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Friday, November 30, 2012

KETO: Keeping the Variety in the Ketogenic Diet

The main struggle I have faced while on a low-carb/keto diet is getting sick of the foods. On low-carb diets you end up having to home-make the majority of the foods you consume. This can take some getting used to and before then it is easy to fall into lazy habits. My lazy habit was making the same recipes I'd already enjoyed over again. No matter how much you love a recipe, you will eventually get sick of it. The one way to combat this is to keep trying new things.

The main food items I consumed, especially initially were meat, eggs, cheese, nuts, heavy cream and some vegetables. I focused too much on the same recipes and got burnt out. Something easy to spice up your go-to meal (on lazy days or whenever) is just that - spice! The difference some Sriracha has made in our menu is fantastic. Onion powder, garlic salt, cayenne pepper, ground red pepper flakes; there are so many spices out there to fit any meal type.

New recipes are all over the place. A quick search on Google will lead the way to numerous keto recipes. I prefer sites that give users the capability of rating recipes, that way if one sucks I am less likely to waste time/money on trying it out. Trying finding people living the low carb life who keep blogs. A couple of my favorite Low carb or keto blogs are:

I Breathe... I'm Hungry...

and

Your Lighter Side


Highly recommended, I've found a bunch of great recipes at these blogs. Another good source for recipes and recommendations is forums. I frequent reddit.com/r/keto and reddit.com/r/ketorecipes to get ideas, and go from there.

Once you have a feel for what types of ingredients you can substitute in order to make something low carb, you can really take off and try out new concoctions of your own!

Whatever you do, if you want to avoid the pitfall I suffered, find a way to change what you are eating from day to day. Try new things constantly, and adjust your meal plan to keep it interesting.

Aloha Friday 11/30/12

Wow, another month gone and we are about to enter December!

The little guy and myself have caught some type of cold and it is really affecting his sleep. By which I mean, neither one of us is sleeping. Yesterday his nap was delayed by 4 HOURS because I tried for 2 hours to get him down (and came so close numerous times) and then finally gave up for a bit. He slept for a good amount of time, and I figured bed time would be late. Nope! 3 hours after waking from the nap and he was ready for bed, right on time. Poor little sleepyhead.


Well, anyhow. It is another fantastic Aloha Friday and you know what that means!

This week's question is:
  Does your parenting style change when you/your child are sick?  

As for myself, I stick to the majority of the same things but I tend to be a bit less active in them. Things like household work tend to fall a bit behind, and Nathan ends up fetching a lot more items for me. Once he gets older I'm sure I'll be making more compromises.

How about you guys?

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Kabuki and Ludo!

It seems that Kabuks has accepted his new little buddy Ludo into our household! So cute to see big ol' Kabuki cuddling up with the tiny Ludo. I take too many pictures. 






And of course every time I have the camera I must be taking pictures of Nathan! Love it.

If you'd like to see more pictures/be updated when I post something new, check us out on Facebook!
https://www.facebook.com/KittiesAndKiddos

KETO: Meatballs and Coffee Cake

My husband and I weighed ourselves after Thanksgiving and decided we needed an emergency keto week! We will be planning longer bouts in ketosis for the near future, but right now we are needing to trim the food budget and spend it on Christmas preparations instead! So, quick little bursts to help maintain our weight.

Here are a couple of the recipes I've enjoyed this week.

Low-Carb Meatball Nirvana
(original recipe here)

I came upon the original recipe while off the low-carb lifestyle and loved it! So I had to make some substitutions so that I could continue to make these, on or off keto!

2 steps to adjust the recipe:
Sub in almond milk or half and half for the milk (or don't - it's ~13 carbs divided into 20 meatballs)
Sub in one egg instead of bread crumbs

I tend to add a lot of sriracha to this recipe, but I am addicted to the stuff.



Low Carb Coffee Cake
(link here)

Just made this tonight and enjoyed it quite a bit! It smelled amazing and was very easy to make as well. I might sub in a different sweetener for Splenda (maybe Stevia) but other than that it was a great low carb version of a treat.


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Ludo

Shortly after Kai's passing, Kabuki began being extra needy and loving. He would constantly seek us out, following us from room to room. I knew he just needed more love and affection.

Over time he started going in the opposite direction. He eventually spent more time away from us than around us - and it had never been that way before. He was getting lonely. It broke my heart when I took notice and made a point of keeping track of him. It was time to find him another companion.

Obviously we could never replace Kai - nor would we want to. Our only hope was that a new kitty could be friends with Kabuki. They could play around and keep each other company when we are out of the house. Normal stuff.

So I kicked up my kitten search. I went to Craigslist, which I generally avoid since there is no accountability. Literally any one can post anything and try to scam you. I found a cute little kitten and we went and picked him up on Saturday.

He has cute little mewls that sound exactly like Kabuki when he was that little. He starts purring almost immediately - just like Kai and quite a bit like Kabuki as well. Since he's a kitten still he loves to play, all the time. So adorable!



