March 2017 Favorites 

Happy April, my sweet friends!! I first wanted to say a HUGE THANK YOU for all of the love concerning my previous post – I was blown away by the response. So many beautiful comments and messages – the feedback only proved that we are not alone and that it is so important to be authentically YOU. Thank you ❤

March brought about lots of new recipes and making old favorites – I was able to finally eat some nuts without extreme setbacks, so that was nice…well, that was until about a week ago – trying to get the inflammation back down. Fingers crossed I don’t have to go back to being nut-free.

Before I dive in, here are some of my favorite photos from March:
 



MARCH FAVORITES:

P R O D U C T S:

Love and Kindness {wild rose + motherwort} mist for the heart >> Plantfolk Apothecary >> My dear friend sent this to me and it was instant love. Words that come to mind when I spray it: beautiful, peaceful, magical, happiness, confidence, protection, love. I absolutely adore the scent of rose, which is the star of the show in this little bottle. It actually reminds me a little of my self-love (“I AM”) spray that I carried in my shop.

REVIEW: March 2017 Favorites

Tessemae’s Mild Buffalo Sauce >> My Mom picked this up from Whole Foods (on sale) and together we made some amazing cauliflower wings! Literally the best I’ve had! This sauce has a really clean list of ingredients and has such a great flavor! Perfectly spicy and tangy. Minus Willow (she didn’t even try them), the entire family went back for seconds. I’m going to brainstorm other ways to use this sauce and grab myself a bottle next shopping trip.

REVIEW: March 2017 Favorites

Kombucha >> Here are some new flavors we tried and loved!

Vanilla Oak >> Brew Dr. Kombucha 

REVIEW: March 2017 Favorites
Hibiscus Ginger (GT’S)

Bilberry Blessing (GT’S)

REVIEW: March 2017 Favorites
Simple Mills Toasted Pecan Crunchy Cookies >> My Mom bought and shared these with us and they are amazing. Crispy little cookies that almost melt in your mouth. I seriously adore all things from Simple Mills! Found these on sale at Whole Foods.

REVIEW: March 2017 Favorites

Food Empowerment Project Chocolate List >> OK, so this isn’t technically a product, but I can’t recommend it enough. I have my friend, Kittee, to thank for this one and I’ve been using this app for the last month and a half – so helpful! If you care about where your money is going, how the cacao beans are sourced (a lot use child labor and slavery), then you NEED to download this app and get familiar with the companies…I was really bummed to see a couple favorites on the “Do not recommend” list (such as Enjoy Life and Hail Merry) but I have high hopes that they’ll change their sourcing. I don’t consume chocolate much these days anyway, but I’ll absolutely refer to this app when I do go to purchase something with chocolate. And in the meantime, I’ve stopped supporting Enjoy Life and the other companies that aren’t recommended…until they change sourcing/other issues. Please know that your choices matter and WE VOTE WITH OUR DOLLAR! While I obviously want to support vegan companies and applaud them for using animal-free ingredients, I also care about my fellow human beings – exploitation is wrong.

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R E C I P E S:

5 Ingredient Granola Cups >> The Fit Fork Feed >> I strayed away from Lindsay’s original recipe and made modifications so that I could eat them. I knew they were going to be good before they were baked because I kept sneaking bites of the batter. I used tigernut flour instead of oat flour, tahini instead of cashew (or nut butter), and maple syrup in place of rice syrup. These were so buttery and cookie-like and they made the perfect little vessel for yogurt and berries. I highly recommend checking out the recipe!!

REVIEW: March 2017 Favorites
And in case you don’t follow me on Instagram or missed it, here’s how we filled ours:

REVIEW: March 2017 Favorites
Pineapple Teriyaki Cauliflower Poppers >> Athletic Avocado >> I’m always brainstorming new ways to switch up our taco night and when I stumbled upon this recipe I knew we had to make it asap. The first night we put them into tacos and the second day I added the leftovers to a big salad. Simple recipe and the slightly sweet flavor paired so well with our other ingredients.

REVIEW: March 2017 Favorites
Paleo Dinner Rolls >> The Real Food Dieticians >> It had been ages since I made or ate a roll/biscuit so when I found this recipe while Pinterest browsing one night I added it to our menu! I already had all of the ingredients on hand AND I didn’t have to make any adjustments (huge bonus)…well, I did omit the baking powder, but that was super minor. One bite and Willow declared that we make them all the time! Buttery, fluffy, and so easy to make. I’m envisioning biscuits and gravy in the near future.

REVIEW: March 2017 Favorites
Vegan Almond Flour Banana Bread >> Detoxinista >> Willow requested banana bread one day so I did a quick Google search for ‘paleo vegan banana bread’ and this recipe popped up. And the best part was that it called for three ripe bananas…which is exactly what we had at the time! We’ve tried a few of Detoxinista’s recipes in the past and loved them, which is why I gravitated towards this recipe. And it absolutely did not disappoint.

REVIEW: March 2017 Favorites

 

Green Mac and Cheese >> Veggies Don’t Bite >> I was so excited to try this recipe because I have LOVED every sauce creation Sophia has come up with. And I also love how each one is so different and amazing in their own way…this particular sauce is borderline drinkable. It is insanely creamy, full of flavor, and it has a really great tangy zip to it. I cooked up regular gluten-free noodles and sweet potato noodles to go with this sauce and everyone gave it a big thumbs up! The next day, I used the leftover sauce to drizzle over some roasted veggies…the possibilities are endless! I had an idea come to mind, but I ran out of sauce…next time I’d like to make mashed potatoes with it…doesn’t that sound amazing??

