Why I Don’t Fear for My Child’s Future and Neither Should You

By Lifestyle No Comments

This week, there was absolute horror in Afghanistan as Marines and Afghani citizens were killed in a senseless manner. It rocks your world when you wonder how these things happen, how we didn’t stop them, how we have let evil have such a foothold in the world? Political and economic climates, climate change, moral ambiguity, and endless atrocities make it easy to worry about your child’s future. It’s easy to think why should I bring someone into this world when it’s such a mess. Why subject them to the evil that the world has welcomed?

I would argue this, your child was born exactly when they were meant to. The trials, the tribulations, whatever state the world is at when they grow up, is exactly the world they were meant to be in. Just as you were born in the right time and the right world to raise your child. Each generation has the capability to handle what’s ahead. So why fear for your child? Instead, let’s encourage the next generation to be brave, to be courageous, to know they CAN make the difference the world needs.

If the world does get worse, if it continues to get darker, do you know what your child could do? Your child could become the light this world needs. Your son or daughter could be that person that saves the life of someone in need, brings water and food to a nation in need, invents a life saving medicine or becomes a doctor who saves people each and every day. Your child could help bring peace to a local community, peace in a time of war, kindness where evil has been so present. Sometimes, the darker and scarier the world gets the more your light can shine. So I encourage you to raise your kids to be that light. To not be scared of what the world will become or what might happen. But to have courage and be brave. Be strong and do good for your neighbor. There is so much potential in this world. I don’t fear that my daughter will have a bad or horrible future. Instead, I have hope that she will bring joy, love and grace to the world and lead others to Jesus. She was born for such a time as this!

At the end of the day, I pray my daughter is courageous. I pray she is brave. I pray she is endlessly kind. It only takes one to start a positive revolution. I urge you to raise your kids to be the kind of people who change the world for the better. You never know what they were born to do on this earth!

Some verses I hope encourage you!

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10

“The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” Psalm 27:1

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let your hearts not be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” John 14:27

Overwhelmed – The Reality of the 4th Trimester

By Lifestyle No Comments

The reality of the 4th trimester is that you can and most likely will be overwhelmed. Between the rush of emotions, the changes in your hormones and juggling a new baby at home; overwhelmed barely begins to cover it.

For me, it’s trying to balance working from home and the baby. I want to work and bring in income to help our family, but I also need to take care of my daughter. That adds endless stress to my day to day life. But more than that it makes me feel guilty. Guilty I’m not doing enough as a mom, guilty that I’m a bad employee, guilty I’m a bad wife, the list goes on and on. Those feelings are endless and overwhelming for me and a real part of my postpartum experience. I’ve never been good with change and babies are one of the biggest changes.

If you are pregnant and preparing for a baby, prepare for what life will look like postpartum. You don’t have it all figured out, but have a plan in place and be willing to make changes to the plan. For me, that means changing the plan up some. It means working hard during naps and then playing with Mia when she’s awake. It means letting go of being perfect and getting it all done. It means letting go of the fear of failing. I can’t do everything so I will do my best and be okay with it. I will trust that it’s okay to not be able to give 100% of myself to both things at all times of the day.

Postpartum, in my opinion, is harder than pregnancy. Because you need to prepare more for it and we don’t. We don’t focus on making a real effort to prepare ourselves emotionally, physically and spiritually for the change coming. So for those heading into their 4th trimester let me give you a virtual hug. It’s not easy and you are going to have tough moments. You will have moments of fear, moments you are overwhelmed, moments you don’t know what to do. It’s okay! You are not a bad mom for needing time to adjust to the changes you are facing. Take it one step, one day at a time. Be willing to make changes or be flexible as things come up. Life is short but you can do this!

Now that I’ve thoroughly depressed you, let me share the positives!! That even in the absolute hardest moments, in my weakest moments, my daughter is the best thing. She’s beautiful, fun, and brings so much joy to my life. It’s okay to acknowledge the hard parts and still love your child with every ounce of your being! So don’t feel bad for having rough moments, for getting postpartum depression, for needing extra help, for crying it out. You are human and this is a huge life change. Take all the time you need to adjust and don’t forget to take care of yourself! If you are in this season of life or have passed it, what are your favorite self care methods?! Let me know in the comments below!

