Pumpkin oatmeal chocolate chip cookies

Last week two of my husband's athletes came over for some fun afternoon baking with Caleb and I. We made pumpkin chocolate chip cookies. Can I admit that is my first pumpkin anything this fall season? I am just not into the pumpkin everything especially the pumpkin spice latte, just not a fan. But those cookies did kick off my now taste for pumpkin things since I can actually consider it fall with cooler temperatures rather than overheating every day. With the rain we had for half of the day, it gave me all the fall baking feels coupled with the taste of pumpkin last week. Yesterday afternoon, Caleb and I made pumpkin oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, which are very easy to make, delicious results!

Ingredients: 1 cup granulated sugar, 1 cup brown sugar, 2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup chocolate chips, 2 cups rolled oats (oatmeal), 1/2 tsp of ground cinnamon, 2 tsp of pumpkin pie spice, 1 TB vanilla extract, 1/2 tsp salt, 1 cup unsalted butter, 1 tsp baking soda, 1 cup pumpkin puree, 1 egg

Directions: Preheat oven to 350F. In your mixing bowl, cream the butter first. Then add in both sugars and mix thoroughly. Next add in the pumpkin puree and mix again. Add in the final wet ingredients, the egg and vanilla extract and mix again. Now you will add in the dry ingredients, the flour, oatmeal, baking soda, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon and salt. Turn the mixer on slowly so you don't have a flour shower. Lastly, add in the chocolate chips and give one last mix to thoroughly combine all the ingredients. 
On a greased cookie sheet, drop about 1 tablespoon of dough for each cookie. Bake about 14 minutes or until lightly browned. They might look a little soft but leave on the cookie sheet for a few minutes and then remove, they will harden up and make it easier to transfer to a drying rack. 
Enjoy these cookies with a glass of milk or some hot chocolate!


Pink Blush maternity... (and gender reveal)

When it comes to dressing a baby bump, there are many options. A maternity dress is a particular favorite of mine in just allowing that beautiful bump to be shown off. Through the 9 months as the bump grows, sticking to my personal style is important to me and Pink Blush clothes is a very fashionable store for maternity clothes and even non-maternity outfits alike. 
While the rest of the country may be enjoying all their fall attire like beanies, sweaters, boots, we are still enjoying dresses with bare legs and sandals. This is one reason why a maternity dress is perfect because I can wear it now and whenever the weather actually starts to cool down, it is a great transitional piece as I can pull on tall boots and a field jacket. 
Looking over my closet, I realized stripes are my thing so of course I naturally gravitated to this beautiful striped dress!

The material in this dress is very soft, the dress is very flattering fit and my husband is always quite a fan when I wear this dress. 
Even with a growing bump, it is important to be and feel yourself especially in beautiful clothes. This dress I feel very myself in, and proud of what my body is doing in growing our BABY GIRL!

*I was compensated for my review with this dress, but the opinions are all my own.


If you must know...

I felt compelled to write about the topic of badge of honor that it is birthing a kid. Let me clarify by saying it is always a badge of honor to birth a kid. Sometimes I feel though there is a certain level achieved in how you end up birthing your kid whether all natural, with an epidural and then a c-section. All natural you get the highest praise wow you did it all natural, you are a stellar person! Then an epidural is like oh you did good too but you needed something to cut the pain you couldn’t stand it as much. Then lastly a c-section, you simple get an oh you had a c-section. Guess what, every single birth was carried for 9 months!! That is no easy feat in itself, it is freaking hard. You are tired, you might puke a lot, the heartburn causes you to want to rib your esophagus out, etc. the list of issues as a side of effect of those wonderful *supposedly* 9 months goes on. Then at the end your badge of honor despite those previous 9 months is determined how you gave birth. 

With Caleb I had an epidural and guess what I will have an epidural again. Why? Because it made the whole process easier and I was barely tired afterwards. Yes I was tired still but I enjoyed the visits of our friends during our hospital stay. With an epidural I had the opportunity to text my mom before becoming a mom as I insisted my husband go get breakfast in him at the same time. With an epidural because I had to push for over 2 hours because Caleb was stuck on my tailbone and couldn’t pass, I barely felt it. With an epidural, I wasn’t screaming, cussing or yelling out things at my husband that I would later regret although I’m sure he would forgive him. With an epidural, I felt more in control because I couldn’t feel the pain, it was a relief to finally see Caleb when he came out but it wasn’t a relief of oh the pain is over thank goodness. With an epidural I got to sleep a few hours and felt more prepared to enter the new stage of life we were about to embark upon. 

I had a nurse friend tell me she got an epidural and it felt like a party because she got one and guess what it was a party, it was a birthday party for Caleb and as a very active participant in that party, I enjoyed it better.

Those are just some of the reasons why I got an epidural the first time and why I will get an epidural the next go around. So next time someone has a baby congratulate them on the hard task of carrying their son or daughter for 9 months more than focusing on so how did you do it all natural or not? C-section or not? 


Why blog?