REVIEW: March 2017 Favorites
REVIEW: March 2017 Favorites
Sweet Beet Sauce >> The Help Yourself Cookbook for Kids >> Willow, out of the blue, decided that she actually wanted to make a few things out of this cookbook – we got it for her 4th birthday. During our sit down meal planning session one week, she grabbed this book and told us which recipes she wanted. You see, she tends to just “read” through this like a regular book, and while we have made a few recipes out of here before, we typically wait until she brings it up. She’s beet obsessed…I honestly think it’s because of the color, but who knows, maybe she actually really enjoys the flavor, too. We whipped this up one day and used it in a layered nice cream dish. We made one slight modification and replaced the agave with pure maple syrup (almost all of her recipes call for agave and since we don’t use it, we sub it with maple). Willow was taking bites of this sauce with a spoon and loved how creamy it was. We originally started making it in the food processor, but switched to the VitaMix to get it ultra smooth.

REVIEW: March 2017 Favorites
REVIEW: March 2017 Favorites
MOONDROPS SESAME ALMOND COOKIES >> The Help Yourself Cookbook for Kids >> This was the other recipe Willow picked to make and I ended up prepping these solo…she was too caught up in painting to stop what she was doing. These were SO easy to throw together – one bowl, a handful of ingredients, and popped them in the oven to bake. They were the perfect balance of crispy and chewy…I love cookies like that. Willow really enjoyed them, too. The recipe doesn’t make a lot, which is good because sadly, they are not as tasty the next day. We threw a couple on top of our layered nice cream treat!

REVIEW: March 2017 Favorites
Raw Chocolate Beet Cheesecake >> Unconventional Baker >>  Willow has been asking to make this ever since I showed her pics from Audrey’s blog…my beet and pink obsessed kid! I think it was worth the wait because she absolutely LOVED it! In fact, my entire family did (parents and Oma included). Willow is known for eating the ‘cheese’ part of the cake and leaving the crust behind, but she devoured it entirely. Josh said he loved the crust because it wasn’t date-y. I added a few Brazil nuts to the crust because I had them on hand and I loved the flavor that brought to it. The actual ‘cheese’ portion of the cake was one of the creamiest I’ve ever had. Super smooth, melt in your mouth delicious. I attempted to swirl in some leftover sweet beet sauce (from the recipe I mentioned above) and it ended up looking more layered, but it was seriously SO good. Willow has asked to make it again!

REVIEW: March 2017 Favorites
REVIEW: March 2017 Favorites
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B O O K S:

Rising Strong by Brené Brown >> I had read this one before, but checked it out from the library again. For some reason, it resonated a lot more with me the second time around. An extremely empowering read – I highly recommend it – everything by Brené Brown is fantastic.

The Autoimmune Fix by Tom O’Bryan >> I’m nowhere near finishing this book, BUT it absolutely has my attention. He discusses the autoimmune spectrum, causes, how to pinpoint and heal. I’m really excited to finish this – only 100 pages in and I’m already learning a TON.

Bird Box by Josh Malerman >> Josh (my husband) checked this book out from the library because someone had recommended it to him and then he passed it on to me. I laughed at him because he said he couldn’t read it before bed because it was so creepy…then I started reading it and realized why!

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What were your favorites from March? Did you read anything share worthy? Try any new products or recipes? Or maybe you’re watching something on Netflix that I need to know about?! Leave me a comment below…

Thanks for stopping by!

You are Enough

You are enough. Three simple, yet powerful words. Three words that need to be used more than they are. By me. And by YOU.

You will always be too much of something for someone: too big, too loud, too soft, too edgy. If you round out your edges, you lose your edge. Apologize for mistakes. Apologize for unintentionally hurting someone – profusely. But don’t apologize for being who you are. ~ Danielle LaPorte

Be unapologetically YOU.

My first name, Amanda, means “lovable; worthy of love,” yet I’ve struggled hard with feeling worthy and there have been so many days where I think I’m difficult to love. I’m not sharing any of this to fish for compliments or to be pitied, but rather to paint a picture of how society sets us up to dislike ourselves. That we need to fit within a certain box, otherwise we’re not worthy. This past year has been a game changer for me – tested me, pushed me, and opened my eyes to the heart of the matter. I want to share all of this with you because while I have felt a shift in my thinking, I know many still struggle.
I’m here to tell you that what you really need is to find peace within. To recognize that you are worthy at this very moment. You are ENOUGH. If you follow me on Instagram, you most likely saw the post I shared on my birthday along with this amazing poem:

“Never trust a mirror,

For a mirror always lies,

It makes you think that all your worth,

Can be seen on the outside,

Never trust a mirror.

It only shows you what’s skin deep,

You can’t see how your eyelids flutter,

When you’re drifting off to sleep,

It doesn’t show you what the world sees,

When you’re only being you,

Or how your eyes light up,

When you’re loving what you do,

It doesn’t capture when you’re smiling,

When no one else can see,

And your reflection cannot tell you,

Everything you mean to me,

Never trust a mirror,

For it only shows your skin,

And if you think that dictates your worth,

It’s time you looked within.”

~ Erin Hanson

Social media is a blessing and a curse. I have a love-hate relationship with it but lately it’s been getting better with adjusting my mindset. I have to frequently check myself and step away for my personal sanity, but I have watched it destroy others – to the point where they completely lost themselves or their self-worth hit an all-time low. 

