Save Lands

Save Lands is a company committed to making environmental changes, one purchase at a time! With each purchase, 12 trees are planted. That is certainly something to shop for!

I am so excited to be a Brand Ambassador for this awesome company! I believe in their business and the changes they are making in the world.

Save Lands has been featured in a variety of media including ABC, CW, and FOX.

Check out Save Lands for fun clothing and accessories that helps the planet!

About Save Lands

An exert taken from their website, Save Lands is committed to making environmental changes

“Count to 2, in that time humans just destroyed an entire football field of forest. 80,000 acres are destroyed everyday. 80% of the worlds forests are already destroyed. Lands was created to help spread awareness and save the place we call home! We are called SAVE LANDS because we don’t just plant a tree. WE PLANT 12 TREES FOR EVERY ITEM SOLD, taking up an entire piece of land! Every item you are saving a piece of land big enough for 12 trees! With lands you aren’t saving just a few trees, together we could save a whole dang forest.

Lands believes in giving back to the earth. We want to fight pollution and make the world a cleaner place for us all. We believe that planting trees is great for fighting air pollution as well as preserving the environment. We hope to spread awareness about land, air, and sea pollution and use our brand to help make a difference.”

I believe that especially now with the loss of so many acres of forest to forest fires along the West Coast, it is more important than ever to protect our environment and work towards a better future!

Custom Print Crew Neck Sweatshirt

I ordered the “Custom Print” Crew neck sweatshirt because I love a good surprise!

I browsed the site and loved pretty much everything I saw so I took a chance. I received my order just the other day and I could not wait to open it!

This beautiful baby pink sweatshirt came out and lit up my spirit! I think the quality of the sweatshirt is great and it is super soft on the inside. The print is very cute and goes right in line with my vibes and values!

I received a cute sticker and certificate of support along with the sweatshirt.

I am a bit of a sticker hoarder so I love adding to my collection! This sticker now adorns my sewing box, along with stickers from some of my favorite local shops from around the country.

I think this is such a fun purchase, especially with cold fronts starting to make their way into the mountains. We are supposed to have SNOW this week. SNOW!

It is definitely time to start putting away summer dresses and start pulling out the sweaters!

Photo by Karolina Ostrzolek on Pexels.com
Photo by Ali Naaz on Pexels.com

It is starting to feel like fall and I AM IN LOVE

Photo by Ylanite Koppens on Pexels.com

Check out Save Lands for fun clothing and accessories that work towards making a difference!

I am a sucker for over sized grandpa sweaters and I am not ashamed to admit it! I would describe my fall aesthetic is as Geriatric Groovin’. What is your favorite Fall go-to?! Leave a comment below!

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Grove Co.

Green home cleaning products and reviews

I am beyond excited to have received my first Grove Co. order!

If you are unfamiliar with Grove Collaborative, it is a marketplace for greener alternatives. Grove has a variety of products ranging from cleaning supplies and pet care, to skin care. It is a monthly subscription based program that suggests new items each month based on your preferences.

First Order

I had been looking at Grove for a few months debating on ordering or not. I waited and one day I saw an ad that Grove as offering a special deal, where if you purchased over the minimum order limit, you would also receive the new Meyers cleaning products seasonal scent, Spiced Pumpkin.

Mrs. Meyer's Fall
Photo by Grove

They got me with that bait!

The minimum order was around $25 to qualify for the free gift. I searched the products to see what my household was lacking. I was pleasantly surprised with the pricing! Nothing was too out there and fit within my budget.

This is a subscription based program so it will be interesting to see how each month works as far as what I need to replace.

What I Purchased:

  • Laundry Detergent
  • Dishwasher Detergent
  • Tree-less Tissues
  • Tree-less Paper Towels
  • Walnut Sponges
  • Recycled Aluminum Foil
  • Ceramic Soap and Brush Dispenser
  • Meyers Free Gift*

First Impressions

Overall I was satisfied with the amount of things I got for the price.

I am a sucker for Fall scents so immediately I was drawn to the Meyers Gift set in Spiced Pumpkin! With the weather changing here in CO, it feels like time to bring out the warm and cozy decor and scents!

Using this has given me a little oomph of joy when cleaning. Cheesy, sure, but if you have to do it, you might as well enjoy it!

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

The Treeless Paper towels and Tissues are not the most absorbent, but they get the job done and have a smaller impact on the environment.I have been stocking up on paper-less towels recently, so I will not be reordering these products. I save my used paper towels that do not have food residue for when I paint and make a mess!

Skin Care and Hair Products

Grove has a fellow company called Roven for skincare and hair products.

I’m always on the hunt for greener beauty products.

Modern shampoos and conditioners have too many added chemicals that strip your hair of its natural oils and vibrancy. I have recently made the switch to better products, but my partner is a little more reluctant because of his oily, fine hair type. He found a cheap shampoo that once worked, but he is finding it is just creating a lot of buildup in his hair with our life styles now (washing it waaaay less now, quarantine, am-I-right?). So hopefully Grove has some good options for him!

