What I Eat in a Day {AIP}

Since starting the AIP diet, everyone keeps asking me, “what the heck do you actually eat???” I’ve had to eliminate SO many of my staples – everything from black pepper, baking powder, and curry to bell peppers and tomatoes…and the obvious nuts and grains. My diet over these last two weeks have consisted of A LOT of fresh fruits and veggies. It can definitely get repetitive and old, which forces you to buy produce you don’t always eat and to get creative with meals. It’s also hard because you get conflicting info on the Internet as to what foods you can and can’t eat.

Here’s what I ate in a day:

Breakfast:

Sautéed kale (oil-free) topped with half of an avocado, nutritional yeast, and a sprinkle of Himalayan salt.

What I Ate in a Day {AIP}
Snack:

12 oz smoothie >> 1.5 frozen bananas, 1/2 cup frozen blueberries, 1 teaspoon maca, 1 teaspoon carob, 1 teaspoon mesquite powder, water and a splash of coconut milk to blend.

What I Ate in a Day {AIP}

Lunch:

1 Persian cucumber and half of an avocado topped with garlic, Himalayan salt, nutritional yeast, and fresh basil.

What I Ate in a Day {AIP}
Snack: 

Sliced apple, blueberries, and Ceylon cinnamon in a coconut paleo wrap. Also munched on a donut…working on trials for a grain-free recipe that’s also oil-free…holy tricky!! Haha! 

What I Ate in a Day {AIP}
What I Ate in a Day {AIP}
Dinner:

Sautéed kale + onions (oil-free; used mushroom broth), crispy sweet potato fries, and roasted brussels + broccoli with an AIP friendly cheese sauce…needs another trial, but I’ll share when I get it figured out!

What I Ate in a Day {AIP}

Before bed:

A cup of herbal tea.

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A couple of my other favorite meals from the week:

Banana-yam cakes with blueberries and pears (recipe courtesy of my cousin). Uses banana flour and a lot of cinnamon. You can either fry them in coconut oil for a yummy crispy exterior or bake them oil-free…both ways are delicious. 

What I Ate in a Day {AIP}
Butternut squash soup topped with steamed broccoli + fresh basil. Failed to write down how I made it, but that just means I’ll have to make it again 😉

What I Ate in a Day {AIP}

Hope all of you have a wonderful weekend!

Thanks for stopping by!

❤️


RECIPE: Sunshine Smoothie Bowl

Hello, friends! Before I dive into this recipe, I wanted to say a HUGE thank you for all of the supportive comments on my previous post – means so much to me. I was shocked at how well it was received and even more shocked to learn how many others are in the same boat. Your emails and text messages have helped me to feel less alone and hopeful. I’m sending so much love and healing energy to all of you ❤️

If you read my last post, you know that I’ve made some changes in my diet to reset my system and I’ve had amazing results – more energy, no bloating, pain-free, positive mood changes, clothes fitting better, and hopeful. When I was first introduced to the Autoimmune Protocol, I focused too much on the foods I’d have to avoid, rather than looking at the lengthy list of foods I could eat – it’s all about perspective, right?

Since going vegan almost ten years ago, I’ve consumed nuts & seeds on a daily basis. Heck, almost at every meal if I think about it: nut milk in my smoothies, nuts in granola, cashews to make a creamy sauce or soup, nut or seed butters on toast, in smoothies, in baked goods. The list could go on. Nuts & seeds are in A LOT of vegan products.

Same goes for grains. They’re in our cereals, granola, pancakes, and baked goods. But we also cook them up to go with our lunch or dinner – rice, quinoa, millet, buckwheat…well, you get the idea.

My body hasn’t ever had a break from nuts, seeds, and grains – I’m 37 years old – so that’s many days of consuming these foods. I’ve been without nuts and seeds for over two weeks now and without grains, beans, and nightshades for over a week…I’m honestly shocked at how much better I feel. With the AIP diet, they say to do it for 30 days to reset your system – I’m not sure I will go that long since I don’t think I’m getting enough protein (might add beans back in next week) – it’s a harder diet to follow as a vegan.

Eating this way has forced me to get creative, but also reigniting my love for the simple meals…my current favorite dinner is baked yams with sauteed kale, onions, garlic, zucchini, topped with coconut aminos and sliced avocado…gimme those greens! I’ve also fallen in love with these Coconut Paleo Wraps – on the pricey side, so they’re a treat for me. You can find them at pretty much an natural food store or online, but I have found that Whole Foods sells them for the best price. I love using them for both savory (veggie wraps) and sweet (apple crepes) recipes. Oh! And all I can say is coconut butter never tasted so good – now that all of my other nut/seed butters are out – coconut butter is like gold to me! Haha!

*If anyone is interested, I’d be happy to do a post sharing what I eat in a day following this protocol.

If your weather is anything like ours, you’re probably still enjoying smoothies and nice cream without shivering under a blanket just yet 😉 I think this recipe borders on nice cream due to its thickness, but I’m calling it a smoothie bowl since it has a sneaky little veggie in there!

