The following post is sponsored by FitFluential LLC on behalf of Detour Bar. Thank you for clicking through and supporting companies that support E&C. 

Now that I’m exiting the first trimester, I figured it was high time I do a post on what I’ve been eating. A lot of women told me how important it is to snack and eat smaller, frequent meals to ward of nausea, and they knew what they were talking about! At one point I even said I was just sick of food all together because eating was becoming a chore. (What?!) Here are a few items that have helped me through my first-trimester nausea:

SnacksCompilation1

1. Lemonade This might not fall into the “healthy” category, per se, but it’s certainly been a lifesaver for me. Something about the sourness of the lemonade I think. To keep calories in check, I’ve been cutting my lemonade with sparkling water and adding a few slices of lemon, lime or orange. Bonus: It almost feels like I’m enjoying a class of wine when I put it in a wine glass.

2. String Cheese I read somewhere that even when protein doesn’t sound good, if you can eat snacks with a little protein it will help keep sickness at bay longer. I’ve gobbled up more string cheese than I would like to admit because it’s delicious and convenient.

3. Detour Bars I was sent a few boxes of these nutrition bars to review through FitFluential and I’m so happy I’ve had them on hand. They really are “snack” bars, clocking in at 130 calories per bar. Since I’ve been trying to eat clean and read labels, I appreciated that they are low in sugar, have 10g of protein per bar and are a good source of fiber. I mean, let’s be honest, every pregnant woman can use a little more fiber.

4. Light Popcorn I have gone through a lot of bags of light-style popcorn (like Boom Chicka Pop and Skinny Pop) over the past 12 weeks. At first, I was snacking on saltines to ease the nausea, but I found that popcorn did the trick just as well and for a fraction of the calories.

5. B-Natal Suckers and Preggie Pop Drops Since we’ve been traveling quite a bit of traveling over the past couple months, the suckers and candies a co-worker gifted me have been a lifesaver. Perfect for work and travel since they store well in my purse!

Detour Bars

Find out more about Detour Bars:
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Website: www.detourbar.com

madiandjoe

*First note of business: I’m terribly sorry for the lack of recipe posts lately. Just when I thought I was starting to feel better, I got hit with another round of morning sickness that has prevented me from making almost anything worth blogging about in the kitchen. I’ve been on a steady diet of sandwiches, smoothies and cereal, but I’m looking forward to *hopefully* feeling better soon so I can start cooking with more regularity! 

We are, with this little miracle baby, inching closer and closer to the end of the first trimester. Can you believe it? Because I certainly can’t. Standing in the kitchen two nights ago after our 11 week appointment, I was brought to tears thinking about how close we came to throwing in the towel on this pregnancy and moving forward with the D&C. But, despite everything we were told we are, by the grace of God, still here, moving forward day-by-day with the pregnancy our doctors said wouldn’t happen.

At our 11 week appointment on Monday we were able to hear our baby’s heartbeat on the doppler for the first time. We heard the heartbeat on the ultrasound a few other times, but for some reason using the doppler felt more real. And while those good appointments really do provide peace of mind, I find that the peace and reassurance is fleeting. Here I sit, two days later, wondering if everything is okay inside, praying continually that our baby’s heartbeat would continue to beat strong and that he/she would continue to grow and develop normally.

Part of this I’m sure is just a normal part of any pregnancy. What mother doesn’t worry a little bit? But as I was telling a friend last week, being pregnant after two miscarriages is not for the faint of heart. There is a deep fear, based in past experiences, that easily sneaks into everyday life if you’re not constantly on guard. Heck, even when I am constantly looking out for those negative, fearful thoughts they still creep back in.

This pregnancy in particular, with it’s rocky beginning and the fact that it’s a pregnancy after two failed attempts, has been one of the most challenging and trying journeys. Of course I’m trilled to be pregnant, but when the worst case scenario has been reality in the past, it’s hard to walk through the day-to-day with ignorance or bliss. Each day of this pregnancy has been stepping out in faith, trusting that God’s plan is higher than my plan, and that He has planned for our little family to come together in just the right way.

