REVIEW: January Favorites

We had a few highlights during January – a good bit of snow early in the month, took Willow to use her snowshoes for the first time AND we got our fireplace running! Which meant we were finally able to keep our house heated above 60°! Not even kidding, our house was freezing – I’m talking wearing a winter hat, layers of clothes and a few blankets to bed. For those who aren’t familiar with cadet heaters…they stink and put your electric bill through the roof! So, we’re all happy, cozy and able to enjoy a smoothie without shivering all day. And our cats are in heaven.

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JANUARY FAVORITES:

OREGON BRINEWORKS HOT SAUCE >> Supporting anything Oregon made (and organic) makes my heart super happy. We’re big hot sauce fans – just a couple drops adds such a great flavor to some of my favorite dishes. This is one of the best hot sauces I’ve had as it tastes fresh AND the ingredient list is pretty fantastic (raw and fermented). We found this in the refrigerated area at Natural Grocers.

REVIEW: January Favorites

ZENBUNNI BIODYNAMIC CHOCOLATE {Rainbow Box} >> A very dear friend sent me a wonderful package of goodies this holiday season and this was in there. They were meant to be for Josh, but thank goodness he shared! The three of us shared each bar so we could get a little sample. Talk about the best chocolate I’ve ever had. Here is the list of flavors included in the box:

REVIEW: January Favorites

My personal favorites were the Kathmandu Chai and Maui Turmeric Ginger. Willow LOVED each one, but we didn’t allow her to try the Mucha Mocha or Frida Azteca (had a pretty good spicy kick). I really loved how the little box came with a quartz crystal, too! All of their ingredients are organic and contain zero soy, gluten or refined sugar. While on the pricier side, it forces you to really savor each bite and not devour the box in one sitting…although I fully admit we wanted to!

FLYING BIRD BOTANICALS >> Peace of Mind herbal tea >> Another gift (from the same friend) and I shared it with Willow. I really love finding teas that require no added sweetener – such a mild floral, comforting flavor with a touch of mint. The packaging is beautiful! From the label on the canister, to the actual tea bag itself. I look forward to trying other teas from this company as they seem to be a very passionate, people-driven (and organic) group.

REVIEW: January Favorites

MAY LINDSTROM SKIN >> THE YOUTH DEW >> Yet another gift from that package and she seriously spoiled me with this one. I’ll be real honest, I have been eyeing up this product, but just couldn’t bring myself to spend the money. You guys, this stuff is liquid gold. The smell is intoxicating, soaks right in without a greasy feeling and leaves my face feeling moisturized. A little goes a long way and from what I’ve read, this bottle should last me quite a while. I have to say, I don’t think I can go back to anything else after using this…it’s pure magic and seeing as I am getting older (soon to be 37!), if I can prevent or decrease some of the aging in my face, it’s a huge bonus. 

REVIEW: January Favorites

GT’s KOMBUCHA with TURMERIC, CARROT & GINGER >> I will admit that I was first drawn to the label and then the flavor. I LOVE turmeric and I LOVE kombucha so obviously this was delicious! I purchased this specific flavor at Natural Grocers.

REVIEW: January Favorites

RECIPES WE TRIED AND LOVED:

LAZY DAY VEGAN TOMATO BISQUE >> THE VEGAN 8 >> I’ve been loving our Soup Saturdays and this soup from Brandi’s blog did not disappoint. I’m kind of embarrassed to admit this, but we didn’t have any leftovers…it was that good. Incredibly creamy, thanks to the homemade cashew butter and jam packed with flavor and veggies….my kind of meal! Willow is super picky when it comes to tomato soup and she gave it a thumbs up – just more proof that it’s amazing! So, my only recommendation would be to double the recipe!

