Gluten-Free + Low(er) Carb Breakfast Ideas Part 1: Protein Pancakes

Protein Pancakes

As my pregnancy winds down (my due date is November 6th already!), I am trying to  curb my carb- and wheat-centric ways that I’ve given free reign for the past nine months. Bagels, cornbread, cereal, sandwiches, egregious amounts of fruit, pasta, and DESSERTS – all have figured prominently into my diet and I’ve been pretty much okay with that. But I know the party has to end eventually.

This means slowly reintroducing healthier habits, starting with making gluten-free and lower-carb breakfasts for Z and me every day. I find that if I eat lots of protein and/or fat in the morning I’m less likely to a) get super-hungry mid-morning, b) eat poorly the rest of the day, and c) feel tired and lethargic.

However, usually the only thing that sounds good to me is  a big bowl of Honey Bunches of Oats or a cinnamon-raisin bagel soaked in butter. Through trial-and-error I’ve found some healthier options that I can stomach (and actually enjoy!). They’re easy to make or prepare ahead of time and Z likes them too.

#1: Protein Pancakes 

Recipe here. These are the best-tasting higher-protein pancakes I’ve found and they’re not a pain to make either. It’s nice to make a bunch ahead of time and eat leftovers for a few days in a row. I top them with plain Greek yogurt, raspberries, and a little sugar-free syrup. And you can’t beat 200 calories and 22 grams of protein per 3 pancakes!

More ideas to come! I’ve been working on my food photography this week with the help of Helene Dujardin’s fabulous book Plate to Pixel: Digital Food Photography & Styling and I need practice 🙂

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Book Review: Run Like A Mother

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A friend lent me this book a couple weeks ago and I just finished it. It was a different sort of book and I’d never heard of it before – but I did like it and it was a quick read.

It’s different because it isn’t really a how-to book or a traditional fitness book; it doesn’t have any training plans, exercise illustrations, or nutritional guidelines. Instead, it reads more like a blog written by a couple of running moms. Running moms who write for publications like Runner’s World and Self, but moms none-the-less.

This attribute is the book’s greatest strength and weakness, I think. I personally benefitted from reading the confessions and stories of two moms who have made running a part of their daily lives. It’s inspiring and confidence-building to see exactly how other people make their exercise habit work in the nitty-gritty of everyday life.

I’m hoping to run either a half-marathon or marathon in September of 2015 at The North Face Endurance Challenge, an event where Zach volunteered as the on-site chiropractor this fall. So far the only races I have under my belt are two 5Ks and a 7-miler. This book helped reassure me that my goal is not totally unreasonable. It features a lot of quotes and input from running moms of all types as well as a chapter on the reality of running postpartum, both of which were particularly helpful to me.

Other chapters cover running clothes, music suggestions, trail running, cross-training, body image, and injuries, among other things. The authors offer their perspectives and backgrounds in these topics in a conversational and informal tone. I appreciated this and felt like I’d made new “runner friends” after reading this book.

However, for readers looking for fewer anecdotes and clever turns-of-phrase and more practical advice, this book could be a little frustrating (and sometimes the authors’ wordiness and awkward point-of-view switches frustrated me too). It’s not really written for beginning runners – more for runners who are looking for encouragement as they try to balance their parenting responsibilities with their running or get back into running after a break.

If that sounds like you, or if you’re a mom who’s just getting into running who has other resources for training plans and guidelines, I recommend this book as a quick, fun, and encouraging read. It’s written much like a magazine so it’s easy to skim and pick-and-choose if you don’t want to commit to reading all of it.

A Tour of My Low-Budget DIY Nursery

PicMonkey Collage

Does “low-budget” make it sound like I’m shooting a horror movie? I hope not. However, the one trip my husband and I made to a certain big-box baby store was pretty scary – we were shocked at the price of everything, despite being warned by everyone that “Babies are expensive!” What people really ought to have said is, “American, upper-middle-class babies whose parents buy everything new at retail stores are expensive.”

We ended up spending very little converting the second bedroom/craft room in our apartment into a nursery that is peaceful, cute, and well-stocked for the arrival of our son in (approximately) ten short days! We owe a lot to the generosity of friends and family. However, through the process of pulling this nursery together, I think I’ve implemented a number of money-saving ideas that might be helpful to you as you’re trying to figure out how to make room for Baby without emptying your savings account. Let the tour begin!

