February 2017 Favorites

Happy March, my friends! We’re getting that much closer to SPRING and I’m ready for it. I feel like this has been the hardest winter I’ve had in a long time and I know there are quite a few of you feeling the same way. BUT on a major positive note…our snow has melted!!!! Do you know how amazing it feels to actually be able to see the ground again???

Highlights from the month:

– If you read my post from last month (or follow me on Instagram) you know that I held a weekend long promotion to raise money for ACLU (50% of my sales)….I was able to donate $100 thanks to YOU! And a HUGE thanks for all of the wonderful feedback – it warms my heart to hear that you’re enjoying everything!

February 2017 Favorites

– Going on a little Valentine’s Day tea date with Josh and pulling over like a tourist to stop and take in the gorgeous view. Those snow covered mountains never get old.

– Turning 38! I’m feeling really good about this year and I’m excited to see what’s in store.

– Chopping off a foot of my hair to donate to Children with Hair Loss (CWHL)! I’ve done hair donation quite a bit, but this is my first time to this organization. I learned the truth about Locks of Love and will never donate to them again. CWHL is a non-profit organization that provides wigs to children (with medically related hair loss) at NO COST. I highly recommend checking them out if you’re planning on cutting your long hair!

– Finishing two big puzzles with Willow (1,000 piece puzzles). This kid is addicted and REALLY good!


– Doing another big round of decluttering! I even asked Willow if she would be up for donating some of her things…she surprised me by overflowing TWO boxes! So now we’re looking into where to donate some gently used stuffed animals, clothes, books, and games. Willow is excited for another boy or girl to enjoy her things…proud mama over here!

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F E B R U A R Y  FAVORITES >>

P R O D U C T S:

TURMERIC CHAI>> Mountain Rose Herbs® >> I adore Mountain Rose Herbs for so many reasons and I even use quite a few of their products to make the items in my Etsy shop. I love that they offer high quality & organic ingredients…and it feels good to support another Oregon company. OK, but moving on to this tea! It’s no secret that I love chai and I LOVE turmeric, so it was a given that I’d eventually give this tea a try! It’s been so perfect for these chilly, windy, winter days. I love to heat up a bit of coconut milk to add to this, along with a small drizzle of maple syrup – it makes a creamy, slightly spicy drink that warms you to the core. Next time I’ll be sure to order a bigger box!

February 2017 Favorites

CASSAVA & CHIA AMAZING GRAIN-FREE TORTILLAS >> SIETE >> I’ve walked by these tortillas every Monday for the last few months, but never bothered to buy them because I was avoiding seeds. BUT I’m SO happy to report that I’ve been able to add in small amounts of nuts and seeds…small amounts, but I’ll take it! So a couple weeks ago I finally splurged and bought a pack to celebrate (they’re $8.99 for a pack of 8). THEY. ARE. AMAZING!!! Not only do they hold up really well, but I love the flavor and texture. I used them to make roasted veggie wraps and salad wraps. They won’t be a weekly buy as they are really pricey, but as an every now and again treat, I think they’re perfect. I love the “clean” ingredient list and they contain ZERO gums or citric acid. They offer an almond flour pack, but they do contain xanthan gum and steer clear of the coconut wraps as they contain pork lard. I buy them from Natural Grocers, but most Whole Foods carries them as well.

February 2017 Favorites
Oh! And their Sea Salt Grain Free Tortilla Chips are THE BEST! So light, airy, crispy and perfect for salsa or nachos. I’m the only grain-free person in my household, but we’ve really cut back on grains as a family, too – so these are a wonderful substitute (but pricier than your average bag of tortilla chips). We get them from Whole Foods for about $5.99/bag.

February 2017 Favorites

GREEN CHILE GUACAMOLE >> HOPE FOODS >> We have had THE worst luck with avocados these last few weeks…no matter where we purchased them from. I haven’t given up yet, but with the increasing price of avocados…some places charging $2.49 for ONE, I’ve made them a limited buy…or I make Josh pick them up from work because if do get a bunch of bad ones, we can return them. But I digress. I found this guacamole on sale at Natural Grocers one day and picked it up to go with our veggie wraps. Huge hit! When we used to buy store-bought hummus, we loved to get anything from Hope Foods, so I knew that their guacamole would be delicious. For being pre-made, it had a really nice fresh flavor with a bit of a kick to it. I’d definitely buy it again!

