October 2017 Favorites

Hello, friends!! Happy November!

Good news…I’m typing most of this from our computer (cue happy dancing)! Bad news….I can’t upload photos to the computer, so we’re dealing with low quality phone pics again, but hey, I’ll take what I can get!

Before I dive into the highlights and favorites from October, I wanted to share a quick story. About a month ago, I received an email from WordPress telling me that the card they have on file expired and that I needed to update it if I wanted to renew my site. At that point, I was on the fence about where I was headed – I was in the middle of debating whether or not to continue writing in this space. You see, I was feeling a bit lost, unworthy, and unmotivated (in regards to this blog). Definitely not a good place to be. One night, before bed, I asked for a sign to tell me what I should do. The next morning I woke up to two new subscribers to this little blog of mine and took that as my sign to continue here for the time being. SO, thank you, to those two new subscribers. I was surprised to see that, considering I’ve only published two posts over the course of six months. I’ve renewed my site for the next year and I guess we’ll see what happens. My hope is that I’ll feel more motivated to actually share some of the recipes I’ve created over these last several months! I really do love to write and have done a lot of it outside of this space, but I think it just took some time and gentle reminders from friends as to why I even started this blog. Thank you to those who continue to read my rambles and support me here, it really does mean a lot. ❤



ZUCCA SPICE >> Osmia Organics | Artisanal Soap >> My friend, Jen, sent me a beautiful ‘Happy Autumn’ box and in it was this delicious bar of soap. I almost didn’t want to use it because it was so perfectly and wonderfully packaged AND I wanted to be able to smell it forever! But I’m using it and loving it…A LOT. It’s incredibly creamy with a gentle lather and doesn’t leave a perfume-y, intoxicating scent on your skin. The aroma is warm and cozy in the shower (literally screams Autumn…kinda like pumpkin spice latte meets the woods) and you’re left with soft, happy skin. It looks like they’re all sold out of Zucca Spice, but I’ve got my eye on a few other scents!

October 2017 Favorites // Be Sol-Ful Living
CHEWY CHOCOLATE BROWNIE COOKIES >> Feasting on Fruit >> Willow had been asking to make these ever since I showed her Natalie’s video…and since it involved a lot of chocolate, she was super happy to help make them! We skipped the walnuts (since we’re avoiding them for Willow) and ours didn’t turn out nearly as dark as Natalie’s, BUT they tasted delicious! Definitely brownie-like, chewy, fudgy, and not overly sweet.

CINNAMON STREUSEL ZUCCHINI BREAD >> Feasting on Fruit >> We made this not once, not twice, BUT THREE TIMES!!! It’s seriously that good. So good that we shared some of the second loaf with friends (non vegan) and they all asked for the recipe. I think this is my favorite recipe of Natalie’s…and I’ve made quite a few of her creations, so that’s saying a lot! If you were to offer me something chocolatey or a slice of this zucchini bread, I would take the bread every time. I loved lightly reheating a slice in the oven to go with my tea and I’m not ashamed to admit that I ate some for breakfast one morning with Willow.

October 2017 Favorites // Be Sol-Ful Living

October 2017 Favorites // Be Sol-Ful Living

TRADER JOE’S VEGAN KALE CASHEW & BASIL PESTO >> Josh brought this home from work a couple of weeks ago and it has become our new favorite! Yes, I know we could make our own, but when a store carries a legit pre-packaged item (no citric acid, sugar, gums, etc.), I like to support that. It tastes super fresh and packs a lot of flavor. We even got Willow to eat some, which is huge. Things we’ve tried it with: Simple Mills crackers, fresh veggies, Trader Joe’s lentil noodles, potatoes, and homemade pizza.

October 2017 Favorites // Be Sol-Ful Living

TESSEMAE’S ORGANIC KETCHUP >> I feel so silly for putting store bought ketchup on my favorites list, BUT it’s seriously good. I’m all about making things from scratch, but I’m always on the hunt for healthy, convenient options when you’re in a pinch. Most store bought ketchups contain sugar, citric acid, and other random additives that we avoid….So I was excited to find an alternative that was free from all of that! It’s sweetened with dates, but doesn’t taste like dates – I promise. I don’t use ketchup very often, but Josh and I were talking about it randomly one day and suddenly craved it! I’ve been loving it with roasted potato wedges. I found it in the refrigerated section at Natural Grocers.

