Favorites of 2019! (Late, but I’m a month behind on the new year.)

Hi, this is me outdoing myself on being late. I’m finally getting around to posting the “Favorites of My Favorite Little Things in 2019” list I’d planned on doing since December. Since 2020 just began for me when I made it back to the gym at the beginning of February, I’m finally here with the list!

The biggest part of the list is the products section, because I discovered quite a few holy grail, ride-or-die products in 2019. You’ll find that at the bottom of the list; I’m presenting these favorites in the same order I always do in my “favorites” lists: movies, series, food, products.

If you’re interested, take a look at my favorite “little things” of 2019!

Top three favorite theater movies: 
Parasite (October)
Joker (October)
Ford v. Ferrari (November)

In total, I saw nine movies in theaters in 2019. My top three favorites were the three I went to see in the fall.

Midsommar’s  artistic merits deem it top-three worthy, but Midsommar being Midsommar, its excellence made it unbearable for me. A cheesier, less deftly handled production may have made it more watchable. As it is, even the trailer still sends me into a panic. Why do I keep going back to watch the trailer?! There are scenes in the trailer that don’t even appear in the movie! Also, the trailer gives nothing away; one is in no way prepared for Midsommar’s atrocities after watching the trailer. I think it’s the music, the sound of the string instruments in the trailer that freak me out. Why am I rambling on about Midsommar when it’s not on my list? Ugh.

Moving on…

Favorite of the few movies I watched at home:
Train to Busan (Netflix). It’s now my favorite zombie film.

Favorite streaming T.V. series:
From Netflix: You, Dead to Me, Love, Death + Robots, After Life, After Life, and La Casa De Papel
From Hulu: Reprisal
From Amazon Prime Video: Fleabag and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

Favorite athletic event:
The May 2019 Grand Sumo Tournament (Natsu Basho) Grand Sumo Highlights. This was the tournament in which Tochinoshin, my favorite wrestler, earned back his Ozeki rank.

 

World-class sumo wrestler Tochinoshin (Levan Gorgadze of Georgia)

 

Favorite miscellaneous project to watch:
Rihanna’s Savage X Fenty Show (Amazon Prime Video)

Favorite processed food discoveries:
Birch Benders Plant Protein Pancake and Waffle Mix
Crunchy/toasted chickpeas with sea salt
Vega Protein Nutrition Shakes (especially the chocolate one)

Favorite skincare/cosmetic product discoveries*:
Earth Science Creamy Fruit Oil Cleanser A-D-E
Acure brightening facial scrub
Nourish Organic Lightweight Moisturizing Face Lotion
Schmidt’s Bergamot and Lime Natural Deodorant**
e.l.f. Radiant Gel Lip Stains
e.l.f. 16HR Camo Concealer
NYX Bare With Me Tinted Skin Veil
Jason Powersmile Anti-Cavity and Whitening Gel

*All vegan and cruelty-free

**I’d put a different deodorant as a favorite on December’s list, and it was my new favorite… until I developed an allergic reaction to it. I had to toss it. I picked up another of the Schmidt’s, and I’m glad to be using it again. It works fine, and I love its bergamot and lime scent! I probably won’t deviate from it again.

Favorite random little thing:
Bat birthday card (by Brace)

 

Bat birthday card by Brace

 

I don’t know what it is about this card. No one gave it to me. I came across it and I had to have it in my life and so I got it and it still makes me inexplicably happy. The front reads, “It’s when you can’t hear the bats, that’s when the bats are coming.” The inside reads, “Other than that, I have no birthday advice.”

On that note, I’ll bid you a happy rest of your day or night. I hope 2020 is off to a great start for you!

 

 

No tricks, all treats. (November Favorites!)

In this “monthly favorites” post, I’m doing something different in including a few recipes. I figured, why not? I believe it was last month that I started posting food ingredients, so this is just an extension of that. If I discover good recipes, then I should share them with you, after all. Good recipes are definitely “little things” that qualify for the “favorites” list.

