Canada Garden: 2016

Monday, December 26, 2016

Christmas Menu

Here at the end of my first year of keto, Christmas has been so good.  I hope yours was beautiful too.
This was dinner for us.  Ham, green beans, cauli-fried rice this time with Mark's favorite rotel & taco seasoning seasoning, and salad.  But of course, Christmas eating is mostly about the deserts, right?
Meringues, which are supposed to be white, but I left them in too long and they browned.  Still, they're light as a feather and melt in your mouth. They're made of egg whites and Swerve with a squirt of lemon juice so they're extremely low carb.  For next time, I've made a little note to myself to check on them every 15 minutes and pull them out before they brown.

Cheesecake, which is our go-to keto desert for any special occasion.    And then a little scoop of death-by-chocolate ice cream.  I still don't have quite the technique for ice cream down, but this one came out pretty good.  I did use the vodka to make it less icy.  It needs to stand at room temperature a few minutes before scooping.  

Whew!  We were full to the brim.  Christmas is continuing at our house this week.  Betsy & Kyle will be here tomorrow with their parents and we're so looking forward to seeing them.

All the merriest to you and yours this Christmas season!
Mark & V

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Christmas Road Trip

 Lisa was so happy to get her Macie dog!  She found her at the same shelter where Biscuit was rescued. 
And Macie's rescue was the perfect excuse for a road trip to Madisonville to see JD and Rach & the kids. 
My mom looks so beautiful!
I wish  PJ could have been there--when is the next road trip?
Merry Merry Christmas to all :)

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Coconut Almond Crisps

Are you iced in today?  Mark has chipped out the driveway and we'll try to get out in a little bit, but it looks like we're in for really cold weather and more freezing rain :/

So while Mark was working outside, I made up a batch of these coconut almond crisps from over on alldayidreamaboutfood.  I did sub some sugar-free pancake syrup for the molasses.   She's right when she says they will burn quickly if you don't have them in the top third of the oven.  Mine didn't turn out as thin as hers and they may be a tad chewier than crispy but they are really good!  My recipe made thirteen cookies.

"Only" thirteen would have been my comment back in my sugar days, but now it's not that big of an issue.  Now thirteen is plenty.  Yes.  Life is different when you've been living low carb/high fat for almost a year and it's really really different when your size 12 pants are starting to get too big!

I hope you have good weather where you live today.  And I hope you're having a merry-getting-ready-for-Christmas time too.  And if you've been unhappy about your weight or your health, think about giving yourself the gift of keto for 2017.  You'll be so glad you did.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

December Update

I've been busy working on a new website called  It's taking a while but I'm learning lots.  Also getting another tutorial in that life lesson called patience!

A while back, Mark and I had our pictures taken.  Tabitha took great shots even though I get really nervous in front of a camera.  Mark makes me laugh, so the ones of me with him turned out the best.
  Every single one of Mark was good.  He's a natural ham in front of the camera:)

Saturday, November 26, 2016


We never take enough pictures of all of us together!  We had a wonderful time and wonderful food.
This was my plate--ham & turkey, cauliflower fajita stir fry, green beans, squash & mushrooms in butter, deviled eggs, and cranberry sauce.  More carbs than I've eaten all together in a while, but they're all from vegetables & the cranberry fruit so it was a perfect plate.  Judson cooked the traditional dishes too, but he was so careful to make sure we had options that would work for all of us.  He even looked up carb counts and kept track for us.  I felt loved :)

The pecan pie recipe needs tweaking.  It was a little overbaked and maybe that was the issue, but I think I'll try again for Christmas and make some changes.  Less crust.  More filling!  The cheesecake was good--it's one I've shared before.  The trivet was mammy's.  She said to always keep it by the stove.  She would have liked this Thanksgiving dinner.  She would have marveled at the dishwasher but would not have understood why I wasn't having cornbread dressing. 
Rachel had their tree up.  She and Mark placed the new lazer lights on the front of the house.  We played apples to apples and went bowling.  It was a great Thanksgiving together. 
So now it's time to get ready for Christmas!

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Fajita Cauli-Rice

Okay, so we're on a cauliflower kick here, especially now that our grocery is carrying Green Giant's frozen riced cauliflower.  So easy!

I haven't bothered to make cauliflower in all this keto time because I didn't think Mark would touch it.  But this way it's seasoned and it really does seem like rice.

