Sweet and Salty Roasted Brussels Sprouts | Espresso and Cream

Can we talk side dishes? I’ll be the first to admit that when planning meals during the week, I think about dishes more commonly thought of as “sides” (mainly veggie and grain sides) as the building blocks for my meals before I think about anything else. It seems to be a way for us to focus on eating whole, healthy foods and makes the meat of our meals a supplement rather than the star of the show.

These Brussels sprouts I made last week are totally worthy of being the star of any meal. They’re simply roasted with oil and salt, then finished off with a quick sweet and salty sauce made with Asian sweet chili sauce, soy sauce and a little toasted sesame oil for rich, nutty flavor.

I think the best part is how easy it is to make these sprouts. Just toss them in oil, roast for 20 minutes and stir together the sauce for drizzling on top of the sprouts just before serving. And if you have someone in your family that doesn’t love Brussels sprouts (my husband comes to mind…) I promise these Brussels sprouts have the power to win them over.

Sweet and Salty Roasted Brussels Sprouts (1) | Espresso and Cream

Sweet and Salty Roasted Brussels Sprouts
Recipe type: Side Dish
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
  • 1 lb Brussels sprouts, ends trimmed and halved
  • ½ tablespoon olive oil or vegetable/canola oil
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons Asian sweet chili sauce
  • 1 teaspoon reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground ginger
  1. Heat oven to 400F. Toss Brussels sprouts with the ½ tablespoon oil. Spread in an even layer on a baking sheet and sprinkle with the salt.
  2. Bake 20 minutes, turning once halfway through baking, until Brussels sprouts are deep golden brown.
  3. In a small bowl, stir together the toasted sesame oil, chili sauce, soy sauce and ginger until well combined. Drizzle over roasted sprouts until well combined. Serve immediately.



How far along are you? 22 weeks 3 days (it took me this long to realize my due date is actually March 1st and not March 2nd?! Thanks to my doctor for clearing that one up!)
Cravings? Honestly? Nothing significant that I can really even call a craving. My sweet tooth has come back a bit lately, but that can usually be satisfied with a piece of chocolate at the end of the day. Other than that, I’m feeling and eating pretty normal. 
Weight Gain: At my 22 week appointment I was up 15 pounds. My doctor encouraged me to eat more and gain a little more weight. Challenge accepted! ;) 
Fears: This week was a pretty fear-free week. Of course, there are always some small things here and there, but lately I’ve felt more comfortable with my body and have been more trusting of the pains and discomforts. Instead of assuming cramps and back aches are a sign something is wrong, I’m starting to feel more comfortable that they’re just a part of the growing process, making more room for the little one. Not going to lie, the constant kicks are a great source of reassurance throughout the day. 
Generally Feeling: Wonderful! Honestly, I have very few complaints. The second trimester is shaping up to be just as enjoyable as many said it would be, and for that I’m so thankful. I have noticed that my feet are getting a little more achy after a workout, which I’m sure has more to do with the extra weight than anything else. 
Looking Forward To: Seeing this belly grow! Right now my bump is, admittedly, still quite small. I’m actually looking forward to having a large, round basketball belly in the future.  
What I’ve Been Loving: Relief (however temporary it might be) from the nausea, tiredness and food aversions. It’s a welcome relief!
Maternity Clothes? I’m still learning how to navigate the waters of maternity fashion week by week. Expect to see a few maternity fashion posts in the coming weeks and months! 
Boy or Girl: Keeping it a surprise until March!


photoLast weekend I did something a little bit crazy: I started working on crafting our Christmas cards. In October. We took our photos incredibly early this year because, after years of taking our photos in the freezing cold of mid-November, I promised myself last year that we would take the photos when it was still warm and pretty outside for a more pleasant experience. And because Joe got braces last week, he preferred to have the photos taken before his 3-month stint with the extra hardware on his teeth.

Like last year, I just couldn’t fathom spending so much money on overpriced cards from Minted, no matter how pretty the gold foil might be, so I designed a little message in Photoshop and had the cards printed for less than $15 from Target Photo. Then, I decided to back them on craft paper and tie a ribbon on top, which was a lot more work than Minted but saved a bunch of money. Worth it? I think so, especially when I got a 3 month jump start on the whole process.

While I was crafting the cards on Saturday night while watching football with Joe, I snapped the photo above and posted it to Instagram. And immediately after doing so, I got a pit in the bottom of my stomach. I realized that what I really wanted in that moment was to hear people say nice things about my family, about how cute we looked and how crafty and on top of my game I was for making my cards so far in advance. My motivations were not pure. In fact, the heart behind my post was a little bit ugly.