Ahhh, golden beets! Have you tried them? Are you a beet lover? If you’re not a beet fan, golden beets are a lot less “earthy” and overpowering than the vibrant red beets and they also have a perfect sweetness to them. I also love golden beets for their bright, sunshine-y yellow color! I’ve brightened the color even more with some fresh turmeric and mango. My first instinct is to grab the bottle of homemade almond milk, but since I’m not consuming nuts right now, I’ve been using coconut milk, which also gives it a nice tropical twist!

RECIPE: Sunshine Smoothie Bowl
Sunshine Smoothie Bowl {vegan, AIP-friendly, gluten-free, nut-free, soy-free}

Serves 1-2

What you need:

  • 2 frozen bananas
  • 1 cup frozen mango chunks
  • 1/4 cup fresh golden beets, peeled + chopped*
  • 1/2-1 inch chunk of fresh turmeric
  • 2 Tablespoons raw coconut butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla (optional; if following AIP do not use extract)
  • coconut milk to blend*

*I have made this with an additional 1/4 cup of beets and it’s still delicious! Just depends on how much of a beet lover yo are. I use Trader Joe’s organic canned coconut milk as it is gum-free. I suggest starting with 1/4 cup, adding more if you’d like a thinner consistency. If you’re OK with gums, then any coconut milk will do…full fat will make it ultra creamy. 

RECIPE: Sunshine Smoothie Bowl

How to:

  1. Blend until smooth, pour into a bowl, and enjoy! You can top it with fresh blueberries, dried mulberries, shredded coconut, cinnamon, or granola…or load it up with everything!

RECIPE: Sunshine Smoothie Bowl

RECIPE: Sunshine Smoothie Bowl 

Can’t believe this is the last official week of summer! Are you excited for fall?!

 

Thanks for stopping by!

There’s More to Health than What You Eat…

I debated long and hard about writing this post, probably lots of overthinking, but when I realized that sharing my journey is not only what this blog is all about, there’s also a chance it could help someone else. I had a big wake-up call this summer and knowing that all of it could have been prevented is what pushed me to share this with all of you.

So grab a cup of tea, a snack, and get comfortable as I’m about to share a rather lengthy personal journey…


If you follow me on Instagram, you’ve probably noticed that I’ve been absent almost all summer. I’ve been known to take a break here and there, but never for more than a few weeks. It all started when I met a friend for tea back in June and we got to talking about social media. She one day decided to completely delete her IG account to be more present in real life. We talked about our frustrations with the lack of authenticity, how everything appears to be perfectly staged, and how time consuming social media is. After we parted ways that day, I decided I really needed some time away from all of it. I noticed how I would get anxious about even opening the  app because that meant having to respond to all of the comments and catch up on everyone else’s pages. It felt overwhelming and I was struggling with balance. I also struggled with the behavior and energy received while on IG. The whole “follow for follow,” “like for like,” “comment for comment,” was unappealing, not to mention being a smaller page and blog, I allowed myself to feel unworthy. Unimportant.

But please know that IG was just a small portion of my stress.

In July, I started to notice that I wasn’t feeling or acting like my usual self. Everything felt off and I hated it, so rather than pushing down all of the feelings, I reached out to our naturopath. When I met with her the first time (mid-August), I rattled off my symptoms:

  • Depression
  • Poor digestion (bloating, pain, inflammation)
  • Irritability
  • High anxiety and stress
  • Hair loss
  • Weight gain
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of interest in usual things

She took a small blood sample and we looked at it under the microscope together. It showed heart, adrenal, and colon stress. Wow. She had a pretty good idea as to what was going on, but ordered a full blood work up to get an accurate reading. What I found out shocked me and took several days to process it. Here’s what the results showed:

  • Adrenal fatigue
  • Chronic viral infection
  • Signs of hyperthyroid
  • Low stomach acid
  • Malabsorption of Vitamin D, zinc, and protein

What? How can that be?! I’ll tell you why….

STRESS.

All of the stress had caused adrenal fatigue and since my adrenals were so overworked, my thyroid stepped up in an attempt to balance everything. This just goes to show how amazing our bodies are – they work very hard to protect us. My gut also needs some serious love and with low stomach acid, it’s causing quite a bit of discomfort with a lot of foods.

I’m not going to go into detail about how I allowed the stress of several situations get the better of me and to be quite honest, after discussing all of it with my naturopath, this could go back years. Factor in the key element of me being an empath, I’ve endured many, many years of stress and being affected by others emotions and energies.

So what now? How do I heal?

My naturopath put me on a supplement schedule since my body isn’t absorbing it from whole foods and I have been going back to check in with her – we’ll do another blood work up in a couple of months. Along with supplements, I was told to take time for ME. That has meant asking for help – with Willow and things around the house. My Mom is helping out one day a week with watching Willow so that I can do something for me…and that does NOT mean running errands or cleaning. This means anything that will help my well-being: yoga without Willow climbing all over me or calling for me, writing, reading, or even taking a nap. I have learned that the healing process for adrenal fatigue could take up to a year (depending on the person and lifestyle changes made).

