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snack

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Protein Lactation Bites

April 8, 2015

photo (75)

The first six weeks of life with a baby have been eventful, to say the least, and those weeks have thrown my eating for a loop! I had grand visions of eating a huge meal after delivery, but surprisingly I found myself barely able to eat for a day after delivery and, in fact, my appetite was dampened for a good part of the first week postpartum. Pair that with the fact that I got a horrible case of stomach flu when Ainsley was 4 weeks old that took away my appetite for a week and a half and my eating has been sporadic at best since she arrived.

I started to get a little worried about maintaining my milk supply after getting hit hard with the flu. The dehydration took a big toll on my body and I realized there was no way I was getting enough nutrients in my system to make up for the calories lost during breastfeeding. So when my sister-in-law, Amber, posted this healthy recipe for Protein Balls on her Instagram page, I thought it would be a great recipe to tweak in hopes of boosting lactation. I mean I love Lactation Cookies but I was looking for something a little healthier for frequent consumption. An added bonus? These bites are super quick to whip up and much faster than baking a batch of cookies.

I’ve kept a double batch of these babies in our freezer for snacks throughout the week when I only have one hand and a couple minutes to spare, which happens more often than I would have ever imagined pre-baby!

Protein Lactation Bites
Author: 
Recipe type: Snack
Serves: 10
 
Ingredients
  • ½ cup rolled oats
  • ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons natural peanut butter
  • ½ cup chocolate protein powder
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 1 Tablespoon brewer's yeast
  • 1 Tablespoon ground flax
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
Instructions
  1. Combine all the above ingredients together in a food processor and process until mixture starts to come together. Roll into balls. Store in the refrigerator or covered in a plastic container.

 

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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
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert, Snack
Serves: 20
 
Ingredients
  • 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)
Instructions
  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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Loaded Chocolate Chip Cookie Bites | Espresso and Cream

October 20, 2014

Cookie Dough Bites (2) | Espresso and Cream

How was your weekend, friends? Joe and I had the best weekend with absolutely no plans on the schedule. After traveling or being crazy busy for the last month, this was the first weekend that we had a chance to hang around the house with no actual plans. It was glorious. We did a big deep “fall clean” of the house on Saturday morning, tossing and throwing things away and sorting. Please tell me I’m not the only person who gets a huge sense of relief throwing/giving away things we don’t need? I think a little bit of nesting has been kicking in because I suddenly have the desire to organize and sort every drawer and closet in our house!

I also made a little time for baking cookies and am super excited to have a new recipe to share today. Most of the time I’m a from-scratch baker, not because I feel like that’s what I should do but because I find it incredibly relaxing to bake, especially when I don’t have anything on the agenda. But sometimes I like to bring in a little help.

Since I work for Betty Crocker, I ended up with a bunch of pouch cookie mix in my pantry after a photo shoot last week. I pack Joe’s lunch each weekday morning and like to put a little something sweet into his lunch each day and we had absolutely nothing sweet around the house that would suffice, so a quick cookie baking session was calling my name. But instead of devoting a bunch of time baking, I made these cookies during halftime of the Vikings game and was back on the couch in time to watch the second half. Win-win!

Be aware that these cookies don’t spread out like regular cookies, which is by design. The edges get delightfully crispy and crunchy while the centers stay soft and chewy. It’s a fantastic combination, and these little cookies fit well inside almost any lunch box, for husbands or for kiddos!

Loaded Chocolate Chip Cookie Bites
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert, Snack
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 20
 
These cookies do not spread out like regular cookies but, rather, they hold their shape in more of a "ball" form by design. If you want your cookies to be flatter, flatten each dough ball with the back of your hand before baking.
Ingredients
  • 1 pouch Betty Crocker chocolate chip cookie mix
  • 1 stick butter, softened
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ cup creamy natural peanut butter (I didn't test with regular peanut butter, but I think it would work!)
  • ¾ cup miniature pretzels, finely chopped/crushed
  • ½ cup chopped pecans
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 350F.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat together the cookie mix, butter, egg and peanut butter until a soft dough forms and all ingredients are well combined. Beat in the pretzels and pecans until evenly combined.
  3. Scoop dough by rounded tablespoons onto an ungreased cookie sheet (or use a cookie scoop like I did.) Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until edges are lightly golden brown and set. Cool on baking sheet 2 minutes; cool completely on wire cooling rack.

Madison

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Apple Cinnamon Muffins with Pecans

October 3, 2014

Apple Cinnamon Pecan Muffins | Espresso and Cream

After a little bit of a hiatus from sharing recipes on E&C, I’m finally back with something new and ultra tasty to share. Although I have a deep and long-standing love for all things pumpkin, I feel like apples really get overlooked during the fall months because of the popularity of pumpkin. Anyone else feel that way, too? It’s really a shame since apples are one of my favorite foods, and don’t even get me started with apple pie, crisp and cobbler. The best!

While I was at Influence Conference, I got a lot of questions about Espresso and Cream and what type of blog category it falls into. If you would have asked me a year or more ago, it would have been an easy answer: it’s a food blog! But over the past year or so, I’ve been shifting this little site into something that would probably be categorized more accurately as a “lifestyle” than anything else.

Regular readers have probably noticed this shift over the months. Perhaps some of you have liked it, while others have thought it’s been a shift from the original intent and purpose of the site. Since I spend every day at work developing recipes and food content, I’ve found that being able to talk about topics broader than the narrow focus of food has been necessary for me as a person and writer. Although I love food, thinking about it all day and then blogging all about food at night leaves me drained and less passionate than I really am. Having recipes in the mix of content for E&C instead of the sole focus has been incredibly refreshing and given me more excitement for blogging

So for those of you who have been wondering, I figured I would explain a bit about what type of content you will see on E&C going forward. Recipes will never disappear from the site, but my goal these days is to provide you with higher quality recipes (which means fewer recipes!) and more variety in my posts, sharing about life, fitness, pregnancy, family and faith. Thanks for continuing to follow along on this journey and my ever-evolving blog.

