January 2018 Favorites

Hello! Happy February! I hope you all had a great January and that you’re staying warm. We’ve had a really strange winter so far…no snow and mild temps 40’s and 50’s…even a day near 70 earlier this week! I’m not complaining, but we’d really love for Willow to be able to enjoy her new snow gear before she outgrows it!

It’s been a while since I’ve shared some favorites here and I think part of it is because we’ve been making super simple meals using the same ingredients with slight variations (potatoes are almost a daily staple)…and I’ve been less inclined to splurge on new items. But I do have a few things to share with you today!

JANUARY 2018 FAVORITES

Women’s Feelgoodz Slippers (Ruby)>> I am notorious for buying cheap slippers. My thinking is that they’re just worn around the house and I don’t need anything fancy. But after plowing through a lot of them, I realized that slippers are my most worn footwear. I’ve always eyed the ones at Whole Foods and at the end of December, I bought a pair on sale. Holy comfortable!!!! There have been a few times when I’ve unintentionally almost left the house wearing them. Not only are they comfortable, but they are really well made. They’re made with natural and recycled materials AND the fabric was sourced using direct trade principles. I normally wear a size 8 and found that the 7-8 was a bit too small (my heel extended past the back of the slipper), so I went with a 9-10. If you’re able to find them at Whole Foods, definitely try them on first.

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BEST VEGAN RANCH DRESSING >> The Vegan 8 >> This dressing absolutely lives up to the name…it really is the BEST ranch dressing I’ve ever had. So perfectly tangy and creamy and the seasonings are spot on. I’m not kidding when I say this is even better than any dairy loaded ranch dressing I had years ago. I did use COYO yogurt and initially it worked really well, but when I went to use it the next day, I had to add water to thin it out….it got insanely thick overnight! We used this dressing on salads, with potatoes, I dipped raw broccoli in it, and I even drizzled a little on a taco. Make this asap!

January 2018 Favorites

GRAIN-FREE PUPPY CHOW (A.K.A “MUDDY BUDDIES”) >> Detoxinista >> I remember when I was a kid, my Mom used to make muddy buddies and they were amazing. That great mix of melt-in-your-mouth chocolate and salty and then there’s the crunch. So good! I thought I’d never be able to eat them again, but then one day while browsing Detoxinista’s blog, I found this and had to make it right away! I first made it for our Christmas Day gathering and then again about a week ago. Big hit! The first time I made it, I used the optional arrowroot to really give the authentic appearance of the muddy buddies I grew up with. The second time I made it, I skipped the arrowroot (as shown in the photo below). This is incredibly addicting and the only thing that saved me from inhaling it fast, was that I stored it in an old coffee tin in the fridge…so I’d go a few days before I realized it was in there! We ate it by the handful or sprinkled on unsweetened yogurt. I love how the coconut sugar gave it a bit of a caramel-y flavor, too!

January 2018 Favorites

FRENCH LAVENDER >> PACHA SOAP CO. >> We’ve been buying Pacha soap for the last few years and this is my new FAVORITE!! I’ve always skipped it because I’m eager to try not so common scents. Well, this last trip to Whole Foods they had a bunch of it and I couldn’t stop smelling it. So incredibly fresh and calming – and far from the perfume-y lavender soaps out there. They use real essential oils. I love buying soap from this company at Whole Foods because there’s zero packaging! I just bring a small reusable mesh or cotton bag to store it in while shopping. Early last year, we stopped buying hand soap in dispensers because of all the plastic, so we’ve opted for Pacha soap and I cut each bar into three smaller bars so they’re easier for Willow to handle. If you can’t find Pacha soap in a store near you, check out their site online…they offer flat shipping of $4.99 and lots of scents to choose from.

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BEST VEGAN QUESO >> The Vegan 8 >> Yet another one of Brandi’s recipes that lives up to its name! Whoa, baby. SO good that I want to put it on everything…kinda like her ranch dressing. I did make some minor adjustments and used what I already had on hand: Green Mountain Gringo’s salsa which is on the chunky side, Jeff’s Naturals Diced Jalapenos instead of canned green chiles (I can’t for the life of me find an option that doesn’t contain citric acid or natural flavors or they’re packaged in BPA cans – boo), and since our coconut yogurt is crazy thick, I thinned it down a bit with some water. BUT the end result was amazing! We paired it with our roasted potatoes and broccoli, but I’m already brainstorming ways to use the leftovers. I love the texture and spiciness, but also the slight tang it had. I was honestly so surprised that there was zero nutritional yeast because it still had a really good “cheesy” flavor!