I struggled so much to share this with anyone because I thought I was healthy because I ate healthy. When I received the results, I instantly felt like I had failed, like I was a fraud. Here’s the thing, there is SO much more to health than what we eat. Outside factors can greatly impact our health – lack of sleep, pushing yourself too hard, working too much, lack of quiet/down time, toxic relationships, etc. Yes, diet plays a huge role in health, but if you are stressed, you run the risk of very serious issues.

Did you know that chronic stress is linked to the six leading causes of death (heart disease, cancer, lung ailments, accidents, cirrhosis of the liver, and suicide)? And that 75-90 percent of doctor’s visits are stress related? That just goes to show not only how serious stress is, but also how prevalent it is. I feel incredibly grateful to be in tune with my body and recognize early signs, as opposed to running my body completely down and facing a far more serious diagnosis.

For me, my battle is feeling like I have to do it all. What I’m learning is that I can’t and that our bodies aren’t designed to undergo that kind of thinking. I kept getting myself in that trap by seeing posts on IG of other moms who appear to be doing it all (exercise, work, household chores, parenting, etc.) when in reality I need (and YOU) to remember that you only get a snapshot on social media…you don’t get the full picture and often times things are edited or just not shared. So we need to stop comparing what we think others are doing and just BE. Do what feels right to you and if that means moving at a slower pace, taking a break, or posting “imperfect” photos, do it.

 

Just like each individual is different,  each one of us will react and handle stress in different ways. One person’s method may not work for the next person. Life would be so much easier if there was a universal way, a way that fit everyone. The key is finding ways to help YOU. It may take some time, lots of patience, and testing out various methods to fine tune your personal way(s) of coping.

There's More to Health than What You EatThere's More to Health than What You Eat
Here are some tips & methods that have been working for me and also for those close to me…

TIPS TO REDUCE STRESS:

  • Quit the caffeine (coffee, soda, caffeinated tea). I loved drinking coffee, but cut it out of my diet back in March and never looked back. I drink a cup or two of herbal tea a day as it relaxes me and contains beneficial ingredients. Coffee actually promotes stress hormones – It may be difficult to let go of, but your body will thank you.
  • Meditate. I have gotten back into the habit of daily meditation and it has done wonders for my health and well-being. If you find you’re one to be easily distracted and can’t sit still, there are wonderful apps and podcasts that have guided meditations. I use Headspace and Calm – both are free to download via iTunes and offer sessions as short as 10 minutes!
  • Breathe. An obvious one, but sometimes when you’re in the midst of a stressful situation, you tense up and either hold your breath or breathing becomes erratic. Take a few really deep breaths and try to focus on just that. *PLEASE do not ever tell a stressed out person to just breathe or calm down…trust me, it makes matters worse.*
  • Get in the habit of journaling and doing free-writing. Take a moment out of your day to sit and write – don’t think about it too much and just let the pen take off. Write about whatever comes to mind. I like to do this just before bed (usually before meditating) so that I can go to bed with a clear head, I’ve emptied my thoughts and can hit the pillow completely relaxed.
  • Sleep. Sounds silly, but how many hours of sleep are you getting a night? If we’re being honest here, I was only getting 4-5 hours a night because I would be catching up on Instagram after Willow fell asleep and then try and read before finally going to bed around 1-2am. Now, most nights I’m not far behind Willow – I fall asleep between 9:30-10:30 and get a full nights sleep (unless Willow wakes up in the middle of the night). They actually recommend for anyone with adrenal fatigue to go to bed no later than 10:30pm.
  • Get outside! Go for a walk, a hike, a run, or meditate in the grass. The fresh air and sunshine will do wonders. Not to mention getting some vitamin D!
  • Yoga. There are several YouTube channels for yoga or head over to Amazon to purchase some DVDs.  Doing yoga and stretching helps to keep you in the present moment while releasing any tension in the body. Below are the videos I enjoy (I’ve been using the Kundalini yoga dvd for several years and love it)…Willow and I occasionally do yoga together and her DVDs are a huge stress reliever as they’re silly and fun!

There's More to Health than What You Eat

  • Exercise. If you have adrenal fatigue, ignore this tip. I was told to stick with yoga, but for the typical person, exercise (running, cardio, etc.) can be a wonderful way to release stress.
  • Limit your screen time (TV, computer) and gadget/technology time (phone, iPad, Kindle, etc.) – especially before bed. In her recent post, Heather of Yum Universe suggested charging your phone in the kitchen and leaving it there…don’t bring it upstairs with you when you go to bed. I have drastically reduced the time I spend on my phone and I stop using it at least an hour before going to bed. If this is a struggle for you, I recommend putting your phone on airplane mode or turning off notifications at night. This helps to resist the urge to check it.
  • Find activities that create a sense of peace and calming within. For me, that is coloring, doing zentangles, reading, and listening to music. When Willow wants to color, I grab my coloring books and join her – it’s actually become quite the family activity these days.