I have tricky skin, oily and dry at the same time. Finding a face wash and skin care routine that works for my skin in this dry, Colorado climate has been a challenge. Roven looks like there is a good variety of products to try out.

Spa days are a fun self-care date I have been giving myself during this quarantine time. My mental health has suffered from this isolation. I find it important to take an afternoon to find peace and love in myself.

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

So far I am pretty excited about Grove, I look forward to checking out other products with this subscription.

Do you have any favorite green products in your household? Leave a comment below!

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Learning & Trekking

“In every walk with nature, one receives far more than he seeks.” John Muir

I have always had a love and appreciation for Mother Nature, but became an avid hiker about a year ago after moving to the West, trekking beautiful and diverse landscapes.

Why Hiking

Hiking allows me to feel like I am becoming a part of nature and helps dissolve my ego. It is easy to get caught up in work and social life and forget that we are all apart of this beautiful planet as a whole. Hiking shows me so much more than just my own life, stepping outside of my insecurities and fears.

Hiking – Backpacking

During this quarantine time, hiking and getting out into nature has been a saving grace for both my partner and myself. This year has been a wild one and my mental health has suffered from it. At the beginning some days it is a challenge to get out of bed. Hiking and planning new adventures helped provide a new sense of excitement and curiosity. There are endless trails and places to explore, and only so many hours in a day! I found that after an afternoon out I was not ready to leave and head home yet. Backpacking to me just felt like a natural transition.

Physically I underestimated backpacking! I figured because I had done intense hiking I would be a natural. Whoa was I wrong! It is still taking a lot of getting used to having to counter balance a great deal of extra weight!

Red Rocks 2019

Colorful Colorado

The elevation and mountain terrain has taken some time to get used to. A hard hike in Florida is a casual walk in Colorado! After moving to Denver in 2019 I began to hike and train for what would turn into backpacking adventures throughout the state!

Backpacking is not for the faint of heart! It takes extreme physical strength and even greater mental strength! Some of the hardest things I am learning to overcome while backpacking are the mental hurdles! Sometimes you can get so far inside of your own thoughts that you just need to be slapped in the face with a branch to snap you out of it! YOU. CAN. DO. THIS.

Here are some things I learned from my first backpacking experience :

Persevere- You are your own worst enemy! Take a break, eat a snack and collect yourself and keep moving forward

Clothes- You are not packing to go on vacation! Both my partner and I over packed on clothing. Every. Ounce. Counts. Does anyone else pack underwear like they’re valuable currency?

  • Its important to have a few great versatile pieces of clothing. For a 3-day-2-night trip I wore one outfit, packed one outfit and something to sleep in. We camped along a river and I brought my bathing suit.
  • I found a really great pair of REI convertible pants and Adidas Climalite shirt on EBay that really came in handy! These both help to absorb moisture and keep your comfortable. (Peep the shorts in the pic!)

After doing more research and watching a few Youtube videos by Kraig Adams I feel more prepared to do “dirty layering” and only hiking with essentials.

Food

Snacks- I am a notorious snacker, so I figured I would pack more than I needed, better to be safe than sorry, right? I definitely did not eat half of the snacks I packed! I believe it is more important to get quality snacks that will keep you energized instead of having a variety of snacks.

My favorite snacks on the trip:

Clif Bars

These are a no brainer!

Clif bars are full of nutrition to keep you energized while being active! I got a 12 pack from Target for a good deal.

Fruit Gummies

These were a yummy sweet treat to give me a boost of flavor on a hot dry day. Also a Target buy.

Classic Trail Mix

You cant go wrong with a classic! A bulk bag can last me multiple hikes! I portioned out a lunch bags worth for this hike and I still had some leftover.

Meal Prepping- I meal prepped a week or so before hand just so I could get that out of the way. I wanted to make sure that we had enough food for an extra day just in case we decided to stay. So I planned meals for 4 days.

After looking back at what we ate and loved and what was easiest I narrowed down our favorites. I am excited to try different things for coming hikes and compare MRE’s to things I package at home.

Here are some meal ideas for individual servings. I doubled these recipes for 2 people.

