When fall is in the air, all I want to eat is soup. I get cold so easily, so nothing warms the belly (or the soul) more than homemade soup – especially when it’s a warm, hearty puree.

This is one of my favorite (and new!) fall recipes now that I live in Northern California, so from my kitchen to yours, I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

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Ingredients:

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  • 1 1/4 – 1  1/2 cup vegetable stock (or chicken stock) depending on consistency desired
  • 1 stick-pack of Vital Protein’s Organic, Free Range, Chicken Bone Broth Collagen
  • 1 pound cubed butternut squash (I buy mine pre-cubed, because #momlife and no time to prep a whole squash). Can also use pumpkin, or a combo of both
  • 1 can of organic pumpkin puree
  • 1 Granny Smith apple cored, and cubed
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon avocado oil (I like Chosen Foods)
  • 1-2 clove(s) of garlic, minced
  • Pink Himalayan salt + ground black pepper to taste
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne powder (or more depending on your spice-level) to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Optional: unsweetened coconut, cashew, or almond milk as a thinning agent
  • Optional: garlic + onion powder to taste
  • Optional: Pinch of dried sage, thyme, or oregano
  • Want to garnish your soup? Try topping with pumpkin seeds, fresh chives, fresh parsley, pomegranate, or baked apples

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Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F
  2. Grab a large baking sheet and line with parchment paper (make sure to check what the max heat tolerance is)
  3. In a large mixing bowl, add your cubed butternut squash + sliced onion
  4. Add avocado oil to bowl and top with salt and pepper
  5. Bake for about 20 minutes
  6. Remove baking sheet from over and add the garlic and apple to the pan with the squash + onion
  7. Bake for another 30 minutes or so, or until apples + squash are tender and soft, being careful to not let garlic burn
  8. Remove baking pan and set aside to cool
  9. Optional: warm broth in a stove-top pan and add Vital Protein’s Bone Broth or Collagen
  10. Now, you can chose to use either a hand-immersion blender or a high-speed blender
  11. Transfer your baked goodies to large pot (if using hand-immersion blender) or to your high-speed blender
  12. Add cayenne + veggie/chicken stock/broth + bone broth collagen + any other spices you wish
  13. BE SURE TO LET ALL CONTENTS COOL OR BE VERYYYYY CAREFUL ADDING HOT INGREDIENTS TO A BLENDER.
  14. Blend on high for 2-3 minutes, or until soup is silky smooth
  15. If consistency is too thick, add more of vegetable stock and/or dairy-free milk (I typically add another cup of veggie stock/broth!)
  16. Taste and add more seasoning if necessary
  17. If you want to serve immediately, if soup cooled down to much, heat in a large pan on the stove
  18. When ready to serve, ladle soup into bowls and serve
  19. For leftovers: refrigerate up to 3 days or freeze up to one month in an air-tight container

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This week, I’m throwing it back to some of my favorite fun and festive recipes from an #upandautumn challenge I hosted two years ago. Thank you to Timehop for reminding me how cute and yummy this Frankenstein smoothie is! Your little(s) will love it too!

Frankenstein’s Green with Envy Mint Chocolate Chip Shake

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 large handful fresh, organic spinach
  • 3-4 drops mint peppermint extract
  • 1/4 cup soaked (overnight) cashews, drained
  • 1-2 cups organic + unsweetened coconut, almond, or cashew milk
  • 1/2 frozen banana and/or 1/4 avocado
  • 1-2 tablespoons raw cacao nibs or Enjoy Life dark chocolate chips
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened cacao powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Optional: 1/2 teaspoon maple syrup or raw, local honey
  • 3-4 ice cubes
  • Optional dairy: add 1/4 cup coconut, Greek, or whole yogurt
  • Optional extra protein: add scoop of your preferred vegan protein powder (may need to add 1/4 cup water)

Directions: 

Add all ingredients in a blender, blend,

serve and enjoy!

Tip: turn into a milkshake!!! After blending all

ingredients, let sit in the freezer for about 1 hour for

a frosty mint shake! You can also pour “batter” into

ice cubes until all the way frozen, then add more

coconut milk and re-blend, or add all blended

ingredients into an ice-cream maker.

When it comes to motherhood, it can be hard for us mamas to take care of ourselves before anyone else, especially our children. It’s important for us to remember that we need to treat our bodies and our minds just as well as we treat our family’s. I take care of me for my son, and I start within.

