How To Make The Perfect Smoothie This Summer

Tips For Making A Perfect Morning Smoothie

Take advantage of all the fresh fruit and vegetables during the summer season for a fresh addition to your smoothies

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Smoothies are one of my favorite things to make for breakfast because they are quick and easy to take on the go in the morning on my way to work. Although I love smoothies in the morning, they're great after workouts any time of the day as well.

When making a smoothie for breakfast, try to keep it healthy! It can be tempting to add in some chocolate to that strawberry banana smoothie to make it a bit sweeter, or some whipped cream, but that makes it like a dessert. If you're craving something chocolate in your smoothie, add a little cocoa power or a drop of vanilla.

The base of your smoothie can sweeten your smoothie too. I frequently use coconut milk in my smoothies which is low in calories and adds a sweetness to green smoothies. Almond milk is another great base and also dairy free.

Speaking of green smoothies, don't be afraid to try them! I was so suspicious of the thought of spinach or kale ever in my smoothie and it took a while for me to finally try it. A smoothie place was serving samples of their green smoothie and I braved the jump to try it, and I loved it.

I have started to make some of my own green smoothies at home. One of my favorite combinations is mango, pineapple, spinach, and coconut milk. It also creates this amazing green color that also tastes amazing.

While it's the summer months, take advantage of local produce but frozen fruit is also a great option for some fruit that you can't always find, such as mango. Frozen fruit helps to make your smoothies the perfect cold temperature too.

Don't be afraid to switch up your smoothie combinations and test out your own recipes so you don't get tired of the same smoothie every day.

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A Letter To The Almost High School Graduate

“The present changes the past. Looking back you do not find what you left behind.” –Kiran Desai
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To the high school senior weeks away from graduation,

Stop.

Just take a moment to look back on all of the things you're used to, all of the things you consider your norm, and all the things you grew up knowing life would be.

Take a drive at sunset and look at the town you call home. Reminisce in all of it –that shop you used to get frozen yogurt with friends or that pizza shop where you went on that date with that guy.

Go past your elementary school. Swing on the swings and hide under that playset you used to call a fortress.

Visit the place you called “home" –your friend's house, the band room, the gymnasium. Any place you truly felt like yourself.

I ask you to do these things before it's too late. Yes, it is actually possible to be too late.

Do those things before everything you've ever know changes. Do those things before you leave. Do those things because one day you'll come home and you won't recognize a thing.

That favorite fro-yo shop you and your friends went to –closed. That playground you used to love –removed. That big oak tree outside of your back door –chopped into pieces, fallen from a storm.

Now, these things may seem meaningless to some, but they are part of our familiarity. Our sense of how life was.

It's a simple concept, yet it's difficult to grasp once you're away from home.

The concept: life goes on, even when you're not there.

It won't hit you as soon as you think, but when it does, it hits hard. It hit me when I Facetimed my parents and they showed me my room. It felt like my brain had glitched; it didn't understand why I could see my room, yet I wasn't there in person to see it.

This glitch is called your reality check. You don't ever ask for it, but you always need it.

The same thing occurs when you come home for Thanksgiving or Christmas. It happens when the whole family gathers and they see you “post-high school" and now as a “new college kid." They say, “wow, you've changed so much!" but you look the same. They say, “you're so much more aware of everything now –it's incredible!" but you really haven't; you've just been looking outside of a dorm window instead of your house's window.

Why does everyone see you differently, yet you feel completely unchanged?

The answer: your reality check hasn't happened yet.

You haven't begun to realize the dark half-crescent shaped shadows under your eyes from lack of sleep. You haven't seen your sudden weight gain (or weight loss, for some). You haven't seen how differently you interact with people here than you did before you departed.

And just like that, all that change occurs and there's no time to realize it. Until it's too late.

So realize these things now. Soak up the norm and live the life you may call “ordinarily boring." Because one day, it won't be. And you'll have no idea why.

And so, I leave you almost-graduate with this: stop and smile.

Look back on all you've lived through and all you've accomplished. Look at all the memories of you growing up. Remember, reminisce, and embrace your childhood for a little while longer, before it all disappears.

When you wake up on graduation day and you look in the mirror, fully dressed in cap and gown, smile.

Because you've made it to the end of part one, and now you've reached the beginning of part two.

This is your new norm.

Signed gratefully yours,

The Kid Who Wishes She Had

Cover Image Credit: pxhere

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A Love Letter To My Air Fryer

And why you would love an fryer too...

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In a previous article, I wrote about how love to use Trello.com for organizing things. I'm still loving Trello. I've haven't grown bored of it and stopped using it (like I have with some other organizational systems). This time, I'm going to share another item that I love, and it's for one of my favorite things, food! I finally gave in and bought an air fryer, and after my first use, I literally said that it's wonderful! I bought a small air fryer. It only holds about two quarts, but it's perfect for quick lunches.

I thought I'd love the air fryer if it could dry fry food with little to no oil, and it does just that. I'm also in love with the air fryer, because I could simply put the food in it, set the timer and live my life for a few minutes until the food is done. I don't have to stand over it and watch the food cook. That makes the air fryer a winner! Did I mention that it really does work?! Yes, it does work. Now, you could buy foods that are already breaded and throw them in the air fryer, but if you want to go the healthier route, you can use bread crumbs, flour, and eggs to make your own crispy coatings for your foods. Dipping your food in your own homemade batter cuts out some of the salt and added chemicals in the frozen pre-fried foods.

You can also fry foods that do not even need a homemade batter. Without using the batter, I've made sweet potato French fries and burritos in it. The tortilla for the burrito turned out nicely crispy, but I didn't leave it in the air fryer long enough for it to be crunchy. The sweet potato fries came out nice. I've tried making crispy chickpeas with Italian seasoning, but they weren't to my liking. However, I have loved everything else that I've made in the air fryer. Sometimes I just put a quick meal in it, just to re-heat it, since I don't use a microwave. I just think that using the air fryer is healthier than using microwaves, and I love that I don't need to put my food in a special box or anything for it to be really crispy. If you love fried chicken or fried fish, you'd love this little machine as much as I do!

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