Easy Breakfast

Photo by Dominika Roseclay on Pexels.com
  • Oatmeal Packet, I had cinnamon spice
  • 1 Snack Boxed Raisins
  • 1 Tbsp Evaporated Milk
  • 2/3 Cup Boiling Water

+ 1 Instant Coffee Packet

Easy Lunch

  • Nut Butter
  • 4 Pieces of Naan
  • Dried Bananas and Raisins

Easy Dinner

Photo by Lum3n on Pexels.com
  • 1 Cup Chicken Orzo Mix from Sprouts Market
  • 1 Can Cooked Chicken
  • 1 Cup Cut Broccoli
  • 1 Cup Water

+ Instant Lemonade Packet

Things to consider

Weight-

It is super important to get the weight of your backpack down to a reasonable weight! I wish that I had weighed everything out before going, but I did not own a scale before going on this trip and did not it down and calculate everything. I know that it was in the 30’s lbs. My partners bag was extremely heavy. I compared it to the weight of my 2.5 yr old husky and it definitively weighed more! I would rather be safe than sorry and over pack the first few times until i am confident in what i need and do not need. But this means planning the trip accordingly as well. We planned a trip with a ridiculous altitude gain in a 3 mile stretch, that after a long day of hiking 7 miles to get to we decided to camp for a night and figure things out. There was a beautiful flowing river the entire stretch of this hike which was very calming on what occasionally turned into a very stressful trip!

Weigh each thing if you can! Often you are able to look up the weight of items like gear if you do not own a scale. I wish i knew the exact weight so next time i will be making a list!

Gear

It really is worth it to spend more for the things that work better

Favorite Gear So Far

TENT- This time I got a “3 person” Eureka Suma 3 tent and It is worth the extra money. We will be bringing Athena our husky on most trips so need something with space for her! I got this tent from a local new-and-used gear store in Denver called Feral.

It was the most expensive thing we got but damn its comfortable! I have been camping in a “2 person” tent before with my partner and we were very squished and uncomfortable so this was certainly an upgrade.

Least Favorite Gear So Far

Camp stove– I kind of cheaped out and got this small metal wood burning camp stove compared to a portable propane one. This stove gave us more hassle than reward! It took a LOT of small tinder that burned quickly to keep this bad boy burning. One of us was always running to get more!

Amazon.com: Lixada Camping Stove Portable Stainless Steel Folding Backpacking  Stove Wood Burning Stoves for Outdoor Cooking Picnic BBQ Camp Hiking:  Sports & Outdoors

After one trip I invested in a propane stove.

It has certainly been an adventure pushing myself to new heights! I am proud of the physical feats my body has accomplished. These are just a few of the points I learned from my first backpacking back country trek.

I hope some of these points have helped inspire others to take the steps towards an adventurous life!

Check out a full ongoing review of my hiking and backpacking gear here!

Photo by Vlad Bagacian on Pexels.com

Do you have any tips for beginner backpackers? Any favorite trail foods? Leave a comment below!

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Backpacking Gear: An Ongoing Review

Photo by Kun Fotografi on Pexels.com

This blog is a comprehensive product review of my new-and-used hiking & backpacking gear. As I trek and learn this list will grow with new recommendations for the most effective and comfortable products!

Backpack

5.20 Kavu bag

*This is great for day hikes! It slings across your shoulder and chest so it distributes weight differently than a regular backpack.

5.20 Camelbak Fanny Pack

*I received this as a birthday gift this past year from my lovely mother and I love this fanny pack! I used to poke jokes at my mom for using a fanny pack but honestly this is great! I use this on day hikes shorter than 3 miles. Ive recently used this as my dogs hiking pack on my backpacking trip in the San Juan National Forest.

6.20 Purchased Alps Mountaineering 40L backpack

ALPS Mountaineering Tour 45L Backpack in Gray/Apricot

Rating: 3 out of 5.

*I purchased this from Sierra Trading Post. It was the first purchase I made for my backpacking gear so it is no surprise that it does not work as well as I would like. I was unsure of what I was looking for but I think this works alright. I wish that the straps went down my back a little more than just at the shoulders and i wish it was a little more customize-able like my partners Kelty. This works for now but I will definitely look to upgrade as time goes on!

Tent

7.20 Purchased Eureka Suma 3

Suma 3 Person Tent | Eureka!

Rating: 5 out of 5.

* I LOVE our tent! This was the most expensive thing we purchased ad almost didn’t go through with it but i am so glad we splurged and got this. It is very comfortable for the two of us and our husky. I love that this tent has a rain cover that extends past the door so it gives us extra space to store our packs from inside.

Sleeping bags

6.20 Alps 20* degree mummy bag

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Sleeping pad

6.20 Purchased generic inflatable mattress and pump amazon. *It was NOT the most convenient or lightweight mattress. I am keeping them if i have any overnight guests at my house.

8.20 Purchased Hikeunture Sleeping pads.

Amazon.com : Hikenture Backpacking Sleeping Pad Ultralight Camping Pad,  Upgraded Design Air Support Sleeping Mat, Compact Lightweight for Sleeping  Bag, Car, Outdoor, Camp, Hammock (Army Green) : Sports & Outdoors
Check it out on Amazon

Rating: 5 out of 5.

*So far I thing this works well I used this for a backpacking trip of 2 nights and was comfortable and more importantly INSULATED!

Boot

5.20 Purchased Columbia Newton Ridge from Dicks

Columbia Women's Newton Ridge Plus Amped Waterproof Hiking Boots product image

Rating: 3 out of 5.

