Monday, December 28, 2020

Shane's Brown Butter Pecan Cookie Recipe









Okay, these have been the star of the show over on stories multiple times since Shane first made them a year ago. They're probably the most requested recipe post I get from you guys, so when I had a craving for them earlier this week I got Shane to agree to make them again if I placed a quick free delivery order from our local Walmart store for the ingredients with my Walmart+ membership ($35 minimum, restrictions apply). This membership has come in so handy more times than we can count, and they just launched a new benefit starting this month where Walmart offers Walmart+ free shipping, no order minimum for Walmart+ members as well (excludes oversized/freight & marketplace items). Members also receive member prices on fuel at Walmart, Sams Club, and Murphy gas stations, and access to tools that make in-store shopping faster. Our store has same day delivery, so it's easy to convince hubby to make these when it doesn't require either of us to have to leave for the ingredients -- and I'm sure it'll only become handier once the baby is here. 

As for the cookies, these are hands down my favorite cookie ever! Shane has become quite the baker during the pandemic and the extra time at home, and I think he sort of has a secret calling in the kitchen. Everyone we've shared the cookies with has also been impressed (and addicted immediately) so if you need something fun to bake that's a sure fire hit - these are it!  

Brown Butter Pecan Cookies 

INGREDIENTS:

- 1 cup of unsalted butter
- 1 cup of brown sugar
- 1/2 cup of white sugar
- 2 eggs
- 2 tsp of vanilla extract
- 2 1/2 cups of flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
-1 tsp salt
- 2 cups (approximately 1 bar) chunks of chocolate (not chips)
- 1 cup chopped pecans 

DIRECTIONS:

In a small sauce pan, boil butter until browned. It should smell nutty and have a caramel color to it. Remove butter from heat and place in the refrigerator to cool for 30 minutes. Next, mix the butter and sugar together. Add eggs and vanilla, and mix. Add in the flour, salt, and baking soda. Mix together. Next, add in chocolate chunks and pecans and fold into a dough. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cover dough and set for 30 minutes. Roll dough into balls and cook for 9-11 minutes, they should be fairly moist still. Let cookies cool for approximately 8 minutes after you remove them from the oven. We like to take a fork and press down on the top of them, and sprinkle a little Pink Himalayan Sea Salt on top!

Keep me posted if you make these! We would love to hear how they turn out, and don't forget to check out the Walmart+ benefits in your area! It costs $98 a year, or $12.95 per month and includes a 15-day free trial period so you can test it out and see if you like it (but trust me, you will)! To sign up for the free trial, click here. 

*Thank you to Walmart for sponsoring todays post. As always, all opinions are my own.

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Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Our Maternity Photos + A Third Trimester Update















We are officially 3 weeks away from our due date! Honestly, time is flying by. I know most everyone tells you the last few weeks crawl due to anticipation, but I'm not experiencing that. I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that the holidays are also around this time, and that we are still working on getting our new home furnished and ready for our parents to visit long term. I'm so busy with work (holiday season), buying and wrapping gifts for everyone, decorating the house, getting little man's nursery organized, ordering the last of what I need for postpartum and what we are still missing for this little peanut etc. that life.is.busy. I never want to forget this time, so it's helpful for me to write out all that I am feeling and experiencing, and while I'm at it - maybe it'll help you too. So here's a little update on the homestretch!

HOW I'M FEELING PHYSICALLY

I honestly feel really good! I was prepared for the worst after hearing everyone else's 3rd trimester stories, but like I've mentioned with other pregnancy topics, you really can't (and shouldn't) compare your story to others, because each pregnancy is so unique and different. I also strongly believe that mindset and staying active has so much to do with how you feel in these last few weeks. I've always been a regimented person, and sticking to a routine is what's keeping me sane. I'm still waking up at 6 AM daily, starting my day with a workout - yes, even at 37 weeks - although my workouts look a lot different, I'm proud of myself for staying committed to moving every day. I do a 20 minute Peloton walk on the treadmill, followed by 30-40 min of weights, and Shane and I take a walk in the afternoons with the dog 3ish times a week as well. I'm also still riding the Peloton if I'm not walking (about 2-3 times a week). I'm hoping that by staying active, my body will be more prepared for labor. We will see! 