REVIEW: January Favorites

TURMERIC CHICKPEA FRITTERS >> MINIMALIST BAKER >> We typically don’t make recipes that require pan frying since we limit our oil intake, but we made an exception for these…and boy am I glad we did! Surprisingly enough, they weren’t as greasy as I expected. Simple to make, but the process is a bit messy…but SO worth it! We made these to go with our tacos one night and they made an excellent filling. Instead of panko bread crumbs, I used Sophia’s crispy topping from her mac n cheese recipe (I’m kind of hooked on that), but I omitted the oregano and added garlic. For the vegan parm, I took some raw cashews, raw hemp seeds, unfortified nutritional yeast, a little salt and whirled them through our nut/seed grinder. These little fritters were heavenly! No photo because, (1) the lighting was awful and (2) they got devoured too fast! Willow even ate one…little victories!

EASY VEGAN CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES >> FEASTING ON FRUIT >> I still haven’t mustered up the courage to try oats again, but I had to make these for my family. Well, Willow asked and I can’t say no when that little voice asks to bake with me. A little side note…Willow is obsessed with Natalie’s YouTube channel. No joke, she will ask if she can watch a specific video and then 30-45 minutes later she’s moved on to several other videos of hers. She has portions of them memorized and while watching them with her, she will tell me what’s going to happen next! Haha! Anytime Natalie makes a new video, Willow and I watch it together…almost instantly, she requested that we make these cookies. So, the verdict? Thumbs up! I made these into mini cookies (my cookie scoop is small) and pressed a few extra mini chips on top. I struggled a bit to get these cookies flattened, as they are sticky, but Natalie suggested that next time I wet my fingers to help with that. I can attest that the paste that holds these cookies together is fantastic…I did indeed lick the blender. Don’t judge. For you oat loving, date fans – make these!

REVIEW: January Favorites

And Willow asked to take her own photo of these cookies…

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SUPER CREAMY VEGAN STOVETOP MAC & “CHEESE” >> KITCHEN TREATY >>  I told you that I am a sucker for those homemade vegan cheese sauces…and the photos of this specific recipe lured me in. Super creamy is right! Whoa. Seriously, go click on the link…you’ll be drooling and licking the screen. C’mon, you know you’ve done it. I made a couple minor adjustments to this recipe: used Coconut Aminos in place of soy sauce, used veggie broth to saute up the onions/garlic instead of oil and added a one tablespoon of unfortified nutritional yeast. I really liked that this recipe uses coconut milk instead of cashews…it’s nice to change it up and it’s cheaper than cashews without sacrificing the creaminess factor. Again, no photos to accompany this review since the lighting was bad…but we all loved this! Willow included!

CREAMY CARROT GINGER BISQUE with CASHEW CREAM >>  FOOD 52 >> Hubby subscribes to VegNews emails and this recipe caught his eye. Holy carrots! Haha! This recipe calls for a whopping 1 1/4 pounds of them. I absolutely LOVED how simple this soup was and the curry powder brought about a lovely flavor. Despite the beautiful color and creamy texture, Willow refused to try it. Just meant more for us!

REVIEW: January Favorites

VEGAN BROCCOLI CHEESE SOUP {gluten-free, oil-free} >> VEGAN DOES IT >> When I saw Natalie’s IG post featuring this soup and then Audrey made it, I absolutely had to try it for myself! Hubby whipped this up one evening while I did some work for my Etsy shop and this was amazing! So thick, creamy and comforting. Insanely cheesy thanks to the nutritional yeast and the potatoes, but no cashews were used! I would have shared a photo on IG, but the color of our soup looked a bit different compared to Melissa’s…we ran out of orange carrots! Ha! So, we used some of our rainbow carrots (purple and white) which made for a bit of a darker color. But it didn’t compromise the taste one bit! We enjoyed it with potato wedges and later we used leftovers on top of a baked potato…I know, potatoes on top of potatoes! 😉 I know many of you are nut-free and the great thing about this recipe is that you can easily swap out the almond milk for a nut-free option. Oh, and it’s toddler approved, too!