*I purchased theses at Dicks the beginning of quarantine for my birthday in May. I was not able to try these on in store so I bought what I thought was my size online. They fit me alright, they are a little snug and I wish I was able to try on other options. I love the high ankle because I have weak ankles and like the extra support. I loved the light moss green suede color! The suede is waterproof.Most options I found were your basic brown boots. They are a little heavy, but so are most hiking boots without spending a whole lotta mulah.

Camp Stove

7.20 Purchased metal wood burning stove *after 1 use I see that this is not the most practical option. it took a lot of effort to keep the tinder burner compared to using a portable propane stove.

8.20 Purchased Propane Stove

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Hiking Poles

7.20 Purchased hiking poles from Walmart

Apex Trekking Pole Set – Outdoor Products

Rating: 5 out of 5.

*Sturdy and easy to adjust!

Bear Canister

8.20 Purchased BearVault BV450 Food Container at REI

*Some places require these, others do not recommend them so definitely check your forests regulations. I purchased this as a secondary means of food storage. This size worked well for my planned 3 day trip with two people.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Stay tuned for more added reviews!

Are there specific pieces of hiking and backpacking gear that you are curious about? Leave a comment below and I will review each item to find the most effective gear!

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Backpacking in the Colorado: San Juan National Forest

San Juan National Forest, August 2020

Overall Experience

San Juan National Forest is in Southwest Colorado. One of the closest larger neighboring cities is Durango, Colorado.

It is known for its beautiful mountainous backcountry terrain.

I chose this forest because of its well known dispersed camping trails. Colorado wildfires were wreaking havoc in the northwest Pine Gulch region and sending smoke along the entire state. The trail-head we chose was roughly 6 hours south of Denver, but it was a beautiful and clear sky for the most part. We wanted to avoid adding any extra factors to our strenuous trip!

This was my first ever backpacking trip. Even thought it was extremely challenging, overall I would say that it was a great success!

This blog will discuss the trail, the trip, and a few things I learned along the way!

Here are a few notes from my first trip!

The Trail

This trail led to Emerald lake, a beautiful alpine lake at the top of a 10 mile trail. This is the trail that we took with the intention of a 3 day-2 night- trip.

Unfortunately due to our pack load, come one noob, we were unable to make it to the alpine lake.

The trail was a 20 Mile out-and-back trail, so 10 miles to the lake and 10 miles back. The first 7 of the 10 miles leading up to the lake is only about 750 ft of elevation gain, no biggie. However, the remaining 3 miles to the lake is roughly 2500 ft of elevation. This elevation gain in a short distance combined with the weight of our backs broke us down emotionally a bit and we decided to stay on the lower portion of the trail and enjoy the flowering meadows and beautiful flowing river instead!

Athena and I

There were plenty of camping spots along the river, we happened to find 2 really great secluded spots without being too deep into the unknown.

The trail walked along multiple fences of neighboring by ranches. Athena was ecstatic that she FINALLY got to meet a horse nose-to-nose! She has been catching scents of horses on a few of our hikes, but has not had the opportunity to meet one up close.

Brad, Athena and new friends

She can get wild when she smells a new animal she cannot meet!

Setting Up Camp

The first spot we set up at was a known spot with a small grill and campsite already established. Since we are beginnings of back country dispersed camping, having an already established site was very easy to get comfortable.

The first day of hiking started around 3pm after driving 6 hours. I am thankful that we have a Eureka Suma 3 Tent that has super easy set up because we did not give ourselves enough time to set up, cook and eat, and hang our bear bags before it got dark. When things get dark in the mountains, they get DARK.

For a full review of my backpacking gear, check out this ongoing list and product reviews!

We made everything work, but it definitely did not go as smoothly as I had hoped! Frustrations from driving and getting on the trail late only to realize we were not physically prepared started to boil over that evening.

That’s alright though! It was just time to stop. Take a deep breath of that fresh mountain air and keep moving forward!

It was hard to get any rest, just being in the unknown and all. I kept psyching myself out thinking I heard an animal when it was only the sounds of the soft rapids in the river below!

Soft rapids below our campsite

I believe most hikers have a hard time sleeping their first time in the wilderness so I chalk it up to a learning experience! If you take the necessary precautions for making your camp site as protected as possible, reeeest easy, you’ll need the energy tomorrow!

Athena in the evening
Brad in the morning light

The 2nd day was off to a rough start just from lack of sleep and energy. But, after a nice hot bowl of oatmeal and instant coffee, we were ready to face a new day!

This day we tried to spread out the weight a little more evenly between the two of us, but it was still very heavy and a hard physical and emotional hurdle to overcome. We decided to turn around and head half way back to find a camp spot closer to the trailhead, since on the third day we would be hiking and driving home.

There was an awesome meadow roughly 3 miles back from where started that day. Upon inspection of the meadow, we found a really awesome little tree canopy that was a perfect place to set up near the river once again. It was convenient having a water source near by, outside of 150 ft, for refilling our water bladders and being able to clean up a bit.

