Vitamin and mineral rich smoothies are such a great way to consume an abundance of essential nutrients in a pinch. You may think that just because it's almost Winter that you should put your smoothie machine away until Spring. In fact, it's even more important to be getting more nutrition in during the colder months due to all the contagious bugs going around such as the flu and the common cold.

This week I've had a nagging cold so my Ninja Blender has been working over time. I've been making a lot of green kale smoothies to help me feel better but over the weekend I needed something a bit stronger so I made this bright yellow mango smoothie. It's delicious!

This healthy recipe contains a lot of powerful natural foods to help strengthen the immune system including white tea and fresh ginger. The lemon juice helps detoxify the liver while the dash of cayenne pepper provides some heat and a metabolism boost. Cayenne pepper is a medicinal herb that has been used for thousands of years. It contains the active ingredient capsaicin which gives it its medicinal properties as well as it's heat.

Plan ahead for this smoothie as you will need to boil your tea water and leave it steeping in the refrigerator for a few hours or overnight to get the maximum benefit.

Once your tea is ready, blend all the ingredients together and sip away!

Immunity Boosting White Tea, Ginger, & Mango Smoothie Recipe

1 white tea bag (I used the Tazo blueberry blossom white tea)

1 cup boiling water

1 cup frozen mango chunks

1 large frozen banana

1 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 tsp fresh ginger, grated

Dash of cayenne pepper

1. Prep the tea: Boil the water and pour the hot water into a mug. Place the tea bag in the water and set it in the refrigerator for 3-4 hours or overnight.

2. Once it has been steeping for a while, remove the tea bag and pour the tea water into a blender.

3. Add the remaining ingredients into the blender. Blend until very smooth. If it's too thick, add a few tablespoons of water to help thin it out.

4. Pour into a tall glass and garnish with a fun straw!

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Thanksgiving is just a few days away and I'm officially in food mode. Still finishing up my food spread ideas but these beautiful beets will definitely be making an appearance on me and Matt's Thanksgiving table. They are incredible!

If you want a Thanksgiving side dish that will be a crowd pleaser with not much work, this recipe will be a perfect option for you. It's beautiful, flavorful, and extremely nutritious!

You can even roast the beets in the oven the night before to minimize your work load on Thanksgiving day. It saves a lot of time (they take about an hour or so to roast) as well as space in your oven.

Health Benefits of Beets

Beets aren't just a show stopper in respect to their eye catching red color, they also contribute to good health in so many ways!

1. Beets contain important phytonutrients (special and unique substances found only in plants that fight disease) which help to decrease inflammation all throughout the body. Beets also aid in healthy digestion.

2. They are high in vitamins and minerals such as potassium, iron, magnesium, calcium, Vitamin's A, B, & C, as well as fiber. They are also high in plant protein!

3. Beets are high in powerful antioxidants! The dark red color found in beets is caused by beta-cyanine which is an important antioxidant that aids in fighting diseases especially of the colon. It also contains the antioxidant beta-carotene.

4. Beets are also known to lower and maintain healthy blood pressure because they contain phyto-nitrates which help to open up the blood vessels, improving blood flow thus lowering the blood pressure.

The addition of the toasted hazelnuts (also called Filberts) and the balsamic reduction sauce bring ordinary beets to an entirely new level.

Once you try this flavorful recipe, it will probably become your favorite way to eat them.

The crunchy nuts with the tangy and sweet balsamic glaze pair perfectly with the earthy and nutty beets. Absolutely delicious and very nutritious! All whole foods and plant based. Healthy food from the Earth!

I hope you try and enjoy this holiday recipe!

Oven Roasted Beets with Toasted Hazelnuts in a Simple Balsamic Reduction Sauce - A Thanksgiving and Christmas Side Recipe

5-6 medium beets

1/2 cup toasted hazelnuts

3-4 Tbsp homemade balsamic reduction sauce (see the easy recipe below)

Fresh thyme sprigs

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Wash beets and wrap each beet individually in foil. Place on a baking sheet and roast for 60 minutes - 90 minutes. The beets are done when the biggest beet is easily pierced with a fork. Let them cool for 30 minutes.

2. Reduce the oven to 300 degrees and toast hazelnuts for 15 minutes. Some of the skins should be falling off. Remove from oven and rub vigorously in a damp towel to get the remaining skins off. Roughly chop the nuts in half and set aside.

3. To make the balsamic reduction sauce: All you need is 1 cup of balsamic vinegar. In a medium saucepan bring the balsamic vinegar to a low boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 20-30 minutes. *Stir often and check frequently to make sure it isn't burning!* When it's finished it should be reduced by 2/3 making exactly 1/3 cup of sauce. Set aside to let cool.

4. Cut beets into little circles removing the skins as you go and place neatly on a large serving plate. Top with the toasted hazelnuts and drizzle 3-4 tbsp of the balsamic reduction sauce all over. Sprinkle with thyme leaves and add a few extra sprigs on top for garnish!

Happy Thanksgiving!

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Thanksgiving and Christmas are right around the corner which means it's time to decorate for the Holidays!

When planning your home decor scheme for the season, don't forget to decorate the outside of your home too. Some of the most beautiful outdoor holiday decorations can be easily made using containers, soil, and seasonal plants.

In other words, a planter can be a perfect outdoor decor option which wont break the bank and will add a lot of natural greenery and life to your patio or porch.

Many people think beautiful colored outdoor planters are just for Spring and Summer but they aren't. Fall and Winter planters are just as gorgeous.

The selection isn't as abundant as in the warmer months but there are colorful options to choose from if you look. I suggest making a weekend trip to your local home improvement store or garden center to check out the current selections.

This is the planter Matt and I made for our porch. It's colorful, low maintenance, and festive! And it was a lot of fun spending a few hours gathering supplies and working on it together. It can be a fun project to do with your partner or kids!

Products Used for this Winter Planter:

1. Container - We used a plastic wine barrel for our container which we picked up from Lowe's for around $20. They have several different sizes to choose from. I love it. It looks good all year round. The real wooden wine barrel containers are available too but are more expensive so the plastic one is a great option for smaller budgets.

2. Soil - All you need is regular fresh potting soil. I think we used 2 small potting soil bags for this big barrel. I suggest getting 3 bags just in case depending on how large your container is.

3. Cold weather plants - This planter contains 3 ornamental cabbage plants, 3 bundles of purple, red, and white pansies (some yellow ones have popped up too), and 1 baby Juniper tree. The ornamental cabbage can be eaten but I wouldn't advise doing so as it will be really bitter. It was grown for decoration not to be eaten. When the pansies are drooping or losing leaves, go ahead and pluck the head off to encourage regrowth. The Juniper tree is the crowning glory of this planter. The height is a nice balance in comparison to the smaller plants. In time, it will become a super tall tree so you can eventually transfer it to your yard and watch it grow for years to come.

Watering & Sunlight - I have been giving this planter a nice watering about twice a week. It needs a lot of sunlight so make sure it's out in the open soaking up those rays. And as always, remove any dead leaves or flowers to encourage regrowth. That way it will continue to look healthy and beautiful all throughout the Winter.

I hope this post inspires you to get your hands dirty and create a gorgeous outdoor winter planter for your home this holiday season!

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Hi. I'm Ginny!

I'm a published photographer and blogger from Charlotte, North Carolina.  I share healthy & nutritious vegan recipes, lifestyle inspiration, & beautiful nature and travel photography!


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Ginny Williams

est. 2017