All the love and support I can give! XOXO Kayla

The 4th Trimester – What You Need to Know

By Lifestyle No Comments

Let me just start by saying the 4th trimester is one that’s the hardest to plan for. The life change that hits you once your baby is born is unreal. It’s like an earthquake that shakes up all you knew and makes you change and adapt at a moments notice. There’s a lot that you can do to prepare but a lot of this time is spent in trial and error. Trial and error just absolutely exhausts me and is one of the hardest things for me to overcome. It’s hard to not have a defined plan and have to adjust each day, sometimes each hour, to your babies needs. A we

When a Normal Pregnancy Hits Sudden Severe Preeclampsia

By Lifestyle No Comments

The arrival of my daughter was the most unexpected but amazing experience of my life. My daughter arrived 5 weeks and 6 days too early. My pregnancy up until that Thursday had been nothing but smooth. No morning sickness, easy first trimester, no medical issues or signs of upcoming medical issues. The only things when I look back that could have indicted what was to come was a slightly elevated blood pressure at one appointment and mild swelling. But there were no red flags, nothing to tell us that this was coming.

Thursday afternoon was when I started to feel off. It is hard to explain how I was feeling I just knew I didn’t feel right. I could tell something was wrong so I went to bed hoping I would wake up and shake off whatever was going on the day before. Instead I woke up feeling slightly worse. Nothing was happening, no seizures, no extreme swelling or anything to indicate a medical issue. But my mom has high blood pressure and since my last appointment showed a slightly elevated blood pressure I decided to check mine with my at home monitor. When I got the monitor out and started testing, I was showing numbers that looked like 140/90 even getting to 150/95 at one point. As soon as my doctors office opened up I called and told them I was feeling off and my blood pressure was rising. They had me rest for 15 minutes before retaking my blood pressure and trying again. The numbers remained the same so I was told to head into the hospital for a blood draw and to be evaluated by triage.

Fast forward to triage and my blood pressure is being monitored every half hour for 4 hours and it consistently staying high. I called my husband who is a resident at the hospital next door and told him he needed to head over so he could talk to the triage OBGYN with me. Come to find out I was presenting with preeclampsia but not normal preeclampsia, severe preeclampsia. At this point I was told my daughter would be arriving in the next 2-3 weeks.

Since we thought we had time and I was stable, Evan headed back to the hospital to finish seeing some patients that he was in charge of. I ended up needing to have a growth scan to make sure my condition wasn’t affecting my daughters growth. I called my husband and my wonderful nurse worked with me to postpone my growth scan until he could get to the hospital to go with me. He made it just in time to check on her. Luckily, she was doing wonderfully and while small there was nothing wrong and she wasn’t in any distress. Once we were back in triage we are told I need to be admitted for observation to get everything under control so I could head home until we would need to be induced in a few weeks.

Down in my room for the night I was settled and had ordered dinner. At this point my husband was still on call at the hospital and needed leave to get to a surgery that evening. I told him to head out as I was going to do nothing but watch tv and eat. We were not anticipating any changes at this point. Not long after a midwife came in and informed me that I needed to be induced THAT NIGHT. Talk about turning the tables! In a few hours we had went from a July due date, to a middle of June due date to an immediate induction! No lie, I freaked out on the midwife. I just wasn’t ready to hear that and her acting like I had no choice and they had made the choice for me. I told her nothing could happen until I talked to the high risk OBGYN and called my husband to come back.

We have a wonderful support system with my husbands coresidents and attendees. They completely understood what was going on and took over his responsibilities so he could be at the hospital with me. Once he arrived we were able to speak with the high risk OBGYN. They explained that even though our daughter was stable, I was at high risk for seizures and for both of our safety, she needed to come out. So we were off to a new floor with the high risk doctors and nurses to be induced.

After settling into our new room and getting induced we tried to be patient as we waited for labor to start. Let me tell you, the doctors said she needed to come but my body was NOT ready! We were induced early Saturday morning and didn’t have Mia until Monday at 12:38pm! After several hours they suggested using the balloon which only helped get us to 4cm (and was horribly painful!). They upped the pitcoin and we just kept waiting for things to progress. Once we hit Sunday at 12:30pm they broke my water and the 24 hour clock started. After 24 hours if Mia didn’t come on her own we would have to do an emergency c-section. Nothing and I mean NOTHING progressed until they upped the pitocin more about 4 hours before the deadline. About 20 minutes before the deadline I felt a bunch of pressure and told Ev I needed the nurse to come check me. Lo and behold I had progressed all the way to 10cm and she was ready to come! Suddenly there was a huge surge of nurses, residents and doctors as they prepped all that was needed for me and the baby. 7 minutes of pushing and Mia arrived in the world! She was little but perfect and doing so well. Evan and I got to hold her for a few minutes before she needed to go down to the NICU to be checked out and to make sure she was okay.