I used some leftover chicken, green pepper, a little onion, about a half cup of salsa, and plenty of fajita seasoning all stir-fried in some bacon fat with the package of riced cauliflower.    It makes about 3 cups.  For each cup: 8 carbs, 2 fiber; 6 net carbs; 10 fat; 10 protein; 160 calories.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Cauli-fried Rice

We loved it!  Even Mark, who isn't a cauliflower fan. 

One package of green giant frozen riced cauliflower steamed it in the microwave as directed on the package. 

 In a skillet, saute chicken, fresh garlic and a little onion in your favorite healthy fat--I used bacon fat for the flavor. 

Season with coconut aminos instead of soy sauce. 

Take the chicken/vegetable mixture out of the skillet and set aside. 

Add the "rice" to the skillet with more fat and a fresh egg and stir fry together. 

Return the chicken/vegetable mix and stir into the rice. 

 I added a few roasted cashews for crunch and some fresh green onion and more coconut aminos to taste. 

 Mark put dried crushed red pepper on his for heat. No need to miss fried rice to stay keto! If you try it, let me know how yours turns out

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Weighing In on Weighing In

How do you use the scale?  Is it a helpful tool or is it the enemy?  As my friend Mary says so often, this keto weight loss journey is about getting our heads right.  And my head has not always been friends with the scale. 

I went for years not weighing.  It was so depressing and I didn't know the first thing about what to do about my weight so I just avoided it altogether.  After all, I knew what it was going to say--it was always a higher number than the last time. 

But now  I know that all that old dietary advice--like cut calories, move more, eat low fat, eat small meals--is based on faulty assumptions.  Now  I know the hormone insulin--not calories--is  responsible for my weight gain.  And I know what to do about it.  YaY!  Stepping on the bathroom scale isn't such a scary thing anymore.

So here are my step by step instructions for making the scale our friend, not our enemy.  Assuming of course that you're eating low-carb healthy-fat!
  1. Before you step on the scale, take a deep breath and tell yourself "This is  a number, a piece of information.  It has nothing to do with who I am.  This is a good day before I get on the scale and it's  a good day after I get off the scale.
  2. Weigh. 
  3. If the number is lower, smile & give yourself a pat on the back.
  4. If the number is the same or higher, smile & give yourself a pat on the back.  Then think about--in a non-judgemental compassionate way--what might have influenced the number.  1.
    1. Have I been keeping my carbs at a good level? 
    2. Am I eating enough fat?
    3. Have I been drinking enough water?
    4. Have I been eating when I'm not hungry?  (also known as eating too often)
    5. Have I had higher salt intake lately?
    6. Is it that time of the month?
  5. These questions are just ways to uncover possible clues as to what's happening.  Maybe there's nothing to change.  Just keep going, don't give up.  If there is something you want to tweak, then make a plan and go for it. 
  6. And this last step is as important as the ones above:  Eat good keto food the very next time you're hungry and enjoy your day.  This is the keto life :)
Now there are some people who know that for them, it's better not to weigh very often.  Maybe it's better to weigh no more than once a week or once a month.  Or just when you go to the doctor's office.   Some people throw the scale out and go by the way they feel and how their clothes fit.  And if that's best for you, then that's a great plan.

For me, I know that I need to weigh more often.  At this point in my journey, I need that daily feedback to keep me on track.   For me, going back to not weighing daily would be a way for me to to cut corners, allow a little extra carb here and there, give myself permission to eat a snack even if I'm not really hungry at that moment.  Maybe one day in the future when I'm in maintenance, I'll skip the weigh-ins.   Or maybe not.  I'll have to see when I get there!

I hope these thoughts about using the scale as a friendly tool are helpful.  If you try them, let me know how it goes :)

Thursday, November 03, 2016

Fathead Alternative

My mom made this pizza for us when I was visiting with her last month.  She's 81 years young and has been on her own low-carb journey.  She's lost 30 pounds and is now maintaining instead of trying to lose any more.  YaY :)
I am so proud of my mama--she knows her way around the blogging world and is the best cook I know. My sister is next best :)  This one is similar to fathead but uses a little parmesan cheese rather than mozzarella and is nut-free.  It might be a little more fragile than fathead, but I like the taste equally well.  Neither is a strong crust that you can use to pick up a slice.  These are use-your-fork crusts!
1 pkg cream cheese
2 eggs
1/4 tsp pepper
1 tsp garlic powder
1/4 cup grated parmesan 
Beat together well.  Spread in a 9 x 13 inch pan and bake at 350 til golden brown. 
Eight slices, each one:  132 calories, 1 carb, 12 fat, 5 protein.
Top with your favorite pizza toppings and bake again til bubbly.
with my sis and my mom

