Food & Recipes

Healthy Peanut Butter-Chocolate Pudding

June 21, 2016


Once upon a time, Espresso and Cream was a food-only blog. Do you remember those days? If you’ve been reading for the 6+ years I’ve been blogging (where did the time go?!) then you probably do remember that I used to consistently post recipes and very little about anything else.

Sometimes I look back at the days of leisurely cooking meals for two with a lot of nostalgia. These days it’s more of a dinnertime rush to get a meal on the table and everyone fed than a cooking or dining experience, but we’re figuring it out as we go.

Although eating actual dessert is a rare occurrence at our house, healthy desserts are  must on the daily. I’m constantly tinkering around with figuring out a nice balance of what tastes like a treat and is actually packed with nutrition and low in sugar. This chocolate pudding has served both as a dessert for me and an indulgent snack or breakfast for Ainsley. Both of us give it a stamp of approval!


Healthy Chocolate-Chia Pudding
Serves: 2 servings
  • 1 cup 2% Fage Greek yogurt (plain)
  • ½ cup unsweetened almond milk
  • ½ cup powdered peanut butter (such as PB2)
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds
  • 1 teaspoon stevia
  • ½ to 1 teaspoon honey (to taste/desired sweetness)
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • Raspberries for garnish
  1. Combine all the ingredients except for the raspberries together in a food processor or high-powdered blender. Blend or process 30 second to 1 minute or until all ingredients are well combined and mixture is nearly smooth. Spoon into glasses to serve and top with raspberries before serving.
  2. *Note: Mixture will thicken as it sits. Allow to refrigerate up to 1 hour for a thicker pudding.



What I want to teach my daughter about her body

June 16, 2016

Photo on 6-15-16 at 3.09 PM

My daughter is only 15 months old, and already I’m thinking about what I want to teach her about her body. As a toddler Ainsley is blissfully unaware of how she looks, other than when she sees herself in the mirror and giggles in delight at her own reflection, which I love.

Already, I see how she mirrors me, copies what I do and tries to be just like mommy. Frequently I have Ainsley in the bathroom when I get ready for the day. I don’t spend a lot of time applying makeup, but she’s watching just the same. She grabs my brushes and “puts on makeup” alongside me. I remember the first time she did that I was shocked at the fact that she had been watching and observing all along.

I tell her she is beautiful every day. I see her chubby little tummy and her stunning eyes and honestly? I’ve never seen anything so beautiful in my entire life. I want her to know her worth, to love her body and to be comfortable in her own skin throughout her life.

When I think about my own journey with my body I have a lot of regrets. I think about the times I’ve been wrapped up in the number on the scale or the size of my jeans. There have been times when I’ve felt absolutely horrible about my body and times when I’ve felt near absolute peace, more so now that I’m a mom than ever before. My health journey and my relationship with food and fitness hasn’t always been what it should be, in fact at times it’s been downright tormented, but now that I’ve got a little one who looks up to me, it seems more important than ever before.

You see, I think being healthy is important, there’s no need to diminish that. Not in the pursuit of vanity, six-pack abs or looking hot in a bikini, because those things just don’t matter. The line between health and vanity is a very fine one to walk. But because I never want how I feel about my body to inhibit my parenting.

I want to throw on a swimsuit and head to the pool with no reservations, to run around the park without being winded, to take Ainsley on long walks and point out all the beauty that is in nature and explain to her that God created all that is around her. Our bodies are beautiful gifts worth caring for but not worshiping.

In this season of life I’m working on focusing on how I feel rather than how I think I look or what size jeans I wear. As I sit here writing this blog post, I feel healthy. My body feels fit, balanced, full of energy, strong. My ideal size, weight or pant size may be very different than yours, than Ainsley’s when she grows up, than another mommy at the park. My hope is that I’ll teach Ainsley to celebrate those differences by how I model that in my own life.



Picky Toddlers + Healthy Foods

June 10, 2016


I am no expert in feeding toddlers, but every time I post a photo of Ainsley’s lunches using the #EasyBabyEats hashtag on Instagram, I get a lot of questions on how the heck I get her to eat everything that I make.

The short answer? I don’t!

I never want to deceive you into thinking that Ainsley is the world’s best eater, because for a few months we’ve had some challenges with pickiness/feeding the dogs her food/only wanting to eat carbs. But I’ve been learning a few things along the way that I think other moms might find helpful.

1. Keep Introducing New Foods
Your toddler needs to see foods multiple times before they get familiar with them. Ainsley frequently rejects foods the first 5 to 7 times I feed them to her, but I just keep trying! It can be frustrating to make really nice meals for your toddler only to see them feed the dog with their food, but just keep at it. Eventually they will come around!

2. Feed Carbs Last
If your kiddos are anything like mine, the carbs are the first thing they reach for at dinnertime. I strategically feed Ainsley carbs last. I start by feeding her the meat/protein option + veggies. Then, when she is starting to get bored or done with those items, I’ll introduce fruit and carbs. If I start with bread or crackers or rice she will fill up and not want any of the healthier options.

3. Sauces and Finger Food Help
When we were really struggling to get Ainsley to eat her meat (she was a little low in iron at her 1-year) we decided to try adding ketchup or barbecue sauce to her meat and it helped quite a bit! I make sloppy joe meat frequently, which is always a hit, and also find that drizzling her chopped chicken with a little ketchup makes it more appealing to her.

When possible, I try to make her food finger-friendly so she can feed herself. Most toddlers are extremely independent and want to do it all themselves, so let them! It’s a lot messier, but if she has a full tummy then I’m fine with it!