After setting up camp the second day with plenty of afternoon ahead of us, we explored down the river. That is when we found a fantastic deep point in the river that we jumped into! That freezing water was sooo refreshing after a long day of hiking in the Colorado summer sun! Brad had a blast and jumped off of an overhang boulder. The water was so clear and flowing with a steady current.

Our personal swimming hole!

Coming from Florida, both my partner and I are desperately missing the accessibility of swimming in springs, oceans and lakes. There certainly are some swimming treasures in Colorado, this was just the first time we were able to get out and enjoy one!

Weather

The weather was gorgeous and hot! When we arrived it had just started to rain. This is not uncommon for Colorado during the summer. The rain did not last long and actually cooled the afternoon off a little! After the rain, there was overcast but it was not gloomy, it was relaxing!

It has been in the high 80’s-low 90’s recently so we planned our outfits accordingly. I think having the right clothes can make a world of a difference! Something lightweight and airy, while also having protection from the elements and your own gear. This was something I invested in after this trip.

During the evening and into the morning it was in the 50’s. I was chilly, but nothing a nice warm beanie and jacket couldn’t fix! It was perfect in the morning as the sun began to rise above the mountain skyline, steamy and cool.

Key Lessons Learned

Clothes- Your’e not packing for vacation. Get used to the idea of being a little dirty!

Food- The quality is way more important than the quantity! I discuss some of my favorite snacks and meals in my blog Learning as I trek

Hiking- Go with the flow and allow your body to guide you! Some things dont go according to plan, ADAPT!

Gear- Gear is worth the price! For a full list of the gear I brought with me and a review of my favorite products, check out my post here!

Last day of our trek as we were leaving the wilderness

Do you have any tricks and tips for amateur backpackers? Do you have any favorite trails in the San Juan National forest? Leave a comment below!

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Rustic Vegan Banana Pancakes

Where there is a perfect pancake flip, there is life.”
-Mahoatmeal Ghandi

The variations and flavor possibilities of breakfast food are endless! You can go savory or sweet, salty or indulgent! Pancakes, bacon, eggs, there is so much to be excited for!

Nothing to me says i love you like a warm stack of flapjacks in bed on a lazy morning! So here is a delicious pancake recipe for you to nonchalantly forward to your partner to drop some hints!

These Rustic Vegan Banana Pancakes are a delicious brunch treat!

Staying in your pajamas is an IMPARITIVE step to the cooking process.

Once you change into real clothes for the day the flavor looses some oooomph!

Rustic Vegan Banana Pancakes

  • 2 Ripe Bananas
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp Maple Syrup
  • 1/2 Tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1/2 Cup Milk of Choice
  • 3/4 Cup Flour
  • 1 1/4 Tbsp Corn Starch
  • 1/2 Tbsp Baking Powder
  • 1/2 Tsp Cinnamon
  • 1/2 Tsp Vanilla
  • Pinch of Salt
  • 1 Cup Walnuts, Optional Topping*

Add whatever toppings you want! Pecans or seeds would be a great alternative or even fresh blueberrie!

Serving Size 4 Large Pancakes

Mix dry ingredients in medium sized bowl

Mash bananas well so the chunks are as smooth as possible. Mix wet ingredients in a large size bowl. Add 1/3 of the dry ingredients into the wet mixture and mix well. Hand mixers work really well, but I just used good ole’ fashioned elbow grease and got the job done just fine.

Set oven to warm, roughly 200 degrees just so the pancakes can stay warm while the next batch cooks!

Oil a medium sized pan. Slowly pour about 1/4 cup mixture into the pan. it will save you a lot of time to save space for 1-2 other pancakes.

Wait for bubbles in the center of the pancakes, and then they should be ready to flip! If the mixture is too wet, wait until it firms up a bit.

Flip, Flip, Hooray!

Let them cook a few moments on the second side and they will be ready to enjoy soon!

After the first batch of pancakes are done and ready for the next batch of batter, place them on a plate and set in the oven set to warm. This will keep them warm while you make more!

Grab whatever topping is speaking to you! Today I chose walnuts and fresh bananas!

Photos by cottonbro

Check out this delicious recipe for Vegan Apple Cinnamon Pancakes, a perfect brunch as the weather starts to cool and the leaves start to change

Check it out on The Delicious Plate

Do you have any favorite toppings or recipes for your weekend brunches?! Leave a comment below!

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Banana Almond Pulp Crackers

A new found hobby during quarantine has been discovering different at home milks to make! I have tried a few different kinds, but so far my favorite has been homemade almond milk. Making this in your own kitchen is a fun and delicious way to get tasty unique flavors. I thought that I knew almond milk just from having the average store bought , often Almond Breeze, but wow! There is nothing that compares to the freshness and bite of homemade!