EMOTIONS 

I feel fairly level headed. To be honest, I think everyone around me would say I've been super "normal" in the emotions department this entire pregnancy. Of course, I have my days here and there. I think it's fair to say that most of those days have been triggered by things that are out of my control, like Covid. I miss my family tremendously, and have truly let myself mourn the loss of the idea in my head of what I always thought pregnancy would look like. For example, having my family around for the milestone moments like the gender reveal, the baby shower, putting together the nursery and shopping for baby items together. Just writing this out bring tears to my eyes because it feels so unfair. I'm constantly reminding myself to focus on the things I can control, versus what I can't control, and to be grateful for a healthy growing little boy. I'm a firm believer in that everything happens for a reason, and God chose this timing for our family for a much greater purpose than we can physically see today. If you are going through this same season, just know your feelings are valid and that you are not alone. On the other end of the spectrum, I am so excited to meet our son. We talk about what he will look like and his personality daily, and it's been so fun to imagine life with him earthside. Our bodies are capable of so much, and I feel so grateful for such a huge blessing during a year like this. He has given us so much to look forward too, and the love we feel for him is already exponential. 

 SLEEP

Sleep is something I've struggled with most of my pregnancy. Around 32 weeks I started getting this intense itchy feeling all over my body at night which was really keeping me up. We were worried about Cholestasis so I went in to get tested, and thankfully did not have it. The doctor thought that the itchiness was most likely due to hormones as they are at their peak around this time and suggested Benadryl at night, and Allegra during the day to help with the symptoms. Well, the Benadryl has provided the best sleep I've had all pregnancy, and for the most part doesn't make me drowsy the next morning (I only take half the dosage). As of this week, I am starting to feel more tired later in the day but that's all part of the game. I can really only sleep comfortably on my right side with a king size pillow in between my legs so that's where I land for the most of the night. The belly sort of makes moving from side to side a whole project, and don't even get me started on getting up from the bed - haha! 

THE BELLY

Baby has definitely dropped! I'm not 100% sure exactly what week this happened, but I want to say I started noticing it most around 33 weeks. My weight gain slowed way down in the 3rd trimester, but I can tell when baby boy is growing because there's a noticeable difference in my belly size and the scale reflects the gain too. He is also head down now! It's incredible being able to feel where his body parts are as he gets bigger. The kicks are a lot less frequent now that he has less room, and his movements tend to feel more like wiggles at this point. He likes to shove his butt right into my ribs and shifts from side to side daily. Sometimes I feel like I need to stretch my arms above my head to get him to shimmy down some because the rib situation is rather uncomfortable and cramped. My appetite also seems to be the biggest it's been to date these last few weeks, although, I tend to feel full fairly fast since there is less room so I eat lots of smaller meals throughout the day. I think the most noticeable difference for me now that he's in position is the amount of pressure I feel, especially if we are walking or I'm doing leg day. I also still have the lower back pain almost daily, but with a giant belly and a 6 lb baby down low inside of it - I guess that's to be expected. 

CRAVINGS

I really haven't had a ton of cravings. I talked about this in my first trimester recap, but I experienced more aversions than anything. I will say, I still want fruit nonstop and as of late - I could eat 3 bowls of wheat bran cereal with blueberries a day and be perfectly happy. I'm definitely indulging in sweets more than I've ever let myself in the past, but overall - I've been fairly balanced with fueling my body, but also letting myself enjoy this time a little.

SIGNS OF LABOR

I've been keeping my eyes peeled for early labor signs. I noticed I started feeling lower back pain that feels more like the back pain you get right before your period (vs the back pain from weight - it feels different) last week. It comes in waves throughout the day, and as experts say, that's typically a sign that your body is preparing itself. I've had a little cramping here and there as well, which the OB said is normal around this timeframe and again - is a sign your body is preparing for what's to come. Other than that, there have been several days recently where I feel what I think* are Braxton Hicks contractions - they tend to take my breathe away for a second and then go away. We both feel like he will be here early, but then again, what do we know!? As excited as we are to meet him, I am hoping my body will start the process naturally when it's ready.  

I think that's pretty much everything there is to report right now. I am planning on trying to take a little time off in January to be present with him and my family, and to adjust to our new life. The only caveat to this job is that it doesn't come with paid time off, or any type of maternity leave, which gives me a little bit of anxiety as I would love to not feel the pressure to work.  But, we will figure it out as we go and I feel confident that my gut will lead me in the right direction when the time comes. 

Is there anything I left out that you'd like to know about!? Planning to write another post on what's in my hospital bag soon - stay tuned. 

Photography: Anchor & Veil
Dress c/o: Sexy Mama Maternity 

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