October 2017 Favorites

Easy DIY Halloween Luminaries >> This was such a FUN craft to do with Willow!!! She even asked to make a couple for her favorite Natural Grocers and Whole Foods employees ❤ Be prepared though to get sticky and messy! The YouTube video is insanely cute and worth the watch. We bought some of those LED tea lights from the dollar store, repurposed some tomato sauce and salsa jars, and found tissue paper on sale…so this was a really inexpensive project!

They look more yellow (as opposed to orange) in the photo below, but I think it’s because of the yellow tea light inside the jar.

INSIGHT TIMER >> I’ve been working a lot more with focusing on my personal path, digging deep, and letting go of the things hindering my growth. One of the things that has helped tremendously is the free app, Insight Timer. There are countless guided meditations, talks, and music for various areas (sleep, inspiration, calming, refocus, etc.). I try to take time to listen to music or a guided mediation twice a day and I’ve noticed tremendous change in my overall attitude and well-being. The best part is that even Willow asks to listen to some of the sessions (she loves the singing bowls most). There was a period of time last month where I was struggling with insomnia and the sleep meditations really helped to calm my mind and get me ready to sleep. I highly recommend it!

OUR ANNUAL ADVENTURE TO DEVILS LAKE! This is about an hour away from us and we love to go before they close access for the winter. We weren’t prepared for as much snow and hiked to the lake in regular hiking shoes (Willow wore rain boots) and forgot our gloves at home! But there is nothing better than being surrounded by tall trees, fresh snow, and stillness. The only noise is from the gentle rippling stream and an occasional bird. Absolute peace. Here are some of my favorite photos from the day:

VEGAN CREAM CHEESE ALFREDO >> The Vegan 8 >> Brandi does it again! Another delicious (almost drinkable) sauce that I want to put on everything. She’s kind of the queen of heavenly sauces – I had already made her garlic afredo sauce from a few years ago and loved it, so I already knew that I was going to really enjoy this one! Brandi is so good about seasonings and flavor and she’s taught me to have a heavier hand when it comes to using spices/herbs…a tablespoon of dried Italian herbs in this recipe was so perfect. Incredibly creamy, rich, and went so well with everything I paired it with! The first night we poured some over cauliflower and purple sweet potato. The next night I dipped roasted potato wedges in it. SO GOOD!

October 2017 Favorites
October 2017 Favorites

ROASTED BUTTERNUT SQUASH ICE CREAM >> Feasting on Fruit >> Natalie has introduced me to a new favorite way to use roasted butternut squash! My brain always goes to soup – in fact, we’ve made butternut squash soup at least four times this season already. So when I saw this new recipe waiting for me in my inbox from Natalie, I was intrigued. Roasted butternut is the way to go – roasting brings out the flavor and natural sweetness of this divine squash. It’s what we do for soup, so it made perfect sense to me to roast it up for this delicious ice cream! And oh, goodness. It WAS delicious! So cinnamon-y, creamy, sweet, and she was right when she said, “cold + cozy.” We topped ours with extra (lots of extra) cinnamon and chopped pecans. I can’t wait to make it again!

October 2017 Favorites

HOLIDAY CHEERS >> HEALTH-ADE KOMBUCHA >> I found it! I finally found it!!! And I know it’s not the holiday season just yet, but I couldn’t resist. Thank you, Whole Foods, for carrying this!! I tried finding it last year, but didn’t have any luck. This is definitely one of my top 3 brands because the sugar content is super low….this entire bottle has 4g. I love the cozy, but not overpowering flavor (ginger + cacao + allspice) and slight sweetness. I think I need to stock up on more next shopping trip!

October 2017 Favorites



Here is what I read and loved from mid-September through October! (Not pictured: Braving the Wilderness by Brené Brown – I loaned my copy to my Mom). I HIGHLY recommend reading it.

October 2017 Favorites
I read Light is the New Black for the third time and I swear it helps to refocus and recenter me every time. I know I’ll read it again and again.

