Hello everyone! It is almost the 4th of July which means fireworks, really great food, and time spent with friends right?? Well usually. This year I will be working instead of all that fun stuff. However I’m not complaining much because these next few weeks will be filled with intense dance training for my upcoming competition in Nashville, TN. I’ve not been feeling super great lately…I’ve been experiencing a lot of nausea when I do any type of extreme moving (like working out or dancing) which is not good AT ALL, so I’m really trying to get my body back to normal again. My schedule has been packed lately so I think I’m just experiencing effects of that.

Even if you’re super busy like me this holiday weekend, you can still add a little festivity to your life…through food of course. The best way right? One of the easiest and yummiest things I made for the 4th was Patriotic Breakfast Parfaits. These are great for a breakfast or brunch on this holiday weekend, and can be whipped up in just a few minutes!

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What you’ll need:

  • Plain organic yogurt
  • vanilla extract
  • Stevia (to taste)
  • fresh blueberries
  • fresh raspberries
  • your choice of granola

Directions:

  1. Mix yogurt, vanilla extract, and Stevia together until yogurt is sweetened to your preference.
  2. In a parfait glass, layer the yogurt, berries, and granola to create a beautiful and festive treat!

For brunch today I made a really patriotic toast that was so yummy and cute! This American Flag Toast was super easy to make, you’ll love it!

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What you’ll need:

  • 1 piece bread (I used Udi’s gluten-free bread)
  • 1 Tbs. Kerrygold butter
  • 2 Tbs. plain cream cheese
  • vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. xylitol
  • blueberries
  • 1 banana
  • strawberry jam

Directions: 

  1. Spread butter on bread and toast until browned.
  2. Mix together cream cheese, xylitol, and vanilla extract and spread on bread.
  3. Spread strawberry jam on top of cream cheese.
  4. arrange blueberries and bananas so that the toast resembles an American Flag. Voila!

My ultimate 4th of July would be spent on a beautiful lake somewhere watching the fireworks reflect in the water, eating mac-n-cheese, and jamming out to old school rock with my friends and my amazing boyfriend. Simple but great. The epitome of summer. One year on the 4th, my best friend Abbey and I spent our evening watching Snow White and the Huntsmen and eating 2 orders of Zeppoli from Olive Garden in the movie theater parking lot as we watched the fireworks. It was so much fun, and we still laugh about how we didn’t get sick from eating all of those DELICIOUS Italian doughnuts. Whatever you do this 4th of July weekend, it doesn’t have to be extravagant to be memorable. Whether you spend it surrounded by people you love, in a place you love, eating something you love….just make it fun!

2015 4th of July
2015 4th of July

My days haven’t been total “work and no play.” I have been fortunate enough to enjoy some summer nights outside with my family and my boyfriend around the fire in my backyard, enjoying our beautiful view of the mountains. Of course, hot dogs and marshmallows are always included. I really treasure these nights because they are so chill and relaxing. I love it especially close to dark when the fireflies come out and light up the trees. That and eating countless burnt marshmallows make these nights the best.

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Because my dogs are just too funny….

So this picture is an example of what happens every time my family hangs out outside. My older dog Blue Girl (the one in the back) DESPISES my other dog Tigger (front with tongue out). Blue Girl is EXTREMELY jealous of Tigger and hates when anyone gives her attention. So when Tigger comes around, Blue Girl will literally turn her head or whole body the other way, or just leave. And when one of us gives Tigger attention, Blue Girl will do the same thing to them! It’s absolutely hilarious; she’s such a drama queen. I’m sure everyone has that one person or animal in their family 🙂

Own the night like the 4th of July,

Ashlyn Tori<3