World’s Best Bean Salad

This week I promised happy….so here we go.

Okay, I realize that ‘best bean salad’ seems like an oxymoron. But I promise you this is friggen delicious. Admittedly, I am a bit of a creature of habit. My breakfast, snacks, and lunch might the the same for a whole week and that is totally fine for me because I am a busy momma who just needs to be nourished. I will work on nourished and variety some other time in my life. This week, this week was bean salad week. This recipe makes 4-5 servings which is perfect because 15 minutes on Sunday made my week of lunches. Some weeks I win with meal prepped lunches and homemade granola bars and other weeks I eat toast. Can’t win em’ all.

If you have read some of these posts before…you’ll know I love me a good gadget (read all about my love here). This summer I added a new gadget to my life….well perhaps new and                            improved. I had the Tupperware turbo chopper and I upgraded to a bigger one so that I will never Tupperware chopperhave to chop another onion in my life. $100 is the small price to pay to not have your eyeballs bleed and mascara fall off your face. Conveniently, it also makes meal prep super quick if you have to chop any veggies.




So here we go…

Bean Salad:

Drain and rinse one can of each:
Black beans

A red pepper (or yellow or orange, whatever is in the fridge)

A red onion
½ to 1 jalapeno peppers (depends how spicy you like things, I usually use 1 and its still not overly spicy, try to chop finely!)

Dressing: (I usually make this first so its cooled by the time I am done with making it)
½ cup sugar
½ cup vinegar
3/4 cup oil (peanut, canola, avacado, etc. The olive oil tastes a bit funky in this so I wouldn’t recommend it). If you like things more tart than sweet, up your vinegar a bit!

Bring to boil the sugar and vinegar, cool then add oil and mix with salad. Add some chopping cilantro if you like it.



Berry picking- NWT style

One of my favourite things about fall in the north are all the pumpkin spiced lattes. Just kidding. We  don’t have a Starbucks.

For real, one of the most fun things is being outside in the beautiful coloured trees and soaking up the fresh air before the snow flies. When I first heard about cranberry picking, I was confused. Didn’t those things only grow in a bog? Like Ocean Spray cranberry juice ads? Apparently, there is a northern cranberry that grows on the ground! Hooray! A fall activity that us northern folk can participate in.

Every ‘knifer has a secret ‘spot’ to pick berries. I was lucky enough to be privy to a spot close-ish to Yellowknife that an elder told a coworker of mine. My class and I (with other adults) took on cranberry picking a few weeks ago at this location and it was a cranberry landmine. I have since gone back twice more- and willing to go again if there are any takers! 

My cranberry action plan this year is make cranberry sauce! I have a fail proof recipe (thanks HW!) and here it is… all 4 ingredients!

  • 3 cups cranberries
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar (i know….)
  • small orange chopped finely

Bring to a boil until the cranberries pop (about ten minutes). Add a little bit of corn starch if necessary. 

Could a recipe be any easier?! Happy Fall and enjoy all your fun outdoor activities!

P.S. I wrote this a few weeks ago and it’s no longer fall in Yellowknife. There has been a light dusting of snow all weekend, so I guess my berry picking days are done for another year. Made killer cranberry sauce this weekend for Thanksgiving though!


Szen Zone : A Book Review

You know those people on instagram that claim their whole world runs smoother, more efficiently and just better because they start (or end) their day with some inspirational reading? I can only assume their lives are falling apart at the seams.

Alas, I decided to jump on this train anyway. I figured the worst case scenario would be a more productive life and increased positive vibes throughout the day. September always feels like the start of a new year for me (it’s a teacher thing I reckon) and since I have a new last name (Linnen) and new grade (junior kindergarten/kindergarten) I thought a new approach to positivity would only help me and my students. After looking at some options, the book Szen Zone by Gary Szenderski landed in my hands.

In the introduction, the author suggests reading the book however you want. Doesn’t have to be in order, just flip and stop at any page. I love this option when it comes to a book of short stories. It just feels more fun, am I right? This book is full of stories, insights and inspirational tales. Each section ends in a szenippet- aka a take away phrase to keep you thinking for the day. Or night. No matter how hard I try, I can’t seem to find extra moments in the morning to read. I chose instead to end my day with a section from this book. We all know it’s better to end your day by looking at anything besides a screen, so I found this book a good way to wind down before sleep.

