REVIEW: January 2017 Favorites

Happy February, my friends! It’s been a minute since I’ve shared anything here and since I missed posting my December Favorites, I’m going to include them here. How’s everyone doing?? It’s been quite the winter between the record amount of snow we had and then the obvious state of the world. I know I’m not alone in my sadness and discouragement, but I think we really need to come together, stand united, and make our voices heard. I promise to not make this post about politics, but for those looking for a way to work towards change PLEASE visit 5 Calls – and the best part is that they provide scripts…for those (like me) who lose their words and freeze up when it’s time to speak! All you do is type in your zip code and the phone numbers for your area will be provided. I urge you to call!

**ALSO, my shop has been on vacation, but I’m going to reopen it this Friday AND for this weekend only, I will be donating 50% of my sales to ACLU. I’ll make the announcement on my Instagram page (@be.sol.ful), so if you’re interested, please check there on Friday to get the full details!**

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FAVORITE PHOTOS FROM DECEMBER & JANUARY:

December was a month for LOTS OF SNOW here in Bend…which meant some quality time outside playing and adventuring AND shoveling. We had somewhere between 15″-18″ fall in a 24 hour span and I was just happy that I had nowhere to be. Poor Josh, on the other hand, still had to make the trek to work – I’m just grateful that we have a vehicle that can handle the weather conditions.


When you have a dinosaur obsessed kiddo, you make a triceratops instead of a snowman! She had a little help from her Dad…



A breathtakingly beautiful snowshoe hike with family…


With all the snow, more birds crowded our feeders, which we just love. Several months ago, Willow named three of the doves that frequent our yard…Sally, Lucy, and Charlie Brown. I managed to finally snap a photo of them together!

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And then January brought EVEN MORE snow – check out my parents front yard:

Which is why we had to brave the snowy mountain pass a couple weeks ago and get out of town! The weather was perfect at the coast and it was just what the three of us needed!



JANUARY FAVORITES >>

I first wanted to do a little shout out to my dear friend, Karina and her friend, Alyssa – their Honest Mothers blog is just incredible! There’s a real sense of community and connection thanks to sharing real life thoughts and struggles. The sad part about social media is that we’re trained to share perfect moments – clean house, well prepared meals, happy kids, put together moms. In reality, we ALL struggle. We ALL have bad days, weeks. NO ONE is perfect. Their blog helps to normalize this and show us that it is OK and normal to struggle…to feel guilt, to feel shame. In sharing about our struggles we actually help one another to not feel so isolated and alone. I had the honor of meeting Karina when I was in Southern CA back in September and I can with 100% certainty tell you that she is one of the most genuine, real mamas I know! Please give their blog a look. Here’s a link to their latest post → Distracted Motherhood

PRODUCTS:

“Heart Beet” >> GT’s Kombucha >> When I saw a new flavor from GT’s make an appearance at Natural Grocers this month, I didn’t have to think twice, I just added it to our shopping cart. Besides the fact that I LOVE beets, it also has fresh ginger and rosemary in it as well. Obviously it was amazing!!!

REVIEW: January 2017 Favorites

I also fell in love with GTs Mojito flavor! I switched back to GTs due to their lower sugar content – my favorite local brand (Humm) was just too sweet for my healing gut.

COYO Coconut Yogurt >> It’s been ages since I’ve purchased or consumed store bought yogurt, but when I saw this brand at Natural Grocers, I had to give them a shot! I chose to stick with Natural and Chocolate, so I cannot attest to how the other flavors are. Their yogurts are:

  • Vegan
  • Gluten-free
  • Paleo certified
  • Preservative free
  • Carrageenan free
  • Gum free
  • Soy free
  • No added sugar

I’d say that’s REALLY impressive! The downfall is the price as they were $2.79/ea…so these are more of a treat (an occasional purchase). I have also seen them at Whole Foods and Market of Choice, but there they are $3.99/ea.  I really enjoyed the thick, creamy texture and how it wasn’t sweet. Willow, on the other hand, tried to like them, but said they weren’t sweet enough for her! I plan to try using some of the plain/natural one as a sour cream substitute for tacos!

REVIEW: January 2017 Favorites
REVIEW: January 2017 Favorites
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RECIPES:

Candy Cane Nice Cream >> Feasting on Fruit >> Despite the cold and snow, we whipped this up one afternoon as a little treat. Willow has a slight obsession with beets and when she saw the video for this recipe (remember, she’s a HUGE fan of Natalie and her YouTube channel…but who isn’t?), she insisted we make this! I was a little lazy and kept the beets raw – I just made sure to dice them up small enough so that the blender wouldn’t leave behind any chunks of beet. I also skipped the pomegranate seeds because we didn’t have any on hand and I’m 99.9% sure Willow would have picked them out anyway 😉 Because it was so cold out when we made this and our house wasn’t super warm, the nice cream was really hard and rather than having a jar filled with pretty, creamy layers, I kinda plopped the nice cream in the jar. Haha!! But it didn’t matter because it tasted REALLY REALLY good!!! Not overly minty, slightly sweet, and a perfect treat. Willow topped hers with some mini chocolate chips…are you surprised? I just loved how there wasn’t any added sweetener, which didn’t make my tummy upset. Can’t wait to make this again!

REVIEW: January 2017 Favorites

RICE CRISPY CRUNCH TRUFFLES >> FEASTING ON FRUIT >> I gave Willow options and showed her photos/videos of treats to give her the chance to choose what we should make for our family Christmas Day gathering…and I’m not surprised that she picked these truffles! Our kitchen and Willow was a chocolate covered mess by the end of prepping these babies, but it was definitely worth it since they were a huge hit! While I can’t give you my personal feedback (I’m still grain-free) as to how they tasted, I will say that the super simple ingredient list won me over! Family and friends described them as rich, decadent, and amazing….it was so much fun for me to sit back and watch everyone take their first bite and listen to the ‘oooohhhing’ and ‘mmmmmmms’ – I’m sure these will make another appearance in the near future.

