Pumpkin Pie Minis 3 | Espresso and Cream
My good friend, Lauren, has been mentioned a number of times on this blog. She is one of my oldest blog friends, and we followed each other’s blogs for years, practically since the beginning when I’m sure neither of us had any clue what we were doing. Lauren has gone from corporate finance guru to small bakery owner to her most exciting new role: momma-to-be! I’m so excited for Lauren and her hubby and can’t wait for them to welcome their little boy soon.

A couple of Lauren’s friends are hosting a surprise virtual baby shower for Lauren today. And, to keep things true to Lauren’s love of sweets and all things mini, we all created desserts that are miniature in nature.

Unfortunately, my attempts at miniature crust-less mini pumpkin pies with struesel topping were an utter failure. Well, I guess I can’t say they were a total failure since Joe still devoured them and said they were pretty tasty, but they’re certainly not worth sharing on E&C, at least not yet. However, I absolutely couldn’t miss out on the shower and getting a chance to celebrate Lauren, recipe or no recipe! Here are a few other pumpkin pie recipes on E&C I would suggest you check out:

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1. Chocolate Pumpkin Pie (aka Pumpkin Spice Latte Pie)
2. Caramel Pumpkin Pie
3
. Skinny Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars

And in case you’re looking to check out the other recipes from the shower, here they are!

Mini Pumpkin Layer Cakes from The Baker Chick

Mini Apple Spice Cupcakes from Dinners, Dishes, and Desserts

Mini Nutella Brownies from The Cooking Actress

Mini Iced Oatmeal Cookie Apple Pies from Girl Versus Dough

Pickles in a Blanket from The Lemon Bowl

Mini No-Bake Chocolate Cheesecakes from Bake or Break

Mini Cookie Cocktail (and Mocktail!) from We Are Not Martha

Mini Chocolate and Peanut Butter Fondant Cakes from London Bakes

Double Decker Birthday Cake Blondie Bites from Baker By Nature

Mini Brown Butter Pumpkin Cupcakes from Eats Well With Others

Roasted Caprese Stack with Peaches from Warm Vanilla Sugar

Crunchy Cookie Butter M&M Bars from The Avid Appetite

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How far along are you?  16 weeks 2 days
Generally Feeling: This week I struggled again with quite a bit of nausea, which is draining because it makes finding foods that satisfy quite difficult. But overall I have SO much more energy and have been able to get a lot done, which makes up for the nausea. I’m thankful that my extra energy has been making it easy to workout consistently, too.
Showing? The last few days I feel like I’ve really started to show more. I think it may be the real thing, too, because I’ve been able to sleep through the night without needing to go to the bathroom, which I’ve heard can be a benefit of “popping” in the 2nd trimester. 
Cravings? Nothing new to report. I’m still loving citrus fruits like lemons and clementines blended in the Vitamix with water and stevia. Overall, I’m really having a hard time finding anything that sounds good and my main goal seems to be finding foods that don’t make me feel sick. Toast with butter and salt is still a favorite.
Weight Gain: I haven’t been weighing myself at home, only at doctor appointments, so I won’t have another update until next week. I’m guessing 11-ish pounds 
Fears: This week I really worried about our baby’s growth. Things like “fundal height” and the size of my uterus became a temporary fixation and source of worry. I think part of it is the fact that I’m hardly showing, which I realize is normal, but it makes it hard to believe that this baby is growing and developing normally despite the fact that I’m not showing much on the outside.
Looking Forward To: Decorating the nursery! My mom is coming up in a couple weeks and we’re going to really start work on decorating. We bought our first major purchase, a rocker/glider from Room and Board Outlet this past weekend, too! 
What I’ve Been Loving: Joe and I started reading baby books to the baby at night before bed. Maybe it’s silly since our baby can’t really hear anything yet, but it helps us connect with our little peanut and it’s fun to get into a routine of doing something with the baby together at night. 
Sleep: Not the greatest. Between the trips to the bathroom and trying to get comfortable on my side, I toss and turn quite a bit.
Maternity Clothes? Still not wearing many maternity clothes aside from my one pair of maternity jeans. I’ve been using a belly band and the old hair tie trick, because I honestly love the way my normal jeans fit SO much better than maternity jeans. I went to Old Navy this week and purchased a few non-maternity dresses that fit my body and give me a little extra wiggle room. And I purchased a few pairs of black maternity leggings from Gap that have already gotten plenty of use with this colder weather! 
Boy or Girl: Waiting (impatiently!) until October 6th! 

