Thursday, April 23, 2015

Baby Shower for a Girl

Attention to detail and feline fabulosity combined to give #BabyB a "purrfect" baby shower!
I cannot say enough wonderful things about the 3 ladies who put together my baby shower.  What they accomplished was beyond my wildest expectations.  They worked so hard to make sure every detail was attended to, on theme, and made sense for the guests.  I had no idea about the theme or all the hard work they were planing until the day of.  Yes, that cradle was purchased just for a decoration!!!
What a wonderful surprise and day!  Thank you Bree, Megan, and Taina!!!!
Our shower was held at Rosen's Shingle Creek Resort (I know you're not shocked) in one of the upper level suites.  I wanted to make the shower more than just a party, so Kyle and I stayed the weekend as well.  Since the main love in my life has always been my kitten Minnie (and I've always been a huge feline lover), the shower had a playful kitten theme.  There were "milk" bottles for drinks, yarn accents, and cat cuteness galore all with beautiful colors perfect for a baby girl.
To eat we had a "Fancy Feast" of finger sandwiches, fruit, and snacks as well as Muscle Milk so our muscles stayed fueled through all of our gift giving!
We also had an absolutely delicious cake that I am craving right now!
As you can see, Papa B made an appearance for the shower.  I spent the first half of the party spending time with everyone and then he came for the gift opening.  I felt it was important to have him there and I wanted him to share in the special event.
Everything at the shower was absolutely perfect and we received so many wonderful gifts. Thank you everyone!
On Sunday I will pass the 34 week mark and we're just waiting to get closer to our due date to meet #BabyB.  All of her nursery is done and we just need to put together a few items like her pack 'n play, wash her clothes, pack our bags, and register at the hospital.
What was the theme of your baby shower?
Dads at the shower - yes or no?

Love and 9 lives,
Carissa & Kyle

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

The BEST Diet

Today you are going to learn what the very BEST diet in the entire world is.

I don't know why I waited so long to tell you this.  It's an amazing diet and works every time.  Is it low-carb, high-fat, IIFMM, the all-green food diet?  The very best diet is....

Duh, right! I am an advocate of the non-diet.  If you come to me for nutritional counseling, I will not hand you a piece of paper with a specific diet on it and tell you to conform to this. I was someone who struggled with "how to eat" for a while after college.  I'd eat what I wanted, feel bad about myself or my weight, and then start each Monday with a new "diet" plan and inevitably barely made it to Wednesday afternoon.  Sound familiar?  

When I finally turned a corner in regards to my relationship with food, it was because I learned how to create a meal plan that didn't exclude foods, but supported my body with sound nutrition advice.  Not a "quick" fix, but a long term plan for eating well.
Yes, specific diets can work.  People have success with them, but in my opinion the best way to find your happy weight and happy place with food is to learn to make better food choices.  Make it a lifestyle change.  Sure, a bag of Doritos tastes great, but when you understand why an afternoon snack should contain protein and fiber and when you know how to compose a snack to fit those needs then the Doritos don't add up as part of this "healthier-you" plan.

When I think about my "day of food", these are some principles that I look to achieve:

  • Eat 3 meals with 2 snacks if hungry
  • Aim for 25+ grams of fiber
  • Aim to eat a protein, carbohydrate, and fat each time I eat
  • Add a fruit or vegetable to every meal
  • Avoid drinking my calories if there's a whole food alternative available
The problem I see with many people looking to lose weight is they don't want to "think".  They don't want to have to make tough choices and pick the right foods ALL.DAY.LONG.  That's why people are drawn to restrictive diets that limit choices or "21/30 day plans" that give them specific parameters on how to eat.  Am I against these?  No.  I think they can work, but what about when the "challenge" is over or the restrictions become too tough?  Where do you go?  Back to your old diet ways and in 6 weeks you're looking for the next quick fix.  
Unfortunately I can't prescribe the "best diet in the world", but I can offer some tips to get you on the right track to making better, permanent lifestyle choices:
  • Meal Plan
  • Shop Smart
    • The easiest place to avoid lower quality foods is at the grocery store
  • Record what you eat 
    • It's tedious, but it will help you understand meals and foods that you like and that work for you.  Plus studies show dieters posse 15% more when they track food
  • Eat at home and pack lunch
  • Eat whole foods over bars, shakes, and packaged items
  • Think before you eat
    • When planning a meal think and ask yourself, "Is there a source of protein? A healthy fat? Some carbohydrates? Can I add a fruit or vegetable?"
My #1 goal as an RD is for people to have a healthy relationship with their body and food.  It's not always about a number or the scale.  I truly want you to be able to get through the day making food choices that are neither grueling and restrictive or that leave you feeling like you failed again.  If you'd like help achieving your perfect diet seek out a Registered Dietitian in your area or email me for help.
How do you approach eating?
What diet do you follow?
What diets have you tried that didn't work?

