Meredith

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The Best Keto Pumpkin Spice Latte

The Best Keto Pumpkin Spice Latte

I’ve been dying for a good Pumpkin Spice Latte (all you PSL haters, back away! haha!), but on Keto, you just can’t go to Starbucks and order one because their pumpkin syrups are full of sugar! I figured out the recipe for the PERFECT Keto Pumpkin Spice Latte, and here it is!! (scroll down for the video)

Keto Pumpkin Spice Latte:

  • ~2 cups of your favorite coffee. I’m using Folger’s Black Silk
  • 1T Butter
  • 1T Heavy Whipping Cream
  • 1 Scoop Salted Caramel Perfect Keto MCT oil powder
  • 1T Jordan’s Skinny Pumpkin Pie Spice syrup (I got mine at Marshall’s, but here is a similar pack)
  • 1/2T Torani Sugar Free Cinnamon Vanilla syrup
  • 2 shakes of cinnamon before blending, then a shake of cinnamon on top!

First I add the butter, HWC, powder and syrups to my Ninja blender. Then I pour the coffee in and blend for a few seconds. It gets a nice froth on the top, and looks absolutely perfect when it’s done! Then I sprinkle a little bit of cinnamon on top, and BOOM. You have the best Keto Pumpkin Spice Latte that the sweater and leggings lovers have ever seen, PLUS yours is more awesome with its sugar-free-ness!

As I’ve calculated this recipe, it reads out to:

Carbs: 2.4g (net)

Protein: 1g

Fat: 24.2g

*note: I’m not a nutritionist or doctor, so please formulate yours for yourself and your ingredients!

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Here’s a video on how you make it:

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Keto Pumpkin Spice Latte

Best Keto Pumpkin Spice Latte

 

6 Amazing Attractions at Sea World for Toddlers (that allow strollers!)

6 Amazing Attractions at Sea World for Toddlers (that allow strollers!)

SeaWorld has always been one of my favorite places. We go to San Diego every year (here’s my post from last year!), and it’s one of my favorite places to check out. We went again this year, and it was SO much more fun now that my daughter is a little over two! The only problem, now that we have the little guy, is that we had a HUGE double stroller with us. It became kind of annoying to consistently drop our huge stroller off, and then carry my son and wrangle my daughter in exhibits, so I found the top 5 amazing attractions at SeaWorld for toddlers that ALLOW strollers!!! They are:

1. Cleaner Fish

Yes, these guys are right at the front of the park, but they’re legit my favorite thing at SeaWorld. I could seriously sit here all day with my hands in the water. Fun, stroller can be right next to you, it’s an awesome attraction at SeaWorld for toddlers!

2. Orca Viewing

There’s a ramp down to the Orca aquarium that allows strollers, and it’s so fun to watch the killer whales through the glass below, or catch the trainer up top training!

3. Feed the Stingrays

Ok, we didn’t feed them (maybe next year), but we loved seeing and petting them!! Again, a nice little ramp for strollers!

4. The Penguins!

One of my favorites–it’s AIR CONDITIONED which is a HUGE WIN. You can take the stroller in and bring it on the moving walkway (or take it up to the second level and breastfeed in the dark quiet, let your baby take a nap, whatever!! Either way, you’re in the nice cold, which you may need when you’re in San Diego!). The penguins are so freakin cute, too!

5. Turtle Reef

This one should actually be #1 on the list…it’s honestly an awesome exhibit; it’s kind of set back in the park a little bit, and so it’s never been really crowded in there. There’s so many soothing tanks in the dark, it’s another air conditioned area, and completely stroller friendly. If I was alone, I’d have just sat there on a bench and stared at the fish and turtles!!!