Once she was in the NICU, attention turned to me. Especially because I was really starting to not feel right. My breathing was tight, my chest hurt and I felt so off. My blood pressure was still running really high and because of my severe preeclampsia they ran a bunch of tests. I will tell you that during these tests was one of the first times I’ve seen my husband look truly scared. There were some irregularities in my heart rhythm and I think that’s what scared him the most. Having a medical background can be a burden in these situations as you overthink the situation. But luckily everything was evaluated and a normal part of what happens with my condition.

I am very lucky that I listened to my body and caught this early. Had I waited or thought it was nothing I could have put Mia and myself in a very dangerous situation. My advice to anyone pregnant or trying to conceive is to listen to your body. You know it best and advocate for treatment when you feel off. Unfortunately, things can change quickly in pregnancy so don’t be afraid to check in often and make sure you and baby are doing well!

Love and all the blessings! Kayla

5 Secrets to Taking Gorgeous Maternity Photos

By Lifestyle No Comments

Congratulations, you are pregnant! Whether you are feeling gorgeous and powerful or big and puffy; these five secrets will help you take gorgeous maternity photos.

1.) Good Photographer

It cannot be overstated that your photos greatly depend on the photographer you choose. There is a reason why you are paying them and that is for their expertise. It truly does make a difference in the quality of your photos. The biggest advice I can give you is to pick a photographer whose aesthetic matches your own. If you like moody photos, choose a photographer who edits that direction. If you like light and airy photos, choose a photographer who can handle that type of photo. Don’t feel bad being picky on this as it makes all the difference in the outcome of your photos. BUT I will be very clear that you need to pick a photographer within your budget. Do not go broke trying to pay for maternity photos. It’s a balancing act finding a photographer who fits the look you like while also fitting in your budget.

2.) Pick and Outfit You Are COMFORTABLE In

You are pregnant and with that comes a ton of body changes. It is so important to find something to wear that you are comfortable in for your maternity photos. There are a ton of outfits that you can choose for these maternity photos, but don’t feel pressured into a certain type of outfit. Pick whatever makes you feel beautiful and comfortable because that will transfer through to the photos. If you choose an outfit that you are uncomfortable in or doesn’t feel like you, that will come through in the photos that are taken. An example of this that I struggled with is a form fitted dress versus a flowing dress. In general I drift towards form fitting dresses that land before my knee than I do flowing dresses down to my feet. However, since I was feeling big and uncomfortable, I knew I would like the outlook of the photos better if I chose a flowing dress that wasn’t tight.

3.) Pamper Yourself

One of my biggest recommendations is pampering yourself before your photo session! For me that meant splurging at Drybar for someone to style my hair. The reason I suggest this is because your hormones are at their highest, especially as you get closer to your due date. At this point I was seriously so filled with hormones, everything made me cry and I felt so self conscious about my belly and how much my face had swelled up. Going out and getting my hair done made all the difference in how I felt during out photo session. I felt beautiful and a bit more like myself! Trust me, this is an area to splurge on as it will make you feel so much better!

4.) Keep Expectations Low

When you look at Pinterest, all you see are the best of the best maternity photos. Chances are you will not love every photo that is taken of you when you are pregnant. You will have those photos where you don’t like the angle or the way your face or body looks. That is completely normal and to be expected. You may also go into the photos expecting certain shots that you had seen online. The online problem with holding out hope for a certain shot is that they rarely live up to your expectation. I would highly recommend going in with your expectations a bit lower. Be okay that a different shot might be your favorite, that you may not like them all, and that it may be a bit harder emotional than you planned. But speaking from experience, looking back at those photos after having my daughter is everything! I may look different, but I love the photos and cherish them!