REVIEW: January 2017 Favorites

Raw Vegan Maple Donut Holes >> Lee Tilghman >> Grain-free, gluten-free, and full of maple-y goodness! Josh and Willow loooooooved these! I enjoyed one, but my tummy just couldn’t handle the sweetness level. I glazed most of them and set aside a couple without and those were more up my alley. So simple to make and no baking required. I think that when I make these again, I will omit the maple syrup in the actual “donut” and lessen the amount in the glaze…but if you ask Josh, he’ll say that they’re perfect the way they are!

REVIEW: January 2017 Favorites

Coconut Curry Soup with Sweet Potato Noodles >> Veggie Inspired >> I’m a sucker for all things curry and coconut AND simple, so this was a must-try recipe for our family. I made some adjustments to make it easier on my gut (left out the peas and added in chopped carrots instead – I sauteed those with the other veggies).  I LOVED this soup! So full of flavor and it had a decent amount of heat to it which made for perfect comfort food. Sadly, there isn’t a photo to accompany this review because (1) the lighting was awful…darn winter and darkness and (2) we used a low sodium broth with tomato which created a very dark soup…nothing nearly as pretty as Jenn’s! So please head over to her blog and drool over her pics and give the recipe a try!

((I’ve been sticking to pretty much the same few things for meals, so nothing new to share there…just LOTS of potatoes, broccoli, kale, avocado and plenty of nutritional yeast! Haha! Pretty simple and boring! Hoping to report back next month with more exciting meals! I’m just grateful to be able to eat curry and most nightshades again! Such a blessing.))

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BOOKS:

Before I dive into the world of fiction and self-help/self-love books, I NEED to mention and give some love to my sweet friend, Brandi, and her eBook! Back in December she released this beautiful 8 Ingredient Vegan Desserts ECookbook and I bought it straight away…and while I cannot attest to the deliciousness of the recipes included in this book, I will say that there hasn’t been a dessert recipe of Brandi’s that I tried and didn’t fall in love with. She has a real gift when it comes to creating AND capturing the essence in her photos. I’ve drooled over all the recipes and when my gut can tolerate nuts and grains again, you better believe I’ll be running to the kitchen to make everything! You can grab a copy for $6.99

What I read and enjoyed:

REVIEW: January 2017 Favorites

The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch >> A few years ago, my best friend recommended this book to me and it stayed on my to-read list for so long. Then last month, someone else brought up the title in conversation so I decided to check it out from the library. I knew from the description that it was going to be a heartbreaking read, but the lessons that you take away are life-changing. It is so easy to get dragged down into a pool of negativity – I’ve been guilty of that, but through these pages we learn about a man who chose to live life in such an inspiring way, despite a terminal cancer diagnosis. This was a very short book, but very powerful.

The Night Bird by Brian Freeman >> This was my pick from the Kindle First options in January and I plowed through it fast! It’s a mystery/suspense (fiction) and a real page turner. I gave it 4 stars on Goodreads.

Fellside by M.R. Carey >> Talk about a crazy book! Fiction/thriller/suspense. I really enjoyed this one, but the end had me screaming “why?!!?” – I ended up giving it 4 stars on Goodreads.

The Heart of Aromatherapy by Andrea Butje >> My mom gifted me this book as an early birthday present and I will cherish it as a wonderful resource. While I’ve been using essential oils for over ten years and have created my own recipes, I feel like I’m in a constant state of learning and growing when it comes to oils. I love how the author keeps things very basic – covers 40 different oils and their healing properties along with sharing her own recipes. I am very inspired by her combinations and knowledge. I highly recommend this book to anyone new to essential oils, but really I think it’s a great guide for everyone.

Daring Greatly by Brené Brown >> I love Brené Brown. Her words always bring so much hope, encouragement, and love to my heart. This book is all about vulnerability and how we cannot live wholeheartedly without it…we learn, grow, and succeed by showing up, taking risks, and stepping outside of our comfort zones. I have A LOT of the pages folded and highlighted because this book is FILLED with inspiring words. She has a way of calling you out in a gentle manner – I found myself nodding in agreement and shaking my head in disbelief (like as if she knew me and what I was thinking). I will be holding onto this book for Willow to read when she gets older. For anyone tired of living in fear and sitting on the sidelines, grab yourself a copy!

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Tell me…

What are you reading? Have you tried anything new? Recipes? Are you watching anything?? I’d love to hear from you!

Thanks for stopping by!

 

Grain-Free Peppermint Brownies

This time last year I shared a recipe for Triple Chocolate Peppermint Brownies and since they were a big hit, I wanted to challenge myself to see if I could recreate them to be closer to my current “diet.” I was going to try and make them AIP compliant, but since Willow isn’t the biggest fan of carob, I thought I better stick to good old cacao.

So what adjustments did I make?

Instead of gluten-free all purpose flour, I used cassava flour.

I used coconut butter in place of raw tahini (oh, how I miss tahini!).

Instead of aquafaba, I subbed in pumpkin puree.

My first trial was too heavy on the cassava flour which not only left you with a somewhat overpowering taste in your mouth, but they were also on the dry side. Second trial got a little closer, but not up to my perfectionist standards 😉 Third time’s a charm and I knew that I finally nailed it when Willow took a bite and already asked for a second one…and said, “Mom, can we make these for Christmas?”

YAY! On that note, when we asked Willow what she wanted us to make for dinner on Christmas Eve, she replied: “Cookies.” I swear she does eat more than baked goods!