SimplyBiotix is running a “Taking Care of Us” campaign, and I couldn’t relate to it more. Probiotics are one of my favorite things when it comes to gut health. I’ve recently been diagnosed with endometriosis, and for the last year have suffered from ruptured ovarian cysts. The cysts, which were once “functional cysts” have now begun to form as “complex,” which basically means instead of being filled with fluid, they are filled with a mass or blood…scary. I’ve seen countless doctors, both eastern and western medicine, and one thing that have ALL said the same….overall health starts with good gut health. And you know what each one has recommended? A probiotic.

“Probiotics are live bacteria and yeasts that are good for your health, especially your digestive system. We usually think of bacteria as something that causes diseases. But your body is full of bacteria, both good and bad. Probiotics are often called ‘good’ or ‘helpful’ bacteria because they help keep your gut healthy” (webMD, 2017). 

 

The past few years have definitely been filled with change, stress, emotions, ups, downs, and basically everything in between. I’ve learned just how mandatory it is for my body AND my soul that I start taking care of better care of myself. As a single mom, I don’t have much “free time;” I mean, who does?! But, if there’s one easy way I can start to take care of my gut (with the benefits of other perks, too), it’s happily adding a probiotic into my daily routine.

Thanks to SimplyBiotix, you can read more about probiotics and learn more about their benefits here. Below is an outline of 10 good reasons to take probiotics via Simply Biotix:

 

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10 Benefits of Probiotics

1. Digestive Issues/IBS

Probiotics are known for treating all kinds of digestive issues including diarrhea and excessive gas and bloating. Probiotics fix the balance of gut bacteria you need for more functional digestion. No one has time for diarrhea or abdominal pain.

2. Immunity & Colds/Flu

Supporting the beneficial bacteria in our guts is crucial for immune function. Beneficial bacteria minimize toxic byproducts of bad bacteria in our bowels, which in turn help to block pathogens and other toxins from being reabsorbed into our bodies…and making us very, very sick!

3. Weight Loss

The bacteria in our guts influence how we break down foods and absorb nutrients, so a healthy gut means a healthier metabolism. In addition, gut bacteria can influence our food cravings, making us want ice cream over some healthy fruit.

4. Oral Health

Our intestines aren’t the only place that bacteria populate, they’re in our mouths too. Probiotics can reduce oral diseases, throat infections, tooth decay, AND bad breath. If mints aren’t doing the trick, try a probiotic lozenge or gum!

5. Mood

Why do we think certain moods cause “butterflies” in our stomachs? The connection between our brains and our guts is evident. If our gut bacteria aren’t balanced, our brains won’t be either. Probiotics can aid in treating depression, anxiety, anger, and even ADHD.

6. Brain Function

We find ourselves having trouble with focus and concentration on our day-to-day tasks. Well, our gastrointestinal tract is linked to our brain by the vagus nerve, so for our brains to work properly, so must our digestive systems. A healthy digestive system provides us with the nutrients needed for healthy brain function.

7. Healthy Skin

When our digestive systems aren’t working very efficiently, wastes can be expelled in other ways, such as through our skin. Probiotics can help eliminate that problem so these toxins are removed through our gastrointestinal tracts rather than through our pores, causing acne and other skin issues.

8. Allergies

When our immune system overreacts to an allergen, we suffer from allergies. Both allergies and the immune system have been connected to digestive issues and unbalanced gut bacteria. Probiotics may help reduce allergy symptoms. A benefit of probiotics seen in infants is improved eczema symptoms when mothers take probiotics during pregnancy.

9. Heart Health

Probiotic bacteria produce vitamins that your heart needs to stay strong and healthy as well as keep our arteries clear. After we eat food, the bacteria living in our gut produces chemicals that are absorbed into our blood stream. These chemicals support the health of our blood vessels and heart.

10. Urinary and Vaginal Health

Beneficial bacteria also reside in the urinary tract and vagina. Without them, excessive pathogenic bacteria and yeast will grow, causing all kinds of uncomfortable issues we just do NOT want to deal with. Taking probiotics can keep the pH balance of the urinary tract and vagina slightly acidic so we don’t have to worry about that.

