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!

.

**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!

****************************************
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!

*****************************************

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!

❤️

REVIEW: July Favorites

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

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

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

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

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

image5 (1)

willowandmama

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

IMG_9136

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

Todd Lake

******************************************************************************************************

J U L Y  F A V O R I T E S

PRODUCTS:

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

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

REVIEW: July Favorites

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

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

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

REVIEW: July Favorites

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

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

REVIEW: July Favorites

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

REVIEW: July Favorites

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

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

REVIEW: July Favorites

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

REVIEW: July Favorites

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

REVIEW: July Favorites

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

REVIEW: July Favorites

******************************************************************************************************

BOOKS:

SOUL VOWS by Janet Conner

BE WHAT YOU WISH by Neville Goddard 

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

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

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

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

REVIEW: July Favorites

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

Thanks for stopping by!

REVIEW: May Favorites

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

IMG_9533

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

DSCN3728

IMG_9645

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

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

************************************************************************************************

M A Y   F A V O R I T E S:

Randomness:

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

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

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

PRODUCTS:

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

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

REVIEW: May Favorites

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

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

REVIEW: May Favorites

RECIPES WE TRIED AND LOVED:

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

The Vegan 8’s Mexican Tahini Sauce

Feasting on Fruit’s Mint Chocolate Chunk Nicecream

Vegetarian Gastronomy’s Vegan Cucumber Ranch

and

Peanut Butter & Vegan’s Red Velvet Smoothie

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

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

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

REVIEW: May Favorites

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

REVIEW: May Favorites

BOOKS I READ & LOVED: 

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

THE ORPHAN QUEEN by JODI MEADOWS

INCARNATE by JODI MEADOWS

 

BOOKS I READ & LOVED WITH WILLOW: 

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

TELL ME A TATTOO STORY by ALISON McGHEE

MAPLE by LORI NICHOLS

MAPLE & WILLOW TOGETHER by LORI NICHOLS

MAPLE & WILLOW APART by LORI NICHOLS

DANDELIONS by KATRINA McKELVEY

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

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

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

 

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

Thanks for stopping by!

RECIPE: Raw “Breaded” Italian Zucchini Chips

If you follow me on Instagram, chances are you saw the teaser for these last week! This crispy little snack is super addictive like your favorite bag of chips, but without the oil or guilt. Willow and I couldn’t stop eating them right off the dehydrator trays – so they’re also kid-approved!

RECIPE: Raw "Breaded" Italian Zucchini Chips

They’re cheezy, zesty, and slightly buttery…and did I mention that they’re addicting? And hey, if you’ve got a picky eater, I promise the veggie taste goes completely undetected!

RECIPE: Raw "Breaded" Italian Zucchini Chips

RAW “BREADED” ITALIAN ZUCCHINI CHIPS

{raw, oil-free, vegan, gluten-free, soy-free}

What you Need:

  • Three small bowls, tongs, whisk, dehydrator.
  • 2 small-medium organic zucchinis
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened, homemade, raw almond milk (or your choice of plant-based milk)
  • 1 teaspoon coconut aminos*
  • 4 Tablespoons blanched almond flour*
  • 2 Tablespoons unfortified nutritional yeast*
  • 1 heaping teaspoon salt-free Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon granulated onion
  • 1/4 teaspoon granulated garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika (optional)

* Can omit the coconut aminos and use a pinch of Himalayan salt in the breading instead.

* We use Honeyville’s blanched almond flour and buy it for a great deal at Costco. You can replace the almond flour and/or nutritional yeast with homemade (or store-bought) vegan Parmesan. You can find my recipe for a simple homemade Parmesan HERE (omit the nutritional yeast if you can’t have it). I have made it both ways, but prefer the almond flour-nutritional yeast combo as it provides a perfect “cheesy” flavor and the finely ground almond flour sticks to the zucchini really well.