These brownies are NOT for the faint of heart as they’re super….

RICH

CHOCOLATEY

SWEET

CHEWY

FUDGY

Grain-Free Peppermint Brownies

GRAIN-FREE PEPPERMINT BROWNIES

{gluten-free, soy-free, nut-free, seed-free, oil-free, vegan}

Makes 8 large brownies or 16 smaller ones

WHAT YOU NEED:

  • 1/3 cup Otto’s Naturals Cassava Flour
  • 1/4 cup cacao powder
  • 1/4 cup coconut sugar*
  • 1/4 teaspoon Himalayan salt
  • 1/2 cup coconut butter
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree*
  • 1 Tablespoon NuStevia Cocoa Mint Syrup*
  • 1 cup Enjoy Life mini chocolate chips, divided
  • 4 Tablespoons gum-free, unsweetened coconut milk*

*If you’d prefer to skip the stevia syrup, add an additional 1/4 cup coconut sugar and use 1/4-1/2 teaspoon of peppermint extract. You can use sweet potato puree instead of pumpkin (I recommend using white sweet potato) or you can do a combo of both. For the coconut milk I recommend either Trader Joe’s canned or Native Forest’s Organic Simple Coconut Milk.

HOW TO:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F and lightly grease a 8×8 baking dish.
  2. Whisk together the flour, cacao, coconut sugar, and salt. Set aside.
  3. Using a double boiler, gently melt together the chocolate chips and coconut butter; stirring frequently. Once smooth, remove from the stove and add it to your dry ingredients…along with the pumpkin puree, coconut milk, and stevia syrup.
  4. Once everything is combined, fold in the remaining 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips.
  5. Transfer the mix to your baking dish and either using your fingers or a spatula, flatten it out into an even layer. This batter will be very thick due to the cassava flour and you’ll be tempted to add in more liquid, but please don’t!
  6. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Allow to cool for 20 minutes before cutting.
  7. Enjoy!

If you have leftovers, I recommend warming them slightly before eating to allow the chocolate + coconut butter to soften a bit!

Grain-Free Peppermint Brownies

Grain-Free Peppermint Brownies

Merry (almost) Christmas, my friends! Wishing all of you a wonderful holiday!

Thanks for stopping by!

One-Bowl AIP Sugar Cookies

One-Bowl AIP Sugar Cookies

Ah, the glorious world of grain-free, nut-free, vegan baking. Have you tried it? It’s definitely NOT easy and I bow to those who are seasoned pros because after just a few trials I was ready to pull my hair out and throw in the towel. But I’m glad I didn’t because otherwise I wouldn’t be sharing our new favorite cookie recipe with you!

What’s your cookie type?

Are you a crunchy or soft cookie kind of person?? For me, it depends on the cookie. I love a pillow-y, melt-in-your-mouth, soft snickerdoodle or peanut butter cookie, but when it comes to sugar cookies or chocolate chip cookies, I’m a sucker for the crispy ones. It brings me back to my childhood and my Mom’s fabulous chocolate chip cookies.

I tried experimenting with coconut flour, cassava flour, arrowroot, tapioca flour, but hit fail after fail. It wasn’t until my friend, Rebecca shared her recipe for snickerdoodles that I was hit with the realization that I hadn’t tried using tigernut flour! I’ve used it to make pancakes (which Willow didn’t like, but Josh & I did), so I decided to give it a try in cookies.

Obviously the tigernut flour worked, otherwise we wouldn’t be here today with this recipe (it only took three trials)! And the best part is….only SIX ingredients and ONE bowl! Super simple. Thank you for the inspiration, Rebecca!!! xo

Josh thought I should title these: So Good You’ll Want to Go AIP Sugar Cookies…kind of a long title, don’t you think? 😉

One-Bowl AIP Sugar Cookies

These have a wonderful crispy exterior with a soft center and they absolutely melt in your mouth with a buttery deliciousness! I gave myself a tummy ache testing these out since I still can’t tolerate sweet too well, but with the holidays fast approaching, cookies are a must! I’m happy to report that they got a thumbs up from all who tried them!

I realize that there are chocolate chips here when they’re supposed to be sugar cookies, but that’s what happens when you have a four-year-old chocoholic helping you. So you have the option to make just sugar cookies OR chocolate chip cookies…both are equally delicious.

One-Bowl AIP Sugar Cookies

Makes 10-14 depending on size of cookie scoop

What You Need:

  • 1 cup TigerNut flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon Himalayan salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 3 Tablespoons coconut oil (solid)
  • 2 Tablespoons Enjoy Life mini chocolate chips (optional or for AIP use carob chips)

How To:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F and line a baking sheet with unbleached parchment paper.
  2. Using a stand up mixer with the paddle attachment, combine all of the ingredients (except the chocolate chips). Once everything is well incorporated and there aren’t any signs of coconut oil,  you can fold in the chocolate chips. If you don’t have a stand up mixer, you can use a fork and spatula to mix the dough.
  3. Roll into balls or use a small cookie scoop and place onto the baking sheet. These cookies will spread out some, so be sure to space them out.
  4. Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until golden brown. Allow to cool completely on the baking sheet. ENJOY!
  5. Best stored in cookie tins or a cookie jar to maintain the crispiness.

One-Bowl AIP Sugar Cookies

One-Bowl AIP Sugar Cookies

Thanks for stopping by!

REVIEW: November Favorites 2016

Happy (almost) December, my friends! December???!! I know I say it every month, but seriously, HOW did another month fly by so fast??? The year is almost over!