Photo by Kafeel Ahmed on Pexels.com

Check out this recipe for Banana Almond Milk here! This post will discuss how to use the left over almond pulp from making almond milk in a yummy and healthy recipe!

What is Almond Pulp?

Almond Pulp is the by-product of making almond milk using sweet almonds. This is the pulp that you strain from the milk after blending the almonds together. Roughly 1 cup of almonds will yield 1/2 cup of almond pulp. There are a variety of uses for this pulp including making almond meal, breads, cookies, and crackers.

Photo by Daria Shevtsova on Pexels.com

Below is a quick recipe for making yummy Banana Chia Almond Pulp Crackers

What you need:

  • 1 Cup Banana Almond Pulp
  • 3 Tbsp Olive Oil or Coconut Oil
  • 1 Tbsp Chia Seeds, Optional
  • 3 Fresh Basil Leaves, Optional
  • Pinch of Salt
  • 1 Tbsp Brown Sugar
  • 1 Large Bowl
  • Rolling Pin
  • Wax Paper
  • Baking Sheet

The steps:

After making almond milk and squeezing as much liquid as you can from the almond pulp, place in a container and refrigerate overnight.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Gather ingredients. Add almond pulp and 3 tbsps of oil of choice to the bowl. Mix these two together. Chop basil leaves. Add basil, chia, salt, brown sugar to the bowl and mix well.

Time to get messy!

I found it a little easier to mix this with my hands! Utensils are for the birds!

Mix thoroughly. Once combined, squish into a ball and transfer to a wax paper lined baking sheet.

Roll all flat as you can! I placed a piece of wax paper in between the mixture and my rolling pin just to help with ease of rolling (I also use this rolling pin for block printing so there may be a little bit of inedible paint on it… ooops!).

I found this mixture to be a little fragile, so I started from the center and worked my way out to the edges, watching carefully that they did not crack. If they do, just press the mixture back together before baking, easy peasy.

Make sure everything is evenly flattened from center to edges. The cooking will not be consistent if the thickness is not.

The idea thickness is similar to crackers, knowing that they will shrink a little in the cooking process.

Once you have flattened your mixture to a desired thickness, use a knife and gently cut straight lines all the way through. Continue this across the width of the baking sheet. Now repeat this process length wise, making square shapes!

Poke holes in each square.

Place in the oven and bake for roughly 10 minutes. I am at a high attitude in Colorado, so cooking times may vary depending on your elevation.

Take out and flip each cracker!

Bake for roughly an additional 10 minutes.

The crackers should be nice and firm and crispy!

I found that my own mixture was a little thicker in the middle, making the edges darken a lot faster. I am not complaining, just learning as I go!

This is not my first time attempting these crackers, but it is the first time I have enjoyed the result!

These are the perfect little crackers for a sweet treat.

Photo by Ben Libby on Pexels.com
Banana Almond Pulp Crackers
1 Cup Banana Almond Pulp
3 Tbsp Olive Oil or Coconut Oil
1 Tbsp Chia Seeds, Optional
3 Fresh Basil Leaves Chopped, Optional
1 Tbsp Brown Sugar
1 Large Bowl
Pinch of Salt
Rolling Pin
Wax Paper
Baking Sheet
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
Mix ingredients in a large bowl.
Place on wax paper on a baking sheet. Roll as flat as you can, the flatter, the crispier.
Cut vertical strips 1″ apart. Cut horizontal strips 1″ apart, leaving squares.
Poke holes in each square cracker.
Bake for 15 minutes. Take out and flip over
Bake for an additional 15 minutes.
*Cooking times vary depending on the thickness of the cracker. Keep checking until they are nice and crispy.

Check out this recipe I found for tasty toppings sure to spice up an afternoon and wow any guest!

twelve crackers with toppings
Check it out on Better Homes & Gardens

Have you tried any recipes using Almond Pulp? Drop your favorites in the comments below!

Photo by alleksana on Pexels.com

Banana Art by Clare Nicholson Stylist

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Healing and Hiking

Healing and Hiking is a reflection of my journey through self-identity, from insecure beginnings to vigorous physical feats.

As a young girl, I struggled with Body Dismorphia, a mental health disorder where I obsessed over my flaws and saw them as much larger issues. I was a thick child and hated my larger tummy and thighs while the popular girls had slender figures and held the attention of boys in the palms of their hands. I remember looking into a mirror and crying because of what I saw staring back at me.

Photo by Ketut Subiyanto on Pexels.com

I now look back and realize a lot of my fears started from the subconscious role models presented to society. Magazines, toys, and media all had the common thread of a very specific type of woman: tall and skinny with legs for days.

This is not what ALL women look like. This representation makes developing girls who aren’t built with model characteristics, which is most of them, think that their bodies are wrong. My Barbies and Bratz dolls always had a perfectly cinched waist, long legs and a symmetrical face, things that did not reflect in my own mirror.