RECIPE: Raw "Breaded" Italian Zucchini Chips

How To:

  1. Wash, peel, and thinly slice your zucchini. Set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, mix the milk and coconut aminos.
  3. In a second bowl, whisk together your dry ingredients; break up any clumps from the almond flour or Parmesan.
  4. Fill a third bowl with warm water.
  5. Using tongs (or fingers if you don’t mind getting a little messy), dip zucchini slices, one at a time, in the almond milk mixture. Tap any excess off and then dip it in the “breading” mixture to coat the slice evenly. Place the slice on a mesh dehydrator sheet and then dip your tongs in the warm water to remove any excess breading. Tap excess water off and repeat this process until all the slices are coated. I highly recommend whisking the “breading” after every few slices to break up any clumps.
  6. Place trays in the dehydrator and set it at 115° for 8-12 hours. Times will vary depending on thickness of zucchini slices or how much “breading” you used. You’re looking for a crispy texture.
  7. Store any chips that you don’t eat in a glass jar with a lid….but be warned…you will most likely just eat them right off the tray!

I realize that the process to make these can be a bit time consuming with dipping each individual slice in the breading, but this ensures that they’re evenly coated…you can thank my perfectionist tendencies for that! You could try throwing the breading ingredients in a Ziploc bag and shaking the slices in there, but I cannot vouch for the results. If you make these, please let me know! Come back and leave me some feedback or tag me on Instagram 🙂

UPDATE!! My best friend gave this recipe a try using the oven and my suggestion to use aquafaba. She omitted the almond milk and used just aquafaba (and breading recipe) and baked it at 175° F for 30 minutes and then at 400° for another 30 minutes. Oven times will vary depending on how thin you slice the zucchini. She recommends checking on them after 15 minutes. Thanks, Jen!! xo

RECIPE: Raw "Breaded" Italian Zucchini Chips

RECIPE: Raw "Breaded" Italian Zucchini Chips

RECIPE: Raw "Breaded" Italian Zucchini Chips

Thank you for stopping by!

REVIEW: March Favorites

IMG_8427

Happy April, my friends!! I hope everyone is having a lovely Spring so far. We’re counting down the days to Willow’s 4th birthday and I’m wondering where in the world the time has gone?! Speaking of Willow, she’s become obsessed with taking photos and managed to fill an entire memory card! I’m making my way through each one, but here are a couple that caught my eye…

DSCN2793

 

DSCN3170

 

<< MARCH FAVORITES >>

PRODUCTS I LOVED:  

LOCAL SOUL APOTHECARY >> FRANKINCENSE REPAIR BUTTER >>

I learned about Loren (owner + operator of Local Soul Apothecary) through my best friend, Jen (The Luminous Spirit) and knew straight away that I had to check out her Etsy shop. I was immediately drawn to the Frankincense Repair Butter because (1) I LOVE Frankincense and (2) I’m always looking for new remedies for blemishes, scars, etc. The product was shipped quickly and packaged beautifully…and included a sweet little note, something that I enjoy doing with my own shop. When I first opened the little jar of magic, I was taken away by the rich cocoa butter scent (one of my favorites). It goes on smooth and soaks in fast. I have been applying it daily to scars and the other day I noticed a blemish pop up (thanks, stress) and quickly applied a dab of the repair butter. I woke up the next morning and the blemish had drastically decreased!

REVIEW: March Favorites

ANNMARIE GIANNI ORGANIC SKINCARE >> I first heard about this skincare line through my mom quite a while ago, but never got around to ordering anything until recently. I had some leftover birthday money and a coupon (thanks, Mom!) so I picked out a few items that I had been eyeing up. I will say that I had a difficult time narrowing it down as I pretty much wanted EVERYTHING. High quality (organic, wildcrafted) ingredients that not only feel good on your skin, but more importantly…you feel good using.

