Etsy News!

Hello, friends!

I’ve received quite a few emails regarding my Etsy shop – I chose to close it during my healing process, but I’m happy to report that after two months, it’s reopen with some new and improved items. I have reformulated all of my body butters to include raw, organic cacao butter for an even deeper moisturizer – it also gives each blend a rich scent and oddly enough, aids in faster absorption. I’ve brought back my popular seasonal blend from last year, along with two new scents:

  • Pumpkin Spice
  • Key Lime Pie
  • Blueberries & Cream


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I am waiting for more tins to arrive so that I can add more scents to the shop, but in the meantime, I’d love to hear if there is anything specific you’re looking for??? Please leave me a comment below if you have any requests.

There are a few options for spray deodorant and roll-on perfume…more will be added as I restock my supplies.

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I am also in the process of repackaging my lip balms so that my shop will officially be plastic free! I’m saying goodbye to the BPA-free tubes and introducing small tins that can also double as a quick healing balm for skin. I hope to have them in the shop within the month, but I need to figure out new labels!

Click HERE to view my shop.

Thank you to everyone who has encouraged me and supported my little shop!

I hope you’re all having a wonderful week!

Love & Light

❤️

REVIEW: March Favorites

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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…

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<< 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!

REVIEW: March Favorites

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.

 

REVIEW: March Favorites

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?

REVIEW: March Favorites

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!

REVIEW: March Favorites

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.

REVIEW: March Favorites

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!

REVIEW: March Favorites

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!

REVIEW: March Favorites

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!

REVIEW: March Favorites

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!!

REVIEW: March Favorites

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!

REVIEW: March Favorites

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.

REVIEW: March Favorites

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!

REVIEW: February Favorites

Hello, friends! It’s hard to believe that yet another month of 2016 has flown by so fast! We enjoyed a very spring-like February, went on some hikes, did some rockhounding and I celebrated my 37th birthday. This was such a fun month for new products, books and of course delicious new recipes! So let’s dive in!

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REVIEW: February Favorites

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If you were to ask Willow about her February Favorites, it would consist of her Frozen princess dress (which is currently covered in holes due to wearing it ALL THE TIME), her light up shoes and the Taylor Swift CD my Mom gave her for Valentine’s Day…if you ride in the car with us, you will undoubtedly hear Shake it Off on repeat. I know the words by heart. Here is cover of Shake it Off featuring Willow’s favorite ukulele player. I’ve lost track at how many times she’s made me watch this…

Her version of Riptide is another Willow favorite.

FEBRUARY FAVORITES:

PRODUCTS I FELL IN LOVE WITH:

GODDESS PROVISIONS >> SELF-CARE BOX >> I learned about Goddess Provisions through one of my best friends (Jen @luminousspirit) and when I found out that there was a monthly box perfectly suited for what I loved (crystals, aromatherapy, apothecary, beauty, tea and all things spiritual) I absolutely had to give it a try! While I’m not financially ready to commit to a monthly subscription, I did order a one time box that was offered in the month of January. A $64 value, but the boxes are only $35…then I had a coupon code for a few dollars off. They offer four types of boxes: Self-Care, Energize Your Senses, Sacral Chakra, and Third Eye Chakra. My Self-Care Box contained:

REVIEW: February Favorites

I absolutely LOVED this box! The lip tint was so perfect for me – I’ve been on the hunt for a new lip tint and the shade is exactly what I was looking for. Smells amazing and super moisturizing. The roller ball fragrance is REALLY strong and while it smells really nice, I can’t wear it all the time (and when I do, it’s a super tiny dab) since I’m sensitive to overpowering scents. If you like a strong vanilla-amber scent, this is perfect for you. The bath salts though…heavenly! I cried when the last bite of the chocolate bar was gone. SO. GOOD. I loved that it was raw, organic, no refined sugar (used coconut sugar) and contained lots of beneficial ingredients – I could see myself ordering more of these chocolate bars! I didn’t have a tangerine quartz in my collection yet, so this was perfect! Definitely check Goddess Provisions out and their IG page is beautiful – they feature some lovely, magical accounts and they radiate nothing but good energy!

FROODLES FRUIT STRIPS >> We’re always browsing to see what new items have become available at Natural Grocers and Whole Foods. Earlier in the month, we spotted Froodles! They’re like fruit leathers, but in strips…kinda like fruit noodles…hence the name Froodles! We got them on sale from Natural Grocers throughout the month of February. I love that there’s no added sugar, artificial flavors or preservatives – just fruit! We only saw the 1 oz pouches (perfect for an on-the-go snack), but I noticed online that they offer a 3 oz pouch as well. I originally bought these for Willow, but when I stole a bite, I fell in love! Chewy, sweet and zero guilt. I have a feeling these will come in handy over the summer during hiking trips and camping adventures.

REVIEW: February Favorites

JEWELRY!!!! I WAS GIFTED SOME PRETTY FANTASTIC ITEMS FOR MY BIRTHDAY FROM TWO OF MY ABSOLUTE FAVORITE SHOPS!!!!

I love these two shops for several reasons and gravitate towards both when it comes time to find a gift for someone’s birthday or Christmas. The makers behind each shop are incredibly genuine, kind, supportive and their work stands out among the other shops out there. You can definitely feel the love put into each piece as they’re passionate about what they do!

REVIEW: February Favorites

SUN METAL JEWELRY >> A beautiful nature-y pendant and earrings to match! I absolutely LOVE Diana & Ted’s shop and these two items are a wonderful addition to my Sun Metal collection! I love the copper and silver mix AND that little leaf is so perfect!

COMPASSIONATE PAWS JEWELRY >> I had been wanting a necklace from Jen’s shop and was SO excited to receive this gorgeous, wire-wrapped Amethyst necklace. A sweet friend also gifted me the beautiful bracelet (the heart charm is perfect) – I’m in LOVE!! So grateful for the amazing friends in my life.