An underlying theme in this book is that change is constant. It is how we look at and react to these changes that can make the difference. The author says, “this book can help you establish the context and right frame of mind to embrace and manage change.”

positive vibes in cape breton

This book put positive thinking in the forefront of my mind. By being more aware of how I was personally reacting to change it made me realize I do have more control than perhaps I realized before. For that alone, I am happy I read this book.

While I was reading this book, I would chat about it to my friends and coworkers and it would spark conversations between us that we would not have otherwise. Getting other people’s perspectives on how they chose to react to change is interesting and I appreciated the organic conversations that came from things I read in the Szen Zone. 

Lastly, there were some sections of this book like I liked more than others. My one criticism would be that some of the sections were too short. The author quickly develops these character struggling in some aspect of life and then he gets to the moral of the story, where as I was often left wanting to know more. Where are they now, what happened since then, etc. I wanted the whole journey. I did, however, particularly enjoy the parts where empathy, encouragement and living life to the fullest were highlighted. For me, the fact that the reading each night wasn’t more than a few paragraphs kept me engaged and wanting to read more and it never felt like a chore.

Overall, I would recommend this book to anyone who is seeking a little kick in the butt for starting a new chapter in their life or just want to infuse some positive reading into their day. Or if your life is literally falling apart at the seams. It’s easy, quick and encouraging.   On a scale of one to ten, I would give this book a solid 7. Happy reading my friends! 

Want to know more about the book, the author or his other book? Click here –> <–

Guess what?! We are doing a give away! One of our Facebook followers will have the chance to win a copy of this book. Be sure to ‘like’ our Facebook page for a chance to win.

Happy Blogiversary To Us!

Happy First Blogiversary to Ladies that Life!

Year one was a real learning curve. For two ladies who love to talk, talking about yourself and personal things is surprisingly difficult. The fear of being judged is a real thing, one that we are both still working on. Nonetheless, the blog has taken shape into something we are both really proud of and continue to be proud of post after post. We are beyond appreciative of all of the people out there who support this creative journey that we have embarked upon! Our grammar has also improved by at least 85%.

After a two month summer break, the Ladies that Life are back in action. As we launch into our second year of blogging, we have lots of great articles coming your way including more healthy recipes, posts about Janna’s wedding and even a give away or two. Stay tuned and check out the links below to catch up on some of our favorite articles from over the past year.

The Ten Year Old CEO 

Minimal Living 

Breastfeeding- Mind your own tits

What the eff is gluten?

A year of grief

Thank you to everyone for your continued support. We love love love feedback so if you have any article suggestions, want to contribute or just have something to say, email us-

Much love,



I need it for the kids: Tall tales of stocking the house with treats 24/7

Okay first thing is first. I must acknowledge summer has turned me into the world’s worst blogger. I can only hope our loyal fans are too busy to read as we are too busy to write. That too would be an excuse because we all have time…working on that. Onwards and upwards.

It may be no secret that I am indeed a Registered Dietitian, an opinionated one at that perhaps. Today I am here to share, yet another, opinion. This even borders on a rant. Okay it is a rant. Can we all cut the bull shit and stop saying we, as adults, are struggling to lead a healthier lifestyle/lose weight/control diabetes/blood pressure/fatty liver/etc. because the biggest hurdle is that avoiding treats is hard because our houses are stocked full of them FOR THE KIDS. Okay what!?

I literally hear this weekly, and now that summer has thankfully graced our lives, I hear it almost daily. The thing is, if you are struggling to lead a healthier lifestyle and eating almost the same food as your children are, would it not make sense that they will fall into the exact same pattern where they struggle with your exact same health issues!

Please, for the love of all that is good, stop stocking your house with treats. Set great examples of how to eat healthy and lead a healthy lifestyle. I promise, when treat night rolls around both you and your kids will actually appreciate the treat that much more! So goodbye chips, goodbye 2 for 1 ice cream sales, fruit gummies, and sweet, sweet cookies. You too fudge sticks and ice cream sandwiches, you too.

Here are some ideas for what to replace them with to make your entire household healthier!

70 Healthy On The Go Portable Snacks



The Ten Year Old CEO

 James F. Peggs. Remember that name because he is bound to change the world.

He’s a CEO, he works hard, he runs his own successful business and he just had his 10th birthday.