 

REVIEW: March Favorites

Aloe-Herb Facial Cleanser (50ml) ::  $24.95

Purifying Mud Mask (50ml) :: $39.95

Bamboo Face Brush (vegan, cruelty-free) :: $12.95

I have used the cleanser, facial brush, and mask for the entire month of March and I’m in love. The cleanser is ultra creamy + soothing and doesn’t suds up like most cleansers. I was instantly hit with the incredible scent of lemon (which I adore) and I love how clean and smooth my face felt without any icky residue. I’ve noticed that I’ve had to use less moisturizer on my face since introducing this cleanser into my daily routine.

The face brush has been wonderful! Makes removing masks a lot easier and the soft bristles act as a gentle exfoliant, too. I use the brush with my cleanser most days.

I am also loving the Purifying Mud Mask! Only three ingredients in that little jar, but they’re powerful. I have been using it once a week and not only does my skin feel softer after each use, but I’m noticing my pores are shrinking, too! Unlike other clay masks that I’ve used in the past, this one does not seem to dry out my face.

HILARY’S KIMCHI VEGGIE BURGERS >> I literally squealed when I spotted these at Whole Foods last month and they became a fast favorite in our house. There are more new items coming to stores, but I haven’t seen them yet (Spicy Thai Burger, Curry Burger, Mediterranean Bites, Broccoli Casserole Bites, Spicy Mesquite Bites)…you better believe that I’ll be stocking up once they become available in our area. We will be supporters of Hilary’s forever because not only do their products taste AMAZING, but they don’t contain the ingredients we avoid (soy, gums, carrageenan, gluten, eggs, dairy). Oh, and not even kidding, Willow could live off of the Hemp & Greens burger – we’ve tried buying other brands, but Willow will only eat Hilary’s! But back to these Kimchi burgers…it was love at first bite! Slightly tangy, a bit of a bite with the chili flakes, and they crisp up wonderfully! We always cook our Hilary’s burgers on a cast iron skillet without oil and they get a nice crispy exterior. We’ve also baked them in the oven, but our preferred method is on the stove in a cast iron. Have you tried these yet?! Do you have a favorite Hilary’s product?

REVIEW: March Favorites

RECIPES WE LOVED:

EASY LENTIL MEATBALLS >> MINIMALIST BAKER >> Yet another fantastic recipe from Minimalist Baker! Not a bad recipe yet, which makes me wonder why I still haven’t pre-ordered the cookbook?!? Always full of flavor, simple to make and short ingredient lists. This recipe wasn’t any different. We used carrot ribbons instead of actual pasta – this was an option provided in the recipe. Such a fun and colorful way to change it up!

REVIEW: March Favorites

PROTEIN POWER GODDESS BOWL >> THE OH SHE GLOWS COOKBOOK >> Hubby made this one night for us and oh, my! So many favorites in one bowl and leftovers the next day tasted even better. We made an adjustment to keep it gluten-free and that was to use buckwheat groats instead of spelt or wheat berries. We had a lot of leftovers, which was nice, and we ate them cold, warmed up, and layered between two corn tortillas. Such a wonderful recipe.

REVIEW: March Favorites

EASY VEGAN OREOS (gluten-free & oil-free) >> FEASTING ON FRUIT  >> As I’ve mentioned before, Willow is crazy about Natalie’s YouTube channel and when we watched the video for these Oreos, the first words out of Willow’s mouth were: “We should make those today!” So, we did! Instead of the cream filling, we did a mix of peanut butter, coconut butter and vanilla. These were very rich, decadent and obviously amazing! The thing that blew my mind was that the cookie part is comprised of only THREE ingredients! Waaaaaaay better than the original Oreo. Can’t wait to make these again!

REVIEW: March Favorites

HOMEMADE BROWN SUGAR >> THE VEGAN 8 >>  It never occurred to me to make our own brown sugar. In fact, I haven’t had brown sugar in years because we avoid it as a sweetener. BUT when the clever Brandi created a version that used ingredients we always have in our pantry, I jumped right into the kitchen to make it. It’s insanely easy to whip up and tastes just like the brown sugar I remember…but better!