 

GARLIC DILL PICKLE GUT SHOTS >> FARMHOUSE CULTURE >> Who loves dill pickles?? If you don’t, then keep scrolling. But if you do, then definitely give this a try! We are a garlic obsessed house and we love pickles, so Josh and I decided to pick this up one day. Not going to lie, it really does taste like you’re drinking pickle juice, BUT it’s super smooth and really flavorful. We’ve been on a pretty heavy sauerkraut kick – something about that tangy zip – so this has been a wonderful addition. We’ve been doing two shots a day. We found this at Natural Grocers for $4.99/bottle.

February 2017 Favorites
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R E C I P E S:

I know that last month I said that I was hoping to share more recipes for this post, but I only have two to share! We’ve really simplified our eating and tend to stick to raw or roasted veggies of some sort, salads, and soups…and LOTS of potatoes. Eating this way has helped stick to our grocery budget and we work more with things we have on hand, as opposed to buying a bunch of things for just one recipe. Hopefully in the future I’ll have more favorites to share here, but for now, with my restricted diet, we stick to our simple, go-to meals.

RAW VEGAN CHOCOLATE CHEESECAKE >> EATING VIBRANTLY >> I made this for my birthday and not only did I love it, but my entire family raved about it! Super easy to throw together, short ingredient list, and free from things I’m avoiding…so no fussing over substitutes.  We described it as more of a mousse cake as opposed to an actual cheesecake, but it was amazing nonetheless. The directions said to let it sit in the fridge, but I found that allowing it to set in the freezer worked better as it firmed up a bit more. It was super rich, decadent, and not overly sweet, which was nice. It used raw cacao butter and coconut milk instead of the usual cashews, so it was easier on my tummy.

February 2017 Favorites

CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE DOUGH BITS >> FEASTING ON FRUIT >>  When I got the email for this recipe and saw that it takes just a few minutes to make, I jumped into the kitchen and whipped it up! Natalie’s recipe calls for oat flour, but I used tigernut flour instead to keep it grain-free. Willow and I have been enjoying it straight out of the container and sprinkled on top of a smoothie bowl or banana ice cream. Little chewy, sweet bits of deliciousness and without the guilt! I’m planning on making the oatmeal that Natalie posted (HERE) for Willow once I get or make some cashew butter.

February 2017 Favorites
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B O O K S:

The Inner Voice of Love by Henri J.M. Nouwen

The Dark Side of the Light Chasers by Debbie Ford

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So tell me…what were some of your favorite things from February?! Did you try any new products? Make any new recipes? Read any share-worthy books?? I’d love to hear! Or have you been (binge)watching any shows on Netflix?? I finally finished The Office a couple of weeks ago and cried. Such a great show and a wonderful distraction from all the depressing news in the world.

Thanks for stopping by!

 

REVIEW: July Favorites

Hello, friends and happy August! I think this is my first favorites post that doesn’t include recipes…we’ve been living on smoothies and salads this summer, so that has meant going back to the basics AND no oven use. My list of “need to try” recipes continues to grow and I’m pretty sure come fall, I’ll be excited to jump in the kitchen to try new recipes!

Speaking of recipes, I only got around to sharing one new creation (pancakes) last month from my kitchen, but I’ve got more coming in the next couple of weeks!

July was a month of travel, new journeys, household projects (when our BIG project is complete, I might have to share about it in a separate blog post), running trials for products for my Etsy shop, trying LOTS of new-to-me products, and reading several books…although not all of them made their way here since I didn’t fall in love with them.

Oh! And we also celebrated our seventh wedding anniversary in July – I’m in shock at how fast the years are flying by!

Before I dive into my favorite products and books, here are some of my favorite photos from last month:

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A trip to Whole Foods isn’t complete without trying on hats and reading through cards…

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The view on our hike around Todd Lake – one of our favorite spots:

Todd Lake

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J U L Y  F A V O R I T E S

PRODUCTS:

As always, links are provided when available, in bold italics.

NUCO >> Nucoconut Organic Coconut Vinegar (Garlic) >>  One word…obsessed!!! While in Vermont, we found this coconut vinegar in a few flavor options, but we chose to buy garlic. I whipped up a quick salad dressing using this with raw tahini and loved it so much that not only did we make it every day, but we also had to pack it in our suitcase to come home! Only two ingredients: organic coconut sap vinegar, organic garlic – it’s tangy like apple cider vinegar, but it’s packed with amino acids, vitamins, and minerals.

