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Food & Recipes

Yellow Cake + Chocolate Sour Cream Frosting

September 22, 2015


Joe recently celebrated his 28th birthday. I can’t believe that we’ve been celebrating birthdays together for the last 6 years. Where in the world has the time gone? This husband of mine, well I have to say that I think he’s the best. The nearly 4+ years we’ve been married and the years we dated before that (including a little while in high school, too!) have been some of the most wonderful, heartbreaking, difficult, joy-filled years of my life. Isn’t that what doing life with someone else is all about? It’s a study in contrasts, it’s work and elbow grease and it’s always, absolutely worth it.

So, my love, this year and every year I celebrate you. Your go-get-em attitude, your stubborn nature, your zest for life, toughness and compassion all rolled into one. You’re the best dad for Ainsley and the best husband for me. We couldn’t be more thankful for your presence in our life and I pray for many, many more birthdays to come. Here’s to making 28 our best year yet!


Also: I made yellow cake with chocolate sour cream frosting for Joe’s birthday. And, gasp!, I used a boxed mix. Because I love Betty Crocker and because sometimes it’s really all about the frosting anyway. :) The recipe below is just for the frosting, because I’m sure you don’t need me to repeat the instructions for making cake from a box!

Yellow Cake + Chocolate Sour Cream Frosting
Recipe type: Dessert
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 3 to 3½ cups powdered sugar
  • Milk, if necessary to reach spreading consistency
  1. In a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, combine the chocolate chips and butter, stirring frequently until smooth. Remove from heat and cool.
  2. In a large stand mixer or a large bowl with a hand mixer, combine the butter-chocolate mixture, sour cream, vanilla, salt and powdered sugar. Beat until smooth and well-combined. If necessary, add a little milk to reach a firm but spreadable consistency. Store frosted cake or frosting in the refrigerator.


Food & Recipes

Almond Flour + Coconut Flour Coffee Cake

July 27, 2015

This post is brought to you in partnership with Lavazza. All thoughts and opinions are, as always, my own.


Happy Monday, friends! It’s been a while since I’ve posted a recipe around these parts. Truth be told, having a baby has hit my cooking game hard and I’ve been ever so slowly working my way back into the kitchen. Mornings have been all about quick, nutrient-packed smoothies and all the coffee, because Miss Ainsley still doesn’t have that whole sleeping through the night thing down. When you have a baby, it seems like everyone wants to talk about your baby’s sleep. “How is she sleeping?” is by far the most common question that I’ve received over the past five months. And when your baby isn’t sleeping great? Well it can feel a bit discouraging. In all fairness, Ainsley isn’t a bad sleeper or a good sleeper, just a very average sleeper. Now that I’ve accepted that fact, it’s easier to not be bothered by the night wakings and sleep deprivation.

When you have a baby, everything sort of comes to a halt in your life. My world? Totally rocked. I’ve been slowly “re-claiming” my life by venturing back into running and working out, cooking, spending time away from Ainsley and doing things I’m passionate about. It’s a balancing act to find the time to still be “you” while taking on this huge responsibility of mommy! Anyway, I digress…

Continue Reading…

Food & Recipes

Chocolate Chia Mousse

June 22, 2015

Chocolate Chia Mousse (2)When Ainsley was first born I realized very quickly that if I was going to be sleep-deprived, overwhelmed with new experiences and exhausted, then I better focus on eating well. I mean food is, at its core, all about fuel, so what better way to care for my body than to be mindful about what I was eating. A lot of people talk about the 80/20 rule when it comes to eating healthfully; I strive for that, too, but I’m working on getting back in the game after a season where I gave myself a little more permission to indulge than when I wasn’t pregnant.

Sweets have always, always been my nemesis. Sugar doesn’t make me feel good. In fact sugar makes me feel really crummy and sluggish most every time I eat it. So to satisfy my craving for a little something sweet at the end of the day without the crash, I’ve been trying to get a little more creative.  Continue Reading…

Pregnancy, Uncategorized

Lactation Cookies

February 17, 2015

Lactation Cookies (3) | Espresso and Cream

For the next number of days (or perhaps weeks?!) I think I’ll be talking about how we’re in “the home stretch” with this pregnancy. At 38 weeks and 2 days pregnant, not that anyone is counting, I’m quite ready to be done being pregnant and meet our little peanut! I’ve been doing a little nesting around the house over the past few weeks, cleaning the house from top to bottom and organizing every drawer and closet in our house, except for that really scary one filled with clothes that no longer fit me in the basement.

I’ve also been doing a little cooking, although not nearly as much as I thought I would. I had grand visions of making a thousand healthy freezer meals to eat at a moment’s notice, but instead we settled for going to Costco and stocking our basement freezer with frozen lasagna, loaves of whole wheat bread, soups and frozen pizza.

The one thing I did make from scratch, however, were these lactation cookies. I’ve heard great things about different types of lactation cookies over the years but never really paid much attention to them until I actually had a need for my own recipe. Most of the recipes I found online were laden with lots of butter, sugar and white flour. And while I totally support cookies made with traditional ingredients, I know that I’ll also be trying to lose the baby weight and eat a little more healthfully in the months to come.