6. Wild Arctic

No wait, THIS ONE should be #1!!! This one was new for us this year, and it was a huge hit. We totally missed it because it was hidden next to the Arctic North simulation ride, which I LOVE, but haven’t done for the last few years because #kids. I honestly didn’t even realize or remember there was this huge exhibit with belugas and walruses! There’s not a ton of signage either, so again, not a lot of people! It was AWESOME, air conditioned (can you tell I love air conditioned areas?!), and pretty large. There were also fun realistic dioramas portraying research life in the wild arctic as well! Very stroller friendly with ramps everywhere too, of course!

 

All of these have been amazing attractions at SeaWorld for toddlers, but I don’t want to discount the sesame street park–that’s fun too, and allows strollers obviously, but that’s kind of a given, which is why I didn’t include them in this post! If you’re considering this park in San Diego, I think it’s well worth it. We absolutely love going, and will continue to support SeaWorld for all of their animal rescue efforts, not just the fun of their park!

seaworld for toddlers

36 Keto Essentials You Must Have

36 Keto Essentials You Must Have

NOTE: This post is NOT sponsored. These products are not sponsored. I have spent my money on every single one of these, and love them, which is why I’m sharing them!

I’ve been eating a Ketogenic diet for several months now. If you missed my original post, I lost 60lbs after I had my daughter while on Keto, so this is my second time on the diet. After having been on it twice and for extended periods of time, I can confidently say that this list of Keto Essentials contains everything you need to get started, and then continue this way of eating. These Keto Essentials are things that I love and eat or use every single day.

Keto Essentials

I’ve broken my list of Keto Essentials up into two lists: Consumables (eat it) and Non-Consumables (use it). There are so many foods or supplements that I’d consider integral to my success, but then there are also things that I use and love. Do you HAVE to have the Ninja blender listed? No, of course not. But I LOVE mine, and I use it every day. So treat the non-consumables list as things that are nice to have, but that can be substituted very easily. The foods/supplements list, however, is exactly what I use and love, and to me they are 100% my Keto Essentials that I will always have on hand, repurchase religiously, and share with anyone that they’re my favorites.

My Keto Essentials:

See my list with descriptions below!

Keto Essentials

Ok first–there are way more great things to have in terms of meats and veggies, but these are my FAVORITES to always stock, so just keep that in mind 🙂

1. Kerrygold Butter: This butter is wonderful, but it’s also going through a potential law suit right now due to false claims. I won’t comment on that, but I will say we use more Target brand butter than Kerrygold; but I’m including this one because it really is delicious!

2. Bulletproof Brain Octane Oil: You’ll see several MCT type oils listed. There are several that are my favorites, and I rotate around between a few of them.

3. Raw Organic Sauerkraut: This is a MUST for probiotics. I had a follower from my Instagram page mention it, and it’s seriously been a godsend. So, it’s a must-have for me now!

4. Perfect Keto Chocolate MCT Oil Powder: This is what I use in my Bulletproof Coffee every day, along with #9. I love how easy the powder is, and the chocolate combo makes it taste awesome! See my BPC post HERE

5. Cream Cheese: I buy Philadelphia and the Target brand; they’re both good in my opinion. I run through so much cream cheese it’s crazy, so I usually buy it in bulk.

6. Avocado Oil: Healthy Oils are obviously a big deal on Keto, and any Keto Essentials List. I got mine at the World Market in Bloomington, MN. It was SUPER cheap for a huge bottle!

7. Swerve Sweeters: OHHH How I love these! One of my other favorite sweeteners lately is the Lakanto Monkfruit Sweetener, but I’ve been using Swerve for years and so I thought it deserved a spot here. I buy it on Amazon because it’s cheaper/same price as buying it in the store. I buy BOTH–one is granular and the other is a confectioner’s substitute. I love it because it doesn’t have an aftertaste, net 0 carbs, and still allows me to indulge in my favorite mug cake or other sweet–because my sweet tooth isn’t ever going anywhere!

8. SportsResearch MCT Oil: Another MCT oil that I love. I buy this on Amazon and the bottle is huge–like literally, it will last you a year.

