July 2018 Favorites

Hello, sweet friends! And happy August! How are you all?? July was a HOT month…pretty much mid-upper 90’s every day. Lots of time in Willow’s kiddie pool under an umbrella! We’ve decided we need a bigger pool for next year 😉

Her face in this photo is priceless!

July was also an emotional month that left me very distracted and exhausted…we found out that our cat, Oliver, has cancer. I realize that this news certainly doesn’t belong in a “favorites” post, but I just didn’t have it in me to pour my heart out again into a long post (like I did with the Abbey posts earlier this year), nor do I want to put you through the discomfort of reading it! But I did want to share with you because it has been affecting my day-to-day life. Josh and I have been taking turns getting up with Oliver at 3:30am to feed him (which is a process in its self) – and there have been some mornings where I don’t go back to sleep…zombie pretty much sums it up 😉 Willow, on the other hand, is handling all of this really well, so I’m grateful for that. I’m also incredibly grateful for the supportive family and friends who have provided nothing but love and kind words during this time. These animals are our babies and Oliver has been with us from the start of Josh and I being together (12 years)…so he’s our first child ❤️ I’ve already written more than I intended and I am in no way looking for pity or attention…just wanted to give you loyal readers a heads up for any possible absence here. I still have a bunch of recipes I’ve been sitting on and I hope to share them soon. I had plans to share a cookie recipe last weekend…but we ate them all and forgot to photograph them. Like I said, distracted 😉

Willow has been sharing stuffed animals with Oliver…

On a lighter note…I hope you don’t mind another mini garden update! We’ve been having so much fun that we’re super excited to plant an even bigger garden next spring…hopefully with a raised bed or two. We’re still enjoying eating homegrown lettuce and watching our mammoth Russian sunflowers grow taller.

We have close to 50 tomatoes on our plants just waiting for them to ripen! Check out this silly one…

And Willow’s bean plant is doing awesome!!

And somehow, our cats have left these plants alone…

I don’t have nearly as many new things to share with you as I did in my June Favorites post, but still some worthwhile items, recipes, and books to talk about!


Dry-Rub Sweet Potato Steaks >> The Smitten Kitchen Every Day Cookbook >> A friend of mine shared this recipe with me and it was absolutely delicious! Loaded with seasonings and super filling. Pretty funny how much the sweet potato looks like a “steak” in the photo below! It’s supposed to be served with a green bean slaw, but I opted for some cooked kale instead.

Caesar Dressing >> The Vegan 8 >>

This dressing is supposed to go with Brandi’s smashed chickpea sandwich, but since I can’t eat chickpeas, I used the dressing in a giant salad and then a collard wrap! This dressing is Willow’s latest obsession! She loves to eat it with red lentil noodles!! Ha! It’s perfectly salty and tangy thanks to the genius idea of artichoke brine! The creaminess factor is through the roof and it’s really thick…I thinned some of mine down to use as a salad dressing, but kept the majority of the portion thick to use for Willow’s noodles and to add to wraps.

Grain-Free Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies >> The Vegan 8 >>

I’m always SUPER excited (insert happy dance) when Brandi posts a recipe I can eat…especially when it comes to sweet treats! So I made this almost immediately after she shared the recipe 🙂 These might be my favorite cookies ever. The texture is incredible – crispy outer edges with a chewy center. Heaven. And of course there’s the chocolate chips! These were gone super fast!

Apple Maple Veggie Breakfast Sausage >> Hilary’s >> Found this in the frozen section at Whole Foods while I went to look for frozen cherries! They crumble very easily, but the flavor and texture was wonderful! Savory and sweet…a delightful combo! We added ours to collard wraps, which may sound strange, but it was really good!!

The Water Kefir People >> Forgive my extreme delay in sharing this with you! For the last few months we have been OBSESSED with water kefir! More specifically, The Water Kefir People! Not only is it brewed right here in Bend, OR (yay for local!), but their products are simply amazing…as is the company as a whole. Chatting with them at the Saturday farmer’s markets has been a joy! Every flavor is incredibly delicious, but we are partial to the Lavender Blueberry and Root Beer flavors. No artificial taste, just pure, fresh goodness. Move over kombucha….water kefir has my heart! It’s like a toned down sparkling water infused with fruit and probiotics. Way smoother than kombucha….sometimes kombucha kinda kicks you in the face with the intensity!

Another good water kefir brand and flavor we enjoyed (out of Portland, OR):

I finally found GT’S Koffee kombucha and it was totally worth the wait! (Grabbed this bottle at Whole Foods) Josh said it tasted very maple-y and I agree!

B O O K S >>

A Place for Us by Fatima Farheen Mirza

Every Note Played by Lisa Genova

A Man Called Ove by Fredrick Backman

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

Send Down the Rain by Charles Martin


Please share any of your current favorites and new finds with me! I’d love to hear from you ❤️

Thanks for stopping by!


4 thoughts

  1. oh i am so sorry for your kittie and your family. As far as i am concerned, it is fine to share his journey on his blog if and only if it is of benefit to you. i would describe your post about Abbey has being bittersweet and heartfelt – yes i felt sad but never uncomfortable. I think that is as much about sharing our pain as our joy that helps bind people and often it is in the sharing of the pain that healing can occur.

    I wish you peace and grace in your challenging journey with Oliver.


    1. I still remember your kind words regarding my post about Abbey’s passing…I can’t thank you enough for your support and taking the time to leave such thoughtful comments ❤️ I hope your heart continues to heal as I recall you lost a fur baby last year. I couldn’t agree more – sharing not only our joy, but also our pain is what helps to connect us with others…and it helps aid in the healing process.

      Thank you, again, for the support ❤️ it really means a lot. I hope you know that I’m here for you as well! I look forward to connecting with you more. Hope you have a beautiful weekend 🙂


  2. That is such an adorable picture!!! I’m so sorry to hear about Oliver and I will keep y’all in my prayers. I’m sorry I haven’t chatted with you in awhile…life has been wild and I’ve been so disconnected lately + dealing with some health issues. I’ve also been busy preparing for M’s first year of high school. I cannot believe in 2 weeks our baby will be a freshman. Your recipes look amazing and water kefir is so yummy!!! We need to catch up soon. Sending hugs and love, always! ❤️


  3. So sorry I’m so behind on this post! It is so sad that I never get emails when you post and my mind is so crazy I forget to pop over here with how busy I’ve been. Anyways, I LOVE that first pic of you and Willow, it is just too precious and I love all the garden updates. I think that is so amazing that you do all of that. I can barely keep anything alive, LOL.
    How is Oliver doing?? SO sorry you are all going through that. I know how much you love your kitty.
    Thank you Soooo much for the recipe shoutouts! I hate that I’m just seeing them! I’m just so very happy you love that Caesar dressing and the cookies!! Your cookies look totally perfect! I’m thrilled they were such a hit. They are definitely one of my favorite cookies ever too and even my non-vegan mother-n-law said the same thing..in fact, your post is making me crave some, haha!
    Omg, those Hillary’s sausages are AMAZING. I love the ingredient list, so clean, I know there is a tad bit of oil in them, but I blot it after after cooking and that helps and I think it’s a wonderful delicious treat and the flavor is just incredible! I love to eat them over a warm bowl of homestyle grits!
    I am thinking of you and hope you are hanging in there.

    Love you!!


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