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Strawberry Banana Smoothie (Dairy-Free)

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Strawberry Banana Smoothie | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Oof. You guys! I’ve missed you. I’ve missed talking about food and life and being generally silly because this is my blog and nobody can stop me. I’ve missed eating itself, actually. For the two weeks I was in the hospital, I was either in so much pain or so nauseous that I could barely eat anything at all. After being home for about two days, I finally got my appetite back, and it was the best thing ever. Thank you, Kraft Mac & Cheese.

One of my very sweet neighbors brought over a big bag of fruit to wish me well. Bless her, she had no idea I’m a ridiculously picky eater, and I don’t actually like fruit. Luckily, my offspring is not cursed with such an affliction, so she couldn’t wait to turn the strawberries and bananas into smoothies. We picked up a single serve blender for $20 at Ross, and started mixing.

Strawberry Banana Smoothie | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

We went back and forth about what to put in it. I refused to spend thirty bucks on protein powder, and she doesn’t like yogurt, so in the end, we went with nothin’ but fruit. It’s like, pure or something. One whole frozen banana, three or four strawberries, and just enough apple juice to make everything flow, and boom, you’ve got a pretty pink, totally healthy smoothie ready to sip.

It’s been waaaay too hot to even eat lately, let alone cook, so this strawberry banana smoothie is the perfect solution. The frozen banana keeps everything chilled out and you don’t feel gross and tired when you’re finished. There’s gotta be all kinds of vitamins in there. Genius.

Strawberry Banana Smoothie | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Grab some fruit. Put it in a blender. Spin it up. It’s summer.

Strawberry Banana Smoothie (Dairy-Free)
Serves 1
All fruit, all fun, this strawberry banana smoothie is simple to make and perfect for summer.
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Prep Time
10 min
Prep Time
10 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 frozen banana, peeled and cut into 2 inch chunks
  2. 3-4 strawberries, stem removed and cut into quarters
  3. 1/2 cup 100% apple juice
Instructions
  1. Put all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Transfer to a tall glass and enjoy.
How to be awesome on $20 a day http://awesomeon20.com/
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Awesome 365

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#awesome365

Remember back in mid-May when I was so ready for summer and everything was coming alive and it was like ice cream and sunshine and happiness all over the place? Then before Memorial Day could even hit, I found myself headed to the ER with a collapsed lung. I’ve spent the past six weeks struggling with serious health issues, and three of those weeks were spent in a hospital bed.

I had my follow up appointment with the surgeon who removed bits of my lung, and I’m thrilled to tell you my chest x-ray looks good, and I’m officially on the mend. It’s going to be a long slow process. I’m still in a bit of pain, and my energy certainly isn’t what it used to be, but I think I’m ready for a take two on this summer.

During those long days in the hospital where everything is hushed and colorless, I found myself constantly checking my Instagram feed looking for something, anything beautiful to feast my eyes on. It was then I decided I needed more inspiration in my own daily life.

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I’m challenging myself to seek out the simple beauty that’s all around me by posting a photo each day with the hashtag #awesome365. Being in the hospital made me feel hopeless and helpless, and that’s no way to live. Life doesn’t have to be exploding with excitement or overflowing with lavish things to be truly awe inspiring. I don’t want to forget that. Not for one second.

You know why there are so many cliches about life being short and precious? Because it’s true. I want to look at my life differently, so for the next year, I’m pushing myself to find something mind-blowingly wonderful about my every day life. 

I hope you’ll join me. Okay, maybe you don’t have to play along every day for a year, but when you see something that makes you happy to be alive, I’d love for you to share it with me by tagging your photo #awesome365, then posting it to Facebook, Twitter,or Instagram. Who knows? Maybe we can spread a bit of joy. That can only lead to goodness. 

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Be sure to follow me on Instagram to see what kinds of awesomeness I find along the way. Who knows what a year may bring? We’re here to be happy, but we can’t just wait around for joy to fall in our laps. We have to open ourselves to the wonder in the universe. Come on, kids. Be awesome!

Gay Pride Cake

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Friends, we made you a celebration cake today because love has finally won. But before we get to that, I’m turning my blog over to my daughter Emily, to share her story. She’s seriously awesome.