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SimplyBiotix is a probiotic line offering the following products:

  • Gutsy
    • Kid-friendly
    • Berry burst flavor
    • Fast melting probiotic powder; no need for water (you take it like a pixie stick – but we cannot say pixie stick)
    • Easy, on-the-go way to get your daily dose of probiotics
    • Supports digestive health and immune health
  • Oral & Sinus
    • Cinnamon flavored lozenge
    • Helps with bad breath
    • Supports ear, nose and throat health, oral health and immune health
    • Many people aren’t aware that probiotics aren’t just for your gut – probiotics live in your mouth too. We also need to promote good bacteria to balance out the bad bacteria, which will result in fresh breath
    • Sugar-free and kid-friendly
  • Gut Health
    • Supports digestive health and immune health
    • This supplement was developed with BIO-Tract Technology. This innovative delivery system protects the 2 billion live cultures of 7 beneficial probiotic strains in Gut Health to ensure these “good” bacteria survive so they arrive in your gut alive.
      • Customers need to be aware of the products they buy – some probiotic products don’t guarantee survival of good bacteria by the time they arrive in your gut and thus is no longer beneficial for them to take!
  • Max Strength
    • Supports digestive health, immune health and women’s vaginal & urinary health
    • Probiotic for those who need extra support
    • This supplement was developed with BIO-Tract Technology
      • Protects the live bacteria from “lava-like” gastric acid in the stomach while also ensuring the live bacteria are evenly distributed to help replenish the health bacteria in your entire digestive tract.

 

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How do YOU take care of YOU so you can take care of your family?


This blog post was sponsored, but all opinions are my own. 

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Simply Biotix. The opinions and text are all mine.

 

 

 

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This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Simply Biotix. The opinions and text are all mine.

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It’s been just about a year since I’ve been a medical guinea pig. I’ve seen specialist after specialist and have had just about every test run to try and figure out why I was having (and am still having) such horrible, chronic right-sided pelvic pain. After a long road leading me to a laparoscopic surgery in June, I was diagnosed with endometriosis and ovarian cysts. After my surgery, I felt okay for about three weeks before my same symptoms came right back. And now, they are worse than ever, affecting my daily life, spirit, and well-being (and other organs).

My friends and family have been as supportive as they know how to be, and after many conversations filled with tears and hugs and the saying “We just want you to get better, Shell,” we’ve all set up a fundraising page to help raise money toward my medical bills. It’s been completely overwhelming seeing how costly a chronic illness is, and how much isn’t covered by insurance.

Thank you to my loving friends who gave me the courage to accept the idea of a YouCaring fundraising page (same as a GoFund me page, but there is less interest) so I can hopefully be on the way to my next surgery making me feel better. This has been a long road since my endometriosis + GI diagnoses, and everyone who knows me (and myself!) are eager for me to get my life – and my body – BACK. You can click here to leave a note or donate if you wish; at this point, every little bit helps. Feel free to share this link:

https://www.youcaring.com/shelleycameron-963879

Thank you so much to everyone who’s kept loving on me, supporting me, and praying for me!

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xoxo

If you want to learn more about endometriosis, you can read one of my articles here or this emotional Instagram post with over 100 comments regarding this awful disease.

Back to school time is CRAY! As a toddler mama who works full time, my little guy goes to school pretty much year-round. But you can definitely sense the business all around town (and on the road and at school entrances) during those peak pick-up and drop-off hours. And that school hustle is REAL, isn’t it?!

Because of that, VitaCost has been a freaking LIFESAVER!!! Have you heard of them?! My friend Alisha just got me in the loop last month, and as a mom, I’m hooked 🙋🏼

VitaCost helped me get Tanny back to school with tons of organic, non-GMO, and Gluten-free snacks and foods at a completely affordable price. Here were some of our favs:

I can also snag all my go-to ingredients for my favorite breakfast meals, like these gluten free and dairy free confetti snickerdoodle pancakes: How do you get your littles ready for back to school??

Be sure to check out VitaCost here!This post was sponsored, but all opinions are my own

What’s a weekend without baking in our house?! These gluten free snickerdoodle pancakes are simple, minimal ingredients, and yummy (especially for being a healthier option to pancakes!)

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups gluten free baking flour
  • 2 tablespoons ground chia seeds
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 4 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup coconut sugar or maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/3 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 cup coconut milk
  • Optional: top with yogurt, fruit, syrup, or sprinkles (because what isn’t better with sprinkles?!)

Directions:

  1. Add all dry ingredients to a bowl and mix
  2. Add wet ingredients and blend into batter
  3. Heat a medium-sized pan to medium
  4. Spray pan with coconut oil
  5. Spoon batter onto pan (I make three small “piles”)
  6. Flip after a few minutes, then continue flipping until lightly browned
  7. Enjoy!

