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Food & Recipes

3 Kid-Friendly Smoothies

July 20, 2020

Happy Monday, friends! I’m checking in today to talk SMOOTHIES! Aka my lifeline on busy days, the way I pack a lot of nutrition into a single meal, and something my kids are almost always happy to eat.

On nights when dad is busy, it’s not uncommon for us to have smoothies for dinner, and while I pack my own smoothies full of different ingredients and powders, I do keep things on the simpler side for the kids. We love to mix things up and try different flavors and combos each week.

Note About Milk:
I prefer to use almond milk for the smoothies because my girls drink plenty of milk throughout the day. But you can use whatever milk you prefer!

Note About Honey:
When feeding these smoothies to littles under the age of 1, leave out that honey! If you don’t want to use honey at all, even for older kiddos, you could up the banana to increase sweetness.

Note About Protein:
Sometimes I’ll add a scoop of collagen or pea protein into their smoothies for an added boost and extra staying power.

Peanut Butter + Banana
1/2 cup milk of choice
1 tablespoon peanut butter
1/4 frozen banana, cut into slices
Drizzle of honey to taste
3-4 ice cubes

Raspberry + Orange
1/4 cup milk of choice
1/4 cup orange juice
1/4 cup frozen raspberries
Drizzle of honey to taste
3 to 4 ice cubes

Chocolate + Greens
1/2 cup milk of choice
1/4 cup frozen spinach
1/4 frozen banana, cut into slices
1 tablespoon cacao nibs
Drizzle of honey to taste
3 to 4 ice cubes

Daily Harvest Review + DIY Daily Harvest Mint Cacao Smoothie

June 30, 2020

I have had my eye on Daily Harvest and their yummy-looking smoothies + bowls + bites for a while. If you’re not familiar with Daily Harvest, you can read all about it here, but the basic premise is that it’s a high-quality food delivery service. You fill a box (either monthly or weekly or in a frequency that suits you) and it comes on dry ice with your selections.

The Good:
-The quality of the ingredients used in their products is great and thoughtfully sourced with a wide variety of fruits and vegetables as well as other supplemental ingredients
-There were a lot of tasty options. I didn’t like every smoothie or bowl I got, but I can see how once you found your favorites you could stick with those on a regular basis. My favorite smoothies were the Mint Cacao (obviously) and the Cacao and Avocado. I also liked a few of their bowls, especially the Sweet Potato Hash.
-They are convenient. Just add your liquid to the ingredients in the cup. transfer to a blender and blend until smooth. The cup also has a lid and a place for a straw so they were great to have on hand for portable lunches and dinners when time was tight.
-The sweetness level was nice! Nothing overly sweet and nothing artificial sweetening these smoothies.
-The smoothies that I gravitated toward had enough nutrition to be a full meal – between 360-560 calories in each smoothie before adding in the milk. Some varieties were more nutritionally akin to a snack, but the two mentioned above are definitely full meals.
-They come frozen and can stay frozen for quite some time! So you could get a box of 24 smoothies and then pause your membership and work through them over time.

The Bad:
-If you’re on a budget, cost is definitely the biggest inhibiting factor. It’s pricey – around $170 for 24 smoothies. If you eat out a lot and this replaces a meal out, it’s probably not much more expensive or less expensive than eating out, but if you’re making smoothies at home it’s definitely MORE expensive.
-There were some flavors I flat out didn’t care for. But, as I mentioned above, if you figure out what you do and don’t like then you can simply avoid the flavors you don’t care for.

So, I guess the question comes down to “Would you get another box?”

And my answer is “yes!” but with some modifications. After thinking it over, I really loved the convenience, taste and quality of the smoothies. Some of the flavors are so dang crave-worthy that I’ve been eagerly waiting for my next shipment. This time, I edited my box to include nearly exclusively Mint Cacao and Cacao + Avocado smoothies. And I’m pretty dang excited about that.