VEGAN GLUTEN-FREE CINNAMON APPLESAUCE QUICK BREAD >> THE VEGAN 8 >> Talk about a simple, yet AMAZING recipe. I was absolutely blown away that such a short ingredient list could produce this loaf of bread. Magic! Ours was even more cinnamon-y than the recipe called for because i only had unsweetened cinnamon applesauce on hand, but we LOVE cinnamon. The sweet, crumbly topping was perfection and apparently the batter was good, too as Willow kept sneaking bites of it. We reheated ours for a few minutes in the oven each morning and enjoyed it with a cup of coffee or tea. This was such a treat to have in the house!

REVIEW: March Favorites

DREAMY CREAMY ROSEMARY BEANS >> THE VEGAN 8 >> As soon as I saw white beans in the title, I already knew I had to make this. Willow has been on a white bean (or really any bean) kick. We made this as the main dish for dinner one night and I’m kicking myself for not doubling the recipe. Insanely creamy and guilt-free…but it didn’t taste that way. It had a buttery, cheesy taste, but there wasn’t a single drop of oil in this recipe! We paired these beans with some sauteed (oil-free) kale and sliced avocado. The swirl of habanero sauce really took it over the top – spicy mixed with the smokiness of the beans was just perfect! Definitely a keeper recipe!

REVIEW: March Favorites

MARRIAGE-WORTHY ROASTED BRUSSELS SPROUTS >> CAKE MAKER >> I LOVE BRUSSELS. But experiencing Kittee’s recipe was life-changing…and not just because they were absolutely heavenly, but because WILLOW EVEN ATE SOME! What?! I don’t know many three year olds who eat brussels sprouts and in full disclosure, I didn’t try brussels sprouts until my 20’s! I loved the perfect mix of spices + sweetness level here and I don’t know that I can go back to making brussels any other way. SO GOOD. We made one minor adjustment and used avocado oil instead of olive oil. Do yourself a favor and make these ASAP!!

REVIEW: March Favorites

GLUTEN-FREE VEGAN ONION & POTATO STUFFED PIEROGIES >> THE PLANT PHILOSOPHY >>  I grew up eating LOTS of pierogies…that’s what happens when you’re part Polish.  Filled with cheese + potatoes or potatoes + onion and always cooked in lots of butter. So, obviously not the best thing for you. I couldn’t tell you the last time I had a pierogi (maybe 20 years)…that was until Margaret created a version that I could actually eat! Funny thing is, we never made our own – my parents would buy them from this Ukranian church. Ha! I chose to make these over at my Mom & Dad’s for everyone to enjoy and they were a huge hit! The filling was literally spot on – just like I remember from my childhood. We doubled the recipe (which made somewhere around 40 or so) and froze some for another day. The dough was a little tricky to work with, but nothing that a little extra flour couldn’t fix. With the first batch, we pan-fried them, but the other night I cooked up the last from the freezer by using the broiling method (option on Margaret’s blog) and I think I liked the broiling method better! This recipe got a thumbs up from Miss Willow and I wish you could hear the way she says, “pierogi” because it’s easily the cutest thing ever! Anyways, give this recipe a try…hubby has declared that we MUST make these again! Such a yummy recipe!

REVIEW: March Favorites

SOUL-SOOTHING AFRICAN PEANUT STEW >> THE OH SHE GLOWS COOKBOOK >> Yet another wonderful recipe from the Oh She Glows Cookbook. If you don’t have this cookbook yet, what are you waiting for?! It’s easily our most used cookbook as it seems to have something for everyone. I can’t believe we waited so long to make this soup! Comfort in a bowl, hearty, and delicious. I love how she used so many of the same ingredients from the 10-spice soup, yet they tasted very different. I also love how her soup recipes make a big pot so that you’ve got leftovers for a few days.

