Summer Favorites 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

SUMMER FAVORITES 2017

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


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

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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

Oh!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Circle Creations: 3 Cami Bra Package Deal

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

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

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


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

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


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

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

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

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

Addicting. That is all I will say….


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

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


Favorite movies that Josh and I saw in the theater:

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

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

Thanks for stopping by!

❤️

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!

February 2017 Favorites

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

Highlights from the month:

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

February 2017 Favorites

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

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

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

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


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

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F E B R U A R Y  FAVORITES >>

P R O D U C T S:

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

February 2017 Favorites

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

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

February 2017 Favorites

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

 

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

February 2017 Favorites
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R E C I P E S:

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

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

February 2017 Favorites

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

February 2017 Favorites
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B O O K S:

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

The Dark Side of the Light Chasers by Debbie Ford

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

Thanks for stopping by!

 

REVIEW: November Favorites 2016

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

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


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

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

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

REVIEW: November Favorites 2016

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

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NOVEMBER FAVORITES:

PRODUCTS:

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

REVIEW: November Favorites 2016

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

REVIEW: November Favorites 2016

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

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

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

REVIEW: November Favorites 2016

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

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

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

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

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RECIPES:

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

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

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

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

Thanks for stopping by!

❤️

A Cruelty-Free Day of Thanks

Let me start by saying that this post contains ZERO judgment or graphic animal cruelty videos. We are all at different states of awareness and rather than taking an extremist route by showing you heartbreaking clips or breaking down the cruelty (how it’s done), I’m going to share heartwarming stories, videos, and celebrate the brave souls (both human and animal)….AND there will be LOTS of recipe links, so be sure to read to the end.

Thanksgiving is a difficult time for me, as it is for most plant eaters. While the day itself is special, as it reminds me of the wonderful memories growing up with my family and sitting around the table at my grandparents house, the main attraction and kitchen time was based around the turkey. It’s estimated that 46 million turkeys are killed for Thanksgiving alone. FORTY-SIX MILLION. While it’s been 25 years since I’ve eaten meat, I know it still remains a huge part of the holiday. Why a turkey symbolizes a day of thanks is beyond me. I get super emotional this time of year because I DO know the evil process about how they’re raised, treated, and slaughtered to eventually be sold in stores. Have you ever been around a turkey? A living, breathing one? You might be surprised to learn that they’re very affectionate, intelligent beings. I’m including some happy videos of them.

And for those interested, you can also help by donating money to the Farm Sanctuary’s Adopt a Turkey project.

VIDEOS:

 

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I’m not sure if any of you follow Violet’s Veg*n e-comics, if you don’t here is a heartwarming comic she did that I loved reading with Willow:

vegan Christmas story

Big Blue Sky (A Christmas Story)

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R E C I P E S >>>>

I PROMISE you, a holiday without meat is 100% possible and whether you’re hosting, going to a potluck, or if you’re bringing your own food (just for you) to a gathering of mostly omnivores, I’ve got you covered (appetizers, sides, mains, desserts, kid-approved). So let’s dive in! The animals and your body will thank you…

All of the recipes linked here are gluten-free, vegan, and soy-free; a lot of them are oil-free as well. I could have included A LOT more recipes and narrowing them down was really hard!

APPETIZERS:

Creamy Artichoke Spinach Dip (without the junk) >> Plant Powered Kitchen >> This dish has made it’s way to family gatherings a few times and it has ALWAYS been a huge hit. Lick-the-bowl-clean kinda good. And it’s kid-approved! Great with chips, crackers, veggies, or even on pizza or a quesadilla!

Below is an old pic from when we made it and spread it on top of gluten-free flatbread.

 

Dairy Free Spinach Artichoke Dip >> Primally Inspired >> Replace the chicken broth with veggie broth and you’ve got yourself a vegan and AIP dip! We’ve got a lot of ideas running through our heads for appetizers, but I’m thinking this one will make an appearance at Thanksgiving!

 

Vegan Queso Blanco Dip (Mexican White Cheese Dip) >> Veggies Don’t Bite >> One of my very favorite dips/sauces before I had to eliminate nuts. I promise you, dairy loving folks will go crazy over this! We paired it with just about anything and everything – heck, you can even give your mashed potatoes a makeover with this HEAVENLY recipe! Ooooh! Or serve it with some crusty bread!

