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!

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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!

❤️

REVIEW: October Favorites 

Happy November, friends!! Between Josh’s ever changing schedule (including a handful of overnight shifts) and someone using my personal info to book hotels in Japan, I’d say we had an interesting last month! Haha!! I had to hurry and change both my email address and phone number which is not fun to do…notifying everyone and re-subscribing to my favorite blogs – it’s a lot of work. Other than that, we had a great October! How about you?? 

OH!!! And any Cubs fans out there????!!!! What an amazing time. We’ve been watching the games at my parents house and I’ve been hit with so many wonderful memories. I was born and raised in the Northwest suburbs of Chicago and the Cubs were a big part of my childhood – as a family, we’d go to the games or watch them on tv at my grandparents house. I especially remember my grandfather listening to the games on an old radio in his garage. It’s been fun getting Willow into the games – I told her one day we’ll take her to Wrigley Field to see the Cubs play.

Fingers and toes crossed for tonight’s game!!!!

But now let’s move on to some pics!

We managed to pick the perfect day to make our annual trip to the pumpkin patch:



And Willow even snapped a rare photo of Josh and me!

And here are some fun pics from our snow adventures at Devils Lake (October 22, 2016):




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O C T O B E R  F A V O R I T E S:

I don’t have any new products to share with you this month – we actually did try some new things, but none worth sharing and none that I’ll be buying again.

RECIPES:

Ginger Zucchini Breakfast Soup >> Souffles and Sawdust >> In my quest to change up my breakfast routine, I found this soup recipe and it has become a favorite of mine! It calls for very few ingredients and it’s AIP-friendly. The only thing that was hard for me was chopping all the veggies in the morning while making Willow’s breakfast – I have since learned to prep ahead to make throwing this together a breeze. I did make a couple of adjustments: I used mushroom broth (instead of veggie broth), which made the soup significantly darker than intended, but I absolutely LOVED the flavor! I also omitted the coriander and black pepper. In the photo below, I topped it with chives, but I’ve also cooked up spinach or kale to go with it. Such a great way to start the day during the chillier months!

REVIEW: October Favorites
Cinnamon Plantain Fritters >> Grazed and Enthused >> They had me at cinnamon! Oh, goodness, this recipe was amazing! Even my husband enjoyed these and he’s not following an AIP diet. Mine didn’t turn out as pretty as her photos showed, but who cares when they’re delicious! The only adjustments: I added more cinnamon – to the batter and sprinkled on top…what can I say, I LOVE cinnamon! And I left the maple syrup out of the batter. I loved the crispy exterior and tender center – the flavor was also wonderful! Full of cinnamon and not too sweet thanks to the plantains not being ripe.

REVIEW: October Favorites
Autoimmune Paleo Apple Crisp >> The Curious Coconut >> When the Granny Smith apples you purchase turn out to be not that great, you figure out a way to use them…so my Pinterest search lead me to this recipe. I’ll be honest, I didn’t have high hopes because all of the apple crisps I’ve had in the past had oats, nuts, and/or flour. Not to mention that our all-time favorite (from The Oh She Glows Cookbook) seemed impossible to beat. I’m not saying that this beats it, but it comes really close! The kitchen smelled incredible and while I haven’t been consuming many sweets these days, I was half tempted to skip dinner and dive face first into a bowl of this apple crisp. I was floored at how delicious this was! Such perfect buttery, slightly crispy, sweet topping and tender, cinnamon-y apples…heavenly. And the best part was that I didn’t miss the grains or nuts one bit! Definitely give this recipe a try!

REVIEW: October Favorites

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Balsamic Maple Glaze >> Veggie Inspired Journey >> It’s no secret that I LOVE brussels sprouts and any time a new recipe is created that involves them, I just have to try them! Jenn paired the sprouts with a butternut squash puree, but since I’m avoiding beans at the moment, I decided I still had to try the sprouts….and I am SO glad I did! Roasting them with red onion slices is delicious, BUT drizzling the Balsamic Maple Glaze over them….AMAZING! I absolutely love the simplicity of the recipe and how easy it was to whip up. We’ll definitely make them again…and again!

I tried another recipe of Jenn’s – a dressing, which you can find HERE and loved it! I used it on kale salads. Definitely check out how it’s intended to be used…it looks amazing!