REVIEW: July Favorites

REBEL KITCHEN COCONUT MYLK (Chocolate and Chai) >> Over the last couple of years I’ve seen people post photos of these, but haven’t seen them in stores near us…well, wouldn’t you know, we found them in Vermont! We don’t buy store-bought milks anymore due to ingredients we avoid (xanthan gum, carrageenan, refined sugar, fortified with folic acid, etc.), but guess what? They’re date-sweetened AND zero gums! Yay! Willow and I loved the flavor and the sweetness level was perfect – my only complaint was finding little clumps of coconut, but that was remedied by more shaking or you could blend it up. Reminded me a little of our other favorite store-bought treat (Rebbl drinks) as that same issue can occasionally occur…but that’s because they don’t contain gums or weird preservatives.

Here’s the ingredient list for the Chai Coconut Mylk:

Spring water, organic coconut milk (11%), organic date nectar, organic cacao, organic cinnamon, organic cardamom, organic turmeric.

REVIEW: July Favorites

búcha® live kombucha >> I failed to take a photo of any of the bottles we consumed, but we found these at the local grocery store in Randolph, Vermont and fell in love! We tried: Guava Mango, Blood Orange, Grapefruit Sage, and Raspberry Pomegranate…our absolute favorite flavor was Blood Orange!

THE RAW FOOD WORLD >> UNFORTIFIED NUTRITIONAL YEAST >> I cannot even begin to tell you how excited I was to get the email that The Raw Food World started carrying unfortified nutritional yeast! Even better…it’s part of the ‘At-Cost’ specials, so we got an awesome deal. Almost every store-bought nutritional yeast is fortified with synthetic ingredients and since many of you ask where we purchase our unfortified option, here’s yet another place to buy it. Unfortified has a MUCH cleaner flavor and it’s SO much safer for consumption.

REVIEW: July Favorites

BEARDED BROTHERS >> MEGA MACA CHOCOLATE ENERGY BAR >> Before we flew to Vermont, I placed a Vitacost order to be shipped to my in-laws house and this was one of the new items we decided to try. I shared this with Willow and we both really enjoyed it! If it wasn’t so pricey, I would go back and order a bunch to have on hand for those hangry moments. The texture was perfect and I love that the first ingredient is dates, followed by nuts, superfoods, and zero refined sugar. Definitely one of the few bars I feel good about giving to Willow.

REVIEW: July Favorites

KING ARTHUR ALMOND FLOUR >> I found this randomly at Target a few weeks ago and it has become my absolute favorite option for almond flour! The package says super finely ground and seeing as I’ve tried pretty much every option out there, this is hands down the finest almond flour I’ve used…I don’t even have to break up any large clumps.

You can also purchase it via Amazon (link above).

REVIEW: July Favorites

STAR WARS PRESCHOOL WORKBOOKS (3-PACK)>> We found these at Costco just before we left for Vermont and Willow had to have them. As a parent (and homeschooling mom) I LOVE these! For a four-year-old, Star Wars obsessed kid, they’re PERFECT! Willow is in heaven and these have made learning SO much fun. While she is above (hope that doesn’t come off as elitist!) the majority of the content, these workbooks have helped her to fine-tune her form.  I highly recommend checking out a Costco near you because you’ll save some money buying them in a three pack as opposed to individually via Amazon. They also offer higher level workbooks for older kids.

REVIEW: July Favorites

SOULFUL BODY >> SOLAR PLEXUS CHAKRA ANOINTING OIL >> I’m serious when I say this is like sunshine in a bottle! The color – the warm, happy scent – it leaves me with a sense of confidence + peace. The blend of peppermint, rosemary, and lemongrass is gentle, yet powerful! I’ve been applying it to my wrists throughout the day. I love that there is a golden quartz crystal inside this beautiful bottle. I received this inside a Goddess Provisions box, but you can purchase it via Etsy in the link I’ve provided above.

REVIEW: July Favorites

INSTANT POT >> Did any of you grab a hold of any deals on Prime Day?! I literally squealed when I got the email that the Instant Pot was available for only $69!!! Total steal! It’s been on our house wish list forever so we immediately ordered one…I think Willow’s face sums it up 🙂 Hello to soup in a flash, dried beans cooking faster, and busy days made simpler.