November was fairly low-key. We saw one good film that we loved, one good streaming series that we enjoyed (and that we’re still watching), one bad series that we also enjoyed, and the new Jack Reacher novel came out at the end of October (which I’m still reading, as I got a late start), and I discovered awesome foodstuffs even before I could eat “for real” again toward the end of the month.

Let’s go!

 

1). Ford v Ferrari

 

 

Fabulous, entertaining flick. Matt Damon and Christian Bale have great chemistry, and if I ever doubted that either of them could act, I’m not doubting it now!

 

2). Sneaky Pete (Amazon Prime Original Series)

 

 

After passing over this Netflix Original Series for years, we finally landed on it and decided to try it. We’re almost at the end of Season 1, and we’re into it! Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad) is one of the crime thriller series’ co-creators, and he’s featured in it, as well. It’s interesting to see him in a role other than Walter White. I’m always a little thrown during his scenes. Aside: It’s funny how an actor becomes a character so thoroughly that they’re always that character, no matter how talented they are. In my mind, Jeff Bridges will always be The Dude. Bryan Cranston will always be Walter White.

Anyway, we’re enjoying Sneaky Pete. You might like it, too.

 

3). The Mist (Netflix)

 

 

Here’s the series that apparently everyone in the world hated except for us. I’ve read nothing even remotely positive about this badly rated series, but we really enjoyed it! Granted, I haven’t read the novel, nor have I seen the film version of the story, so I had no basis of comparison… yet there were many others new to The Mist who gave this production a thumbs-down. At any rate, we got into the story and had ourselves a good time watching the series on Netflix.

 

4). Blue Moon (new Jack Reacher novel by Lee Child)

 

“Blue Moon” by Lee Child (Jack Reacher novel, 2019)

 

I’ve only just started reading Lee Child’s new Jack Reacher novel, but I liked it from its opening pages. I would love to get inside Lee Child’s mind to see where/how he comes up with his plot ideas. How many different sorts of adventures can one character have? Reacher lands in the middle of some shit going down every single year. I like some of the stories more than others, but I’m always impressed. REACHER FAN FOR LIFE OVER HERE.

 

5). Vega Protein Nutrition Shakes. (Vegan and gluten-free)

 

Vega Protein Nutrition Shakes

 

These ready-made protein shakes saved me in the month following my surgery! I’d usually mix up my own, but drinking two of these a day, it was just easier to grab them from the fridge. I like both the chocolate and the vanilla, but the chocolate is my favorite!

Ingredients and nutrients in a nutshell and quoted directly from Vega’s site (“sic” all the way through):

  • 20 grams protein: each bottle has 20 grams plant-based protein from a multisource blend of pea protein, hemp protein, and pumpkin seed protein
  • Veggies & greens: with ingredients including spinach powder, kale powder, carrot juice powder, and organic spirulina
  • 25% DV of at least 11 vitamins and minerals
  • 3-4 grams fiber: Vanilla flavor has 3 grams fiber, or 12% DV, while Chocolate flavor has 4 grams fiber, or 16% DV. The fiber in both flavors comes primarily from flaxseed
  • 1 gram Omega-3 ALA: You’ll get essential fatty acids from flaxseed

 

6). Imagine Organic Miso Broth. (Vegan and gluten-free)

 

Imagine Organic Miso Broth

 

INGREDIENTS: Filtered Water, Organic Yellow and Red Miso Paste (Organic Whole Soybeans, Organic Rice, Sea Salt, Koji Starter [Aspergillus Oryzae]), Organic Flavors, Organic Onion Powder, Natural Flavors, Organic Evaporated Cane Syrup, Organic Potato Starch, Yeast Extract, Organic Ginger Juice, Organic Expeller Pressed Canola Oil and/or Organic Safflower Oil and/or Organic Sunflower Oil.

This miso broth was another life-saver, the warm and savory to Vega’s cold and sweet. I love adding silken tofu to this broth. Did you know that you can eat silken tofu without chewing it? Neither did I.

 

7). Mandarin oranges.

