Food & Recipes

Double Peanut Butter Snack Bites

October 24, 2016




I’ve gotten a fair number of questions over the last year about feeding Ainsley, and toddlers in general, and limiting their consumption of sugary snacks. Sadly, I am probably not the best person to ask. Because there’s the parent I thought I would be in my head and the parent I actually am in real life, and that parent is one who probably lets her child have one too many sugary treats on more than a few occasions.

It’s become so clear to me as Ainsley has gotten older that sugary treats for kids are everywhere! I go to the bank at 10 am and they ask if Ainsley wants a sucker, we run to the post office, grocery store and a number of other places that also offer candy. Don’t get me wrong, I’m very thankful for those treats now and again when my child really does need a distraction for me to continue on with my errands, but I’m also aware that saying “yes” every time they are offered means a steady stream of candy throughout the day – something I’m not keen about.

So what’s a mom to do?

Well, I’ve noticed that a cookie is a cookie for Ainsley, whether it’s sweetened with a little honey and made with whole wheat flour and resembles a graham cracker or it’s covered in frosting and made at the bakery. The same goes true with all other treats (except M&M’s…) that are sweet in nature. I’ve been trying to make more alternatives to sweet treats at home, in hopes that we can still enjoy an afternoon cookie or an energy bite, like these, without feeling weighed down by all the sugar and extra junk neither of us really need.

These energy bites are super tasty and actually, I think, taste better the second or third day after the peanut butter has had a chance to soften the oats a little bit and the flavors come together. I love them because they’re portable and easy to eat, too, so we can take them along in the car or to the park, etc.

Double Peanut Butter Snack Bites
  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter (not the natural kind)
  • 1½ cups old fashioned oats
  • ½ cup peanut butter powder (such as PB2 or similar)
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons chia seeds
  • 2 tablespoons hemp seeds
  1. In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients together using a wooden spoon or rubber spatula. Work together as much as possible with the spoon/spatula, then work the remaining bit with your hands to evenly combine.
  2. Scoop into 2-inch balls and roll between your hands to form. Place on a cookie sheet or tray and allow to set at room temperature for 10 minutes before serving. Cover remaining bites in a plastic storage container or bowl covered with plastic wrap.



Oh, baby!

October 18, 2016


Because I know not all of you follow me on Instagram or Facebook, I should start by saying that yesterday we made it internet official and announced that we are cautiously, hopefully anticipating the arrival of another little one in May.

It’s been an incredibly fearful first trimester, complete will tearful calls to the doctor, late night worrying and lots and lots of prayers. Maybe pleading would be a better way to describe my prayers? Lord, please deal kindly with us. Please have it be your will that we could welcome this little life into our family here on earth. Thank you for the gift of this pregnancy. Please forgive me for my fears, doubts and lack of trust.

There really are no words to truly explain how difficult this has been, yet how thankful and hopeful I feel. Pregnancy after a miscarriage is a uniquely fear-inducing experience, when you have no idea how your little one is doing in there, yet your heart is planning and preparing with every day that goes by.

Someone asked me after I announced if I would be able to share some of my tips for surviving the first trimester after experiencing pregnancy loss. Oh, dear friend, I wish I could share words of wisdom, but if you had been a fly on the wall of our house the last 10 weeks then you would know that I have no answers. I’ve been right there with you, scared and fearful and hoping for the best.

I recently learned during our most recent appointment that I’ll be treated like a normal OB patient. Nothing about me or my pregnancies seems normal to me, but I’m digesting what it will look like to go through a pregnancy without a thousand ultrasounds to reassure me every step of the way. To have everything look good enough to be considered normal is, of course, a blessing, but I have to admit that I do miss the added reassurance of seeing that little baby every couple of weeks like we did with Ainsley.

Since I know you’re a praying group, I’ll continue to ask for prayers of support and encouragement as we walk this road. Your prayers for the continued health and development of this baby would be so greatly appreciated.


A few other, lighter, questions that I’ve answered below:

How are you feeling?
Horrible! Or, I should say, typical. I’ve been sicker than I was with Ainsley, which is a little bit reassuring. I’ve been avoiding foods like coffee but haven’t had any really strong aversions other than sweet food almost always sounds horrible and I can’t stomach the idea of my daily smoothie that I used to love. I’ll eat anything slathered in salsa and sour cream and I’m still happy to eat vegetables, which is very welcome this time around!

How far along are you?
10 1/2 weeks

When are you due?
May 14th

Gender predictions?
None! And we don’t intend to find out this time around. 🙂

Maternity clothes?
Not yet! Although I’m counting it a miracle every day my non-maternity jeans still button. I have a feeling my days are limited.

I’ve been exercising, following the 21 Day Fix and 21 Day Fix Extreme videos this trimester. I’ve still felt good enough to get in a workout most days, and I’ve also been getting lots of long walks in with Ainsley and Joe. Because of my fears during the first trimester, I’ve been choosing to stick with low impact workouts, doing some modifiers on the videos and completely giving up running and my weekend Cross Fit with Joe. I’ve missed really strenuous workouts and sweat sessions, but I’m happy to do it for this baby!