LIVING LIBATIONS >> For the last few years, I have wanted to try some of Nadine’s magical creations…OK, all of them…and was so excited to get an email from The Raw Food World that there were some Living Libations products ‘At-Cost’ in February! You better believe I immediately jumped on that site and scrolled through what was available. A lot of the oral care products were part of the special and oh, my! The prices were significantly cheaper! Then I used the coupon code ‘rawfood7’ for an additional discount…AND I had a $10 store credit, so score! Here’s what we ordered:

REVIEW: February Favorites

Just after one day I noticed a difference! Josh and I both LOVE everything! I’ve used several other clay toothpastes and this one is hands down the best I’ve ever tried! It has a very creamy, smooth texture – not gritty and doesn’t have a strong clay taste. Leaves your mouth feeling incredibly clean…especially when you’ve also massaged your gums with the Happy Gum Drops! The Yogi Tooth Serum is a cinnamon lover’s dream!!! From what I’ve read, if you’re a tea and/or coffee drinker or green smoothie lover, the Tooth Truth Powder Polish is for you! I’ve been bouncing between brushing my teeth with that and the clay toothpaste and seriously love both. When I do use the Tooth Truth Powder, I also add a drop of the Yogi Tooth Serum to my brush.

Oh! And everything smells absolutely amazing!!

Click HERE to see the 8 Steps to Successful Self-Dentistry – this is what Josh and I have been following since receiving these products…and I’m not kidding when I say that after each time I’ve followed those steps, it feels like I just had a trip to the dentist. The links to the products above will take you to the Living Libations site for full descriptions and details. Please note that the Yogi Tooth Serum and Happy Gum Drops are similar, so it’s not necessary to have both. We were just anxious to try as many Living Libations products as possible and took advantage of the sale! I HIGHLY recommend checking out the site as there are way more products beyond just oral care.

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RECIPES WE TRIED AND LOVED:

CROWD PLEASING TEX MEX CASSEROLE >> THE OH SHE GLOWS COOKBOOK >> My dear friend, Julie, had raved about this recipe and it’s one we had marked to try so I immediately added it to the following week’s menu. WHOA! Why we waited so long to try it is beyond me! SO simple to make and one of the most flavorful dishes we’ve made – the leftovers tasted even better the next day. Willow wouldn’t touch it, but when we deconstructed it (separated each ingredient) she enjoyed some with some tortilla chips.

RAW HEMP CHOCOLATES >> UNCONVENTIONAL BAKER >> We had a girls only Valentine’s Day this year since Josh had to work late and my Dad was out of town – so Willow and I spent it with my Mom, Oma, and Aunt Diane. I chose to make these to share with everyone and doubled the recipe because I knew they were going to be amazing…oh, man. I am SO glad that I did! Sadly, my candy making skills need a lot of work, which is why I didn’t share a photo on Instagram…they were all sorts of sizes, messy (I’m pretty sure Willow could have done a better job) – next time I’ll be sure to freeze/chill the tray first to avoid the melty chocolate mess! But they were INSANELY good. So good that I almost didn’t bring them to share – terrible, huh? They’re rich, decadent, dreamy and melt-in-your-mouth delicious. Everyone LOVED them! I’ll definitely be making these again!

REVIEW: February Favorites

CREAMY CURRY DRESSING >> THE FIT FORK FEED >> Holy drinkable deliciousness!! I’ve been following Lindsay over @thefitforkfeed for a few months now and I’m constantly drooling over her creations – her IG page and blog are both beautiful. As soon as I saw her post a photo of this dressing, I knew I absolutely needed to try it because (1) I LOVE curry and (2) the vibrant yellow sunshine-like color was jaw dropping. Verdict…easily one of my new favorite dressings and I want to put it on everything and pretty much did! I made a couple of minor adjustments and cut the oil in half (replaced with extra water) and used maple syrup instead of honey.

REVIEW: February Favorites

BUTTERFINGER ENERGY BITES >> THE FIT FORK FEED >> These took a few minutes to whip up and they’re absolutely INCREDIBLE! Only five ingredients, but a powerhouse of a list…including dried mulberries…our favorite! These are so perfect for Willow since they’re high in protein and contain healthy fats. She had fun helping me make these and quickly devoured one after they set in the freezer for a bit. I love how much they remind me of an actual Butterfinger bar – for lack of a better word, they really are buttery, melt in your mouth and have little pops of crispiness, thanks to those magical mulberries. Definitely give these a try!!!

REVIEW: February Favorites

EASY VEGAN MEXICAN CHEESE SAUCE >> THE VEGAN 8 >> I’m honestly shocked that it took me this long to make this amazing cheese sauce! It’s so hard when the list of recipes to make grows longer by the day and you just want to try them all! Well, we finally got around to making this and used it on top of potato nachos…insanely good. I’ve actually got a Mexican cheese sauce coming to the blog soon, but Brandi’s is easier and super quick to whip up. I kept it on the mild side for Willow’s sake and she really enjoyed it, too! Josh and I added extra salsa to ours to give it more of a kick, but it wasn’t really necessary. This is one of those sauces where the possibilities are endless – roasted veggies, baked potatoes, pasta, rice bowls and SO much more.

REVIEW: February Favorites

HECK YEAH, BANANA PANCAKES >> YUM UNIVERSE COOKBOOK >> I really can’t tell you enough how much I LOVE this cookbook. For me, it’s tied with The Oh She Glows Cookbook because EVERY single recipe we’ve tried has been fantastic. This has been one of our go-to pancake recipes for a while now, but I make one adjustment – I replace the chickpea flour with King Arthur’s Gluten-Free Multi-Purpose flour. I found that the chickpea flour was too overpowering for our liking and the gf flour mellowed it out. They turn out perfect every time!

BASIL & PEPPER PINE NUT CRISPS >> YUM UNIVERSE COOKBOOK >> Well, we found out Willow isn’t a fan of pine nuts, but Josh and I devoured these! I had every intention of pairing these with soup, but we couldn’t stop eating them. If you try these, definitely be sure to press them into a really thin layer to bake evenly and crisp up – I had to bake mine way longer than suggested because I made them too thick. I love how cheesy and buttery these were!

REVIEW: February Favorites

LEMON BLUEBERRY WAFFLES >> MINIMALIST BAKER >> We finally got a waffle maker last month and LOVE it! I immediately Googled “vegan gluten free waffles” and the top three were Minimalist Baker recipes…another favorite of ours since each recipe is a huge hit with the whole family. I made Willow the Oatmeal Waffles one morning (subbed melted coconut oil instead of vegan butter) and she loved them! Since I’m still easing back into oats, I took a couple of bites and saved the rest for her. A couple of weeks later, we made these Lemon Blueberry Waffles and I thought they were the best! I used chocolate chips in Willow’s batch since she’s not a fan of blueberries present in food – she loves them on their own and blended in a smoothie, just not in pancakes or muffins. Anyways, I thought the lemony flavor was so perfect and they crisp up beautifully!