Photo credit: Sophia @ Veggies Don’t Bite

Vegan queso blanco dip (white Mexican cheese)

 

Lemon Cranberry & Pistachio Cashew Cheese Ball >> The Plant Philosophy >>  Another appetizer that was a huge hit at two of our family gatherings last year! Willow picked off the cranberries and pistachios (our silly, selective eater) but devoured the actual “cheese” and paired it with some gluten-free crackers. SO. GOOD.

Here’s a pic we took of it from our Christmas Day gathering last year…

A Cruelty-Free Day of Thanks

 

 

Smoky Roasted Red Pepper Cashew Dip >> Veggie Inspired >> Yet another FANTASTIC and super simple dip that will have your guests going back for seconds or asking for the recipe! Excellent with fresh veggies, crackers (or chips), or bread!

 

Below you’ll see that we paired it with roasted potato wedges…

A Cruelty-Free Day of Thanks

 

Life-Affirming Warm Nacho Dip (an Oh She Glows recipe featured on Plant-Powered Kitchen) >> If you own the Oh She Glows cookbook, you can also refer to this recipe there. We’ve made this for a few family gatherings and it was always the first dish to be devoured. SO good!!!

 

SALADS & SIDES:

Delicata Squash & Persimmon Salad >> Cadry’s Kitchen >> This recipe would be a perfect addition to your Thanksgiving menu! I love how unique this salad is and while I haven’t made it yet, I DO LOVE all of the ingredients. Besides, you’ll learn more about persimmons if you read Cadry’s post…I know I did!

Look at how beautifully Cadry presented it! So festive!

Photo Credit: Cadry @ Cadry’s Kitchen

Fluffy Vegan Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes >> The Vegan 8 >> We made these for Thanksgiving last year and oh, my! Fluffy, creamy, and gone in a flash. And you guys…they’re oil-free! I searched my computer for the photos of these amazing potatoes, but could not find them! So, below you’ll see a photo from Brandi’s blog.

Photo credit: Brandi @ The Vegan 8

Vegan Baked Oil-Free Hushpuppies >> The Vegan 8 >> I honestly couldn’t tell you how many times we’ve made these…four? Maybe five? I guess that just goes to show how incredible they are! All of my family members (even extended family) went crazy over these dangerously delicious, almost melt in your mouth biscuit-y goodies!

A Cruelty-Free Day of Thanks

 

Vegan, Gluten-Free Garlic Chive Dinner Muffins >> The Vegan 8 >> Another amazing recipe by Brandi! They would go perfectly with pretty much any main dish or salad!

Photo credit: Brandi @ The Vegan 8

 

Green Bean Quinoa Celery Salad >> Canned Time >> This beautiful salad, created by Angela, looks so festive – you could serve it at Thanksgiving or Christmas. I can just imagine the lovely balance of textures here, too – between the crunch of the celery and tender quinoa, I bet this is incredibly satisfying!

Photo credit: Angela @ Canned Time

Oil Free Holiday Options - Green Bean Quinoa Celery Salad

 

Marriage-worthy Roasted Brussels Sprouts >> Cake Maker >> These are just like the title states…marriage-worthy. You WILL LOVE them!! We’ve made these SO many times and as crazy as this sounds, I think we’re making these for Thanksgiving AND Jenn’s recipe for brussels (you’ll see the recipe below). What can I say, we LOVE Brussels sprouts!

A Cruelty-Free Day of Thanks

 

Sweet Potato & Herb Savory Muffins >> Feasting on Fruit >> I have not made these yet, but they’ve been on my list to try. I REALLY wish I wasn’t following an AIP diet right now!!!

Photo credit: Natalie @ Feasting on Fruit

Sweet Potato & Herb Savory Muffins | Vegan, Gluten-Free, Oil-Free

 

Rosemary White Beans (Zoes Kitchen Copycat) >> The Vegan 8 >> We actually made a meal out of these earlier this year and Willow even enjoyed them! Insanely creamy, full of flavor, and guilt-free. This savory dish would be a great addition to your Thanksgiving menu!

Below is a photo of these beans paired with sauteed kale + avocado slices.

A Cruelty-Free Day of Thanks

Peas with Scallions and Dill >> Veggies Don’t Bite >> You guys. I don’t like peas, but we made these for Thanksgiving two years ago and I actually ate (and enjoyed) some! They pair perfectly with mashed potatoes or any of the loaf recipes I’m linking below under “Mains” – this is a simple, yet flavorful dish!

Photo credit: Sophia @ Veggies Don’t Bite

Peas with scallions and dill

 

Smoky Maple Roasted Carrots >> Veggies Don’t Bite >> I love how pretty this dish looks! Very autumnal and comforting. While I’m not making this for next week, I plan to try it very soon!

