Recent Publications – Autumn 2017

I am, as always, swamped by roughly 934 different, competing things on my to-do list. Off the top of my head I need to: clean my whole house, restock our groceries, invite people to the kids’ birthday party, plan and execute said party, put gas in my car, go to the post office, drop off a million bags and boxes to the Salvation Army, take down the Halloween decorations outside, break down all of the cardboard threatening to take over my life… library books I’ll probably return un-read…

I’ll write instead, for now.

I have a tendency to treat writing like a reward (“I’ll do it when everything else is done”) but nothing else is ever fully complete, what with a kid who won’t sleep at night or during the day and all of the other zillion things to do.

Here are a few things I’ve had published within the past few weeks. Check them out, if you’d like!

Winning the Battle, and the War
Parent Co., October 29, 2017

Is that love? When I imagined her, as she kicked and rolled in my belly, I never pictured that love would entail holding her body immobile so we could help her by hurting her. It was an act of faith and determination to endure. Love is a battlefield.

Why I’m Sitting Out Leaning In – For Now
Motherly, November 1, 2015

Oh, sometimes I feel like I’m on running on a wheel, a hamster scampering relentlessly inside the cheapest cage sold at the store. Like if I stop moving, all the lights will turn off and everything will cease to exist. But if I’m going to run on that hamster wheel, I want to win Most Valuable Hamster.

Low Carb Thanksgiving Recipes

When you think about traditional Thanksgiving recipes a lot of high carb food might come to mind: creamy potatoes, sweet pies and desserts, thick gravy, roasted root veggies… it all sounds delicious but it doesn’t fit in with a keto/low carb way of eating. My family isn’t big into the usual turkey and trimmings for Thanksgiving anyway, but it’s still nice to have that holiday vibe without compromising our lifestyle. That being said, here’s a Pinterest-sourced roundup of low carb Thanksgiving recipes!

(All images in this post are credited to the recipe pages linked below.)

This post contains affiliate links. Click here to read my full disclosure policy.

Low Carb Thanksgiving Recipes

Low Carb Thanksgiving Recipes – Main Courses

You can’t really go wrong with a nice cut of meat! This is one part of your Thanksgiving meal that probably will not need to be adjusted. You can cook a ham (so long as it isn’t drenched in honey or maple syrup), a turkey or chicken, or prime rib and as long as it isn’t glazed, stuffed, or garnished with anything high carb you’ll be fine. We even cooked a large salmon filet for Thanksgiving one year!

Low Carb Thanksgiving Recipes – Side Dishes

Gravy: Check out this brown butter cream sauce from Low Carb High Fat Recipes, or for something fancier, the ultimate keto gravy from the Keto Diet app.

Veggies: These creamy garlic Parmesan mushrooms from The Recipe Critic look phenomenal. Add in cauliflower rice stuffing from The Healthy Maven, supreme green bean casserole from The Low Carb Maven, and cauliflower roasted garlic and ricotta mash from Little Broken, and you have a delicious spread.

Rolls: Keto bread? Yep. We’ve had Dream Bread bagels and love them; they make dinner rolls too!

Low Carb Thanksgiving Recipes – Desserts

Perhaps the holy grail of low carb Thanksgiving ideas — because what’s a holiday meal without dessert?

Pumpkin cheesecake mousse from Sugar Free Mama looks super easy to make (and you can use and in lots of other dessert recipes! This keto chocolate silk pie from Ruled.me is absolutely drool inducing — we use as our erythritol/stevia blend, and buy bulk from Yupik. And last but not least, keto pecan pie from Keto Connect (this is the we use!).


With these recipes and ingredients, you can put together a fantastic Thanksgiving spread without having to fall off the low carb wagon. This food would work equally well for a Christmas dinner, or any other holiday feast, too!

Nike+ Kinect Training: Does it Work?

Nike Kinect Training

I downloaded Nike+ Kinect Training in hopes that it would help me shape up. The draw for me was a promise of personalized training, based on an exercise test. Since then my endurance has shot way up and I have a few muscles where I didn’t before! I’ve officially been at it for four weeks (I just finished my first month-long program this morning) so I thought I’d share my own little review.

EDITOR’S NOTE: While this technology might be a bit outdated by the time you’re reading this, you can still purchase the Nike+ program!

This post contains affiliate links. Click here to read my full disclosure policy.

Get in Shape with Your Kinect

Pros of Nike+ Kinect Training

  • The programs are really variable. After completing the Fuel Print test, which runs you through a variety of exercises and gives you two numbers based on your athleticism and fitness, you choose between a cardio, strength, or weight-based program (Lean, Toned, and Strong, respectively). The game then chooses a variety of exercises for you based on the information from your fitness test, and then you choose how many days a week you want to dedicate to the program.

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  • You have the option of filling in the gaps between program days with short five-minute sessions, open exercises where you choose cardio/strength/weights and how long you’d like your session to be, specific challenge drills, or training with a buddy.
  • It’s convenient — we have two places in town with gym equipment but buying this game and doing it in my own house is cheaper, easier, and doesn’t require me putting on a coat to get out of the house.
  • It does generate results! I can do modified pushups now (though not with the best form) and I get winded less easily. I have actual arm muscles that are visible when I flex, which, as anyone who has ever seen my sad biceps knows, is a feat in itself.

Cons of Nike+ Kinect Training

  • At first I thought this was just due to the size of our living room and its set-up, but it seems that many people have issues being tracked by the game and the Kinect. My Fuel Print is wrong because the Kinect couldn’t find me on the floor even though I moved the couch and went as far back as I could. It routinely yells at me to put my hands on my hips when they are firmly in place, on my hips. Sometimes it wants me to jump into a wall. If you have a giant home studio this will likely not be a problem, but for your average person it creates inaccuracies within the game.