I began to hold heavier value for vain appearances, determining my self worth through the amount of attention I received. I valued being perceived as “thin” rather than being healthy. I obsessed over the number on the scale and being perfect instead of how I felt. I did whatever I felt was necessary to stay thin, including depriving myself for days.

Stress and unhealthy habits took over, resulting in poor digestion and mental health issues. I was unhappy and unhealthy. I thought I could eat junk food and fast food when I decided to eat, then fast to balance it. Gorging and starving myself physically and emotionally was a cycle that persisted for years. I felt that eating was one thing I could control. This continued for years until I woke up and took an ACTIVE ROLL IN MY HEALTH. I was tired of always feeling weak, bloated, sick, hungry, exhausted, depressed, etc. I wanted to stop worrying about “diets” and start worrying about positive lifestyle changes, starting with attitude towards food and consumption!

LETS TALK ABOUT PERFECTION

Society puts such an emphasis on perfection. You shouldn’t leave the house without your hair and make up done.

“That’s not lady like” was a term I heard growing up often when I would do something messy or profane. That term now feels detrimental to my inner child. What does that even mean? To me, it feels like it is saying that if you do not conform to being powdered and pressed, quiet, and have a gentle demeanor you are not a “lady”. As if ladies never play in the dirt, swear or fart!

As a child, I wanted to be a “lady”. Tall, thin, beautiful, perfect, successful, respected… they all seemed to go hand-in-hand.

What I did not understand was that being a “lady” is WHATEVER THE FUCK I MAKE IT. Why would I let creepy old men tell me how to be a woman? Why would I let anyone tell me how to be me? Why should i let anyone else determine if my body is good enough? It has been a long journey breaking that mind set, and it is still not over even after 6 years of consciously rewiring my brain!

Being “perfect” is not a real thing.

The mindset has to change from “I want to be perfect” to “I want to be the best me I can be”.

Looking at my body differently has given me the sense of strength and self that I always strove for, but was misguided to believe I did not possess.

Hiking and training has given me a new confidence and appreciation for my body. What were once seen as insecurities are now being seen as strengths and barriers to break.

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My thighs are big——————–My legs are strong and carry me up mountains

I am small chested——————-I no longer feel restricted by bras

My stomach is scarred for life——I survived an invasive surgery and came out stronger

I sweat and smell——————–I worked out so powerfully my body is expelling my sins

I swear, burp, fart, and trip———-I am human!

I have used these strong legs to climb mountains I did not think I could climb. I put limits on myself before even trying. However, I persevered. I broke those imaginary barriers I placed on myself and felt an unreal shift in pride and confidence when I have reached peaks overseeing hundred of miles. There is my journey. A finite physical path before me that represents an infinite emotional path.

Getting out to hike and explore helps me step away from focusing in on my own life too much. Small adventures around your neighborhood to take in the beauty of the natural world around you is a great place to start. Maybe take a new way home! Stop by a new park or coffee shop and reflect. Learning to stop taking yourself so seriously is no small feat! We are all humans with the ability to adapt, change, and grow. The first step to any healing process is to acknowledge the problem and to take the steps to take to change. Change does not come in a day, it comes from a lifetime of work and conscious behavior.

Loveland Pass, Colorado, Winter 2019

Continental Divide, Elevation 11,990ft.

Banana Almond Milk

Nut milks are a great alternative to dairy milk and have risen in popularity in the past decade. For those looking for a vegan and lactose-free option to dairy milk, almond milk is a great choice! There are many different types of plant based milks to make at home, including Oat, Rice, and Fruit Milks. Here is a new recipe my partner and I tried after receiving a surplus of bananas!

I though that I liked almond milk based off of the store bought milk, but wow! There is nothing that compares to home made nut milks! Like many prepacked goods, store bought almond milk has additives and preservatives. Making this from scratch keeps the integrity of the ingredients! Not only Did we yield enough milk for the two of us for a few days, I used the left over almond meal to make a yummy cracker! Check out the recipe for Banana Chia Almond Meal Crackers here!

I will be frank though; this is not the most budget friendly option. I calculated that to make 1 gallon of this homemade almond milk it was roughly $15 usd. It was a fun evening laughing with my partner while we tried a new healthy recipe, and that is priceless!

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Banana Almond Milk

What you need:

1 1/2 cup almonds

3 Dates, pitted, Optional for added sweetness

1/2 tbsp vanilla

1 pinch of salt

6 cups water

2 bananas

1 Nut Milk Bag or cheese cloth to strain through

Mason Jars or general Containers to put it in! I had recycled jars from sauces and teas

The Steps:

To begin, you need to soak the almonds in water overnight. A time saving alternative is to boil the almonds for about 2 hours or until they are soft.

When the almonds are ready, add them to a blender along with 3 cups of water. Blend this to a pulp! It is a little easier to start to blend the almonds with half of the water and add more as you go. Blend thoroughly. I have pitted dates, so I had to cut them in halves to remove the seeds. Add 3 more cups of water, vanilla, salt, bananas and dates. Blend, blend, blend!