REVIEW: July Favorites

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BOOKS:

SOUL VOWS by Janet Conner

BE WHAT YOU WISH by Neville Goddard 

THE UNLIMITED SELF: DESTROY LIMITING BELIEFS, UNCOVER GREATNESS, AND LIVE THE GOOD LIFE by Jonathan Heston 

Josh and I ordered these two books (links below) for Willow off of Amazon to bring on our trip to Vermont…both are beautiful and send positive messages to kiddos. I highly recommend them!

UNSTOPPABLE ME! 10 WAYS TO SOAR THROUGH LIFE by Dr. Wayne W. Dyer

DREAMS COME TRUE ALL THEY NEED IS YOU! by Mike Dooley

REVIEW: July Favorites

As usual, I would LOVE to hear from you! Did you try any new products? Read any great books? Watch anything exciting on Netflix? Speaking of Netflix…have you seen the series Stranger Things?! Oh, man. Josh and I just started it and it’s taking every ounce of willpower not to binge watch it!

Thanks for stopping by!

REVIEW: May Favorites

Hello, friends!! I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday weekend! Did you get up to anything exciting?! We had a pretty low-key weekend which was nice compared to the month or so we’ve been having. Managed to get out on some hikes during the month of May and just spend time together as a family.

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I can’t believe I’m sharing this photo because I am a bit horrified at how I look, but a random stranger offered to take a pic of the three of us….a rare moment!

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For those who were unaware or don’t follow me on Instagram, we were really struggling with our dog Abbey’s health. Six vet visits, x-rays, a few urine analysis, acupuncture, switching vets, herbal supplements, urine culture AND we still don’t have a definitive answer. We made the switch to a local holistic vet because our old one was insanely quick to prescribe medication without knowing what was wrong….not our lifestyle. This new vet is a breath of fresh air! You see, Abbey has been peeing and leaking all over the house. The cleanup and laundry has been absolutely exhausting (round the clock) and not to mention heartbreaking because we just want to see her happy and healthy. All of her tests have come back negative – no infection, so we are left to believe that she is an older dog with incontinence. Since we had exhausted all of our holistic/herbal options, we have moved to a low dose of prescribed medication to treat incontinence…so far we’re seeing improvement! Fingers crossed things continue to look up. It’s also been hard because since we rescued her last January, we don’t know anything about her history other than she is 11 years old. So all of this combined with a few other stressful events, I’m ready for a new month!

But this post is about my FAVORITES! So let’s move on to happier, fun things! Thanks for reading my rambling thoughts!

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M A Y   F A V O R I T E S:

Randomness:

Before I dive in, I just have to share a quote with you that really hit home and inspired me. Do you subscribe to Ruby Roth‘s newsletter? If you do, I apologize for repeating something you already read, but if not, here’s some words of wisdom:

I painted this piece during a tumultuous period in my life, when the idea of surrendering to the chaos with quiet abandon—rather than fighting it—brought a sense of calm over me. They say it’s when you step off the tightrope and stop trying to maintain balance that one finds relief.

And for the last month or so, Willow and I have been obsessed with watching videos from this YouTube channel…totally NOT vegan, but you can absolutely appreciate her mad talent!

PRODUCTS:

ORGANIC (HEMP) NUT MILK BAG >> I purchased this bag a few months ago after my favorite bag finally broke and I’ll be honest…the first few times I used this hemp bag, I didn’t like it. It took more arm work and time to squeeze the pulp, but it produced the cleanest milk I’ve ever made. I ended up purchasing a couple of other bags (not hemp) just after this one and all of them bust open…none of them were as sturdy and strong as this hemp one! Now, a few months later, it’s been broken in and gets used 2-3 times a week AND it’s still going strong! A lot of nut milk bags contain chemicals or are bleached, but not this one – which leaves you with the best tasting milk. With the bag being a super fine mesh, you won’t get any pulp sneaking into your milk after being strained. Another thing I LOVE about this bag is the size! It’s a lot bigger than any nut milk bag I’ve ever had.

I do “sterilize” it after every 3-4 uses by putting it in boiling water for a few minutes. Super easy to clean, too!

REVIEW: May Favorites

NEROLI TONING MIST >> ANNMARIE GIANNI >> If you’ve been following my blog, you’ve probably heard me mention Annmarie Gianni’s products! Well, I have a new favorite! This Neroli Toning Mist is going to be my go-to this summer because a couple of sprays leaves your face feeling cool + refreshed! I use it after washing my face with her Aloe-Herb Facial Cleanser and then apply a moisturizer.

