October 2017 Favorites

Hello, friends!! Happy November!

Good news…I’m typing most of this from our computer (cue happy dancing)! Bad news….I can’t upload photos to the computer, so we’re dealing with low quality phone pics again, but hey, I’ll take what I can get!


Before I dive into the highlights and favorites from October, I wanted to share a quick story. About a month ago, I received an email from WordPress telling me that the card they have on file expired and that I needed to update it if I wanted to renew my site. At that point, I was on the fence about where I was headed – I was in the middle of debating whether or not to continue writing in this space. You see, I was feeling a bit lost, unworthy, and unmotivated (in regards to this blog). Definitely not a good place to be. One night, before bed, I asked for a sign to tell me what I should do. The next morning I woke up to two new subscribers to this little blog of mine and took that as my sign to continue here for the time being. SO, thank you, to those two new subscribers. I was surprised to see that, considering I’ve only published two posts over the course of six months. I’ve renewed my site for the next year and I guess we’ll see what happens. My hope is that I’ll feel more motivated to actually share some of the recipes I’ve created over these last several months! I really do love to write and have done a lot of it outside of this space, but I think it just took some time and gentle reminders from friends as to why I even started this blog. Thank you to those who continue to read my rambles and support me here, it really does mean a lot. ❤

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OCTOBER FAVORITES:


ZUCCA SPICE >> Osmia Organics | Artisanal Soap >> My friend, Jen, sent me a beautiful ‘Happy Autumn’ box and in it was this delicious bar of soap. I almost didn’t want to use it because it was so perfectly and wonderfully packaged AND I wanted to be able to smell it forever! But I’m using it and loving it…A LOT. It’s incredibly creamy with a gentle lather and doesn’t leave a perfume-y, intoxicating scent on your skin. The aroma is warm and cozy in the shower (literally screams Autumn…kinda like pumpkin spice latte meets the woods) and you’re left with soft, happy skin. It looks like they’re all sold out of Zucca Spice, but I’ve got my eye on a few other scents!

October 2017 Favorites // Be Sol-Ful Living
CHEWY CHOCOLATE BROWNIE COOKIES >> Feasting on Fruit >> Willow had been asking to make these ever since I showed her Natalie’s video…and since it involved a lot of chocolate, she was super happy to help make them! We skipped the walnuts (since we’re avoiding them for Willow) and ours didn’t turn out nearly as dark as Natalie’s, BUT they tasted delicious! Definitely brownie-like, chewy, fudgy, and not overly sweet.


CINNAMON STREUSEL ZUCCHINI BREAD >> Feasting on Fruit >> We made this not once, not twice, BUT THREE TIMES!!! It’s seriously that good. So good that we shared some of the second loaf with friends (non vegan) and they all asked for the recipe. I think this is my favorite recipe of Natalie’s…and I’ve made quite a few of her creations, so that’s saying a lot! If you were to offer me something chocolatey or a slice of this zucchini bread, I would take the bread every time. I loved lightly reheating a slice in the oven to go with my tea and I’m not ashamed to admit that I ate some for breakfast one morning with Willow.

October 2017 Favorites // Be Sol-Ful Living

October 2017 Favorites // Be Sol-Ful Living

TRADER JOE’S VEGAN KALE CASHEW & BASIL PESTO >> Josh brought this home from work a couple of weeks ago and it has become our new favorite! Yes, I know we could make our own, but when a store carries a legit pre-packaged item (no citric acid, sugar, gums, etc.), I like to support that. It tastes super fresh and packs a lot of flavor. We even got Willow to eat some, which is huge. Things we’ve tried it with: Simple Mills crackers, fresh veggies, Trader Joe’s lentil noodles, potatoes, and homemade pizza.

October 2017 Favorites // Be Sol-Ful Living

TESSEMAE’S ORGANIC KETCHUP >> I feel so silly for putting store bought ketchup on my favorites list, BUT it’s seriously good. I’m all about making things from scratch, but I’m always on the hunt for healthy, convenient options when you’re in a pinch. Most store bought ketchups contain sugar, citric acid, and other random additives that we avoid….So I was excited to find an alternative that was free from all of that! It’s sweetened with dates, but doesn’t taste like dates – I promise. I don’t use ketchup very often, but Josh and I were talking about it randomly one day and suddenly craved it! I’ve been loving it with roasted potato wedges. I found it in the refrigerated section at Natural Grocers.

October 2017 Favorites

Easy DIY Halloween Luminaries >> This was such a FUN craft to do with Willow!!! She even asked to make a couple for her favorite Natural Grocers and Whole Foods employees ❤ Be prepared though to get sticky and messy! The YouTube video is insanely cute and worth the watch. We bought some of those LED tea lights from the dollar store, repurposed some tomato sauce and salsa jars, and found tissue paper on sale…so this was a really inexpensive project!

They look more yellow (as opposed to orange) in the photo below, but I think it’s because of the yellow tea light inside the jar.


INSIGHT TIMER >> I’ve been working a lot more with focusing on my personal path, digging deep, and letting go of the things hindering my growth. One of the things that has helped tremendously is the free app, Insight Timer. There are countless guided meditations, talks, and music for various areas (sleep, inspiration, calming, refocus, etc.). I try to take time to listen to music or a guided mediation twice a day and I’ve noticed tremendous change in my overall attitude and well-being. The best part is that even Willow asks to listen to some of the sessions (she loves the singing bowls most). There was a period of time last month where I was struggling with insomnia and the sleep meditations really helped to calm my mind and get me ready to sleep. I highly recommend it!

OUR ANNUAL ADVENTURE TO DEVILS LAKE! This is about an hour away from us and we love to go before they close access for the winter. We weren’t prepared for as much snow and hiked to the lake in regular hiking shoes (Willow wore rain boots) and forgot our gloves at home! But there is nothing better than being surrounded by tall trees, fresh snow, and stillness. The only noise is from the gentle rippling stream and an occasional bird. Absolute peace. Here are some of my favorite photos from the day:



VEGAN CREAM CHEESE ALFREDO >> The Vegan 8 >> Brandi does it again! Another delicious (almost drinkable) sauce that I want to put on everything. She’s kind of the queen of heavenly sauces – I had already made her garlic afredo sauce from a few years ago and loved it, so I already knew that I was going to really enjoy this one! Brandi is so good about seasonings and flavor and she’s taught me to have a heavier hand when it comes to using spices/herbs…a tablespoon of dried Italian herbs in this recipe was so perfect. Incredibly creamy, rich, and went so well with everything I paired it with! The first night we poured some over cauliflower and purple sweet potato. The next night I dipped roasted potato wedges in it. SO GOOD!