All my blog and Instagram followers know that my weekends with Tanner = donut making weekends. We love to pick flavors together and bake on Saturday and/or Sunday mornings. He’s my little sous chef, and when they’re done, we deliver them to our neighbors to share.

This morning, we went for chocolate protein, whipping up these triple cashew chocolate cake donuts. We hope you love them as much as we did! For being baked and not fried and gluten-free, dairy-free and vegan, these gems are pretty delish.

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Donut Ingredients:

  • 2 cups gluten-free flour
  • 2 tablespoons avocado or coconut oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons white vinegar or Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened cashew butter
  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar
  • 1 tablespoon coconut butter 
  • 1/2 cup water (add more if your batter is too thick; should be soft but not too runny)
  • 4 tablespoons Enjoy Life chocolate chips
  • Optional: 2 tablespoons ground flax and/or chia seeds
  • Optional: for sweeter donuts, add 3 tablespoons pure maple syrup

 

Frosting Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened cashew butter
  • 1 tablespoon coconut butter
  • 1 tablespoon almond butter
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup or coconut sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon coconut or avocado oil
  • Optional: 1 teaspoon water for thinner consistency

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Donut Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F or use toaster oven, and no preheating needed
  2. Add all dry ingredients into a bowl and mix
  3. Add all wet ingredients into a bowl and mix
  4. Add all ingredients together and blend until batter-like consistency forms
  5. Spray donut pan with coconut or avocado oil
  6. Add batter to donut pan
  7. Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes, or until soft and moist, but cooked all the way through (toothpick should come out clean)
  8. Cool donuts for about 20-30 minutes, then top with whipped frosting
  9. Optional: add sprinkles
  10. ENJOY! and share with some gems you love

 

xoxo,

Shelley + Tanny

 

It’s the weekend again, which means donut time at our house.

This week, I am super low on pantry goods and my fridge is less than stocked, so I’m actually shocked this turned out (and tasted good)! But they do, and they’re fun, so hope you enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups gluten free flour
  • 1/4 cup organic coconut sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 pinches of salt
  • 3 tablespoons coconut or avocado oil
  • 1 tablespoon multi-colored sprinkles
  • 1/2 teaspoon white vinegar or Bragg’s apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3 tablespoons softened coconut butter
  • 3 tablespoons orange or tangerine juice
  • 3 tablespoons lemonade or 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/8 cup water
  • 1/4 banana, mashed
  • Optional: powdered sugar for topping

Directions:

  1. Add all dry ingredients into a bowl
  2. Add all wet ingredients and whisk into another bowl. Add banana.
  3. Add everything together and mix until batter-like consistency is formed
  4. Pour into donut mold
  5. Bake at 350 for 25-30 mins
  6. Let cool and enjoy
  7. Optional: top lightly with powered sugar

Well, it’s definitely no secret that my poor body has been through the ringer this past year. At age 17, I was first diagnosed with scoliosis, spinal stenosis, and 4 bulging + herniated discs, that got worse through the years due to a car accident and lifting heavy boxes (and Tanner). Then a divorce basically destroyed by body (and soul), and I was diagnosed with an autoimmune-type disease this year, Endometriosis. So, heating pads and ice packs are literally by PIC, right alongside Tanner, of course.

So when I came across these gems, I knew they were PERFECT to share with YOU! Because whether you suffer from chronic pain, or occasional aches and pains from fitness, sports, or just daily life, ditch the pills or popping Ibuprofen like candy. Spand-Ice introduces a safe alternative to opioids with a new product designed to reduce pain, inflammation, and muscle soreness for your back.

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The Revive Tank 

Wearable Ice + Heat Therapy for Back Pain Relief, Recovery, and Support. 

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SPAND-ICE™ PATENT-PENDING TECHNOLOGY:

– Dual therapy pockets target both low and mid back areas
– Long-lasting reusable packs provide cold or hot therapy (Up to 3 hours)
– Adjustable compression secures the therapeutic treatment in place for maximum coverage and comfort
– The unique design allows for fast and easy wear and removal – even if you’re injured
– Specially insulated fabrics protect your body from therapy temperature extremes

 

And guess what? Their flash sale is happening NOW here.

