Nathan’s Vapor Shadow Review 

It’s only been a month or so since I bought this hydration vest but let me tell you, I’m already in love. It’s so freeing not having a belt around me.

I am no ultra runner (yet) but I am a Marathon runner and this vest will be amazing for this summer’s heat and trails this. This light weight vest is so pretty, don’t you think? the colours are so bright and happy!

This has been designed for the female body, it fits snug in all the right places. It fit perfect snug, “bounce-free”. I was afraid it wouldn’t fit over my not so small chest, but no issues there.

All the amazing features are endless and way more then what I need, but it’s all I need and I feel so ready in the vest. I’ll never need to replace it and never have that clumsy waist belt to deal with! This vest has so many pockets! Front pill pocket, extra front water bottle pocket, front mobile pocket, two pockets on either side by your waist, a whistle, a zip up pocket at the back, hidden pocket for an ice pack!


The various pockets are many but are suited to different usages, once you figure out where everything is, the pack is quite intuitive.

Oh, all the straps! I had to wrap them around the vest to keep them from flapping around. A bit annoying but I’ll fine tune them as I go.


My first long run was sub zero, -17c…. freezing! Sadly my hose froze. So maybe the colder months are not ideal? I read that if you blow the water back into the bladder after each sip there shouldn’t be freezing but, no. I was just told that you can wear the vest under your coat and run the water hose down your arm sleeve, I’ll try this next time.
I was worried that the 2 litres of water would feel like bricks on my back but I was pleasantly surprised. The weight was nothing, very evenly distributed. I didn’t even feel it after a few minutes of running. The sloshing water noise was a bit new but again, didn’t even notice it after a few minutes.

I can’t wait to have at it this summer on some serious runs and fill up my pockets with snacks and all the things!

So far, this was a smart purchase and so happy I spent the money on such a well made and thought out design 10/10 Nathan’s !!

Roasted Sweet Potato Hash

Perfect side for any meal !

I make a few  batches of this most weeks for my family. It’s a perfect match to eggs, chicken, salad… it’s great with everything really. The sweet potato provides a healthy carb to fuel your toughest workouts. You can use any fat for the recipe, whether oil, butter or ghee – I prefer bacon fat because it’s non-dairy, provides a good flavor, and is available once the bacon is cooked.


What you’ll need:

1 sweet potato

3 celery stalks 

2 small potatoes

1 small onion

1/2 package of  bacon (cook ahead of time)

1 tbs bacon fat

Season to taste: salt, pepper, sage, paprika- *Use the spices you love

⚪️ Cook your bacon ahead of time.

⚪️ ⚪️Cut all vegetables and bacon to bite sized pieces.

Place all your vegetables and cooked bacon into a large bowl,  drizzle with bacon fat and your spices. Mix together until rhe vegetables are evenly covered. Place the veggies on parchment-paper lined roasting pan and roast at 400F for approximately 30-40 minutes or until potatoes are soft. Stir the veggies every ten minutes.

Enjoy!

Basil and Spinach Pesto 

During my Whole30,  I really needed flavour for my meals and this basil recipe was it! Such a perfect match to all my dishes,  gives them a pop of flavour. This Pesto is amazing on roasted potatoes, roasted veggies, chicken, steak, salads, fish, rice, pasta.. You can add it to everything! 

Pesto Chicken Sandwich

What you’ll need: 


1/2 cup walnuts (sometimes I use cashews)

3 cloves of garlic 

3 cups packed fresh basil leaves

1 cup spinach leaves 

Juice of 1/2 lemon 

1 1/2 cups of extra/virgin olive oil

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp black pepper

⚪️ heat pan, when a its good and hot place the nuts on the pan and toss around till lightly brown. About 2 minutes 

⚪️⚪️Combine the walnuts and garlic in a food processor and pulse a few times. Add the basil and spinach and pulse until chopped. Add the lemon juice. While mixing on low speed, add the olive oil in a slow stream until all the ingredients are fully blended. Add the salt and pepper and pulse a few more times to combine.


This can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or freeze in serving sizes inside cube tray. 

Enjoy!

Recipe http://whole30.com/2015/04/pesto/

My Journey

Before and during
Fitness goals evolve over time. Mine look different than they did when I started in 2014.