October 2017 Favorites
October 2017 Favorites

ROASTED BUTTERNUT SQUASH ICE CREAM >> Feasting on Fruit >> Natalie has introduced me to a new favorite way to use roasted butternut squash! My brain always goes to soup – in fact, we’ve made butternut squash soup at least four times this season already. So when I saw this new recipe waiting for me in my inbox from Natalie, I was intrigued. Roasted butternut is the way to go – roasting brings out the flavor and natural sweetness of this divine squash. It’s what we do for soup, so it made perfect sense to me to roast it up for this delicious ice cream! And oh, goodness. It WAS delicious! So cinnamon-y, creamy, sweet, and she was right when she said, “cold + cozy.” We topped ours with extra (lots of extra) cinnamon and chopped pecans. I can’t wait to make it again!

October 2017 Favorites

HOLIDAY CHEERS >> HEALTH-ADE KOMBUCHA >> I found it! I finally found it!!! And I know it’s not the holiday season just yet, but I couldn’t resist. Thank you, Whole Foods, for carrying this!! I tried finding it last year, but didn’t have any luck. This is definitely one of my top 3 brands because the sugar content is super low….this entire bottle has 4g. I love the cozy, but not overpowering flavor (ginger + cacao + allspice) and slight sweetness. I think I need to stock up on more next shopping trip!

October 2017 Favorites
 
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BOOKS:

Here is what I read and loved from mid-September through October! (Not pictured: Braving the Wilderness by Brené Brown – I loaned my copy to my Mom). I HIGHLY recommend reading it.

October 2017 Favorites
I read Light is the New Black for the third time and I swear it helps to refocus and recenter me every time. I know I’ll read it again and again.

I also wrapped up A Court of Thorns and Roses series and just, wow. I was SO sad to finish it and even struggled to get into another book afterwards because Maas did such an amazing job sucking me into the world and its characters.


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Have you watched anything good lately??? It’s been a few months since I’ve watched anything on Netflix or really anything besides an occasional YouTube video, but last week my parents watched Willow for a few hours so Josh and I could start the second season of Stranger Things! Gah!!!! It is so good. We’re hoping to finish it up this week or next.

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I’ll leave you with this photo of my little Wonder Woman ❤

She only knows about Wonder Woman through reading books and has become obsessed with her…so it was no surprise to us when she asked to get a Wonder Woman costume.


I hope you all have a wonderful November!

Thanks for stopping by!

Summer Favorites 2017

**I meant to share this post a couple of weeks ago, but apparently forgot to schedule it!**

Hello, everyone! It has been quite some time since I’ve written anything in this space – and I’ve attempted a few times to sit down and pour out some words…only to delete it all. It was a heavy summer filled with loss, hard times, and frustration and the fact that our computer is on its last leg didn’t help much. Yep, I’m typing this post from my phone…totally not fun, but it’s helping to force me to let go of “perfection.” All photos in this post were taken with my iPhone and aren’t edited. These words were typed in the middle of the night because I couldn’t sleep. 

{{I’m dedicating this post to Jen, one of my best friends. Thank you for always inspiring me and pushing me in ways you will probably never realize…I don’t think I will ever be able to fully express my gratitude.}}

This was definitely not a normal summer for us – usually we went on a new (or revisited an old favorite) hike each week, but with all of the wildfires, we were forced to stay indoors for most of it to spare our lungs.

BUT it’s officially Autumn and I couldn’t be more excited. I’m ready to pull out the heavy blankets, cozy sweaters, and let go of summer. I’m ready to welcome change in every sense of the word. Before I say goodbye to summer, I wanted to share a quick…or not so quick recap of my favorites!

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**If you’re used to reading my “favorites” posts, you’ll know they’re always organized by products, recipes, etc – this post is not. I’ve compiled my favorites here in the order they happened or when they were tried. If I continue with these posts, I’ll definitely go back to a more organized fashion! Hopefully by then our computer will be nicer to me!

SUMMER FAVORITES 2017

We flew to Vermont in June to spend a couple of weeks with Josh’s family and to get away from tourist crazy Bend! Felt good to visit with everyone. While there, we took a road trip to Rhode Island to spend a day with Jen and Tyler!!! (Seriously my favorite people) It’s truly incredible to spend time with people who just get you. Conversations flow and it’s definitely nice to not have to explain your reasoning behind certain choices (lifestyle, diet, etc) because for the most part, our values align. It’s a beautiful thing and I’m grateful to have them in my life.


Playing KUBB with Josh’s family! Even Willow got into it! If you haven’t played this lawn game, definitely check it out! Loads of fun!

Spending a couple of hours at The Montshire Museum of Science in Vermont. It’s amazing to watch your child light up with excitement to learn. I think she needs a microscope for Christmas…she literally spent 30+min using it!


Another highlight….FINALLY getting to meet Jen and Mike (and Eily + Taco) in real life! They came through Bend in July and we got to spend a few days with them. Feels like we’ve been friends forever and I know we will be. If you’re not familiar with their Etsy shop, Compassionate Paws, definitely check them out. 


Teaching Willow how to play UNO. Let’s just say there were a few days of nonstop games. So fun!

Josh and I celebrated our 8th wedding anniversary with a hike! My parents were so kind to spend the day with Willow while we finally got to complete this gorgeous hike at Clear Lake.

While in Rhode Island, Jen sent us home with some goodies and this tea became my favorite. I loved it so much that I shared some with my Mom. 

Vegan Lemon Sauce with Basil >> The Vegan 8 >> Yet another fantastic recipe from Brandi! So rich in flavor with the perfect lemon tang and the basil is a lovely addition. We used potato noodles (made with our spiralizer) instead of edamame noodles. I used leftover sauce on roasted veggies the following day. SO good!

FERRERAW ROCHERS >> @mindful_moose eBook >>  Jess and I have been long time friends on Instagram and I was so excited when she released this beauty of a book! Lots of delicious recipes. It’s no surprise that our first choice was a decadent chocolate recipe. Willow and I had a blast making these and my entire family approved!

CRISPY ROASTED CURRIED CAULIFLOWER >> @thefitforkfeed >> Lindsay shares my love for cauliflower and curry so I obviously jumped on this recipe as soon as she shared it on her page!! She shares a lot of amazing recipes within her posts on IG – I would highly recommend giving her a “follow!”

Oh!

And Wildbrine’s fermented Sriracha! We love how it’s raw and doesn’t contain things like citric acid, “natural flavors,” sugar, etc. It tastes SO fresh!

Poor photo, but I can’t say it enough, I wish everyone would watch this documentary! Such an eye opener and I really enjoyed the variety of doctors interviewed and how it didn’t feel like a preachy film. I learned a lot!

Watching the solar eclipse with Willow and my Dad! Thanks, Mom, for making that awesome setup for Willow to ease my worried mind!

MAPLE WALNUT CREAM CHEESE >> Veggie Inspired Journey >> I could cry. The photo somehow got erased from my phone!! But if you click HERE, I’m hoping you can see the photo I posted on IG. This was a huge family hit (entire family, including my Oma). We paired it with banana bread and Willow ate a good bit by the spoonful! Haha!