REVIEW: March Favorites

BOOKS I’VE BEEN READING + ENJOYING:

It was another big month for reading as I’ve chosen to focus more on my mental, emotional, and spiritual health. I’ve gotten quite a few comments about how it must be nice to have the time to read…the reality is, we all have the time, we just choose to spend it in different ways. Like most of you, free time is limited when you’re a stay-at-home mom. I’m not complaining at all, but I found myself stressing out, getting overwhelmed, or sad about how I had so many things that needed to be done and very little time to do things I wanted to do. This year, I vowed to make a big change and find more of a balance. Long story short…I made the time to sit down and read, meditate, journal every single night. Since blogging is a hobby for me and not a job that brings money in to support my family, I don’t put pressure on myself to post by a certain deadline or create a specific number of recipes a week or month or year. I honestly take it day by day and if I get hit suddenly with an idea, I blog about it! I’m in competition with no one and the great thing is, my personal mindset has made it more fun for me. Reading is my way to unwind before bed and I’ve grown so much spiritually and mentally over this last year. Enough rambling! Here are my favorite books from March (I read more than shown on this list, but they weren’t share-worthy):

I actually gave each one of these books 5 stars on Goodreads:

THE UNTETHERED SOUL by MICHAEL SINGER >> If there is one book I could recommend for everyone to read, it would be this one. Words can’t quite explain how this book impacted me. It helped heal and bring closure to some areas of my life and I gained a new perspective. I am more aware now of my thought patterns, more mindful and see where my downfalls are – what’s holding me back. This book has been a wonderful resource, one that I will read over and over again.

LIGHT IS THE NEW BLACK by REBECCA CAMPBELL >> Another fantastic book! I really enjoyed reading this one and LOVED the affirmations throughout. Sometimes while Willow plays in the bathtub, I’ll sit on a stool next to the tub and read. I ended up reading several chapters out loud to Willow because she was so curious about the book. Maybe because it was pink or had a pretty cover – whatever the reason, Willow could not get enough. I would read a page or two and she would insist I keep reading it to her! This book left me feeling empowered and got the wheels turning. I will definitely hang onto this book, not only to read again, but for Willow to read on her own when she is older. I really enjoyed how short the sections/chapters were because it allowed me to really process all that was being said and to take my time with it. I truly feel every woman should read this. Rather than fighting to fit in and hiding your true self, there is power in being YOU, who you were meant to be.

THE SURRENDER EXPERIMENT by MICHAEL SINGER >> I loved this book just as much as his other book, The Untethered Soul. Reading his personal journey and how everything came together for him was incredibly inspiring for me. His words helped me to take a closer look at my own life and how I listen too much to that pesky voice inside my head. Rather than fighting with how you think things should be, there’s something magical (and powerful) about letting go, surrendering and allowing the natural flow occur.

THE QUEEN’S POISONER (Kingfountain #1) by JEFF WHEELER >> I chose this book as my Kindle First option for March (free book) and it was SO hard to put down! I loved it! A fun, exciting, fantasy read that left me wanting more.

 

What are some of your latest favorites?! Books? Recipes? Products?

 

Thanks for stopping by!

RECIPE: Organic Hemp & Green Juice

We’ve been doing really well about drinking at least one green beverage a day – whether in smoothie form or juice. Today, I’m sharing one of my latest favorite juice combos! Lately, Willow requests green juice, but since she likes hers on the sweeter side, I added some Granny Smith apples to cut back on the earthy, green flavor. This recipe, in particular, was inspired by Julie Morris’ Spinach Hemp juice recipe from her Superfood Juices book. A definite favorite of ours from that book and the addition of hemp seeds to juice is genius. It provides a creamy texture while adding a generous amount of protein!

On a side note….

Over the last few months, Willow has been getting really good at taking photos – she insists on taking photos of some of her creations (drawings, Lego masterpieces and food). We have a little digital camera that she’s claimed as her own and can be found snapping photos all over the place. Below I’m sharing a few of my recent favorites:

DSCN2330

 

 

DSCN2292

DSCN2298

And she insisted on taking a photo of her green juice…

DSCN2328

Now, back to the recipe!