While it IS cheaper to make your own at home (I’ve done my best version of a Mint + Cacao knock-off below) when you account for the ingredients in each smoothie, it’s still an investment to make your own at home with all the necessary ingredients.

Because we don’t have a money tree in our backyard (sigh) I decided to make some cuts to other shipments we get regularly in order to make room in the budget for a monthly Daily Harvest Delivery.

So, if you have it in the budget, I give Daily Harvest a BIG thumbs up! You can get $25 off your first shipment using this link. But if it’s not in the budget? Well the recipe below us a great place to start.


Ingredients
1 cup unsweetened almond milk (or milk of chooice)
1 scoop Vanilla protein powder (I like the neutral taste and clean ingredients of this pea protein from Thrive Market)
1 medium banana (even better if it’s a frozen banana)
1/4 cup frozen spinach
5-6 Chlorella tablets (optional)
1 large handful of ice
1 tablespoon cacao powder or cocoa powder
2 tablespoons cacao nibs
Stevia to taste (I used 1 packet)
Couple drops of peppermint extract to taste

Ingredients
Combine all the ingredients above and blend with a high-powered blender until very smooth. Add additional ice if necessary to make the smoothie very thick.

Chunky Peanut Butter Granola

July 24, 2019

Over the last year I learned that one of Joe’s favorite breakfasts is yogurt with granola and fresh berries. I don’t know when I came to this realization – I believe it was on vacation when he mentioned one time while eating yogurt, berries and granola – that he could eat that breakfast every day. And suddenly I realized that I hardly ever had that very combination on hand at our house.

Since then, I’ve been working on sampling and subsequently creating a stellar granola recipe that is worthy of sharing over here and today is the day that I think I finally have something that’s more than worthy. It contains peanut butter – because we have a strong love affair for peanut butter in our home – and makes the most perfect, crunchy yet soft granola clusters. Granola clusters are a must in order for granola to really be granola, IMHO.

Here’s to many more breasts of chunky granola, fresh fruit and Greek yogurt, friends!

Chunky Peanut Butter Granola
Ingredients
6 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces
1/2 cup honey
1/3 cup creamy peanut butter
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 cups old-fashioned oats

Directions
Heat oven to 250°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat (Silpat). Set aside.

Place butter, honey and peanut butter in a large microwave-safe bowl. Microwave 30 to 45 seconds, until ingredients are hot and butter begins to melt. Remove from microwave and stir until butter is melted completely and ingredients are well combined. Stir in salt.

Stir in the oats until oats are evenly coated. Spread into a thin layer on a baking sheet. Bake 75 to 85 minutes or until oats are just beginning to look slightly toasty. Cool completely on the baking sheet. Break into pieces once cooled and store in an airtight container until ready to eat.



Family

Making an Income as a Blogger

May 8, 2019

Back when I first started blogging nearly a decade ago (what?!) I had no idea that blogging was something you could make a living doing. I saw a few other bloggers at the time who blogging as a career, but the entire concept was a mystery to me. It wasn’t until a few years later that I started to dream about possibly making blogging something I could do as a career, or at least part of a career, if I worked hard and stayed consistent.

While I still wouldn’t say I “blog for a living” these days, blogging and this platform has been the foundation for which much of my revenue comes from as a freelancer, content creator and Beautycounter consultant. It’s allowed me to share + connect with all of YOU over the last decade and continue to share content to this day. It’s hands-down the best job I’ve ever had and although the content has changed over the years, creating content for Espresso and Cream continues to bring so much life to me.

You’re probably thinking, “That’s great and all, but how do you actually make money blogging?” Well, the answer for myself and for most others I know in the blogging world is complex. Because it’s difficult to make enough money with any single revenue stream as a blogger, most bloggers I know make money through various different revenue streams.

(If you want a really detailed break-down of revenue streams, my friend Jess Keys (who also happens to be on my larger Beautycounter team) did a great post recently on how she makes money blogging.)