Tuesday, November 01, 2016

Ten Months of Keto

So here we are ten months later.  I've lost 63 pounds and we've just survived our first no-candy Halloween.  I didn't miss the candy.  But I did miss seeing our kids' friends' kids trick or treating at our front door.  Next year I'll find some non-candy treats to hand out. 

So now we're leading up to Merry Thanksgiving.  I've already got some ideas for sugar free pecan and pumpkin pies!  They might not win a taste test if you compare them side-by-side, but after going all this time without the real (toxic) thing, Swerve tastes better than sugar to me.

I'm hearing from friends who are doing so well on their own keto journeys.  They feel better, they've lost weight, reduced their anxiety,  improved their mood, and drastically reduced their A1C.  It's so amazing to see other people find the same benefits we've found. Hearing their stories makes me keto happy :)

If you think you might be interested in going keto one of these days, don't wait.  It's time.  Even if it is going into the holiday season.  'Cause that means you'll be feeling better before the holidays get here and you'll need a smaller size when you go to the Christmas parties. And when it comes time to make a New Year's resolution, you'll have a head start!

Someone asked what my most valuable keto resource was:  Definitely Ketogenic Success on facebook where they're closing in on 50,000 members.  You'll see one progress picture and testimony after another that will inspire you and keep you going. 

As for books, Keto Clarity is easy to read, understandable, and lays out the science without being overly technical.  

Recommended websites:  Ketovangelist and Dietdoctor.  Both excellent.

And then there's my fledgling Keto With Kynda on facebook.  

Okay, I wanna hear about your keto journey too!   Let me know :) 


We missed these trick-or-treaters last night!  The weather was perfect and I know they had fun.
Looks like Kyle might have had a costume change from zombie to baseball player.  I know Mark was thrilled to see Kyle dressing up like a Cub player for his career day at school.

And Miss Betsy was a pop star for her career choice.  Love those leggings!

So we missed seeing the neighbor kids for Halloween too.  We opted out of Halloween candy altogether this year.  Having a big bowl of chocolate in the house?  Not happening these days.  My very favorite trick-or-treaters are the kids of the kids that our kids grew up with.  Mike's kids, Dan's kids, Travis--it's always fun to see the little ones excited and growing up.

We did get to see Drew's little Sawyer this week.  He is four weeks old and such a little cutie.  I want to see him at my front door next year.   We have to think of something non-candy to give away  so we get to be a part of the neighborhood mingling.  And now on to Thanksgiving :)



Sunday, October 30, 2016

Protein & Macros

Hi everybody--I've had several questions about setting macros lately--especially for protein, so let's chat.  Macro is short for macronutrients.  There are three main macro categories:  carbs, protein, and fat.  There are some subcategories of each macro, but we won't go into those here.   Do you really need to think about how much protein you're eating?  Well, it depends.  If you're going strictly keto, then yes.  If you're eating low carb and are losing weight and experiencing health benefits that make you happy, then that's great!  If it's not broke, don't fix it :)

My first couple months on this way of eating, I ate lots of protein.  And I lost about 20 pounds.  Twenty pounds in two months!  Those were the days! :)

Then a funny thing happened.  Well, not funny ha-ha.  Funny as in strange, weird, and this is not supposed to happen, everybody-else-is-losing-tons-of-weight-every-single-day-and-I'm-just-sitting-here-stuck.  Ugh.  Well, turns out there was a logical reason getting stuck.  Protein.  As in too much of it.

When we eat more protein that our body needs, it turns to sugar.  Exactly the thing we're all working so hard to avoid, right?!?  Sheesh.  Okay, so that meant I needed to know how much protein my body needed. 
And of course, because all of life is a trial and error; I then went too far to the other end and wasn't getting enough protein.  Another sheesh!  I was tired and just didn't have a good energy level.  Mary, my coach at Ketovangelist, took a look at my protein intake and suggested that I refigure my protein macro goal.  Mary has been such a help to me.  She's awesome as the Ketovangelist would say.    A couple of weeks with increased protein and I felt much better.  Much better.