5.) Have Fun With Them

Go into the photos with the goal to have fun! Go into it remembering why you are getting these done in the first place. You want to make memories and remember this time in your life. To do that you need to step back and look at why you are having the photos done. If you can gain that perspective back you will be able to better enjoy your maternity photo experience.

Below are some of my favorites from our maternity session! Hope you enjoy them and my 5 secrets to gorgeous maternity photos.

Photographer: https://www.instagram.com/victoriaisabeltate/

Dress: https://www.indiefashionboutique.com/

Hair: https://www.drybarshops.com/

How to Make Chicken Meuniere with Tomato and Parsley Sauce

By Food No Comments

Now that I have a baby, easy dinners are where its at! I never understood the need for moms to have easy dinners to make until these last few weeks with my newborn. Tasty but easy dishes are a gold mine for moms. This chicken meuniere is an easy and tasty dish that is perfect for a weeknight. There are not a lot of steps to this meal and the dish was very tasty and light. Chicken Meuniere is lightweight yet tasty and the sauce added a fresh aspect to the dish.

I will say that I had to make a couple changes to the recipe just based on how the cooking was going. The recipe didn’t say to drain any remaining liquid from the pan before making the sauce but there was too much so I omitted the extra olive oil. I very well could have done something wrong, but that was my experience. The blend of flavors in this Chicken Meuniere was excellent and really made the dish stand out.

Overall Review: 4.8/5

If you are busy and looking for a meal you can prep ahead of time this would be the one. I don’t think you would have any issues making the sauce ahead of time and refrigerating it until you cook the chicken. That would cut your cooking time in the evening down significantly as all you would have to do is cook the chicken and heat the sauce up. I highly suggest you try making this for your next family meal! Pair it with some cooked veggies or mashed potatoes for a more filling meal! If you try this Chicken Meuniere, let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

For more recipe reviews: CLICK HERE. xoxo-Kayla

Chicken Meuniere with Tomato and Parsley Sauce

Recipe from Giada de Laurentiis's Weeknights with Giada cookbook
Servings 4 people

Ingredients
  

  • 1/2 cup Vegetable Oil
  • 2 tbsp Unsalted butter
  • 1 cup Flour For the bowl mix
  • 1/2 tsp Salt For the bowl mix
  • 1/4 tsp Black Pepper
  • 4 Chicken cutlets 4 oz pounded to 1/4 inch thick is recommended
  • 2 tbsps Olive Oil
  • 4 Plum Tomatoes Seeded and diced
  • 1/4 cup Kalamata Olives quartered
  • 2 tbsp Capers Rinsed and drained
  • 1/3 cup Dry White Wine
  • 1/2 Large Lemon Grated zest
  • 1/4 cup Parsley Leaves

Instructions
 

  • Heat a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat and add the vegetable oil and butter
  • In a medium bowl, mix flour, salt and pepper and season the chicken on both sides with salt and pepper. Take chicken and dredge in flour mixture
  • Shake off excess flour mixture. Place cutlets in skillet for 3-5 minutes on each side until golden brown and cooked through.
  • Transfer to a plate and keep warm (I place in microwave to keep warm)
  • In the same pan add olive oil, tomatoes, olives, capers, wine and lemon zest. Scrape any brown bits from bottom and mix in the pan. (You may need to drain pan beforehand so its not too runny) Cook for 3-4 minutes until tomatoes soften. Stir in parsley and season to taste with salt and pepper
  • Pour tomato mixture over chicken and serve warm.

8 Things I Learned as a New Mom

By Lifestyle No Comments

Congratulations mom! Wherever you are I hope that you are healthy and enjoying your life as a new mom. However, it is very easy to get frustrated, exhausted, overwhelmed, and more. I am far from an experienced mom, as I type this I have a newborn baby girl who just turned a month old. She spent over a week in the NICU so I’ve only had her home for about 3 weeks now. These are the things I have learned over those few weeks and I hope it helps you as you navigate those first few weeks as well!

1. Prepare for the Unexpected.

The first and most important piece of advice that I could give to any new mom is to prepare for the unexpected. The date they give you to expect your child to be born is just an estimation, they will come on their own time. Health issues can arise for you or for your baby at any time (oh the joys of pregnancy!). For me, that meant six weeks early due to sudden severe preeclampsia and the potential complications that posed to me and my daughter. This meant that the six weeks I thought I had left to prepare for her arrival were gone, all plans had to be escalated and quickly! We also had to mentally prepare that she would be in the NICU for some time after her arrival, so I wasn’t able to hold her for long, I wasn’t there to change her first diaper, etc. So try to prepare, at least mentally, for the unexpected. Things can happen in an instant and being able to ebb and flow with the changes is critical.