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Buddha Chocolate Coffee Fudge Cups. Oh, my. Paleo, vegan, and worth every penny. And it’s an Oregon company! We found this at Market of Choice here in Bend and they were sold out of all the other options by this company….which made me believe it had to be amazing. I can’t wait to try other products!

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Remember how I said Jen sent me home with some goodies?? Well, she included some books (the bottom three in the stack below). I spent all of my summer with my nose in a book and these were my absolute favorite! The Outlander series is incredible and while I’m dying to start the fourth one, I decided to take a little breather and read something else! Ha! I have reviews for most of these on Goodreads. Are you on there??? If you are please let me know! And if you’re not (and you’re a big reader), definitely check it out!

I just have to add…Lily and the Octopus has my heart. SO GOOD!!! Even Josh read it and loved it!

Acorn ring made by Tamara of The Striped Cat Metalworks >> You guys. Have you seen her creations? I’ve been following her for a while on IG and have admired her craftiness….when she posted about this acorn ring and that a portion of the sales go to help the squirrels, I had to order one. And guess what? When my order arrived I was so surprised to see a little ring she made just for Willow! You can absolutely feel the love she puts into her work.

Circle Creations: 3 Cami Bra Package Deal

I will be the first to admit that I am “cheap” with some things. Bras were one of them. In the past I would get them from Target or Kohls…and I hated every single one. They were uncomfortable or broke after a few washes or wears. Finally, last month, I said, “I’m done. I NEED to find a bra I can get behind and one that is made with organic materials.” I immediately went to Etsy and ended up finding a shop in Oregon. I was SO hesitant to invest more than my usual $10-20 per bra, but I took the plunge and ordered a three pack! After reading every single review, I chose to order up from my usual size small and I’m glad I did. I AM IN LOVE WITH THESE BRAS!!!!! Hands down the most comfortable bra I have ever owned – I honestly forget I’m even wearing it. They’re beautifully and wonderfully made, they were shipped fast, and I feel good supporting a company who uses sustainable materials. Click HERE to view these bras. Also know that they offer them for sale individually for $36.

Nothing new, but being silly with this kid is my favorite. And this was probably my favorite Instagram post in a long time. It felt good to not care what people think and to really connect with people. I seriously had so much fun reading the comments and thank you to those who played along!

Homeschooling a kindergartner now! Woohoo! Crazy how fast time flies. She’s not a baby anymore!


3-Ingredient Vegan Chocolate Pots >> Feasting on Fruit >> If you have a major sweet tooth AND you love chocolate (who doesn’t???) then you need to try these!! They’re fluffy, dreamy, crazy rich pots of deliciousness. And believe me, you’ll only be able to take a few bites…it’s that rich.

Favorite local shop! Forge Humanity. Beautiful space, amazing people, and every single product goes to support a cause. For example, this book I bought Willow helps give 10 people clean water for a year! If you’re ever in Bend, Oregon, definitely stop in! 


Vegan Lemon Bars with Spiced Tahini Caramel >> The Vegan 8 >> This is a recipe of Brandi’s from 2014!!!! And I finally tried it last month for the first time. If you know me, you know I’m addicted to tahini. BUT for those of you who are not, rest assured these aren’t strong in tahini flavor. Definitely rich and a small square is plenty, but that bite of spiced caramel is heaven. It truly makes these bars fantastic and pairs so perfectly with the lemon. This was absolutely with the wait and will definitely be a repeat recipe.

Coconut Secret UnGranola Bar: I. Am. Hooked!!!!!! Found these at Market of Choice and I was so excited! I should add that Willow is obsessed with them too! I love that they’re grain-free, soy-free, cane sugar-free (sweetened with coconut nectar), and they use fair trade chocolate!

Also, these Chaco sandals are the best. I have worn nothing else (literally every single day) for the last five months and I’ll be sad when I have to break out socks. I have worn these on 5+ mile hikes and normal every day wear – so comfortable!

Went on a date with Josh to Salud! All raw and everything is delicious! We found a coupon for buy one get one half off so we took advantage. We love this spot, but prefer to save money and eat at home. Our meals were amazing though (as usual). Plus it feels good to support a local business who cares about health!

Addicting. That is all I will say….


Chocolate Monkey Bread >> Feasting on Fruit >> I’ve never actually had monkey bread before and after having this version, I don’t think I need to try another…because it’s amazing!! Fudgy, gooey, balls of brownie. BUT it’s fruit sweetened, grain-free, and vegan (of course). This was gone in a flash and we’ll definitely make it again for soon!

The Fit Fork Feed : Everything Bagel Crusted Cauliflower >> She shared this recipe on her Instagram…if you can’t find it, let me know and I’ll tag you in her post! I hope this works…click HERE to see her IG post.


Favorite movies that Josh and I saw in the theater:

  • Guardians of the Galaxy 2
  • Wonder Woman 
  • Baby Driver

As always, I would LOVE to hear from you. Tell me some of your favorites from the summer! Books? Movies? Recipes? Moments? 

Thanks for stopping by!

❤️

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: January 2017 Favorites

Happy February, my friends! It’s been a minute since I’ve shared anything here and since I missed posting my December Favorites, I’m going to include them here. How’s everyone doing?? It’s been quite the winter between the record amount of snow we had and then the obvious state of the world. I know I’m not alone in my sadness and discouragement, but I think we really need to come together, stand united, and make our voices heard. I promise to not make this post about politics, but for those looking for a way to work towards change PLEASE visit 5 Calls – and the best part is that they provide scripts…for those (like me) who lose their words and freeze up when it’s time to speak! All you do is type in your zip code and the phone numbers for your area will be provided. I urge you to call!

**ALSO, my shop has been on vacation, but I’m going to reopen it this Friday AND for this weekend only, I will be donating 50% of my sales to ACLU. I’ll make the announcement on my Instagram page (@be.sol.ful), so if you’re interested, please check there on Friday to get the full details!**

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FAVORITE PHOTOS FROM DECEMBER & JANUARY:

December was a month for LOTS OF SNOW here in Bend…which meant some quality time outside playing and adventuring AND shoveling. We had somewhere between 15″-18″ fall in a 24 hour span and I was just happy that I had nowhere to be. Poor Josh, on the other hand, still had to make the trek to work – I’m just grateful that we have a vehicle that can handle the weather conditions.


When you have a dinosaur obsessed kiddo, you make a triceratops instead of a snowman! She had a little help from her Dad…



A breathtakingly beautiful snowshoe hike with family…


With all the snow, more birds crowded our feeders, which we just love. Several months ago, Willow named three of the doves that frequent our yard…Sally, Lucy, and Charlie Brown. I managed to finally snap a photo of them together!

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And then January brought EVEN MORE snow – check out my parents front yard:

Which is why we had to brave the snowy mountain pass a couple weeks ago and get out of town! The weather was perfect at the coast and it was just what the three of us needed!