You can choose among several ways to find your macros.
  1. First, we can use a calculator which can be found several places online.  I have used both the ones at Maria Mind Body Health and at Ruled Me.  The latter gives a bit higher protein macro. 
  2. And then Dr. Nally gives us a formula for calculating which is the current method I'm using.  For a five-foot tall woman, we need 45.5 gms protein daily.  For every inch over 5 feet, we need an additional 2.3 gms of protein.  I calculated my protein needs at the 45.5 gms for my first five feet + 2.3 x 3 (I'm 5'3" now) = 52.4.   I use this as a general guideline, I seldom hit it exactly.
So after ten months and 63 pounds down, it seems like I've finally gotten the hang of the protein macro.  Not too much.  Not too little.  Just right.   I know this seems like a lot of info and it may seem too complicated.  And you know what?? If you're losing at a rate that makes you happy, if you feel good with plenty of energy--then absolutely there's no reason to get so detailed about all this.  Lots of people lose weight and gain all kinds of health benefits without ever calculating macros or tracking.  Mark only tracks carbs and he's had an amazing recovery from diabetes.  

But if you're weight loss is slowing or stalled for several weeks or if you are feeling tired with no energy, then maybe it's time to dig a little deeper.  We want to find that sweet spot that will help us feel our best while we're successfully losing weight and also maintaining as much of our muscle mass as possible. If you're following the Ketogenic Success facebook group, there are daily discussions about the topic.  If you need a coach to help you figure it out, then get one.  It's worth it!



It's a keto halloween so that means costumes, not candy!  Fran and I went to Witches Night Out, a local fundraiser to benefit services for women in Springfield.  We definitely want to go again next year.    And here's my favorite witch of all time:

Friday, October 14, 2016

I'm With Her

I don't usually talk about "serious" things here.  But I had an experience yesterday that shook me up.  I'm okay,  I wasn't harmed physically in any way.  But I felt disrespected and hurt and mad.   Here I am--60 years old--I feel stronger and more confident in myself than ever in my whole life.  But I keep thinking over and over what I could have said and done instead of what I did.
What should I have said to the man who stared me down and made a stupid "hmmm hmm" sound when he passed me in the grocery aisle?  What I actually did was turn around and call him an asshole as he walked away.  If he has normal hearing, he heard me.  But of course, he gave no indication of whether he did or not, he just kept walking.

I was steamed.  But I went on and finished my grocery shopping. And have thought over and over about what I could have done instead.

It seems like it's been a week for talking about how some men treat women.  And I say some because  there are millions of good men in the world who would never think about disrespecting someone in the grocery store.  My husband.  My sons.  Actually I don't know one man in my life now who would do something like that.   But I have been seeing a lot of one man who acts that way on the TV lately.

This morning, even has I was thinking about what I wish I had said and done yesterday, I listened to Michelle's speech from her appearance  in New Hampshire.    I hope you saw her or that you listen to it today.   It's even better than her speech at the convention.   I am so proud of her and I am ready to vote for her for whatever she wants to do for our country. 

After listening to her speech,  I know what I wish I had thought to say to that guy yesterday.  I could have followed him and face-to-face said what Michelle said yesterday:   "Strong men. . . don't need to put down women to make themselves feel powerful." And then I could have added (to him and to that man on TV) "It's not okay.  Stop it."  

Would it have made any difference to him?  Probably not.  Would he think twice about which woman he disrespects the next time he's in the grocery store? Probably not, but if there's ever a next time  I still want to say it.  I want to say it for me and the next woman he sees in the grocery--she might be my six year old granddaughter or  my sister or my mother or my best friend.  Or a complete stranger to me.

I don't know.  It probably wouldn't make any difference to him.  Maybe he heard me call him an asshole.  If he's had any smarts, that ought to be enough too.   

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Honey Mustard Dressing

Honey Mustard Dressing-- a pinterest find this week.  I've already made two batches!

And to make it even better, be sure to make the mayo first:
1 whole large egg
2-3 Tbls fresh lime or lemon juice, or vinegar
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup extra light tasting olive oil
Place all in a quart jar and let the egg settle to the bottom.  Place stick blender at the bottom of the jar and blend without moving the stick for a couple of minutes until the mayonnaise emulsion forms. 

