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!

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!

 

Savory Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

This time time of year is my absolute favorite – cooler weather, all the wonderful varieties of squash, and lots of soup! I used to always start my day with a smoothie, but these days I’ve traded it in for a bowl of hot soup. Not only is it comforting, but it’s also a great way to load up on healthy veggies!

Since following the AIP diet, I have discovered mushroom broth and fallen in love! I realize mushroom broth isn’t anything new, but I’ve always passed it up while shopping. Now I literally use it in everything -to sauté veggies, soups, and anywhere it calls for regular veggie broth. Most vegetable broths contain tomato or peppers – both of which you’re supposed to avoid on an AIP diet. If you’re not a fan of mushrooms and would still like to try this soup, you can use veggie broth, but it will produce a different flavor.

Savory Roasted Butternut Squash Soup
SAVORY ROASTED BUTTERNUT SQUASH SOUP:

{AIP, vegan, oil-free option}

Serves 6

What you need:

  • 1 medium butternut squash
  • 3 celery stalks
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 small red onion
  • 4-5 garlic cloves
  • 1 teaspoon coconut oil*
  • 1 3/4 -2 cups mushroom broth*
  • 1 cup coconut milk*
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • Salt to taste

*NOTES: Can replace coconut oil with broth to keep the soup oil-free. We use Pacific Organic Mushroom Broth (contains water, mushrooms, sea salt, garlic). We use Trader Joe’s Organic Coconut Milk (can) as it does not contain gums.

How to:

  1. Preheat your oven to 400°F and line a baking tray with unbleached parchment paper.
  2. Wash and halve your butternut squash – remove seeds. We like to lightly brush our butternut squash with a small amount of avocado oil and sprinkle it with garlic…but that is optional. With the cut side down, roast the squash for 45-60 minutes or until tender.
  3. While the squash is roasting, slice your celery, carrots, onion, and garlic. Do not be concerned about the size since in the end everything will be blended/puréed .
  4. Heat a large pot with a teaspoon of coconut oil or broth over medium heat and saute your onions until translucent. Then add the celery, carrots, and garlic – Saute until tender.
  5. Next add in 1 1/4 cups of mushroom broth and reduce heat to low-med. Allow to warm while the squash is roasting.
  6. When the squash is tender, remove from the oven and allow to cool for a few minutes. Then remove the skin and cut into cubes – add directly to the pot. Once all of the squash has been added to the pot, add in your seasonings, coconut milk and remaining 1/2 cup of mushroom broth. Increase the heat to medium to allow everything to warm.
  7. Once the soup begins to boil, remove from heat and either carefully transfer and purée the soup in a high-speed blender or use a handheld immersion blender. In this instance, we used our immersion blender to allow for more texture. If you find that your soup is too thick, you can add more broth or water.
  8. Enjoy!!

I LOVE topping this soup with either garlicky kale, fresh basil, roasted broccoli, or roasted cubes of sweet potato. If you’re not following an AIP diet, I recommend adding a dash of jalapeño pepper sauce or diced jalapeños for a kick!

Savory Roasted Butternut Squash Soup
Savory Roasted Butternut Squash Soup
Savory Roasted Butternut Squash Soup
Leftovers with a swirl of jalapeño pepper hot sauce and chives:

Savory Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

Thanks for stopping by!

❤️

Etsy News!

Hello, friends!

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

  • Pumpkin Spice
  • Key Lime Pie
  • Blueberries & Cream


ETSY


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

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

ETSY

ETSY

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

Click HERE to view my shop.

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

I hope you’re all having a wonderful week!

Love & Light

❤️

REVIEW: 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.

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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!

RECIPE: Raw “Granola”

*I apologize for those seeing this post for a second time – for some reason it got published way before I had it scheduled for and this isn’t the first time something like this has happened! Sorry, guys!*

If there’s one ingredient I miss more than anything, I would have to say oats. They’re so versatile that they’re pretty much found in EVERYTHING. Granola is probably my most missed oat-y treat and I needed to find a replacement to top my smoothie bowls with. Whether crunchy or chewy, I loved that sweet and often times nutty goodness. While this specific recipe isn’t going to be exactly like the granola you’re probably used to as it’s obviously lacking rolled oats, it does have some “clusters” of nutty deliciousness AND it all comes together in just a few minutes.

I used to LOVE rawnola (dates + gluten-free rolled oats), but when my oat sensitivity returned, I started playing around with a substitute – while this method won’t be nearly as low-fat, the variety of nuts bring some excellent health benefits (iron, selenium, calcium, protein, magnesium, and antioxidants). Ever since seeing my sweet friend Natalie’s latest rawnola recipe over at Feasting on Fruit, I’ve been anxious to throw in some lemon zest…if you haven’t seen her rawnola creations, definitely check them out!

Why did I choose raw walnuts, Brazil nuts, and almonds? Because they’re some of the healthiest options! Not only are they packed with an abundance of nutrients, but they’re also excellent for brain health, heart health, and the prevention of cancer.

Excellent in a bowl with a splash of nut milk, as a topping for ice cream, smoothie bowls, or as is! The Brazil nuts and pinch of salt add a wonderful flavor to this simple recipe. This is also a great base to play around with flavors/spices of your choice…I do have another recipe in the works for you using this raw granola, so stay tuned 🙂

RECIPE: Raw "Granola"

RAW “GRANOLA”

Makes approximately 3.5-4 cups

What you need:

  • 1.5 cups packed, pitted Medjool dates (approximately 22-24)
  • 1/2 cup raw, organic walnuts
  • 1/4 cup raw, organic Brazil nuts
  • 1/4 (heaping) raw, organic almonds
  • 2 Tablespoons shredded coconut
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla (ground or extract)
  • pinch of Himalayan salt (optional, but highly recommended)

How to:

  1. Throw all of the ingredients in a food processor and pulse until everything is broken up and starting to clump/stick together. If you’re noticing that the mixture isn’t really sticking, add a few more dates and pulse again.
  2. You can either enjoy right away OR spread the mixture (in an even layer) onto a parchment paper lined dehydrator tray and set it at 115°F overnight. I love it both ways, but it’s REALLY good straight out of the dehydrator – it produces a warm, slightly crispy, yet chewy texture.
  3. Best stored in a glass, air-tight container in the refrigerator.

RECIPE: Raw "Granola"

RECIPE: Raw "Granola"

Thanks for stopping by!