My battle with self-love dates back to high school and got harder along the way with toxic relationships. I heard it all (from men and women):

“not skinny enough”

“fat face”

“big-boned”

“breast implants could help”

“not pretty enough”

“eyes are too big”

“too sensitive”

“needs a backbone”

I could go on, but it’s kind of depressing…and in the past. Disordered eating and body dysmorphia became a part of my life. Rather than looking within, I became obsessed with the reflection in the mirror and food…and not in a healthy way. It took a lot of hard work, time, and weeding out who I allowed in my life to get where I am today. Perfectly imperfect.


Going back to when I said social media is a blessing and a curse. When I talk about social media, I’m referring to Instagram (IG) because I left Facebook a few years ago as it wasn’t healthy for me. Instagram has connected me with so many amazing, inspiring, empowering people – some of them I consider my dearest friends, most of them I haven’t even met in person. And some of them are people I’ve known personally for years (former co-workers, school friends, family) – it’s a blessing to have an app to keep us in the loop of one another’s lives. To connect us. It feels good to be supported – to get a virtual hug, high-five, and the occasional “I’ve been there, mama” or “me too!”

Now the curse. The overly filtered, heavily edited, perfectly staged, selectively chosen pictures that are posted. Combined with the competitiveness and elitist attitude from some of the people…it can be a pretty toxic space…if you’re not careful. Did you know that I have received a quite few messages about how my photos could use some work or how to improve my blog or how to gain more followers? You probably didn’t. And while I try not to let that sort of stuff get to me, catch me on a bad day and I will over analyze everything and shut down. I’m not looking to grow my page or blog. To me, Instagram is my life in photos. Family, nature, food, and anything in between…I guess I consider myself a lifestyle page and to me, it’s kind of like a digital diary, an account of the delicious recipes I’ve tried, beautiful hiking spots, and my world…Willow. I post things that genuinely excite me or make me happy – I never post something as a way to impress someone or gain anything. Same goes for my blog – it’s more of a hobby for me. Something I genuinely enjoy because I write for me and if anyone happens to read my rambles, it’s just an added bonus. I don’t take the time to use a photo editor app or perfectly stage my food…nothing against those who do, for me, I just want to eat my food and I’ll occasionally snap a quick, in-the-moment pic, but that’s because I want to enjoy my food while it’s still hot or devour it before it melts. I can absolutely appreciate those gorgeous photos and even if I don’t photograph my food, I still make it pretty…does that make sense? But I need to digress because this rant is not where I intended this to go!

Back to curse. Not everyone on social media is genuine or compassionate. Just like in real life. It can be a selfish world and by that I mean, there are people who are only on there to benefit themselves, even if it means hurting others along the way. For example, there are accounts on IG who spend time commenting on random posts using fake compliments. Sometimes they’ll even go so far as to “follow” you and say, “I love your page” or “I love what you’re doing here.” All of this just to get your attention so that you’ll check out their page or follow them back. Ninety-nine percent of the time they’ll unfollow you once you’re following them. All they care about is growing their numbers. What’s sad is that I know a few people whom this has happened to and due to already low self-worth, it set them over the edge. They took it so personal, as an insult, that they became so depressed. If only people took others feelings into consideration before acting.


It is SO easy to get caught up in the comparison trap – those “perfect” photos can be intimidating and for some, they can be toxic. Here’s my message to you (and a reminder to myself):

YOU ARE ENOUGH.

You can’t compare a 38-year-old stay-at-home mother to a twenty something college student. While age doesn’t matter, getting older changes things. Bodies are different, lifestyles alter, priorities shift. I remember being in college. I remember working two jobs while taking a full course load. I remember my body being totally different. I remember having more time to myself. BUT, remember, pregnancy and birthing a child is no joke. I look at my cesarean scar and stretch marks as gifts and while I may never have a toned, flat stomach again, I am damn proud of my body. I am enough.

I’ve even been bad about comparing myself to other moms – I’d see “perfect” posts and think, ‘I need to workout more,’ or ‘I don’t do enough when it comes to homeschooling,’ or a general blanket statement…’I need to do more.’ Heck, there are some days when getting dressed is about all we do and guess what? That’s enough. When I take a step back and look at my life, what I’ve accomplished, my goals – I’m proud and I think I am enough. 

Don’t let those perfectly clean, organized house photos fool you. I have to laugh because I’ll joke and say that I need to snap a photo as evidence that it’s possible to have a clean house. Truth is, our house looks like a tornado ripped through it…95% of the time. Dishes piled HIGH, mail strewn about all over the counter, Willow drawings scattered on the floor, markers missing caps, crumbs EVERYWHERE, and blankets + couch cushions thrown about. We have an almost five-year old child and three fur babies. Our home is cozy, lived in, and messy. When Josh comes home from work, he’s able to follow the trail of the events by looking at the house. So, mamas, look at it this way. A messy house is a sign of having fun. A sign of living. It’s a sign that you’re feeding your family well. It’s a sign that you’ve found more important things to do than scrub the floors or dust the shelves…you’re being a present parent! Just because your house isn’t clean and organized like those posts on IG, doesn’t make you any less of a human being. Remember…YOU ARE ENOUGH. I am enough. (P.S. – also consider the fact that those so-called perfectly clean, organized homes were probably in disarray moments before or after they shared a pic).