  • Clean house. Both literally and figuratively. Declutter your home and let go of anything that no longer serves a purpose in your life – let go of the things that no longer bring you joy. This is not easy to do and sometimes this could include toxic relationships – those who either don’t support you, criticize, or hold you back from being happy.
  • Ask for help. If you’re like me, this is easier said than done, BUT absolutely necessary. Recognize those who support you and do not hesitate to lean on them during times of imbalance.
  • Talk about it! Reach out to your good friends and family – be open about your struggles – more often than not, you’re going to find out that you are NOT alone. Everyone is struggling with something and talking about it is therapeutic. In talking about it with those close to me, I found out that two other people happen to be in very similar situations health wise…all due to stress as well.
  • Know your limits and learn how to say no. Remember that you are human, one human, and can’t do it all. Only take on as much as you feel comfortable with. I think it’s great to step outside of your comfort zone and challenge yourself, but if you are susceptible to stress or anxiety, know your body’s capacity and DO NOT allow yourself to reach a breaking point.
  • Let go of the idea that everything needs to be checked off your to-do list before bed. Do you make to-do lists? Mentally or physically on paper? I do. I’m kind of obsessed with lists because it helps my mama brain keep track of things – even little things like sweeping the floor. I’ve learned that lists are great, but they don’t need to be done in a day. My house might be a bit messier, but my stress level is down…and I’m learning to be OK with that.
  • Let go of the past and don’t worry about the future…put your focus on being present. I know how difficult this can be and that is why meditation is key. Being mindful of the here and now is what truly matters.
  • Be kind to yourself. Be patient. Have faith.

I can already hear some of you saying, “I don’t have time to…” And here’s the reality: We ALL HAVE TIME. We just choose to spend it differently. You will have to make adjustments in your life or put other things on the back burner and that’s OK! Pick up the phone and actually talk with a friend – not a rushed text. If you haven’t read a book in forever, start reading a chapter or two of a book that’s been on your list – instead of spending time doing things you think need to be done. I think you get the idea🙂

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So what does this mean for me? This blog? Social media?


I’m taking things day by day and putting sleep + rest as a priority. I’m making meditation a daily habit and surrounding myself with all the good energy I can. I’ve realized that with Josh’s work schedule, I absolutely NEED to ask my Mom for help more…being a full-time, stay-at-home mom can be challenging, especially since I’ve also taken on the role as homeschooler.

•••

As for the blog…I am very passionate about this blog and while I know it lacks good photography, it is my therapeutic outlet…even if only a handful of people read a post. I enjoy it and the people I connect with here. I am a casual “blogger” in that I get posts up when I feel like and it’s more of a hobby than a career – so I’ve also stopped comparing my little blog with others. I do what I can and I’m at peace with that.

Since I’m also playing around with my diet and making some adjustments, there might be either a lack of recipes here or recipes out of the norm…but always vegan! I will absolutely NOT stray away from being plant-based. I’ve been nut-free for a week now and feel better than I’ve felt in months – I’m also experimenting with AIP (Autoimmune Protocol) – which means no grains, nightshades, beans, nuts + seeds, and certain spices….which is super hard, but if it means healing, I’m all about it. Thank goodness for my cousin (she introduced me to AIP) and all of the crafty people out there creating recipes to fit that diet! My energy is at an all time high and my mood has drastically changed…not to mention my gut loves me!

A sneak peek of what’s coming to the blog soon…


•••

Hmmm. As for social media, I haven’t really decided. I deeply miss many of the people on Instagram, but I’m also enjoying being more present and building stronger connections with those close to me. During this absence, I’ve had several reach out to me via email and/or text with the very same complaints about social media – that it’s a comparison trap and feels like a competition. I truly LOVE the connections that I have made there and if I do return, I will be limiting my time on there during this healing process. To some of you all of this might sound over dramatic or way off base and that might be because you’ve got your stress under control or you stand confidently in your place – for that I genuinely applaud you.

I am a work in progress. I am forever learning and growing. I am healing.

To those reading this, if you’re struggling, please know that you are NOT alone. You are worthy of love and healing. We all are. Please reach out for help if you are feeling overwhelmed or stressed. Do not put your health on the back burner like I did.

If you’re reading this and you know someone who is struggling, offer help or an ear. Never minimize their struggles or tell them that they’re overreacting because in their mind, it’s a huge deal. Be supportive and patient.
Thank you so much to all who took the time to read my rambles here.

Love and light.

❤️

REVIEW: August Favorites

Happy (almost) September, my friends! Can’t believe that we’re that much closer to fall…my ABSOLUTE favorite season. August was all about taking it easy with experimenting in the kitchen, some nice hikes, fresh air, and time with family. One highlight from August was watching the Perseid meteor shower. Did any of you get to enjoy it?! The first night I went to sit in the backyard, curled up on the adirondack chair, and eyes glued to the sky…well, that was until I heard a nearby sniffing sound. I ignored it at first because I thought maybe it was a neighbor’s cat, but then it got louder and closer…I decided to make sure…so I used a dim light on my phone to see and OMG! It was a skunk! Only a couple feet away from me! Yikes! I decided to call it a night and run inside. Luckily I managed to get away without being sprayed. BUT the next night I got to sit outside for a bit and enjoy the beauty of the night sky – just amazing!