INTENTIONAL WEAR | SPIRIT ANIMAL | EAGLE™ >> ROOT FOOT >> This delightful little bottle came in my May Goddess Provisions box and it was instant love! Literally all of my favorites in one convenient bottle: Made with Pure Organic & Wildcrafted Essential Oils with Organic Jojoba: Cedarwood, Palo Santo, Geranium, Sweet Orange, Cinnamon Leaf. Heaven. I love how delicate, yet powerful this blend is – it’s not strong in scent like your typical bottle of perfume, but rather a subtle “made-just-for-you” kind of scent. Eagle is for Perspective, Spiritual Awareness, & Leadership. I want to try so many of their products, but I think I’ll definitely order Mountain Lion™  as it is for Assertiveness, Personal Power & Strength. If you believe in the healing powers of essential oils, I highly recommend checking out Root Foot!

REVIEW: May Favorites

RECIPES WE TRIED AND LOVED:

I don’t have many to share with you since I spent a lot of time fine-tuning my own and making repeats, such as:

The Vegan 8’s Mexican Tahini Sauce

Feasting on Fruit’s Mint Chocolate Chunk Nicecream

Vegetarian Gastronomy’s Vegan Cucumber Ranch

and

Peanut Butter & Vegan’s Red Velvet Smoothie

you can find photos and full reviews in previous Favorites posts!

Here are two new ones we tried in the month of May:

VEGAN QUESO BLANCO DIP (WHITE CHEESE) >> VEGGIES DON’T BITE >> Run, don’t walk, to the store and grab any missing ingredients and make this NOW! OMG. We made this in the beginning of May, just before my fully raw week. I looooooooved this dip so much and the possibilities were endless as to what to pair it with. I dipped pretty much any veggie (raw and cooked) we had on hand in it, ate it with roasted oil-free potato wedges, and used the leftovers by tossing it with gluten-free noodles. Since I knew Willow wouldn’t eat it, I didn’t hold back on the spice level and I absolutely loved the tang and spice of this dip!

REVIEW: May Favorites

ZUCCHINI CARAMEL NICECREAM >> from @viedelavegan‘s book HIDE & SEEK VEGETABLES >> I learned about Kyra through one of my favorite people (Natalie of Feasting on Fruit) and when I heard that she was coming out with an ebook with all sorts of hidden veggie recipes, you better believe I downloaded it right away! The photographs are gorgeous and the recipes are all oil-free, plant-based, and have a super short ingredient list! My eye was immediately drawn to this Zucchini Caramel Nicecream recipe because we LOVE zucchini and anything caramel-y. I made it for breakfast one morning and again the following day because it was SO good! The zucchini goes completely undetected and adds more creaminess with the bananas. Veggies for breakfast?! Yes, please! Almost all of the recipes are gluten-free, if I recall, there’s one that uses spelt flour…but the rest are gluten-free.

REVIEW: May Favorites

BOOKS I READ & LOVED: 

I spent the month of May rereading some thought-provoking books (Light is the New Black and Medical Medium) and here are two quick-read fiction books that I really enjoyed:

THE ORPHAN QUEEN by JODI MEADOWS

INCARNATE by JODI MEADOWS

 

BOOKS I READ & LOVED WITH WILLOW: 

Every couple of weeks we take Willow to the library so she can pick out some books to bring home…we leave with a big bag full and some of them are real gems…here are the ones we both adored:

TELL ME A TATTOO STORY by ALISON McGHEE

MAPLE by LORI NICHOLS

MAPLE & WILLOW TOGETHER by LORI NICHOLS

MAPLE & WILLOW APART by LORI NICHOLS

DANDELIONS by KATRINA McKELVEY

MUMMIES in the MORNING (Magic Tree House #3) by MARY POPE OSBORNE

Here is a book we purchased a hard copy of via Amazon and it is WONDERFUL! Filled with awesome ideas and projects to make the outdoors even more fun!

A LITTLE BIT OF DIRT: 55+ SCIENCE and ART ACTIVITIES TO RECONNECT CHILDREN WITH NATURE by ASIA CITRO

 

As always, I’d love to hear what some of your favorites are! Any new products? Books?

Thanks for stopping by!