“A little bit of summer’s what the whole year’s all about.”

The freshmen are on campus, the days are getting shorter and the promise of a fresh semester is closer as autumn approaches and the summer sunshine gets farther from my grasp. I was determined this morning to savor the last of what remains of summer.

As a small but relevant aside, for my 19th birthday, my Brother-in-Law got me the most excellent Kitchen Aid Architect Series blender. It has been a welcome addition to my kitchen (albeit, a rented kitchen) and makes smoothies like a pro. I usually don’t do smoothies in the winter because I want something warm in my belly and when I’m in a rush, I usually wouldn’t. It took an unnecessary amount of time in the mornings to chop a banana, wash and cut strawberries, measure milk and Fage Greek yogurt and blend and fly out the door to my 8:30 a.m. class — which I have another one of this semester.

So it kind of became a sad but true fact that I didn’t use my awesome blender as much as I would have hoped.

I think that changed today.

I found an excellent bundle of green smoothie recipes via “A Beautiful Mess” — check out the blog here! I think I originally found the recipe somewhere on Pinterest or I might have just been doing some general browsing, I honestly don’t remember. What I can say, though, is how happy I am that I stumbled across this. On my haul at HyVee yesterday, I got some spinach and some kale and other smoothie fixings and was excited to try one this morning.

I didn’t follow any of the recipes on the page, but I was inspired a lot by the one with raspberries in it. I wasn’t feeling like coconut this morning, so I made a few revisions of my own:

All I really have to say is “Well, whoa.” This smoothie was delicious, easy and filling. Ingredient wise, it is super flexible and easy and you can really do whatever you feel like doing. I did:

  • Half of a banana
  • A handful of raspberries
  • A generous handful of baby spinach
  • 1 cup water

Throw it all in the blender and liquify it into green submission. I’m not going to lie, I was a little nervous about trying this at first. All of those feelings, however, were tossed to the side after my first sip. It definitely has an earthy, grassy taste but I could still taste the raspberries which helped and also gave this a bit of texture. I will absolutely make it again and can see this becoming a staple in the mornings to take with me on my way to my early morning class.

I think the thing that makes me the happiest about this (and believe me, there are many things), is how flexible they are. I think I might add protein powder next time to give it a little boost (even though the spinach is a great naturally occurring source). The possibilities are limitless!

I just finished my lunch of peanut butter on whole wheat and a banana and of course, am currently enjoying my vegan soy latte (just Panera blend coffee and frothed Silk Very Vanilla).

Dinner is going to be the same as last night because 1) it was so delicious and I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it since I finished the meal last night and 2) you only have a few days to keep a pitted avocado fresh in the refrigerator before it browns so I need to get that thing eaten up.

Physically, I can already feel a few minor changes. My stomach/intestines are not rumbly all of the time, my digestion feels a lot more regular, I feel much more light/clean/less bloated — especially in the mornings — and I have been sleeping a lot better. I don’t feel nutritionally deprived or hungry or even really craving any dairy. So far, so good.

The plan for today? Scope out some more vegan recipes, read my book, get some apartment stuff taken care of and go out tonight. In the meantime, I’m going to wrap up in a blanket and enjoy this coffee while I savor John Mayer’s new album, “Paradise Valley.” It is making my heart and soul so happy this morning, hence the title of this post. “On the Way Home” and “Wildfire” are my favorites so far.

Happy listening and happy eating!

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