9. Perfect Keto Chocolate Collagen: I just started taking this stuff, but it quickly because a staple in my Bulletproof coffee because I don’t like the coffee taste. I’ve been wanting to try collagen due to its therapeutic properties, and so I’m hoping for good results from this. But regardless, it’s delicious and I’m going to keep buying it as a monthly staple.

10. Lindt 90% Chocolate: I buy this in bulk at Target when they’re on sale for $2.50. Even if I wasn’t eating Keto, this is my favorite chocolate. For some reason it’s MUCH creamier and has more flavor that then 80 or 85%, which I won’t even touch. One square has 1 net carb, so it’s a perfect little snack. One square will satisfy my sweet tooth, and I carry a bar with me at all times!

11. Lily’s Chocolate Chips: These are a staple for my chocolate chip cookie mug cakes. They’re expensive ($6.50+ per bag), but worth it. They’re super delicious!

12. Pork Rinds: I never thought these would be a staple for me, but I’ve just started loving them on this second round of Keto. I use them as a chip replacement to use for dips, crush them up and use them as a coating for chicken tenders, and use them to make Keto Cereal. They’re super amazing and versatile, and this is coming from someone who couldn’t even stomach them last time she was on Keto. They take a little while to get used to, yes, but as long as I can mask the taste of what they really are (bleh), I’m good!

13. Cheese: DUH! My favorite to-go cheese is the Cracker Barrell sharp cheddar stick packs, and my favorite bulk-buy cheese is the Cabot Cheddar that I’ve found at Costco. Any sharp cheddar will due, though. It’s my favorite!

14. Avocados: Buy them in bulk–they’re great fats, and super versatile!

15. Brussel Sprouts: I love making these with avocado oil and crumbled bacon. One of my favorite side dishes, so these are a must have.

16. Broccoli: I usually buy broccoli that’s frozen, because I just want to steam it in the microwave. So I always have a few bags of it in the freezer for a quick veggie!

17. Chicken Wings: I think I just need to throw it out there that Chicken is one of my favorites, but you need to be careful because of its high protein content. So eat the skin, get wings, thighs, etc. We buy ours from a local farm that delivers fresh chicken and eggs whenever we want. Seriously, I don’t know how I got so lucky to have found them, but I love them so much! If you’re in the west metro area, it’s Grass Lake Farm.

18. Ground Meat: Buy the heaviest fat content!!!!

19. Bacon: DUH! Best tip I can give you is to buy it from a local butcher. I found a butcher near our cabin that makes the most incredible Apple Cider bacon, and I buy 10lbs of it at a time and freeze it. It’s delicious, perfect, and hormone/additive free.

NOT PICTURED but still important:

20. Other Meat: We love prime rib and making roasts. Make sure you buy fatty cuts. This has always been a little hard for me because in general I hate the taste of squishy fat in my mouth. If you’re eating chicken breast (which I love), make sure you add MCT oil to it!

21. Heavy Whipping Cream: BE CAREFUL when using it! 1T can have about 45-50 calories in it, so if you’re not careful, you’re adding tons of calories to a potentially already-high-calorie item, like BPC. I know this because I literally just realized it myself and freaked out.

22. Eggs: The perfect combo of protein/fat/carbs! Try to get organic, farm fresh eggs if you can. If you haven’t tasted the difference, you’ll never go back to eggs from the store ever again. I literally WILL NEVER buy eggs from anywhere else except my local farmer now.

23. Lowry’s Seasoning Salt: I put this on everything, and in my opinion it’s THE BEST seasoning ever! We also use a lot of chili powder, paprika and italian seasoning, which you’ll want to consider to make your own Taco Seasoning. Did you know that your regular taco seasoning from the store is loaded with carbs?! YES. CHECK IT!!!

24. Kettle & Fire Bone Broth: This stuff is pretty amazing, but also pretty expensive. However, I don’t enjoy making my own, so it’s worth it.

25. Almond Flour: I can’t believe I put this one last–I use it EVERY DAY. I buy mine from Costco in a huge bag, and it does last a while. Definitely a staple! This Kirkland one I linked is the one I buy over and over again.

