Monthly Archives

February 2012


Skiing Utah

February 22, 2012
Joe and I took full advantage of the long weekend and met my family out in Salt Lake City for a little ski weekend. Here are a few shots from our trip!
{Our view on the way up to the slopes.}
{Mandatory airplane/travel shot!}

{We stayed at The Little America Hotel in Salt Lake City. It was beautiful! The staff was helpful and attentive and the prices were reasonable. I would highly recommend it for anyone visiting SLC.}

{We skied the first day at Solitude and the second day at Snowbird. We all agreed we liked Snowbird better.}

{Joe blew me away with how well he did, considering it was only his third time skiing! Since he’s athletic, competitive and fearless, he picks things up quickly. While I prefer to go a little slower and not fall, Joe likes to push the limits, go fast and fall more often. I guess it’s a pretty typical male/female scenario.}

{Now that my family has moved from Florida to Idaho, I have a feeling they are going to be experts on the mountain in no time at all.}

{This guy snowboarding in a banana costume got the award for most entertaining person on the slopes.}

{We were sad to leave! Joe was already asking me when we can go back. I think he has the skiing fever, that’s for sure. Although it was hard to leave, it always feels so good to be back at home, cuddled up with little Nutter!}



No Fat Talk Tuesday: Justine’s Story

February 21, 2012
Hey, everyone! Joey and I are back from skiing with my family in Salt Lake City over the long President’s Day weekend. While we settle back into a schedule and routine (and I catch up on laundry) I will leave you with today’s No Fat Talk Tuesday post. This week’s post comes to us from Justine who blogs over at Stop Me If You’ve Heard This One. Justine actually shared her story of how she learned to love her body in Glamour magazine, and I’m trilled to have her sharing her story with E&C readers today!

About two years ago, I lost 30 pounds. You can read the details of that story here if you want to. The thing is, the actual weight loss wasn’t really the important part of that story. The point of the story is that I found a way to make myself a happier person, and weight loss was more of an effect than a cause of that change.

When I read Madison’s first post about No Fat Talk, I was so excited to see that someone else saw the importance of changing the way women talk about their bodies. For the last two years, I’ve been making a conscious effort to only talk about my body in a loving way. (I called it “no bad body talk,” but Madison’s version is a bit catchier!) For me, there were two things I actively changed that started altering my perception of myself.

First, I changed the dialogue going on in my head. Every day, whenever I felt myself mentally slipping into that broken record of bad body talk (you know the one: “My thighs are huge. And my upper arms jiggle. And this thing on my belly…ugh”), I would make myself think, “STOP IT.” Then I would repeat a series of mini “mantras” I had created to make myself focus on not only positive things about myself, but things that deep down I knew were more important than being able to wear size zero jeans: “You are a good person. You are a kind person. You are better than this. You deserve to be happy.”

Sometimes I would even say them to myself out loud while looking in a mirror. (Did I feel a little stupid doing it? Yes. Did it help anyway? Absolutely.)

The second thing I did that really changed the way I looked at my body was to start taking yoga classes. I had always been extremely interested in fitness, but in the past, I had opted for classes that punished my body. Hours of kick boxing, miles of running—they did the trick (and made me feel like a warrior), but they were more about atoning for my “sins” (AKA, that extra slice of pizza, a chocolate chip cookie here and there, etc.) than treating my body well.
Yoga was different. My instructor looked at fitness differently, for one. She was fond of telling us to listen to what our body needed. “If your body wants to stretch further, let it. If your body needs to pull back, that’s fine too.” It had never occurred to me that my body could already be telling me what it needed. For the first time, I started listening.

Then, without my even realizing it, I started “listening” to my body in all aspects of my life. I slept more. I hate healthier foods. And I would stop eating when I was full. I also stopped punishing myself for eating delicious foods just because they weren’t necessarily the healthiest options. If I wanted a cookie, well, then I would eat a cookie. I just wouldn’t eat six. 
For the first time since I had been a pre-teen, I stopped dieting entirely. To this day, I refuse to subscribe to any eating plan that cuts any food group out without exception. (Besides, we all know that the second you can’t have something, it’s all you think about!) And I continued to refuse to speak unkindly about my body. Which isn’t to say I always love what I see in the mirror (Lord knows I wouldn’t be sad if I woke up looking like Adriana Lima tomorrow), it just means the focus has changed. Instead of obsessing over a perceived flaw, I concentrate on my favorite parts of myself. (Because, yes, I actually have favorite parts now!) 

I think the weirdest part about Fat Talk is how fulfilling some girls find it to be. I once told a female friend of mine that I don’t engage in negative body talk, and she laughed loudly and said, “But I LOVE negative body talk!”

She was kind of kidding. But mostly serious.

Women seem to get some kind of thrill from picking out every thing about themselves they don’t like. If you let someone get on a roll (in some cases literally), you can watch them slowly move down their entire physique. “My nose is so crooked. And my teeth could be whiter. And I hate this thing under my chin. What is that? And my shoulders are way too broad. And my boobs sag. And this belly thing—what is that? And my butt is awful. Don’t get me started on my thunder thighs. I wish my calves were more defined. I HAVE CANKLES. And my feet…ugh.”

