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Family, Food & Recipes

Boosting My Immunity + ACV Slushy

June 17, 2018

It’s not shock to most of you that since having kids I’ve been sick a LOT. Recurrent sinus issues, cold after cold, I even had the stomach flu three times one winter when Ainsley was little – probably because my gut health was compromised thanks to all the antibiotics I had to take to help my sinus infections. I had sinus surgery back in the fall of last year, and while it did help to some degree, just a few weeks ago I got my first sinus infection after having the surgery, followed quickly by another cold and yet another sinus infection.

The whole experience left me feeling really discouraged. I was hoping that I would be healthy following my sinus surgery and getting sick + a couple rounds of antibiotics left me feeling a little down about my overall health and immunity.

Now don’t get me wrong, I expected to get colds after my surgery. Colds happen, I know, but my body’s constant inability to fight off those colds and the resulting complications was starting to make me question what I was doing wrong that was leaving my immune system in such a weak place.

I decided that things had to change, so after doing some research and a little talking with my husband about my lifestyle these days, I landed on a few major changes that might be of help to you, too!

Get More Sleep // I put this first because I think it’s the biggest contributing factor to my recurrent illnesses. I have not been sleeping enough. By the time the girls go down to bed, I’m craving some down time with Joe. We have been pushing bed time back later and later while working on this patio project and other projects around our home. The mornings are MY time, and time that I’m not willing to sacrifice. I love being up early, before everyone else wakes up. Between the later evenings and early mornings I was getting around 6 hours of sleep per night. I didn’t feel tired, per se, but I was definitely weakening my immunity. So setting a goal to get at least 7 if not 8 hours per night is the new norm.

Improve My Supplement Game // I have really fallen off my consistent supplement game, so I’m re-committing to the supplements I already take and adding in a few additional supplements to help specifically boost immunity. Those being:

*Seeking Health Optimal Prenatal / Packed with methylated B vitamins and a host of other important nutrients for optimal health

*Garden of Life D Supplement / There is a strong link between sufficient vitamin D and a high functioning immune system. Even in the summer months, chances are I’m not getting enough vitamin D from the sun alone.

*Plexus ProBio 5 and Bio Cleanse / For gut health! Especially after taking antibiotics, I know it’s important to rebuild gut health. I’m sure there are other probiotics that may get recommended or be superior, but this has worked well for me, it’s easy to access and easy to take when I actually remember to do so. (I’ve linked to our babysitter Karli’s site in the link above.)

*Iron / Since I’m vegetarian, I know that in addition to a healthy diet taking an iron supplement is also important. I’ve read a few articles that link lower iron levels to weakened immunity, so I’m hoping to ward that off.

Exercise Smarter // I’ll admit that I’ve probably been pushing my body a little too hard lately in terms of exercise. Half marathon training + 80 Day Obsession + being active with the girls + getting too little sleep + working a little too hard + trying to do ALL THE THINGS hasn’t really benefitted my immune system. I’m taking part in the free Mind, Body, Pilates Challenge starting this week with my friend, Robin, and I’m excited to embrace a slower and smarter way of working out.

After the challenge, I’m excited to try the new program from Beachbody – Lift 4 – which is a new program I’m so excited about. It’s only four days of the week and the workouts are around 30 minutes in length. Perfect for my schedule and much easier to do than the longer workouts I had done previously as part of 80 Day Obsession.

Use a Humidifier at Night // People swear by using a humidifier in their bedroom to aid with sinus issues and combat colds. I’ve never embraced the idea previously because I didn’t think it could possibly really make a difference, but hearing so many people tell me that it helped gave me the nudge to finally bite the bullet and give it a try. I just bought this one and will report back!

Continue On With… // Things that I’m already doing, like drinking water, drinking apple cider vinegar, eating lots of vegetables and healthy food, etc.

PS: If you want a stellar summer slushy using Apple Cider Vinegar, the girls and I have been loving this during the hot summer days! See the “recipe” below.

ACV Slushy
Serves: 2 to 3 servings
 
Ingredients
  • 8 to 12 ounces sparkling water
  • 1 cup ice cubes
  • 1 cup frozen pineapple chunks
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • Splash of lemon juice
  • Stevia to taste
Instructions
  1. Combine the water, ice cubes, pineapple chunks, apple cider vinegar and lemon juice in a high powered blender. Blend on high for 30 seconds to 1 minute, until very smooth and ice is blended well. Add stevia to taste. Serve immediately.

 

Food & Recipes

Protein Peanut Butter Toast

May 22, 2018

Good morning and happy Tuesday, friends! I shared this photo on my Instagram this week but also wanted to take a minute and put down the “recipe” if you will so others can recreate what is now my favorite new breakfast. It may sound a little strange, but trust me when I say that this combination is super yummy, satisfying and packed with protein and healthy carbs.

I make a lot of “strange” things like this for breakfast, healthy snacks, lunch and more. Joe says I’m always making things like this, and it’s true. They may sound or look a little strange, but I promise that they’re tasty and good for you. That’s the thing – as someone who loves carbs and has a sweet tooth – most of these strange little recipes taste decadent and sweet but are still good for you and don’t leave you with a sugar hangover.

Protein Peanut Butter Toast
Serves: 1 serving
 
Ingredients
  • 2 slices sprouted grain toast (I like Ezekiel brand)
  • ¼ cup powdered peanut butter (like PB2)
  • ½ scoop vanilla protein powder (I use Vegan Vanilla Shakeology)
  • Unsweetened almond milk
  • ¼ to ½ cup raspberries or other berry of choice (bananas are great, too)
  • Honey and chia seeds (optional)
Instructions
  1. Toast the sprouted grain bread.
  2. Meanwhile, in a small bowl combine the peanut butter powder, vanilla protein powder, and enough almond milk to reach a thick yet spreadable consistency. Spread the peanut butter mixture on the toasted bread. Top with the berries or banana. Drizzle very lightly with honey, if desired, and sprinkle with chia seeds.

 

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.