Silky Sweet Vegan Date Caramel Sauce >> Feasting on Fruit >> My friend, Natalie, is on a roll with recipes these days and I have a lengthy list going of ones to try. But when she came out with this caramel recipe, I had to try it asap since it contained ingredients that were AIP friendly. You guys. I am so impressed!! Not only was this insanely easy to make, but it is also the creamiest caramel sauce I’ve had – it actually pours smoothly! And the best part…even after it’s been in the fridge, it holds its pourable consistency! No plopping. No clumps. No crazy thick, hard to work with caramel. Just smooth goodness. The day I made it, Willow had a drizzle on her pancakes and I’m pretty sure she’ll make it a standard pancake topping. I couldn’t stop sneaking bites of it that I gave myself a tummy ache…it’s SO good!! Josh has been eating it with sliced apples and we’ve also paired it with a recipe that is hopefully coming to the blog later this week. Try this caramel sauce!

REVIEW: October Favorites



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BOOKS:

Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss >> I finally finished this book in its entirety…all 1107 pages! Overall, I REALLY enjoyed this and while I didn’t quite love it like the first book in the series, it was still entertaining and I had a difficult time putting it down. However, there were parts in the book that seemed a bit drawn out and slow – small sections I could have done without, but I can see how they played a role in character development. And then there’s the ending. Good grief! When is the third book coming out???? 

In the meantime, I’ve started The Slow Regard of Silent Things – a novella by Patrick Rothfuss (#2.5 in this crazy series)! It’s a book about Auri, one of the characters in the series. 

MOMfulness: Mothering with Mindfulness, Compassion, and Grace by Denise Roy >> My sweet friend, Karina, recommended this book to me so I immediately ordered a copy via Amazon Prime…managed to find a used copy in really good condition for only a few dollars. I am SO happy to have my own copy to refer back to as it’s filled with meditations and thought-provoking quotes. If I had the money, I would gift this book to all of my mom friends. Lots of gentle reminders to be more present in the here and now.

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As always, I’d love to hear from you! Did you try any new products? Recipes? Read any books worth recommending?? Let me know in a comment below!
Thanks for stopping by!

❤️

Savory Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

This time time of year is my absolute favorite – cooler weather, all the wonderful varieties of squash, and lots of soup! I used to always start my day with a smoothie, but these days I’ve traded it in for a bowl of hot soup. Not only is it comforting, but it’s also a great way to load up on healthy veggies!

Since following the AIP diet, I have discovered mushroom broth and fallen in love! I realize mushroom broth isn’t anything new, but I’ve always passed it up while shopping. Now I literally use it in everything -to sauté veggies, soups, and anywhere it calls for regular veggie broth. Most vegetable broths contain tomato or peppers – both of which you’re supposed to avoid on an AIP diet. If you’re not a fan of mushrooms and would still like to try this soup, you can use veggie broth, but it will produce a different flavor.

Savory Roasted Butternut Squash Soup
SAVORY ROASTED BUTTERNUT SQUASH SOUP:

{AIP, vegan, oil-free option}

Serves 6

What you need:

  • 1 medium butternut squash
  • 3 celery stalks
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 small red onion
  • 4-5 garlic cloves
  • 1 teaspoon coconut oil*
  • 1 3/4 -2 cups mushroom broth*
  • 1 cup coconut milk*
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • Salt to taste

*NOTES: Can replace coconut oil with broth to keep the soup oil-free. We use Pacific Organic Mushroom Broth (contains water, mushrooms, sea salt, garlic). We use Trader Joe’s Organic Coconut Milk (can) as it does not contain gums.

How to:

  1. Preheat your oven to 400°F and line a baking tray with unbleached parchment paper.
  2. Wash and halve your butternut squash – remove seeds. We like to lightly brush our butternut squash with a small amount of avocado oil and sprinkle it with garlic…but that is optional. With the cut side down, roast the squash for 45-60 minutes or until tender.
  3. While the squash is roasting, slice your celery, carrots, onion, and garlic. Do not be concerned about the size since in the end everything will be blended/puréed .
  4. Heat a large pot with a teaspoon of coconut oil or broth over medium heat and saute your onions until translucent. Then add the celery, carrots, and garlic – Saute until tender.
  5. Next add in 1 1/4 cups of mushroom broth and reduce heat to low-med. Allow to warm while the squash is roasting.
  6. When the squash is tender, remove from the oven and allow to cool for a few minutes. Then remove the skin and cut into cubes – add directly to the pot. Once all of the squash has been added to the pot, add in your seasonings, coconut milk and remaining 1/2 cup of mushroom broth. Increase the heat to medium to allow everything to warm.
  7. Once the soup begins to boil, remove from heat and either carefully transfer and purée the soup in a high-speed blender or use a handheld immersion blender. In this instance, we used our immersion blender to allow for more texture. If you find that your soup is too thick, you can add more broth or water.
  8. Enjoy!!