But the thing is, there is zero actual benefit to insulting your body. Glaring at that roll below your belly button, pinching the extra layer on your hip, hating anything that jiggles when you dash across the street—you’re not fixing anything by telling your body what you hate about it. You’re tearing yourself down, and it’s not going to make you feel better.

Because you are worth so much more than your dress size. You are a good person. You are a kind person. You are better than this. And you deserve to be happy, too.
If you would like to share your No Fat Talk story, email me ( for more details! 

Healthier Strawberry Milkshakes

February 20, 2012

Thank you all SO much for entering the J. Crew giveaway! A whopping 328 people entered and I wish I could give more than just one card away. That said, the winner of the giveaway is…

Beth who said “I’m dying for a cute summer dress and shorts that can be dressed up!”

Beth, please shoot me an email and I will get your gift on its way!

Moving on, Joe and I traveled to visit my family this past weekend, so I’ll be back with a recap soon. In the meantime, I’ll leave you with this milkshake that I intended to post before Valentine’s Day as a way to celebrate with something pink.

Although some may argue that milkshakes shouldn’t be made healthier, after eating one of these Healthier Strawberry Milkshakes, I have to disagree. Knowing that I was getting a serving of fruit and a little extra protein along with my dessert made me feel better about having desser all together. I’m sure after tasting these sweet treats, you’ll agree, too!

Healthier Strawberry Milkshake
*1/2 cup no sugar added vanilla ice cream or light vanilla ice cream
*3/4 cup skim or 1% milk
*1/2 to 3/4 cup frozen strawberries
*1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
*1/2 scoop vanilla whey protein powder

*Combine all the ingredients in a blender. Blend until mixture is smooth and creamy. Add additional frozen strawberries to adjust thickness. Serve immediately.

Happy Cooking!


J. Crew Giveaway!

February 16, 2012

Anyone who knows me well knows that I have an almost obsessive love for all things J. Crew. Walking into a J. Crew store is like a burst of sunshine, sort of like a grown-up version of Disneyland.

So while this may not be a fashion blog, spring is just around the corner, and I thought one of you might be able to find a few uses for a gift card from my favorite store.

One lucky reader will win a $75.00 gift card to J. Crew! Between today and Sunday, February 19th at 10 p.m. you have two ways to win:

1. Leave a comment telling me what wardrobe item you are dying to buy for Spring/Summer. 

2. You can enter a second time by liking Espresso and Cream on Facebook. Just go HERE and click ‘like’. Then, come back and leave a second separate comment letting me know that you did so. 


Coconut Caramel Blondies

February 15, 2012

Happy ‘Day After Valentine’s Day,’ everyone! How did you spend yesterday? Joe and I aren’t much for fighting the crowds of people on February 14th. Instead, we opted to take Nutmeg on a walk when we got home, make dinner together (salmon, asparagus, garlic rye toast) and watch The Biggest Loser. Pretty great night if you ask me!

Now moving on to matters related to blondies…

Working for a publishing company, magazines, bookazines and cookbooks are never in short supply. All the new publications land on our administrative assistant’s desk, which I frequently scan. A couple weeks ago, I found a Better Homes and Gardens Special Interest Publication called ‘Our Best Desserts’. If you can get your hands on a copy, I highly suggest doing so.

And as usual, the recipe I made first was dependent on the ingredients I had on hand. But since I was short on pecans, I swapped them for slivered almonds. And since ice cream was lurking in our freezer, it got tossed into the mix, too. I’ve yet to find a dessert that doesn’t taste better with ice cream.

I served these blondies when Joe’s parents were visiting a couple weeks ago, and they were a huge hit. Although you can’t see from the photos, there are marshmallows stirred into the batter for extra chew, and the coconut, butter, brown sugar, and almond mixture you press into the pan before the batter makes for a caramelized, chewy crust underneath the actual blondies.

Oh, and did I mention that these bars actually taste better as the days go by? Well, they do. I was able to slip a bar into Joe’s lunch for about a week without feeling like the flavor or texture suffered. Which is a major win in my book.

Coconut Caramel Blondies
Adapted from Our Best Desserts bookazine

*1/3 cup butter, softened
*1 1/2 cups sweetened flaked coconut
*3/4 cup slivered almonds
*2/3 cup packed brown sugar
*1/2 cup butter, softened
*1 cup packed brown sugar
*1/2 teaspoon baking soda
*1/4 teaspoon salt
*3 large eggs
*1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
*1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
*1/2 cup tiny marshmallows
*Vanilla ice cream (optional)

*Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 13x9x2-inch baking pan. Set aside. In a small saucepan, heat the 1/3 cup butter over medium high heat until melted. Stir in the coconut, almonds and 2/3 cup brown sugar. Press mixture evenly onto bottom of prepared pan. Set aside.
*In a large bowl, beat the 1/2 cup butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add the 1 cup brown sugar, baking soda and salt. Beat until combined, scraping down sides of bowl occasionally. Add eggs and vanilla. Beat until combined. Beat in flour until combined. Stir in the marshmallows until they are completely coated with the batter. Carefully spread mixture over the coconut layer.
*Bake about 25 to 28 minutes or until top is evenly brown. Center may jiggle slightly when gently shaken. Cool in pan on wire rack. Cut into bars. If desired, serve with ice cream.

Happy Baking!