Happy OCTOBER, my friends! And happy Autumn! ❤️ I adore this time of year for so many reasons: leaves changing color, crisp + cool air, getting cozy in sweaters (and soon scarves), apples – especially honeycrisp, going to the pumpkin patch, the smell of clove + cinnamon, reading by the fireplace, and lots of comfort food. What are some of your favorite things about autumn??
September felt like a whirlwind as we adjusted to busier weeks…where pretty much every day was (and still is) a different activity, from charter school community day, art classes, aerial yoga, swim lessons, and getting together with friends. It was a great month for blossoming friendships and diving deeper with old ones. My highlight, in regards to friends, was getting to see one of my ABSOLUTE favorite humans (Julie!!) while she was in Portland…which also meant that I got a fun girls only road trip and hotel stay with my sweet Willow ❤️
Another crazy highlight from September…watching big snowflakes come down (but not stick) over this last weekend! We immediately grabbed our jackets and made the most of it. Then on Monday we woke to a dusting of snow! BUT the 10 day forecast shows some 60° and even a 70° day! Silly weather!
Oh! One more really funny highlight…we have a mystery plant growing! We transplanted a snapdragon using some of our compost soil and now have a giant plant growing. The only things we’ve composted a lot of that contained seeds were: cucumbers, zucchini, peppers, lemons, and tomatoes….I hope we get the chance to find out what it is before the really cold weather hits!
Moxie is settling in and also giving us a run for our money….he’s way more like a puppy than a kitten and we’re finding out that NOTHING is safe. I could write a book about all of the things he’s chewed up and destroyed, trouble he’s gotten himself into, places he’s gotten himself stuck, and funny mannerisms. Never a dull moment and we’re loving it. Rockford continues to be a wonderful big brother ❤️
Before we dive in, I was considering turning these monthly posts into an all encompassing update….where I would include things we tried and didn’t like, books we read that I wouldn’t recommend, and recipes that flopped. What are your thoughts??
P R O D U C T S :
Om Brain Fuel+ (Mocha Flavor) Drink Mix Packet >> I saw these on sale at Whole Foods for $1.19/packet (plus extra off for being an Amazon Prime member) and I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it that I went back and grabbed a few more! I like mushroom drinks that don’t taste overly mushroom-y and this one was so mild…the mocha flavor overpowered it. I also like how it mixes in well (no clumping) and the quick/convenience factor wins me over. I can definitely see packing these for camping or travel of any kind because all you need is water. I’ve been enjoying it with hot water and a splash of coconut milk – it’s a great option for mornings on the go! My only qualm is the natural flavors, but if you’ve been following along in my recent posts here, you know I’ve been letting go of hyper-analyzing labels and enjoying more.
HOPE Foods Cashew & Almond Dip >> Natural Grocers started carrying these and not only were they on sale, but each tub also had a $1 off coupon attached! So we took full advantage of this deal and got both flavors! Willow opted not to try them, but we brought them to a friends house with some sliced raw veggies and they were a hit! Josh and I also tried them in salads, pasta, on toast, and with crackers and they were delicious. A little on the oily side, but the bold kick of flavor makes up for it. Reminds me a little of hummus, texture wise, but better!
365 ALMONDMILK yogurt (plain unsweetened) >> I have been finding more and more 365 brand items that I love and this is my most recent find! They make single serving yogurt cups as well and in a few flavors (vanilla and mango are really good), but I actually really love the unsweetened plain. I’m usually topping it with granola or using it in pancakes, so the added sweetener isn’t necessary. The texture of this yogurt is wonderful – creamy, not too thick, but not runny and it honestly has the consistency of yogurts I ate in my pre-vegan days. I struggle with most vegan yogurts having little to no protein (the ones that do have protein taste awful in my opinion – and the texture is terrible), but this 365 brand has 5g of protein per serving! Not too bad! This has become my go-to store bought yogurt brand (and COYO) and I think it’s becoming a hit with other people because it’s often times sold out! For those who don’t know, 365 Everyday Value is Whole Foods private label.
Dark Cherry Vanilla >> BREW DR Kombucha
Not as good as their Vanilla Oak flavor, but still very delicious! Kinda like a healthier version of cherry coke!