26. Riced Cauliflower: The best option ever for a rice substitute. I sauté it in butter and it’s PERFECT!

 

And now for my non-consumable Keto Essentials!!

Keto Essentials Non Consumables

These are all my absolute favorite things that I’d consider my Keto Essentials that aren’t something I’m always eating! For some of these, I’d say the brand probably doesn’t matter–it’s the concept of having them, and how easy they make your life! But, if you’re looking for tried and true items that work, these are the exact ones I have.

1. Ninja Blender: I’ve had this for several years, and love it. I’ve always loved all of my Ninja items. They’re totally worth the price tag. I use this for everything, honestly, but my favorite is to use the single-serve cups and blend my bulletproof coffee in them. We also have a Ninja coffee maker that we love!

2. Travel Blender: This is awesome for making BPC when you’re traveling. I know it seems insane to travel with one of these, but if you’re serious about Keto and your BPC, you need it!

3. Travel Containers: These are what I carry my MCT oil in when I travel. Yes, I’m serious. I keep them in a sandwich baggie in my purse so they don’t leak, although I’ve never had that happen.

4. The Keto Mojo Monitor: This monitor is everything to me, and should technically be #1 on a Keto Essentials list if I was ranking them by how much I love each one! We have a tumultuous relationship though. I tend to take it’s reading as the holy keto gospel, which is probably not very good…but I can’t help it! Tracking your blood ketones are the most accurate way to verify that you’re in ketosis. I’m going to start tracking my blood glucose with this monitor as well. I highly HIGHLY recommend it for beginners. And if you’re scared about pricking yourself–listen: I am more scared of needles and blood than anyone. I once passed out before a need even touched me when I was getting blood work in high school. For the longest time I had to have my husband prick my finger because I’m such a pussy. How I even had two kids and didn’t pass out during the whole process is still beyond me. But I can do this. And it doesn’t hurt. So you can DEFINITELY do it too!

5. Veggie Spiralizer: This is awesome, because I spiral all my Zucchini noodles. I once bought the pre-made ones from Target and they STANK and were bad. So now, I only ever do my own! Although I only buy pre-made cauliflower rice because that I HATE doing, and the pre-done stuff is just as good as doing it yourself.

6. Handheld Mixer: I have a huge KitchenAid that I love, but sometimes it’s nice to just have this little tiny thing!

7. Keto Coach Test Strips: If you’re not interested in the blood monitor, these strips are definitely my favorite of all the ones out there (I’ve tried a ton).

8. Zak! Travel Mug: I bought mine at Target, and I love it! My husband has a Yeti one and this keeps everything just as hot and cold as that expensive one. Buy this one, it’s WAY more bang for your buck. I paid $7.99 for it!

9. Immersion Blender: Another option for your BPC, if you want to blend it inside your travel mug instead of a blender!

10. Microwave Bacon Crisper: I know the microwave isn’t that great, and apparently changes food and sends particles out everywhere or whatever it does…but sometimes baking bacon isn’t fast enough. This thing is awesome, and works perfectly! It takes me about 5 minutes to do 5 pieces of thick cut bacon, and my only complaint is that the bacon is curly instead of straight. #strangefoodproblems

I hope you enjoyed this post! Let me know if you have any Keto Essentials that you love!

10 Signs You’re a Normal Mom + $275 Target Gift Card Giveaway

10 Signs You’re a Normal Mom + $275 Target Gift Card Giveaway

I’m getting so sick of all of these Facebook video parodies portraying “Types of Moms”.

(I mean, of course I still watch them…)

You know the ones. It’s a video that showcases several moms, each acting out some exaggerations of a stereotypical type of mom: Granola Mom, PTA Mom, Helicopter Mom, Hot Mess Mom.