What is looks like for me has changed and evolved over the years. About two years ago, right before Collins was born, my freelance income was pacing nearly the same as my growing Beautycounter business. You can see above the breakdown of my income through the end of 2016 and where my revenue was coming from. Full disclaimer: At this point I was losing my mind trying to do ALL THE THINGS in equal measure. Freelance deadlines always looming, constantly saying YES to all the opportunities that came my way because I was afraid to say NO and lose the income potential. Figuring out how to do each thing well with a limited amount of time and childcare. I knew that something had to change for my own health and the health of my family.

What I did love about this season: The diversity of income. If you looked at my pie chart in 2018, it would include very little amounts of freelance, select blogging partnerships, increased advertising revenue and a large portion Beautycounter. Sometimes I wish I could still be as diverse in my revenue streams as I was in 2016, but in this season of life, I have such limited time and capacity to give to work (a choice I’ve intentionally made while our girls are little) that I’ve had to focus and hone in on where I’m spending that time.

So, let’s do a bit of a deep dive into each of the revenue streams listed above:

Advertising Revenue //
Although advertising revenue used to be the core of the way that some bloggers made money blogging, these days the piece of the pie that traditional advertising revenue makes up is very small for most bloggers. I work with Mediavine to run advertising on Espresso and Cream which you probably have seen and noticed at the top of my site, toward the bottom and on the side bar of the site. It’s not a huge amount of money, but it does add up over the course of the year.

Blogging Partnerships //
Blogging partnerships are the type of content you may see when a post is sponsored on the blog or on my Instagram. I work with The Women Bloggers for most of my blogging partnerships and work with brands individually as well. The way it works is the agency sends an email when they have a campaign they are hiring for. Bloggers review the campaign requirements and what the campaign entails and decide if they want to apply to be selected for the campaign. You’ll usually have to fill out a form about the size of your readership and social following; additionally there may be restrictions as far as the store that you regularly shop at or the ages of your kiddos or the stage of life you’re in. Basically the goal of these campaigns is to create natural and authentic partnerships between brands and their core customers/demographic.

Sometimes when I love a brand, I will approach them about working together, which is another super authentic way for partnerships to come about and works well for both the brand and the blogger/bloggers readers because it’s so natural and authentic.

Freelance //
This category was so big for the first years of my “blogging full time” career because of the jobs I had held prior to going out on my own. I had done a lot of work in content marketing and recipe development and was able to leverage those connections to get work right out of the gate.

Let me be the first to say that I LOVE freelance writing + recipe development work and sometimes I wish I could still keep up the pace of freelance work with my other obligations. It’s so energizing to me to use my professional skills and background in this way and I hope that once the girls and their baby brother are older I can take on more freelance work again.

Note that the content that I was creating in this category never saw their way to the blog. This was content that was entirely separate and usually never carried my name along with it, and if it did, it was usually a small byline.

Affiliate Marketing //
This is just a fancy way of saying that when I link to a product through something like Amazon or ShopStyle, I get a very small percentage commission on the sale should you decide you want to buy that product. It’s not a large percentage and makes up a very small part of what I do, but I figure if I’m already going to recommend a product, I might as well link it. Most of the time these products I’m linking are things that I’ve paid for with my own money.

Beautycounter //
I save this one for last because it’s not my primary revenue stream and because all of the things listed above led me to seek out something like Beautycounter in the first place. I joined Beautycounter right after making the leap to full-time freelance/blogging because I was looking to add in another revenue stream to support my somewhat unpredictable freelancing career and modest advertising revenue. I was already using the products (and had been for over a year) and figured I might as well share with you all + my in-person friends and family more about the products and company I had grown to love. Additionally, I had become increasingly convicted about the quality of the products I was using and the ingredients I was putting on my body. Beautycounter offered a solution to everything mentioned above.

So, I joined on a whim, entirely unsure of what it would hold for me and entirely blown away four years later and what it’s done for my family + my business.

