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Food & Recipes

Food & Recipes

Healthy Chocolate-Peanut Butter Truffles

March 20, 2018

I’m the queen of healthy snacks that taste a little indulgent without totally busting your clean eating plan. I’ll be the first to admit that I just have to have a little something sweet at the end of the night but rarely does that “something sweet” include truly indulgent choices. I’ve found over the years that the less sugar I consume, the less I can handle refined sugars. So I try to steer clear of them as much as possible.

Instead, I’ve found a number of easy-to-make and tasty “treats” that don’t leave you feeling heavy, weighed down or with a nasty sugar crash after the fact. I’m hoping to share more of my sweet treat hacks on the blog, since I’m guessing that I’m not the only person reading who likes to enjoy something like this at the end of the day.

A few notes about this recipe: The truffles are made with creamy peanut butter of the traditional variety of peanut butter (Skippy Natural, to be exact) not the looser, grainy “natural” peanut butters that you might have in your pantry. You’re welcome to try using that kind, but I can’t vouch it will work. The protein powder I used was a 100% whey protein that is just barely sweetened. If your protein powder has a lot of natural or artificial sweetener in it, you may find that these are pretty sweet with the honey. However, the honey is necessary to maintain the truffle consistency.

Healthy Chocolate-Peanut Butter Truffles
Serves: 18
 
Ingredients
  • ¾ cup creamy peanut butter
  • ½ cup powdered peanut butter (PB2 or similar)
  • ½ cup chocolate whey protein powder
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • ¼ cup honey
  • Pinch of salt
  • Additional cocoa powder for rolling truffles (if desired)
Instructions
  1. In a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine the peanut butter, powdered peanut butter, protein powder, cocoa powder, honey and salt. Mix 1 to 2 minutes on medium speed until mixture is well combined and starts to come together in clumps. Scoop by heaping tablespoons and roll between your hands to form a ball. Roll each ball in additional cocoa powder to coat. Enjoy right away or store in the refrigerator in a zip-top bag or resealable storage container until ready to eat.

 

Family, Food & Recipes

Chocolate-Peanut Butter Energy Bites

February 27, 2018

This recipe isn’t going to break the internet with it’s creativity or for being something you haven’t seen before, but I frequently talk about and post about my energy bites, and when I was looking for an up to date recipe on Espresso & Cream, I realized that I didn’t have one posted! In the past I’ve made these with dates and nut butter as the binder, but truth be told we just don’t have dates on hand most of the time, so I’ve adapted the recipe to be adaptable to what I think most people typically have on hand. Though if you do have dates on hand most of the time, there are plenty of good recipes using them as well!

These energy bites have saved us a lot of money since I’m less tempted to grab an energy bar when I’m hungry and looking for a quick and easy snack. They are portable, and Ainsley thinks they are cookie dough that I let her eat whenever she wants so I call that a major #momwin in my book.

Chocolate-Peanut Butter Energy Bites
Author: 
Recipe type: Snack
Serves: 12 to 15
 
Ingredients
  • ¾ cup rolled oats
  • ½ cup chocolate protein powder of choice
  • ½ cup creamy peanut butter
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons chia seeds
  • 2 tablespoons hemp seeds
Instructions
  1. Combine all the above ingredients together in a food processor and blend until well combined. Add additional honey or peanut butter if needed so mixture comes together easily. Scoop by heaping tablespoons and roll between your hands to form balls. Store in the refrigerator until ready to eat.

 

Family, Fashion, Food & Recipes

The Espresso and Cream Weekly Favorites

February 20, 2018

Lately, I’ve been craving a space and reason to share some of the products, podcasts, recipes, and more that I’ve been loving lately. I was initially going to use this idea as content for an e-newsletter, but after thinking about how cluttered inboxes are these days, it seemed a better fit to make this into a weekly blog post. Each week, I’ll be sharing my favorite thing I’ve bought, listened to, used on my skin, recipe and book and/or article to read. Hopefully this is a fun, inspiring little weekly round-up!