I’ve always watched these videos and struggled to find the Mom that I am. Yes, I buy organic fruit snacks, but I also get happy meals occasionally. Yes, I watch my kid like a hawk and carry neosporin everywhere, but I don’t freak out about cuts or scrapes because that’s just what happens to kids. So, which am I?

What if I’m just a NORMAL MOM?

I started thinking about some of the things that feel real to me as a mother, and I thought I’d share them. I think these are pretty normal Mom Traits, and they’ve applied while I’ve been on maternity leave at home with two kids, as well as my life as a working mom when I’m back in the corporate world as a working parent.

You might be a Normal Mom if…

A Messy Bun is your go-to

To be fair, a messy bun has always been my go-to. It just feels nice to actually have a reason my hair is always pulled back, instead of the real excuse of being lazy and not wanting to blow dry and style my hair.

You have or want Mom Gear

#MomLife #MamaBear #MyTribe ….you have it all, and if you don’t, you secretly want it. My own mom bought me this shirt and hat and they’re pretty much my favorite things ever. This mug is also one of my favorites, a gift from one of my best mama friends!

You’ve reheated the same cup of coffee 4,657 times in one day

I don’t care if you’re a working mom or a stay at home mom. That cup of coffee is being reheated ALLTHETIME. Monday. Saturday. Friday. Any Day.

Mom Brain is a real excuse for things

Not just things. ALL THINGS. It’s when Pregnancy Brain graduates to Mom Brain, and never leaves. It just sets up shop and will basically be with you forever.

You (and a crew of 10) won’t ever starve while out on a trip because you’re always equipped with snacks

This is a real picture of a turkey leg in my diaper bag. Clearly no one is ever going to starve if they’re out with me. I’ve got the Meats. #sorryarbys

Leggings are pants

Duh. They even make work-appropriate leggings. I know, because I have them.

You’ll survive the apocalypse because your diaper bag or purse has everything but the kitchen sink

I mean, is it not enough that I showed you a pic of an actual Turkey Leg snack in my diaper bag?!?! But seriously… you carry everything. Pocket wrench? Yes, actually, you probably DO have that! Frank’s Hot Sauce for your husband because restaurants in Minnesota don’t always have it? Yes, for real, I have it.

Laundry will always be never-ending

You’ve kind of just accepted it.

You worry about your kids constantly, to the point where you think you have a problem

I don’t even want to talk about this one. I’ll just say I have a totally irrational fear of something terrible happening to my kids (fires, drowning…whatever). I worry so much I think I have an issue, but I think most of us worry all the time, nonstop. It’s just what being a mom is about.

You complain about Mom Life and all the crazy things the kids do, but you’d never ever change anything about your perfectly messy, crazy and wonderful life as a mom.

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10 Signs You Might Be a Normal Mom

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Perfect Chocolate Keto Bulletproof Coffee

Perfect Chocolate Keto Bulletproof Coffee

I hate coffee.

It’s just not for me. I don’t like the taste, but I LOVE chocolate! After some experimentation, I finally figured out the perfect recipe for a Chocolate Mocha Keto Bulletproof Coffee. This stuff is creamy and delicious, and I’d recommend it to anyone who generally isn’t a huge coffee fan, like myself.

I started out by experimenting with Torani’s Sugar Free Chocolate syrup. I still like adding it, but the Chocolate Collagen adds enough chocolate flavor that I don’t need to add any syrup anymore. The collagen was really intriguing to me because of all the (supposed) benefits: better skin, hair, nails (I could use help there), along with skin elasticity (I could use a LOT of help there…#2babieslater). So we’ll see how it actually performs–I’ve only been using the collagen for a few days. But I do know that it’s delicious!!