Pumpkin Sugar Cookies 1 | Espresso and Cream

 

It’s not often, but every once in a while I get the urge to bake something cute. I should clarify that “cute food” really isn’t my thing, but sometimes it’s pretty hard to resist the seasonal section at Target and I leave with, say, a pumpkin cookie cutter and fall-colored sprinkles that I didn’t even know I needed. Dang you, Target. Thankfully, the cookie cutter was only $1, meaning you, too, can easily get caught up in the excitement of fall, cute food and all things pumpkin.

Since everyone is posting pumpkin-flavored desserts, I decided to go with something that looked like a pumpkin rather than tasting like one. Although these cookies may look like a lot of work, they really aren’t too much of a pain to make since the decorating is on the simple side. And for a little extra time and effort, it’s worth it for the adorable end result.

This frosting is incredibly easy to work with and very versatile. The key to getting the glassy look on the cookies is to outline with a stiffer frosting, then thin the remaining frosting with a bit more milk so it spreads easily when put in the center of the cookie. The border you piped around the edge will prevent the thinner frosting from dripping out all over the cookies and give you a polished, perfect look. I could easily see this recipe be adapted for other Halloween shapes, like a bat or ghost. The sky’s the limit!

Pumpkin Sugar Cookies | Espresso and Cream

Frosted Sugar Cookie Pumpkins
Author: 
 
Recipe adapted slightly from Bon Appetit Dec. 2013.
Ingredients
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1¼ cups butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla or almond extract
  • Decorator Frosting
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 3 to 5 tablespoons milk, plus more for thinning
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla or almond extract
  • Orange and green food coloring
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 325°F. In large bowl, combine salt, baking powder and flour until well combined.
  2. In a separate bowl, using an electric mixer on high speed, beat butter and sugar until smooth and well combined. Beat in the egg, egg yolk and vanilla or almond extract. Add flour mixture to wet mixture and beat until just combined.
  3. Place on lightly floured surface and roll to ¼-inch thickness. Cut into pumpkin shape using a pumpkin cookie cutter and place on parchment-lined baking sheets. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until edges are just lightly golden brown. Cool 5 minutes on cookie sheets. Transfer to wire cooling rack to cool completely.
  4. Meanwhile, prepare the frosting. In a large bowl, combine the powdered sugar, butter and milk until smooth and well combined. Use enough milk to create a frosting that is smooth but firm enough to pipe through a pastry bag.
  5. Place ¼ of the frosting in a small bowl and color with green food coloring. Color remaining frosting in large bowl with orange food color. Place a small amount of the orange and green frostings in pastry bags or zip top bags with the end snipped off. Use orange frosting in pastry bag to pipe a border around the edge of the pumpkin.
  6. Add an additional 1 to 3 tablespoons milk to the remaining icing until it is slightly softer and runs a little more freely. Spoon a small amount of icing into the center of each lined cookie. Tilt the cookies around so icing in center completely fills the outlined cookie.
  7. Repeat process with the green frosting on the stem. Allow cookies to set, about 30 minutes.

 

prAna clothing shoot | espresso and cream

You guys, let’s get honest for a minute. No one told me that when you get pregnant it’s not just your stomach that gets bigger; everything gets bigger! Honestly, I’m working every day at embracing those changes and loving my growing body, but putting on old clothing that doesn’t fit the same way anymore doesn’t do much for my self confidence.