Before finding my fitness routine, I felt tired, unattractive and frumpy and grumpy. I just wanted to fit in my clothes, not take hours to choose an outfit and stop feeling so down all the time. I wanted to look good, feel energetic again and stop hiding behind layers of clothes.I really needed to lose some weight that I had gained after having two gorgeous babies.

Not sleeping well for years, not paying attention to what I was feeding myself and being inactive created a woman I didn’t recognize. I was just too tired to care and it spiraled into me just not feeling like me anymore.

Before and during (1 year later)
Early in 2014 I saw this advertisement for a 90-day challenge on my Facebook page. It was a free 90-day workout plan that I would actively do with a community of moms that were feeling like me. It’s called Bikini Body Mommy, and I’m sure you’ve heard of it! It was starting that upcoming Monday so I got myself all pumped to start.

I opened up an Instagram account and searched for Brianna, the lead of the challenge. I started to follow many of the moms that were also doing the challenge – some of us still keep each other accountable to this day. The accountability with the Bikini Body Mommy community was so powerful!

My workout space was my bedroom, I had some hand weights and I killed that challenge man, KILLED it. For 20 minutes a day for 90 days! I lost my first 15 pounds, I was hooked.  I continued with Brianna’s next 90-day challenge and lost another 5 solid pounds, 20 in total.

I started to look around for something new and more challenging, I found Fitness Blender. Oh man, I was terrified and excited to try something new, but heck, I was in my own house with no onlookers, I can do anything! Fitness Blender gave me all new stuff to work with. Guys, they are such a motivating and real couple to workout with! Their website and YouTube channel is filled with FREE at home workouts of all kinds and very user friendly. They offer everything from low impact, boxing, HIIT, strength training and so much more. I can’t tell you how much they have changed my life.

I used their free programs for about a year and bought my first 8 week program for $10!!!!! TEN BUCKS for such an amazing 8 week program that I own and can do over and over again. (I now own 5 of their programs). They have several programs you can buy and they are all amazing! Or use their free ones!

You can build your very own monthly workout by using their website calendar all for FREE.

Fitness Blender Calendar

If you are looking to start something and unsure of where to begin, start with Fitness Blender and work out in your own home. All you need is some weights and some dedication. Results take time, so just keep at it.

My new home gym space
Cross training  with Fitness Blender  and my running has been the best thing for me. Having the at-home workouts and running gives me a ton of flexibility, which is important to a busy stay-at-home mom.

Now that I’ve lost most of the weight that I set out to lose, I often get asked what my next goal is. To be honest, I don’t have any set goals. Ideally, I just want to fit into the clothes that are in my closet, I want to be strong and run long distances without injuries and create a healthy home. I want my kids to see and learn from me. And above all, I don’t want to go back to being that depressed mom.


In all, it makes me a better person, a friend, a better mom and wife.

Fitness is health! Find what you love and go with it.

This is living.

Kelly

Find Your Tribe 

Let’s face it, winter running sucks hard most of the time, especially when you need to do it alone. There are days that I would skip if I didn’t have someone depending on me. Having a race booked and a training schedule to follow helps too, but the one thing that gets me out there in this bitter Canadian winter is my running tribe. I love them dearly.

You need to surround yourself with like-minded people – people that hold you accountable and push you and challenge when you think you have nothing left.

I’ve been so fortunate to have met an amazing group of women in my community that love to run just as much as I do. They depend on me just as much as I depend on them. You really need to enjoy your running company, because 2 + hours on the road with someone that isn’t your cup of tea makes for a looooong run! Also, there are many TMI moments out there, so pick your tribe wisely.

If you are new to this running thing and you want to pursue it further, I highly suggest you network your community and rally some troops. You need a running tribe that will set their alarms at 5am and meet you on the corner with their headlamps on. There is nothing more badass then a group of strong woman with headlamps giggling through the streets.

Today was one of those days when I really didn’t want to run. The sidewalks were iced over and so were most of the roads. While I was contemplating to run or not, Linda reached out at the right time and we talked each other into it. Off we went!

Peer pressure at its finest.

Kelly

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Muffins 

Tweaked an old recipe to give it a healthier twist. Your kids won’t even notice.


These came out perfectly, not too sweet and so moist!

What you’ll need:

2 cups all purpose flour 

1 cup coconut sugar 

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder 

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp pure vanilla extract 

1 egg

1 small mashed avocado

1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt 

1/2 cup milk or nut milk 

1/2 cup light olive oil 

1 tbs coconut oil to grease the muffin pan or use muffin paper cups.