Love and real food talk,
Carissa & Kyle

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Cabot Creamery Cookbook Giveaway

Cabot cheese is delicious.

This is not a statement of opinion.  It is a fact.  My love of Cabot cheese and the brand is well documented.  I've had the honor of being able to run with Cabot in Vermont and visit with the farmers.  I love this brand, the quality of their products, their commitment to their farmers, and their love of health and fitness.
I want you to love Cabot too, so today I'm giving you the opportunity to win the new Cabot Creamery Cookbook and a Cabot gift box.  Cabot's new cookbook has 150 delicious recipes and stories from their dairy farmers.
I was originally drawn to Cabot, because of it's simple ingredients.  It's also great for those with food allergies or intolerances as it's gluten free and yes - lactose free!  Cabot also has some great flavors that can make your dishes taste even better.  My favorite is the Alpine Cheddar in the Legacy Collection, because it's a creamy cheddar that goes perfectly with Italian dishes.  I know, sounds illogical, but it works.  Try it!
Cabot also has other non-cheese products like Greek yogurt, butter, dips and something my pregnant self has been loving - Cheddar Powder.  Shake it on some popcorn and your life will change.

To enter to win the Cabot giveaway use the rafflecopter widget below.  If it doesn't work for you then email me and I will manually enter you.  Entries close on Sunday, April 19 at midnight.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
You can also enter to win Cabot's new cookbook AND a year's supply of cheese through April 15 at Cabot's Facebook.  Hurry and enter!

Note: I was NOT compensated to write this post, but Cabot does send me delicious cheese from time to time.

What is your favorite recipe to make with cheese?
What's your fave cheese?

Love and no lactose,
Carissa & Kyle

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Pregnancy Update: 31 Weeks

Pregnancy creeps toward the final quarter as #BabyB passes the 31 week mark.
We have roughly 2 months to go until her due date and she is finally starting to make her presence known by a noticeably bigger bump.  Here's the 411 on what's going on with our second 3rd trimester update. Major changes since our 27 week update include much more trouble sleeping, big improvements to the nursery, and the return of general exhaustion.
Team Grandma
Weight Gained:  If you look at our Easter picture above you can definitely see that Baby Girl is coming out (I also don't recommend stripes and standing sideways as the most flattering photo advice)!  I don't have a doctor's appointment until next week, but I think I'm right about the 22/23 pound mark.  I'm happy to report that current weight seems to be going to the baby and not my butt as it was early on.

Workouts:  They are still happening with pretty good energy, but the frequency has decreased.  It hasn't been really pregnancy related, but I had some major changes at work and there are just more things in a day that have to get done....and then I get sleepy.
Each week I'm still focused on always getting in 2 strength training sessions and at least 1 stepclimber/elliptical visit.  My goal would be 2 strength sessions, 2 cardio, and yoga.  Last week I walked a 5k 2 days in a row and felt pretty #BeastMode about that.

Pregnancy Clothes: I haven't bought anything new since the last update and my maxi skirts and larger Target tanks are still working.  I think I'll need one more pair of yoga capris, but that's about it.  I did have a fun time trying to put on sneakers one afternoon this week for a walk and it was quite a shock to notice how swollen my feet were!
Symptoms:  The newest contender is Braxton-Hicks contractions.  #BabyB is pretty tight in there and can tighten my stomach when she pushes her butt out to the left like she likes to do, however that's noticeably different from the contractions.  They were pretty frequent the day before my shower, but if I focus on resting and drinking water they improve.  I'm also having random bouts with restless legs and trouble sleeping.  It seems that if I'm woken up as soon as I fall asleep by either the cat or the husband then I can't go back to sleep without getting up and stretching.  The pregnancy pillow helps, but sometimes it makes it harder for me to maneuver into a better position.  Why oh why can't I just sleep on my back! This week general exhaustion is back.  If I have to I push through it, but if I'm working from home and can take a nap I do.  I feel guilty, but I know my body must need the rest.

Food Aversions: Hmmmmm nothing is really coming to mind.  I think I've been pretty good about sticking to my "normal" diet with extra calories and snacks thrown in.

Food Cravings: #DrinkAllTheOJ For some reason I have been craving orange juice like nobody's business.  I've always been a fan, but I can't get enough now.  I've also been extra thirsty and found that coconut water is particularly refreshing.  Otherwise my cravings are minimal and I've just been enjoying a few "treats" when they're offered since my diet will be much stricter after the baby.

I also found this article about how much junk food eating in late pregnancy can contribute to junk food addiction, so I'm definitely conscious of limiting the unnecessary junk unless it's a legit craving.