James moved to Yellowknife a few years ago with his family and noticed that there was lots of litter around the city. Yellowknife does not offer roadside pick up of recyclables. There are recycling centers but people are responsible for bringing (and sorting) their own items. James thought that was something he could help change, not to mention put a little money in his newly opened bank account. He put together a business plan and set out to make his mark. He presented his plan to his parents, who were very pleased and were willing to help him get started. The Recycling Guy was born. Two years later business is booming.

The Recycling Guy provides an amazing service. He charges $10/month for weekly pick up of all recyclables (no, you don’t have to sort them),  he provides you the bin to put the recycling in, and replaces it with a clean one each week. He is reliable, friendly, and accepts e-transfers (talk about convenience)! 

James can be found walking around his neighborhood in his high visibility vest and Recycling Guy hat, pulling his custom cart on Saturday afternoons. His parents happily and graciously donate their time (and gas) to drive James to the houses he can’t walk to with his cart. Once he gets home the sort begins in the family’s garage, which according to his dad smells less than enjoyable on those warm Yellowknife summer days. When he has everything ready to go, he heads to the Recycling Centre in Yellowknife. Due to the fact that he is so well organized, the crew working at the center often show off his sorting skills to other, less organized ‘knifers.

I had the chance to sit down with the 2016 Yellowknife Recycling Award winner and ask some of the burning questions that I thought the world must know about this pint sized CEO.

Favorite Food?  Marshmallows and Perogies (but not together)

Hobbies?  Lego, Soccer and Comics

Favorite School Subject? Gym and Math

What do you want to be when you grow up?? Pro Soccer player or an Author

Do you have any employees?  Sometimes I hire my 13-year-old brother Sam

How do you keep track of customers and payments?  My mom taught me how to use spreadsheets.

What is a negative about the Recycling business?  When people put old food in the bin. One time someone put his or her leftover pot roast dinner in there.

What do you do with all the money you make?

  •    10% of my earnings go to charity
  •    10% goes to my retirement
  •    Most goes to my car savings account
  •    I tip the guy who helps me at the Recycling Centre
  •    I always have a few dollars of walking around money just in case I find something in my travels worth buying

Have you ever found anything interesting in the bin? I like to collect bottle caps and I use the wine corks to make Christmas decorations for my customers and one time I found a skeleton arm, which I used to scare my dad.

What kind of car do you plan to buy (6 years from now)?  A Camaro or a Mustang.

Finally the most burning of questions……

What does the F in James F. Peggs stand for? My middle name is Fremont.

Speaking with James it was clear that his parents are doing a wonderful job of raising a respectful, polite and kindhearted young man. The world could use more kids like James, of that I have no doubt. If young Mr. Peggs is any indication of what the future has to hold for Canada I would say we are in very good shape. 

If you live in Yellowknife and would like to hire The Recycling Guy he can be contacted at the following email

He can also be contacted for one-time pick-ups after that big summer BBQ or backyard wedding.

Photo credit: Riley Veldhuizen

More of Rileys (amazing) photos can be found on her Instagram and Flickr pages!

why ya gotta be so critical, self?

 We have these rock star friends who recently moved north and turned their hobby (photography) into a business (MT Photography). We knew they would be great since they are our friends, but on top of that they were professional, funny and didn’t make it awkward at all. They had their work cut out for them as both Jeff and I are mega squinty smilers at the best of times, let alone the near blinding sun that still shines bright at 6 pm up here, in the land of the midnight sun.

Anyway. We wanted to have some engagement photos taken and seeing as its less than 8 weeks until our wedding, we had to get cracking. So, we made it happen. It was really fun. Before I knew it, we got our photos back and yay! we had our engagement photos.

As I showed them to people, the response was positive. (I mean, who is going to tell me to my face that I looked like garbage in those photos anyway ?!) At first I struggled to see what they saw. I totally and completely zoomed in and focused on all my flaws. Correction, what I saw to be my flaws. Why didn’t I initially see all the positives? Or the bursting happiness from two people about to be married?

Fast forward a day later. I had looked over the photos millions of times. And I started to realize I liked more and more of them. I began to see the positives over the negatives.

 But then I felt something…. guilt?….. for not being grateful and appreciative of the photos the first 100 times through. I still don’t understand it, but I know I love these photos and will be happy for a lifetime to have them. Thanks again MT Photography. Not only did you capture love and memories, but also for unknowingly giving me a harsh lesson in self love.

Next stop of this journey- wedding photos! J

school thoughts in june


As we wrap up the 2016/17 school year, it is time to countdown reflect. Let’s review the highlights….. (lowlights?)

