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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

Family, Food & Recipes

Sausage, Egg & Cheese Breakfast Sandwiches

December 5, 2017

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This post is sponsored by Tyson as part of the #JimmyDeanSausage campaign. All opinions are my own and I so appreciate you supporting the brands that make Espresso and Cream possible. 

Breakfast has always been my favorite meal of the day as an adult. Perhaps because it’s accompanied by lots of coffee with half and half, or because these is a level of comfort and ease around our breakfast table that doesn’t exist other times of the day. I wish I could say I loved dinnertime as much as breakfast, but my early-rising kids are in a much better mood first thing in the morning than when 5 pm rolls around, and most dinners are spent bouncing a fussy baby and bribing a toddler to eat a bite of everything on her plate. A struggle that doesn’t usually exist at breakfast.

Joe works out at the gym and eats his breakfast on the road most weekday mornings, but Thursday mornings when Joe is home a little longer than usual, I make a little extra effort to make breakfast special. We’re not talking elaborate and time-consuming – just something savory and hot like eggs with toast and bacon or sausage (Joe and Ainsley’s favorite).

Like I mentioned above, Joe and Ainsley both love sausage so when an opportunity to work with Jimmy Dean Fully-Cooked Sausage came across my desk, I really had no choice but to accept! We’ve purchased Jimmy Dean Fully-Cooked Sausage from the refrigerated section many times on our weekly grocery trips to Walmart; I love that the patties only require quick heating through and are sealed in smaller sub-pouches in the box. For a family like ours, who only has hot breakfast together a few times per week, this cuts down on food waste – something I can fully get behind.

This week’s breakfast went above and beyond our usual scrambled eggs, sausage and toast, because who doesn’t love a good restaurant-style breakfast sandwich? Toasted Ciabatta buns filled with sunny-side-up eggs, sharp white cheddar cheese, sausage, and fresh mixed greens. Because I had to get some greens in there. It’s a compulsion. I just can’t be helped. In full disclosure: Ainsley didn’t eat the greens because, “I don’t like that salad!” But we’re working on it. 😉

Sausage, Egg & Cheese Breakfast Sandwiches
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 4 Ciabatta rolls, halved lengthwise
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 oz. sharp white cheddar cheese, shaved
  • 4 Jimmy Dean Fully-Cooked Sausage Patties
  • 1 cup mixed greens
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 375°F. Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil. Arrange rolls, cut side up, on baking sheet. Drizzle with the olive oil and sprinkle with salt and ground black pepper. Set aside.
  2. In a large skillet over medium high heat, melt butter. Crack eggs into the skillet one at a time. Sprinkle with the salt and black pepper. Cook about 3 minutes, until whites are set and yolks are still runny. Place one egg on bottom half of each of the four rolls. Top each with some of the cheese. Prepare sausage patties according to package directions. Place one sausage patty on top of egg and cheese. Bake 5 minutes to toast rolls slightly and melt cheese.
  3. Remove from oven and top with some of the mixed greens. Top with roll top and serve immediately.

 

Family, Food & Recipes

Sweet and Spicy Bacon-Wrapped Dates

November 28, 2017

This post is sponsored by Tyson as part of the #TysonMadeWithLove campaign. As always, all opinions are my own. Thanks for supporting the brands that make Espresso and Cream possible! 

We’re just starting to get into the swing of holiday parties and events over at the Hofmeyer house. The introvert in me has mixed feelings about lots of holiday engagements, something that is entirely lost on my extroverted husband. Anyway….

With two busy kiddos, general schedule craziness and holiday commitments on top of it all I’m always happy to have a handful of easy, go-to recipes I can whip together without a lot of extra stress or effort. Extra bonus points if the ingredients for those recipes can be kept in the fridge throughout the holiday season so I don’t have to run to the grocery store when I need to bring a side dish or appetizer.

These Sweet and Spicy Bacon Wrapped Dates are downright addictive. The perfect blend of sweetness from the dates and brown sugar, savory from the Natural Hickory Smoked Wright Brand Bacon and goat cheese and spicy from the hit of cayenne and black pepper. If you live in the Midwest where people’s spice tolerance is pretty low or you’re serving them to kids, I would suggest dropping the cayenne all together.

As you already know, we’re pretty loyal Walmart grocery shoppers in this house. I’ve just been waiting for that email letting me know Walmart Grocery Pick-Up is available at my store. Until then, we are still doing our grocery shopping the “old fashioned” way. With a baby in a carrier and a toddler asking for all the candy as we speed through the aisles hoping to avoid anyone melting down. (Click here to find out if Walmart Grocery Pick Up is available in your area.)

If you’re looking for a mouthwatering appetizer to take to your holiday parties, look no further than the recipe below!

Sweet and Spicy Bacon-Wrapped Dates
Author: 
Serves: 16
 
Ingredients
  • 16 pitted dates
  • 2 oz. goat cheese
  • 8 slices Wright Brand Bacon - Natural Hickory Smoked, cut in half widthwise
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • Cayenne pepper and cracked black pepper
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 375°F.
  2. Cut a slit into the tops of each date. Stuff each date with some of the goat cheese. Wrap one of the pieces of bacon around each date and secure with a toothpick. Roll bacon wrapped dates in brown sugar. Sprinkle with cayenne pepper and cracked black pepper to taste.
  3. Bake 15 minutes, turn over to one side, bake 15 minutes more. Turn once more and bake 15 minutes more. Remove from oven cool at least 10 minutes before serving.