Happy April, my friends!! I hope everyone is having a lovely Spring so far. We’re counting down the days to Willow’s 4th birthday and I’m wondering where in the world the time has gone?! Speaking of Willow, she’s become obsessed with taking photos and managed to fill an entire memory card! I’m making my way through each one, but here are a couple that caught my eye…
<< MARCH FAVORITES >>
PRODUCTS I LOVED:
LOCAL SOUL APOTHECARY >> FRANKINCENSE REPAIR BUTTER >>
I learned about Loren (owner + operator of Local Soul Apothecary) through my best friend, Jen (The Luminous Spirit) and knew straight away that I had to check out her Etsy shop. I was immediately drawn to the Frankincense Repair Butter because (1) I LOVE Frankincense and (2) I’m always looking for new remedies for blemishes, scars, etc. The product was shipped quickly and packaged beautifully…and included a sweet little note, something that I enjoy doing with my own shop. When I first opened the little jar of magic, I was taken away by the rich cocoa butter scent (one of my favorites). It goes on smooth and soaks in fast. I have been applying it daily to scars and the other day I noticed a blemish pop up (thanks, stress) and quickly applied a dab of the repair butter. I woke up the next morning and the blemish had drastically decreased!
ANNMARIE GIANNI ORGANIC SKINCARE >> I first heard about this skincare line through my mom quite a while ago, but never got around to ordering anything until recently. I had some leftover birthday money and a coupon (thanks, Mom!) so I picked out a few items that I had been eyeing up. I will say that I had a difficult time narrowing it down as I pretty much wanted EVERYTHING. High quality (organic, wildcrafted) ingredients that not only feel good on your skin, but more importantly…you feel good using.
Aloe-Herb Facial Cleanser (50ml) :: $24.95
Purifying Mud Mask (50ml) :: $39.95
Bamboo Face Brush (vegan, cruelty-free) :: $12.95
I have used the cleanser, facial brush, and mask for the entire month of March and I’m in love. The cleanser is ultra creamy + soothing and doesn’t suds up like most cleansers. I was instantly hit with the incredible scent of lemon (which I adore) and I love how clean and smooth my face felt without any icky residue. I’ve noticed that I’ve had to use less moisturizer on my face since introducing this cleanser into my daily routine.
The face brush has been wonderful! Makes removing masks a lot easier and the soft bristles act as a gentle exfoliant, too. I use the brush with my cleanser most days.
I am also loving the Purifying Mud Mask! Only three ingredients in that little jar, but they’re powerful. I have been using it once a week and not only does my skin feel softer after each use, but I’m noticing my pores are shrinking, too! Unlike other clay masks that I’ve used in the past, this one does not seem to dry out my face.
HILARY’S KIMCHI VEGGIE BURGERS >> I literally squealed when I spotted these at Whole Foods last month and they became a fast favorite in our house. There are more new items coming to stores, but I haven’t seen them yet (Spicy Thai Burger, Curry Burger, Mediterranean Bites, Broccoli Casserole Bites, Spicy Mesquite Bites)…you better believe that I’ll be stocking up once they become available in our area. We will be supporters of Hilary’s forever because not only do their products taste AMAZING, but they don’t contain the ingredients we avoid (soy, gums, carrageenan, gluten, eggs, dairy). Oh, and not even kidding, Willow could live off of the Hemp & Greens burger – we’ve tried buying other brands, but Willow will only eat Hilary’s! But back to these Kimchi burgers…it was love at first bite! Slightly tangy, a bit of a bite with the chili flakes, and they crisp up wonderfully! We always cook our Hilary’s burgers on a cast iron skillet without oil and they get a nice crispy exterior. We’ve also baked them in the oven, but our preferred method is on the stove in a cast iron. Have you tried these yet?! Do you have a favorite Hilary’s product?
RECIPES WE LOVED:
EASY LENTIL MEATBALLS >> MINIMALIST BAKER >> Yet another fantastic recipe from Minimalist Baker! Not a bad recipe yet, which makes me wonder why I still haven’t pre-ordered the cookbook?!? Always full of flavor, simple to make and short ingredient lists. This recipe wasn’t any different. We used carrot ribbons instead of actual pasta – this was an option provided in the recipe. Such a fun and colorful way to change it up!