JANUARY FAVORITES >>

I first wanted to do a little shout out to my dear friend, Karina and her friend, Alyssa – their Honest Mothers blog is just incredible! There’s a real sense of community and connection thanks to sharing real life thoughts and struggles. The sad part about social media is that we’re trained to share perfect moments – clean house, well prepared meals, happy kids, put together moms. In reality, we ALL struggle. We ALL have bad days, weeks. NO ONE is perfect. Their blog helps to normalize this and show us that it is OK and normal to struggle…to feel guilt, to feel shame. In sharing about our struggles we actually help one another to not feel so isolated and alone. I had the honor of meeting Karina when I was in Southern CA back in September and I can with 100% certainty tell you that she is one of the most genuine, real mamas I know! Please give their blog a look. Here’s a link to their latest post → Distracted Motherhood

PRODUCTS:

“Heart Beet” >> GT’s Kombucha >> When I saw a new flavor from GT’s make an appearance at Natural Grocers this month, I didn’t have to think twice, I just added it to our shopping cart. Besides the fact that I LOVE beets, it also has fresh ginger and rosemary in it as well. Obviously it was amazing!!!

REVIEW: January 2017 Favorites

I also fell in love with GTs Mojito flavor! I switched back to GTs due to their lower sugar content – my favorite local brand (Humm) was just too sweet for my healing gut.

COYO Coconut Yogurt >> It’s been ages since I’ve purchased or consumed store bought yogurt, but when I saw this brand at Natural Grocers, I had to give them a shot! I chose to stick with Natural and Chocolate, so I cannot attest to how the other flavors are. Their yogurts are:

  • Vegan
  • Gluten-free
  • Paleo certified
  • Preservative free
  • Carrageenan free
  • Gum free
  • Soy free
  • No added sugar

I’d say that’s REALLY impressive! The downfall is the price as they were $2.79/ea…so these are more of a treat (an occasional purchase). I have also seen them at Whole Foods and Market of Choice, but there they are $3.99/ea.  I really enjoyed the thick, creamy texture and how it wasn’t sweet. Willow, on the other hand, tried to like them, but said they weren’t sweet enough for her! I plan to try using some of the plain/natural one as a sour cream substitute for tacos!

REVIEW: January 2017 Favorites
REVIEW: January 2017 Favorites
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RECIPES:

Candy Cane Nice Cream >> Feasting on Fruit >> Despite the cold and snow, we whipped this up one afternoon as a little treat. Willow has a slight obsession with beets and when she saw the video for this recipe (remember, she’s a HUGE fan of Natalie and her YouTube channel…but who isn’t?), she insisted we make this! I was a little lazy and kept the beets raw – I just made sure to dice them up small enough so that the blender wouldn’t leave behind any chunks of beet. I also skipped the pomegranate seeds because we didn’t have any on hand and I’m 99.9% sure Willow would have picked them out anyway 😉 Because it was so cold out when we made this and our house wasn’t super warm, the nice cream was really hard and rather than having a jar filled with pretty, creamy layers, I kinda plopped the nice cream in the jar. Haha!! But it didn’t matter because it tasted REALLY REALLY good!!! Not overly minty, slightly sweet, and a perfect treat. Willow topped hers with some mini chocolate chips…are you surprised? I just loved how there wasn’t any added sweetener, which didn’t make my tummy upset. Can’t wait to make this again!

REVIEW: January 2017 Favorites

RICE CRISPY CRUNCH TRUFFLES >> FEASTING ON FRUIT >> I gave Willow options and showed her photos/videos of treats to give her the chance to choose what we should make for our family Christmas Day gathering…and I’m not surprised that she picked these truffles! Our kitchen and Willow was a chocolate covered mess by the end of prepping these babies, but it was definitely worth it since they were a huge hit! While I can’t give you my personal feedback (I’m still grain-free) as to how they tasted, I will say that the super simple ingredient list won me over! Family and friends described them as rich, decadent, and amazing….it was so much fun for me to sit back and watch everyone take their first bite and listen to the ‘oooohhhing’ and ‘mmmmmmms’ – I’m sure these will make another appearance in the near future.

REVIEW: January 2017 Favorites

Raw Vegan Maple Donut Holes >> Lee Tilghman >> Grain-free, gluten-free, and full of maple-y goodness! Josh and Willow loooooooved these! I enjoyed one, but my tummy just couldn’t handle the sweetness level. I glazed most of them and set aside a couple without and those were more up my alley. So simple to make and no baking required. I think that when I make these again, I will omit the maple syrup in the actual “donut” and lessen the amount in the glaze…but if you ask Josh, he’ll say that they’re perfect the way they are!

REVIEW: January 2017 Favorites

Coconut Curry Soup with Sweet Potato Noodles >> Veggie Inspired >> I’m a sucker for all things curry and coconut AND simple, so this was a must-try recipe for our family. I made some adjustments to make it easier on my gut (left out the peas and added in chopped carrots instead – I sauteed those with the other veggies).  I LOVED this soup! So full of flavor and it had a decent amount of heat to it which made for perfect comfort food. Sadly, there isn’t a photo to accompany this review because (1) the lighting was awful…darn winter and darkness and (2) we used a low sodium broth with tomato which created a very dark soup…nothing nearly as pretty as Jenn’s! So please head over to her blog and drool over her pics and give the recipe a try!

((I’ve been sticking to pretty much the same few things for meals, so nothing new to share there…just LOTS of potatoes, broccoli, kale, avocado and plenty of nutritional yeast! Haha! Pretty simple and boring! Hoping to report back next month with more exciting meals! I’m just grateful to be able to eat curry and most nightshades again! Such a blessing.))

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BOOKS:

Before I dive into the world of fiction and self-help/self-love books, I NEED to mention and give some love to my sweet friend, Brandi, and her eBook! Back in December she released this beautiful 8 Ingredient Vegan Desserts ECookbook and I bought it straight away…and while I cannot attest to the deliciousness of the recipes included in this book, I will say that there hasn’t been a dessert recipe of Brandi’s that I tried and didn’t fall in love with. She has a real gift when it comes to creating AND capturing the essence in her photos. I’ve drooled over all the recipes and when my gut can tolerate nuts and grains again, you better believe I’ll be running to the kitchen to make everything! You can grab a copy for $6.99

What I read and enjoyed:

REVIEW: January 2017 Favorites

The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch >> A few years ago, my best friend recommended this book to me and it stayed on my to-read list for so long. Then last month, someone else brought up the title in conversation so I decided to check it out from the library. I knew from the description that it was going to be a heartbreaking read, but the lessons that you take away are life-changing. It is so easy to get dragged down into a pool of negativity – I’ve been guilty of that, but through these pages we learn about a man who chose to live life in such an inspiring way, despite a terminal cancer diagnosis. This was a very short book, but very powerful.