IMG_9370

Another highlight of August was the launch of the Feed Life eBook! Early last year, Eden approached me with the idea behind this book and wanted me to be one of the contributors…to say that I was honored was an understatement. As many of you know, I admired her immensely and when she lost her battle to cancer in October of last year, the loss hit many of us hard. She was such a light and her kindness and passion incredibly contagious. Her husband, Colin, has done a wonderful job of not only living out the work that they started together, but he also worked hard to get this eBook completed…I know that Eden would be so proud. Seventeen contributors and over 100 plant-based recipes makes this book one amazing resource! Not only is it filled with delicious, healthy recipes, but it also has some helpful information regarding nutrition and healing. I guarantee you’ll find recipes for even the pickiest of eaters! You can grab a copy HERE for $10 until September 1st and then the price will go up to $15.

Title Page

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AUGUST FAVORITES: 

PRODUCTS:

Cheesy Jalapeno Bagels >> Angie’s Gluten-Free Kitchen >> My Mom was kind enough to stop by this gem of a bakery on her way home from Salem, OR last month. This bakery is dedicated gluten-free, but guess what else? They’re also soy-free, gum-free, oat-free and don’t use hydrogenated oils or refined sugar…can you say heavenly?!?! That’s practically unheard of. Not all of their products are vegan as they might contain honey and/or eggs. They’re located in McMinnville, OR. OK, but these bagels – amazing!!! So soft, fresh, and the perfect amount of heat from the jalapenos. I’ve only tried one other vegan, gluten-free bagel before and I remember it being rock hard and dense. You’d never in a million years guess that these cheesy jalapeno bagels are vegan and gluten-free! We kept ours in the freeze and toasted them up to use for a sandwich. Next time I’m in that area, I’ll definitely stock up!

REVIEW: August Favorites

I toasted one up and made a sandwich with romaine, heirloom tomato slices, homemade cashew cheese slices, and vegan mayo…SO GOOD!

REVIEW: August Favorites

Purple Mulberries >> The Raw Food World >> Did you know that purple mulberries existed?! When they showed up on the list of ‘at-cost’ specials from Raw Food World, I absolutely had to get my hands on some. Willow eats regular mulberries like candy and I’m OK with that because they’re really good for you…well, when I introduced her to these purple mulberries, she freaked! They are sweet, soft, chewy, and insanely addicting! We’ve been snacking on them straight out of the bag or sprinkling them on top of smoothie bowls. In my opinion, these are better than white mulberries.

A 16oz bag is available for $11.86 (At-Cost special, but the price goes up soon!) If you do place an order through them, don’t forget to use the coupon code ‘rawfood7’ for 7% off your order!

REVIEW: August Favorites

Two Moms in the Raw >> Soul Sprout Nut Bar >> Cranberry Crush & Gotta Getta Gojiberry >> I found these at Natural Grocers and since I’ve loved everything else from this brand, I had to give them a try. Since then, I’ve gone back three times to stock up! I LOVE them! Chewy, slightly sweet, and absolutely satisfying. Willow doesn’t like them though because she prefers a less chunky bar…she picks out the peanuts in her favorite GoMacro bar, so I wasn’t too surprised when she passed on trying it. The almonds are whole and sprouted and pair so perfectly with the gojiberries and cranberries. I keep one with me when we’re out hiking or away from home for any extended period of time as they give a nice little protein boost. Natural Grocers only carries these two bars (for now), but I’m anxious to try the other flavors…especially the chocolate options😉 I paid $2.19/bar.

REVIEW: August Favorites

Pickled Planet >> Veda Kraut {Raw Sauerkraut} >>  While it wasn’t love at first bite, this sauerkraut has found it’s way onto quite a few of my salads and veggie bowls. It adds a nice crunch and vinegar-y bite to my food, which is always a plus. There are a few flavor options of this sauerkraut, but my eye went straight for the curry spiced one! For those who don’t like spicy, have no fear because it doesn’t contain any spicy ingredients – it’s just tangy.  Pickled Planet is also an Oregon company.

REVIEW: August Favorites

 

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RECIPES:

Skillet Crusted Sweet Potato Gnocchi >> Yum Universe Cookbook >> I’m kicking myself for not taking a photo of this delicious meal…but we were so excited to dive into it, that documenting it was the last thing on my mind. Gnocchi was one of my all time favorite foods growing up and oddly enough, I’ve only eaten it a few times since going vegan/gluten-free, so this recipe has been on our ‘to-make’ list for quite some time. While we tend to stay away from oil, we chose to go with Heather’s method of pan searing them after boiling – I did sample one without using oil and quickly decided a little oil wasn’t going to kill us! The end result…AMAZING!!! I loved the slightly crispy exterior and tender middle. But the best part…Willow ate it, too! We paired the gnocchi with tomato sauce and oil-free sauteed kale. Definitely a meal we’ll be making again.