Crib photo

toy basket photo

Crib:

My awesome mother-in-law found this crib at a garage sale for $40 – it even came with a sheet and mattress pad. It belonged to a grandma who bought it for babysitting and ended up using it only a few times. Obviously, be careful buying a crib second-hand, but don’t discount garage sales and thrift shops as good resources for this expensive must-have. The tie-on crib net was a gift.

I sewed the crib skirt (using this awesome tutorial) using a sheet from Goodwill as fabric. If you’re having a baby boy – or just prefer less fussy baby decor – be sure to check out upholstery and bedding fabrics (whether at a second-hand or fabric store). They often feature simple prints and high-quality fibers.

The rug was a Target reject found at Goodwill for $14.99. If you don’t shop at Goodwill, locate your nearest one and try to buzz through once a week! Our Goodwills have great turnover and I almost always find at least one thing. I bought the wire toy basket at Hobby Lobby 50% off.

recliner

lamp and basket detail

Rocking Recliner Corner: 

This recliner was another Goodwill find for only $7.99. It was pretty dusty when I bought it but I decided to try cleaning it and scrap it if I couldn’t. However, using a soapy rag, our vacuum, and a lint roller, it cleaned up really nicely! It’s a comfy, good-quality chair and I like the navy color. Plus, now I know it’s washable 🙂

The lamp was stolen from our living room – I think it was originally from Wal-Mart. The plastic laundry basket on the left was repurposed as storage for blankets/burp cloths. You can see the Boppy nursing pillow that I received as gift peeking out from behind my chair. The book basket on the right side was stolen from my bedroom, and I crocheted the blanket on the chair with yarn bought on sale at Joann’s. If you’re the crafty type, be sure to utilize Hobby Lobby and Joann’s online/print/text coupons – they have some great deals!

Hanging Blankets

Hanging Blankets Detail

Hanging Blankets:

To add a pop of color to the nursery, I made three reversible flannel receiving blankets (using this tutorial), sewed on bias tape loops, and hung them from hooks by the recliner. They’re within easy reach of the chair and, since the fabric and hooks were both bought on sale/with coupons, they were a cheap way to add visual interest!

Desk detail

Desk Detail

Desk:

We opted to leave Zach’s desk, which was already in the room, where it was. He’s keeping his guitar in here as well. Our apartment is just too small for one tiny human to have an entire room to himself! I did add a framed baby shower invite and a globe (found at Goodwill) for a little personality.

Changing Table

Art

Changing pad front

Changing Pad back

 Changing Table/Art Collage: 

Our “changing table” is a bureau that was already in the room. I repurposed a little Ikea organizer for diaper/ointment storage, was given a wipe warmer by a friend who was cleaning out her baby stuff, and grabbed a mason jar from the kitchen to store pacifiers. The trashcan to the left was already in my craft room.

Our art collage cost next-to-nothing and I’m really happy with how it turned out. The pictures are attached to the wall via nails and double-sided mounting tape to ensure that they don’t fall on baby. From left to right: a picture of Baby Zach I was given by a family member, a framed deer print found on clearance at Hobby Lobby for $7 (I normally hate their art so this was a surprising find!), an illustrated Bible verse torn out of a church handout and framed in a cheapo Hobby Lobby frame, embroidered initials done by my sister, and two of my favorite cards from our baby shower (these last three were framed in frames bought on clearance at Target).

I bought our changing table pad at Target but sewed the cover myself using leftover fabric from one of the hanging receiving blankets. This cover was surprisingly easy to sew and I’ll probably make more to keep as clean back-ups. I used this great tutorial.

Corner

Closet

Closet Corner:

The remaining corner of the room houses my yoga accessories (I still practice yoga in this room because it’s so quiet and clean!) and a Rock n’ Play we received as a shower gift. I’ve heard that these can be a lifesaver with newborns and I’m excited to try it out.

We also have a closet that I’ve managed to keep somewhat empty in anticipation of more baby stuff – the drawer unit on the left contains the baby clothes we’ve received so far as well as diapers (there are more diapers under the crib in plastic containers too).

Whole room

Overall, I’m really happy with how our nursery turned out, especially since I wasn’t sure how to decorate for a boy when I started. I like that the room is simple, not too matchy-matchy, and coordinates with the rest of our apartment. I’m sure it will go through many changes as our son grows (and acquires more toys!) but I’m glad to get started on the right foot. These are the best suggestions I have learned for saving money while putting a nursery together:

Tips

Also, I picked out a “going home” outfit for our son this week – I made the hat out of an old skirt using this tutorial. Hopefully it fits!

Miles Outfit