What you can’t see in the photo below is our kitchen! Ha!! And to be honest, this is considered pretty clean…


Do not compare a blogger’s food photos to your own. Most bloggers have really nice cameras and props. Some have special lighting equipment. Most make a living off of creating recipes and taking stunningly beautiful photos. It’s their “job” and passion. More than anything, those bloggers put in hard work and effort to create a beautiful shot. It’s really easy for me to get caught up in this specific comparison trap. Being a SAHM I’m forever multi-tasking. Trying to snap a “perfect” photo is next to impossible because either (A) Willow is pulling on my legs or arms asking me to come look at something , (B) Willow is begging to eat what I’m photographing, or (C) I don’t have a really nice camera (just an inexpensive point-and-shoot Nikon or my iPhone), nor do I have any props. Once again, NOTHING against those who have all of this. I am simply stating why my photos aren’t much to look at. I AM a foodie though. I love the kitchen, I love creating, and I love trying new recipes created by others. Will my photos do them justice? Maybe not. But like I said, my posts are like an account of what I’ve made and enjoyed. I personally struggle sometimes to even post food pics because I think to myself, “these aren’t good enough” or “this looks nothing like so-and-so’s photos.” Stop that. Stop that right now. I’m talking to myself and YOU. Because remember…YOU ARE ENOUGH! So post those photos if they make you happy!

I intended on snapping a before photo, but she couldn’t wait to dive in and honestly, this photo makes me waaaaaay happier than a bowl of banana ice cream…


Do not compare someone else’s journey with your own. – Whether its spiritual, health, healing, diet, lifestyle, etc…DO NOT compare the path you are on to another person’s. Do not minimize your progress or success to someone else’s. Keep the focus within. What we all need to remember is that each one of us is different. Bodies. Mindsets. Priorities. Resources. Finances. All of it differs from person to person. Family to family. I do feel that it’s nice to have something to aspire to and occasionally it’s healthy to use someone else’s story for inspiration BUT not as an end all. Not as an “I need this in order to be happy, healthy, or beautiful.” Keep checking in with yourself. Are you happy? If so, you’re on the right path. And remember, no matter the case, YOU ARE ENOUGH.

– I struggled for a while with my own spiritual journey. I’d be bombarded by posts from others sharing what I needed in order to be truly spiritual. I began to feel that I wasn’t meditating enough, praying enough, unplugging enough, reading enough, minimalist enough. In a nutshell, I didn’t feel like I was enough, that while I thought of myself as spiritual, I began doubting that I actually was. That I constantly needed more. Truth is, after taking a deeper look within, I began to see that I was enough and that what I held dear to my journey – to my spiritual practice – worked for me. I began to phase out what others were throwing at me and focused more on what worked for me. Once I stopped comparing my journey with others, I was more at peace. I am a constant work in progress; forever learning how to be the best version of myself without the influence of others.

– In line with this thought, everyone’s idea of veganism (or diet in general) is different and for us to belittle one another over minor details is silly. What I consider healthy for me, won’t line up with the next person. What’s important is that we do what’s right for our own body and mind. Realizing that it’s enough – you’re not less healthy or less of a person because you consume more fat or carbs than someone else. 

Holy bright!!!! I swear this photo is unedited! I attempted to capture Willow being super silly,  but just as I snapped the pic, she ducked down in her car seat…but I managed to capture how truly happy I was…


I have to share an excerpt from Daring Greatly by Brené Brown (seriously read her books, I’ve loved them all). The last paragraph on the page below is so perfect…


Do it for YOU. The second you start posting for someone else’s attention or approval or writing what you think people want to hear, you’ve lost yourself. You’ve forgotten what it’s all about. YOU are important and what you have to share IS important. So don’t post something because you think it will get a lot of “likes” or “followers” – post from the heart. Post what makes YOU happy. Post what sings to your soul. When you do that, the right people will be aligned with your path.When you get caught up in what others like or what the “trend” is, you stop being yourself. What YOU have to offer is ENOUGH. For me this also means taking frequent breaks or unplugging for a few days – I’ve learned to be OK with not replying to comments the day they’re left or catching up on everyone’s page. Those who matter will still be there when I return. I choose to take care of myself (and family) before anything else.

If you find yourself constantly trying to prove your worth to someone, you have already forgotten your value. ~ Unknown


Do not compare numbers; in fact, ignore them. Just because you have less followers than someone else, does not make you any less important or valuable. Just because you only got 30 likes on a post doesn’t mean your photo wasn’t beautiful or meaningful. Know deep down that numbers mean nothing. Some of my absolute favorite pages/people have small followings and I adore them because their captions speak to me and their photos are  real, in-the-moment accounts of life. I enjoy interacting, engaging with other people and often times, the bigger pages just can’t keep up with comments or questions, which sadly, makes me less inclined to reach out to them. I love the pages that share unapologetically and a little bit of everything: food, personal, nature, quotes, motherhood…you name it. As long as they’re posting from the heart, that’s all that matters. So whether you have 20 followers or 100k followers, you need to remember that YOU ARE ENOUGH. Your worth is not determined by numbers. As long as you’re doing what YOU love, it is enough.


If you’re unhappy with who you are, what you look like, or where you are, I highly recommend digging down deep within and figuring out why. I say this because trying to change who you are or what you look like doesn’t always bring happiness, in fact, chances are, your feelings will remain the same. So choose to be happy now, not “when I lose 10 pounds,” or “when I get that promotion.” Embrace who YOU are and recognize your unique self and remember…

You are not your wrinkles, age spots, acne scars.

You are not the number on a scale.

You are not your pant size.

You are not your grades in school or your degree.

You are not your job title.

You are not your mistakes or shortcomings.

Your worth is NOT determined by the amount of followers you have or the number of likes you get on a post.

You aren’t less worthy if you “fail.” Choosing to put yourself out there and be who you are is a brave action. Vulnerability is not weakness.