Now, back to the recipe at hand. These muffins are really easy to pull together and stay incredibly moist thanks to the chopped apple in the batter. I used a Granny Smith, but feel free to use whatever apple you like baking with best or have on hand! They aren’t ultra sweet, but just sweet enough to feel a little indulgent on a weekend morning. Joe likes them with plenty of melted butter, while I prefer my muffin with a thin spread of peanut butter. But that’s just me, and I’m probably a little strange that way.

Feel free to experiment with the type of nuts used in the recipe as well. I could see walnuts being a really natural fit as well! An added bonus? I’ve found they make a great mid-morning or mid-afternoon snack and are really great in lunches for hungry husbands (or kiddos!)

Apple Cinnamon Pecan Muffins (1) | Espresso and Cream

Apple Cinnamon Muffins with Pecans
Author: 
Recipe type: Breakfast, Snack
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12
 
Ingredients
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 6 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1½ teaspoons cinnamon
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1 medium apple, peeled and finely chopped
  • ½ cup chopped pecans
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 350F. Line 12 muffin cups with paper baking liners; set aside.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat together the sugars and butter 2 to 3 minutes or until fluffy and well-combined. Add in the cinnamon, eggs and vanilla and beat until just combined.
  3. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and baking soda. Add half the flour mixture to the sugar mixture and beat until just combined. Beat in the milk, followed by the remaining flour mixture. Stir in the chopped apple and pecans by hand until combined.
  4. Spoon batter into prepared muffin liners. Bake 20 to 22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool 5 minutes in pan. Transfer to wire cooling rack and cool completely, about 30 minutes.

 

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Perfect Vanilla Scones

August 18, 2014

Vanilla Scone | Espresso and Cream
My sister-in-law, Ali, is one of the kindest, most genuine people I’ve ever met. She married into the Hofmeyer family two years ago when she married Joe’s brother, Jason, and I think I can speak for the whole family when I say that Jason found a fantastic wife in Ali.

Some of you may also remember that when we were pregnant with baby #2 Ali and I were supposed to be due only 6 days apart from one another. We spent a lot of time texting back and forth that first trimester and I think I can speak for both of us when I say that our miscarriage was devastating and difficult knowing how to navigate the waters while she was still pregnant and I no longer was. To Ali’s credit, she was so gracious and compassionate in those months following, always careful of what she posted on social media while our wounds were still fresh and sharing just enough with us but not too much so that it would hurt even more.

In the months following our miscarriage I desperately wanted to figure out how to be happy for both of my sister-in-laws and their pregnancies while also mourning and grieving our own loss. Joe and I have clung to the verse, “Laugh with those who laugh, mourn with those who mourn,” and I wanted nothing more than to be able to do just that with our family. I found that doing things in spite of my pain was the most healing; I think the phrase I actually used was, “Every time I can be happy for someone despite my sadness, it’s like I’m saying a big ‘Screw you!’ to the devil, who wants to steal my ability to be joyful for others and make me bitter”.

BabyShowerPhoto
Part of that process included sending the maternity clothes I had purchased to Ali and planning to throw her a baby shower in Minnesota later in the summer. Of course, at the time I would have never imagined we would be pregnant again by the time the shower rolled around, but there was something remarkably sweet about throwing a shower this weekend, celebrating Ali and Jason’s baby girl, remembering our own lost little one and feeling so thankful and joyful for the life that God has blessed us with in His own timing.

The spread at the shower included scones with an assortment of toppers such as jam and butter. Of all the breakfast pastries I suggested making, Ali’s vote went to scones. Her only request? They needed to be dense and slightly crumbly and crisp around the edges, not fluffy and cakey like some bakery-style scones in the states.

I tested a lot of recipes in the weeks leading up to the shower and realized that there are a lot of people who have no idea how to make a proper scone. Finally, when I was totally frustrated with scone recipe testing I consulted Desserts by the Yard, one of my favorite baking books. Sherry Yard never fails to come through for me, and this time her scone recipe totally knocked it out of the park. If you’re looking for a truly lovely scone, I would highly recommend this recipe. They soften a bit the next day, so make them the day of for best results!

Vanilla Scones 1 | Espresso and Cream

Perfect Vanilla Scones
Author: 
Serves: 12
 
Ingredients
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ⅓ cup sugar
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick (8 tablespoons) butter, cut into small pieces
  • ¼ cup heavy cream
  • ¼ cup milk (I used whole milk)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Additional sugar for dusting
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 400F. Line a baking sheet with parchment; set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking soda and salt. Stir until well-combined. Add the butter to the flour mixture and use your hands to break the butter up into small pieces. Then, once the butter has been broken up into small pieces, use your fingers to flatter the pieces of butter into thin discs.
  3. In a small bow, stir together the heavy cream, milk, egg and vanilla. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Use your hand to knead the dough gently 2 to 3 times or just until dough comes together.
  4. Turn dough out onto a floured countertop and shape into a rectangle 1-inch thick. Cut into 12 small squares (about 1½ by 1½ inches or so) and place on baking sheet. Dust with additional sugar, if desired.
  5. Bake 15 to 18 minutes or until scones are rich golden brown around the edges. Cool 5 minutes on baking sheet. Cool completely on wire cooling rack.

 

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