Two more days until I can bust out the Christmas decorations and officially start celebrating the Christmas season. I know a lot of people already have their trees up (jealous!!!), but it’s kind of tradition to wait until December 1st in the Spoons household, so… two.more.days. Until then, we need to see November off properly, and what better way to do that than with a monthly favourites post?
See you in December! 😀
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. food .
November definitely goes down as the month where my chocolate cravings were at an all time high. I just couldn’t seem to get my fill, but you better believe I tried! How? Well, with plain old chocolate bars, for one…
Dagoba easily makes my favourite barred chocolate. Not only are they intensely chocolatey, smooth, and dangerously delicious, but Dagoba also makes sure to ethically source their cocoa beans. Gotta love a company with good values.
In addition to bars, chocolate has been sneaking it’s way into my system through almond butter as well…
I picked up this jar of Barney Butter Cocoa and Coconut Almond Butter when I was down in the States over the summer, and I can’t believe it took me this long to crack it open — this stuff is like… well… crack. It’s chocolatey almond butter (which makes it an automatic winner in my books), with a lovely subtle coconut flavour (so you should probably like the taste of coconut if you want to enjoy this). I’d keep things classy and say that I enjoy it best on my oatmeal or a slice of toast, but the truth of the matter is that I usually just end up eating it straight from the jar with a spoon. No shame — it’s that good.
And you know you’re in the middle of a full-blown addictive episode when even your coffee has
crack chocolate in it…
Combining two of my favourite things into one deliciously comforting drink?! Well played, Godiva… well-played indeed.
As far as non-chocolate things go, I’ve been loving Bob’s Red Mill organic coconut flour…
This is a perfect example of one of those foods that I used to love, somehow forgot about, rediscovered by chance when I was clearing out my pantry, and fell in love all over again. I’ll admit that working with coconut flour is… an interesting experience… but the texture and flavour is so pleasantly unlike any other flour, that it’s definitely worth going through a bit of trial and error to find recipes that work.
Coconut flour is high in fiber and naturally gluten-free. It has a wonderfully sweet and mild coconutty flavour, and results in baked goods that have a dense yet incredibly light texture… as long as you get the flour to liquid ratio right. I think my favourite use for coconut flour is in mug cakes, but I also like adding a spoonful or two to my Greek yogurt and oatmeal to give them a more batter-like consistency.
Speaking of batter… I’ve been baking! Given my chocolate obsession, it’s no surprise that 2 of this month’s 3 recipes involved chocolate, with the third satisfying a random craving for molasses…
[healthier] Chocolate Glazed Donuts
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. beauty .
Things were pretty quiet on the beauty front this past month, mostly because I’ve been trying my best to reign in my shopping habits and ask for things for Christmas instead of buying them for myself (we’re going to conveniently ignore the fact that I reached Rouge status at Sephora — I was buying gifts!!). I only really made one new beauty product purchase in November, and that was this Origins Clear Improvements Active Charcoal Mask…
I’m a huge fan of using masks on a regular basis. Not only do they help prevent breakouts by unclogging pores, but they even out your skin tone, suck out impurities, and leave give your face with a beautiful healthy glow. I love the Origins mask because it manages to do all that without being overly harsh on my sensitive skin. A lot of masks have a tendency to leave my face looking overly dry, blotchy, and irritated, but that’s definitely not the case with this one. I’ve been using it once a week for the whole month of November, and I’ve definitely noticed a huge improvement in my skin.
I almost included this next product in last month’s beauty favourites, but I wanted to give it a bit more time before I recommended it to you guys. Well, a bit more time has passed, and I can confidently say that I freaking love this thing…
I know it doesn’t look like anything fancy, but this Creamy Clay bar soap by Soap Works may just be the best thing that ever happened to my face. I have sensitive skin that’s also pretty prone to acne… I used to use really harsh chemical cleansers to try to fight the problem, but more often than not they’d just irritate my skin and make things even worse. Over time, I’ve been swapping out the chemicals for gentler, more natural products, and this bar soap is one of those. A quick rundown from the source:
Fine Bentonite clay absorbs excess oil on the skin without drying; cleans and tones all skin types; all vegetable content. This is a great all-purpose bar. It is designed for normal to oily skin. The bentonite clay is supposed to absorb surface skin oil without excessively drying the skin. We believe that especially strong, astringent soaps used on naturally oily skin clear away too much surface oil causing the skin to compensate by over producing more oil, thereby exacerbating the problem.
All that? Definitely true. I’ve been washing my face with this soap twice a day, and it literally leaves my skin feeling squeaky clean without the slightest hint of dryness or irritation. The clay pulls off just enough oil to keep your skin clean, without stripping away too much and causing your skin to go into freak-out mode. And the best part of all? It costs around $3 and works so much better than all those fancy expensive cleansers.
And since we’re on the topic of cheap and natural, I have to give a shout-out to baking soda…
You’re looking at me like I’m crazy, but hear me out. Baking soda is an amazing beauty product. What I do is dump a good amount in a bowl and add just enough water to make a paste. Then I’ll spread the paste over my face, wait a minute or two, and manually exfoliate my skin by vigorously rubbing the paste in small circular motions. Baking soda is a great natural exfoliator, and the best part is that it’s gentle while still being effective. I do this every second night or so after I’ve taken off my makeup.
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. odds and ends .