CREAMY HEMP & GREEN JUICE {raw, organic, vegan, nut-free}

Makes 4 cups of juice

What You Need:

  • 3 large organic collard leaves
  • 3 organic celery stalks
  • 2 large organic Granny Smith apples
  • 1 organic lemon, peeled
  • 1/4 cup raw, organic hemp seeds

RECIPE: Organic Hemp & Green Juice

 

How To:

  1. Wash and chop your fruit and veggies into pieces that will fit into your juicer.
  2. Juice the fruit and veggies – then transfer to your high-speed blender.
  3. Add the hemp seeds and blend on high until creamy and smooth*
  4. Pour into glasses and enjoy!

*For an even bigger nutrient boost, blend in 1/4-1/2 teaspoon raw spirulina powder.

This is best consumed right away, but any leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator for the day. If you don’t have a juicer, you can put all of the produce (chopped into small pieces, lemon seeds removed) into your blender, blend until smooth (adding a little filtered water if needed) and strain through either a nut milk bag or cheese cloth. Then add the hemp seeds and blend again.

Another variation of this juice that we’ve enjoyed is to use only one celery stalk and add one large cucumber (taste it first and peel if the skin tastes bitter).

RECIPE: Organic Hemp & Green Juice

What’s your favorite juice combo?!

RECIPE: Baked Coconut Pecan Mini Donuts with Cinnamon-Maple Sugar

How many of you actually love your job? I’m talking passionate, happy, excited and motivated by the life you’ve chosen. Sadly, I don’t know too many people who would raise their hands. The last paying job (early 2010) I had just about broke me. I was at an all-time low – physically falling apart with numerous ailments, mentally and emotionally unwell and I remember day dreaming about things I wish I could be doing. I felt defeated. Sounds depressing, doesn’t it? I promise, this story has a happy ending…obviously, otherwise I wouldn’t be typing this, right? After connecting the dots and realizing that my job was the cause of my unhappiness, I gave my notice and quit. I needed to take control of my life, health and well-being, as well as find my true passion…my calling. I brainstormed all sorts of ideas – everything from homemade jewelry to opening some sort of vegan, gluten-free bakery or food cart. So, I started experimenting in the kitchen with homemade donut recipes. I spent a couple of months running various trials and scribbled my creations down in an old notebook which later got lost during one of our moves. Luckily (and I owe thanks to The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up book) I found a few of my recipes from almost six years ago!

As for finding my true passion or calling, I’m living my dream now. Being a stay-at-home mom and being able to have fun with my hobbies (recipe creating and product making) is more than I could ask for. I actually wake up in the morning excited for what the day holds, for what adventure awaits. I feel truly blessed.

I’ve spent the last few weeks refining these recipes – adjusting the ingredients to my current way of eating and making them even “healthier” than they were originally. In the last few weeks I have gone through MANY trials and attempted to make these oil-free, but I gotta tell you, this is an instance where a little oil takes it from: “It’s OK” to “Whoa. This. Is. Amazing!”  I am SO excited to share this first donut recipe with you!

RECIPE: Baked Coconut Pecan Mini Donuts with Cinnamon-Maple Sugar

BAKED COCONUT PECAN MINI DONUTS: {vegan, gluten-free, soy-free, refined sugar-free}

Makes 24 mini donuts

Soft, cake-y, sweet and almost melt in your mouth delicious! The combination of ground pecans and coconut oil create a buttery treat.

What you Need:

Mini Donut Pan(s)

RECIPE: Baked Coconut Pecan Mini Donuts with Cinnamon-Maple Sugar

All of the ingredients needed. Our kitchen table is always covered with large brown paper so we can doodle while we sit together…it’s also a great distraction for Willow while she waits for meals.