Vegan Oil-Free Creamy Italian Dressing >> The Vegan 8 >> I was so excited when I got the email alerting me that Brandi had created a new salad dressing recipe because we have been living on salads…but I was in a bit of a rut with dressings. I tend to make the same few over and over again, so it’s nice to get a fresh recipe! The only thing we had to grab from the store was red wine vinegar – everything else we always have on hand. We made this dressing three times during the month of August  and used it on salad, pasta, and rice + veggie bowls. Big thumbs up from my whole family (including my parents, Oma, and Willow)!

REVIEW: August Favorites

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BOOKS:

How Not to Die by Michael Greger M.D. >> This book has been on my to-read list for quite a while and I finally borrowed a copy from the library. After reading the first few pages, I thought to myself, “I need to buy my own copy.” It’s a rather lengthy book and the print is pretty small, so it’s taking me a good bit of time to get through it considering I only get an hour or two a night to read after Willow goes to bed. How Not to Die is very reminiscent of another fantastic book I recommended here earlier this year…Medical Medium. It’s broken down by disease and talks about foods that can heal…spoiler alert…plants are magical. While I’ve known for a long time just how powerful a plant-based diet can be, it’s always amazing to read the scientific evidence backing it. The first part of this book is all about “how not to die from…” and the second part is all about food. I can’t recommend this book enough, so grab yourself a copy if you haven’t already read it!

The Energy Healing Experiments by Gary E. Schwartz, PhD with William L. Simon 

 New books that I read with Willow and enjoyed:

Star Wars Little Golden Book Collection (7 books in one)

Haunted Castle on Hallows Eve >> Magic Tree House #30

A Perfect Time for Pandas >> Magic Tree House #48

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So tell me, what did you get up to last month? Did you try any new products? Make any new recipes? Or read any good books?! I’d love to hear from you.

Thanks for stopping by!

RECIPE: Spicy Chickpea & Kale Salad

This Chickpea & Kale Salad is similar to your standard chickpea mash, but with a little spice and greens thrown in. It’s creamy, full of flavor, and easily customizable! Pair it with some celery + carrot sticks for a quick snack or turn it into a main meal as a big salad or sandwich. 

RECIPE: Spicy Chickpea & Kale Salad

I love the accidental, throw-together meals that end up being share-worthy. The recipe I’m about to share with you is one of those meals! I can’t take full credit for this creation…I have my hubby to thank. Sometimes he uses ingredients I wouldn’t normally think to combine and also has a heavier hand for spices, but more often than not, the outcome is delicious and packed with flavor. The day he threw this together, I made him give me the rundown on the ingredients he used, but he couldn’t tell me measurements…go figure! So the trials began. I’m excited to share a savory recipe with you – it’s been a while!

Before I dive in, I have to talk about our little addiction. A few months ago we discovered Jeff’s Naturals Diced Tamed™ Jalapeno Peppers and can’t get enough. They’re so good that we were going back and buying a jar a week! We’ve been throwing them in tacos, sauces, salads, pasta, and more. I don’t normally buy jarred products like this, but not only is the jar labeled ‘vegan and gluten-free’ but it’s also non-GMO, free from sulfites, and citric acid. If you haven’t guessed it by now, these jalapenos make an appearance in this recipe🙂

RECIPE: Spicy Chickpea & Kale Salad

SPICY CHICKPEA & KALE SALAD

{vegan, gluten-free, soy-free, oil-free option}

Serves 6-8

What you need:

  • 1 bunch of organic kale
  • 2 tsp granulated garlic
  • 1/4 tsp Himalayan salt
  • 3 cups of cooked chickpeas
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 TBSP Jeff’s Naturals Diced Tamed™ Jalapeno Peppers*
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp cayenne
  • 1/4 cup – 1/2 cup soy-free vegan mayo*
  • 2 TBSP (or more) diced red onion
  • Optional add-ins: chopped carrot, red bell pepper, or tomatoes

*We love this homemade version (but omit the sriracha) or you can use Soy-Free Vegenaise

How to:

  1. Tear the leaves of kale away from the stem and wash thoroughly. Shake the water off, but don’t worry about getting the kale completely dry because any water remaining will aid in cooking. Transfer to a large mixing bowl and toss it with the granulated garlic and salt.
  2. Add the kale to a pan, cover with a lid, and cook on medium heat. Stir frequently and if needed, add a splash of veggie broth or oil. Cook for about 4-5 minutes or until the kale is softened/tender.
  3. Next, throw your chickpeas, cooked kale, jalapenos, and seasonings into a food processor. Pulse until broken down into smaller pieces*
  4. Transfer to a large mixing bowl and fold in your mayo one tablespoon at a time, until you reach your desired consistency. If you want a super creamy texture, go heavier on the mayo. Then fold in the diced red onion*
  5. Add to a bed of lettuce, in a sandwich, spread between two tortillas and warmed up, or as is!

NOTES:

*I have not tried making this with fresh jalapenos, but I imagine they would produce a higher heat/spice level – I probably wouldn’t throw in 2 TBSP off the bat! The jalapenos I used are fairly mild/tame.

*If you prefer a smoother consistency as opposed to the chunkier way I’ve done – add your mayo and onion directly into the food processor instead of folding it in. Process until smooth.