In addition to the heart and mission behind the products and the transparency of what Beautycounter was doing to produce safe and high performing products, I was also drawn to the way it could fit into what I was already doing online. Beautycounter was similar to the affiliate marketing opportunities I had leveraged before (where I get a small percentage commission if something is linked and someone decides to purchase with that link) but they paid a higher percentage commission, gave me the opportunity to grow and mentor a team of like-minded women, and it was a brand I could see myself partnering with and getting behind for the long haul, not just as a one-time-only thing.

Additionally, I could see how partnering with a company like Beautycounter – that I was already purchasing with my own money – would/could allow me to become even more selective with the sponsored content I took on and give me more freedom to create content here on Espresso and Cream. And, four years later, it’s proven to do just that. I feel like this space has been able to become very free for me to create content that suits you all and my interests and I get to talk about ONE brand I love so very much.

PS: Regardless of if you have a blog or social following, Beautycounter is hands-down my best recommendation for making a real, substantial living from home with flexible hours and schedules. If you’ve been thinking of joining the Beautycounter team, I would love to talk any time! Just email me (madisonjanemayberry@gmail.com) and I’m happy to chat.

OTHER QUESTIONS
I asked on Instagram for questions and the most common question I got was how to start a blog and make money. I think that’s a really loaded question. You can, of course, utilize all the tools mentioned above. But if you asked me “Should I start a blog in hopes of leaving my full time job?” My honest answer would be no.

Not that it can’t be done – it can! – but for most people it takes a LOT of work for years without making much of any income before you ever start to see any tiny bit of profit. I’ve been doing this for a decade, and I think for the first half of that decade I worked part time hours (like many many hours outside of my full time job) and made zero money. So if you’re hoping to start a blog and quickly turn a sizeable profit, I think there are much better was to do that.

In my mind, blogging has to be something you do because you love it and have an undying passion for the topic(s) you’re writing about and the content you’re creating, rather than hoping to make an income and using blogging as that solution, if that makes any sense.

I hope this was helpful! It’s been a very long and winding road to figure out how to get to where I’m at today, and I’m so thankful that you all have continued to stay here for the ride! This work is something that I love to do and it’s incredibly rewarding to get to do work that I love and make a living doing it!

Our Family’s All-Time Favorite Biscuits

March 6, 2019

Hi friends! I can’t believe that I don’t have this recipe up on the blog. It’s our family’s absolute favorite biscuit recipe and the recipe that my mom made for me growing up, too. I realized I do have a version of this recipe up on the site from years ago, but for some reason I made them with whole wheat flour rather than all purpose flour, a decision I don’t really understand since these biscuits really should just be made with all purpose flour. They are flaky, buttery, perfectly delicious.

Every single time I ask Joe on the weekends, “What would you like for breakfast?” He gets a sly little smile on his face and says, “You don’t want to make biscuits, do you?” Thankfully, they are so easy to make that I am usually happy to oblige. And once you have the method and recipe down, it’s easy to remember and recreate from heart, no recipe needed!

INGREDIENTS
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons butter, cut into small cubes
1/2 cup milk (whole or 2%)
Additional milk for brushing on top of biscuits

Directions
Heat oven to 450°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper OR use a cast-iron skillet for baking biscuits. If you use a cast-iron skillet, you can skip the parchment.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt until well combined. Add butter to flour mixture and use pastry blender or fork to work butter into flour mixture until the mixture resembles a coarse meal with some slightly larger pieces remaining.

Add milk to the flour mixture and stir until just combined. Turn mixture out onto countertop and bring mixture together with your hands. Knead 3 to 4 times until dough comes together. Flatten into a 1/2-inch-thick disc. Fold dough in half crosswise to make a double thickness of dough.

Use a biscuit cutter to cut biscuits from dough. Place on baking sheet or into cast iron skillet. Brush biscuits lightly with milk, if desired. Bake 13 to 15 minutes or until biscuits are golden brown and fluffy.

Serve with butter, jam or honey!