to the warehouse for some odd reason, I didn’t even know about it until their customer support contacted me. But they resolved the whole mess quickly and I got my stuff within a few days. The best part is that they have free shipping and free returns, because I hate paying shipping fees especially if it’s something I can get in store nearby.

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I’m a fan of the stuff that I got, it feels very natural since my goods are made from cotton. Now I for sure have a few more things that I would love to get from Alternative in the near future, some of those things are their loose fitting shirt and their vintage shirt because I’m a sucker for comfortable t-shirts.

If you love comfortable clothes as much as I do you can use this 20% off discount to Alternative Apparel that you can use if you spend $30 or more. I would also be benefitting from it since they will give me a discount from referring friends :) thanks guys!

What is your favorite yoga clothing brand?

Life

Coldplay Concert 2016

July 19, 2016
Birch Juice Blog

As many of you know I don’t really like music, I barely have any favorite musicians but one band that I like very much is Coldplay. I happen to like a lot of their songs which is a rarity, but that just means that us going to see them in concert was meant to be. Alex also likes their music so this was perfect since no one was going to suffer (I wish the same could have been said about that one time we saw Mumford & Sons, mehhh).

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I don’t have too many concerts to compare it to, but it was magical. They were so good live, which was great because that gave me more reasons to like them! Everyone in the audience was given a wristband that was controlled from backstage to light up whenever different songs came on. It was a lot to fun and we were standing pretty much the entire time, which my feet later didn’t thank me for.

So I would for sure go see them again and I hope they tour some more in the future. Now I’m more excited to see other concerts I’ll just have to find some artists that I like!

Do you like Coldplay? What is your all time favorite concert?

New York City, USA

Exploring Park Slope

July 12, 2016
Birch Juice Blog

Since moving to NYC we’ve been slowly but surely exploring new neighbourhoods. We haven’t ventured out to Brooklyn too much yet, so when we decided to check out Park Slope I figured it would be worthy of a blog post. I didn’t take as many photos as I wanted, just because I ended up taking it all in but I promise I will deliver more if we make it out there again (notice Alex in the bottom left corner of the picture, trying to get away from me and my picture taking).

Park Slope is sometimes called the “stroller capital” of the world. That’s because the first thing we noticed was how many little kids and strollers there were here. It’s very family oriented and I think there’s something peaceful about that. Also, there were lots of cute little dogs here too which is definitely something that’s right up my alley. I want a little dog so badly, but unfortunately we have a badly behaved big dog at home so my hopes and dreams of having a cute little one will have to wait a while longer.

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Being here vaguely reminded me of being in the suburbs, because of how quiet and residential it was. No crazy hustle and bustle of the city. There were lots of cute little stores and restaurants, we might come back one day to check some of them out. The streets are quiet and beautiful, filled with gorgeous brownstones and I for sure want to live in one of those. Another thing that caught my eye was how many bikers there are in this area, and how many bike lanes.

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After strolling around for a while we worked up an appetite! We went into Rancho Alegre for some tasty Mexican food. I have to say I’ve missed your basic fajitas which are surprisingly hard to find, or maybe we’ve been looking in all of the wrong places. All I know is I don’t think I will ever find a Mexican restaurant that is a good as Pueblo Real in Franklin, TN – it’s my all time favorite place and when we go back to Nashville you bet I’ll be making a stop there. Also notice Pinkberry on the first floor, which we stopped in after for a tasty dose of frozen yogurt.

Overall visiting Park Slope has been lots of fun, and I would be happy to venture out there again on some random weekend!

Have you been to Park Slope?

Life

Being More Mindful

July 6, 2016
Birch Juice Blog

Living in a big city can take it’s toll. I think this post is appropriate for everyone because relaxing is important. I’ve been caught up in the hustle and bustle and sometimes it’s tough to find the time to sit down and be mindful. It’s nice to reflect and just take deep breaths, so I figured I should share my relaxing/unwinding tips with you.

Yoga – This is kind of obvious I guess but I’ve just recently started getting back into regular yoga practice and I can already tell the difference. I’m looking forward to classes every week and I always feel so refreshed and relaxed after doing yoga. I’ve been sleeping better and I’m getting more flexible. Yoga is such an easy exercise to do at home, if you don’t feel like going anywhere, watching videos at home is how I first learned my yoga moves. Going to classes as a newbie can sometimes feel intimidating but trust me, it’s such a welcoming environment where everyone is encouraged to learn no matter what your level is.

Meditation – I’ve never been into meditation because my mind tends to wander off, however all of that changed when I tried out the Headspace app. It’s nice to set 10 minutes aside to clear my mind and think about nothing. It’s a paid app, so I don’t use it anymore but having done it for 10 days with awesome guidance has been incredibly helpful to me, so I continue on with my meditation still.

Gratitude Journal – Cheesy but it works! I don’t know about you but I always judge myself and focus on the things that I don’t have or lack in. It grinds you down after a while, so every morning I’m writing down 3 things that I’m thankful for. It’s such a small contribution but it really encouraged me to recognize that I have wonderful things in my life and what I have is enough.

Himalayan Salt Lamp – This is something that calms me down at the end of the day. I think salt lamps are so beautiful and they are great as night lights too. Maybe I’m just imagining it but I feel like it gives me a sense of warmth and peace. So I’m very happy happy with it and if you’ve been thinking about getting one I strongly encourage it.

Aroma Diffuser – We got a small one from Whole Foods and it has been a game changer for us. It’s so nice to find a pleasant scent like lavender and have it going in the evening before bed. I feel more calm and ready to pass out by the time I’m going to bed from being surrounded by such a relaxing smell. There are lots of good alternatives for mornings too, like something citrusy that really wakes you up.

How do you like to relax and unwind?