We stuck close to home last month, no crazy adventures, because I’ve been working like a madwoman to get myself ready (both mentally and physically) for the holiday bazaar this Saturday! I’m sharing a table with my Mom at a local event – my first time as a vendor and not a shopper! I feel like I’m using way more exclamation points than usual…I think I’m excited. And nervous! But I’ve got new products to bring and old favorites – fingers crossed things sell!


Oh! Willow did get her first haircut! Haha! More like the world’s smallest trim 😉 she was afraid to cut her hair and won’t let me cut mine, so we’ve got crazy long hair for now. We took her to my aunt’s salon, so it was fun experience…

But back to the purpose of this post…my favorites! I did lots of reading and very little of trying new products and recipes, but still have some share-worthy things here!

Before I dive in, I wanted to say how grateful I am for my family. Not only do they love and support me unconditionally, but they continue to amaze me. This past Thanksgiving, we had not only an all vegan, gluten-free gathering, BUT get this…also grain-free!! Can you believe it??? The food was amazing and from what I could gather by the empty plates, I wasn’t alone in my thinking. I hope you all had a wonderful holiday, to those who celebrated ❤️

REVIEW: November Favorites 2016

{{Shepard’s Pie Stuffed Acorn Squash (link and details below), mashed potatoes with an AIP friendly mushroom gravy, roasted brussels, and garlicky spinach. How are we going to top this meal next year???}}

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NOVEMBER FAVORITES:

PRODUCTS:

Simple Mills Pizza Dough >> I actually meant to include this in last month’s favorite post, but completely spaced it! When this product went on sale in October at Natural Grocers, we ended up buying a few boxes. While I personally can’t enjoy this, Willow and my family raves about it! I take that back, I actually did enjoy a little at a family pizza night…I LOVED it, but sadly paid the price for several days 😦 the almond flour and cauliflower just don’t agree with my system. I’m hoping that changes in the future because this crust is amazing…I might even go out on a limb to say it’s the best I’ve ever had. Willow has declared that we only make this crust! Awesome ingredients, super easy to mix up, and full of flavor!

REVIEW: November Favorites 2016

Simple Mills Sun-Dried Tomato & Basil Almond Flour Crackers >> Another product I failed to mention earlier! I bought these for Willow when we went on our road trip to CA back in September and they’ve been a huge hit ever since. Willow says they taste like pizza 🙂 She eats them as a snack with hummus or chickpea mash, or as is!

REVIEW: November Favorites 2016

Ah Cacao >> Kicaco (cacao energy bar) Coconut >> Only three ingredients and no added sugar. Who would have thought that raisins + coconut + cacao would create an amazing combo of flavors and texture?? I found this during one of our trips to Natural Grocers and there were three flavor options (the other two contained almonds or peanuts) – all were $1.99 each. The first trip we grabbed just one to try and split it between three people…I quickly regretted not buying more! They’re perfect on the sweetness level and super satisfying.

REVIEW: November Favorites 2016
REVIEW: November Favorites 2016
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BOOKS:

I’m starting with books before recipes this post (you’ll soon see why)! I actually read more than shown here, but a couple of the books weren’t very good.

REVIEW: November Favorites 2016

Medical Medium Life-Changing Foods by Anthony William >>
If you’ve been following my blog or Instagram account for awhile, you know how much I loved his first book. This second book is just as amazing! He breaks down 50 foods (fruits, vegetables, herbs, wild foods) and not only does he discuss the healing properties of each, but he also lists symptoms and illnesses within each food that could benefit from consuming it. Each food is also accompanied by a recipe! Just like his first book, I am glad we own this book as we will be referring back to it frequently. HIGHLY recommend!

Dumbing Us Down (The Hidden Curriculum of Compulsory Schooling) by John Taylor Gatto >> I devoured this book in almost one sitting – it was incredibly insightful and a very quick, easy read. I found myself nodding in agreement all throughout and had a good laugh at his list of what kids actually learn in school – it was so true and very sad. This book explained so much about myself and how compulsory school impacted my spirit, in a negative way…and how the system failed me. Please don’t get me wrong, there are some amazing teachers and schools out there, but even the best teachers have rules to follow and curriculum to adhere to…which doesn’t account for the varying degree of learning styles. Reading this book and seeing how Willow is thriving without sitting in an overcrowded classroom confirms our decision to homeschool. Excellent read – I gave it five stars on Goodreads! Josh also read it and has since recommended it to a few people he knows.

Mastering Your Mean Girl: The No BS guide to Silencing Your Inner Critic and becoming wildly WEALTHY, fabulously HEALTHY, and bursting with LOVE by Melissa Ambrosini >> I LOVED THIS BOOK!!!! I laughed, cried, and walked away feeling so empowered. Reading her story felt like she was in my head writing my story – I could relate in so many ways – health issues and all. This was beautifully written, well organized, and eye-opening. Her words really force you to take a look in the mirror and see just how much your inner critic (voice) holds you back from living the life you deserve. I love the quotes throughout the book, as well as the contracts (which you can print from her website). Being more accountable and recognizing why you’re acting in fear will get you closer to love and silencing your “mean girl.” We are all deserving of love and we need to realize that we can absolutely create the life we want! I HIGHLY recommend this book to all of my women readers! I gave it five stars on Goodreads.

The Conscious Parent: Transforming Ourselves, Empowering Our Children by Shefali Tsabary, PhD >> I just recently started this book and while I’m not very far, I can already tell that I’m going to learn a lot from it. This is a bit heavier and wordy than the previous two books I mentioned, but I do need to put into account that it was written by someone holding a PhD. I’ll hopefully have more to say next favorites post, or look for my review on Goodreads!