The most delightful surprise in life is to suddenly recognise your own worth. ~ Maxwell Maltz

I had an epiphany a couple of days before my birthday (which is what sparked this blog post) and it was literally as if someone finally turned a bright light on after being in the dark for years. I felt a sense of freedom that was indescribable. Rather than living in a state of fear or walking on eggshells, I am now able to approach social media with a new mindset. New eyes. New confidence. I used to fear what others would think so I would hold back (filter) what I share. This last year was a whirlwind of emotions and struggles with health, creativity, relationships, love, loss, and change. I learned to follow my heart, my gut, and listen to my body…and ignored what others said was the “right” way. Through this journey, I have lost a few friends (real and online) because they didn’t agree with my path. And that’s OK. Hundreds unfollowed me on social media in a week’s span and while it stung at first, I count it as a blessing. I’m being aligned with those who truly matter; those who accept me for who I am…all of me. I learned the difference between true friends and those who only “liked” me when I was either making their recipes – only “supported” me when it was convenient or only talked with me when my life was positive (when I kept my struggles to myself)…a handful of those people unfollowed me on social media and while I’m grateful for what I learned from them while we were “friends” I am also grateful to not have artificial friendships in my life. I have grown because of them. I have learned that I AM ENOUGH no matter what. If I’m in a creativity slump…I AM STILL ENOUGH. I believe in supporting my friends wholeheartedly, even if their path doesn’t align with my own. Even if I am unable to make their recipes or buy their products, I support them with my words and energy. Realize that YOU ARE ENOUGH and if for any reason you doubt your stance with someone, it is time to let go and recognize that you should not have to fight to be heard by a “friend.”

I’ll share one last bit before I end this loooong ramble 😉

Becoming a mother opened my eyes in more ways than one. I’ve grown more than ever during these almost five years and have come to really recognize my strength. During these years, I have also been criticized more than ever – whether by random strangers on social media or family. Everything from diet, choice to not vaccinate, homeschooling, and me being a stay-at-home mom (SAHM). I’ve been told that I need to do research, or I’m depriving my child, I need to listen to doctors, or get a part-time job. Yep. That last one really irks me. Get a job?? I may not punch in my hours on a time clock or receive a paycheck, but I hold many “job” titles and work 24/7. As with everything else, I’ve come to grow from the criticism or negativity. Why? Because I realize that my worth does not depend on what others think of me. And as far as being a mom, sure I have my bad days and moments of doubt, but I know deep down that I’m doing a pretty damn good job.


I think we all need to remember that we’re human. We might make mistakes, fall down, fail, do things we’re not proud of, but we are ALL WORTHY.

To anyone and everyone reading this, I’m sending you LOTS OF BIG hugs. Thank you for taking the time to read this to the end.

 

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!

 

What I Eat in a Day {AIP}

Since starting the AIP diet, everyone keeps asking me, “what the heck do you actually eat???” I’ve had to eliminate SO many of my staples – everything from black pepper, baking powder, and curry to bell peppers and tomatoes…and the obvious nuts and grains. My diet over these last two weeks have consisted of A LOT of fresh fruits and veggies. It can definitely get repetitive and old, which forces you to buy produce you don’t always eat and to get creative with meals. It’s also hard because you get conflicting info on the Internet as to what foods you can and can’t eat.

Here’s what I ate in a day:

Breakfast:

Sautéed kale (oil-free) topped with half of an avocado, nutritional yeast, and a sprinkle of Himalayan salt.

What I Ate in a Day {AIP}
Snack:

12 oz smoothie >> 1.5 frozen bananas, 1/2 cup frozen blueberries, 1 teaspoon maca, 1 teaspoon carob, 1 teaspoon mesquite powder, water and a splash of coconut milk to blend.

What I Ate in a Day {AIP}

Lunch:

1 Persian cucumber and half of an avocado topped with garlic, Himalayan salt, nutritional yeast, and fresh basil.

What I Ate in a Day {AIP}
Snack: 

Sliced apple, blueberries, and Ceylon cinnamon in a coconut paleo wrap. Also munched on a donut…working on trials for a grain-free recipe that’s also oil-free…holy tricky!! Haha! 

What I Ate in a Day {AIP}
What I Ate in a Day {AIP}
Dinner:

Sautéed kale + onions (oil-free; used mushroom broth), crispy sweet potato fries, and roasted brussels + broccoli with an AIP friendly cheese sauce…needs another trial, but I’ll share when I get it figured out!

What I Ate in a Day {AIP}

Before bed:

A cup of herbal tea.

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A couple of my other favorite meals from the week:

Banana-yam cakes with blueberries and pears (recipe courtesy of my cousin). Uses banana flour and a lot of cinnamon. You can either fry them in coconut oil for a yummy crispy exterior or bake them oil-free…both ways are delicious. 

What I Ate in a Day {AIP}
Butternut squash soup topped with steamed broccoli + fresh basil. Failed to write down how I made it, but that just means I’ll have to make it again 😉

What I Ate in a Day {AIP}

Hope all of you have a wonderful weekend!

Thanks for stopping by!

❤️


RECIPE: Sunshine Smoothie Bowl

Hello, friends! Before I dive into this recipe, I wanted to say a HUGE thank you for all of the supportive comments on my previous post – means so much to me. I was shocked at how well it was received and even more shocked to learn how many others are in the same boat. Your emails and text messages have helped me to feel less alone and hopeful. I’m sending so much love and healing energy to all of you ❤️

If you read my last post, you know that I’ve made some changes in my diet to reset my system and I’ve had amazing results – more energy, no bloating, pain-free, positive mood changes, clothes fitting better, and hopeful. When I was first introduced to the Autoimmune Protocol, I focused too much on the foods I’d have to avoid, rather than looking at the lengthy list of foods I could eat – it’s all about perspective, right?