REVIEW: January Favorites

HAZELNUT ESPRESSO CHOCOLATE CHIA PUDDING >> UNCONVENTIONAL TREATS >> I absolutely LOVE all of Audrey’s recipes and this was no exception. I finally ordered some espresso powder so I could give this treat a try and holy moly! This was amazing! Decadent, chocolate-y, rich, not overly sweet and simply delicious. I highly recommend checking out her eBook or her blog because it’s filled with wonderful recipes that are all gluten-free, soy-free, vegan and always a hit!

REVIEW: January Favorites

RED VELVET SMOOTHIE >> PEANUT BUTTER & VEGAN >> My friend, Hunter (@hnoflecopter) asked if I could test a recipe for her to see if it was kid-friendly. I was so excited and honored to! The ingredient list is amazing and the final blended outcome is gorgeous. Bright, bold pink and literally tastes like cake, but in a creamy smoothie form. So, what did Willow think?! LOVED it! We’ve made it a few times since then and each time we’re just blown away by the color and taste. The recipe can be found on her blog, please click on the link above and give it a try!

REVIEW: January Favorites

BOOKS I’M READING:

MEET YOUR SOUL: A Powerful Guide to Connect with Your Most Sacred Self >> by Elisa Romeo

If you follow me on Instagram, I shared that every month I read at least one self-help/spirituality book. I truly believe we are forever a work in progress, always learning, always growing. Being open to improvement and learning how to get in touch better with your inner being is important to me. I’ve been struggling lately with some bumps in the road and feelings of doubt…which is why I sought out this book. It’s not a book you read in one sitting, but rather you should take your time and work through the journal prompts and guided meditations. It’s a journey of discovery and growth that will leave you feeling alive and empowered. I am about halfway through this book and I’m learning to be more kind to myself and to trust my inner voice. Along with this book, I recommend checking out her site: http://www.elisaromeo.com/

REVIEW: January Favorites

 

THE MOONLIT GARDEN >> by CORINA BOMANN  

I chose this as my Kindle First (free read) for the month of January and so far it has my interest. Lilly (the main character) runs an antique shop and one day a man brings in an old violin, saying it belongs to her, but the man leaves without explaining anything else. We go on a journey in search of answers in this mystery novel – it is a work of fiction. Look for my review/rating in either next month’s post or on Goodreads.

As always, I’d love to hear what your latest favorites are! Books, products, recipes, shows, etc.!

Thanks for stopping by!

18 thoughts on “REVIEW: January Favorites

    • Awwww! Thank you, Sophia! It’s so crazy how fast they grow up! I hope your boys are doing well ❤ Oh, goodness…that crispy topping is the best and has come in handy! Obviously the best way to use it is on your mac (which I swear is my favorite), but now I'm anxious to see what you've got in store! ❤

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    • Rebecca, it is amazing!!!! I couldn’t believe the ingredient list and fermented?! YES! I wish I could send you a bottle…or two 😉 And that smoothie is the best! ❤

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  1. Mandy, every month I’m blown away by your favorites wrap up! I trust you implicitly so if something makes it to your blog, I’m going to make/try/read it! Last night I made the stovetop Mac and cheese and it was amazing! Thank you for sharing all your wonderful finds!

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    • Awww! Diana, this makes me so happy to hear! I can’t thank you enough for reading these lengthy “favorites” posts – I’m glad you can take something away from them! Wasn’t the mac amazing?! It was my first time making it with squash (always use sweet potatoes and carrots) so it was a fun change. You need to try the smoothie next – Hunter posted the recipe last night so I’ll fix the link. Thank you, again! ❤

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  2. I’m so glad you finally to your fireplace going, I can’t imagine how chilly it must’ve been! When our house is at 69 I still want a jacket and fuzzy socks 😮 All the snow looks like fun though, I love that shot with the bright sun shining above Willow and Mr. Snowman 🙂 Epic snowman btw. And that chocolate ❤ ❤ ❤ The flavors are so interesting and different, and the packaging is amazing too! I need to use some holiday as an excuse for trying that 🙂 THANK YOU for including my cookies, they look fantastic from all angles! And funny thing I was filming a video yesterday and almost said the word damn but stopped myself because I thought of little Willow and that she usually watches too 😀 She's keeping me PG haha! xo Natalie