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BOOKS I’M ENJOYING:

February was a big month for reading…I decided to give myself a break from the things I felt “needed” to be done and took more time for ME! That also meant taking a break from Instagram for several days and unplugging. Willow would fall asleep at night and I would curl up with a book and Willow in my arms – pretty much perfect. I fell into a bit of a creative slump and really needed to recharge, refocus and get inspired. I used most of my birthday money to order some books that have been on my to-read list and they were just what I needed!

REVIEW: February Favorites

I finished The Moonlit Garden (on Kindle) and REALLY enjoyed it! I almost gave up on it shortly after my last monthly favorites post, as I felt that it was moving too slow, but it turned out to be a beautiful story. I also finished Meet your Soul. Here are some others that I’ve read, working on or referred back to in February:

JUST ASK THE UNIVERSE: A NO-NONSENSE GUIDE TO MANIFESTING YOUR DREAMS by MICHAEL SAMUELS >> If you have Amazon Prime (and a Kindle) you can borrow this book for free! Which is exactly what I did. I also finished it in a day…quick read, but incredibly inspiring! A great little book on the Law of Attraction – how positive thoughts attract positive things to happen – focusing your energy on gratitude and really envisioning yourself accomplishing tasks, goals, dreams and wants. The author helps you to create an “I Want” list – which was really strange for me to write out at first, but then I couldn’t stop! I had pages filled with things I wanted for myself and others – when I put the pen down, I felt excited and incredibly positive. He also has you write out a list of things you’ve already accomplished or gained which opened my eyes to just how blessed I am. I really loved his writing style as it was obviously upbeat, but had a touch of humor to it unlike the most of the spiritual books I’ve read. Definitely add this to your list!

HOW TO BE A WILDFLOWER by KATIE DAISY >> I actually pre-ordered this book for my friend Jen’s birthday and almost ordered myself one…well, my parents ended up giving me a copy for my birthday! Little side note – Katie Daisy was raised in a small town in Illinois and currently resides here in Bend, OR – she is insanely talented and I absolutely adore everything she does. Her artwork is so inspiring, I literally want everything from her Etsy shop. But moving on to this book! Gorgeous!!! As I turned through each page, everything around me suddenly disappeared and I was completely drawn into a world filled with magic + beauty. Since I’m such a big quote person, this book is perfect for me as it contains so many of my favorites. This book is a constant reminder about just how amazing nature is and the importance of connecting yourself with the Earth.

REVIEW: February Favorites

GHOST GIFTS by LAURA SPINELLA >> I chose this for my February Kindle First book (free) and it ended up being one that I just couldn’t put down! I hesitated to pick this one because it was under the “romantic suspense” genre and I honestly don’t read romance books, but the description reeled me in. It’s about a woman who (from a very young age) communicates with the deceased and while working for the local paper, she gets assigned to a story which reveals her secret ability. I genuinely enjoyed this book as it moved at a great pace, the characters (for the most part) were well developed and the romance factor was minimal – so it ended up being a great mystery book!

WRECKAGE by EMILY BLEEKER >> Yet another Kindle First book that I downloaded last year and forgot about! I plowed through this one in a few nights and it was a fun, quick read. It’s a mystery-romance (I swear I didn’t expect the romance part!) about two survivors of a plane crash who come home after two years on a deserted island. The book goes between two timelines where we’re with them on the island and being interviewed in present day.

THE SEVEN SPIRITUAL LAWS OF SUCCESS by DEEPAK CHOPRA >> Do yourself a favor and buy a copy of this book now. You will read it in one sitting, but it’s one that you will absolutely hold dear to your heart, and one that you’ll most likely refer back to…I’ve already read it twice. Such a practical set of “laws” that will open your eyes to just how powerful energy is – where you choose to focus your attention – to be more aware.

“With the knowledge and practice of the seven spiritual laws, we align with nature’s intelligence, and our dreams and desires are easily fulfilled. When we understand these laws, and apply them in our lives, anything we want can be created.”

THE UNTETHERED SOUL: THE JOURNEY BEYOND YOURSELF by MICHAEL SINGER >> This book has been on my list for quite some time, so I was very quick to add it to my Amazon shopping cart after my birthday. I’m not done with it yet, but I’ve had several moments where I found myself saying, “YES!” out loud. Very eye opening and has, so far, helped me to better understand some of my inner battles.

I’ve been referring back to You Can Heal Your Life & A Return to Love quite a bit even though I finished them a while back and I used my birthday money to purchase: Radical Self Love, Light is the New Black and The Surrender Experiment, so look for reviews for those in the next month or two!

 

What are you reading?! Please share any of your recent finds, favorites, or highlights of February – I’d love to hear, so leave a comment below.

 

Thanks for stopping by!

Love & Light

REVIEW: January Favorites

We had a few highlights during January – a good bit of snow early in the month, took Willow to use her snowshoes for the first time AND we got our fireplace running! Which meant we were finally able to keep our house heated above 60°! Not even kidding, our house was freezing – I’m talking wearing a winter hat, layers of clothes and a few blankets to bed. For those who aren’t familiar with cadet heaters…they stink and put your electric bill through the roof! So, we’re all happy, cozy and able to enjoy a smoothie without shivering all day. And our cats are in heaven.

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JANUARY FAVORITES:

OREGON BRINEWORKS HOT SAUCE >> Supporting anything Oregon made (and organic) makes my heart super happy. We’re big hot sauce fans – just a couple drops adds such a great flavor to some of my favorite dishes. This is one of the best hot sauces I’ve had as it tastes fresh AND the ingredient list is pretty fantastic (raw and fermented). We found this in the refrigerated area at Natural Grocers.

REVIEW: January Favorites

ZENBUNNI BIODYNAMIC CHOCOLATE {Rainbow Box} >> A very dear friend sent me a wonderful package of goodies this holiday season and this was in there. They were meant to be for Josh, but thank goodness he shared! The three of us shared each bar so we could get a little sample. Talk about the best chocolate I’ve ever had. Here is the list of flavors included in the box:

REVIEW: January Favorites

My personal favorites were the Kathmandu Chai and Maui Turmeric Ginger. Willow LOVED each one, but we didn’t allow her to try the Mucha Mocha or Frida Azteca (had a pretty good spicy kick). I really loved how the little box came with a quartz crystal, too! All of their ingredients are organic and contain zero soy, gluten or refined sugar. While on the pricier side, it forces you to really savor each bite and not devour the box in one sitting…although I fully admit we wanted to!