Photo credit: Sophia @ Veggies Don’t Bite

Smoky Maple Roasted Carrots with Lemon Thyme Drizzle

 

Scalloped Potatoes >> Cruelty Free Family >> I debated putting this recipe under “Mains” because I’m pretty sure I’d be content with just a giant plate of this. Haha!! OK, confession…I haven’t tried this recipe (yet), but who can go wrong with cheesy potatoes AND without the guilt!

Photo Credit: @ Cruelty Free Family

potatoes1

Grain-Free Sage and Pecan Stuffing >> In Sonnet’s Kitchen >> I pinned this recipe quite some time ago, but haven’t tried it yet. Since I know a few of you are watching your grains intake, I wanted to include it here! I’d totally make it this year if I could eat nuts!!

MAINS:

Vegan Oat-Free Spicy BBQ Lentil Loaf >> The Vegan 8 >> My Mom made this last year for Thanksgiving and it was amazing!!! No one missed the turkey and if they did, they certainly didn’t let on. I happily enjoyed the leftovers, too!!

Photo credit: Brandi @ The Vegan 8

Butternut White Bean Puree w/ Roasted Brussels Sprouts >> Veggie Inspired >> Here’s the other Brussels sprouts recipe I mentioned earlier! SO good!! While I haven’t tried them with the Butternut purée, I can attest to that delicious glaze that goes along with this recipe and of course the brussels – the red onions are the perfect addition!

Photo Credit: Jenn @ Veggie Inspired

Butternut White Bean Purée w/ Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Shepard’s Pie Stuffed Acorn Squash >> The Plant Philosophy >> I have not tried this recipe yet, but we are making it for this Thanksgiving! I love squash so much AND potatoes, so I’m pretty excited. We’ll be making a couple of minor adjustments for my portion to keep it AIP friendly…I’m pretty sure you’ll be hearing more about this recipe in my November Favorites post coming soon!

Photo Credit: Margaret @ The Plant Philosophy

Shepard's Pie Stuffed Acorn Squash | Vegan, Oil-Free | The Plant Philosophy

 

Vegan Thanksgiving Power Bowl >> Feasting on Fruit >>  While I personally haven’t tried this recipe yet, there is A WHOLE LOTTA YUM in one bowl! Literally all of your Thanksgiving favorites in one bowl! Potatoes, cranberry sauce, “stuffing”, lentils, and greens. I’m a sucker for food thrown together in a bowl. Perfect for those attending a gathering where you’ll be the only vegan.

Photo credit: Natalie @ Feasting on Fruit

Vegan Thanksgiving Power Bowl - FeastingonFruit.com

Creamy Autumn Pumpkin Pasta >> Strength & Sunshine >> I have been SO anxious to try this recipe created by my sweet friend, Rebecca! Look at how comforting and dreamy this looks! Who needs turkey when you can have a bowl of this deliciousness??

Photo Credit: Rebecca @ Strength & Sunshine

Creamy Autumn Pumpkin Pasta | Strength and Sunshine @RebeccaGF666 A Creamy Autumn Pumpkin Pasta recipe that brings you all the healthy comfort of the season. Gluten-free, nut-free, and vegan, this easy & quick, savory seasonal dinner will warm your soul from the inside out!

Vegan Cauliflower Lentil Loaf >> Strength & Sunshine >> Yet another Thanksgiving-esque recipe! If my gut could be friends with cauliflower, I would absolutely make this for next week’s gathering. Definitely check out her recipe!!

Photo credit: Rebecca @ Strength & Sunshine

Vegan Cauliflower Lentil Loaf | Strength and Sunshine @RebeccaGF666 A hearty plant-based dinner idea that will satisfy even meat-eaters! A Vegan Cauliflower Lentil Loaf that mimics the classic meatloaf with no meat, gluten-free, nut-free, and soy-free! Get all your protein and veggies in this healthy recipe!

 

DESSERTS:

Autoimmune Paleo Apple Crisp >> The Curious Coconut >> I LOVE this recipe and I know that I already talked about it in my October Favorites blog post, but I’m mentioning it again because this is what I’m bringing for dessert next week for our family gathering.

 

Gluten-Free Vegan Caramel Crusted Pumpkin Loaf >> The Vegan 8 >> My Mom made this amazing recipe for last year’s Thanksgiving and it was a huge hit!

Again, another failed search in finding last year’s photos!

Photo credit: Brandi @ The Vegan 8

 

Gluten-Free Pumpkin Cream Pie >> The Plant Philosophy >> This was my contribution for last year’s Thanksgiving gathering – it was soooooooo good!