Fidget spinners.  Assume all teachers hate them. Self regulation is big in schools these days (and it’s a good thing) and yes, fidget tools do exist. But, they are introduced as tools, not toys, and they come with certain expectations and rules. Fidget spinners on the other hand….. not my favourite. I’m hoping the buzz will be over by the fall. It has to be, right? 

Slime. I’m not sure when slime decided to take over as the ‘it’ thing to have at schools. Mixing random ingredients like glue, corn starch, glitter, conditioner, etc together and bringing it to school as a toy has also been hard on the head. I’m ready for the next DIY toy phase.

Donald Trump. If there is anything good that has come from American politics, it is this: kids are talking politics. They are asking questions that spark conversation: how did he get it? why don’t people like him? what were the other options? It’s been interesting to see students curious about politics. I’m digging that, not Trump. Let’s be crystal clear.

Hockey cards. One of my favourite things that my kiddos (aka my students) are currently into is hockey cards. They organically require skills in literacy, comparison, conversation, and on and on to ‘play’ hockey cards. I love watching them play, chat and discover cool things about their favourite players. It’s also a step up from Pokemon cards in my books!

home made slime…

THE END! And finally, how much I am going to miss them over the summer. Despite the craziness that is June, I will miss their stories, hugs, and inquisitive questions like why can’t we leave caterpillars in our hair? Why can’t we all come to your wedding? Do you think I can design your wedding dress?

Happy June everyone ! -J



To Carb or not to Carb, that is the question.

Low carb diets have been coming in and out of the dieting fad world for decades and there does not appear to be any sign of this trend slowing down. Although we may have learned little pearls along the way about what eating patterns sort of work and sort of do not work, social media of all types would prove we are still super dumb in the world of eating. The worst part is that the people with the loudest voices cheering for what does work are those with the least knowledge and education: The MLM’ers. That is, the multilevel marketers. Do what they do to look like they look. Buy what they are selling because it is going out the door like hot cakes. Sigh.

So here I am, simply a person with a Bachelor of Science in Nutrition, a year long internship alongside amazing dietitians, a Masters of Applied Human Nutrition, and 5 years of working in the nutrition trenches (#humblebrag) giving my two cents on whether or not low carb is the way to go. (PS if you aren’t sure what the eff a carb is, you can read my article on it here)

Defining low carb

So this is the most misunderstood component of a low carb diet I am sure, backed by nothing other than my personal opinion. To one person low carb may mean that they no longer eat bread and potatoes and to another it may mean they are in complete ketosis at all times. So, for the purposes of this article, I will create some definition:

Ultra Low Carb (Ketosis): Carb intake generally less than 50g/day

Low Carb: Carb intake generally  between 50-100g/d

Moderate Carb: 100-150g/d

Why would people want to eliminate carbs?

Great question. There is great merit in lowering carbohydrate intake as a strategy to lower weight, triglycerides, and insulin resistance. After all, if you consider that a person trying to lower their carbs also would significantly reduce their intake of all sweets, chips, cookies, granola bars, cereals, sugary beverages like juice and pop, french fries, and battered everything. So yeah, lowering carbsis definitely a bonus in that respect. But is their value is also tossing out all your fruit, milk, yogurt, starchy vegetables, grains, beans, and lentils?

That is where I get stuck, mostly because I love all of those foods but also because that is a lot of food and a lot of nutrients to eliminate. A ketogentic (or keto) diet would in fact remove all of those foods. The low -moderate carb would definitely create more variety but it is difficult to say if the weight loss results would be as dramatic in the short term if you are not in a relatively permanent state of ketosis.

What is ketosis you may ask…

Okay so here is a quick lesson digging back into the physiology books. Anytime you eat carbs they are broken down into glucose and stored as glycogen. These are considered your fuel tanks. When those fuel tanks are empty you would naturally shift to using fat as your main source of fuel. This shift essentially will produce ketones to do the job that glucose would have once done. Your body is very quick at using glucose as fuel and not so quick at using ketones, so there is an adaptive phase that needs to take place that will often take at least a few weeks.

Is it safe to lower carb intake?

All levels of carb intake -ultra low, low, and moderate- appear to actually be quite safe. Various studies have been done to check out if would negatively effect the kidneys or any markers related to heart health and it appears as though low carbs get the all clear. Some studies have shown that the ultra low carb diets can raise your LDL (or bad cholesterol) as one of the more negative outcomes. As with any new diet, check with a professional before starting it to make sure there will be no negative outcomes based on the medications you are currently taking and health conditions you currently have.