Movement: Oh hey #BabyB...that's my rib.  Yeah, if you could not try to do a pull-up on it that would be great!  I thought I would be saved from the "baby in the ribs" pains since my torso is so long, but she's using all available space. She particularly likes it under my right ribs and at night she feels like she's trying to roll out some dough on the sides of my abdomen.  Hiccups are happening too and usually around 10pm at night.

Stretch marks:  Nothing new and while my belly button is flat it has not popped "out".  Hold on belly can do it!

Miss anything:  Restful sleep and wine. There's a Caymus wine dinner at Ruth's Chris next month and I am a little sad that I can't go.  I mean..I "can" go..but who wants to watch other people drink wine?  Not this girl...not after 8 months of sobriety anyway.

New Baby Items:  EVERYTHING!  Her nursery is "almost" all ready and we have most of our must have items checked off thanks to our shower and a big Amazon purchase.  We're waiting on curtains and an Etsy decal to finalize the pink/gray/yellow motif.
Last night I put together her BOB SE Revolution which will be not only our jogging stroller, but our everyday stroller too.
It has an infant seat converter that holds her car seat until she's big enough for the stroller on it's own.  I also liked this is designed to be great jogging stroller and holds a little one up to 70 pounds, which is larger than many other strollers.  I'm all about economics.  The last major things I "need" to buy is an infant monitor and a high chair.  Let me know if you have recommendations on a monitor.  I'm torn between one with wifi and an app where Kyle can see her at work or just a traditional one that works great in the home.
Getting Ready: As I mentioned I had my shower in late March and it was AMAZING!  A full post is coming soon.
I was also able to model and chat nutrition at the Prego Expo and had such a fun time with all the mommies-to-be.
Getting ready wise I am still reading "What To Expect" and I've added "The Happiest Baby on the Block" into the mix.  We met the pediatrician this week and I have "register at the hospital" on my to-do list.  I also need to wash all her clothes, sheets, towels, etc and load the car seat into the car.  And pack a bag....we'll get there.
Getting Excited For: Time to go faster.  I think I'm to that point where it feels like we're close, but we're really still months away.  Obviously I don't want her to come early, but from all other angles we are ready for the arrival.  Even with the every 2 week appointments and lots of movement I still have moments of anxiety and uncertainty.  I just want to meet her and know that everything is okay!  Kyle's sister is set to have her baby in the next week and a half and I think that will only make me more antsy to meet our little one.
Finally I want to give a huge CONGRATS to Meghann from Meals and Miles on her announcement of her rainbow baby coming in October.  xoxo!

Any advice on a baby monitor or stroller?
When did you start feeling antsy to meet your baby?
Any other advice?

Love and 9 weeks,
Kyle & Carissa

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Fool Your Fave Foods

I’m going to shut down my blog and move to France to become a chocolate taster.


Did anyone tried to play a practical joke on you today?  I am not a great prankster and I totally hate getting played, so we’ll see how my day turns out.  I’m also a bit of a sucker, but maybe the world will take pity on the pregnant lady.

This April Fool’s Day, I’m going to show you some easy ways to fool some of your favorite recipes into being a wee bit better for you.  Yup,  it’s not fall, but I’ve got pumpkin fever.  “PumpkinCan” fool recipes and power-up the nutrition and flavor in family favorite dishes.

We know that LIBBY’S® 100% Pure Pumpkin is a superfood rich in vitamin A, a good source of the antioxidant beta-carotene and a good source of fiber.  Plus a half-cup serving of LIBBY’S® Pumpkin is only 50 calories. But that’s not the trick - LIBBY’S® 100% Pure Pumpkin can fool many recipes, making them more delicious while cutting fat and cholesterol per serving.

So how does it work? #Pumpkin-Can fool many of your favorite recipes because its creamy texture and taste make it the perfect ingredient to substitute in place of butter, eggs, or oil.

Here are 4 family favorites all given a nutrition boost with pumpkin.
Pumpkin PB & J: Combine equal parts LIBBY’S Pumpkin with peanut butter and cut the fat nearly in half in your pumpkin pb & j.
Pasta Sauce:  Add 1 part LIBBY’S Pumpkin to 3 parts pasta sauce and what you’ll do here is reduce the sodium per serving.  Sounds weird, but you don’t taste the pumpkin AT ALL and it’s boosts the texture of the sauce too.
Mac & Cheese: Everybody loves mac and cheese and wouldn’t you love to cut the fat by more than 75%? When you replace butter or margarine with LIBBY’S Pumpkin that’s exactly what you can do.
Brownies:  For a sweet treat substitute half the butter in your brownie recipe with LIBBY’S Pumpkin. You’ll have a moist, cake-like brownie with half the saturated fat.

Thanks to Libby’s for partnering with me for a Daily Buzz segment this week.  I was not compensated to write this blog post.

What’s your best April Fools food trick?

Love and beta carotene all day long,
Carissa & Kyle