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  • This is probably the fault of the zoom thing we have attached to our Kinect, but if I work out and it isn’t dark outside, the game has a harder time tracking me. During some parts of the day, if I wear black clothing, whatever that is will disappear, so I won’t have legs, or arms, which doesn’t help. This means I have to work out first thing in the morning, or later at night when it’s dark, which is going to prove tricky as the days get longer — and I sometimes have to work out in obnoxiously-patterned pajama shorts so the machine can see me.
  • If you jump outside of your program, the game might push you into something you can’t actually do yet. Matt bought me dumbbells so I wanted to try out a weight routine. Halfway through I was on the ground crying because I pulled an arm muscle, which then spasmed, trying to do a plank-to-pushup (I can barely do unmodified planks and I can’t really do unmodified pushups at all).
  • You need good shoes. I don’t know if this is really a con, but more of a caution — I have been working out in my (high-quality) running shoes and they aren’t cutting it thanks to the sheer amount of jumping, especially one-legged jumping, in this game. My ankle is displeased with me, as is my knee.
  • And, probably the most annoying aside from the tracking issues — it kinda gets boring. Imagine if you went to the gym three days a week and did the EXACT SAME THING every day. Maybe that’d work for some of you but mindless exercising does not work for me. On the last week of the program, when I was supposed to be pushing it the most, I was really, really bored. I need variety, and repeating the same six exercises over and over gets old, fast. I don’t mind the rep-based stuff but doing 30 seconds of star jumps three days a week sucks. I’m hoping I’ll be allowed more exercises during my next four-week program, or I’m gonna switch to just a la carte routines as I please… and the tracking was horrible during my fitness test so my fitness score actually decreased, so I have no idea what to expect.

Overall Thoughts on Nike+ Kinect

I’m going to keep going with it. I’m giving this newest four-week program a shot, and then I’ll regroup, but despite its flaws, it is working. If you’re really tied to accurate calorie counts and data, it’d probably drive you nuts, but I’m trying to look at it in terms of how I really feel vs. what the machine tells me. If I am getting stronger and leaner, then something is working, right?

What fitness games do you use, if any?

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Flourless Banana Oat Pancakes

Healthy Flourless Banana Oat Pancakes

I love pancakes. I’d eat them every day if I could — but they take forever, I’m not very good at making them (yet!), and they don’t seem very healthy, even if you stuff ’em with blueberries and try to lay off on the syrup. I’ve been trying to eat things that are a bit more simple, and a bit less processed, so the ‘banana + egg = pancake’ recipe that has been going around the internet piqued my curiosity. A bit of Googling, and I stumbled across the Banana-Egg-Oat Pancake recipe at Fit Mama Real Food. I had one banana in the house at the time, along with two eggs and a bag of oats, so I decided to give it a shot.

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Seriously, this is all you need. The recipe calls for one banana, mashed into a bowl with one egg (it suggests an overripe banana but mine was only a touch more than ripe and worked fine!). Then you stir in a half cup of oats and call it a day. Having eaten the resulting product, I might try putting in a pinch of salt — I found it a bit too sweet, so I’m wondering if that’d help cut it back?

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Admittedly, they look kind of gross while cooking. I opted to make three smaller pancakes rather than one large one, but the 3-4 minute per side cook time still seemed to apply.

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They look far tastier (and more like pancakes) once cooked! I don’t have coconut oil so I used a bit of regular vegetable oil to cook mine and it was fine. I’m sure butter would work, too… and be delicious.

I topped ’em with peanut butter (PB + banana = love) and a few drizzles of maple syrup. Not too many calories, seems healthy to me, and best of all, this meal kept me full for a solid four hours! This is definitely going into my regular breakfast rotation. I want to try a few spice combinations, adding in berries (or chocolate chips… mmm…), and, of course, the original recipe without oats.

What’s your favourite healthy breakfast food?

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DIY Date Night Jar

Left to my own devices, I’m one of those, “What do you want to do? I dunno… what do you want to do?” people. It’s not really a good way to have adventures, especially on the weekend. Enter the DIY date night jar.

We have a ton of empty jars, so that was an easy to start. I didn’t have popsicle sticks around, so I cut up a bunch of index cards and started jotting down date night/weekend plans on them, everything from going out for dessert to camping in the backyard.

I had to colour code them so we’d be able to pick from the right category — as in, we probably don’t want to grab an expensive out-of-the-house slip when we’re dealing with massive heat bills, and we don’t want to pick “go snowshoeing!” in the middle of June. I drew a little heart on each slip, and a matching stripe along the back. Then I sealed each one up with washi tape.

To make sense of the coloured hearts, I attached a legend to the jar. The orange hearts are for out-of-the-house dates that might cost a bit of money, from going out for drinks to hitting up a new city. Pink hearts, which will probably be heavily used, are at-home and free dates, like building a blanket fort and watching TV.

Blue is for outdoors, and I indicated directly on the tag if the date would involve gas money — some of them are free, like going for a walk, and some require a fueled-up truck, like going geocaching. I also indicated if the blue tags were season-dependent.

Finally, there are green hearts, which are at-home dates that cost a bit of money (but not a lot). Things like buying food to make a special dinner, or renting a movie, fall into this category.

I’m hoping that when we’re stuck for something to do, we reach for the date jar. Even if we don’t use it often, it’s there to spark a few ideas so we aren’t spending our free time watching Netflix reality TV (though there is always a good time for that!).