I’m going to keep this part short since this post is already epic in length, but… read this book:
See this movie…
And buy this snowboard [if you ride]…
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. blog .
Another good month for Spoons! Blogging can feel like a full-time job at times, but it always feels great to see the fruits of that labour. Some favourite posts/happenings from this month include:
- Getting comfortable with eating and resting. Honouring hunger and taking rest days — two things I’ve struggled with in the past, but learning to trust my body and give it what it needs has made a huge difference in both my physical and mental health.
- Getting uncomfortable with selfies… not once, but TWICE! I have the hardest time taking/posting pictures of myself, but people love seeing the face behind the blog, so I figured I should push myself out of my comfort zone and get comfortable with selfies. Work in progress 😉
- Starting a movement to [hopefully] shift back to traditional WIAWs where bloggers used to share a full day of eats.
- Hanging up my running shoes and putting on a pair of snowboarding boots — my seasonal exercise plan for the winter.
- Satisfying cravings in the kitchen…
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Think food — what’s the first one that comes to mind? Chocolate 😆
Which kind/brand of nut butter are you currently obsessed with? Still loving my Maisie Janes, but the coconut AB is amazing.
Best thing that happened in November? J coming to visit 😀
What colour lights do you have on your tree? White.
Nut butter: Justin’s maple almond butter is my current obsession.
Also: Catching Fire is so good!! Agreed.
Alright so I really need to get on the fourth book in The Fire & Ice series. I’m due, but I was hoping to reread all the Harry Potter’s first. I may need to switch it around if I’m going to make it before the HBO series kicks off again in the spring.
You were a bit of a chocoholic this past month. I didn’t realize how much until this little recap, and I like it. In fact, I think you should share some of your chocolate with me, and I’ll pass along some of my greens. One head of Bok Choy to go. I know, not your favorite, but I’ll put it on a pizza and you’ll never even notice. 🙂
I’m with you on the chocolate cravings. I don’t know what it was this month, but they could not be tamed. Ironically, I also couldn’t seem to satisfy my craving for vegetables (raw and cooked). I guess that’s proof that my body will always balance itself out.
I’ve loved all of your baking posts recently! It’s so much fun to drool over your gorgeous photography. And you’ve definitely inspired me to invest in coconut flour again. I bought it a while back but had some serious kitchen fails when I was experimenting so I’ve steered clear since then…I need to give it another chance.
Amanda @ .running with spoons.
I’ve had some pretty bad fails with coconut flour as well, but I LOVE it in mug cakes — they alway come out like cake batter.
Mary @ Fit and Fed
Some good looking (and inexpensive) beauty products there, I like your gentle and natural selections. And that almond butter looks very tempting. I make my own, so I’m going to have to try a cocoa/coconut version. I went back and read your post on rest days. I had to take three rest days in a row this week, not just due to Thanksgiving…. my body needed a break. Skated yesterday, and my knees let me know that they still do need a break. So feeling good about rest days and changing up my exercise is a very relevant topic for me. It is hard for me to not exercise, not just in terms of the stress relief it provides, but because I have athletic goals that I really want to reach.
I discovered BlindSpot Nut Butters Pumpkin Pie butter a couple months ago and now I wish I’d bought an extra couple jars before it went away for the season. Sad that I have to wait until the fall to get more of it. I’ve been reading A Song of Ice and Fire as well – I’m a couple hundred pages into A Dance With Dragons. All of the books are incredible; I haven’t let myself read any other books until I finish the series.
Amanda @ .running with spoons.
They’re definitely some of my favourite books to read! And have you ever thought about making your own pumpkin pie nut butter? I’m sure you could make one to hold you over until next fall 😀
Laura Agar Wilson (@lauraagarwilson)
That nut butter sounds amazing! My fave at the moment is hazelnut butter, so yummy. Hope you are having a good time with your fella, and yey for 1st Dec!
Jill @ Fitness, Health and Happiness
So many great links. The almond butter looks so good. And I think I’m going to make the chocolate mug cake today. Yum!
Jan @ Sprouts n Squats
Drooling over all your chocolate pictures!! Yummy 🙂
First food that comes to mind is cheese and of course have to pair it with wine!
I hope you and J had fun together.
I loved seeing Catching Fire too it was so good!
Hope you’ve been enjoying your weekend.
Liz @ Carpe Diem and Run
Love your faves – and I just found Justin’s Almond Butter at a store today! I was so excited 🙂
Sky @ The Blonde In Black
Food: Peanut Butter and I still love Justin’s nut butter, but I haven’t had a jar in awhile. Best thing to happen to me in November was finally making a decision and sticking to it that has made me the happiest I’ve been in a long time. That Barney Butter looks soo good! I’ll have to keep an eye out for it…or order off Amazon haha
Ahh yes!!! I love your beauty tips! I have learned almost everything I now know about beauty/skin care from you (and the rest from the fine ladies at sephora 😛 ), so I will definitely be checking out this soap and mask (my skin sounds similar to yours and I’m tired of fighting it). I know you’ve probably mentioned it before, but do you have a favorite gentle moisturizer for winter? I’m trying to find something but don’t quite know where to start
Amanda @ .running with spoons.
Right now I’m using the Ole Henriksen line http://www.sephora.com/3-little-wonders-mini-P381301?skuId=1552884 , and I just picked up the full-sized version after running out of the trial. Origins makes some really great moisturizers too though, so those would definitely be worth checking out as well!