The Night Bird by Brian Freeman >> This was my pick from the Kindle First options in January and I plowed through it fast! It’s a mystery/suspense (fiction) and a real page turner. I gave it 4 stars on Goodreads.

Fellside by M.R. Carey >> Talk about a crazy book! Fiction/thriller/suspense. I really enjoyed this one, but the end had me screaming “why?!!?” – I ended up giving it 4 stars on Goodreads.

The Heart of Aromatherapy by Andrea Butje >> My mom gifted me this book as an early birthday present and I will cherish it as a wonderful resource. While I’ve been using essential oils for over ten years and have created my own recipes, I feel like I’m in a constant state of learning and growing when it comes to oils. I love how the author keeps things very basic – covers 40 different oils and their healing properties along with sharing her own recipes. I am very inspired by her combinations and knowledge. I highly recommend this book to anyone new to essential oils, but really I think it’s a great guide for everyone.

Daring Greatly by Brené Brown >> I love Brené Brown. Her words always bring so much hope, encouragement, and love to my heart. This book is all about vulnerability and how we cannot live wholeheartedly without it…we learn, grow, and succeed by showing up, taking risks, and stepping outside of our comfort zones. I have A LOT of the pages folded and highlighted because this book is FILLED with inspiring words. She has a way of calling you out in a gentle manner – I found myself nodding in agreement and shaking my head in disbelief (like as if she knew me and what I was thinking). I will be holding onto this book for Willow to read when she gets older. For anyone tired of living in fear and sitting on the sidelines, grab yourself a copy!

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Tell me…

What are you reading? Have you tried anything new? Recipes? Are you watching anything?? I’d love to hear from you!

Thanks for stopping by!

 

REVIEW: November Favorites 2016

Happy (almost) December, my friends! December???!! I know I say it every month, but seriously, HOW did another month fly by so fast??? The year is almost over!

We stuck close to home last month, no crazy adventures, because I’ve been working like a madwoman to get myself ready (both mentally and physically) for the holiday bazaar this Saturday! I’m sharing a table with my Mom at a local event – my first time as a vendor and not a shopper! I feel like I’m using way more exclamation points than usual…I think I’m excited. And nervous! But I’ve got new products to bring and old favorites – fingers crossed things sell!


Oh! Willow did get her first haircut! Haha! More like the world’s smallest trim 😉 she was afraid to cut her hair and won’t let me cut mine, so we’ve got crazy long hair for now. We took her to my aunt’s salon, so it was fun experience…

But back to the purpose of this post…my favorites! I did lots of reading and very little of trying new products and recipes, but still have some share-worthy things here!

Before I dive in, I wanted to say how grateful I am for my family. Not only do they love and support me unconditionally, but they continue to amaze me. This past Thanksgiving, we had not only an all vegan, gluten-free gathering, BUT get this…also grain-free!! Can you believe it??? The food was amazing and from what I could gather by the empty plates, I wasn’t alone in my thinking. I hope you all had a wonderful holiday, to those who celebrated ❤️

REVIEW: November Favorites 2016

{{Shepard’s Pie Stuffed Acorn Squash (link and details below), mashed potatoes with an AIP friendly mushroom gravy, roasted brussels, and garlicky spinach. How are we going to top this meal next year???}}

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NOVEMBER FAVORITES:

PRODUCTS:

Simple Mills Pizza Dough >> I actually meant to include this in last month’s favorite post, but completely spaced it! When this product went on sale in October at Natural Grocers, we ended up buying a few boxes. While I personally can’t enjoy this, Willow and my family raves about it! I take that back, I actually did enjoy a little at a family pizza night…I LOVED it, but sadly paid the price for several days 😦 the almond flour and cauliflower just don’t agree with my system. I’m hoping that changes in the future because this crust is amazing…I might even go out on a limb to say it’s the best I’ve ever had. Willow has declared that we only make this crust! Awesome ingredients, super easy to mix up, and full of flavor!

REVIEW: November Favorites 2016

Simple Mills Sun-Dried Tomato & Basil Almond Flour Crackers >> Another product I failed to mention earlier! I bought these for Willow when we went on our road trip to CA back in September and they’ve been a huge hit ever since. Willow says they taste like pizza 🙂 She eats them as a snack with hummus or chickpea mash, or as is!

REVIEW: November Favorites 2016

Ah Cacao >> Kicaco (cacao energy bar) Coconut >> Only three ingredients and no added sugar. Who would have thought that raisins + coconut + cacao would create an amazing combo of flavors and texture?? I found this during one of our trips to Natural Grocers and there were three flavor options (the other two contained almonds or peanuts) – all were $1.99 each. The first trip we grabbed just one to try and split it between three people…I quickly regretted not buying more! They’re perfect on the sweetness level and super satisfying.

REVIEW: November Favorites 2016
REVIEW: November Favorites 2016
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BOOKS:

I’m starting with books before recipes this post (you’ll soon see why)! I actually read more than shown here, but a couple of the books weren’t very good.

REVIEW: November Favorites 2016

Medical Medium Life-Changing Foods by Anthony William >>
If you’ve been following my blog or Instagram account for awhile, you know how much I loved his first book. This second book is just as amazing! He breaks down 50 foods (fruits, vegetables, herbs, wild foods) and not only does he discuss the healing properties of each, but he also lists symptoms and illnesses within each food that could benefit from consuming it. Each food is also accompanied by a recipe! Just like his first book, I am glad we own this book as we will be referring back to it frequently. HIGHLY recommend!

Dumbing Us Down (The Hidden Curriculum of Compulsory Schooling) by John Taylor Gatto >> I devoured this book in almost one sitting – it was incredibly insightful and a very quick, easy read. I found myself nodding in agreement all throughout and had a good laugh at his list of what kids actually learn in school – it was so true and very sad. This book explained so much about myself and how compulsory school impacted my spirit, in a negative way…and how the system failed me. Please don’t get me wrong, there are some amazing teachers and schools out there, but even the best teachers have rules to follow and curriculum to adhere to…which doesn’t account for the varying degree of learning styles. Reading this book and seeing how Willow is thriving without sitting in an overcrowded classroom confirms our decision to homeschool. Excellent read – I gave it five stars on Goodreads! Josh also read it and has since recommended it to a few people he knows.

Mastering Your Mean Girl: The No BS guide to Silencing Your Inner Critic and becoming wildly WEALTHY, fabulously HEALTHY, and bursting with LOVE by Melissa Ambrosini >> I LOVED THIS BOOK!!!! I laughed, cried, and walked away feeling so empowered. Reading her story felt like she was in my head writing my story – I could relate in so many ways – health issues and all. This was beautifully written, well organized, and eye-opening. Her words really force you to take a look in the mirror and see just how much your inner critic (voice) holds you back from living the life you deserve. I love the quotes throughout the book, as well as the contracts (which you can print from her website). Being more accountable and recognizing why you’re acting in fear will get you closer to love and silencing your “mean girl.” We are all deserving of love and we need to realize that we can absolutely create the life we want! I HIGHLY recommend this book to all of my women readers! I gave it five stars on Goodreads.