**If you or your kiddo don’t like spicy, simply omit the jalapenos and either cut the spices back or omit all together.

RECIPE: Spicy Chickpea & Kale Salad

Here we enjoyed it in a sandwich with red leaf lettuce, thick slices of homemade cashew cheese, extra red onion slices, and a smear of vegan mayo…

RECIPE: Spicy Chickpea & Kale Salad

 

Thanks for stopping by!

 

RECIPE: Raw “Granola”

*I apologize for those seeing this post for a second time – for some reason it got published way before I had it scheduled for and this isn’t the first time something like this has happened! Sorry, guys!*

If there’s one ingredient I miss more than anything, I would have to say oats. They’re so versatile that they’re pretty much found in EVERYTHING. Granola is probably my most missed oat-y treat and I needed to find a replacement to top my smoothie bowls with. Whether crunchy or chewy, I loved that sweet and often times nutty goodness. While this specific recipe isn’t going to be exactly like the granola you’re probably used to as it’s obviously lacking rolled oats, it does have some “clusters” of nutty deliciousness AND it all comes together in just a few minutes.

I used to LOVE rawnola (dates + gluten-free rolled oats), but when my oat sensitivity returned, I started playing around with a substitute – while this method won’t be nearly as low-fat, the variety of nuts bring some excellent health benefits (iron, selenium, calcium, protein, magnesium, and antioxidants). Ever since seeing my sweet friend Natalie’s latest rawnola recipe over at Feasting on Fruit, I’ve been anxious to throw in some lemon zest…if you haven’t seen her rawnola creations, definitely check them out!

Why did I choose raw walnuts, Brazil nuts, and almonds? Because they’re some of the healthiest options! Not only are they packed with an abundance of nutrients, but they’re also excellent for brain health, heart health, and the prevention of cancer.

Excellent in a bowl with a splash of nut milk, as a topping for ice cream, smoothie bowls, or as is! The Brazil nuts and pinch of salt add a wonderful flavor to this simple recipe. This is also a great base to play around with flavors/spices of your choice…I do have another recipe in the works for you using this raw granola, so stay tuned🙂

RECIPE: Raw "Granola"

RAW “GRANOLA”

Makes approximately 3.5-4 cups

What you need:

  • 1.5 cups packed, pitted Medjool dates (approximately 22-24)
  • 1/2 cup raw, organic walnuts
  • 1/4 cup raw, organic Brazil nuts
  • 1/4 (heaping) raw, organic almonds
  • 2 Tablespoons shredded coconut
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla (ground or extract)
  • pinch of Himalayan salt (optional, but highly recommended)

How to:

  1. Throw all of the ingredients in a food processor and pulse until everything is broken up and starting to clump/stick together. If you’re noticing that the mixture isn’t really sticking, add a few more dates and pulse again.
  2. You can either enjoy right away OR spread the mixture (in an even layer) onto a parchment paper lined dehydrator tray and set it at 115°F overnight. I love it both ways, but it’s REALLY good straight out of the dehydrator – it produces a warm, slightly crispy, yet chewy texture.
  3. Best stored in a glass, air-tight container in the refrigerator.

RECIPE: Raw "Granola"

RECIPE: Raw "Granola"

Thanks for stopping by!

REVIEW: July Favorites

Hello, friends and happy August! I think this is my first favorites post that doesn’t include recipes…we’ve been living on smoothies and salads this summer, so that has meant going back to the basics AND no oven use. My list of “need to try” recipes continues to grow and I’m pretty sure come fall, I’ll be excited to jump in the kitchen to try new recipes!

Speaking of recipes, I only got around to sharing one new creation (pancakes) last month from my kitchen, but I’ve got more coming in the next couple of weeks!

July was a month of travel, new journeys, household projects (when our BIG project is complete, I might have to share about it in a separate blog post), running trials for products for my Etsy shop, trying LOTS of new-to-me products, and reading several books…although not all of them made their way here since I didn’t fall in love with them.

Oh! And we also celebrated our seventh wedding anniversary in July – I’m in shock at how fast the years are flying by!

Before I dive into my favorite products and books, here are some of my favorite photos from last month:

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willowandmama

A trip to Whole Foods isn’t complete without trying on hats and reading through cards…

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The view on our hike around Todd Lake – one of our favorite spots:

Todd Lake

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J U L Y  F A V O R I T E S

PRODUCTS:

As always, links are provided when available, in bold italics.

NUCO >> Nucoconut Organic Coconut Vinegar (Garlic) >>  One word…obsessed!!! While in Vermont, we found this coconut vinegar in a few flavor options, but we chose to buy garlic. I whipped up a quick salad dressing using this with raw tahini and loved it so much that not only did we make it every day, but we also had to pack it in our suitcase to come home! Only two ingredients: organic coconut sap vinegar, organic garlic – it’s tangy like apple cider vinegar, but it’s packed with amino acids, vitamins, and minerals.