PROTEIN POWER GODDESS BOWL >> THE OH SHE GLOWS COOKBOOK >> Hubby made this one night for us and oh, my! So many favorites in one bowl and leftovers the next day tasted even better. We made an adjustment to keep it gluten-free and that was to use buckwheat groats instead of spelt or wheat berries. We had a lot of leftovers, which was nice, and we ate them cold, warmed up, and layered between two corn tortillas. Such a wonderful recipe.
EASY VEGAN OREOS (gluten-free & oil-free) >> FEASTING ON FRUIT >> As I’ve mentioned before, Willow is crazy about Natalie’s YouTube channel and when we watched the video for these Oreos, the first words out of Willow’s mouth were: “We should make those today!” So, we did! Instead of the cream filling, we did a mix of peanut butter, coconut butter and vanilla. These were very rich, decadent and obviously amazing! The thing that blew my mind was that the cookie part is comprised of only THREE ingredients! Waaaaaaay better than the original Oreo. Can’t wait to make these again!
HOMEMADE BROWN SUGAR >> THE VEGAN 8 >> It never occurred to me to make our own brown sugar. In fact, I haven’t had brown sugar in years because we avoid it as a sweetener. BUT when the clever Brandi created a version that used ingredients we always have in our pantry, I jumped right into the kitchen to make it. It’s insanely easy to whip up and tastes just like the brown sugar I remember…but better!
VEGAN GLUTEN-FREE CINNAMON APPLESAUCE QUICK BREAD >> THE VEGAN 8 >> Talk about a simple, yet AMAZING recipe. I was absolutely blown away that such a short ingredient list could produce this loaf of bread. Magic! Ours was even more cinnamon-y than the recipe called for because i only had unsweetened cinnamon applesauce on hand, but we LOVE cinnamon. The sweet, crumbly topping was perfection and apparently the batter was good, too as Willow kept sneaking bites of it. We reheated ours for a few minutes in the oven each morning and enjoyed it with a cup of coffee or tea. This was such a treat to have in the house!
DREAMY CREAMY ROSEMARY BEANS >> THE VEGAN 8 >> As soon as I saw white beans in the title, I already knew I had to make this. Willow has been on a white bean (or really any bean) kick. We made this as the main dish for dinner one night and I’m kicking myself for not doubling the recipe. Insanely creamy and guilt-free…but it didn’t taste that way. It had a buttery, cheesy taste, but there wasn’t a single drop of oil in this recipe! We paired these beans with some sauteed (oil-free) kale and sliced avocado. The swirl of habanero sauce really took it over the top – spicy mixed with the smokiness of the beans was just perfect! Definitely a keeper recipe!
MARRIAGE-WORTHY ROASTED BRUSSELS SPROUTS >> CAKE MAKER >> I LOVE BRUSSELS. But experiencing Kittee’s recipe was life-changing…and not just because they were absolutely heavenly, but because WILLOW EVEN ATE SOME! What?! I don’t know many three year olds who eat brussels sprouts and in full disclosure, I didn’t try brussels sprouts until my 20’s! I loved the perfect mix of spices + sweetness level here and I don’t know that I can go back to making brussels any other way. SO GOOD. We made one minor adjustment and used avocado oil instead of olive oil. Do yourself a favor and make these ASAP!!
GLUTEN-FREE VEGAN ONION & POTATO STUFFED PIEROGIES >> THE PLANT PHILOSOPHY >> I grew up eating LOTS of pierogies…that’s what happens when you’re part Polish. Filled with cheese + potatoes or potatoes + onion and always cooked in lots of butter. So, obviously not the best thing for you. I couldn’t tell you the last time I had a pierogi (maybe 20 years)…that was until Margaret created a version that I could actually eat! Funny thing is, we never made our own – my parents would buy them from this Ukranian church. Ha! I chose to make these over at my Mom & Dad’s for everyone to enjoy and they were a huge hit! The filling was literally spot on – just like I remember from my childhood. We doubled the recipe (which made somewhere around 40 or so) and froze some for another day. The dough was a little tricky to work with, but nothing that a little extra flour couldn’t fix. With the first batch, we pan-fried them, but the other night I cooked up the last from the freezer by using the broiling method (option on Margaret’s blog) and I think I liked the broiling method better! This recipe got a thumbs up from Miss Willow and I wish you could hear the way she says, “pierogi” because it’s easily the cutest thing ever! Anyways, give this recipe a try…hubby has declared that we MUST make these again! Such a yummy recipe!