FLYING BIRD BOTANICALS >> Peace of Mind herbal tea >> Another gift (from the same friend) and I shared it with Willow. I really love finding teas that require no added sweetener – such a mild floral, comforting flavor with a touch of mint. The packaging is beautiful! From the label on the canister, to the actual tea bag itself. I look forward to trying other teas from this company as they seem to be a very passionate, people-driven (and organic) group.

REVIEW: January Favorites

MAY LINDSTROM SKIN >> THE YOUTH DEW >> Yet another gift from that package and she seriously spoiled me with this one. I’ll be real honest, I have been eyeing up this product, but just couldn’t bring myself to spend the money. You guys, this stuff is liquid gold. The smell is intoxicating, soaks right in without a greasy feeling and leaves my face feeling moisturized. A little goes a long way and from what I’ve read, this bottle should last me quite a while. I have to say, I don’t think I can go back to anything else after using this…it’s pure magic and seeing as I am getting older (soon to be 37!), if I can prevent or decrease some of the aging in my face, it’s a huge bonus. 

REVIEW: January Favorites

GT’s KOMBUCHA with TURMERIC, CARROT & GINGER >> I will admit that I was first drawn to the label and then the flavor. I LOVE turmeric and I LOVE kombucha so obviously this was delicious! I purchased this specific flavor at Natural Grocers.

REVIEW: January Favorites

RECIPES WE TRIED AND LOVED:

LAZY DAY VEGAN TOMATO BISQUE >> THE VEGAN 8 >> I’ve been loving our Soup Saturdays and this soup from Brandi’s blog did not disappoint. I’m kind of embarrassed to admit this, but we didn’t have any leftovers…it was that good. Incredibly creamy, thanks to the homemade cashew butter and jam packed with flavor and veggies….my kind of meal! Willow is super picky when it comes to tomato soup and she gave it a thumbs up – just more proof that it’s amazing! So, my only recommendation would be to double the recipe!

REVIEW: January Favorites

TURMERIC CHICKPEA FRITTERS >> MINIMALIST BAKER >> We typically don’t make recipes that require pan frying since we limit our oil intake, but we made an exception for these…and boy am I glad we did! Surprisingly enough, they weren’t as greasy as I expected. Simple to make, but the process is a bit messy…but SO worth it! We made these to go with our tacos one night and they made an excellent filling. Instead of panko bread crumbs, I used Sophia’s crispy topping from her mac n cheese recipe (I’m kind of hooked on that), but I omitted the oregano and added garlic. For the vegan parm, I took some raw cashews, raw hemp seeds, unfortified nutritional yeast, a little salt and whirled them through our nut/seed grinder. These little fritters were heavenly! No photo because, (1) the lighting was awful and (2) they got devoured too fast! Willow even ate one…little victories!

EASY VEGAN CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES >> FEASTING ON FRUIT >> I still haven’t mustered up the courage to try oats again, but I had to make these for my family. Well, Willow asked and I can’t say no when that little voice asks to bake with me. A little side note…Willow is obsessed with Natalie’s YouTube channel. No joke, she will ask if she can watch a specific video and then 30-45 minutes later she’s moved on to several other videos of hers. She has portions of them memorized and while watching them with her, she will tell me what’s going to happen next! Haha! Anytime Natalie makes a new video, Willow and I watch it together…almost instantly, she requested that we make these cookies. So, the verdict? Thumbs up! I made these into mini cookies (my cookie scoop is small) and pressed a few extra mini chips on top. I struggled a bit to get these cookies flattened, as they are sticky, but Natalie suggested that next time I wet my fingers to help with that. I can attest that the paste that holds these cookies together is fantastic…I did indeed lick the blender. Don’t judge. For you oat loving, date fans – make these!

REVIEW: January Favorites

And Willow asked to take her own photo of these cookies…

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SUPER CREAMY VEGAN STOVETOP MAC & “CHEESE” >> KITCHEN TREATY >>  I told you that I am a sucker for those homemade vegan cheese sauces…and the photos of this specific recipe lured me in. Super creamy is right! Whoa. Seriously, go click on the link…you’ll be drooling and licking the screen. C’mon, you know you’ve done it. I made a couple minor adjustments to this recipe: used Coconut Aminos in place of soy sauce, used veggie broth to saute up the onions/garlic instead of oil and added a one tablespoon of unfortified nutritional yeast. I really liked that this recipe uses coconut milk instead of cashews…it’s nice to change it up and it’s cheaper than cashews without sacrificing the creaminess factor. Again, no photos to accompany this review since the lighting was bad…but we all loved this! Willow included!

CREAMY CARROT GINGER BISQUE with CASHEW CREAM >>  FOOD 52 >> Hubby subscribes to VegNews emails and this recipe caught his eye. Holy carrots! Haha! This recipe calls for a whopping 1 1/4 pounds of them. I absolutely LOVED how simple this soup was and the curry powder brought about a lovely flavor. Despite the beautiful color and creamy texture, Willow refused to try it. Just meant more for us!

REVIEW: January Favorites

VEGAN BROCCOLI CHEESE SOUP {gluten-free, oil-free} >> VEGAN DOES IT >> When I saw Natalie’s IG post featuring this soup and then Audrey made it, I absolutely had to try it for myself! Hubby whipped this up one evening while I did some work for my Etsy shop and this was amazing! So thick, creamy and comforting. Insanely cheesy thanks to the nutritional yeast and the potatoes, but no cashews were used! I would have shared a photo on IG, but the color of our soup looked a bit different compared to Melissa’s…we ran out of orange carrots! Ha! So, we used some of our rainbow carrots (purple and white) which made for a bit of a darker color. But it didn’t compromise the taste one bit! We enjoyed it with potato wedges and later we used leftovers on top of a baked potato…I know, potatoes on top of potatoes! 😉 I know many of you are nut-free and the great thing about this recipe is that you can easily swap out the almond milk for a nut-free option. Oh, and it’s toddler approved, too!