REVIEW: July Favorites

REBEL KITCHEN COCONUT MYLK (Chocolate and Chai) >> Over the last couple of years I’ve seen people post photos of these, but haven’t seen them in stores near us…well, wouldn’t you know, we found them in Vermont! We don’t buy store-bought milks anymore due to ingredients we avoid (xanthan gum, carrageenan, refined sugar, fortified with folic acid, etc.), but guess what? They’re date-sweetened AND zero gums! Yay! Willow and I loved the flavor and the sweetness level was perfect – my only complaint was finding little clumps of coconut, but that was remedied by more shaking or you could blend it up. Reminded me a little of our other favorite store-bought treat (Rebbl drinks) as that same issue can occasionally occur…but that’s because they don’t contain gums or weird preservatives.

Here’s the ingredient list for the Chai Coconut Mylk:

Spring water, organic coconut milk (11%), organic date nectar, organic cacao, organic cinnamon, organic cardamom, organic turmeric.

REVIEW: July Favorites

búcha® live kombucha >> I failed to take a photo of any of the bottles we consumed, but we found these at the local grocery store in Randolph, Vermont and fell in love! We tried: Guava Mango, Blood Orange, Grapefruit Sage, and Raspberry Pomegranate…our absolute favorite flavor was Blood Orange!

THE RAW FOOD WORLD >> UNFORTIFIED NUTRITIONAL YEAST >> I cannot even begin to tell you how excited I was to get the email that The Raw Food World started carrying unfortified nutritional yeast! Even better…it’s part of the ‘At-Cost’ specials, so we got an awesome deal. Almost every store-bought nutritional yeast is fortified with synthetic ingredients and since many of you ask where we purchase our unfortified option, here’s yet another place to buy it. Unfortified has a MUCH cleaner flavor and it’s SO much safer for consumption.

REVIEW: July Favorites

BEARDED BROTHERS >> MEGA MACA CHOCOLATE ENERGY BAR >> Before we flew to Vermont, I placed a Vitacost order to be shipped to my in-laws house and this was one of the new items we decided to try. I shared this with Willow and we both really enjoyed it! If it wasn’t so pricey, I would go back and order a bunch to have on hand for those hangry moments. The texture was perfect and I love that the first ingredient is dates, followed by nuts, superfoods, and zero refined sugar. Definitely one of the few bars I feel good about giving to Willow.

REVIEW: July Favorites

KING ARTHUR ALMOND FLOUR >> I found this randomly at Target a few weeks ago and it has become my absolute favorite option for almond flour! The package says super finely ground and seeing as I’ve tried pretty much every option out there, this is hands down the finest almond flour I’ve used…I don’t even have to break up any large clumps.

You can also purchase it via Amazon (link above).

REVIEW: July Favorites

STAR WARS PRESCHOOL WORKBOOKS (3-PACK)>> We found these at Costco just before we left for Vermont and Willow had to have them. As a parent (and homeschooling mom) I LOVE these! For a four-year-old, Star Wars obsessed kid, they’re PERFECT! Willow is in heaven and these have made learning SO much fun. While she is above (hope that doesn’t come off as elitist!) the majority of the content, these workbooks have helped her to fine-tune her form.  I highly recommend checking out a Costco near you because you’ll save some money buying them in a three pack as opposed to individually via Amazon. They also offer higher level workbooks for older kids.

REVIEW: July Favorites

SOULFUL BODY >> SOLAR PLEXUS CHAKRA ANOINTING OIL >> I’m serious when I say this is like sunshine in a bottle! The color – the warm, happy scent – it leaves me with a sense of confidence + peace. The blend of peppermint, rosemary, and lemongrass is gentle, yet powerful! I’ve been applying it to my wrists throughout the day. I love that there is a golden quartz crystal inside this beautiful bottle. I received this inside a Goddess Provisions box, but you can purchase it via Etsy in the link I’ve provided above.

REVIEW: July Favorites

INSTANT POT >> Did any of you grab a hold of any deals on Prime Day?! I literally squealed when I got the email that the Instant Pot was available for only $69!!! Total steal! It’s been on our house wish list forever so we immediately ordered one…I think Willow’s face sums it up :) Hello to soup in a flash, dried beans cooking faster, and busy days made simpler.

REVIEW: July Favorites

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BOOKS:

SOUL VOWS by Janet Conner

BE WHAT YOU WISH by Neville Goddard 

THE UNLIMITED SELF: DESTROY LIMITING BELIEFS, UNCOVER GREATNESS, AND LIVE THE GOOD LIFE by Jonathan Heston 

Josh and I ordered these two books (links below) for Willow off of Amazon to bring on our trip to Vermont…both are beautiful and send positive messages to kiddos. I highly recommend them!

UNSTOPPABLE ME! 10 WAYS TO SOAR THROUGH LIFE by Dr. Wayne W. Dyer

DREAMS COME TRUE ALL THEY NEED IS YOU! by Mike Dooley

REVIEW: July Favorites

As usual, I would LOVE to hear from you! Did you try any new products? Read any great books? Watch anything exciting on Netflix? Speaking of Netflix…have you seen the series Stranger Things?! Oh, man. Josh and I just started it and it’s taking every ounce of willpower not to binge watch it!

Thanks for stopping by!