SOUL-SOOTHING AFRICAN PEANUT STEW >> THE OH SHE GLOWS COOKBOOK >> Yet another wonderful recipe from the Oh She Glows Cookbook. If you don’t have this cookbook yet, what are you waiting for?! It’s easily our most used cookbook as it seems to have something for everyone. I can’t believe we waited so long to make this soup! Comfort in a bowl, hearty, and delicious. I love how she used so many of the same ingredients from the 10-spice soup, yet they tasted very different. I also love how her soup recipes make a big pot so that you’ve got leftovers for a few days.
BOOKS I’VE BEEN READING + ENJOYING:
It was another big month for reading as I’ve chosen to focus more on my mental, emotional, and spiritual health. I’ve gotten quite a few comments about how it must be nice to have the time to read…the reality is, we all have the time, we just choose to spend it in different ways. Like most of you, free time is limited when you’re a stay-at-home mom. I’m not complaining at all, but I found myself stressing out, getting overwhelmed, or sad about how I had so many things that needed to be done and very little time to do things I wanted to do. This year, I vowed to make a big change and find more of a balance. Long story short…I made the time to sit down and read, meditate, journal every single night. Since blogging is a hobby for me and not a job that brings money in to support my family, I don’t put pressure on myself to post by a certain deadline or create a specific number of recipes a week or month or year. I honestly take it day by day and if I get hit suddenly with an idea, I blog about it! I’m in competition with no one and the great thing is, my personal mindset has made it more fun for me. Reading is my way to unwind before bed and I’ve grown so much spiritually and mentally over this last year. Enough rambling! Here are my favorite books from March (I read more than shown on this list, but they weren’t share-worthy):
I actually gave each one of these books 5 stars on Goodreads:
THE UNTETHERED SOUL by MICHAEL SINGER >> If there is one book I could recommend for everyone to read, it would be this one. Words can’t quite explain how this book impacted me. It helped heal and bring closure to some areas of my life and I gained a new perspective. I am more aware now of my thought patterns, more mindful and see where my downfalls are – what’s holding me back. This book has been a wonderful resource, one that I will read over and over again.
LIGHT IS THE NEW BLACK by REBECCA CAMPBELL >> Another fantastic book! I really enjoyed reading this one and LOVED the affirmations throughout. Sometimes while Willow plays in the bathtub, I’ll sit on a stool next to the tub and read. I ended up reading several chapters out loud to Willow because she was so curious about the book. Maybe because it was pink or had a pretty cover – whatever the reason, Willow could not get enough. I would read a page or two and she would insist I keep reading it to her! This book left me feeling empowered and got the wheels turning. I will definitely hang onto this book, not only to read again, but for Willow to read on her own when she is older. I really enjoyed how short the sections/chapters were because it allowed me to really process all that was being said and to take my time with it. I truly feel every woman should read this. Rather than fighting to fit in and hiding your true self, there is power in being YOU, who you were meant to be.
THE SURRENDER EXPERIMENT by MICHAEL SINGER >> I loved this book just as much as his other book, The Untethered Soul. Reading his personal journey and how everything came together for him was incredibly inspiring for me. His words helped me to take a closer look at my own life and how I listen too much to that pesky voice inside my head. Rather than fighting with how you think things should be, there’s something magical (and powerful) about letting go, surrendering and allowing the natural flow occur.
THE QUEEN’S POISONER (Kingfountain #1) by JEFF WHEELER >> I chose this book as my Kindle First option for March (free book) and it was SO hard to put down! I loved it! A fun, exciting, fantasy read that left me wanting more.
What are some of your latest favorites?! Books? Recipes? Products?
Thanks for stopping by!