{DRY}

  • 1 cup gluten-free all-purpose flour (I used Bob’s Red Mill)
  • 1/4 cup finely ground raw pecans (almost flour-like, not butter)
  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon Himalayan salt

{WET}

  • Flax “egg” (1 Tablespoon ground flax + 3 Tablespoons filtered water)
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3 rounded Tablespoons raw coconut oil (no need to melt)

RECIPE: Baked Coconut Pecan Mini Donuts with Cinnamon-Maple Sugar

RECIPE: Baked Coconut Pecan Mini Donuts with Cinnamon-Maple Sugar

I almost didn’t post this photo because of how messy it looks, but I felt it was important to show the process – it doesn’t need to be perfect.

How To:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit & lightly grease your donut pan(s) with either coconut oil or avocado oil.
  2. In a small dish, stir together the ingredients for the flax “egg” and let it sit for five minutes.
  3. Measure out your milk, ACV and vanilla; add it to a large mixing bowl (preferably to a stand-up mixer or you can use a handheld mixer). Add in the coconut oil and flax “egg,” then mix until well combined.
  4. Next, add in all of the dry ingredients – works best if you sift your flour, sugar and finely ground pecans, but my sifter recently broke…that’s what happens when a three-year-old plays with your kitchen stuff!  Mix until just combined (be careful not to over mix). It will be a somewhat sticky, pudding-like consistency.
  5. Using a piping bag or tablespoon, fill each donut “cup” 1/2 – 2/3 full – do not fill to the brim as they will expand as they bake. Bake for 15-19 minutes. They should spring back to the touch and your tester should come back clean (no wet batter).
  6. Remove from the oven and allow the donuts to rest in the pan for five minutes before removing.
  7. You can enjoy as is OR indulge and coat them in this delicious Cinnamon-Maple Sugar mixture (see below).
  8. As for leftovers, DO NOT store in a plastic container (such as Tupperware or a Ziploc bag) otherwise they will get “wet” and sticky. They’re actually best kept on the cooling rack with a piece of parchment paper or wax paper draped over them loosely. Best eaten within the first 2-3 days.

***UPDATE*** For an oil-free version, simply omit the coconut oil and replace with coconut milk (I used full fat) – so, 3 Tablespoons of coconut milk. You might have to adjust the baking time, but start with the suggested time above.

RECIPE: Baked Coconut Pecan Mini Donuts with Cinnamon-Maple Sugar

You can see which donut “cups” I overfilled! Ha! That’s OK, they got eaten pretty fast!

RECIPE: Baked Coconut Pecan Mini Donuts with Cinnamon-Maple Sugar

A couple of the donuts before being tossed in the Cinnamon-Maple Sugar mix.

CINNAMON-MAPLE SUGAR:

If you’ve never had maple sugar before, you are missing out! We used fresh maple sugar from Graham Farms Maple in Vermont and I’m not kidding when I say, it is the BEST I’ve ever had. Rich, sweet and oh so maple-y. The smell is absolutely intoxicating. Pure heaven. If you don’t have access to maple sugar, you can substitute it with either coconut sugar or regular sugar, but I recommend whirling it through a spice grinder or coffee grinder to get it a bit finer. I’m sure you could use brown sugar too.

RECIPE: Baked Coconut Pecan Mini Donuts with Cinnamon-Maple Sugar

A close up of the maple sugar.

  • 3 Tablespoons Pure Maple Sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon Ceylon Cinnamon

Measure out the maple sugar and cinnamon – then add it to a medium-large Ziploc bag. After the five minutes of setting in pan, remove the donuts and shake them in the cinnamon/sugar mix. I only had a small bag, so I did a couple at a time.

RECIPE: Baked Coconut Pecan Mini Donuts with Cinnamon-Maple Sugar

My little helper and taste tester patiently waiting for a donut!

RECIPE: Baked Coconut Pecan Mini Donuts with Cinnamon-Maple Sugar

RECIPE: Baked Coconut Pecan Mini Donuts with Cinnamon-Maple Sugar

RECIPE: Baked Coconut Pecan Mini Donuts with Cinnamon-Maple Sugar

Thanks for stopping by!