Even better? I have a discount code for you: REVIVE2017 

I was given a complimentary Spand-Ice, but all opinions are my own. Always consult a doctor before trying anything new. These thoughts are my own and not based on a doctor’s advice, scientific research, or evidential proof. 

photo, Sarah Hopper

To my sweet (and at times, salty) 4-year-old bundle of joy (and energy!),

It’s your birthday and I literally cannot believe you are F O U R! When talking about babies, everyone always says “it seems like just yesterday you were born!” And it actually feels like a lifetime, to me. But, at the same time, you’ve grown up so fast, and the time has seemed to speed by. However, it is true when “they say” the years are short and the days are long.

I remember not so long ago, I was a stay-at-home mama with you. From the day you were born, I was tossed into mom life, having no clue what I was doing (literally, NONE.) I grew up with one younger sister, but all our extended family were hundreds and thousands of miles away, so babies and I weren’t exactly thick as thieves, and I only took child development classes in college to complete a “diverse” theme requirement (and heard that theme was the easiest, but, shhhh….PS, it was actually really hard.) Anyway, after you were born and we were released from the hospital and back home, I remember looking at your grandma have such grace as she carried you along, taking you outside to find serenity under the palm trees and listening to the waterfalls in our old house. I was amazed how much she could do with just two hands, and I looked up at her saying, “But seriously HOW DO YOU DO ALL OF THIS WITH ONE HAND?!” Because she could literally conquer the world with one hand while holding you in the other. She said, “oh, you’ll figure it out in no time.” And sure enough, when your dad started traveling for work leaving me as a solo mama, that one-handed-magic appeared.

I know these last couple years have seemed a bit chaotic for you. You went from one house to two; family-of-three vacations to three different sets of extended family trips, allllll over the country (and the world…what three year old gets to do that?!) But, miraculously, even through the back-and-forth, you always know where home is. And it completely melts my heart when you look at me and say “Home is wherever I am with you.” Remember a few weeks ago when you said you were scared to leave for a week? So I grabbed your sweet little hand (where baby squish has officially graduated and toddler fingers and palms have taken over) and we walked outside into the dark. We sat on the ground and I told you whenever you feel scared or miss me that all you have to do is look up at the sky; we look at the same sun, the same stars, the same moon, and I am ALWAYS with you, whenever you may go. You may not know it, but last week when you told me, “Mama, I’m always with you” and “Mama, we see the same sky,” I totally melted. You sure know the key to this mama’s heart; don’t ever forget our saying….that it’s more important to be kind than handsome. Remember that, always.

Speaking of kindness, I hope you never lose your endless energy, sense of wonder, curiosity, and sweet joy. When you were a baby, people would stop me everywhere we went to tell me you had such a sweet, special soul. I know every mom boasts about their children, but it’s no secret I think you’re an incredible tiny human. You are so brave. You can be so kind. Of course, you can also be Tanner tornado and a complete feisty rascal, but you are also so silly, creative, and loving.

I don’t really know where time has gone (oh, but at the same time, I do.) Thank you for encouraging me to be the best mom and person I know how to be (and become). You give me purpose, something to fight for, and something to live for greater than myself. Your needs trump mine, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Your adventures are my adventures. Your wishes are what I work hard to give you.

I know it’s not easy when it’s just the two of us, and me going back to work full-time was a huge adjustment for both of us. Your ability to adapt to pre-school (and now pre-k; eek!) makes me admire your strength, ability to overcome challenges, and your ability to adapt to new environments. Gosh, I’m proud to be your mama.

Thank you for eating my healthy meals and foods, but always being so excited for our special dates and/or special treats. Thank you for sharing your sweet spirit with me. Thank you for saying please and thank you, and remembering your manners when you’re at other people’s homes. Thank you for being my little cub and best friend. Thank you for being YOU.

On this day, August 30th, 2017, I hope you know you are SO loved, admired, cherished, appreciated, and celebrated. Four years ago, I almost puked everywhere during my c-section, totally shocked this 7lb 13oz baby appeared out of my bump that was always charted “small” and “concerned for growth” (hello, long torso). I never thought I could be a “good” mom because I was never ready to be a mom. Times were tough and I was overcome by the fear of the unknown and anxiety of the future, but you’ve grounded me. You gave my once wanderlust wings a clipping that they needed and we’ve planted roots, together. I don’t need globetrotting “epic adventures,” because I’ve got my own greatest adventure right here – YOU.

Happy fourth birthday, my baby boy. Love you to the moon and the stars and a hundred times over. Love you sooooo much. Love you forever. You’re my best friend. I hope your day is more special than anything you’ve dreamed, and filled with infinite butterfly, Eskimo, and princess kisses.

Happy Birthday, Tanny!

Love, Mama 💗