I also wrapped up A Court of Thorns and Roses series and just, wow. I was SO sad to finish it and even struggled to get into another book afterwards because Maas did such an amazing job sucking me into the world and its characters.


Have you watched anything good lately??? It’s been a few months since I’ve watched anything on Netflix or really anything besides an occasional YouTube video, but last week my parents watched Willow for a few hours so Josh and I could start the second season of Stranger Things! Gah!!!! It is so good. We’re hoping to finish it up this week or next.


I’ll leave you with this photo of my little Wonder Woman ❤

She only knows about Wonder Woman through reading books and has become obsessed with her…so it was no surprise to us when she asked to get a Wonder Woman costume.

I hope you all have a wonderful November!

Thanks for stopping by!

12 thoughts

  1. Mandy! It’s so wonderful to read your blog! I’m so so so glad you didn’t give up on it! Thanks to the universe for sending you a sign! I love your writing style and I always love seeing what your favorite things are each month. I had printed all those recipes from Natalie @feastingonfruit and now I’m motivated to make them. But my favorite things in this post is the pictures of Willow! Her throwing the leaves is epic and the Wonder Woman stance is simply awesome! Love you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Diana! Means a lot to me. ❤️❤️❤️ You are going to love those recipes from Natalie! I have zucchini on the grocery list for next week so I can make that bread again…I’ve gotten a few people hooked on it! Kinda funny, but Willow is the one who asked me to take her pictures! And I’m glad I did because the ones I captured of her throwing the leaves are my favorite – need to get one printed so I can frame it. Hehe! She loves Wonder Woman so much 😂 if she’s not reading about her, she’s drawing her. Thank you, again, for reading and leaving me a sweet comment. I love you!!! XO


  2. I’m so glad you renewed your blog, I absolutely LOVE reading your posts! I am definitely going to try that zucchini bread! And Willow looks so cute in that costume!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hunter!!!!!!! ❤️❤️❤️ I love YOU and your blog. I want you to know that I read every post, but I’m just bad about commenting, or I’ll type a long novel and it disappears. I was blown away by your latest post for those cinnamon rolls…you’re amazing. Your coworker is SO lucky!!! Definitely make that zucchini bread – you will love it! It was so good to hear from you. I need to text you so we can catch up ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Great little Wonder Woman there! I hope you have happiness in this space this next year. I like reading your faves (and recipes) —I marked at least two recipes to make immediately 😂. I’m scanning the shelf for holiday kombucha each time I go to the grocery—I hope I get to try it!! Yay to October

    Liked by 1 person

    1. She insisted on getting a Wonder Woman costume, but then ended up wearing a princess dress for most of the evening 😂😂 I’m glad she put it on for a little while – or at least long enough to get a photo! Hahahaha!!! You’ve tried this holiday Kombucha before, right?? Or maybe it was just Jen 😂 I’m hoping to grab more bottles next week because I love it so much! Thank you for always being such a supportive friend – definitely one of the best. Love you! And I hope you have a wonderful weekend! ❤️❤️❤️


  4. Every time I read these posts I just want to like call you or something and gush about all the things it brings up for me…but I suppose typing will do hehe. Okay so first of all if you hadn’t renewed your site I would’ve cried. So thank goodness for those two beautiful anonymous humans and thank goodness you are going to keep writing here because I love your blog so much, you know that. Next time you are on the fence, just message me and I will help make the decision in about .2 seconds btw. Okay now that first pic with Willow and the leaves is everything. Exuberance has never been so fully expressed. Love love love her halloween look too, and wow SO MUCH SNOW. It’s beautiful, but I am surprised since it’s just now Nov. I cannot thank you enough for all the kind words about my various recipes and for trying even the slightly crazy ice cream things chocolatey too! I want to bad to find the holiday Health-ades but no luck yet. I did finally find that vanilla kombucha you mentioned forever ago and am obsessed though. Also Brandi’s sauce on everything savory from now on, pls and thank you. Wow! Okay I’ll stop there, but know that I could probably continue on for much longer 🙂 Lots of love xoxo