I LOVE topping this soup with either garlicky kale, fresh basil, roasted broccoli, or roasted cubes of sweet potato. If you’re not following an AIP diet, I recommend adding a dash of jalapeño pepper sauce or diced jalapeños for a kick!

Savory Roasted Butternut Squash Soup
Savory Roasted Butternut Squash Soup
Savory Roasted Butternut Squash Soup
Leftovers with a swirl of jalapeño pepper hot sauce and chives:

Savory Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

Thanks for stopping by!

❤️

Baked Cinnamon Mini Donuts {AIP, Vegan}

Just when I thought gluten-free baking had its tricky moments, I dove head first into the grain-free, nut-free baking world and it is 100 times harder than I thought! So many failed attempts with either gummy textures or mushy. Upon researching, I learned that AIP baked goods, more often than not, produce a different texture and unless grain-free is all you’ve ever known, it might also take some time to get used to. During my MANY trials, I also learned the importance of two things:

  1. DO NOT over mix the batter.
  2. Allow baked goods to cool completely before eating…this was VERY hard for me.

Have I scared you away? Haha! I promise these donuts are delicious and picky eater approved. I have written here that this recipe makes 12-14 donuts and I say this because Miss Willow will eat the batter by the spoonfuls! Each time I’ve made them, she helps herself to the bowl, leaving me to estimate how many it officially makes😉



If you’re not on an autoimmune diet, I do have two other donut recipes on the blog and both use gluten-free (all purpose) flour and nuts. Check them out HERE and HERE.

Since I have made this recipe a gazillion times, I have added notes on variations, but I cannot attest to any other flours (coconut, banana, sweet potato, etc.).

Baked Cinnamon Mini Donuts {AIP, Vegan}

BAKED CINNAMON MINI DONUTS {AIP, Vegan}:

Makes 12-14 mini donuts

What you need:

  • 1 cup Otto’s Naturals Cassava Flour*
  • 1/4 cup coconut sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon Ceylon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon Himalayan salt
  • 3/4 cup coconut milk (gum-free)*
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin puree*
  • 1/4 cup softened coconut butter*

For coating:

  • 2 Tablespoons coconut sugar (or maple sugar)
  • 1-2 teaspoons Ceylon cinnamon

*NOTES: I buy the cassava flour from Natural Grocers, but you can also find it on Amazon. I use Trader Joe’s canned organic coconut milk as it is free from any gums or strange additives. Instead of pumpkin puree, you can use unsweetened applesauce and they’re just as delicious! As for the coconut butter, I have also used half coconut butter + half coconut oil or all coconut oil…all three variations produce a very similar texture and flavor, so it comes down to preference or what you have on hand.

How to:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F and grease your mini donut pan(s).
  2. Combine the coconut milk + ACV, set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, mix together the coconut sugar and coconut butter until well combined. I actually like to use my stand-up mixer for this to kind of cream it together until it resembles a sand-like consistency.
  4. Next add in the remaining wet ingredients (applesauce, milk + ACV) and mix until thoroughly combined.
  5. Then add in all of your dry ingredients and mix until just combined – be careful not to overmix. The batter will be VERY thick and you’ll be tempted to add in extra milk to thin it out, but resist that temptation!
  6. Pipe the batter into your donut pan – fill it almost up to the top (the batter will not rise like usual donuts) and using your fingers or a small spatula, flatten/smooth down the batter. If you don’t have a piping bag, grab a Ziploc bag, spoon the batter into it, seal it and snip off a corner.
  7. Bake for 15-18 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Remove from oven and allow to set in the pan for another five minutes. While they’re setting, combine the mixture of cinnamon and coconut sugar in a Ziploc bag.
  8. Remove the donuts from the pan and shake them in the bag of cinnamon + coconut sugar. Allow them to set on a cooling rack until completely cool. Another option is to remove the donuts from the pan and allow them to cool, brush them with melted coconut oil and dunk them in a bowl of cinnamon + coconut sugar. OR dunk them in melted chocolate for a more decadent version (although, that last option isn’t AIP friendly)!
  9. Enjoy! I recommend pairing them with a hot mug of tea or apple cider.

***These donuts are best eaten the day they’re made – so make them and share!

Here is a very ugly, but real photo of what they look like when they first come out of the oven…they won’t look perfect, but coated in cinnamon + coconut sugar will make everything better!

Baked Cinnamon Mini Donuts {AIP, Vegan}
Baked Cinnamon Mini Donuts {AIP, Vegan}
Baked Cinnamon Mini Donuts {AIP, Vegan}
Thanks for stopping by!

❤️