Below is a video of how I make it:

Perfect Chocolate Keto Bulletproof Coffee 

1-2T of butter

2T heavy whipping cream

1 scoop of Perfect Keto Chocolate Collagen

1 scoop of Perfect Keto Chocolate MCT oil powder

Mix all with 8-12oz of your favorite coffee!! I used the Mama Java Medium Roast for mine, but we normally use Folger’s Black Silk, my husband’s favorite. I use a Ninja blender, but you can use a handheld mixer too! I will say that if you DON’T use the collagen, use a tablespoon of the Torani Sugar Free Chocolate syrup, because the chocolate MCT oil powder isn’t enough by itself to make it chocolatey!

keto-bulletproof-coffee

 

The Best Postpartum Underwear

The Best Postpartum Underwear

Now that I’ve been through two deliveries (and their aftermath), I feel I can definitely speak confidently about the best postpartum underwear that you absolutely MUST have after giving birth.

Yes, there’s the traditional mesh undies from the hospital combined with enormous pads, and yes they’re pretty comfy, but shortly after you return from the hospital you’re going to realize that nearly all of you feels like a broken puzzle trying to put itself back together, and you just don’t want to feel like you’re wearing a diaper anymore. You might not even put real clothes on for a month after you come back from the hospital, but heck, don’t you want to feel a tiny bit put together with some real and comfortable underwear that doesn’t involve a pad the size of a watermelon?

I did, anyway. Especially with baby #2. I was so busy, that wearing the huge pad was a kind of inconvenience. Once the bleeding tapered away but was STILL there, I hated always wearing pads. I decided to check out Thinx, the underwear that is always in my Facebook feed, touted as “period” underwear that can absorb up to 2 tampons’ worth, and then washes back to normal.

Well, I’m here to rebrand them as Postpartum Underwear (and also post-IUD underwear but that’s a separate post….).

Why limit these brilliant little panties as JUST for your period? These are exactly what you need as postpartum underwear to feel sane, feel like you actually have real clothing on after you come home and are sleep deprived and dreary-eyed, up all hours taking care of your new little one. These are what new moms have been waiting for, but I didn’t realize just how helpful they are as postpartum underwear until now!

The pros…

..to Thinx are that they have many different styles–and trust me, they don’t look or feel like padded underwear, though you can definitely tell that there’s some substance to the padded part. They don’t look like granny panties, like my maternity underwear did, which my husband would have burned if I hadn’t thrown those all away after getting these.

The cons…

…to Thinx are twofold. First, they don’t hold enormous amounts, so you’re best off to either buy several pairs and with them out if your postpartum bleeding is heavy, and then use only these as postpartum underwear once it’s tapered off. The second con is that they run small. Not exactly a con; more just a fact, so when you order, order a size or 2 up from what you’d normally wear. I think mine shrunk a tiny bit in the wash, so keep that in mind as well.

More Thoughts:

I was pleasantly surprised by how comfy, soft and stylish these are. I was a little skeptical, because I’ve always been so used to pads and tampons, so it was a huge relief to find that these weren’t in fact some sort of scam, are super well made, and actually do what they’re supposed to do!!! They may seem expensive at first (~$34 a pair), but they’re absolutely worth it. I’m going to purchase more pairs to see what other styles I’d like. So far I really liked the hip hugger, but I’d like to try the sport to see if those would be good. I would say the high rise probably wouldn’t be the best for postpartum underwear, only because honestly, it might not feel very good on your stomach unless you bought a couple sizes larger. In that case it may feel kind of nice to have some stomach support! I just haven’t wanted anything coming up over my already-flabby post-baby stomach, so I’ve tried to stick with low rise styles.

One other thought that might come up that’s a little TMI, but I know you’d want to know it…The question of, can you “feel” anything there? You know what I mean. The panic when you feel like something has leaked where it shouldn’t. And the answer is NO. This was something else I was skeptical of, because I hate that feeling. I don’t want to feel anything at all! So you’re good on this front, if you’re concerned about that. I’m actually wearing my pair now as I type this, and they feel awesome on all fronts 😉

So anyhoo, if you’re looking for a special gift for a new mama, or are considering what your must-haves for postpartum recovery should be, definitely consider these–just again, keep in mind to SIZE UP!!! Good luck!!

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The Best Postpartum Underwear