His name is Ludo.

Kabuki has been a bit shy around him, but they actually cuddled today! For 2 minutes, but still counts! Generally, Ludo tries to play with Kabuki, who plays back a little bit but then runs away. They are hilarious. Kabuki is pretty much back to normal! Once he is used to Ludo I'm confident he will be completely normal again.


Friday, November 16, 2012

Aloha Friday 11/16/12

Happy Aloha Friday once more!

Since Thanksgiving is coming up on us rather quickly, this week I want to know what your favorite Thanksgiving dish is! It can be traditional or not-so-traditional. If you have a link to your favorite recipe, feel free to share that as well!

What is your favorite Thanksgiving food/recipe?

Mine has got to be something sweet - every year I look forward to pecan pie! The many variations of it, I love it all. I haven't made one myself just yet, but I might try to sometime in the near future. 

Monday, November 12, 2012

Breastfeeding During the Holiday Season


 It is that wonderful time of year again! I love the chill in the air, bundling up and getting cozy next to the fire. You cannot beat the delicious food that surrounds you. Watching holiday movies and getting to see the extended family all together. It is all just so cozy and fun.

 When it comes to breastfeeding, however, the holidays can present some challenges. The number of parties and larger groups of people hanging around can make it more difficult to breastfeed in peace. Additionally, sometimes being in a group setting can bring forth larger amounts of unsolicited advice at one time. Even the smaller details, like colder weather, can make it more difficult to breastfeed - more layers means it can be more difficult to be accessible for a nursing child.

 For me, I was always fairly self-conscious about my body; including my boobs. I didn't really want any one (related or not) to see me nurse Nathan. I had a nursing cover that I used each time, but Nathan hated to be covered up - even at 2 months old. So I would go hide out in a back room each time Nathan was hungry. Since I also was one of few in my family to breastfeed exclusively, I felt a little awkward doing something different. So I would go out of site. This worked out well for me because I could relax instead of constantly battling Nathan with the nursing cover. Since I was relaxed, Nathan wasn't so distracted and we could get down to business and be back out socializing in no time!

 Even if you are comfortable whipping out your boob and nursing in front of whomever, depending on the age of the baby they might get distracted from nursing in a social setting. I had this problem even at home, with my husband or kitty. Distractable baby couldn't nurse with any light or noise for at least a month around 4 months of age. Yikes. If your baby is like this, that's another point for hiding out in a quiet room!

 This year, Nathan will be 15 months old at Christmas. Since he is an older baby, I do not know my extended family's opinion about extended breastfeeding. It doesn't directly affect how I will care for my child, but I would like to avoid any type of drama with those I only get to see a couple times a year. The saving grace in this area is that most of his nutrition is coming from food these days anyway, so it may not even come up.

What are some challenges around the holidays that you have faced?

Saturday, November 10, 2012

KETO: Zucchini Lasagna and Pumpkin Ice Cream

Low Carb/Keto Pumpkin Spice Ice Cream

For the ice cream "recipe" I actually just bought some low carb ice cream (there are a couple of brands who make this) and added flavors.

Let 3/4 cup of ice cream soften
Add 1/4 cup pure pumpkin (canned)
Add cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and nutmeg. For these, I just did a sprinkle of each. Be careful with cloves and ginger, as it can be easy to add too much of these strong flavors.
Stir well and eat as is or refreeze to the initial firmness!



Low Carb/Keto Zucchini Lasagna

2 small zucchinis
1 pound italian sausage
2.5 ounces shredded mozzarella
2/3 cup of cottage cheese
1/8 tsp of salt and pepper
1/4 cup parmesan
1/8 teaspoon garlic salt
1/3 cup tomato sauce


1-Preheat the oven to 400 degree Fahrenheit
2-Grease a quart-size baking dish - either a flat one or a taller one.
3-Slice the zucchini to about 1/8th of an inch
4-Place the zucchini in a single layer on a baking tray or oven-safe cooling rack and bake for about 5 minutes.
5-Brown the italian sausage
6-Flip the zucchini over and bake a few more minutes, until a light golden-brown.
7-While the zucchini is baking, mix together the cottage cheese, salt and pepper, garlic salt, and parmesan
8-Line the bottom only of the baking dish with zucchini.
9-a)If using a flat quart baking dish, spread all of the cottage cheese mixture over the zucchini
9-b)If using a taller dish, spread about half of the cottage cheese mixture over the zucchini
10-Layer the sausage on top of the cheese (like before, flat dish = all of it, tall dish = half
11-Spread (all or half of the) tomato sauce over the meat
12-Finish the layers, if using a tall dish
13-Sprinkle mozzarella over the top
14-a)Bake for about 30 minutes at 375, if using a flat dish
14-b)Bake for 35-40 minutes at 350, if using a tall dish

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Just In Case


Long ago, before I even gave birth to Nathan, I purchased a breast pump. I was super excited to use it, and the first few times I pumped it was actually fun and novel. (I also posted a review of this product)

After I gave birth to Nathan, I practiced using the pump. It was very easy and I was excited to begin using it full-time. After a short time, I began pumping and storing milk in the freezer.