TO BUY // J. Crew Dorito Cotton and Silk Blend Blouse (pictured above)
It’s a little lightweight for cold weather, but I can already tell that I’m going to be wearing this all spring and summer long.

TO LISTEN // Balanced Bites Podcast with Diane Sanfilippo & Liz Wolfe 
Although this podcast is geared toward those who live a paleo lifestyle (which is certainly NOT me) I really love this podcast and their approach to health and wellness. It’s been around forever, and they have a wealth of experience, great advice and interesting experts on a variety of topics relating to health and wellness.

TO USE //Volume & Shape Shampoo and Conditioner 
Postpartum hair loss and re-growth is, undoubtedly, difficult to deal with and can really take a toll on your hair. One thing that’s helped tremendously in this process is Beautycounter’s Volume & Shape Shampoo and Conditioner. You truly couldn’t pay me to use anything else. Switching to a safer shampoo and conditioner has made my hair look healthier, but even more importantly it’s actually made my hair healthier. If you’re struggling with postpartum hair issues, I can’t recommend this line enough.

TO EAT // Pinch of Yum’s Chicken Wild Rice Soup 
I’ve made this a handful of times and it’s delicious, easy and worth making at least a few more times before winter is over!

TO READ // I Know How She Does It by Laura Vanderkam
I’m only a portion of the way through this book and already I can’t resist recommending it to you guys. If you’re a mom, business owner, wanna be business owner, working corporate employee or just busy woman (hello, this is probably all of you!) then you need to pick this book up. It’s empowering and really leaves you with the feeling of “I can!” in the best possible way.

 

Food & Recipes

Easy, Perfectly-Cooked Salmon

February 12, 2018

Fish is one of the easiest foods to prepare and one of the foods that I think intimidate a LOT of people. Perhaps it’s because I live in the Midwest and finding good seafood isn’t always easy (hint: I buy mine at Costco!) or because people didn’t grow up eating it, but whatever the reason, there is no need to avoid making this protein.

Salmon is one of our family’s favorite proteins. We usually buy the frozen salmon filets from Costco and thaw them the morning we plan to make the salmon for dinner. The girls LOVE when we have salmon with broccoli and cous cous, and I love that we can count on everyone eating their plates clean. #momwin

My perfect salmon cooking method is shown below! We pair it with steamed broccoli and some type of whole grain, or on top of a salad as pictured above. If you’re intimidated by salmon or just looking for a quick and easy way to prepare it, I’m sharing my tried and true method below. It’s simple, hassle-free and versatile!

  1. First, place your salmon on a plate and pat dry with paper towels. If you want to get a good sear/crust on your salmon, it needs to be free of excess moisture.
  2. Next, sprinkle liberally with salt and black pepper on one side.
  3. Heat 1/2 tablespoon oil in a nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Place salmon, salted side down, in skillet. Cook 3 to 4 minutes, until salmon develops a crust on one side. Turn over, reduce heat to medium and cover pan with a lid. Cook 5 to 7 minutes more, until salmon flakes easily when tested with a fork.

And that’s it, friends! Delicious, tender, perfectly cooked salmon in under 10 minutes. While the salmon is cooking you can steam some broccoli and make cous cous in about the same amount of time and dinner is ready! Or open up a salad kit and put together a really easy meal in a matter of minutes. Eating healthy doesn’t need to be hard to take a lot of time. 🙂

 

Food & Recipes

Eating Without Food Labels

January 18, 2018

Friends, can we talk about something that has been on my heart to talk about for a while now? I shared on Instagram this week about how very over food labels and rules I am. Keto, paleo, vegan, vegetarian, Whole 30. The entire conversation has worn me down into the ground and driven me crazy and today I want to dig a little deeper into my own journey with food to share with you just why it drives me nuts.

If you spend any time on social media these days, chances are you are bombarded with pictures of what people are (or maybe, more importantly, are NOT) eating. I happen to follow a lot of people who eat keto or paleo and a fair share who are die-hard vegetarians. It’s a strange time in history to eat food, isn’t it? Both sides SO very sure that their way is the right way, that you should or shouldn’t eat certain foods. So many rules to follow and research to read.