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    • Right?! I’m such a wuss to the cold – I should have posted a photo of the ridiculousness as far what I would wear in the house on a daily basis…that would have gotten a good laugh! The snow is always a fun time, especially when the sun is shining 🙂 Haha! Thank you! We were pretty proud of that snowman – we were actually on a little family hike and Willow decided that a snowman needed to be built. Gosh, that chocolate was seriously heavenly – easily some of the best chocolate I’ve ever had. Hope you’re having a great weekend, Natalie! ❤

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    • Oh! And I laughed SO hard!! I’m constantly catching myself – gotta watch the language around this kid because she’s got hyper sensitive ears…quick to repeat anything we say 😉

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  3. I absolutely LOVE these posts, it’s so exciting to read them and just like Diana said above, I trust your opinion so much! I’m especially intrigued by that skin moisturizer! I’m a total tight wad (cheapskate) when it comes to most things and don’t like to spend too much money on myself like clothes or bags, etc. but when it comes to skincare, I always make an exception (within reason) because we only get one face and set of skin, so I’ve always been ok paying price for top notch organic products if they are vegan and they, most importantly, WORK. I’m going to click over and check that out. I’m completely devoted to Eminence Organics and will never give them up, but I’m always adding new things to throw in the mix. I also love Blue Mountain Herbs, you should check them out, I think you’d love them. They sell everything from teas to soaps to skincare oils, etc. Awesome stuff. I love their cucumber spray. Use it daily.
    Ok, enough rambling, sorry, I could talk all day about skin products…I’m a bit obsessed, lol!
    Anyways, thank you so much my awesome friend for making the Lazy Day Tomato Bisque, I’m ecstatic you loved it! It is definitely probably my favorite soup, for sure in the top 3!
    Oh, and I LOVE Willow’s face drinking that smoothie, she looks so giddy and happy!

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    • Goodness! We are seriously SO much alike! Hahaha!!! I’ll be the first to admit that I’m a tight wad, too 🙂 I’ll buy second hand clothes (or clearance rack deals), used books, etc, but I’m learning to take much better care when it comes to skin/beauty products. So funny you should mention Eminence Organics! There’s an organic/vegan spa by our house and I’ve been there a couple of times – they use those products! As for this skin care product that I reviewed…amazing! I’ve heard so many wonderful things about May Lindstrom, but was so afraid to spend that much money. I kept thinking, goodness, that could have gone towards a couple of months worth of diapers or dog food! haha! But it’s worth every penny AND lasts forever! I’ve been using it twice a day for a month now and i’ve barely put a dent in the bottle. Hmmmm…Blue Mountain Herbs?! I’ll definitely check them out!! Thank you! I loved reading your comment – always nice to hear what others are enjoying! And thank you so much for taking the time to read these monthly posts! Love you!! xoxo ❤

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  4. This was such a fun post!! I loved reading about all of your favorites for January. I’m a bit of a hot sauce collector, and so I’m very intrigued by the Oregon Brineworks hot sauce. I’m going to be in Oregon this summer on vacation, and so I’ll keep an eye out for it when I’m there!

    That is so stinking cute that Willow is obsessed with Natalie’s YouTube channel and even has parts memorized! I really enjoy Natalie’s videos too. 🙂

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    • Awwww! Yay! I’m so glad you enjoyed this! These monthly posts are actually my favorite to put together 🙂 No way?! Do you have a favorite hot sauce – I’m always looking for new ones to try out. Where in OR will you be this summer? Hahaha! It’s really quite funny to see how excited she gets about those YouTube videos – ever since she watched her first one, she pretends she’s on a cooking show and walks me through each step in her little kitchen. Thank you so much for reading this post! ❤

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      • I really like the Trader Joe’s jalapeno pepper hot sauce & their green dragon hot sauce. Since visiting Austin last year, I’ve also been into Yellowbird sauce. We will be flying into Portland and then driving to Seattle.

        That’s adorable that Willow acts out her own cooking show. That was one of my favorite games as a kid too!

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