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RECIPES:

Yellow Coconut Curry >> Medical Medium’s Life Changing Foods book >> After completing his book, Josh and I quickly chose to start with this recipe…because curry! This was how I reintroduced curry spices back into my diet and I was so relieved to not have a negative reaction. We loved it so much that we’ve made it twice! It is so comforting and satisfying, but the best part is that it makes a GIANT pot and the leftovers get better and better with each passing day. I love how it doesn’t contain any nuts, beans, or grains – so we didn’t have to modify the recipe at all.

Asparagus Soup >> Medical Medium’s Life Changing Foods book >> We’ve been gravitating to lots of soup with the cold weather upon us, so we were excited to give this recipe a try. Unlike the pot of curry mentioned above, this soup made just enough for two adults and a small portion of leftovers that I had hoped Willow would eat. It calls for very minimal ingredients, but the flavor was wonderful! We made the mistake of using an immersion blender the night we made it, which left the soup quite fiberous (due to the asparagus), so I ran the leftovers through the Vitamix to create a really smooth, creamy texture and preferred that so much more. I enjoyed it with some sauteed greens – I failed to take a photo.

Shepard’s Pie Stuffed Acorn Squash >> The Plant Philosophy >> When Margaret first showed some teaser pics of this recipe, I knew straight away that I wanted to make this for Thanksgiving. I loved the idea of having all sorts of delicious, healthy veggies stuffed into one beautiful dish. I did make some minor adjustments to keep it AIP friendly, but didn’t change the seasonings or process. Here’s what I did: since most frozen mixed veggies contain peas, beans, or corn, I opted to cook up some fresh veggies of my choice – I sauteed up onion, garlic, carrots, and celery (certainly didn’t look as pretty or colorful as Margaret’s). Next, for my portion, I added chopped, sauteed cremini mushrooms, but kept the meatless crumble for the rest of the family. Finally, I used white sweet potatoes instead of russet potatoes. The verdict?? EVERYONE LOVED IT! Even my 86-year old Oma (grandma) devoured her portion…even after she told me I gave her too big of a piece 😉 This was such an easy, flavorful, comforting dish and I’d love to make it again soon!

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As always, I’d love to hear from you!! Let me know if you’ve tried any new products or recipes or read any good books. Leave me a comment below! Hope all of you have a wonderful December!!

Thanks for stopping by!

❤️

A Cruelty-Free Day of Thanks

Let me start by saying that this post contains ZERO judgment or graphic animal cruelty videos. We are all at different states of awareness and rather than taking an extremist route by showing you heartbreaking clips or breaking down the cruelty (how it’s done), I’m going to share heartwarming stories, videos, and celebrate the brave souls (both human and animal)….AND there will be LOTS of recipe links, so be sure to read to the end.

Thanksgiving is a difficult time for me, as it is for most plant eaters. While the day itself is special, as it reminds me of the wonderful memories growing up with my family and sitting around the table at my grandparents house, the main attraction and kitchen time was based around the turkey. It’s estimated that 46 million turkeys are killed for Thanksgiving alone. FORTY-SIX MILLION. While it’s been 25 years since I’ve eaten meat, I know it still remains a huge part of the holiday. Why a turkey symbolizes a day of thanks is beyond me. I get super emotional this time of year because I DO know the evil process about how they’re raised, treated, and slaughtered to eventually be sold in stores. Have you ever been around a turkey? A living, breathing one? You might be surprised to learn that they’re very affectionate, intelligent beings. I’m including some happy videos of them.

And for those interested, you can also help by donating money to the Farm Sanctuary’s Adopt a Turkey project.

VIDEOS:

 

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I’m not sure if any of you follow Violet’s Veg*n e-comics, if you don’t here is a heartwarming comic she did that I loved reading with Willow:

vegan Christmas story

Big Blue Sky (A Christmas Story)

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R E C I P E S >>>>

I PROMISE you, a holiday without meat is 100% possible and whether you’re hosting, going to a potluck, or if you’re bringing your own food (just for you) to a gathering of mostly omnivores, I’ve got you covered (appetizers, sides, mains, desserts, kid-approved). So let’s dive in! The animals and your body will thank you…

All of the recipes linked here are gluten-free, vegan, and soy-free; a lot of them are oil-free as well. I could have included A LOT more recipes and narrowing them down was really hard!

APPETIZERS:

Creamy Artichoke Spinach Dip (without the junk) >> Plant Powered Kitchen >> This dish has made it’s way to family gatherings a few times and it has ALWAYS been a huge hit. Lick-the-bowl-clean kinda good. And it’s kid-approved! Great with chips, crackers, veggies, or even on pizza or a quesadilla!

Below is an old pic from when we made it and spread it on top of gluten-free flatbread.

 

Dairy Free Spinach Artichoke Dip >> Primally Inspired >> Replace the chicken broth with veggie broth and you’ve got yourself a vegan and AIP dip! We’ve got a lot of ideas running through our heads for appetizers, but I’m thinking this one will make an appearance at Thanksgiving!

 

Vegan Queso Blanco Dip (Mexican White Cheese Dip) >> Veggies Don’t Bite >> One of my very favorite dips/sauces before I had to eliminate nuts. I promise you, dairy loving folks will go crazy over this! We paired it with just about anything and everything – heck, you can even give your mashed potatoes a makeover with this HEAVENLY recipe! Ooooh! Or serve it with some crusty bread!

Photo credit: Sophia @ Veggies Don’t Bite

Vegan queso blanco dip (white Mexican cheese)

 

Lemon Cranberry & Pistachio Cashew Cheese Ball >> The Plant Philosophy >>  Another appetizer that was a huge hit at two of our family gatherings last year! Willow picked off the cranberries and pistachios (our silly, selective eater) but devoured the actual “cheese” and paired it with some gluten-free crackers. SO. GOOD.