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Ok, so this was NOT my favorite, but one of Willow’s, so she thought I should include it. Sadly, this was the first GT’s flavor I didn’t care for and I was bummed (and I bought two bottles because I was expecting to love it). I personally thought it was a little too heavy on the rose and not enough orange flavor, but Josh loved it just as much as Willow…he even went on to say it was kind of like a fruit punch flavor. So there you have it, two against one 🙂 This is their winter edition – I love the bottle and the color and even the smell, but I wouldn’t buy it again for myself.

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Speaking of Willow, since she’s been busy taking photos with her camera, I thought I’d share a couple of our favorites from last month (chosen by Willow)!

A close up of Brachiosaurus (Bill, if you’re reading this, she used some of her Christmas money to buy him, so thank you)…

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When I asked her what her inspiration was behind this photo, she said, “I just thought of it, Mom. This is how I did it!” She proceeded to jump up and down while holding down the button to snap a photo. If you look closely, you’ll notice her striped pants in the photo. I actually thought it was pretty cool and wouldn’t be surprised if it ended up hanging on our living room wall soon 😉 I’m half kidding, but honestly, I’d have to find room first with the hundreds of drawings taped to our walls!

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B O O K S….

MISTBORN TRILOGY by Brandon Sanderson >> If you love fantasy books, you have to read pretty much anything by Sanderson. This series has been on my to-read list forever. My husband read this a long time ago and I finally plowed through them over the course of January. I love his books because they’re “clean,” meaning the language isn’t inappropriate and while there’s violence, it’s not overly graphic. Sanderson’s attention to detail is amazing and he’s hands down one of my favorite authors. He does a great job building up the world and characters – and his concepts (in my opinion) are very original.

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FROM SAND AND ASH by Amy Harmon >> This is the first book I’ve read from this author and I gave it five stars on Goodreads. It’s a WWII historical fiction and love story…but not a sappy or gross romance! Haha! It’s really pretty beautiful and then to learn that some of the events (and characters) were based on real life, made my emotions run even deeper. I borrowed this book for free on Kindle.

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As always, I’d love to hear from you! Have you tried any new recipes or products that you fell in love with?? Have you read any good books lately or watched anything (movies or series) that you’d recommend?

P.S. – thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for all of your lovely comments, emails, and text messages regarding my previous post. You guys are the best and I really appreciate the support during this time ❤️

Thanks for stopping by!

4 thoughts

  1. Tell Willow I love her photos! I’ve been planning out a women’s history study and dreaming of spring. I’ve also watched WAY more Netflix than I’d like to admit…so I could list things for days. Have you watched Dark? We really enjoyed that series.
    I hope you have a beautiful February, Mandy!!! ❤️

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    1. I will pass along the compliment! ☺️ Thank you! Hahaha!! Feel free to list away because I’m always looking for new series or movies to watch! We have a friend who told us that Dark is a must see so it’s on our list! Glad to hear you enjoyed it. I hope you have a wonderful February and that spring comes early for you ❤️❤️ xo

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  2. These “Favorites” posts of yours are MY favorite, haha! I always get so excited at the products you recommend. I ordered some of that Buddha chocolate based on one of your posts before and it was insane! I’m soooooo happy you loved the ranch and queso so much, yippee! Happy dance! And jalapenos actually sound better than chiles, lol, because hey, spicier! I have added fresh jalapenos to it as well but have to reserve some for me since Olivia does not like it too spicy. I love the photos Willow took, those are too cute, haha! Olivia does photos too and it cracks me up what she photographs. I will come across selfies she has taken and I DIE laughing!

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    1. Hahaha!!! Love it!!! We have very similar taste in food (and products) so I’m not surprised! I about cried when I used the last of the queso! It was SO DANG GOOD!!! I’ve definitely been on a spicy kick, putting hot sauce or jalapenos on just about everything! Oooohh!!!! I’m so glad you enjoyed that chocolate! It’s seriously one of the best brands I’ve tried…and yay to the use of coconut sugar. You feel less guilty about devouring a bar in one sitting 😉 OMG! Right??? It’s hilarious to see things from their perspective! I use her camera from time to time and last week I went to upload some photos and about died at some of the pics she took! It’s funny too because sometimes she’ll stage her photos…mother like daughter! Ha! Happy Valentine’s Day! Hope all is well with you and you’re family! I need to catch up on your blog again AND I owe you an email! xo ❤

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