A Cruelty-Free Day of Thanks

 

Pumpkin Fudge Brownies (Vegan & Gluten-Free) >> Veggie Inspired >> Pumpkin + chocolate! Need I say more? These look AMAZING!! I’ve been meaning to make them for my family, but I’m sure I would cry because I can’t eat them right now. *Sigh* My list is growing longer by the minute and when I can eat “normally” again, I’ll be wishing we had more meals in a day!

Photo Credit: Jenn @ Veggie Inspired

Pumpkin Fudge Brownies

 

Vegan Pumpkin Creme Brulee >> Feasting on Fruit >> This was one of our favorite treats from last year…I think I made it three or four times ❤ Huge thumbs up from all of my family.

A Cruelty-Free Day of Thanks

 

Pumpkin Cheesecake >> Unconventional Baker >> How incredible does this look?!??? Audrey is the queen of gorgeous treats. While I haven’t had this specific one, I can tell you that ALL of the recipes I have tried were nothing short of amazing. She offers up two variations (one with a baked crust or a nutty, no bake one) – both look divine!

Photo credit: Audrey @ Unconventional Baker

Pumpkin Cheesecake {Free From: gluten & grains, dairy, eggs, and refined sugars}

 

Vegan Cinnamon Roll Pumpkin Pie >> The Vegan 8 >> Cinnamon. She had me at cinnamon. And the beautiful photos. Good lord! I feel like there needs to be a day for just Thanksgiving desserts because there are A TON of drool-worthy recipes here.

Photo credit: Brandi @ The Vegan 8

 

Vegan and Grain-Free Pumpkin Pie Cups >> Feasting on Fruit >> Pumpkin pies in mini form? Yes, please! These look so perfect and wait until you see the ingredient list! So simple!

Photo credit: Natalie @ Feasting on Fruit

Vegan & Grain-Free Pumpkin Pie Cups

 

Gooey Pumpkin Spice Latte Chocolate Pudding Cake >> Oh She Glows >> You can’t go wrong with an Oh She Glows recipe. I have yet to try one I didn’t fall in love with – so while I haven’t made this one yet, I’m pretty sure I’d enjoy it.

 

Mini Sweet Potato Pies with Maple Cashew Cream >> The Organic Dietitian >> How adorable and delicious do these look???! Mmmm!!! I’m a fan of any mini treats! And with sweet potato!

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So there you have it!! LOTS of delicious, cruelty-free recipes that could “wow” your guests, friends, family. Something for everyone.

 

 Happy (almost) Thanksgiving! I hope all of you have a wonderful holiday with family and friends.

Peace.

Love.

Happiness.

Gratitude.

 

REVIEW: October Favorites 

Happy November, friends!! Between Josh’s ever changing schedule (including a handful of overnight shifts) and someone using my personal info to book hotels in Japan, I’d say we had an interesting last month! Haha!! I had to hurry and change both my email address and phone number which is not fun to do…notifying everyone and re-subscribing to my favorite blogs – it’s a lot of work. Other than that, we had a great October! How about you?? 

OH!!! And any Cubs fans out there????!!!! What an amazing time. We’ve been watching the games at my parents house and I’ve been hit with so many wonderful memories. I was born and raised in the Northwest suburbs of Chicago and the Cubs were a big part of my childhood – as a family, we’d go to the games or watch them on tv at my grandparents house. I especially remember my grandfather listening to the games on an old radio in his garage. It’s been fun getting Willow into the games – I told her one day we’ll take her to Wrigley Field to see the Cubs play.

Fingers and toes crossed for tonight’s game!!!!

But now let’s move on to some pics!

We managed to pick the perfect day to make our annual trip to the pumpkin patch:



And Willow even snapped a rare photo of Josh and me!

And here are some fun pics from our snow adventures at Devils Lake (October 22, 2016):




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O C T O B E R  F A V O R I T E S:

I don’t have any new products to share with you this month – we actually did try some new things, but none worth sharing and none that I’ll be buying again.

RECIPES:

Ginger Zucchini Breakfast Soup >> Souffles and Sawdust >> In my quest to change up my breakfast routine, I found this soup recipe and it has become a favorite of mine! It calls for very few ingredients and it’s AIP-friendly. The only thing that was hard for me was chopping all the veggies in the morning while making Willow’s breakfast – I have since learned to prep ahead to make throwing this together a breeze. I did make a couple of adjustments: I used mushroom broth (instead of veggie broth), which made the soup significantly darker than intended, but I absolutely LOVED the flavor! I also omitted the coriander and black pepper. In the photo below, I topped it with chives, but I’ve also cooked up spinach or kale to go with it. Such a great way to start the day during the chillier months!