2. Soak It In.

You have heard people say it over and over, “The days are long but the years are short.” It’s hard to keep that perspective when you are exhausted and dealing with a tiny human day in and day out. However, it is so true. As I am typing this, my daughter is here next to me and already a month old. It feels like just yesterday we had her and were in the NICU feeding her for the first time. You child will only be that tiny once, and while its exhausting, its also magical and fleeting. Try to find a way to enjoy the moment you are in. For me, gaining that perspective was by watching other moms and babies in the NICU. I realized how precious time is, how precious life is, and how blessed we were that our daughter was doing so well. Sometimes you just need a bit of perspective to see things in a new light.

3. Housework is Not Critical

Let me free you from the belief that you need to stay on top of all housework with a newborn. You do NOT need to do it all. I can promise you that the housework will be there when you are ready. Personally, I was never OCD about housework before my daughter arrived anyways, but I do think that being able to set it aside and focus on her is crucial. She will only be this little once, the kitchen needing cleaned will be there for the rest of my life. So, if I put it off for a few hours or until the next day, no big deal. It will get done. I hope that you can find a way to have that perspective, because it will free you!

4. Accept and Ask for Help

I struggle hard with this one; I hate asking for and accepting help. Helping others and being there for them is easy and something I love doing. Admitting I can’t do it all and need help takes a humbleness that I don’t like showing. But you are a new mom! You deserve the help! So don’t feel bad, don’t feel guilty, don’t feel like you are failing. It is quite the opposite. What’s really happening is that people know you were thrust into a whole new world full of exhaustion and new beginnings. Because of that they are trying to walk with you and support you. Be okay with the support, say thank you and let go of the guilt momma.

5. Hold Your Baby.

This one is just my own personal testament. I refuse to believe I can spoil my newborn baby. She went from being in my belly 24/7 to out in this cold world. If she needs some extra love and extra time in my arms, by all means she can stay there. I believe wholeheartedly that holding and comforting my newborn baby is crucial and a magical thing. She needs me and needs someone to love on her and make her feel safe. And lucky for you momma, your baby wants to be held by you! Enjoy those special moments and hold your baby as close as you can!

6. Formula or Breast milk – Whatever Works for You and Baby

Seriously, I have never bought into the belief that you are a bad mom if you don’t breastfeed your baby. It was something I was personally never interested in, but I talked to my husband and agreed I would give it a shot due to the medical benefits and bonding in can bring. And while I am breastfeeding and pumping for my daughter, we use formula as well and have no issues with that. Formula is an amazing invention that allows babies to be fed and grow with all the nutrients they need! Breast milk is amazing, but guess what?! At the end of the day, as long as your baby is fed, the rest really doesn’t matter. Momma, let go of any guilt of doing what society or family want you to do. Do what you think is best and what is best for baby and move on!

7. Give Yourself Grace

Last night, my daughter was screaming bloody murder and we could not figure out why. We had fed her, changed her, held her, all the things we could think of. After about a half an hour we decided to give her another bottle and see if maybe she was hungry again and low and behold that was it! Poor little thing was just hungry and I didn’t realize it. Those moments make your heart sink as a new mom. But I realized after that I am still learning, this is all new and there is no guide on how to take care of my baby girl. So each day is going to full of trial and error, its going to have good and bad moments, but in each moment I will give myself grace. I am learning and that means giving myself patience as we handle each new thing. So momma, don’t be too hard on yourself if you do something wrong or miss something. It’s going to happen and doesn’t make you a bad mom. It makes you a REAL mom. It makes the moments you do know what they need all the more special.

8. Treat Yourself

This actually happened by accident and wasn’t a planned purchase. But Amazon Prime day fell not long after my daughter was born. We saw an awesome deal for a Nespresso and some pods and I decided to treat myself. It wasn’t anything crazy expensive but it allowed me to get something for me that would help me feel better on those long mornings. You have went through quite a lot momma, if you need something to treat yourself too and feel like yourself then do it! Don’t feel bad doing something just for YOU. You have and will continue to work incredibly hard and you deserve to treat yourself every once in a while.