This mixture can get foamy and has been known to overflow so watch your liquid levels!

Once this is blended, gather your nut bag, and a bowl. I use a sauce pan for my bowl because it has a pour side making it easier to pour into glasses at the end!

I placed the nut bag spread open in the sauce pan. Pour mixture into the bag. This mixture has a lot of pulp in it so it may drain slowly! Be patient, Take your time and squeeeeeeze.

I do this process until all of the liquid out. You will be left with a meal textured pulp! This is great to use for different baked goods! Check out this blog for a recipe for using this to make Banana Almond Pulp Crackers.

I repeated the straining process 2-3 times depending on your preferences. If you want banana pulp in it don’t strain as many times!

Now it is ready to pour! One day I will invest in a beautiful set of glass milk jars, but for today these recycled sauce jars work! These recycled jars are from various things; tomato sauce, green tea and whatnot. This works well if you do not have larger containers or uniform mason jars.

This is best served chilled.

It is totally natural for the milk to separate over night! This is just the fat from the almonds separating. Give the jars a good shake before enjoying! Homemade almond milk is best served withing 4-5 days of making.

This is an easy recipe to alter! I used this recipe and replaced the bananas with 1 cup of blueberries for a whole new almond milk flavor profile! It was an interesting fresh flavor! I recommend having experimenting with fun combinations!

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Have you tried making milks at home and have a favorite recipe? Leave a comment below and tell us what your favorite flavor is!

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Banana Almond Milk
1 1/2 Cup Almonds
3 Dates, pitted optinoal for sweetness
1/2 Tbsp Vanilla, Optional for flavor
1 Pinch of Salt
6 Cups Water
2 Bananas
1 Nut bag or Cheese Cloth
1 Large Mason Jars
Soak almonds overnight or boil for 3 hours so they are soft
Blend almonds with 3 cups water for 2 minutes
Blend for 2 minutes
Add remaining water and additional ingredients to taste
Blend for 2 minutes
Strain liquid through nut bag into a bowl
Squeeze out excess liquid from pulp using bag.
Set pulp aside for further use or discard
Repeat the straining process 1-2 more times depending on taste
Pour into jars to store. Best served cold. Best withing 4-5 days of making. Separation may occur. Shake well before each use

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Quick Rainbow Pickle

Here is a quick and easy recipe for delicious rainbow pickled toppings! I love using extra veggies in my pickle mix. Carrots and onions soak up the flavors well and stay crisp.

I am a firm believer that the best plates are the ones with the most color! So rainbow carrots are naturally some of my favorites vegetables.

I am not the biggest fan of onions, especially raw but holy cow! This recipe transformed the flavor of the onion and is my favorite part of this pickle recipe!

Pickles are a healthy and hydrating snack! The veggies are full of vitamins, and as they sit in the salty brine they become more concentrated! Pickles are also a great blood sugar regulating snack. It can serve as a digestive aid with probiotic powers. They’re also a tasty, vegan friendly options!

These pickled veggies are a tasty tangy topping. They are great for burgers and barbecue, meat and veggie!

Also, can we take a moment to appreciate this beautiful color palette?! I mean hello groovy cucumber! This palette reminds me of gorgeous luxurious interiors and textures!

photo courtsey of janskacelik.art

Easy- Peasy Pickle

Here’s what you will need to get started with your pickling process:

1 12oz. Jar (I had a recycled pickle jar that was perfect. Any jar, recycled or new will do! )

1 cucumber

1 whole rainbow carrot

1/2 onion

1 1/2 cup water

6 tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar

1/2 tbsp salt

1/2 tbsp pepper

1/2 tbsp dried herbs, I used Italian Herbs

Steps:

Wash veggies and peel carrots. Cut cucumbers, onion and carrots into slices and strips. I prefer cucumbers in slices and carrots and onions in long skinny strips. I had a recycled 12 oz. pickle jar that was perfect for this recipe! Add water, vinegar, herbs to the jar and stir well. Add veggies, cap and shake it up baby! Place in the refrigerator and serve cold. These are great right away and only get better as they sit! I suggest letting them marinate and chill for 3 hours before enjoying.

All together now!

After sitting all night, the purple of the rainbow carrots bled leaving the juices a beautiful red color! It became even more beautiful.

Beefy Banh Mi Burgers with Quick-Pickled Veggies, Carrot Fries & Sriracha Mayo
Photo courtesy of EveryPlate

I am excited to use these pickled veggies with new recipes. One of my favorite summer flavors is barbecue. I recently ordered some jack fruit barbecue from Sprouts and cant wait to make “pulled pork” sandwiches! Paired with some tangy pickled veggies, coleslaw, and french fries and you’ve got yourself a delicious afternoon!

Do you have any yummy recipes you add pickles to? Post it in the comments below! Thank you for trying new things with me!