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have tried to sit down and write a proper reply back to you and words just seem to escape me. I seriously can’t begin to tell you how much it means to me that you support me in this space and in all things. You truly are a wonderful friend, Natalie! And I can’t tell you how many times I’ve said to myself, “I should ask Natalie” or “I wish I could call her!” Because I’ll stumble upon a recipe I think you’d love or I want to pick your brain about something, or you’ll pop into my mind and I’ll want to just say hello. ❤️ Thank you SO MUCH for always being so kind and encouraging – your comments always brighten my day ❤️❤️
      Haha!! Willow really is so full of joy and excitement….and it’s contagious. I get to be a kid again and she’s taught me so much about just living in the moment. The weather here can be so crazy and the mountains can start getting snow as early as September! We were honestly pretty surprised to see that much on the ground already (mid-October), but it just made it more magical!
      Ooooohhh!!! You found the vanilla one??? It’s an obsession of mine! I actually spotted a few bottles of it last week and had to grab one. That holiday health-ade one has been on my list for at least two years, but I had never been able to find it! I hope it becomes a regular holiday item in our stores from now on. I wish I could send you some!!
      Your recipes are my go-to because you have SO many grain-free/paleo options! Makes me so happy and they’ve all been amazing. I still have a long list of ones to try….slow down with the creating, OK? 😉 Thank you, again, my friend. Sending so much love your way!!!! XOXO ❤️❤️❤️


    1. Hi, Sophia!!! Thank you! She’s definitely grown a lot over these last few months, it’s so crazy! 😂 I’ve been thinking a lot about you and have kept up with your blog. I can’t believe your cookbook is almost here!!!!!! That has to be so surreal. The cover is gorgeous and I’m just so excited for you! I have your mayo recipe on my list to try next week! I hope all is well with you and your family ❤️❤️❤️


  5. Hi my sweet friend! I’m so very sorry to be so behind on your posts! I literally just wrote my last recipe for my book this week and feel like I have SO much catching up to do! I’ve been so immersed in work and trying to meet my deadline and miss catching up on your blog…since I never get notifications by email….grrrr. Haha.
    Anyways, you know how much I love you, your blog, your posts, your recipes and your PICTURES!! So, I hope you never stop blogging. I love seeing glimpses into your life and that pic of Willow throwing up the leaves just stole my heart….how freaking adorable is that?!
    Thank you so much, as always, for making my recipes and so so so happy you made and loved the Cream Cheese Alfredo..I was so excited when I got your feedback on the blog!! You are too sweet, thank you for your kind words!
    Ok, I NEED that Insight Timer…omg…you share, I swear, the most amazing finds. I have been so darn busy lately and stressed to the MAX like never before and am really looking forward to getting past this deadline and just breathing again and taking some time for myself. I haven’t really had much of a chance lately and can’t wait. I need to look into that thing.
    Also, these scenery pics are so stunning and breathtaking..I am so envious of all the beauty you get to see in your world. What a blessing it is to live in those beautiful areas. I’m jealous of the cold area too…I love living in Texas but really do wish it got colder here for longer.
    Anyways, love you and so happy to read your posts! xoxo

    Liked by 1 person

    1. DO NOT APOLOGIZE!!! You’ve been such an amazing friend to me over the years and I’m just so incredibly grateful for that. There have been sooooo many times lately when you’ll pop into my mind and I’ll want to email or call you, but I know that you’re in the middle of working on your cookbook – I have worried about bothering you! Gah!!!!! You wrote the last recipe??? This is SO SO EXCITING!!!! Congratulations, my sweet friend ❤
      Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU for all of your kind words – you are always so encouraging and supportive…seriously means A LOT. ❤ ❤ ❤
      I hope you check out Insight Timer! I've been keeping up with it every day and I have to say, it's been life changing. Some days/nights I only manage to get in a quick 8-10 minute meditation, but they help so much to keep me grounded and relieve any stress I might be feeling. I can't even begin to imagine the stress and chaos that comes with writing a cookbook!
      When I lived in CA, I remember really missing the seasons and experiencing more of the chillier weather – while I do curse the winters sometimes, I sure do enjoy going through all the changes of nature. Truly is amazing and beautiful!
      Thank you, again, for your sweet comment and for being such a good friend. I am so grateful for our friendship. LOVE YOU!!!!! xoxo ❤


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