This has been especially true when working out. I immediately went out a bought a size up in some of my favorite workout shorts and purchased a few looser tops for working out, because nothing zaps my motivation at the gym like feeling gross and uncomfortable. I’ve been trying to stick to a fairly consistent workout routine lately, mainly consisting of lots of long walks, my beloved Tracy Anderson Pregnancy Project videos and my friend Robin’s “Balanced Beginnings” Pilates videos in addition to light weight lifting.

So when prAna asked if I would like to partner together, I jumped at the chance. The prAna Minneapolis store is only minutes away from my house and I’ll admit that until this project rolled around I had never stepped foot into the store. It was so fun getting to shop at the store and pick out the pieces I thought would transition well with me throughout the fall.

I was really impressed with the quality of all of prAna’s clothing as well as the comfort of all the clothes I tried on. They’re so soft! In the photos above I’m wearing the Eliza Jacket in coal and the Gabi Legging in black. The leggings are some of the softest I’ve ever worn, perfect for my body right now when comfort is king. And I can easily see this jacket being worn much of the fall as temperatures get a little cooler.

prAna clothing | espresso and creamWhat are your favorite active wear brands? I’m always dying to find new favorites! 

Madison

*The clothing in this post was provided to me by prAna. Opinions are 100% my own and always geared toward the best interest of E&C readers. 

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Over the last couple months I’ve really let my monthly goal-setting fall to the wayside, haven’t I? First trimester took everything out of me and goal setting was last on my list of things to do, behind basic tasks like cooking, cleaning, going to work and washing my hair more than once a week! Now that I’m staying awake past 8 pm and functioning like a normal human being again, I’m feeling inspired to start back up with goal setting as we welcome in my favorite season.

FITNESS
Do the Tracy Anderson Pregnancy Project 3 to 4 times /week + Continue to Walk 5 to 6 times/week
These videos have been such a blessing to me! I’m only wishing I would have discovered them sooner. I’ve struggled a lot with knowing how much to push myself in pregnancy when it comes to fitness, especially given my history of miscarriage. Although I know many women can safely run throughout their pregnancies, pushing myself to that degree just hasn’t felt right to me, so I’ve been looking for other ways to stay fit. I was fearful that Tracy was going to be a drill sergeant in her videos (just a notion I had about her) but she is incredibly affirming in her approach to prenatal fitness and pregnancy in general.

FINANCES
Stick to Our Budget
Two months ago, Joe and I decided to switch to a cash envelope system for discretionary purchases (aka everything other than mortgage and our auto bill pays) because I was having a tough time sticking to the budget we created in Mint. It seemed I was always looking back on the month’s spending, rather than proactively monitoring our expenditures.

Since I’m a very tactile person, having to deal with cash has been super helpful in curbing any impulse purchases. Plus, it’s fun to see the end of the month roll around when all our envelopes still have a little cash left in them. We’re already putting money away into our 401k’s and into savings each month, but with a baby on the way, it’s nice to save a little extra.

PERSONAL
Spend Less Time on Technology
Gah. Does anyone else find themselves mindlessly scrolling on their phones as they wait in line, sit on the couch and wait for the elevator? I’m finding myself guilty of mindless consumption of technology more and more, and I hate that I always feel glued to my phone. The other night Joe and I were sitting on the couch watching something on TV and I noticed that we were both mindlessly scrolling through Instagram. I don’t think there is anything wrong with Instagram, Facebook and the like, but when it takes away from face-to-face conversations, it becomes a problem. I’m making it a goal to leave my phone at home more often and give more attention to friends and family when I’m with them.

Make Time to Rest
This seems like a cheater goal, doesn’t it? Our fall is already looking super busy and very scheduled. I’m flying once in September and Joe and I are flying once in October and November, plus we have a lot of other social commitments on the calendar. Although all of the things we’re doing are fun, I’m making it a goal to be more mindful of creating restful times during the week and saying “no” when I can so that we don’t end up sick and exhausted by the time the holiday season arrives.

What about you? Do you have any specific goals for September or this fall in general? I had a friend at church say how they felt September was the new January and I loved that idea! Here’s to making September all about fresh starts!

Madison

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