1/4 cup semi sweet chocolate chips (sprinkle on top of each muffin)

⚪️Blend all dry ingredients in your mixing bowl (I use my KitchenAid mixer), once well blended, add all your wet ingredients and mix till nice and smooth.

⚪️⚪️ Fill each muffin 3/4 full and sprinkle each with chocoate chips.

⚪️⚪️⚪️Preheat oven to 400 and bake for approximately 18-20 minutes.

Makes a bakers dozen !
Enjoy!

Dairy Free Caesar Salad dressing 


Being lactose intolerant I stray away from dairy as often as I can. My husband borrowed a cook book from a coworker, Oh She Glows Every Day. What a gorgeous looking book! I’ll be ordering this book as soon as I can, I can’t wait to try more of her dishes. 

There were a couple ingredients that we didn’t have on hand like capers and chickpeas but we made a delicious chicken Caesar salad with what we had and from following her directions for a dressing. 

Instead of making the roasted chickpea we made our own garlic croutons using a whole grain sour dough bread. We also added baked chicken breast for an added protein. 

We were surprises how creamy this dressing came out. This was so flavourful and satisfying, and definitely adding it to our monthly meal plan. Next time I’ll double the dressing and store it in the refrigerator for a few days. 

⚪️Requires two hours minimum for the cashews to soak

What you’ll need:

1/2 cup raw cashews

1/4 cup water

2 tbs extra virgin olive oil 

1 tbs fresh lemon juice 

2 tsp Dijon mustard 

1-2 cloves garlic

1/4 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp Worcestershire sauce 

1/2 tsp ground pepper

1/2 tsp sea salt 



⚪️⚪️ place cashews in a bowl and add water to cover by a couple inches. Soak for 2 hours minimum or over night. 

Using a high speed blender or food processor , add the cashews and remaining ingredients except the salt. Blend till super smooth, you may add a splash of water to help mix it, then add your salt at the end. Adjust any spices as needed at the end. 

Breakfast Frittata

Breakfast on the go!

Make your mornings easier with this protein packed recipe. You really can’t go wrong with the ingredients you pick, I normally use whatever I have in the refrigerator or whatever needs to get eaten up. These are amazing with cooked bacon! Add whatever you want! 


What I used today: 

12 eggs whisked 

1/2 an orange pepper- chopped small

1/2 a yellow pepper- chopped small 

2 cups of baby spinach

1/4 – 1/2 small yellow onion- chopped small 

1 cup of broccoli (chopped up in small bits) 

1 tbs chopped green onion

12 small roasted baby potatoes 

Salt and pepper for taste 

1-2 tbs bacon fat (for greasing pan and cooking vegetables 

I always use my saved bacon fat to grease my pans and sauté my vegetables. You can use any oil of your choice. 

⚪️⚪️ Grease your muffin tin really well or use parchment paper circles.

Sauté your peppers, broccoli, onion and green onion in bacon fat or your choice of oil. Add spinach to the pan at the very end or sauté it on its own because it cooks down so much faster then the rest of your vegetables. 
Add 2 broken up potatos to each muffin, add your sautéed vegetables and whisked eggs. Top with salt and pepper. 


Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes or until slightly firm to the touch. 
Allow the muffins to cool a little before removing them from the tin.  Run a knife along the muffins to assist with getting them out. They can be tricky if you don’t grease really well! 


Let them cool completely before storing them in the refrigerator or I find they go soggy. 

These are so great warmed up with a piece of toast, bacon or on its own! 

My son clearly enjoys them  



Enjoy! 🌱

My Next Race!


This will be my second year of endurance running, and my husband and I are both training for our next big race, our second Around The Bay race. My good friend Amy, who lives just down the street, is also training for it. You really need a good support network to keep you motivated during these cold winter months.

Around The Bay is a 30k race around the Hamilton Bay of Lake Ontario. People travel from all over to participate. Did you know that Around The Bay is older then the Boston marathon! ?

The first 20k is an “exciting”, scenic, and fast route through Hamilton Ontario. The final 10k treks through rolling hills along the scenic North Shore Blvd. It’s a challenging course, but the energy of the people that are running it and the people that live on the course give an extra boost.