Most of all, I hope you remember that you are doing great. You were designed and chosen to be this babies momma. You CAN do this! On the hardest of days hold onto these few scriptures that hopefully will bring you comfort.

Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

Matthew 6:25-27 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?”

For more blogs by Cultivate Confidence – CLICK HERE

How to Make Beef & Mushroom Skewers with Soy & Scallion Butter

By Food No Comments

Seriously, these beef and mushroom skewers are PHENOMENAL. It’s 100% the marinade and the butter you place on top. They just take the flavor profile to the next level. My husband and I loved them and devoured almost the entire thing, this recipe is one that I will definitely add to our rotation. These skewers are super easy to make and would be perfect for a weeknight where you want something tasty and easy. I personally paired these with some grilled corn on the cob and it was the perfect meal.

There is a caveat I want to make about the soy and scallion butter. For one, I cannot find scallions anywhere! Pandemic issue or is everyone buying scallions?! I ended up substituting for chives since I couldn’t find any scallions. Additionally, I felt like the butter didn’t mix well and I couldn’t get it smooth enough. What I did instead was so heat up the mixture and use it more as a marinade/spread to use after the kabobs had been cooked. I was still able to get a great amount of flavor and it was far easier to spread. The recipe originally calls for you to dip the kabobs into the butter mixture but that just wasn’t going to work when I made them.

Overall Review: 5/5

I highly recommend you try this recipe, it was easy to make and the taste was amazing. Beef and mushroom skewers can be paired with any number of sides and would be a crowd pleaser if you have guests over. Be aware that when meat is cut small like this it gets cold fast, you will want to serve and eat these pretty quickly so you get the full effect. If you decide to cook these, please let me know what you think in the comments below!

If you are interested in other recipe reviews click here: Recipe Reviews.

Beef and Mushroom Skewers with Soy and Scallion Butter

Recipe from Giada De Laurentiis
Servings 4 Kabobs

Ingredients
  

Skewers

  • 1/3 cup Olive Oil
  • 4 Garlic Cloves
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Black Pepper
  • 1 (1 1/4 pd) Sirloin Steak cut into 3/4 inch pieces About 24
  • 24 Button or cremini mushrooms (or what you can find) 12 oz of mushrooms

Butter

  • 8 tbsp Unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 3 Small Scallions (if you can find them, I had to sub with chives)
  • 1 Garlic Clove
  • 1 1/2 tbsp Soy Sauce

Instructions
 

Skewers

  • In a small bowl, mix olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper. On your skewers alternate the meat and mushrooms until you are out. Arrange on a baking sheet and evenly marinate the olive oil mix on all pieces on the skewers. Let sit for at least 15 minutes.
  • Heat a grill to medium heat and grill until about medium in temperature (or whatever you prefer). Transfer to platter and let rest for a few minutes. Right before serving add the butter mixture on top of the skewers (you can dip but spreading on top worked amazing for me). Serve immediately.

Butter

  • In a small bowl and use a fork to combine butter, scallions, garlic and soy sauce until smooth

How to Make Peanut Butter Cookies with Blackberry Jam

By Food No Comments

These peanut butter cookies with blackberry jam was one of the first recipes I wanted to try when I got Giada’s cookbook. It was such an interesting concept adding the blackberry jam and I was curious to see what it would taste like. Let me preface this entire review by saying that I am 30 almost 31 weeks pregnant and my taste buds have been hit and miss at times. I will definitely make these again once the baby is here and my taste buds are a bit more normalized. But for now, here is my initial assessment of these cookies.

These are really easy cookies to make but they are BIG cookies. These are not small chocolate chip cookies, they are 1/4 cup cookies that flatten as you bake them. To give you a visual, one cookie will fit a small plate. My biggest issue with these was keeping the blackberry jam in the center. As they baked the jelly spread quite a bit. Additionally, the area where the jelly was got real thin and hard since from the liquid of the jelly. I double checked the recipe and it said that the jelly went in before baking, not sure if the cookie would turn out the same if you added the jelly at the end or even after baking. But this was one of the first issues I found. The other issue that I found was that the level of cocoa powder made that taste come through more than the peanut butter. So be prepared for quite a bit of cocoa powder taste when you make these cookies.