I started my blog, henning love years ago after following and reading them myself for a few months. Then it dawned on me, why can't I have a blog and get to know other bloggers on that level? Also at the time of when I started my blog, I needed a creative outlet. I was working a 40 hour work week, my husband was an assistant coach at a university with weird hours and weekend hours so I needed something to fill my time and make my own. So that is what I started out to do, fulfill my need to create and to make a space my own, in which I would share the things that I liked, enjoyed or was important to me. 
My blog always included desserts I would make on a weekly basis for a small group through our church my husband and I attended. We couldn't eat all those desserts by ourselves every week after all. I enjoyed posting some of my favorite fashion finds although my fashion sense was evolving and becoming what I call today a capsule wardrobe if you have heard of the term. 
Through 10 months of unemployment, my blog remained consistent work, something to keep me excited, energized and give me drive as the rejections after interviews appeared. Eventually a job was offered but it was a brief period until Caleb arrived. Then blogging became harder as I was struggling to find out my new role as a mom but didn't want to allow my blog to completely become a mommy blog. There is nothing wrong with mommy blogs, I didn't want henning love to become a full-fledge mommy blog so I could still have my space as me before I become a mom. During some harder months when blogging became more frequent after becoming a mom, my blog was very helpful to my family. Slowly, I have returned to somewhat more full-time blogging. It isn't the 5 posts a week like I did when I first started, but it is becoming more frequent and my outlet between being a wife, a mom, owner of an essential oil business and all the other roles I fulfill on a daily basis. 
I love also seeing my former blog friends return to blogging as well. Or current friends start up their own blog! 
Blogging is enjoyable to me. It also has been and rarely did it feel like a chore or what am I going to write about today struggling staring at a blank page although yes sometimes that has happened in the past.
If you blog, why do you blog or what keeps you blogging?


Back to School munchies

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #NestleSchoolDays #CollectiveBias

While we don't have any kids going back to school this year, we are definitely a back to school family as my husband coaches cross country and track at a university. So we go from a slow summer to suddenly having to set alarms with early morning wake up calls, quick but healthy breakfasts are ideal and lunches must be packed again then family time is essential at dinner time. Having meal items that can be made in advance or can be quickly prepared or heated up help save time in the rush of the morning or making sure we have plenty of family time in the evening. Back to school can be hectic and chaotic but meals don't have to be sacrificed!

To get a healthy breakfast that can eaten on the run in case the alarm clock fails to go off, I made pumpkin zucchini chocolate chip muffins with LIBBY'S® 100% Pure Pumpkin and NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Morsels.

For my husband who usually eats on the run or quickly before morning practice, he eats a muffin with a hard boiled egg for protein. Since we have enough time in the morning, Caleb and I, to eat breakfast I made him scrambled eggs with a side of cantaloupe to eat with the muffins.
To make these muffins you need: 3/4 cup LIBBY'S® 100% Pure Pumpkin, 1 cup shredded zucchini, 1/3 cup honey, 1 tablespoon coconut oil, 1 egg, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, 1/2 cup whole milk, 1/2 cup NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Morsels, 1 1/2 cup flour, 1 teaspoon baking soda, 2 teaspoons cinnamon, pinch of nutmeg, pinch of clove, pinch of ground ginger.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and put muffin liners in the muffin tin. Shred the zucchini and squeeze out the extra moisture. In a baking bowl, add the pumpkin, zucchini, coconut oil and mix.

Add in the egg, honey and vanilla extract and mix again. 

Now you add in the dry ingredients, the flour, baking soda and spices. 

Mix thoroughly. Lastly, add in the morsels and turn on the mixer briefly. 

Pour the batter into the muffin liners until about 2/3 the way full. 

Bake the muffins for about 20 minutes, checking them at 15 minutes with a toothpick in the center until it comes out clean. Remove from oven and remove from tin and enjoy!

In the evenings, after a long day of coaching for my husband and after a long day of mothering a very active 2 year old, dinner time can be the last time I want to think about or even make. With DIGIORNO® RISING CRUST® Pizzas, dinner can still make it to the table without having to drive somewhere or drive thru to get dinner.

Shopping for all these items at Safeway or Vons in Southern California makes it easy to get all the items I need in one quick shopping trip. Add a side salad and you have a perfect dinner!

All three products help me with meal solutions for breakfast, dinner and next day lunch if there are leftovers plus you can save money on these and other Nestle products here!


Blue Apron meals

I decided to get a bit smarter with all the traveling we had this summer, as a busy mom who runs her own business that sometimes results in the lack of properly planned meals for my family. Yes I do sit down most Sundays to meal plan and grocery shop but I admit sometimes I am feeling less than creative or grocery shopping is the last thing I want to do accomplish on a Sunday, you get the drift. A few weeks ago I tried Blue Apron for the first time. So yesterday shortly before dinner, my Blue Apron box showed up on a Tuesday with three meals for me to make that night, the next and Thursday. Last night it was basil fettuccine with zucchini and tomatoes and this is tonight's dinner, the empanadas in the below photo. I liked having Blue Apron to do my thinking of what is for dinner for me and the prepackaged ingredients. In the past I have tried HelloFresh once for free before. It was a bit ago so I don't feel I am remember well enough to make a decent comparison overall but I think recipe wise we would pick HelloFresh over Blue Apron. 
P.s. Not a paid advertisement for Blue Apron, just something I paid for to help make life a bit easier as a busy wife, mom and business owner.

This empanada recipe has been my least favorite of the Blue Apron meals we have tried. It wasn't very flavorful in my opinion and not something I could recreate again in the future.