You see, since I got back from Influence, I’ve been thinking a lot about my online life. About what type of message I put out on social media and about the intentions behind what I post. Most of the time when I post something to Instagram, Facebook or Twitter it’s because it’s a joyful moment or because I want to share our life with others or because I want to start a conversation and keep things real. But other times, like last weekend, I use social media as a tool to build myself up, and that’s just wrong. It wasn’t that the image itself was bad, since personally I like to look at pretty pictures on Instagram more than I like seeing photos of a messy kitchen counter. It was a heart issue.

That photo in our Christmas card above? Well the day it was taken, my birthday, I was behaving like a spoiled child. I snapped at my mom, who graciously agreed to take our photo, and got frustrated with our dogs, who weren’t in the mood to cooperate for a photo when there were birds to bark at. I complained about the way my legs looked and my relentless pregnancy headache. The entire day I acted like the worst type of birthday princess imaginable.

Although we send out a shiny, polished Christmas card each year (with both dogs looking at the camera, none the less!) what I really want to write in my Christmas card letter this year is this:

“Merry Christmas from the Hofmeyers! In our photo we may look like we’ve got it all together, but we don’t. We’re perfectly imperfect and incredibly thankful for a Savior who came to this earth to  die for our sins.”

In fact, if you get a card from us this year, don’t be surprised if I include a little something like that in our letter. I’m totally serious!

I would love to hear from you. How do you decide what to post online? (Or is it even something you think about?) 


Quick Pastitsio (1) | Espresso and Cream
Even as someone who cooks and develops recipes for a living, the question of what to have for dinner frequently leaves me a little bit weary. I love cooking when I have plenty of time to plan and prepare, but the weeknight routine of figuring out what to eat serves more as a stressor than a stress reliever. Usually dinner is sandwiched in between after-work plans and trips to the gym and by the time it’s actually mealtime, I just want to eat NOW. You know the feeling?

I’m always looking for easy weeknight meals to add to the rotation of favorites, and this simple creamy pasta dish has quickly made its way onto the list. It comes together in just about 20 minutes and is super family-friendly. This dish is modeled after Joe’s favorite dish, Ina Garten’s Pastitsio, which is a recipe that’s labor-intensive and a total calorie bomb, so it’s reserved for special events and holidays rather than everyday meals.

My version is made creamy with a small amount of cream cheese to mimic the creaminess of the traditional pastitsio along with a can of crushed tomatoes, marinara sauce and lean ground beef seasoned with spices to mimic the higher-fat sausage that’s commonly used. It’s not nearly as indulgent as the real thing, but for a weeknight meal it certainly makes the cut.

Quick Pastitsio | Espresso and Cream

Quick Weeknight Pastitsio
Recipe type: Entree
Serves: 4
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 can (14 to 15-oz) diced tomatoes
  • 2 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 1½ cups marinara sauce
  • 1 box rotini pasta, cooked according to package directions
  • Grated Parmesan cheese, if desired
  1. In a large Dutch oven or stockpot over medium high heat, heat the oil. In a medium mixing bowl, combine ground beef, Italian seasoning, salt,cinnamon, cayenne pepper and black pepper until well combined. Add ground beef to skillet and cook until browned; drain if necessary. Add garlic to pan and cook 3 to 4 minutes more until garlic is lightly browned and fragrant.
  2. Add diced tomatoes and cream cheese and continue to cook, stirring frequently, until cream cheese is evenly incorporated. Add marinara sauce and cook until heated through, about 1 to 2 minutes more.
  3. Divide pasta among bowls. Top with the marinara sauce. Serve with grated Parmesan cheese, if desired.



Hatch Comp 6
When I was first pregnant, I spent a lot of time trying to figure out how I was going to maintain my personal style while dressing the ever-expanding bump. I soon found that there were a few high-end maternity brands, like Hatch Collection, that matched my personal style quite well. However, the price-tag for said brands was a little hard to swallow.

After saving my money, I splurged on buying a Hatch Collection dress, the Afternoon Dress pictured below. I was really impressed with the high quality material of the dress, but I wasn’t sold that it was worth the hefty $208 price tag. I posed the question of whether or not to keep the dress on Instagram and am so thankful for the wise women who told me I could find something similar for much less.

I’ve since purchased a number of items on ASOS Maternity and Gap Maternity for a fraction of the price and thought I would do a little splurge v. save in case you’re in the same boat! Although you’re only pregnant for 9 months, those months can feel long, and there’s no sense in feeling frumpy and ugly during your pregnancy. I’ve found that a few classic pieces that make me feel pretty is a worthwhile investment and goes a long way in helping me enjoy and appreciate my growing body.

Hatch Comp 3{Hatch Collection Afternoon Dress v. ASOS Maternity Shift Dress with Pleat Back}

Hatch Comp 2{Hatch Collection Sweep Dress v ASOS Maternity Skater Dress}

Hatch Comp 4{Hatch Collection Bateau Top v. ASOS Maternity Breton Stripe Top}

Hatch Comp 5{Hatch Collection The HenleyGap Maternity Stripe Henley}


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