Overall Review: 3/5

When it comes to the taste of these peanut butter cookies with blackberry jam, they are honestly not my favorite. It’s not that they are necessary bad, they just aren’t great. I’m wondering if it would be better to do chocolate chips instead of cocoa powder? But overall they are good if you are looking for this specific taste. Later this year, I will try them again to update you and see if they taste better once my taste buds are back to normal. If you decide to try them let me know in the comments below.

For more recipe reviews head to our page here: Cultivate Confidence Reviews

Peanut Butter Chocolate Cookies with Blackberry Jam

Recipe from Giada De Laurentiis
Servings 10

Ingredients
  

  • 1 cup All purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup Unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp Baking soda
  • 1/8 tsp Fine Sea Salt
  • 8 tbsp Unsalted butter at room temperature Cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 3/4 cup Creamy peanut butter
  • 1 cup Granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup Packed light brown sugar
  • 1 Large Egg Beaten at room temperature
  • 1 tsp Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1/4 cup Blackberry Jam

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees and line baking sheets with parchment
  • In medium bowl, sift or whisk flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt
  • In another bowl or mixer, beat butter, peanut butter, 3/4 cup of granulated sugar and all light brown sugar until smooth.
  • Add egg and vanilla and mix until blended. Gradually add flour and mix until just incorporated. Don't continue to mix once you can't see flour.
  • In a small bowl place the remaining 1/4 cup of granulated sugar. Form dough into 1/4 cup balls and roll in the sugar. Should make about 10 balls. Only place 5 balls on a baking sheet and make sure they have space between them.
  • Use a 1/4 tsp to make an indentation in center of each ball (1/2 to 3/4 inch deep). Spoon a tsp of jam into each indentation
  • Bake cookies for 11-14 minutes until cookies are crackled and dough has spread. Cool for 5 minutes before transferring to rack and then cool completely for 20 minutes before eating.

5 Reasons I Love to Cook from Home & You Should Too

By Food No Comments

It took me years to learn to cook, let alone enjoy doing it. Cooking used to be a huge struggle because it took time, preparation, extra cleaning and some skill (of which I had little). To take an hour or more after work to sit down, prep and cook a meal sounded absolutely exhausting and many days it was. And It was harder and harder because I made it that way. I choose to see it as a burden instead of a blessing. What do I mean by blessing?

I would argue there are five reasons why I love to cook and you should too. Let’s start with the first reason.

1.) Cooking From Home is Ultimately Healthier

Ultimately cooking and eating at your own home is healthier than going out to eat even at a restaurant with healthier alternatives. Why is that? That is because you are able to control the ingredients you put in. You control the amount of oils, fats and other items that go into your food and the quantities. Cooking from home allows you to substitute unhealthy items for healthier alternatives making your food lighter in calories, salt and carbs. You can still make equally unhealthy foods at home should you choose too, but in general since you are putting the ingredients together, you will choose the healthier option.

2.) Cooking From Home Is Cheaper

Cooking from home ultimately ends up being cheaper because you control your budget, you are able to set how much you want to spend and any leftovers can be used for another meal! Leftovers are probably my biggest money saver. Make just a bit more of something than you know you will eat that evening and you can package the leftovers for lunch the next day. For those on a budget, this is the best way to start saving money.

3.) Cooking from Home Develops New Skill Sets

The best thing that I have found from cooking and baking is that I am developing new skill sets. I’m not perfect or a chef my any stretch but I am better than I was. And each day I get a little bit better. These skills make cooking feel less like a chore and makes it more enjoyable for me to do. I have also found the areas of cooking I’m not as fond of so I avoid those or find alternatives to make cooking fun.

4.) Cooking from Home Can Help with Weight and Health

Being able to cook, especially a relatively healthy meal for you and your family is a blessing. It doesn’t make the time element or the expense element go away. But it keeps you and your family healthier, it keeps your finances in a better spot as eating out adds up quickly, and it lets you enhance your cooking skills.

5.) Cooking From Home is Fun and Family Friendly

Cooking from home is fun and family friendly! You can involve your kids or spouse in the dinner process which allows you time to hang out and bond together. Plus cooking can be as fun as you make it! You can pick and choose your spices, try new ingredients, try new meals and more! You can make cooking enjoyable and a blast!

Why do you love cooking? If you don’t love cooking, why is that? Let me know in the comments below?