I wish I could say that I’ve conquered my fears, but it’s a daily battle that I’m waging. Reminding myself that it’s out of my control and that the best I can do is take it day-by-day are two things that I’ve found to be the biggest help when my mind starts to wander. Although it’s scary to admit that I’m out of control, once I’ve accepted it it’s remarkably freeing.

Joshua 1:9: “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” 

Madison

Dotted Blouse

I can’t tell you how pleased I’ve been with Stitch Fix over the past few months. The last 3 to 4 fixes that I’ve received have been so much better than I could have expected, and I’m really glad I stuck with the service and looked past the couple of fixes that were less than impressive.

I think one of the biggest changes has been the fact that I requested a new stylist and have really loved my new stylist. She seems to get my style and understand what I’m looking for. After my first fix from her, I requested to continue to get fixes from her, and it’s been great.

{PS: If you’re looking to sign up for Stitch Fix, you can do so here!}

Let’s get to this month’s fix, shall we?

Item #1: Amour Vert: Alessandro Abstract Dot Print Silk Blouse (above)
I was in love with this blouse at first glance. The neutral black and hunter green dots and abstract pattern were right up my alley. I really loved that this blouse was almost a little too big since I’m hoping it will last for a while through pregnancy. If you can tell, it’s quite long, which was another plus.
Verdict: Keep!

Kimono Top
Item #2: Pixley: Monty Scarf Print Kimono Cardigan
The kimono top was cute but it wasn’t something I would normally consider buying on my own. Surprisingly I liked the top when I put it on, but I couldn’t really see myself getting much use out of it aside from a very casual setting, and it was a little pricey for something that I felt I could buy at Target for much less.
Verdict? Return!

Sleeveless Blouse

Item #3: Skies are Blue: Witherford Colorblock Pleat Detail Blouse
I’ve mentioned this before, but I’m not a huge fan of sleeveless blouses and tops. I rarely wear them at work and when I do, I usually cover my arms with a jacket of some sort. Thus, sleeveless blouses just aren’t versatile enough for me. The blouse was pretty and I liked the neutral colors but when thinking about staple pieces that I would wear time and time again, this just didn’t make the cut.
Verdict: Return!

White Blouse

Item #4: Daniel Rainn: Bilson Embroidered Tab-Sleeve Blouse 
Oooh, this blouse was exactly what I’ve been looking to buy for quite a while. I don’t have a good basic white blouse, and I’ve pinned a lot of photos with white tops on Pinterest. I loved the sheer top layer and the built-in camisole underneath. Additionally, the top was long and loose around the middle.
Verdict: Keep!

Zebra Dress

Item #5: Tart: Teina Abstract Chevron Racerback Belted Maxi Dress
I’ve already Instagrammed this dress and worn it a bunch of times since I’ve received my fix. I just love it! It’s the perfect length, just barely touching the floor when I wear sandals, and the dress is made from a thicker, super-comfortable material that provides nice coverage and doesn’t show every little bump and bulge (a big complaint I have with cheaply made maxis). It was a little pricier, around $98, but I was willing to make the investment knowing I would get a lot of use out of this dress in the summer and the fall months to come when paired with a jean jacket.
Verdict: Keep!

I was tempted to keep the entire box to get the 25% discount you get when you keep all 5 items, but thinking about my capsule wardrobe challenge really kept me committed to keeping items that I truly love, not items I’ll only wear once or twice and give away later.

Find more of my Stitch Fix reviews here.

*Affiliate links used. Opinions are, of course, my honest opinions and strictly my own.