The Conscious Parent: Transforming Ourselves, Empowering Our Children by Shefali Tsabary, PhD >> I just recently started this book and while I’m not very far, I can already tell that I’m going to learn a lot from it. This is a bit heavier and wordy than the previous two books I mentioned, but I do need to put into account that it was written by someone holding a PhD. I’ll hopefully have more to say next favorites post, or look for my review on Goodreads!

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RECIPES:

Yellow Coconut Curry >> Medical Medium’s Life Changing Foods book >> After completing his book, Josh and I quickly chose to start with this recipe…because curry! This was how I reintroduced curry spices back into my diet and I was so relieved to not have a negative reaction. We loved it so much that we’ve made it twice! It is so comforting and satisfying, but the best part is that it makes a GIANT pot and the leftovers get better and better with each passing day. I love how it doesn’t contain any nuts, beans, or grains – so we didn’t have to modify the recipe at all.

Asparagus Soup >> Medical Medium’s Life Changing Foods book >> We’ve been gravitating to lots of soup with the cold weather upon us, so we were excited to give this recipe a try. Unlike the pot of curry mentioned above, this soup made just enough for two adults and a small portion of leftovers that I had hoped Willow would eat. It calls for very minimal ingredients, but the flavor was wonderful! We made the mistake of using an immersion blender the night we made it, which left the soup quite fiberous (due to the asparagus), so I ran the leftovers through the Vitamix to create a really smooth, creamy texture and preferred that so much more. I enjoyed it with some sauteed greens – I failed to take a photo.

Shepard’s Pie Stuffed Acorn Squash >> The Plant Philosophy >> When Margaret first showed some teaser pics of this recipe, I knew straight away that I wanted to make this for Thanksgiving. I loved the idea of having all sorts of delicious, healthy veggies stuffed into one beautiful dish. I did make some minor adjustments to keep it AIP friendly, but didn’t change the seasonings or process. Here’s what I did: since most frozen mixed veggies contain peas, beans, or corn, I opted to cook up some fresh veggies of my choice – I sauteed up onion, garlic, carrots, and celery (certainly didn’t look as pretty or colorful as Margaret’s). Next, for my portion, I added chopped, sauteed cremini mushrooms, but kept the meatless crumble for the rest of the family. Finally, I used white sweet potatoes instead of russet potatoes. The verdict?? EVERYONE LOVED IT! Even my 86-year old Oma (grandma) devoured her portion…even after she told me I gave her too big of a piece 😉 This was such an easy, flavorful, comforting dish and I’d love to make it again soon!

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As always, I’d love to hear from you!! Let me know if you’ve tried any new products or recipes or read any good books. Leave me a comment below! Hope all of you have a wonderful December!!

Thanks for stopping by!

❤️

REVIEW: September Favorites 

Happy (almost) October, my beautiful friends! I hope you’re having a lovely fall so far. We had a pretty warm September – filled with lots of playing outside (mostly digging in the dirt) and when we weren’t outside, we spent time coloring and doing puzzles. Willow’s latest obsession is puzzles and not just the big, jumbo-piece sets for kids…I’m talking the 750 piece puzzles! I’m not ashamed to admit that there was a weekend when we didn’t leave the house and the three of us sat and worked on a puzzle in our jammies – I think we all needed that time to just relax and spend quality time together.


Willow and I also took a last minute road trip with my Mom to Southern California to visit with dear friends – they were (are) family to me – they gave me a home when I didn’t have one years ago. It had been 10 years since we’d seen each other and it was an emotional and much needed reunion. Bittersweet, lots of tears, and heartfelt memories.

This post contains a few products we found while in California.

S E P T E M B E R  F A V O R I T E S:

**Please note that not all products shown here are AIP-friendly…I have started to slowly reintroduce some foods back into my diet – I will have a new post up soon with my progress and what I’m eating.

Products:

Otto’s Naturals Cassava Flour >> I purchased this via Amazon, but have since noticed it sold in Natural Grocers for a few dollars less. It’s on the pricier side…think almond flour, but when your options are very limited, the splurge is ok – besides, I’m not buying any other flours right now (gluten-free, buckwheat, almond, etc.). It’s very fine and looks a lot like regular flour – I’ve also been using it to make donuts – recipe coming soon!


Paleo Wraps >> You can find these wraps in quite a few stores and online, but so far I’ve found that the best deal is at Whole Foods for $8.99 a package. I don’t use them that often since they are pricey, but they’re really versatile – sweet or savory meals – You can fill then with fruit or veggies. I like that they also hold their shape and don’t break apart when you overstuff them! There is a slight sweetness due to the coconut, but I love that they’re raw and contain just a few simple ingredients – no gums, additives, preservatives.

Here I’ve filled it with plenty of raw veggies – red leaf lettuce, carrots, zucchini, cucumber, cabbage, and avocado.


Let’s Do Organic >> Green Banana Flour >> I have found this in both Natural Grocers and Whole Foods for $5.99 a bag. It’s come in handy to make AIP-friendly pancakes and other baked goods. From my experience, it has a nice subtle flavor and great texture.


Eating Evolved Primal Chocolate >> Crunchy Caramel >> You guys. I caved. I went almost a full month without chocolate…and then I saw this in the Long Beach, CA Whole Foods. Only three ingredients (organic cacao, organic coconut sugar, organic cacao butter), I absolutely had to try it! You might remember last year, in a favorites post, that I shared their coconut butter cups and loved them, so I already knew that I would enjoy this bar. It is 85% cacao – which makes it a tad on the bitter side, but that didn’t stop Willow from trying to steal this from me…I shared, no worries! I loved how it wasn’t overly sweet – weird as this may sound, I’ve been shying away from a lot of sweet treats and gravitating more towards savory.


Majestic Garlic >> Delicious Creamy Garlic (spread) >> Out of everything new that I tried during September, I’d have to say that this was my absolute favorite! We found it in the Long Beach, CA Whole Foods and I was so tempted to go back and stock my cooler with a few more tubs to take back home. The first ingredient is fresh raw garlic and it’s got this amazing, light, fluffy, texture that makes it insanely versatile – Willow dipped some gluten-free crackers in it and we also used it as a sauce for a cold lentil pasta salad for the drive back home. I hope to see it in stores here in Bend, OR soon!


TheBu Kombucha >> Honeydew >> Another gem we found at Whole Foods while in CA! You know me and my LOVE for kombucha and whenever I spot a brand I haven’t tried, I need to. This one did not disappoint! Refreshing, not overly sweet, and absolutely hit the spot on a hot day. Willow enjoyed sharing this with me.