REVIEW: January Favorites

HAZELNUT ESPRESSO CHOCOLATE CHIA PUDDING >> UNCONVENTIONAL TREATS >> I absolutely LOVE all of Audrey’s recipes and this was no exception. I finally ordered some espresso powder so I could give this treat a try and holy moly! This was amazing! Decadent, chocolate-y, rich, not overly sweet and simply delicious. I highly recommend checking out her eBook or her blog because it’s filled with wonderful recipes that are all gluten-free, soy-free, vegan and always a hit!

REVIEW: January Favorites

RED VELVET SMOOTHIE >> PEANUT BUTTER & VEGAN >> My friend, Hunter (@hnoflecopter) asked if I could test a recipe for her to see if it was kid-friendly. I was so excited and honored to! The ingredient list is amazing and the final blended outcome is gorgeous. Bright, bold pink and literally tastes like cake, but in a creamy smoothie form. So, what did Willow think?! LOVED it! We’ve made it a few times since then and each time we’re just blown away by the color and taste. The recipe can be found on her blog, please click on the link above and give it a try!

REVIEW: January Favorites

BOOKS I’M READING:

MEET YOUR SOUL: A Powerful Guide to Connect with Your Most Sacred Self >> by Elisa Romeo

If you follow me on Instagram, I shared that every month I read at least one self-help/spirituality book. I truly believe we are forever a work in progress, always learning, always growing. Being open to improvement and learning how to get in touch better with your inner being is important to me. I’ve been struggling lately with some bumps in the road and feelings of doubt…which is why I sought out this book. It’s not a book you read in one sitting, but rather you should take your time and work through the journal prompts and guided meditations. It’s a journey of discovery and growth that will leave you feeling alive and empowered. I am about halfway through this book and I’m learning to be more kind to myself and to trust my inner voice. Along with this book, I recommend checking out her site: http://www.elisaromeo.com/

REVIEW: January Favorites

 

THE MOONLIT GARDEN >> by CORINA BOMANN  

I chose this as my Kindle First (free read) for the month of January and so far it has my interest. Lilly (the main character) runs an antique shop and one day a man brings in an old violin, saying it belongs to her, but the man leaves without explaining anything else. We go on a journey in search of answers in this mystery novel – it is a work of fiction. Look for my review/rating in either next month’s post or on Goodreads.

As always, I’d love to hear what your latest favorites are! Books, products, recipes, shows, etc.!

Thanks for stopping by!

New Products in BeSolFul Etsy Shop!

Happy Friday, everyone! It’s been a busy couple of weeks and if you follow me on Instagram, you know that I hit a couple of setbacks with my shop. We had ordered all the ingredients, packaging, and labels for my body butter, only to find out that summertime is NOT a friend of homemade body butter. I sent some samples out to friends and it arrived melted and/or soupy…so, far from the whipped body butter it was supposed to be. I literally wanted to throw in the towel because we’re tapping into savings to get this up and running – I felt defeated. Thankfully I have such a great support network that I didn’t stay in a funk for too long. So…I quickly began working on the next couple of products to be available. The body butters will be in the Etsy shop this September or when the weather gets cool enough to ship them. For those who follow me on Instagram, I apologize for repeating some of this information.

For the last five or six years, I’ve been making my own deodorant and love it, but within the last few months, I have come across people who have a sensitivity to baking soda. Some people break out in a rash or it is too drying for their skin – even with the raw coconut oil. The problem that I ran across with this specific deodorant is that it would melt in the warmer months, making it a messy challenge to apply. So, I began experimenting with a spray deodorant – tested out different ratios of oils and created a safe and effective deodorant that was baking soda free!

I hear a lot of people complain about deodorants not lasting or that they sweat too much. The thing that many people forget is that antiperspirants aren’t healthy. Sweating is the body’s way of releasing toxins – sweating is a good thing. Another problem with the commercial deodorants (and sure, you’ll smell good and stay dry) is that they’re LOADED with harmful toxins/chemicals. So, not only are you not allowing your body to release toxins, you’re also applying more to be absorbed. Remember, skin is the largest organ. The top five that you want to stay far away from are:

  • Aluminum
  • Parabens
  • Phthalates
  • Propylene Glycol
  • Triclosan

All of the above have been linked to cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, several other health issues and can be a hormone disrupter. I’m honestly amazed that these commercial deodorants are still on the market…or that people still use them on a daily basis. You won’t find any of the above ingredients in my spray deodorant – just two ingredients – all natural, safe, and non-toxic.

Witch hazel has natural skin healing, anti-microbial and anti-bacterial properties – making it a safe and effective deodorant. Tea tree oil (one of my favorite options to add into the deodorant) also has anti-microbial properties which helps to destroy the bacteria that causes body odor…same goes for lavender and lemon essential oils.

For those who prefer fractionated coconut oil as opposed to alcohol-free witch hazel, I have that option available. The deodorant is packaged in a 1oz amber glass spray bottle – larger sizes (2oz, 4oz) will be available soon.

Spray Deodorant

All Natural {VEGAN} Spray Deodorant // Be Sol-Ful

One of my favorite blends for this spray deodorant is Lavender-Lemon-Tea Tree.

Another product that I’ve just listed in my Etsy shop, is an all natural perfume using just organic sweet almond oil and essential oils of your choice. I used to wear perfume growing up (and in my early 20’s), not realizing the harm I was doing. They were the cause of most of my headaches/migraines AND they were loaded with ingredients that I couldn’t pronounce. Did you know that, on average, 14 secret chemicals can be found in fragrance products?! And that’s not including the already lengthy ingredient list. Click HERE to learn more about toxic perfumes.

Two ingredients. That is all that you’ll find in my little roll-on perfume. It may not last all day long like the commercial perfumes, but that is only because I do NOT add any synthetics – just high quality essential oils and organic sweet almond oil. They provide a subtle fragrance and can be applied as needed. For those who are not a fan of almond oil, I can make them with fractionated coconut oil. Like the deodorant, you have a list of oils to choose from and I will gladly make a blend, too.

All Natural Roll On Perfume

All Natural {VEGAN} Roll-On Perfume // Be Sol-Ful

Just two examples of perfume blends: Grapefruit-Peppermint and Lavender-Vanilla.