Here’s a pic we took of it from our Christmas Day gathering last year…

A Cruelty-Free Day of Thanks

 

 

Smoky Roasted Red Pepper Cashew Dip >> Veggie Inspired >> Yet another FANTASTIC and super simple dip that will have your guests going back for seconds or asking for the recipe! Excellent with fresh veggies, crackers (or chips), or bread!

 

Below you’ll see that we paired it with roasted potato wedges…

A Cruelty-Free Day of Thanks

 

Life-Affirming Warm Nacho Dip (an Oh She Glows recipe featured on Plant-Powered Kitchen) >> If you own the Oh She Glows cookbook, you can also refer to this recipe there. We’ve made this for a few family gatherings and it was always the first dish to be devoured. SO good!!!

 

SALADS & SIDES:

Delicata Squash & Persimmon Salad >> Cadry’s Kitchen >> This recipe would be a perfect addition to your Thanksgiving menu! I love how unique this salad is and while I haven’t made it yet, I DO LOVE all of the ingredients. Besides, you’ll learn more about persimmons if you read Cadry’s post…I know I did!

Look at how beautifully Cadry presented it! So festive!

Photo Credit: Cadry @ Cadry’s Kitchen

Fluffy Vegan Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes >> The Vegan 8 >> We made these for Thanksgiving last year and oh, my! Fluffy, creamy, and gone in a flash. And you guys…they’re oil-free! I searched my computer for the photos of these amazing potatoes, but could not find them! So, below you’ll see a photo from Brandi’s blog.

Photo credit: Brandi @ The Vegan 8

Vegan Baked Oil-Free Hushpuppies >> The Vegan 8 >> I honestly couldn’t tell you how many times we’ve made these…four? Maybe five? I guess that just goes to show how incredible they are! All of my family members (even extended family) went crazy over these dangerously delicious, almost melt in your mouth biscuit-y goodies!

A Cruelty-Free Day of Thanks

 

Vegan, Gluten-Free Garlic Chive Dinner Muffins >> The Vegan 8 >> Another amazing recipe by Brandi! They would go perfectly with pretty much any main dish or salad!

Photo credit: Brandi @ The Vegan 8

 

Green Bean Quinoa Celery Salad >> Canned Time >> This beautiful salad, created by Angela, looks so festive – you could serve it at Thanksgiving or Christmas. I can just imagine the lovely balance of textures here, too – between the crunch of the celery and tender quinoa, I bet this is incredibly satisfying!

Photo credit: Angela @ Canned Time

Oil Free Holiday Options - Green Bean Quinoa Celery Salad

 

Marriage-worthy Roasted Brussels Sprouts >> Cake Maker >> These are just like the title states…marriage-worthy. You WILL LOVE them!! We’ve made these SO many times and as crazy as this sounds, I think we’re making these for Thanksgiving AND Jenn’s recipe for brussels (you’ll see the recipe below). What can I say, we LOVE Brussels sprouts!

A Cruelty-Free Day of Thanks

 

Sweet Potato & Herb Savory Muffins >> Feasting on Fruit >> I have not made these yet, but they’ve been on my list to try. I REALLY wish I wasn’t following an AIP diet right now!!!

Photo credit: Natalie @ Feasting on Fruit

Sweet Potato & Herb Savory Muffins | Vegan, Gluten-Free, Oil-Free

 

Rosemary White Beans (Zoes Kitchen Copycat) >> The Vegan 8 >> We actually made a meal out of these earlier this year and Willow even enjoyed them! Insanely creamy, full of flavor, and guilt-free. This savory dish would be a great addition to your Thanksgiving menu!

Below is a photo of these beans paired with sauteed kale + avocado slices.

A Cruelty-Free Day of Thanks

Peas with Scallions and Dill >> Veggies Don’t Bite >> You guys. I don’t like peas, but we made these for Thanksgiving two years ago and I actually ate (and enjoyed) some! They pair perfectly with mashed potatoes or any of the loaf recipes I’m linking below under “Mains” – this is a simple, yet flavorful dish!

Photo credit: Sophia @ Veggies Don’t Bite

Peas with scallions and dill

 

Smoky Maple Roasted Carrots >> Veggies Don’t Bite >> I love how pretty this dish looks! Very autumnal and comforting. While I’m not making this for next week, I plan to try it very soon!

Photo credit: Sophia @ Veggies Don’t Bite

Smoky Maple Roasted Carrots with Lemon Thyme Drizzle

 

Scalloped Potatoes >> Cruelty Free Family >> I debated putting this recipe under “Mains” because I’m pretty sure I’d be content with just a giant plate of this. Haha!! OK, confession…I haven’t tried this recipe (yet), but who can go wrong with cheesy potatoes AND without the guilt!

Photo Credit: @ Cruelty Free Family

potatoes1

Grain-Free Sage and Pecan Stuffing >> In Sonnet’s Kitchen >> I pinned this recipe quite some time ago, but haven’t tried it yet. Since I know a few of you are watching your grains intake, I wanted to include it here! I’d totally make it this year if I could eat nuts!!

MAINS:

Vegan Oat-Free Spicy BBQ Lentil Loaf >> The Vegan 8 >> My Mom made this last year for Thanksgiving and it was amazing!!! No one missed the turkey and if they did, they certainly didn’t let on. I happily enjoyed the leftovers, too!!

Photo credit: Brandi @ The Vegan 8

Butternut White Bean Puree w/ Roasted Brussels Sprouts >> Veggie Inspired >> Here’s the other Brussels sprouts recipe I mentioned earlier! SO good!! While I haven’t tried them with the Butternut purée, I can attest to that delicious glaze that goes along with this recipe and of course the brussels – the red onions are the perfect addition!

