As we near the end of 2019, I find myself reflecting on all the good and the bad the year entailed. I love doing this to conclude the year and have listened and read many yearly favorites over the last few weeks. It’s been quite a year of growing, learning, experimenting, and simplifying. With two babies, simplifying and self care are two big themes you’ll see with this list. This has been an incredible year filled with blessings, hurdles, lessons, and everything in between. Curating a list of favorites seems to stamp the previous year in order to embrace the one ahead.
The smoothie recipe that I am currently loving is a game of throwing a bunch of things in the blender and hoping for the best. Yes, I realize this isn’t a recipe but you can at least get an idea of the ingredients! Blueberries (about a cup or two), ½ avocado, mango, a heaping spoonful of almond butter, unsweetened almond milk and sometimes a handful of fresh kale/spinach with a few ice cubes because I like my smoothie super cold and thick.
Granola is a favorite on the blog and is made roughly every other week in my house. I typically enjoy with almond milk, coconut yogurt, or with my acai bowl.
Two favorites are coming to the blog so I’ll just leave them here and promise to add them to the blog soon.. shrimp tacos and roasted sweet potato and quinoa salad.
From the grocery store:
Happy Baby baby food- Okay I know this may seem sac-religious because of my whole mantra of making your own food, but this has been a lifesaver at times. I make most of my baby food but I have grabbed premade baby food in a pinch or during travel. We ended up traveling quite a bit in 2019 and I often picked up jars or squeeze pouches to simplify travel.
organic canned pumpkin- Abram and I made many batches of pumpkin muffins this year, and not just during the autumn months. I think we always have at least one can in the house at all times. Pumpkin spice lattes and pumpkin risotto also were the result of having canned pumpkin in the house.
Aidells Chicken Sausage-Another simplifying tip for you is to keep these in your fridge for an easy BLD to have on hand. These delicious Aidells chicken sausages are my favorite flavor. Although they are precooked, I always cook them again, crisping up the edges to give more flavor and texture. I do wish they didn’t contain sugar, but again, if we are talking about simplifying, this is great thing to have on hand.
coconut oil- I couldn’t have a post about staples in the kitchen and not talk about coconut oil. I’m not loyal to a brand but I do buy the refined coconut oil because it does not make my food taste “coconutty” a big no-no when you use it for a variety of dishes. I also use this to remove makeup, as a shaving cream, moisturizer, and that’s just to name a few.
In the kitchen:
dutch oven- I wanted one for years, ever since I heard how amazing they are. I’ve had this one for a couple of years now but wish I had them in different sizes just because I would use it more often. The way it heats up and cooks food is a game changer. I don’t like chasing fads or popular tools just for the sake of it but this certainly has upped our cooking game. And let’s be honest, it’s not really a fad since this has been around for many years, but I feel like I see them everywhere, made by a variety of companies, sizes, and price points, thus proving the point that they are popular. Perhaps, they are popular for a reason. Here is the Dutch oven I’m currently using and loving.
Mix ‘n chop-A few years ago, I had a home party and purchased this little number. I use this weekly and since we are talking about favorites, this certainly is one of them. Yes I can get away with breaking up meat with a spoon but this is really fun and easy. This makes a great gift for just about anyone. I typically use it for ground beef, chicken, or turkey but I’ve also used it for tomatoes or other softer vegetables.
Vitamix blender-Back to my smoothies, I think another reason I love them so much is because of this blender. Regardless of the temperature outside, I like a realllllllly cold and thick smoothie. This can only be done to perfection in a vitamix. I also have a Ninja, which I love and use a lot and is a close second for many recipes, but this ups the bar for what I now expect a blender to do. Again, you don’t really know what you’re missing until you’ve experienced the best.
Kiehls: Rare earth deep pore cleansing mask– I’ve tried many many many many different remedies for my less than perfect skin. Many of these remedies resulted in a reaction. I can honestly say, this has truly made an impact. I received a sample of this mask and decided to give it a go. I was blown away at how incredible my skin felt after I used this mask. My face felt so soft but clean, like really clean. It claims to “deep clean pores” and it actually did what it claimed to do, and without a harsh reaction or immediate breakouts.
Microfiber makeup eraser: For years I’ve used coconut oil to remove my makeup. I never had major complaints about this process except I would be dirtying a wipe, paper towel, or wash cloth every night. This makeup remover cloth uses two things- the cloth and water..that’s it. And it actually works and removes all makeup.