One thing that always stresses me out is the unpredictable weather. Race day is March 26th, and here in southern Ontario the weather is dicey in March and April – winter is still lingering but there are hints of spring in the air. Maybe it’s a girl thing, or maybe it’s a runner thing, but dressing with the right gear is so so important.  Too little clothing and you freeze your butt off for 3 hours, or if you dress too warm you sweat then freeze your butt off. The Weather Network becomes your favourite app for the week leading up to your race, and pretty much every hour up until race time so you can fine tune your layers. Since this race changes directions a few times, the wind and temperature can change quickly. I will most likely have three outfit choices for the morning of and decide at the last minute based on the expected weather.

I’ve learned that you need to be prepared to remove layers as you’re running and be able to put them back on once the temperature changes again.

That waiting time at the start line can be long and cold. Some runners buy heavier layers at the thrift store to wear over top of their normal gear, then toss them aside when they’re all warmed up. I saw a ton of retro jackets along the streets of Hamilton and dollar store gloves that runners tossed when they were done with them. The city picks them all up and it’s all donated.

What I also learned from last year was at the start line you need to keep up with the pack because you’ll get trampled. It’s a huge field of racers, but once the pack thins out, you can find your own pace.

45 days and counting. 5 more long runs to complete.

Garlic Vinaigrette

This is my go to dressing for all my salads. I like it garlicky so you can add less if you wish.

This is a flavourful, thick and chunky dressing. A little goes a long way.

Here is what you need:

4 tbs light olive oil 

1 tbs balsamic vinegar 

2 cloves of garlic (I use my garlic press)

1 tsp dry oregano

1 tsp dry parsley 

2 tbs of green onion (or red onion)

1/2 tsp dijon mustard 

Pinch of sea salt and pepper 


⚪️⚪️ Add all your ingredients to a deep bowl, whisk or I prefer to use my hand blender. Blend till thick and creamy. I store the extras in a glass container in the refrigerator but it’s normally eaten with two days.

** I also use fresh herbs instead of dry in the summer months 🌱

Enjoy!

Bean Burrito 


A family favourite!

We love these bean burritos. It took us a few times to find the “just right” ingredient combo that works for us. 

What you’ll need:

1 can of pinto refried beans (I used Pacific organic pinto refried beans from Goodness Me)

1 cup of cooked rice of your choice. We like plan old organic brown rice. 

1.5 cups Shredded cheddar cheese 

Your favourite salsa (we used simply natural organic from Goodness me)

Tortilla wrap of your choice (this time we used spinach tortillas)

⚪️⚪️ In a bowl, I combine 1/3 cup of my salsa with the beans for flavour. Layer beans, cheese and rice and add a dolop of salsa, wrap and roll. I sprinkle some cheese on top for a a nice look. Bake at 350 for approximately 2o minutes or until slightly golden brown on top.

Serve with sour cream, salsa and/or guacamole!! Makes 6 large burritos. 

Enjoy! 

Nut’ola

My husband and I love granola and oatmeal but our stomachs don’t digest it very well. The idea of making a “granola” with nuts and seeds was very intriguing. I’ve seen my favourite blogger post about her Nut’ola recipe that her family loves and I’ve been meaning to make this since my first Whole30 over a year ago.  This recipe is so simple and the smell it leaves your kitchen will make everyone love you. The nutty aroma and flavours are perfection. So far, I’ve eaten it as cereal with almond milk and fruit, I’ve tossed some in my salad but I really need to try it with some heavy coconut cream for a treat. So good!

I followed Playing House Full Time’s Paleo Nut Granola Recipe to make my own delicious version. I used all the ingredients that Autumn suggested but I also added extra walnuts, extra cinnamon and a sprinkle of sea salt. You can add whatever you want really. Cranberries, mini dark chocolate chips… be adventurous!

What you’ll need:

1 cup of seeds  (I chose sunflower seeds but I think flax, pumpkin seeds, hemp hearts and chia would be good too)

3 cups of mixed raw nuts (I chose walnuts and almonds)

1/2 cup coconut flakes

2 tbs melted coconut oil

2 tbs nut butter

1-2 tbs Cinnamon (I normally add more)

Shake of ginger 

1 cup of raisins

⚪️⚪️Mix all the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Pour your coconut oil and nut butter mixture over your dry ingredients and mix well. Bake at 350 for approximately 20-25 minutes depending on your oven, give the mixture a stir few times during baking. Watch closely, it can over bake quickly. Once it’s cooled down a bit, add the raisins. Store in a glass container.

Enjoy!