Photo Credit: Jenn @ Veggie Inspired

Butternut White Bean Purée w/ Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Shepard’s Pie Stuffed Acorn Squash >> The Plant Philosophy >> I have not tried this recipe yet, but we are making it for this Thanksgiving! I love squash so much AND potatoes, so I’m pretty excited. We’ll be making a couple of minor adjustments for my portion to keep it AIP friendly…I’m pretty sure you’ll be hearing more about this recipe in my November Favorites post coming soon!

Photo Credit: Margaret @ The Plant Philosophy

Shepard's Pie Stuffed Acorn Squash | Vegan, Oil-Free | The Plant Philosophy

 

Vegan Thanksgiving Power Bowl >> Feasting on Fruit >>  While I personally haven’t tried this recipe yet, there is A WHOLE LOTTA YUM in one bowl! Literally all of your Thanksgiving favorites in one bowl! Potatoes, cranberry sauce, “stuffing”, lentils, and greens. I’m a sucker for food thrown together in a bowl. Perfect for those attending a gathering where you’ll be the only vegan.

Photo credit: Natalie @ Feasting on Fruit

Vegan Thanksgiving Power Bowl - FeastingonFruit.com

Creamy Autumn Pumpkin Pasta >> Strength & Sunshine >> I have been SO anxious to try this recipe created by my sweet friend, Rebecca! Look at how comforting and dreamy this looks! Who needs turkey when you can have a bowl of this deliciousness??

Photo Credit: Rebecca @ Strength & Sunshine

Creamy Autumn Pumpkin Pasta | Strength and Sunshine @RebeccaGF666 A Creamy Autumn Pumpkin Pasta recipe that brings you all the healthy comfort of the season. Gluten-free, nut-free, and vegan, this easy & quick, savory seasonal dinner will warm your soul from the inside out!

Vegan Cauliflower Lentil Loaf >> Strength & Sunshine >> Yet another Thanksgiving-esque recipe! If my gut could be friends with cauliflower, I would absolutely make this for next week’s gathering. Definitely check out her recipe!!

Photo credit: Rebecca @ Strength & Sunshine

Vegan Cauliflower Lentil Loaf | Strength and Sunshine @RebeccaGF666 A hearty plant-based dinner idea that will satisfy even meat-eaters! A Vegan Cauliflower Lentil Loaf that mimics the classic meatloaf with no meat, gluten-free, nut-free, and soy-free! Get all your protein and veggies in this healthy recipe!

 

DESSERTS:

Autoimmune Paleo Apple Crisp >> The Curious Coconut >> I LOVE this recipe and I know that I already talked about it in my October Favorites blog post, but I’m mentioning it again because this is what I’m bringing for dessert next week for our family gathering.

 

Gluten-Free Vegan Caramel Crusted Pumpkin Loaf >> The Vegan 8 >> My Mom made this amazing recipe for last year’s Thanksgiving and it was a huge hit!

Again, another failed search in finding last year’s photos!

Photo credit: Brandi @ The Vegan 8

 

Gluten-Free Pumpkin Cream Pie >> The Plant Philosophy >> This was my contribution for last year’s Thanksgiving gathering – it was soooooooo good!

A Cruelty-Free Day of Thanks

 

Pumpkin Fudge Brownies (Vegan & Gluten-Free) >> Veggie Inspired >> Pumpkin + chocolate! Need I say more? These look AMAZING!! I’ve been meaning to make them for my family, but I’m sure I would cry because I can’t eat them right now. *Sigh* My list is growing longer by the minute and when I can eat “normally” again, I’ll be wishing we had more meals in a day!

Photo Credit: Jenn @ Veggie Inspired

Pumpkin Fudge Brownies

 

Vegan Pumpkin Creme Brulee >> Feasting on Fruit >> This was one of our favorite treats from last year…I think I made it three or four times ❤ Huge thumbs up from all of my family.

A Cruelty-Free Day of Thanks

 

Pumpkin Cheesecake >> Unconventional Baker >> How incredible does this look?!??? Audrey is the queen of gorgeous treats. While I haven’t had this specific one, I can tell you that ALL of the recipes I have tried were nothing short of amazing. She offers up two variations (one with a baked crust or a nutty, no bake one) – both look divine!

Photo credit: Audrey @ Unconventional Baker

Pumpkin Cheesecake {Free From: gluten & grains, dairy, eggs, and refined sugars}

 

Vegan Cinnamon Roll Pumpkin Pie >> The Vegan 8 >> Cinnamon. She had me at cinnamon. And the beautiful photos. Good lord! I feel like there needs to be a day for just Thanksgiving desserts because there are A TON of drool-worthy recipes here.

Photo credit: Brandi @ The Vegan 8

 

Vegan and Grain-Free Pumpkin Pie Cups >> Feasting on Fruit >> Pumpkin pies in mini form? Yes, please! These look so perfect and wait until you see the ingredient list! So simple!

Photo credit: Natalie @ Feasting on Fruit

Vegan & Grain-Free Pumpkin Pie Cups

 

Gooey Pumpkin Spice Latte Chocolate Pudding Cake >> Oh She Glows >> You can’t go wrong with an Oh She Glows recipe. I have yet to try one I didn’t fall in love with – so while I haven’t made this one yet, I’m pretty sure I’d enjoy it.

 

Mini Sweet Potato Pies with Maple Cashew Cream >> The Organic Dietitian >> How adorable and delicious do these look???! Mmmm!!! I’m a fan of any mini treats! And with sweet potato!

******************************************************************
So there you have it!! LOTS of delicious, cruelty-free recipes that could “wow” your guests, friends, family. Something for everyone.

 

 Happy (almost) Thanksgiving! I hope all of you have a wonderful holiday with family and friends.