In the next week or two, I will have some specialty scents available for headache relief, anxiety, depression and grounding. So, please stay tuned!

Thanks for stopping by!

http://www.etsy.com/shop/BeSolFul

REVIEW: May Favorites

Happy June, everyone!! Like all of the previous months, May flew by just as quickly. It was a bit of a rough month – a combination of rare gloomy weather, plenty of toddler meltdowns and some feelings of stress and being overwhelmed. But it’s a new month and I’m excited for what’s in store. The sun is back and summer is fast approaching which means LOTS of time to soak in the beauty of nature. I’ve got some new (to me) products, but mostly a ton of great recipes we got to try last month!

MAY FAVORITES:

Veggies Don’t Bite Overnight Oats Jar >> It wasn’t until last year when I really got into overnight oats. The thought of eating cold oats used to really gross me out, but later on, I began experimenting with different flavors, ingredients and recipes and grew to enjoy this breakfast option. Letting those oats soak overnight makes for easier digestion AND in the morning, you can decide if you want to eat them cold (as is) or warm them up. I have found that measuring out the ingredients creates a better end result – I would say 95% of the time if I just throw stuff together in a jar, I’m either left with too much liquid or not enough. This is where Sophia’s genius idea comes in! She has taken the guesswork away and provided a guide right there on the jar, showing you the “fill” line for each ingredient. Each morning I have the perfect oats! With your order, you also receive a pamphlet that provides instructions (what each “fill” line means and how to properly care for your jar) as well as some recipes. Our favorite is the Chunky Monkey…even Willow devours this one! If you click on the highlighted text above, it will take you directly to the Overnight Oats Jar page to purchase, if you are interested.

REVIEW: May Favorites // Be Sol-Ful

Healing Body Scrub >> Kaffe Organic >> My dear friend, Jen of @jengoesgreen gave this to me as a gift last month and I instantly fell in love. Some of my absolute favorite scents are coffee, lavender and peppermint…guess what? They’re all in here! What a delicious combination of scents, not to mention how incredible it all feels on the skin. Last month was stressful {toddler meltdowns and lots of them, sleepless nights, rare gloomy weather and getting my Etsy shop open} which caused breakouts and chaos to my system. I used this scrub to spot treat a few of my trouble areas and not only did it leave my skin feeling refreshed, but it also softened some of the scars. I have been using it a couple of times a week and I’ve noticed a huge change. I loved this SO much that I gave some of it to my mom and she fell in love, too. A little warning…DO NOT apply this as a mask and go about your usual routine with a toddler. She hasn’t seen me wear a face mask before and it scared her something fierce! Haha!

I have learned that this company has since changed their name from Kaffe Organic to Wild Healing.

REVIEW: May Favorites // Be Sol-Ful

Raw African Shea Butter Balm {patchouli} >> Khaki’s Bomb Balm >> The same friend that gifted me that amazing scrub I talked about above, also gave me this balm. If you’re not a fan of shea butter, this definitely isn’t for you…but if you LOVE shea butter (I DO), your skin will be in heaven. How adorable is the packaging?! You can tell that a lot of love goes into the making of these products.

REVIEW: May Favorites // Be Sol-Ful

REVIEW: May Favorites // Be Sol-Ful

It is thick (a little goes a long way) and lasts a long time! The smell is intoxicating and has really helped to heal even the worst dry spots – living in the high desert does a number on your skin if you don’t properly care for it. Visit her Etsy shop for more products and custom orders.

https://www.etsy.com/shop/KhakisBombBalm?ref=l2-shopheader-name

Merrell Women’s All Out Blaze Aero Sport (Hiking Shoes) >> I was in need of a new pair of hiking shoes…especially with summer right around the corner. Josh bought me these great shoes for Mother’s Day and I LOVE them! I finally got to test them out last week – we had an incredibly wet month of May, so we weren’t able to get out much like we usually do. These shoes are super comfortable – lightweight, breathable mesh upper lining with a flexible sole (not stiff like most hiking shoes I’ve used) and VEGAN! I’ve owned quite a few hiking shoes – numerous brands – but I’ve gotta say, these have to be my favorite! I’m also in love with the color! All of my previous shoes have been a neutral or earth tone color, such as brown, grey or green, so I’m excited to break out of my comfort bubble with a “bolder” color.

REVIEW: May Favorites // Be Sol-Ful

REVIEW: May Favorites // Be Sol-Ful

Books: I’ll be honest…I haven’t been reading much these days. I’ve either been falling asleep at night with Willow or watching a couple of episodes of Friends before passing out. I have missed reading and hope to have some book updates next month!

Recipes we tried and LOVED:

May was a great month for new recipes! So get ready for a LONG list!!

Ultimate Raw Cookie Dough Chocolate Fudge Cake >> {The Vegan 8} >> So, I didn’t personally make this recipe, but my mom did and I thoroughly enjoyed it! She made it for my Dad’s birthday (he’s not vegan) and he LOVED it. Everyone did and no one missed the dairy. It was incredibly rich, creamy and melt-in-your-mouth delicious! I honestly have yet to try a dessert recipe of Brandi’s that I didn’t like!

Smokey Cheddar Cauli ‘n’ Cheez >> {Cruelty Free Family} >> If there’s one thing I can’t get enough of, it’s vegan cheese sauces! Or really, sauces in general. I love everyone’s variations, or takes, on vegan cheese sauce so, I feel like I need to try them all! This one did not disappoint – I loved the turmeric in this dish – it really gave it a bright appearance and obviously tasted amazing. So flavorful and creamy – since our head of cauliflower was pretty small, we also cooked up some gluten-free noodles to enjoy this with. Thumbs up from Willow makes this a keeper recipe!

REVIEW: May Favorites // Be Sol-Ful

Smokey Cheddar Cauli ‘n’ Cheeze // Cruelty Free Family

Salted Caramel Cashew Cacao Chunk Smoothie >> {Veggies Don’t Bite} >> One word….AMAZING! I made this and shared it with Willow one morning for breakfast….tasted like dessert and oh, my goodness! Willow sucked it down SO fast. I used unsweetened cashew milk in place of soy, but other than that, I stuck to the recipe. I really have no other words for this smoothie – if you haven’t tried it yet, you NEED to! Oh, and if you don’t have raw cacao chunks, I tried it the second time around using cacao powder and it was equally delicious!