Since going vegan almost ten years ago, I’ve consumed nuts & seeds on a daily basis. Heck, almost at every meal if I think about it: nut milk in my smoothies, nuts in granola, cashews to make a creamy sauce or soup, nut or seed butters on toast, in smoothies, in baked goods. The list could go on. Nuts & seeds are in A LOT of vegan products.

Same goes for grains. They’re in our cereals, granola, pancakes, and baked goods. But we also cook them up to go with our lunch or dinner – rice, quinoa, millet, buckwheat…well, you get the idea.

My body hasn’t ever had a break from nuts, seeds, and grains – I’m 37 years old – so that’s many days of consuming these foods. I’ve been without nuts and seeds for over two weeks now and without grains, beans, and nightshades for over a week…I’m honestly shocked at how much better I feel. With the AIP diet, they say to do it for 30 days to reset your system – I’m not sure I will go that long since I don’t think I’m getting enough protein (might add beans back in next week) – it’s a harder diet to follow as a vegan.

Eating this way has forced me to get creative, but also reigniting my love for the simple meals…my current favorite dinner is baked yams with sauteed kale, onions, garlic, zucchini, topped with coconut aminos and sliced avocado…gimme those greens! I’ve also fallen in love with these Coconut Paleo Wraps – on the pricey side, so they’re a treat for me. You can find them at pretty much an natural food store or online, but I have found that Whole Foods sells them for the best price. I love using them for both savory (veggie wraps) and sweet (apple crepes) recipes. Oh! And all I can say is coconut butter never tasted so good – now that all of my other nut/seed butters are out – coconut butter is like gold to me! Haha!

*If anyone is interested, I’d be happy to do a post sharing what I eat in a day following this protocol.

If your weather is anything like ours, you’re probably still enjoying smoothies and nice cream without shivering under a blanket just yet 😉 I think this recipe borders on nice cream due to its thickness, but I’m calling it a smoothie bowl since it has a sneaky little veggie in there!

Ahhh, golden beets! Have you tried them? Are you a beet lover? If you’re not a beet fan, golden beets are a lot less “earthy” and overpowering than the vibrant red beets and they also have a perfect sweetness to them. I also love golden beets for their bright, sunshine-y yellow color! I’ve brightened the color even more with some fresh turmeric and mango. My first instinct is to grab the bottle of homemade almond milk, but since I’m not consuming nuts right now, I’ve been using coconut milk, which also gives it a nice tropical twist!

RECIPE: Sunshine Smoothie Bowl
Sunshine Smoothie Bowl {vegan, AIP-friendly, gluten-free, nut-free, soy-free}

Serves 1-2

What you need:

  • 2 frozen bananas
  • 1 cup frozen mango chunks
  • 1/4 cup fresh golden beets, peeled + chopped*
  • 1/2-1 inch chunk of fresh turmeric
  • 2 Tablespoons raw coconut butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla (optional; if following AIP do not use extract)
  • coconut milk to blend*

*I have made this with an additional 1/4 cup of beets and it’s still delicious! Just depends on how much of a beet lover yo are. I use Trader Joe’s organic canned coconut milk as it is gum-free. I suggest starting with 1/4 cup, adding more if you’d like a thinner consistency. If you’re OK with gums, then any coconut milk will do…full fat will make it ultra creamy. 

RECIPE: Sunshine Smoothie Bowl

How to:

  1. Blend until smooth, pour into a bowl, and enjoy! You can top it with fresh blueberries, dried mulberries, shredded coconut, cinnamon, or granola…or load it up with everything!

RECIPE: Sunshine Smoothie Bowl

RECIPE: Sunshine Smoothie Bowl 

Can’t believe this is the last official week of summer! Are you excited for fall?!

 

Thanks for stopping by!

There’s More to Health than What You Eat…

I debated long and hard about writing this post, probably lots of overthinking, but when I realized that sharing my journey is not only what this blog is all about, there’s also a chance it could help someone else. I had a big wake-up call this summer and knowing that all of it could have been prevented is what pushed me to share this with all of you.

So grab a cup of tea, a snack, and get comfortable as I’m about to share a rather lengthy personal journey…


If you follow me on Instagram, you’ve probably noticed that I’ve been absent almost all summer. I’ve been known to take a break here and there, but never for more than a few weeks. It all started when I met a friend for tea back in June and we got to talking about social media. She one day decided to completely delete her IG account to be more present in real life. We talked about our frustrations with the lack of authenticity, how everything appears to be perfectly staged, and how time consuming social media is. After we parted ways that day, I decided I really needed some time away from all of it. I noticed how I would get anxious about even opening the  app because that meant having to respond to all of the comments and catch up on everyone else’s pages. It felt overwhelming and I was struggling with balance. I also struggled with the behavior and energy received while on IG. The whole “follow for follow,” “like for like,” “comment for comment,” was unappealing, not to mention being a smaller page and blog, I allowed myself to feel unworthy. Unimportant.

But please know that IG was just a small portion of my stress.