REVIEW: October Favorites
Cinnamon Plantain Fritters >> Grazed and Enthused >> They had me at cinnamon! Oh, goodness, this recipe was amazing! Even my husband enjoyed these and he’s not following an AIP diet. Mine didn’t turn out as pretty as her photos showed, but who cares when they’re delicious! The only adjustments: I added more cinnamon – to the batter and sprinkled on top…what can I say, I LOVE cinnamon! And I left the maple syrup out of the batter. I loved the crispy exterior and tender center – the flavor was also wonderful! Full of cinnamon and not too sweet thanks to the plantains not being ripe.

REVIEW: October Favorites
Autoimmune Paleo Apple Crisp >> The Curious Coconut >> When the Granny Smith apples you purchase turn out to be not that great, you figure out a way to use them…so my Pinterest search lead me to this recipe. I’ll be honest, I didn’t have high hopes because all of the apple crisps I’ve had in the past had oats, nuts, and/or flour. Not to mention that our all-time favorite (from The Oh She Glows Cookbook) seemed impossible to beat. I’m not saying that this beats it, but it comes really close! The kitchen smelled incredible and while I haven’t been consuming many sweets these days, I was half tempted to skip dinner and dive face first into a bowl of this apple crisp. I was floored at how delicious this was! Such perfect buttery, slightly crispy, sweet topping and tender, cinnamon-y apples…heavenly. And the best part was that I didn’t miss the grains or nuts one bit! Definitely give this recipe a try!

REVIEW: October Favorites

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Balsamic Maple Glaze >> Veggie Inspired Journey >> It’s no secret that I LOVE brussels sprouts and any time a new recipe is created that involves them, I just have to try them! Jenn paired the sprouts with a butternut squash puree, but since I’m avoiding beans at the moment, I decided I still had to try the sprouts….and I am SO glad I did! Roasting them with red onion slices is delicious, BUT drizzling the Balsamic Maple Glaze over them….AMAZING! I absolutely love the simplicity of the recipe and how easy it was to whip up. We’ll definitely make them again…and again!

I tried another recipe of Jenn’s – a dressing, which you can find HERE and loved it! I used it on kale salads. Definitely check out how it’s intended to be used…it looks amazing!

Silky Sweet Vegan Date Caramel Sauce >> Feasting on Fruit >> My friend, Natalie, is on a roll with recipes these days and I have a lengthy list going of ones to try. But when she came out with this caramel recipe, I had to try it asap since it contained ingredients that were AIP friendly. You guys. I am so impressed!! Not only was this insanely easy to make, but it is also the creamiest caramel sauce I’ve had – it actually pours smoothly! And the best part…even after it’s been in the fridge, it holds its pourable consistency! No plopping. No clumps. No crazy thick, hard to work with caramel. Just smooth goodness. The day I made it, Willow had a drizzle on her pancakes and I’m pretty sure she’ll make it a standard pancake topping. I couldn’t stop sneaking bites of it that I gave myself a tummy ache…it’s SO good!! Josh has been eating it with sliced apples and we’ve also paired it with a recipe that is hopefully coming to the blog later this week. Try this caramel sauce!

REVIEW: October Favorites



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BOOKS:

Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss >> I finally finished this book in its entirety…all 1107 pages! Overall, I REALLY enjoyed this and while I didn’t quite love it like the first book in the series, it was still entertaining and I had a difficult time putting it down. However, there were parts in the book that seemed a bit drawn out and slow – small sections I could have done without, but I can see how they played a role in character development. And then there’s the ending. Good grief! When is the third book coming out???? 

In the meantime, I’ve started The Slow Regard of Silent Things – a novella by Patrick Rothfuss (#2.5 in this crazy series)! It’s a book about Auri, one of the characters in the series. 

MOMfulness: Mothering with Mindfulness, Compassion, and Grace by Denise Roy >> My sweet friend, Karina, recommended this book to me so I immediately ordered a copy via Amazon Prime…managed to find a used copy in really good condition for only a few dollars. I am SO happy to have my own copy to refer back to as it’s filled with meditations and thought-provoking quotes. If I had the money, I would gift this book to all of my mom friends. Lots of gentle reminders to be more present in the here and now.

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As always, I’d love to hear from you! Did you try any new products? Recipes? Read any books worth recommending?? Let me know in a comment below!
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

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