4. Sneak In Protein
I’m not a huge fan of sneaking veggies into foods, but I’m all for finding more ways to add protein to meal-time. Healthy whole wheat French toast, slathered with peanut butter, is one of our family favorites for breakfast. I also make fried rice a lot with plenty of egg mixed in with brown rice and veggies. Smoothies packed with Greek yogurt are a great option, too! I find that when Ainsley eats plenty of protein, her sleep is better and the need for snacks decreases.

5. Don’t Be Perfect
I feel like I need to put this one in there, because I see a lot of snobbery on the internet when it comes to feeding kids. I was one of those parents when Ainsley was very little, but I quickly realized that sometimes it’s better for your kid to eat something than nothing. Things like teething and sickness can really zap your kiddo’s appetite, so during those weeks Ainsley eats a lot of yogurt + pouches + crackers. It’s life! I want Ainsley to grow up eating healthy food, but I don’t ever want to deprive her of some of my childhood favorites, like Goldfish crackers or ice cream.

I make Ainsley’s colorful, fun lunches because I like to cook and it’s always been a way to show people I care about them. It’s my passion and gift, so it doesn’t feel like a chore, but don’t be daunted by seeing what others do. Use the ideas as inspiration and make it work for your family and kids!



A Safer Summer

June 1, 2016


Over the years you’ve probably heard me talk about sun protection and skin cancer prevention from time to time. Growing up with a dad who has survived two bouts with melanoma and numerous other skin cancers, I’ve become a little militant with my use and encouragement of others using sunscreen. I’ll admit that I haven’t always been so good about sun protection, but as I’ve gotten older I shudder at the thought of what I did to my skin when I was a little more foolish.

Just last week my sister-in-law shared that she, too, was diagnosed with melanoma on her foot. I’ve never been more thankful that she caught it early and got into her dermatologist for a skin cancer screen. Being proactive literally saved her life!

One of the first products that I used from Beautycounter was their sunscreen. If you know anything about sun protection, then chances are you’re familiar with just how much sunscreen you should apply to your body and how often you need to re-apply to stay protected. That’s a lot of sunscreen getting absorbed into your skin every time you are out in the sun! Switching to safer, less toxic sunscreen is my #1 healthy living recommendation for summer.

Traditional chemical sunscreens work by being absorbed into the skin, and hence, into the blood stream, circulating through your entire body. I’ve done a lot of research about natural vs. chemical sunscreens, and I’m convinced that choosing the safer option is a necessity for both ourselves and our families. Don’t believe me? This article from Women’s Health Magazine walks you through the ingredients in chemical sunscreens that are more than questionable.

Our family has now switched entirely over to Beautycounter sunscreen products, ditching our entire supply of the chemical stuff about a year ago. The products are all safe for babies, kids and adults alike, and don’t leave a white residue on your skin like some natural sunscreens tend to do. If you’re interested in making the switch, I would suggest starting out with the Protect All Over Sunscreen. Additionally, I love using the Dew Skin Tinted Moisturizer daily because it contains SPF 20 along with a little coverage for hiding skin unevenness at the same time.

Have more questions? I would love to talk about them with you! Email me ( if you’re interested.



My Haircare Routine

May 25, 2016


I’ve been getting a lot of questions about my hair lately, so I thought I would do a little post about how I care for my hair and the process of growing it out over the years.

About two years ago I made a commitment to growing out my hair. I’ve always had medium-length hair and wanted long hair but was never able to get over them hump of mid-length hair. There have been about a thousand times in the last two years that I’ve been tempted to cut it (hello, postpartum hair loss!) but I made my husband hold me to my hair growth goals, which was good for warding off impulse chopping.

Care //

I wash my hair about 3 times/week, even less if I can make it a few more days between washings. Washing my hair less has been key to keeping it healthy. I usually blow dry it with a round brush the first day, then curl it the second day and put it up the third day which helps stretch the time between washes.

Although I used to hate getting my hair trimmed, I’ve acknowledged the fact that trims are a necessary part of growing out your hair in a healthy way, so I get it trimmed about four times a year. I ask for a “dusting” to make sure that my stylist doesn’t take too much length off.

Hair Care Products //

Shampoo ::
Living Proof Full Shampoo rotated with Head and Shoulders Dry Scalp Care (postpartum itchy scalp about did me in!)

Conditioner ::
Beautycounter Kidscounter Conditioner (the best for long hair!) rotated with Living Proof Full Conditioner

Post-Shower Products ::
Moroccan Oil on the ends of my hair after showering.

Beautycounter’s Sea Salt Style Spray when my hair is about 1/2 to 3/4 dry for volume.

Color //

After a very horrible experience in college with too-blonde hair, I came around to the idea that natural is better and looks better on me than platinum blonde ever will. I do a full-foil highlight every other time, alternating with a partial highlight. I color my hair every 10 weeks or so, sometimes more sometimes less, but usually not more than 12 weeks between appointments or things start to look a little funny.

My stylist does a mix of highlights and lowlights which match my natural color. Doing this helps my hair outgrowth not be as noticeable and looks more natural/blended than if I just did highlights. I might be wrong, but I think she also focuses more highlights around my face than in the back of my hair.

I think that’s it! My routine is super low maintenance, and with summer approaching I’m hoping to air dry my hair more frequently and use the blowdryer less. Once in a while I also do a hair mask and/or deep conditioner while I’m in the bath, and I try not to over-use any styling tools, running them lightly over my hair at a lower heat setting.


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