Peace.

Love.

Happiness.

Gratitude.

 

Simple Breakfast Potatoes

Breakfast.  My favorite meal of the day and honestly, I could eat breakfast-y foods all day long – there’s a sense of comfort that comes along with them. For the last few weeks, I’ve been obsessed with these breakfast potatoes – they’re savory, full of flavor, and satisfying. They’re also super versatile! I’m sharing a basic version below, but if you’re not following an AIP diet, the options are literally endless! I’ll provide some ways to change them up in the notes below.

These are delicious on their own or stuffed into a tortilla (or Paleo Wrap)!

Simple Breakfast Potatoes

SIMPLE BREAKFAST POTATOES {Vegan, AIP, Oil-free option}

Serves 2-3

What you need:

  • 1 large sweet potato*
  • 1 small onion
  • 1-2 teaspoons coconut oil*
  • 1 Tablespoon Sari Foods Nutritional Yeast
  • 1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon sweet smoked paprika (omit if AIP)
  • salt to taste
  • 4-5 cups fresh baby spinach*
  • Optional add-ins or toppings: avocado, chives, guacamole, salsa, hot sauce, mushrooms, jalapeños , vegan sour cream, cheeze sauce, ketchup.

*NOTES* I used white sweet potato for this recipe, but really any variety of potato will do. If you are following a strict AIP diet, you will have to stick with sweet potatoes or yams. Instead of coconut oil you can use vegetable or mushroom broth – it will add a different flavor and the onions + potatoes may not crisp or brown as nicely. You can use kale or arugula instead of spinach or do a combo of all three.

Other flavor ideas: Garlic + sage, curry, chipotle, salt + black pepper, Italian seasoning.

How to:

  1. Wash and cube the sweet potato – I leave the peel on. Place into a pot of water and boil for 5-7 minutes to soften/pre-cook them a bit. Make sure to not overcook them as they will become mushy. Drain and set aside.
  2. While your potatoes are cooking, thinly slice your onion. Over medium heat, warm up a large pan with 1-2 teaspoons of coconut oil (or broth). Depending on the type of pan you use, you might need more or less oil. Add the onions to the pan and sauté until golden and slightly crispy.
  3. Once the onions are done and potatoes are boiled, add the potatoes to the pan of onions and sauté until they begin to brown. I’ve learned to not be an over-stirrer! It’s OK to walk away from the pan for a few minutes. If the potatoes are sticking to the pan, add more oil or broth. I used a ceramic pan for this recipe and used a very small amount of oil.
  4. Once the potatoes are evenly browned, stir in the seasonings and cook for another 2-3 minutes.
  5. Next add in the spinach and sauté for another 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently.
  6. Remove from heat and serve!

Salsa goes really well with these potatoes and one of our favorite store-bought salsas is Green Mountain Gringo! It tastes super fresh and doesn’t contain citric acid or any weird ingredients. We love the Roasted Garlic option.

Simple Breakfast Potatoes

I’d love to hear if you give these breakfast potatoes a try!

Thanks for stopping by!

Pumpkin Tapioca Pudding

Are you tired of pumpkin recipes? Not yet? Good! Because I have an insanely easy recipe for you today. I almost didn’t share it because it is so easy and tapioca pudding isn’t anything new, but my family enjoys this so much that I decided to type up a little post for it.

I meant to share this earlier in the week, but I got wrapped up in the WORLD SERIES!!!! What an amazing Game 7! We are over the moon that the Cubs did it!!! 

But back to this recipe…

When I created this, I thought it looked a little naked. Like it needed something to go with it. I brainstormed AIP friendly sauces and toppings, but none of them seemed exciting. Then my friend, Natalie, over at Feasting on Fruit, posted her recipe for a Date Caramel Sauce and I knew instantly that I found what I was looking for! PERFECT match! If you’re not following an AIP diet, you could top it with whipped cream, chocolate sauce, and/or chocolate chips. You’ll see a photo below with some chocolate chips sprinkled on top…that would be Willow’s handy work 😉

My family and I prefer eating this pudding warm, right off the stove with a little caramel sauce swirled in. 

Pumpkin Tapioca Pudding
PUMPKIN TAPIOCA PUDDING 

{AIP, oil-free, vegan}

Serves 4

What you need:

  • 1/3 cup small tapioca pearls
  • 1 cup filtered water*
  • 1 can coconut milk (13.5 oz)*
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin purée 
  • 3 tablespoons pure maple syrup 
  • 1/2 teaspoon Ceylon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
  • Dash of ginger powder
  • Pinch of Himalayan salt
  • Optional: vanilla bean powder (or extract) or ground cardamom.

* For an even creamier option, use coconut milk instead of water. I use Trader Joe’s organic canned coconut as it doesn’t contain any gums/thickeners. I don’t recommend using lite coconut milk.

How to:

  1. In a small pot, combine the tapioca pearls and water. Allow to soak for at least an hour.
  2. Do not drain the water – add the remaining ingredients (except if you’re using vanilla extract) to the pot and heat over medium, stirring frequently.
  3. Once the mixture begins to lightly boil, reduce the heat to low-med and continue to cook until the pearls are translucent, stirring often. This should take about 10-15 minutes.
  4. Once the pearls are translucent and the mixture has thickened, remove from heat. At this time, you can add in vanilla extract.
  5. You can eat this warm or cold. It will thicken even more once chilled in the fridge.
  6. Top it with extra cinnamon, a sprinkle of coconut sugar, chocolate chips, cardamom, coconut whipped cream, or our favorite…Natalie’s Caramel Sauce!! 

Pumpkin Tapioca Pudding
Pumpkin Tapioca Pudding
Thanks for stopping by!

❤️