Organic Gemini >> TigerNut Smoothie Mix (Vanilla Bean) >> Yet another item I found while in California (Whole Foods)! Now if you’re looking for a high-protein powder, this is not for you, but if you’re looking for a gut-friendly way to boost your smoothie, look no further. I don’t do smoothies as often as I once did since I have to limit my fruit intake, but when I do make them, I’ve been adding two tablespoons of this mix to the Vitamix. I make a simple banana-blueberry-spirulina smoothie with this added in – I find the flavors go so perfectly together. This is a Whole Foods Exclusive product and is sold for $14.99/bag. Also comes in Cacao Bean and Original.


I have to give a shoutout to two fantastic juice/smoothie spots in California:

Jan’s Health Bar in Huntington Beach >> I had the amazing and surreal opportunity to meet up with my Instagram friend, Karina, and her two adorable kiddos while at this place. It was walking distance from the house we were staying at, which was a huge bonus. Karina and I connected a few years ago and meeting her in real life was a major highlight of the trip. Sadly, we didn’t grab a photo together, but I guess that’s because we were so caught up in the present moment! While there, I enjoyed a large green smoothie and of course, the company ❤️


Simply O Organic Juice Bar in Los Alamitos >> I LOVED walking into this place and instantly being engulfed with the scent of fresh juice. It was hard to decide what to try, so I went with a green juice (Green Street) and Willow had an organic strawberry ice pop….I’d say she really liked it. When you walk in, to the right is the juice/smoothie bar and to the left is Pacific Organic Pops where they sell…you guessed it, popsicles! Not all of them are vegan as some are made with milk, but this fruity pop that Willow chose was so perfect for a hot California day!

What’s fun is that on the Pacific Organic Pops side, they have a “photo booth” and the pics can be emailed to you! Here I am with one of my best friends…


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Recipes:

Turmeric Zucchini Soup >> Eat Drink Paleo >> This was probably the easiest soup I’ve ever made, but one of the best! I made some minor adjustments to fit my diet (used an organic mushroom broth instead of vegetable broth and used Trader Joe’s organic coconut milk instead of full-fat). It had a cheesy flavor despite not having any nuts or nutritional yeast, which was a pleasant surprise.

Crispy Sweet Potato Fries >> Cultivate Beauty >> I am in love with this recipe. We’ve made it countless times over the last month because Willow actually eats them too! I have used both sweet potatoes and yams to make this recipe. So the post where I found this recipe is actually called The Secret to Crispy Sweet Potato Fries…if you avoid oil at all costs, then this isn’t for you. I have added some coconut oil and avocado oil back into my diet so I was excited to try this! 

Caramel Peanut Protein Truffles >> Veggies Don’t Bite >> When I received the email for this recipe, I knew I absolutely had to make these for Willow. What kid doesn’t like peanuts + chocolate?? I decided to whip these up to take along on our road trip as a treat for Willow to share with my Mom. I let her sample one the day I made them and her eyes lit up with the first bite! She devoured it and asked for another one…I felt bad saying no, but I had to since dinner was almost ready. You guys. She legit cried! That’s when I knew they had to be good! I SO wish I could have tried them to give you all a better review, but I think that sums it up. I did struggle a bit while preparing them – the “dough” was very sticky and difficult to work with – I actually emailed Sophia during the process because I thought for sure I did something wrong. I added maybe two extra tablespoons of oats to help with the stickiness factor, but in doing so, I was unable to achieve a smooth consistency. I ended up with larger pieces of oats and peanuts. Sophia was kind enough to reply to my panicked email 😉 and concluded that the dates I used were probably just really sticky/soft.  BUT I don’t really care about the process…Willow was one happy kiddo!

REVIEW: September Favorites
Homemade Italian Dressing (AIP, Paleo, Vegan) >> Don’t Eat the Spatula >> Following the AIP diet can get a little tricky when it comes to dressings. Most call for coconut milk or avocado…at the time I didn’t have either. So I did a quick search on Pinterest and after scrolling through, I finally found one that called for ingredients I had on hand. I made some minor adjustments – used avocado oil, but cut it by half and used filtered water for the other 1/4 cup. I also added in some nutritional yeast (approximately 1 TBSP). I used this dressing to make a GIANT kale salad to share with family – it was a huge hit! Two thumbs up from everyone! I made another batch of kale salad with this dressing to take for lunch on the road trip – just stored it in a wide-mouth mason jar and kept it in the cooler – we added some chopped apple to it as well and it was amazing.

Tapioca Pudding Porridge with Roasted Apples (AIP, vegan) >> Sweet Treats >> I honestly couldn’t tell you the last time I had tapioca pudding so when I found a recipe for it while searching for AIP desserts, I had to try it! The recipe only calls for three ingredients – four if you use vanilla extract. It was love at first bite!! I made a second batch and took it on our road trip. I love how it’s not overly sweet – only uses a small amount of maple syrup, but paired with coconut milk, it creates the perfect dessert…or breakfast! The first time I made this, I paired it with some cinnamon cooked apples and it was so comforting! So if you’re looking for an insanely easy dessert (or breakfast) give this a try!

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Books:

The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss >> Easily one of the BEST fiction books I’ve read in a loooooong time. Hands down. I was sucked into it after reading just the first few pages and after that, I struggled to put it down every night. It’s a very lengthy book (over 700 pages), but it goes fast – I was sad when it ended because I wanted more…thank goodness for the second book! The day I finished it, Josh hopped onto Amazon and ordered it. He has read the first two books in the series (a long time ago), but it was my friend, Jen, who told me I should read it. Sorry, Josh! I should have listened to you sooner! But seriously, go grab yourself a copy!! I gave it five stars on Goodreads.

The Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss >> This is the second book in the series and while I’m not very far in it, I can already tell you that I’m loving it!

102 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum by Cathy Duffy >> My dear friend, Kris, recommended this book to me so I immediately ordered a copy via Amazon and I am SO glad that I did. It is helping me to better gauge the style that fits not only Willow, but me as a teacher. It contains an abundance of resources and through questions, it narrows down the style(s) for you – as well as describing each one – Traditional, Charlotte Mason, Unschooling, Independent Study, etc.

I highly recommend it to any new homeschooling parent!

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Whew, that was a bit of a lengthy post! Now tell me, what were some of your favorites from September?? Did you try any new products? Recipes? Or did you read any books that you’d like to recommend? Please comment below – I’d love to hear from you!

 

Thanks for stopping by!

REVIEW: August Favorites

Happy (almost) September, my friends! Can’t believe that we’re that much closer to fall…my ABSOLUTE favorite season. August was all about taking it easy with experimenting in the kitchen, some nice hikes, fresh air, and time with family. One highlight from August was watching the Perseid meteor shower. Did any of you get to enjoy it?! The first night I went to sit in the backyard, curled up on the adirondack chair, and eyes glued to the sky…well, that was until I heard a nearby sniffing sound. I ignored it at first because I thought maybe it was a neighbor’s cat, but then it got louder and closer…I decided to make sure…so I used a dim light on my phone to see and OMG! It was a skunk! Only a couple feet away from me! Yikes! I decided to call it a night and run inside. Luckily I managed to get away without being sprayed. BUT the next night I got to sit outside for a bit and enjoy the beauty of the night sky – just amazing!