Hu Chocolate Covered Hunks (Cashews + Vanilla Bean) >> I have been sitting on an online shopping cart with these and several other goodies, but haven’t mustered up the courage to actually purchase. Sounds silly, I know, BUT if you’ve experienced Hu chocolate before, you will understand why. It’s the best chocolate EVER. And my willpower goes out the window with chocolate. Well, while at the farmers market a couple of weeks ago, we popped into West Coast Provisions (a little storefront market that carries wine, chocolate and various other randomness) and they carry a few Hu options! I grabbed this bag to share with family, but I seriously could have devoured it completely on my own…in one go. Not overly sweet, smooth chocolate, perfect level of salt, and a little crunch. It was less expensive to buy via West Coast Provisions than online.
R E C I P E S :
SunButter Granola >> Feasting on Fruit >> This has become my go-to granola recipe…for three reasons: (1) it’s easy to make, (2) it’s approved by everyone in my house, and (3) it’s school “safe” as it’s nut-free!! Last year we couldn’t even bring anything that contained coconut, but this year I think it’s just no peanuts. Anyways, SunButter is my jam and Natalie has been pumping out loads of SunButter recipes, which makes me happy! We basically enjoyed eating it right of of the jar, but also paired with yogurt. You’ll notice chocolate chips in the photo – the recipe does not call for them, they just always find a way into things in our house 😉 I also added hemp seeds! Such a perfectly crunchy, salty + sweet snack and the clusters were wonderful!
Medjool Date German Chocolate Overnight Oats >> Feasting on Fruit >> When I saw the email for this recipe come through, I knew I had to try it despite my lack of enthusiasm for cold oats these days. German chocolate cake was one of my absolute favorite desserts as a kid and while this won’t pass as cake, per se, the “frosting” portion of these oats is very reminiscent of the German chocolate cake frosting layer…Natalie nailed the flavor and texture! I actually really enjoyed the overnight oats layer too! I love how she adds chia seeds into the oats to make them a little thicker. With the weather getting a good bit chillier, I might cook the oats next time and top it with the “frosting.” Josh loved this recipe and since I made a double batch of the Caramel Pecan Coconut Frosting, we a little extra leftover…Josh added it to his PB sandwich later in the day!
Moxie wanted in on this too…
We also made a few old favorites from cookbooks again (no photos though):
Banana Seed Bread >> Superfood Kitchen by Julie Morris (made gluten free though by using an all purpose gluten-free flour)
Crispy Almond Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies >> The Oh She Glows Cookbook
Loaded Savory Oatmeal & Lentil Bowl >> The Oh She Glows Cookbook
We didn’t get to nearly all of the recipes we had hoped to try last month, but I will definitely get to them in October!!
B O O K S :
Silver Sparrow by Tayari Jones >> Since I loved An American Marriage, I wanted to give this author another go….this is an earlier novel of hers. Silver Sparrow covers quite a few topics: marriage, relationships, forgiveness, empathy, childhood, and coming-of-age…all written with a real-life feel to it. The writing wasn’t as strong as An American Marriage, but still well done. I gave it 4 stars on Goodreads because I felt the last few chapters felt a bit rushed and the ending – still not sure how I feel about the ending.
The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai >> Earlier in the year I read A Little Life and it destroyed me…so intensely emotional and character driven AND I grew very attached to the characters. Quite honestly, it haunted me for quite awhile…heavy subject matter, but so beautifully written. The Great Believers was also heavy and emotional, but not nearly as intense. I wasn’t as attached to the characters, but found myself wrapped up in their lives. Certainly not a book for everyone, but if you’re a fan of literary fiction (that feels like a nonfiction) that makes you feel, and you have appreciation for a beautifully written story, than I say give it a go!
Sorry I’m Late, I Didn’t Want to Come: One Introvert’s Year of Saying Yes by Jessica Pan >> I LOVED this book!! As a fellow introvert (shintrovert = shy introvert), I related so much to the author’s thoughts, feelings, and experiences. While I think it’s safe to say that I will never put myself through much of what she did, I found a great deal of humor and hope in the experiences and outcomes. She brought a realness to what most introverts struggle with and took away some of the stigmas. I admire her bravery and dedication/determination to a year of yes. Highly recommend to any introverts out there!
I read quite a few other books that didn’t qualify as “favorites” (I rated them at 3 stars or less)….if you’re at all curious as to what I read, please check me out on Goodreads!
As always, I would LOVE to hear from you!! Tell me what you’ve been enjoying these days (recipes, fun finds, books, movies, etc.)!
Thanks for stopping by!!