Family, Infertility and Miscarriage

Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month

October 10, 2016
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October is my birthday month, and it has always been one of my favorite months of the year. It’s also Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month, a fact I was blissfully unaware of until a few years ago when I was struggling with my own feelings of loss and grief over miscarrying our first child the month prior.

I’ve been so grateful to have connected with so many of you over the years who have resonated with my posts about miscarriage. Although I was hesitant to share our journey on the blog initially, it’s been one of the greatest blessings to me, and I hope it’s been a blessing and comfort to others who know the pain of losing a baby to miscarriage.

To this day, e-mails come into my inbox on the regular. Women who, like me, were caught by surprise and shock when they miscarried for the first time. Who turned to the only place they knew they could find answers and camaraderie, the internet, and happened to find my posts on the subject. When I was deep in the murky waters of miscarriage – of blood tests and D&C’s and more questions than answers – I, too, turned to blogs that talked about the subject. I didn’t have friends or family members who had miscarried and desperately needed to connect with others who understood my pain.

I’ve learned, through loss, heartbreak and pain, that even in the valley, our God is above all things good. He cares about our pain and holds our children in His arms in heaven, even when we struggle to understand His plan. And trust me, there were/are plenty of times that I’ve questioned what the purpose of all this loss and sadness was.

Out of the women who have reached out to me via e-mail and Facebook messages over the years, there is a common thread. What these women want, more than anything, is to be validated that their pain and grief is real. For so long, our culture’s silence on the topic sends the message that the lives lost to miscarriage are not really lives at all, or at least not something that we should talk about publicly. Which is why I’ll say, and continue to say, that life begins at conception. Of that I’m certain. And that we can and should grieve the lives that have been lost in the womb, whether those lives were counted in days, weeks or months.

Thank you, brave friends, for sharing your stories with me and honoring the lives of your little ones – the ones that made you moms and gave you every reason to remember, grieve and celebrate such a precious gift.


Food & Recipes

Pie Week #4 // Blueberry

October 7, 2016


This week has been good and busy and long and short all at once. Joe has been traveling for work (returning home today!) meaning I’ve been manning down the fort at home. I love my days at home with Ainsley, usually Thursday and Friday each week, but if I do a poor job at planning activities, outings and strategic errand running, said days can seem awfully long when they start at 6 am and don’t end until 8 pm. All my fellow mommas, can you relate?

So in addition to keeping the house (relatively) clean, keeping the toddler entertained and well-fed and working whatever hours I could squeeze in between said entertainment and hosting the high school youth group at our house Wednesday night, I managed to stick to the Pie of the Week challenge and make this blueberry pie.

I wrapped this beauty up and delivered it to friends who had their third baby last month, along with this recipe from Pinch of Yum. The report back was that it was all a big hit, so I feel confident sharing the recipe even if I didn’t get to try the pie myself.

I didn’t use the crust recipe below, as I have a favorite recipe that is my go-to these days. But I did use the filling recipe, swapping fresh blueberries for frozen and letting the pie bake about 20-30 minutes longer until the filling was bubbly.

Find the recipe HERE.

Family, Fashion, Food & Recipes, Infertility and Miscarriage


October 5, 2016


Today I turn 29. I can’t believe that when this blog started, I was just 22 years old, a senior in college, without any background in blogging or the internet world. I wanted to post recipes of food that I loved. I was interning at a lifestyle magazine and working in their food section and inspired by this huge, brand-new world that was suddenly opened to me.

Back then I had unlimited amounts of time and few commitments other than a very cute boyfriend who would eventually become my husband. I worked and then came home and dreamed about the next recipe that I would put up on Espresso and Cream, excited about trying something new, scouring cookbooks for hours for inspiration and reading blogs like they were going out of style. (They are now, aren’t they?)

And then life changed. I got a few different big-girl jobs and I churned out recipes like a machine for those jobs. I developed recipes all day, in fact, and while it was fun and wonderful in so many ways, it didn’t really leave me craving kitchen time when I got home. I spent my whole day in a kitchen! So what once was a food blog became a lifestyle blog, and then for a time an infertility and miscarriage blog and then, even later, a blog about family and beauty and whatever seemed interesting at the time.

Some days, with life busier than ever, I think about closing up this blog all together. Because there are days and weeks and months when inspiration runs dry and I am left longing for the days when I wanted and could write about all the things. And there are still other days when I think that what I really need is a fresh start, to move to a new platform with a new name and start from scratch.

But then I think about the history, you guys. The stories that I’ve shared here and the journey that this blog – a diary of sorts – has been along for the ride and I can’t imagine not spending time talking with you all and receiving your e-mails and hearing your stories. I have made so many amazing friends through blogging and I’m richer because of that.

So no, this blog isn’t going anywhere, but on my 29th year, I’m taking a good, long, hard look at what blogging means to me and what I want to talk about on this site. And I want to hear from YOU! What types of content to do you want to see? Is it more recipes or more posts about beauty? Or maybe it’s sharing more fashion finds or talking about motherhood? Since this blog has been all over the place since it started, I’m ripe for suggestions and ideas from you, the ones who read this blog and who I’m so thankful for.

Thanks for being patient with me as I figure out what is next for Espresso and Cream.