Buffalo Chickpea Burgers >> {Veggies Don’t Bite} >> Kind of like my thought on sauces, you can never tire of veggie burgers! I love trying new burger recipes because each one varies in some way or another. Since we make recipes with a toddler in mind, we replaced the hot sauce with a mild salsa and they turned out great! We paired it with Sophia’s BBQ Tahini Sauce (see below) and some oven roasted potato wedges. So so good!

REVIEW: May Favorites // Be Sol-Ful

Buffalo Chickpea Burger with BBQ Tahini Sauce // Veggies Don’t Bite

BBQ Tahini Sauce >> {Veggies Don’t Bite} >> Well, you have to know by now that I LOVE tahini so when I saw that Sophia created a BBQ tahini sauce, I had to try it! This was insanely simple to whip up and did not require the use of a blender. I could have eaten this with a spoon…who am I kidding! ha! I did at first, but then when the burgers and potatoes were done I dipped away! Tangy, slightly sweet and OH SO TAHINI-Y.

White Chocolate Vanilla Cake Strawberry Milkshake >> {The Vegan 8} >> Another great recipe created by Brandi! Willow and I shared this for dessert one afternoon and LOVED it! I’m more of a vanilla or chocolate milkshake kinda girl, but this one was literally all three delicious flavors whirled into one fantastic shake! Never would have guessed that cashew butter and cacao butter would create a cake-like flavor, but it does. We didn’t have whipped cream to top it with, so we enjoyed it with some Enjoy life chocolate chips and a homemade chocolate sauce.

Ultimate Nutty Granola Clusters >> {The Oh She Glows cookbook} >> I LOVE granola. I’ll eat it plain, with some nut milk or use it as a topping for my smoothies/smoothie bowls. I love that added crunch! Well, an Instagram friend of mine posted a picture of this particular recipe and I hadn’t tried it yet – so I made it the next day and asked myself WHY did it take so long to make this?!? We didn’t have enough walnuts, so I improvised with some raw pecans and it turned out incredibly buttery. We couldn’t stop eating it! This was another picky eater approved recipe.

Better than Restaurant Falafel >> {Minimalist Baker} >> SO good. Simple ingredient list and quick to whip up. We used fresh spinach instead of collards and I was originally going to try baking these instead of pan-cooking them, but we decided to stick to the directions. These were fantastic! Willow helped us prepare the mixture, but sadly did not want to eat them…not sure if she was intimidated by the green color or the fact that it was something new. That just meant more for the adults! I should add that my mom made this recipe, too and used broccoli in the mix…really good! We served ours with some hummus and a bit of hot sauce.

Po-Cauli-Leek Soup >> {Cruelty Free Family} >> This soup hit the spot on a chilly, gloomy evening – it was warm, comforting, and full of flavor! I’ve had cauliflower soup and potato soup, but the two combined create a perfect, thick, hearty soup. We split the batch into two and for Willow’s batch, we left the leeks out – She really enjoyed this soup, too! I have a feeling this recipe will be made quite a bit come fall and winter!

Fat-Free Baked Mexican Black Bean Burgers >> {The Vegan 8} >> Just, wow! Talk about an EPIC burger! It was crispy on the outside with a soft center – not the least bit dry like a lot of vegan/gluten-free burgers. We decided to make 12 small patties as opposed to the suggested 4-6, which made them perfect Willow size. So many wonderful flavors, especially with the addition of The Vegan 8’s Mexican Tahini Sauce. If you make these burgers, DO not skip that sauce!

REVIEW: May Favorites // Be Sol-Ful

Fat Free Baked Mexican Black Bean Burger with Mexican Tahini Sauce // The Vegan 8

The Ultimate Mexican Pizza with Sweet Jalapeno Lemon Cream Sauce >> {Vegetarian Gastronomy} >> We decided to skip our usual tacos for Taco Tuesday and made this AMAZING pizza! Being gluten-free, it’s hard to find a decent, simple, not time consuming crust to make. Well, it doesn’t get any easier than this! We were oooooohhhhhhing and aaaaahhhhhhhing throughout the entire meal. The roasted veggies were perfect, but that sauce….addicting. I licked the blender clean (no shame). The only adjustments I made to this recipe were: heating the beans/corn/spinach on the stove (separately to keep Willow interested) and I used unsweetened cashew milk and a tiny drizzle of pure maple syrup in the sauce in place of soy milk. We have made this sauce a few times and use it on everything from salads to baked potatoes.

REVIEW: May Favorites // Be Sol-Ful

The Ultimate Mexican Pizza with Sweet Jalapeno Lemon Cream Sauce // Vegetarian Gastronomy

Have you discovered any new favorites?! As always, I would love to hear!

Thanks for stopping by!

Willow Essentials (baby and toddler)

**This post has been updated August 1, 2016 as we have changed a lot of our essentials.

Hello!! Along with inquiries about what we eat, I also receive quite a few questions about products we use for Willow…so I figured this would be a great way to share with those who might be interested.

We are HUGE fans of The Honest Company and have been getting bundles delivered each month, right to our doorstep, since Willow was just a couple of months old. Not only do they use organic ingredients, but EWG’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Database gives them an excellent rating. Target and Whole Foods has started carrying a nice selection of their products, but the best deal is when you order a bundle directly from The Honest Company. We pay $35/month for the Essentials Bundle and choose five products to be delivered – ranging from dish soap to laundry pods and shampoo to dish towels. We love this company because they’re committed to creating non-toxic, sustainable products and they pay it forward to the community. They also provide organic products at a reasonable price! We have also been using Honest Company diapers since Willow was a baby.

Here are the Honest Company products we purchase regularly for Willow:

  • Shampoo + Body Wash
  • Conditioner
  • Bubble Bath
  • Bar Soap
  • Conditioning Detangler
  • Body Lotion

**We recently cancelled our bundle subscription since we no longer use all of the products – if we are in a pinch, we can find Honest Co. products at Target or Natural Grocers for reasonable prices.

Willow Essentials (baby and toddler) // Be Sol-Ful

When Willow was just a baby, we used this Hip Peas hairbrush as it contained no animal bristles…vegan + cruelty-free. The bristles are incredibly soft and gentle on cradle cap. When her hair started getting increasingly curlier, we switched over to a hair pick (currently on the hunt for a more sustainable option) and the detangler is a MUST! Not only does it smell amazing (like a creamsicle), but it makes combing her hair so much easier. We do our best to remember to apply this Honest Company lotion after her baths – we love how it’s unscented and not greasy. Josh and I use it, too!