 

Mandarins

 

Once I could eat again, I found that mandarins are great for when you can’t bite into fruit and you want to add to your selection of bite-size options. I’ve been cutting up strawberries and tossing them into a bowl with red grapes and mandarin slices to make a little bite-size fruit bowl for dessert, and it’s wonderful!

 

8). One Degree Organic Foods Sprouted Oat Vanilla Chia Granola. (Vegan and gluten-free)

 

One Degree Organic Foods Sprouted Oat Vanilla Chia Granola

 

INGREDIENTS: Sprouted gluten-free organic oats, organic cane sugar, sprouted organic brown rice, organic sunflower oil, organic flax seeds, sprouted organic sunflower seeds, organic chia seeds, organic vanilla, unrefined salt, tocopherols (Vitamin E).

This granola! Is so! Delicious! Enough said.

 

9). Impossible Pumpkin Pie (recipe from Chocolate Covered Katie). (Vegan)

 

Impossible Pumpkin Pie, aka Crustless Pumpkin Pie (recipe by Chocolate Covered Katie)

 

WHAT I PUT INTO THIS PIE: Pumpkin puree, plain unsweetened soy milk, flaxseed meal, agave syrup, whole wheat flour, canola oil, vanilla extract, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, salt, baking powder

(For the exact ingredients list, see Katie’s recipe)

The whole concept of Thanksgiving is still somewhat foreign to my French husband. He never liked pumpkin pie, and he typically dislikes pumpkin anything (pumpkin is very New World and pretty much doesn’t figure in French cuisine), but he loved this pie that I made for Thanksgiving this year! I loved it, too. I made another one this morning and took the pic you see above.

This dessert is called “Impossible” because it’s a crustless pie. The flour you mix in with the other ingredients gives it a structure while it maintains the classic pumpkin pie texture. (You can see in the pic how it kind of forms its own “crust.”) I got verification of its awesomeness when one of my exacting Thanksgiving guests – a pumpkin pie purist, mind you – remarked that “it tastes just like pumpkin pie.” I suspect that if it doesn’t taste “healthy” to him, it won’t taste “healthy” to anyone.

You can use whatever sweetener you want, and Chocolate Covered Katie gives options to make the pie gluten-free and/or fat-free, so there’s a version of this simple and easy recipe for everyone. And I do mean it’s easy: you mix everything together by hand and pour it into the pie pan without having to deal with a pastry, and it’s in the oven for less than 30 minutes. Clean-up is easy, too. You need this recipe in your life if you like pumpkin pie.

 

10). Single Serving Chocolate Chip Cookie Baked Oatmeal (recipe from Chocolate Covered Katie). (Vegan)

 

Single Serving Chocolate Chip Cookie Baked Oatmeal, aka Chocolate Chip Baked Oatmeal for One (recipe from Chocolate Covered Katie)

 

WHAT I PUT INTO THESE OATMEAL SQUARES: Rolled oats, plain unsweetened coconut milk yogurt, plain unsweetened soy milk, agave syrup, peanut butter, salt, cinnamon, vanilla extract, mini chocolate chips [ETA: I use Enjoy Life Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips… they’re vegan.]

(For the exact ingredients list, see Katie’s recipe)

I wanted to eat oatmeal. I was not in the mood for oatmeal. I was tired of mushy food. I had a feeling that Chocolate Covered Katie’s The Healthy Dessert Blog would hold the answer, and it did. Put 1/2 cup of oats into a bowl, she said, and mix in these other things, and throw the whole shebang into the oven, and there you go – oatmeal that isn’t oatmeal.

Like the pie, this baked oatmeal is so simple and so good. The most difficult part is having to break it to Callaghan that the oatmeal isn’t for sharing. It’s one serving, the same serving I’d have were I to make it the traditional way. It looks like a lot because I make it in a loaf pan and cut it up into squares, but it’s really not a lot. In fact, it’s not enough.

I did tell him that I’d make him his own pan, though. No guilt!

Also, I think that Chocolate Covered Katie is my new spirit animal.

The End.

p.s. December’s already grand, because I started the month by going back to the gym!! I did my first Body Pump workout in a month yesterday.