Lactation Cookies | Espress and Cream

I decided to play around with finding a happy balance, creating a cookie that’s both delicious and semi-healthy. I cut the butter down a bit and reduced the sugar. Additionally, I added plenty of flax seed and oats and used a mix of all-purpose and whole wheat flour. I think the end result is a cookie that tastes amazing and slightly sweet but also doesn’t leave you feeling guilty after you eat one, or two, or three. Not that I would know or anything.

Lactation Cookies
Serves: 30
  • 1 cup butter
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup ground flax seed
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 tablespoons brewer's yeast
  • 2½ cups rolled oats
  • ¾ cup dark chocolate chips
  • ½ cup chopped pecans or walnuts
  1. Heat oven to 375F. Spray a large cookie sheet with nonstick cooking spray or line with parchment. Set aside.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter on medium speed until smooth, about 30 seconds to 1 minute. Add in the sugar, brown sugar and flax seed and beat until fluffy, about 2 minutes more, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.
  3. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, followed by the vanilla.
  4. In a large bowl, combine the flour, whole wheat flour, baking soda and brewer's yeast. Add dry ingredients to butter mixture and beat until just combined. Beat in the oats, followed by the dark chocolate chips and nuts.
  5. Spoon dough by heaping tablespoons onto baking sheet. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until golden brown around the edges. Cool 5 minutes on baking sheet. Cool completely on wire cooling rack.



Ultimate Bakery-Style Chocolate Chip Cookies with Candied Pecans

January 13, 2015

Ultimate Bakery Style Chocolate Chip Cookies | Espresso and Cream

Many times I sit down to write and blog post without really thinking about what exactly I’m writing about. The words flow easily about the recipe I’m going to share with you, the flavor or texture or usefulness of the recipe at hand. It’s easy to fall into a lull of writing about food without really writing about anything at all. Does anyone really need me to wax poetic for four paragraphs about chocolate chip cookies?

Lately I’ve felt a pull towards different types of blogs than those that I’ve loved in the past. I’m drawn to the writing of women who are ultimately inspiring in the way they share vulnerability and failure without falling down the rabbit hole of negativity and hopelessness.

*I love the way Jess and Rachel write about faith, motherhood and anxiety, depression and the whole of life experiences. The way they bravely share their faith and passion for Jesus pushes me to share my faith more openly.
*My adoration for Shanna’s understated and beautiful way of looking at the world continues to grow with every post. I’m so thankful for her friendship over the years, even if it’s just been of the digital/e-mail variety.
*The way Laken writes about family life, motherhood and personal growth always leaves me feeling inspired and uplifted; her site always feels, to me, like the blog equivalent of Anthropologie for some reason.
*I wish every single day that Heather and I could sit and work together and drink coffee and talk like old friends. Another e-mail blog friend, I feel her warm spirit come across in every post, almost like a virtual hug.

Anyway, I suppose I’ve gotten terribly off course, but what I really mean to say is that I’m so thankful for those who are willing to share their lives online. Sometimes I wonder if having “blog friends” is strange or if I should just spend more time devoted to those friendships that I have in real life. But the beauty of the blog world is that chances are there is someone going through something similar to what you’re going through, whether it be a painful and trying time or a time of extreme joy.

I’m so thankful there are women who have written their stories for the world to read so that I can follow along, a few steps behind, and feel a little more prepared for what’s ahead. I’m thankful for those who are writing out their own crazy stories in the thick of it so that I can read what they’re going through and know that I’m not alone.

If you’ve made it this far down the page, thank you for reading my ramblings! I have nothing to really wrap this post together with except to say that I made cookies. Really, really good cookies, if I do say so myself. They’re perfect in the way that they’re crispy on the edges and soft and chewy in the center. They’re packed with chocolate chunks and candied pecans and have just the right amount of salt so as not to overwhelm you with sweet. Make them. I promise you won’t be disappointed.

Ultimate Bakery-Style Chocolate Chip Cookies (1) | Espresso and Cream

Ultimate Bakery-Style Chocolate Chip Cookies
Recipe type: Dessert, Snack
Serves: 20
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon corn starch
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1½ sticks butter, softened
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • ½ teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chunks
  • ½ cup chopped candied pecans (I buy mine at Trader Joe's)
  1. Heat oven to 350F.
  2. In a small mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, corn starch and salt. Stir until well combined.
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat butter until smooth and creamy, about 1 minute. Add in the brown sugar and granulated sugar and beat 2 minutes more or until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, until just combined, followed by the vanilla and almond extracts.
  4. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and beat until combined. Stir in the chocolate chips and candied pecans by hand until incorporated.
  5. Spoon dough by heaping tablespoons onto lightly greased baking sheet, placing dough balls about 2 inches apart. Bake 9 to 10 minutes or until golden brown around the edges and slightly soft looking in the center of the cookies. Cool 5 minutes on baking sheet. Cool completely on wire cooling rack.

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