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Another highlight of August was the launch of the Feed Life eBook! Early last year, Eden approached me with the idea behind this book and wanted me to be one of the contributors…to say that I was honored was an understatement. As many of you know, I admired her immensely and when she lost her battle to cancer in October of last year, the loss hit many of us hard. She was such a light and her kindness and passion incredibly contagious. Her husband, Colin, has done a wonderful job of not only living out the work that they started together, but he also worked hard to get this eBook completed…I know that Eden would be so proud. Seventeen contributors and over 100 plant-based recipes makes this book one amazing resource! Not only is it filled with delicious, healthy recipes, but it also has some helpful information regarding nutrition and healing. I guarantee you’ll find recipes for even the pickiest of eaters! You can grab a copy HERE for $10 until September 1st and then the price will go up to $15.

Title Page

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AUGUST FAVORITES: 

PRODUCTS:

Cheesy Jalapeno Bagels >> Angie’s Gluten-Free Kitchen >> My Mom was kind enough to stop by this gem of a bakery on her way home from Salem, OR last month. This bakery is dedicated gluten-free, but guess what else? They’re also soy-free, gum-free, oat-free and don’t use hydrogenated oils or refined sugar…can you say heavenly?!?! That’s practically unheard of. Not all of their products are vegan as they might contain honey and/or eggs. They’re located in McMinnville, OR. OK, but these bagels – amazing!!! So soft, fresh, and the perfect amount of heat from the jalapenos. I’ve only tried one other vegan, gluten-free bagel before and I remember it being rock hard and dense. You’d never in a million years guess that these cheesy jalapeno bagels are vegan and gluten-free! We kept ours in the freeze and toasted them up to use for a sandwich. Next time I’m in that area, I’ll definitely stock up!

REVIEW: August Favorites

I toasted one up and made a sandwich with romaine, heirloom tomato slices, homemade cashew cheese slices, and vegan mayo…SO GOOD!

REVIEW: August Favorites

Purple Mulberries >> The Raw Food World >> Did you know that purple mulberries existed?! When they showed up on the list of ‘at-cost’ specials from Raw Food World, I absolutely had to get my hands on some. Willow eats regular mulberries like candy and I’m OK with that because they’re really good for you…well, when I introduced her to these purple mulberries, she freaked! They are sweet, soft, chewy, and insanely addicting! We’ve been snacking on them straight out of the bag or sprinkling them on top of smoothie bowls. In my opinion, these are better than white mulberries.

A 16oz bag is available for $11.86 (At-Cost special, but the price goes up soon!) If you do place an order through them, don’t forget to use the coupon code ‘rawfood7’ for 7% off your order!

REVIEW: August Favorites

Two Moms in the Raw >> Soul Sprout Nut Bar >> Cranberry Crush & Gotta Getta Gojiberry >> I found these at Natural Grocers and since I’ve loved everything else from this brand, I had to give them a try. Since then, I’ve gone back three times to stock up! I LOVE them! Chewy, slightly sweet, and absolutely satisfying. Willow doesn’t like them though because she prefers a less chunky bar…she picks out the peanuts in her favorite GoMacro bar, so I wasn’t too surprised when she passed on trying it. The almonds are whole and sprouted and pair so perfectly with the gojiberries and cranberries. I keep one with me when we’re out hiking or away from home for any extended period of time as they give a nice little protein boost. Natural Grocers only carries these two bars (for now), but I’m anxious to try the other flavors…especially the chocolate options 😉 I paid $2.19/bar.

REVIEW: August Favorites

Pickled Planet >> Veda Kraut {Raw Sauerkraut} >>  While it wasn’t love at first bite, this sauerkraut has found it’s way onto quite a few of my salads and veggie bowls. It adds a nice crunch and vinegar-y bite to my food, which is always a plus. There are a few flavor options of this sauerkraut, but my eye went straight for the curry spiced one! For those who don’t like spicy, have no fear because it doesn’t contain any spicy ingredients – it’s just tangy.  Pickled Planet is also an Oregon company.

REVIEW: August Favorites

 

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RECIPES:

Skillet Crusted Sweet Potato Gnocchi >> Yum Universe Cookbook >> I’m kicking myself for not taking a photo of this delicious meal…but we were so excited to dive into it, that documenting it was the last thing on my mind. Gnocchi was one of my all time favorite foods growing up and oddly enough, I’ve only eaten it a few times since going vegan/gluten-free, so this recipe has been on our ‘to-make’ list for quite some time. While we tend to stay away from oil, we chose to go with Heather’s method of pan searing them after boiling – I did sample one without using oil and quickly decided a little oil wasn’t going to kill us! The end result…AMAZING!!! I loved the slightly crispy exterior and tender middle. But the best part…Willow ate it, too! We paired the gnocchi with tomato sauce and oil-free sauteed kale. Definitely a meal we’ll be making again.

Vegan Oil-Free Creamy Italian Dressing >> The Vegan 8 >> I was so excited when I got the email alerting me that Brandi had created a new salad dressing recipe because we have been living on salads…but I was in a bit of a rut with dressings. I tend to make the same few over and over again, so it’s nice to get a fresh recipe! The only thing we had to grab from the store was red wine vinegar – everything else we always have on hand. We made this dressing three times during the month of August  and used it on salad, pasta, and rice + veggie bowls. Big thumbs up from my whole family (including my parents, Oma, and Willow)!

REVIEW: August Favorites

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BOOKS:

How Not to Die by Michael Greger M.D. >> This book has been on my to-read list for quite a while and I finally borrowed a copy from the library. After reading the first few pages, I thought to myself, “I need to buy my own copy.” It’s a rather lengthy book and the print is pretty small, so it’s taking me a good bit of time to get through it considering I only get an hour or two a night to read after Willow goes to bed. How Not to Die is very reminiscent of another fantastic book I recommended here earlier this year…Medical Medium. It’s broken down by disease and talks about foods that can heal…spoiler alert…plants are magical. While I’ve known for a long time just how powerful a plant-based diet can be, it’s always amazing to read the scientific evidence backing it. The first part of this book is all about “how not to die from…” and the second part is all about food. I can’t recommend this book enough, so grab yourself a copy if you haven’t already read it!

The Energy Healing Experiments by Gary E. Schwartz, PhD with William L. Simon 

 New books that I read with Willow and enjoyed:

Star Wars Little Golden Book Collection (7 books in one)

Haunted Castle on Hallows Eve >> Magic Tree House #30

A Perfect Time for Pandas >> Magic Tree House #48

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So tell me, what did you get up to last month? Did you try any new products? Make any new recipes? Or read any good books?! I’d love to hear from you.

Thanks for stopping by!