And if you're at Humphrey's, pick up a bag of their in-house pork rinds.  My grandma would have liked them.  Seems like a lot of the food we eat these days was her kind of food.

Dinner Rolls

Okay, so I didn't really try to stage this photo very well.  I do admire the food bloggers who take such beautiful pictures of their creations!  But photo quality aside, these were really too good tonight.  Too good as in I could have eaten several instead of just one.  Tonight was a little get together for friends who helped me practice for my upcoming event Keto With Kynda.  So we had dinner and talked Keto and it was a great time with good friends and good keto dinner rolls!

Recipe from
Each roll:  5 total carb, 2 fiber, 3 net carbs; 6 fat; 5 protein
1 1/4 cup almond flour
5 Tbls psyllium husk powder
2 t baking powder
1 t salt
2 t apple cider vinegar
1/1/4 cup boiling water

Mix dry ingredients, add egg whites, vinegar and then boiling water together for 30 seconds.  Don't overbeat.  Form into 12 roll-shaped pieces.  Bake 50-60 minutes.  They are ready when they sound hollow when tapped on the bottom.

When it says 50-60 minutes, believe it.  The original recipe said it made eight rolls, which were way too big and took way too long to cook.  After over an hour of cooking, I turned the oven off and let them sit inside it while it cooled off.

These aren't like a white yeasty dinner roll made with wheat flour, but they were definitely tasty slathered with butter.  I'll save them for special occasions like when my keto peeps come over for dinner.  And maybe Thanksgiving too. 

Thanks for stopping by :)

Saturday, October 08, 2016

Ky Lake Fall 2016

We're home from our fall week at the lake.  This year was especially good because Judson & Rachel & BK came to stay with us a few days too.  And the weather was spectacular!
At Patti's--where I had the low carb friendly 1 inch pork chop.  The company was so good, I didn't miss the pie :)

JD & Rach

After the big Patti's meal, we all walked down to the lookout pier. 

With our Judson!

G dog and Skye went with us.  They liked not being home by themselves.  They missed running free in a fenced yard.

 JD & family at the bison park at LBL

Another great vacation.  I am happy & grateful for so many blessings

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Family Visit

 We had a fun visit the JD and Rachel & the kids earlier in the month.  It was great having them
This picture is a little misleading because Kyle is pretty much as tall as V too.  We're so glad he doesn't seem to mind having his picture taken now :)
And Rachel sent this photo the other day as they were getting ready to go to church.  Our Betsy is growing up into a young lady.  And we're going to get to see them again soon!

Monday, September 12, 2016

Who Needs to Cheat When You Can Have Cheesecake?!?

Keto Blueberry Cheesecake
Crust:  1.5 cups pecans, 1 tsp salt, 1 Tbls swerve, 6 Tbsp butter
--Crush nuts and mix together.  Press in pan and bake 300 for about ten minutes, til browned and toasted.

Filling:  2 blocks cream cheese, 1/2 cup heavy cream, 1/2 cup sour cream, 3 eggs,  1 Tbls vanilla, 1/2 c swerve or to taste.
--Mix together well, pour into crust.  Put a pan of water on bottom shelf of oven.  Bake 300 degrees on top oven shelf for about 40-50 minutes until middle is just past jiggly stage.  Let sit out til room temperature, then cool in fridge.

Topping:  Simmer one pint blueberries in a saucepan with a little water til soft.   Add a tablespoon over each slice before serving.

If I can do this, you can do this!  To get more info and support, join the Ketogenic Success group on facebook or go to
55 pounds gone--I can hardly believe it myself!

Thursday, September 08, 2016

Keto Update

The year 2016 is going down as our Keto discovery year.  Mark's recovery from diabetes and high blood pressure has been incredible.  He's down to one med for his blood sugar and off blood pressure meds entirely.  I've lost 55 pounds and am off all anti inflammatory meds for pain.   And best of all, this is something we can live with--we're not hungry, we're eating great food, and we feel so so so much better.

There's lots of info out there about this way of eating. You may not hear about it from mainstream media and health care professionals yet.  But if you're on the lookout, you'll see healthy fat making a comeback.  The success stories  are amazing.  If you're interested in learning more, here are some resources: