Stuff With Heart: October 2017

It's been a minute, but here they are - my favorite things from October.


The Maqui drops from Skin Owl are a reiteration of their flagship product, the Mangosteen drops. They are a lovely skin serum that is soothing and incredibly moisturizing - perfect for when the weather starts to shift into cooler dry months. What I love most about the product is the decision that brand creator Annie Tevelin made to develop it. When she learned that the mangosteen were being overharvested, she realized that to continue using the ingredient would be unsustainable and unethical, so she made the risky but responsible decision to reformulated her brand's #1 selling product. In making that choice, she put the planet over profit. I only wish more brands would make similar choices! I discovered the Maqui Drops via the September box from Beauty Heroes, the only monthly subscription box service I use. In addition to monthly boxes, Beauty Heroes also has an online store, where subscribers get 15% off every order, including Swin Owl products. 


Synergy Organic Clothing Tee

This is the Moon Phases Boyfriend Tee from Synergy Organic Clothing.

This is the Moon Phases Boyfriend Tee from Synergy Organic Clothing.

I've had my eye on this clothing brand for a while. When it was finally time to move some of my older t-shirts to the "pajama drawer," I decided to replace them with a few from Synergy, and am so glad I did. The shirts themselves are soooo soft. The fits are true to size and incredibly comfortable, and I really love the designs. Synergy uses GOTS certified organic cotton. They're a Green America certified business, and a member of the Organic Trade Association. (Pro tip: their sale section is wonderful.) Click Here to get 15% off your first order from Synergy Organic Clothing

Willow & Thatch


My greatest guilty pleasure is my unwavering love for costume dramas. If it takes place a century ago, I am all in. The sweeping romance, the stunning period costumes, I swoon over all of it. I came across a kindred spirit in the writer of Willow & Thatch, a website devoted entirely to the historical / costume / period movie and TV genre.  I can't get enough. If you love a sweeping costume drama, do indulge with me.

Homestead Brooklyn / Summer Rayne Oakes

Speaking of kindred spirits, Summer Rayne Oakes is a blogger and Youtuber who creates an abundance of really informative content all about caring for houseplants. She has over 670 (!!!) plants in her apartment in Brooklyn. Wow. Her breadth of knowledge is beyond impressive, and I've gotten some great tips and ideas to care for my own growing jungle of around 70 houseplants. Her blog is Homestead Brooklyn. Check out her YouTube channel, and her Instagram account too!

Herbal Revolution Teas

I'm a big lover of mushrooms, so when this trend of adding mushrooms to everything hit, I was all over it. Maitake? Chaga? Reishi? I realize that super food trends come and go, and that maybe these ingredients are being a little overhyped at the moment, but for now I'm into it. I'd seen this brand and thought it looked interesting, but kind of forgot about it until I came across the products on a recent trip to Maine (where they're located). Since I think edible souvenirs are the only ones worth getting, I picked up a few Herbal Revolution products at the Portland Food Co-op. I got the Chaga Chai tea, the Roasted Root with reishi tea, and the Elderberry Plus Mushroom and Roots Elixir. Both teas have been perfect and warming for cool fall days, and I've been taking the elixir to try and stave off a cold I can feel coming on. It's great with a glass of unflavored seltzer water. I'm so glad I came across this product line on my travels, and will absolutely be ordering more

The Act of Readying My Garden for Winter

During the month of October, I harvest the last of the season's produce from my garden. I may not love winter - in fact I dread the cold, and snow, and ice. But in taking the time to prepare my garden and my home for a long season of rest, I feel that I have prepared my spirit for the same. I am quite certain that I'll change my tune as the winter months drag on and the stir craziness sets in. For now, though, I am content with my cupboard full of tea and my shelf full of unread books, and a garden that will thaw in the spring. After all, nothing blooms year-round.

Photo by  Grzegorz Mleczek  on  Unsplash

Stuff With Heart: Best of 2016

Stuff With Heart: Best of 2016

Rather than joining in the chorus of voices saying good riddance to 2016, I am instead choosing to look back and remember all of the good things that happened this year! Here are some of my favorite products and experiences from 2016.

Read More

Recipe: Vegan Quinoa Sushi Salad

Like all of the best ones, this recipe came about completely by accident. It has since become one of my go-to recipes for weekday lunches. It's chock-full of protein, omega fats, and vitamin B12 - all that good stuff that vegans love!

Over the summer, I made

these vegan sushi rolls

for a friend's birthday picnic. It took a few practice rolls to get the process right. I tossed those practice rolls into a container and later had it as a snack. Turned out those sloppy, falling-apart rolls became an awesome salad. I decided to play around with the ingredients a little and came up with this recipe.

For my salad, I used a Florida avocado instead of the more common California avocado. Florida avocados are bigger and are sometimes labeled as "Lite" avocados or "Slimcados." They have fewer calories and fat per ounce than a California or Hass avocado. They're not as creamy, but the flavor of the Florida avocado is perfect and delicious in this salad.

There are a variety of packaged seaweed products available, but I found that the sushi-style nori sheets tasted best for this recipe. It really made the salad taste more like sushi. Seaweed is one of the few vegetarian sources of vitamin B12, which is often lacking in vegan and vegetarian diets.

The ingredient that really put this recipe over the top was the vegan "caviar." I'd been wanting to try it for a while so when I saw the Carviart on sale on Vegan Cuts, I was all over it! I had tried making my own vegan caviar or "roe" in the past using amaranth seed and beet juice (

recipe here.

) It lacked the salty flavor of the real thing. The Caviart comes a lot closer to the real deal.

You can sign up for a

Vegan Cuts account

 if you want to try some for yourself. For more information about Caviart, check out

this page


Vegan Quinoa Sushi Salad

Quinoa Sushi Salad


  • 4 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 2 tsp honey
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp low sodium soy sauce

- Combine ingredients at set aside.


  • 1 cup of quinoa - rinsed well
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 Florida avocado, sliced
  • 1 cucumber, sliced
  • 2 tbsp sesame seeds
  • 2 sheets of nori sushi, broken/chopped into 1" pieces
  • vegan caviar
  1. Cook the quinoa by combining it with the water and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook until quinoa is translucent. About 15 minutes. Allow to cool.
  2. Add dressing to quinoa along with seaweed, and sesame seeds. Toss to combine.
  3. Top with avocado, cucumber, and caviar.

Further reading

Recipe: Macaroni with Creamy Turnip & Leek Sauce


my CSA share

has kept me eating fresh local produce all season, it sometimes throws me for a loop. Occasionally I'll get a vegetable that I've never actually cooked with. That's when I have to get creative!

This week, it was turnips. They seem like a common enough vegetable. I've worked with potatoes and even parsnips, and I adore beets. But turnips were not yet a part of my cooking repertoire. Luckily, I love culinary experimentation! So I took a quick inventory of what I had on hand and came up with a game plan.

I had a box of whole wheat pasta, some veggie broth from a

soup I'd made

earlier in the week, and the turnips, leeks, and broccoli left from this week's CSA bag. I was out of almond milk, but I'd like to try this recipe with a non-dairy milk in place of the broth to make the sauce a little creamier. I discovered that the leeks were really what made the difference in this recipe, and I almost wish there'd been more of them. They were really what gave the sauce the depth of flavor I was hoping for. I used broccoli because that was what I had, and because it's super easy to cook with pasta, but I think any kind of veggies would be great in this dish.

Creamy leek sauce in the food processor

Macaroni with creamy turnip and leek sauce.

Macaroni with Creamy Turnip & Leek Sauce

  • 6 medium sized turnips, peeled and quartered
  • 1/4 cup vegetable broth
  • 2 leeks, chopped (white and light green parts)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup broccoli florets
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 lb pasta (I used whole wheat elbows)
  1. Cook the pasta according to directions. Add the broccoli to cook with the pasta for the last 2 minutes of cook time. Strain pasta and broccoli, and set aside.
  2. Boil a large pot of water (I started boiling while I peeled & cut the turnips)
  3. Add turnips to boiling water, cook for 25 minutes (until soft)
  4. Heat oil in a pan over medium heat. Add leeks and cook to soften.
  5. Add turnips and leeks to food processor (or blender) along with thyme, nutritional yeast, salt, and pepper. Add a few tablespoons of broth, and blend until smooth, adding more broth as needed to desired consistency.
  6. Toss pasta and broccoli with the turnip leek sauce and serve.
  7. YUM!