Is it effective long term?

Well, research is a bit unclear on this one. Several studies look at the comparison between people following ultra low carb diets compared to people who eat regularly but are consuming 500-1000 calories less than they used to (ie. the attempts to lose 1-2lbs/wk). Where the low carb diets tend to win is with the 4-6 month studies which mostly showed better outcomes. However, several studies actually had very similar weight loss outcomes after the 1-2 year mark which gives more of the idea that it is not super sustainable. Which really is not surprising, hence the question, can I give up carbs for life? I struggle to believe the answer is yes for the majority of the population. Fewer studies focused on the low to medium carb group and how they faired out after 1-2 years which is actually the population I am most interested in!

Low carb diets sound hard. Is there a pill I can just take instead?

Well, for every one person trying to lose weight the healthy way there are at least 10 people looking for the pill form of that hard work (that statistic is mostly made up. Okay entirely.) We all know that person who does the cleanses and takes all the vitamins and supplements in hopes that healthy eating and exercise will someday be a thing of the past.

So we have established that ultra low carb diets are well studied in the weight loss world, but giving up carbs is the absolute worst! What if you could somehow be in ketosis and use fat for fuel without actually giving up carbs? In comes Pruvit Keto/OS. An overly priced garbage drink that is supposed to put you in ketosis without doing the work of actually cutting out your carbs! Here is a great review of this product So apparently you can have your cake and eat it too, literally. But, before you jump on this bandwagon please know that this too shall pass, and this supplement will be another one for the ‘that was a gross waste of money’ books.

In Sum…

Eat carbs, or don’t eat carbs. But eat healthy. And ideally do some sort of physical activity reguar
ly. Low carb diets are not meant to be interpreted as an unlimited bacon (that originally said sausage but I changed it cause, you know) party and moderate or even high carb diets are not meant to consist of doughnuts and pastries. The key to either methods of healthy eating is to do them forever because that will be the only way to make the weight loss sustainable.



Here are 8 things that have been happening lately and I deemed share worthy news.

 Blendtec– We recently purchased a refurbished Blendtec blender and it has been awesome. It is much more powerful than our trusty magic bullet ant it’s been a thrill to make bigger, bolder smoothies. My favorite thing is the smoothie button with a 60 second countdown on the display. It’s incredible.

Riverdale. This TV series was interesting. I loved the drama, the sassiness and the straight up craziness from some of the characters. Yes, that’s you Cheryl Blossom. But some parts were so cheesy, I couldn’t help but eye roll. ie- Betty’s constant high pony. Have you watched it?

Wedding planning. Less than 80 days to go until the big event. I am really starting to get over-the -moon giddy with excitement for the whole wedding week. We can’t wait to show off our city to our guests and really look forward to being married! Dress has been picked up and it’s all starting to feel very real!

 Books. Similar to how I re-watch Friends and The Mindy Project millions of times over, I like to re-read my favourite books over and over. I have been re-reading three of my favs and I KNOWWW there are other books (and shows) out there that I would love, but something about re-reading a good book that just makes everything right in the world.  Lullabies for Little Criminals, Random Family and The Glass Castle are some of my favs. What can I say? I like what I like ! I am branching out and reading You Are A Badass which is very motivational and I like it.

 Lion. The movie, not the animal. This movie was so incredible, I couldn’t stop thinking about it for three days. It made me cry allllll the tears and feel so many feels. I can not properly describe how amazing this movie was. Go see it!

Birch Camp. One of the (many) amazing things about working at my school is the culture camps. We recently went to tap birch trees and learn the process of making birch syrup/birch butter. So cool and it was a nice sunny day. Perfect class field trip. 

Weekend getaway. Our friends  recently got married in Banff and it was oh so beautiful. It was such a nice weekend in the mountains. Banff/Canmore is a wonderful location for us northerns to get our mountain fix and just relax and unwind.

Chrissy Teigen. To know me is to know I loveeee Chrissy Teigen. She is the best. So when she paired with Becca Cosmetics to launch a glow face palette, I was all over it. It’s beautiful and I love it as much as I knew I would.

That’s an update from my northern world. Sending lots of love to all our wonderful followers! Happy Spring ! xo Janna