In July, I started to notice that I wasn’t feeling or acting like my usual self. Everything felt off and I hated it, so rather than pushing down all of the feelings, I reached out to our naturopath. When I met with her the first time (mid-August), I rattled off my symptoms:

  • Depression
  • Poor digestion (bloating, pain, inflammation)
  • Irritability
  • High anxiety and stress
  • Hair loss
  • Weight gain
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of interest in usual things

She took a small blood sample and we looked at it under the microscope together. It showed heart, adrenal, and colon stress. Wow. She had a pretty good idea as to what was going on, but ordered a full blood work up to get an accurate reading. What I found out shocked me and took several days to process it. Here’s what the results showed:

  • Adrenal fatigue
  • Chronic viral infection
  • Signs of hyperthyroid
  • Low stomach acid
  • Malabsorption of Vitamin D, zinc, and protein

What? How can that be?! I’ll tell you why….

STRESS.

All of the stress had caused adrenal fatigue and since my adrenals were so overworked, my thyroid stepped up in an attempt to balance everything. This just goes to show how amazing our bodies are – they work very hard to protect us. My gut also needs some serious love and with low stomach acid, it’s causing quite a bit of discomfort with a lot of foods.

I’m not going to go into detail about how I allowed the stress of several situations get the better of me and to be quite honest, after discussing all of it with my naturopath, this could go back years. Factor in the key element of me being an empath, I’ve endured many, many years of stress and being affected by others emotions and energies.

So what now? How do I heal?

My naturopath put me on a supplement schedule since my body isn’t absorbing it from whole foods and I have been going back to check in with her – we’ll do another blood work up in a couple of months. Along with supplements, I was told to take time for ME. That has meant asking for help – with Willow and things around the house. My Mom is helping out one day a week with watching Willow so that I can do something for me…and that does NOT mean running errands or cleaning. This means anything that will help my well-being: yoga without Willow climbing all over me or calling for me, writing, reading, or even taking a nap. I have learned that the healing process for adrenal fatigue could take up to a year (depending on the person and lifestyle changes made).

I struggled so much to share this with anyone because I thought I was healthy because I ate healthy. When I received the results, I instantly felt like I had failed, like I was a fraud. Here’s the thing, there is SO much more to health than what we eat. Outside factors can greatly impact our health – lack of sleep, pushing yourself too hard, working too much, lack of quiet/down time, toxic relationships, etc. Yes, diet plays a huge role in health, but if you are stressed, you run the risk of very serious issues.

Did you know that chronic stress is linked to the six leading causes of death (heart disease, cancer, lung ailments, accidents, cirrhosis of the liver, and suicide)? And that 75-90 percent of doctor’s visits are stress related? That just goes to show not only how serious stress is, but also how prevalent it is. I feel incredibly grateful to be in tune with my body and recognize early signs, as opposed to running my body completely down and facing a far more serious diagnosis.

For me, my battle is feeling like I have to do it all. What I’m learning is that I can’t and that our bodies aren’t designed to undergo that kind of thinking. I kept getting myself in that trap by seeing posts on IG of other moms who appear to be doing it all (exercise, work, household chores, parenting, etc.) when in reality I need (and YOU) to remember that you only get a snapshot on social media…you don’t get the full picture and often times things are edited or just not shared. So we need to stop comparing what we think others are doing and just BE. Do what feels right to you and if that means moving at a slower pace, taking a break, or posting “imperfect” photos, do it.

 

Just like each individual is different,  each one of us will react and handle stress in different ways. One person’s method may not work for the next person. Life would be so much easier if there was a universal way, a way that fit everyone. The key is finding ways to help YOU. It may take some time, lots of patience, and testing out various methods to fine tune your personal way(s) of coping.

There's More to Health than What You EatThere's More to Health than What You Eat
Here are some tips & methods that have been working for me and also for those close to me…

TIPS TO REDUCE STRESS:

  • Quit the caffeine (coffee, soda, caffeinated tea). I loved drinking coffee, but cut it out of my diet back in March and never looked back. I drink a cup or two of herbal tea a day as it relaxes me and contains beneficial ingredients. Coffee actually promotes stress hormones – It may be difficult to let go of, but your body will thank you.
  • Meditate. I have gotten back into the habit of daily meditation and it has done wonders for my health and well-being. If you find you’re one to be easily distracted and can’t sit still, there are wonderful apps and podcasts that have guided meditations. I use Headspace and Calm – both are free to download via iTunes and offer sessions as short as 10 minutes!
  • Breathe. An obvious one, but sometimes when you’re in the midst of a stressful situation, you tense up and either hold your breath or breathing becomes erratic. Take a few really deep breaths and try to focus on just that. *PLEASE do not ever tell a stressed out person to just breathe or calm down…trust me, it makes matters worse.*
  • Get in the habit of journaling and doing free-writing. Take a moment out of your day to sit and write – don’t think about it too much and just let the pen take off. Write about whatever comes to mind. I like to do this just before bed (usually before meditating) so that I can go to bed with a clear head, I’ve emptied my thoughts and can hit the pillow completely relaxed.
  • Sleep. Sounds silly, but how many hours of sleep are you getting a night? If we’re being honest here, I was only getting 4-5 hours a night because I would be catching up on Instagram after Willow fell asleep and then try and read before finally going to bed around 1-2am. Now, most nights I’m not far behind Willow – I fall asleep between 9:30-10:30 and get a full nights sleep (unless Willow wakes up in the middle of the night). They actually recommend for anyone with adrenal fatigue to go to bed no later than 10:30pm.
  • Get outside! Go for a walk, a hike, a run, or meditate in the grass. The fresh air and sunshine will do wonders. Not to mention getting some vitamin D!
  • Yoga. There are several YouTube channels for yoga or head over to Amazon to purchase some DVDs.  Doing yoga and stretching helps to keep you in the present moment while releasing any tension in the body. Below are the videos I enjoy (I’ve been using the Kundalini yoga dvd for several years and love it)…Willow and I occasionally do yoga together and her DVDs are a huge stress reliever as they’re silly and fun!