The year I graduated college I decided to give vegetarianism a try. It had always interested me, but was something I said I could never do because I loved eating meat. But a month-long experiment turned into a few months and then a few years. Over the last nine years I’ve tinkered with my eating quite a bit, trying to find the exact right formula and eating style for my body. I’ve tried Whole 30, I’ve done a “yoga cleanse” which included a lot of yoga and eating a vegan, caffeine-free, gluten-free, sugar-free diet for a month. I’ve been a strict vegetarian and I’ve done a little of everything while pregnant. And over the years I’ve realized a few things.

Gluten isn’t the enemy for my body, I’m not sensitive to full-fat dairy, occasionally my body craves a little meat or seafood. But where does that leave me? When I say “no” to the pot roast 9 times out of 10 but occasionally say “yes!” to a burger in the summer? In a world where we are encouraged to put our eating into boxes, but your style doesn’t really have a name? Well, it gets to why I truly don’t believe there is a one-size-fits-all eating style and why it seems that labels and restrictive eating pushes us to eat less intuitively and fit our unique bodies into boxes.

After Ainsley was born I stopped restricting myself, started eating MORE, starting working out LESS time but more focused in my efforts and allowed myself to eat what felt right for my body it seemed as if I hit a metabolism super charge button. I feel my best, look my best and don’t feel like I’m a slave to food or food rules anymore.

Since I have shared with you all about my food journey over the years, what I’ve found that works for my body looks something like this:

-I eat a LOT both in volume and calories. I’m fairly sure that over the years too much cardio and too little food was causing a lot of harm to my body, hormones and metabolism. I workout much less than I did pre-kids, but I’m smarter and more focused with my workouts using Beachbody On Demand videos that are typically about 30 minutes in length. I’m no longer a calorie counter, because it makes me crazy, but rough calculations are that I consume around 2,200-2,500 calories a day on most days.

-Intermittent fasting has been a recent game changer for me. I decided to give it a try after listening to this podcast and doing some of my own research, and while it was certainly challenging at first, it really has been wonderful to give my body a break each day to not eat. I usually stop eating around 6 pm most days and don’t break my fast until around 8-10 am the next morning. And then I get all my calories eaten in a very short window and feel totally stuffed. 😉

-My diet is about 90% vegetarian. I still prefer to eat mainly vegetarian, but I do occasionally have lean protein at dinnertime with my family when it sounds good to my body or when I’m out at dinner and healthy vegetarian options are limited. I choose health over eating rules any and all days of the week. We live in the Midwest so there are times when the only vegetables to be found are iceberg lettuce and corn. In that case, the healthier choice is the fish, chicken or lean beef and I’m OK with that.

-Vegetables are still the largest part of most every meal I eat. I LOVE veggies and eat a lot of them throughout the day. I also eat a lot of beans and legumes as a source of plant-based protein.

-I don’t drink milk often and prefer unsweetened almond milk, but full-fat Greek yogurt and half and half in my coffee are life.

-Gluten doesn’t bother me. End of story. When I was struggling with sinus infections and sickness it was suggested by some that I eat gluten and dairy-free but doing so didn’t resolve my issues and adding them back in didn’t make my symptoms any worse. I don’t eat refined carbs like white bread, pasta or white rice very often but I do eat plenty of sprouted grain bread, some occasional whole wheat pasta, etc.

-Close to 300/400 calories in my diet each day comes from peanut butter. #peanutbutterforlife

But the thing is, that’s just what works for ME. Your body could be totally different! Finding what works for you and your body is unique and it’s worth the effort to tinker with and discover your unique formula over time, regardless of food rules and regulations. Like I said in my Instagram post, I think the only thing we can agree on is that vegetables are good and sugar is bad, right?! 😉

I would be so curious to hear what works for YOU and your body! I have a feeling we will get a lot of different answers.

Madison