Unfortunately, I was pretty uninformed at the time, and was pumping entirely too much. I had read so many posts and articles about increasing your supply, and I wanted to do so in order to freeze a bunch of milk. I nursed Nathan regularly, whenever he wanted, and would pump in between almost every nursing. The only exception being at night. It actually got up to my pumping 8 times in a day. Absolutely too much!

I wanted to store a huge amount of milk in the freezer 'just in case'. "How much breast milk might he go through in a month?" I actually calculated an estimate of that and was on my way toward storing that much milk. 

Something to do with the lack of sleep or just general ignorance made me overlook one simple fact: 

If I am returning to work, and pumping milk to replace what he would get while I'm not home, I only need to pump and store the amount needed for one day. 

After all, I was going to be pumping on my lunch breaks, which would refill the stash for when I'm gone. Every day. It was ridiculously simple. 

I ended up with a terrible oversupply. At the advice of some others, I slowly declined the number of pumping sessions each day. At that point, I was producing twice as much milk as Nathan needed in a day - if I had cut out all pumping sessions I would have suffered through aching, full breasts as my supply stabilized - and quite possibly could have gotten mastitis.

Well, it all worked out when I reduced down to the more-reasonable pumping one time a day. Doing this will slowly build a freezer stash without risking a huge change in your supply. 

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Coping with Pet Loss

Having lost a beloved companion of my own recently, I feel the need to share what has helped me get through the tough emotional times so far. As with many things, the range and magnitude of emotions one may experience will vary from person to person.

The first important thing to understand is that it is okay to feel your feelings. You will feel sadness and loss, but you might also feel anger, guilt, even initial shock and denial. You must allow yourself to go through the levels of grief in order to pass through and come out on the other side of it.

After Kai's passing, one of the first things I did (the next day) was take out some time and write out what I was feeling. This was, of course, after a great deal of crying and moping and not-sleeping. I wrote out everything I thought of in a long free-write block of text. I didn't write it to show anyone else, I just wrote it all out to get a visual representation of my emotions. This helped me a great deal. It also came in handy when I went to write my blog post - the organized and more memorial-style work regarding my kitty.

It also helped me to talk with others who have lost pets. Talking and relating to other people can help you feel like what you're experiencing is a normal range of emotion.

Going through the emotions is an important first step in moving forward through your grief. However, do not allow yourself to dwell for too long. Give yourself enough time - and I'm sorry to say I do not have a specific amount of time that is acceptable. That will vary.

Feel your feelings, get them out, and then keep yourself occupied. Try to make sure your downtime is limited in these first few days or weeks, as down time can lead toward over thinking. In my experience, any way. So keep yourself busy with friends and loved ones, house work, movies, whatever. If you think of your loved one, try to limit it to happy memories.

What has helped me immensely is throwing myself into my time with Nathan even more so than usual. I had been over-planning our meals and trips to the parks and all of the little things that happen each day. In addition, our remaining kitty Kabuki has needed extra love lately as well - cuddling with him has helped a lot.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Pumpkin - Cookies, Pancakes, and Brownies!

So this time around I am going to post a few regular old (non-keto) recipes! Jason and I are going for a quick 2-week stretch (possibly a little longer) right before Thanksgiving, but that doesn't start until Monday!

So, just tonight we made this:
Pumpkin White Chocolate Chip Cookies
http://www.alidaskitchen.com/2012/10/pumpkin-white-chocolate-chip-cookies.html

Oh my gosh! So tasty! We were out of quick oats and just dropped that ingredient, and I added one extra egg for more cakiness. So good.

Pumpkin Pancakes
For these I just use a basic from-scratch pancake recipe, and sub in pumpkin instead of eggs! I think this is the recipe we usually use for regular pancakes - http://allrecipes.com/recipe/good-old-fashioned-pancakes/

I also add about a teaspoon of cinnamon, but I love cinnamon! A tasty cinnamon glaze on top is amazing -

Glaze Recipe
2 tbs butter
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 cups confectioner's sugar
2 tbs milk


Can you tell I'm on kind of a pumpkin kick? LOVE pumpkin! Well what goes better with pumpkin recipes than ONE MORE pumpkin recipe?!

Pumpkin Swirl Brownies
Similar to the pancake recipe, I basically just added pumpkiny goodness to a regular recipe! So find yourself an awesome brownie recipe - I like this one: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/cocoa-brownies-recipe/index.html

I used the pumpkin mixture from this recipe:
3 oz softened cream cheese
1/2 cup canned pumpkin puree
1 egg
3 tbs sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

On top of the brownie mixture in the pan, place spoonfuls of pumpkin mixture and swirl the remaining brownie mixture into it. Makes a cool design and tastes great!

Bake as usual for the recipe.