Boston and Maine Travel Guide | Espresso and Cream
BOSTON

Stay:
Hotel Veritas, Harvard Square
Since we had a car on this trip, we decided to stay in Cambridge at The Hotel Veritas. It was a beautiful hotel, the staff was personable and the rooms were pristine. It was slightly pricier than hotels we normally stayed at, but I think it was worth the splurge for a great location and luxury accommodations.

photo (29)

Do:
Sam Adams Brewery Tour
This was at the top of Joe’s list, and although I couldn’t enjoy the beer with him, we had a great time. I loved that this tour focused more on the beer tasting and learning about the beers they make rather than focusing on the process of beer making, which I find to be rather boring. Go early if you’re there on a Saturday so you get a ticket!

The Freedom Trail 
We had a great time going on one of the free Freedom Trail tours in Boston. The tours are around 1 1/2 hours long and cover a handful of historic sights. I learned a lot about Boston during the colonial times, and I’m a little embarrassed how much I didn’t know!

Faneuil Hall
Before our Freedom Trail tour took off, we grabbed lunch at the marketplace at Faneuil Hall. There was pretty much every type of food you could imagine. Since the weather was beautiful and we were craving seafood, we both grabbed fish and chips and ate our meals outside in the sunshine.

photo (26)Eat:
Island Creek Oyster Bar
We wanted to eat at Neptune Oyster Bar but the wait at 4:30 was already 2 1/2 hours and we weren’t in the mood to wait that long. Since I had read great things about Island Creek, so we headed over there and got seated at the bar right away. We both had the lobster rolls, which were amazing!

Three Little Figs (breakfast)
We had an amazing breakfast at Three Little Figs our first morning in Boston. The homemade Greek yogurt was out of this world delicious, as was the spinach pie and Joe’s egg sandwich. I don’t think there was a thing on the menu that I wasn’t tempted to order.

photo (27)

photo (28)

KENNEBUNKPORT

Stay:
Captain Fairfield Inn in Kennebunkport
Oh, the Captain Fairfield Inn was such a quaint and dreamy place to stay. We had never stayed at a bed and breakfast before, but were sold after seeing the inn’s updated guest rooms that looked like boutique hotel accommodations and heard such wonderful things about their daily 3-course breakfasts. The inn didn’t disappoint! The breakfasts were just as wonderful as advertised and the rooms were beautiful. We stayed in the Captain Fairfield room (number 4) and were pleased with just about everything!

photo (32)

Do:
Popham Beach State Park
Our friends, who were living in Maine, recommended we take the hour and a half drive up to Popham Beach State Park and I’m so glad that we did! The beach was beautiful and it wasn’t overly crowded. Make sure you take cash since it’s fairly remote and the state park charges to get to the beach (I believe it was $6 per adult).

photo (33)

Cape Neddick Lighthouse
We ate dinner in Portland on our way home from the beach with our friends Sarah and Brad. After dinner they suggested we stop by the Cape Neddick Lighthouse and it was worth the small detour. The lighthouse is evidently pretty well known in the area and was the model for the Red Lobster logo.

photo (31)Eat:
Owen’s Farmhouse (Kennebunk)
Casual, cute restaurant with great woodfired pizza.

50 Local 
We enjoyed a great nice seafood meal at 50 Local in Kennebunk. The atmosphere was quiet and intimate and the food was outstanding. The restaurant sources as much of their food as possible from local vendors and the menu was concise and creative. We shared a salad, enjoyed homemade bread and for our main course Joe had the lobster roll while I had the halibut. It was cooked perfectly and worth the splurge.

Pedro’s Kennebunk
Maybe it seems strange to have Mexican food when in Maine, but Joe and I heard great things about Pedro’s and we couldn’t resist giving it a try. I’m glad we did because the food was fresh, flavorful and the salsa was good enough to drink. If you’re feeling sick of seafood, Pedro’s is worth the visit.

Rococo Ice Cream
Gah! Rococo lived up to the hype. The ice cream was out of this world delicious and I loved the unique and creative flavors like goat cheese & blackberry chambord swirl and lemon basil sorbet. I had the salty sweet cream and it was the perfect combination of sweet and salty.

HB Provisions
A great little deli/general store hybrid that’s perfect for grabbing a quick sandwich. We ate there right after arriving in Kennebunk and had a great time talking with another group who was vacationing in Maine.