There's More to Health than What You Eat

  • Exercise. If you have adrenal fatigue, ignore this tip. I was told to stick with yoga, but for the typical person, exercise (running, cardio, etc.) can be a wonderful way to release stress.
  • Limit your screen time (TV, computer) and gadget/technology time (phone, iPad, Kindle, etc.) – especially before bed. In her recent post, Heather of Yum Universe suggested charging your phone in the kitchen and leaving it there…don’t bring it upstairs with you when you go to bed. I have drastically reduced the time I spend on my phone and I stop using it at least an hour before going to bed. If this is a struggle for you, I recommend putting your phone on airplane mode or turning off notifications at night. This helps to resist the urge to check it.
  • Find activities that create a sense of peace and calming within. For me, that is coloring, doing zentangles, reading, and listening to music. When Willow wants to color, I grab my coloring books and join her – it’s actually become quite the family activity these days.

  • Clean house. Both literally and figuratively. Declutter your home and let go of anything that no longer serves a purpose in your life – let go of the things that no longer bring you joy. This is not easy to do and sometimes this could include toxic relationships – those who either don’t support you, criticize, or hold you back from being happy.
  • Ask for help. If you’re like me, this is easier said than done, BUT absolutely necessary. Recognize those who support you and do not hesitate to lean on them during times of imbalance.
  • Talk about it! Reach out to your good friends and family – be open about your struggles – more often than not, you’re going to find out that you are NOT alone. Everyone is struggling with something and talking about it is therapeutic. In talking about it with those close to me, I found out that two other people happen to be in very similar situations health wise…all due to stress as well.
  • Know your limits and learn how to say no. Remember that you are human, one human, and can’t do it all. Only take on as much as you feel comfortable with. I think it’s great to step outside of your comfort zone and challenge yourself, but if you are susceptible to stress or anxiety, know your body’s capacity and DO NOT allow yourself to reach a breaking point.
  • Let go of the idea that everything needs to be checked off your to-do list before bed. Do you make to-do lists? Mentally or physically on paper? I do. I’m kind of obsessed with lists because it helps my mama brain keep track of things – even little things like sweeping the floor. I’ve learned that lists are great, but they don’t need to be done in a day. My house might be a bit messier, but my stress level is down…and I’m learning to be OK with that.
  • Let go of the past and don’t worry about the future…put your focus on being present. I know how difficult this can be and that is why meditation is key. Being mindful of the here and now is what truly matters.
  • Be kind to yourself. Be patient. Have faith.

I can already hear some of you saying, “I don’t have time to…” And here’s the reality: We ALL HAVE TIME. We just choose to spend it differently. You will have to make adjustments in your life or put other things on the back burner and that’s OK! Pick up the phone and actually talk with a friend – not a rushed text. If you haven’t read a book in forever, start reading a chapter or two of a book that’s been on your list – instead of spending time doing things you think need to be done. I think you get the idea 🙂

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So what does this mean for me? This blog? Social media?


I’m taking things day by day and putting sleep + rest as a priority. I’m making meditation a daily habit and surrounding myself with all the good energy I can. I’ve realized that with Josh’s work schedule, I absolutely NEED to ask my Mom for help more…being a full-time, stay-at-home mom can be challenging, especially since I’ve also taken on the role as homeschooler.

•••

As for the blog…I am very passionate about this blog and while I know it lacks good photography, it is my therapeutic outlet…even if only a handful of people read a post. I enjoy it and the people I connect with here. I am a casual “blogger” in that I get posts up when I feel like and it’s more of a hobby than a career – so I’ve also stopped comparing my little blog with others. I do what I can and I’m at peace with that.

Since I’m also playing around with my diet and making some adjustments, there might be either a lack of recipes here or recipes out of the norm…but always vegan! I will absolutely NOT stray away from being plant-based. I’ve been nut-free for a week now and feel better than I’ve felt in months – I’m also experimenting with AIP (Autoimmune Protocol) – which means no grains, nightshades, beans, nuts + seeds, and certain spices….which is super hard, but if it means healing, I’m all about it. Thank goodness for my cousin (she introduced me to AIP) and all of the crafty people out there creating recipes to fit that diet! My energy is at an all time high and my mood has drastically changed…not to mention my gut loves me!

A sneak peek of what’s coming to the blog soon…


•••

Hmmm. As for social media, I haven’t really decided. I deeply miss many of the people on Instagram, but I’m also enjoying being more present and building stronger connections with those close to me. During this absence, I’ve had several reach out to me via email and/or text with the very same complaints about social media – that it’s a comparison trap and feels like a competition. I truly LOVE the connections that I have made there and if I do return, I will be limiting my time on there during this healing process. To some of you all of this might sound over dramatic or way off base and that might be because you’ve got your stress under control or you stand confidently in your place – for that I genuinely applaud you.

I am a work in progress. I am forever learning and growing. I am healing.

To those reading this, if you’re struggling, please know that you are NOT alone. You are worthy of love and healing. We all are. Please reach out for help if you are feeling overwhelmed or stressed. Do not put your health on the back burner like I did.

If you’re reading this and you know someone who is struggling, offer help or an ear. Never minimize their struggles or tell them that they’re overreacting because in their mind, it’s a huge deal. Be supportive and patient.
Thank you so much to all who took the time to read my rambles here.

Love and light.

❤️

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!

IMG_9370

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!