Gay Pride Cake | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

When I was nine years old, I was having a sleep over with my best friend.  As we were falling asleep, the topic of homosexuality fell upon us.  Since my friend was a Christian, she said that she thought homosexuality was wrong, because God wanted men and women to be together.  Even as a nine year who thought to herself “don’t be gay, don’t be gay, don’t be gay,” I told this girl “People love who they love.”  And, of course, I still stand by that statement today. 

When I was eleven years old, a different friend of mine came out as bisexual.  I told her, in private, that I was also bisexual, I supported her, and I was there if she needed any help.  She then told my sixth-grade-boyfriend at the time that I was bisexual, because she thought he ought to know that part of me.

Word got around my class that Emily Dick was bi.  I was insanely worried, and ended up crying in the arms of my sixth-grade-enemy.  A few days later, I officially came out to my best friend (who said “so…?”), then my step mom, then my mom and step dad, then my dad, then my grandparents.  All at the age of eleven. 

When I was thirteen, my best friend, who was very Christian, harassed me on the first night of my spring break after I showed him a “gay is okay” poster I made for an oral report.  He texted me bible verses that opposed homosexuality, texted me more about how I was going to hell, and called me saying that I was disgusting.  No matter how hurtful it got, I kept arguing with him. 

Now, almost fifteen, my life in high school revolves around trying to unify my class, and telling others that equality matters.  I ran for class president, reprimand kids when they use the word “faggot,” and tell them the origin of the term, and tell people not to call each other and things “gay” in a hateful way.  No matter what little I can do, I do it.  

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This morning, at around 5:30 a.m, I woke up and checked Instagram.  The first post was a picture of a tweet by the president, Barack Obama, that says “Today is a big step in our march toward equality.  Gay and lesbian couples now have the right to marry, just like anyone else. #LoveWins.” 

Under further investigation, I realised that gay marriage had been legalised in all fifty states in the United States of America.  I was so ecstatic, that I burst into my parents room, and shouted what I’d heard.  Then, I called my father to tell him.  Then one of my best friends.  Then one of my other friends.  Then I texted my uncle.  I couldn’t believe it. 

I am so incredibly thrilled that my community now has the simple right to marry wherever they want in this country.  It’s been such an incredible journey, harder for some, and this is such a crazy, joyful day.  While there’s still work to do with equality in every form, this country made a huge breakthrough today.

Gay Pride Cake | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

In celebration of this event, I immediately wanted to make a cake honouring this accomplishment.  This is it: The Gay Pride Cake. 

Gay Pride Cake
Serves 12
You know love wins and equality is awesome. Celebrate with this simple, colorful cake, bursting with pride.
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Prep Time
45 min
Cook Time
30 min
Prep Time
45 min
Cook Time
30 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 box funfetti cake mix plus ingredients required on box
  2. 1 stick butter, softened
  3. 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  4. 2-1/2 cups powdered sugar
  5. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  6. Purple gel food coloring
  7. M&M's colors separated
  8. Blue sugar or sprinkles
Instructions
  1. To assemble this cake, start out by making your funfetti cake layers according to package directions. Allow your cake layers to cool completely.
  2. To make your frosting, beat together butter and cream cheese in a mixing bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Slowly beat in the powdered sugar, then crank up the mixer to medium for a minute or so to smooth everything out. Mix in the vanilla extract.
  3. Pull out about a quarter cup of the frosting and dye it purple with the gel food coloring. Why? Because there are no purple M&Ms.
  4. Frost your cake all over with your cream cheese frosting like you would any layer cake. Put your purple frosting in a piping bag with a round tip and pipe a border of pretty purple dots all the way around the bottom edge of your cake.
  5. Next make a ring of blue, green, yellow, orange, and red M&Ms all the way around your cake.
  6. Finally, use wax paper to cut out an equal sign template. I recommend making your template big enough to cover the whole top of the cake, so you don't get stray sprinkles like we did. Sprinkle your blue sugar or sprinkles over your template, then gently lift it away.
  7. Slice and celebrate love!
Notes
  1. If your working in a warm kitchen, you may need to stash your frosting, then later your frosted cake, in the fridge for 15 minutes to make sure things don't get too soft and melty. It will take longer, but you'll have much better results.
  2. DO NOT put your M&Ms in the fridge before separating. They'll be sticky and the color will rub off on your hands.
How to be awesome on $20 a day http://awesomeon20.com/
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