I think that’s it! Our trip was short and sweet, a little less than a week, but we had a great time and packed in as many activities as possible. The entire time we were there we kept talking about wanting to return someday with the rest of our extended family. I can’t recommend Maine enough!

Madison

 

Roasted Red Pepper Cashew Cream | Espresso and Cream

I mentioned last week, but my post-vacation self was in serious need of a little detox after our trip. For me, detox is never about juice cleanses or major restrictions, just focusing on putting as many nutrients into my body as possible in the form of veggies, whole grains and lots and lots of water.

Of course, being pregnant has made the whole “eating nutritious foods” fairly difficult, but I’m trying my best. This pregnancy has been rather strange; some days I feel almost normal and the next day I feel completely horrible. Most of the time I can count on feeling pretty good in the morning but I’ve been hit with morning sickness in reverse, feeling miserable as the day drags on. The benefit of having a rocky pregnancy past is that even when I’m feeling my worst, I still feel incredibly thankful for each day I have with this baby.

Baby Photo 10 Weeks

 

This past Friday we had another appointment and ultrasound. I was incredibly nervous; it had been 2 1/2 weeks since our last appointment, and this appointment, just shy of 10 weeks, felt like a huge milestone to me. We’ve never made it anywhere near this far with either of our two previous pregnancies, so it was hard to imagine going to the doctor and getting good news. Right before our vacation I got extremely worked up and questioned whether I should have taken our doctor up on her offer to do a scan before our trip, but Joe and I talked it over and felt strongly that God was asking us to trust Him, to go out into the unknown and wait until our trip was over to get our ultrasound.

When we saw our little one, who looks so much more like a baby now, on that ultrasound I was blown away. At 9 weeks 5 days we could see him/her moving around and got a video of the heartbeat, a strong 178! For most of this pregnancy I have held back on letting myself feel truly excited about this pregnancy for fear of getting my hopes up, but I finally feel as if I’m allowing myself to think about the future and what life will look like come March 2nd. For now, we are done with ultrasounds for a while. Our doctor offered to do another one in two weeks, when we will be at the 12 week mark, but I told her I was comfortable hearing the heartbeat on a doppler at that appointment instead.

I’ve said it a thousand times already, but thank you for your prayers. Every single e-mail I’ve received has been such a blessing. Some days I feel confident and secure, other days I have to pray through the fear hour by hour, and the e-mails that have been sent my way have meant so much on those tough days. Sometimes I wonder why we are being gifted this miracle. I don’t have a clue, because it’s certainly more than we deserve. My prayer is that this baby would be a constant reminder to many of God’s grace, compassion and ability to do miraculous things despite what science or statistics might say.

And because this post suddenly became extremely long-winded, I am rewarding those of you still reading with this amazing recipe. It’s one of my new favorite spreads/dips/sauces in part because of its versatility. I made a batch (it makes quite a bit!) and drizzled it over a bowl of whole wheat couscous and roasted summer squash for dinner the other night. My mom and Joe both had the same meal and raved about how delicious it was, mainly because of the sauce. Since that meal, I’ve also used this as a dip for chips and a spread for sandwiches. The possibilities are endless!

Roasted Red Pepper Cashew Cream 1 | Espresso and Cream

Roasted Red Pepper Cashew Cream Sauce
Author: 
Recipe type: Sauce, Dip, Spread
 
This sauce is great on pretty much anything, but my favorite way to eat it is on top of roasted veggies and whole wheat couscous or rice. It's absolutely delicious!
Ingredients
  • 1¾ cups cashews roasted and unsalted (soaked in water for at least 4 hours)
  • ¾ cup water
  • 1 roasted red pepper from a jar
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
Instructions
  1. Drain cashews from the water they have been soaking in. Place cashews, water, red pepper, garlic and salt in a high-powdered blender or food processor. Blend 3 to 4 minutes, scraping down the sides as necessary, until mixture is completely smooth and creamy. Use immediately or refrigerate until ready to use.

 

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