**We no longer use Honest Co. face + body lotion or detangler – we all use my homemade body butter and herbal homemade hair detangler.

Willow Essentials (baby and toddler) // Be Sol-Ful

Ever since we started brushing Willow’s teeth, we’ve been using Jack ‘N’ Jill toothpaste and these toddler Radius toothbrushes. We order both through Amazon – the toothpaste comes in a two-pack (you get to choose the flavors, but these two get the best rating on EWG at a ‘0’ rating) and the toothbrushes come in a three-pack. There are other brands of toothbrushes, but we have found this one to be of the highest quality and they last a LONG time. Josh and I use the adult Radius toothbrushes, too.

**Willow has been using an electric toothbrush to brush her teeth and continues to use a small soft brush for her gums (either Radius or one of the bamboo options on the market). We no longer use this toothpaste – ever since early spring we made the switch to using Living Libations Wild Child Happy Gum Drops. Can be purchased through Living Libations, The Raw Food World, or Amazon. 

Willow Essentials (baby and toddler) // Be Sol-Ful

Willow Essentials (baby and toddler) // Be Sol-Ful

Jack ‘N’ Jill toothpaste in Black Currant & Blueberry flavors. Natural and organic.

While I believe the sun is our friend and it’s the ideal way to get your Vitamin D, I also know that you should protect yourself during longer periods outdoors. The sun is powerful and skin damage (or cancer) is a very real thing. If we’re only going to be outside for 20-30 minutes, I personally do not bother with sunscreen. When we’re going out for a long hike or an adventure at the coast, we make sure to pack our non-toxic sunscreen. After a lot of research and reading tons of labels, this is the brand we chose for Willow last summer. I always refer to EWG for sunscreen updates – here is a link to their 2014 guide to sunscreens – their 2015 guide should be available soon. We chose All Good by Elemental Herbs because it didn’t have a high SPF, it didn’t contain oxybenzone or retinyl palmitate, it contained non-nanoparticle zinc oxide, it was GMO-free, gluten-free, vegan, NO parabens or phthalates and it was a “broad spectrum” sunscreen – meaning it protects against UVB and UVA radiation. EWG goes into more detail in their guide about what to avoid in a sunscreen, so please visit the link above.

http://www.elementalherbs.com/all-good-sunscreen/

Willow Essentials (baby and toddler) // Be Sol-Ful

 

Now this isn’t an actual “essential” but it’s something we love and it comes in handy for travel…we’re hoping to use it this summer for camping. Josh and I bought To-Go Ware utensils many years ago while at the Green Festival in Chicago and we LOVE them. They’re made from bamboo and are extremely durable. We take them on picnics, hikes, road trips and general travel. I’m trying to make a better habit of keeping my set in my purse. According to the To-Go Ware website:

  • “Each year, Americans toss out enough single use plastic utensils to circle the equator 300 times.”
  • “Plastic cutlery is non-biodegradable. Worldcentric.org estimates 40 billion plastic utensils are used in just the United States. The majority of these are thrown out after just one use.”
  • “The world produces about 225 million tons of plastic annually and nearly every piece of plastic ever made still exists today.”

This past Christmas, we ordered Willow a set of her own (which doesn’t include chopsticks like the adult set does) and it includes a small spoon, fork and “knife” – the case/holder comes in a variety of colors, but we chose pink. You can find these sets at Whole Foods, Natural Grocers and various online stores – we got ours through Herbivore Clothing while we were ordering other gifts. I love this company for a number of reasons, but here is their “Product Commitment”:

BPA-FREE & PHTHALATE-FREE

NONALLERGENIC

REUSABLE & PORTABLE

SUSTAINABLE MATERIALS

ZERO WASTE

To learn more about To-Go Ware, please visit the link above!

Willow Essentials (baby and toddler) // Be Sol-Ful

Willow Essentials (baby and toddler) // Be Sol-Ful

I know some people will disagree, but we firmly believe in giving Willow a multivitamin. If your child eats well, gets all of his/her vitamins through food, then I applaud you! Willow is down right finicky. When we first started her on solid foods, she ate whatever we put in front of her – it was amazing. Sadly, that changed as she got older and now she is very particular with the foods she eats. We make sure to always provide options, but do not believe in forcing her to eat her veggies, as that will only make matters worse. So, we started using Dr. Fuhrman’s Pixie Vites a couple of years ago. We would add one little scoop into her smoothies and she would get her daily dose of vitamins. When we hit the colder months, smoothies were less frequent and it was harder to “sneak” those vitamins in. After lots of research, I decided to buy Garden of Life’s Vitamin Code Kids (chewable multivitamin). The serving says two bears, but we give her one a day.

Here is why we chose both the Pixie Vites and Vitamin Code vitamins:

  • No synthetic folic acid – both use REAL folate from food.
  • No vitamin A or Beta-carotene.
  • No vitamin E
  • No selenium
  • No iron and copper
  • No added sugar
  • Free from common allergens: soy, gluten, dairy, eggs, wheat, corn, nuts.
  • No synthetic dyes.
  • No artificial flavoring.

For more information on ingredients to avoid and why, please visit the link below:

http://www.drfuhrman.com/library/mulitvitamins-ingredients-to-avoid.aspx

Willow Essentials (baby and toddler) // Be Sol-Ful

Some other items that we found helpful and used regularly were:

  • EcoJarz lid and straw – great for our morning smoothies
  • GaiaKids Sniffle Support Herbal Drops – for congestion during allergy season.
  • Amber necklace – Willow has been wearing one 24/7 since she was four months old. It has helped tremendously with teething pain.
  • Lavender essential oil – we use a few drops in her bath on occasion, diffuse it at bedtime, or apply it directly to help calm a fussy mood.
  • Inglesina Table Chair – we used this for about a year and loved it! Great for travel and Willow enjoyed it because she was sitting right at the table with us. It took up very little space compared to the bulky high chairs. We stopped using it several months ago as she now sits in a regular chair.

I’m positive that I’m forgetting something, so I’ll be sure to update this post when I think of other items. I hope this was helpful to some of you!

Thanks for stopping by!