Kitchen Hack: Making Frozen Veggies Taste Amazing

I’m sure all of our wallets have felt the sting of inflation when visiting the grocery stores lately. Milk is nearly $4 a gallon, bread is over $3 a loaf, and meat prices are astronomical, too! When you shop on a budget and most of that budget is spent on essentials, some things just have to get pulled back. Maybe that’s less snacks, maybe that’s less organic items, or maybe it’s replacing fresh vegetables with frozen.

I have been buying frozen vegetables for a while now because 1. they’re easier (no chopping!) and 2. they’re cheaper. This started probably sometime in 2020 after having our second daughter, and then into 2021 I bought more and more frozen broccoli. Our second daughter has been a pickier eater than our first, but broccoli was one of her favorite foods – and up until recently – the only vegetable that she’d actually eat. It was because of this that I started experimenting with different ways to cook frozen vegetables, and I think I nailed it! Read below for the “recipe” that takes your frozen veggies from sad to fab!

Instead of boiling your veggies to death or steaming them in the microwave you’re going to get out a cast iron skillet and a large lid.

Then pre-heat your skillet on high heat. Once it’s hot, dump your 12-16 ounce bag of vegetables directly into the pan and cover them. The water that is released will steam them while they’re covered.

After about 4 minutes, uncover your veggies, add two tablespoons of olive or avocado oil (or butter), salt and pepper to taste, and about 1/2 tsp of garlic powder. Give all of that a stir then cover again.

Cook for an additional 6-8 minutes, covered, and with the heat turned down to about medium.

And that’s it! These are so easy and it gives the vegetables a little bit of a crisp on the outside while they still maintain the tenderness of steamed veggies. And this isn’t just for broccoli! I’ve used this method with all sorts of frozen veggies: carrots, cauliflower, halved brussels sprouts, green beans, peas, bell peppers, frozen stir fry mixes, and corn kernels. It turns out spectacular every time! If you try a different vegetable, please give me an update.

I hope this little hack serves you well. Save some time, spend less, eat some veggies…and enjoy your pinch of crazy!

This article contains affiliate links; if you purchase using the links, it is of no extra cost to you, I just get a small commission. Thank you for supporting A Pinch of Crazy!

Baby 3: First Trimester Recap

Well summertime is just around the corner…and so is my third trimester! Now that I’m nearly into the third trimester I figured I should write about my first trimester before I completely forget it all.

Going back to the end of 2021, I suspected I was pregnant when, on Christmas Eve, I gagged while trying to eat peanut butter toast. A perfectly normal breakfast for us, one that I usually enjoy, just didn’t sound appealing and I couldn’t even finish one little piece of toast. The next day, Christmas Day, we were leaving my parents’ house and I was either carrying gifts or a child, but whatever it was had me extremely winded… also odd. When my cycle was one day late on December 27th I took a test which immediately popped up positive. I thought I was only four weeks along and was shocked at both the extremely early symptoms and the dark pink positive line, but we found out a few weeks later at the midwife that I was a week further along than I thought. So there you go; the early story of Baby 3!

Symptoms and What I Ate

Even though I gagged easily in the first trimester (like eating the toast on Christmas Eve, also every time I brushed my teeth or changed a diaper…) I never actually threw up, and I didn’t even feel that nauseous. I didn’t feel great in regards to my stomach, but it wasn’t terrible, and I was able to stay feeling well thanks to lemon lime Sparkling Ice waters, the lime flavored Outshine popsicles, under-ripe bananas, and oddly enough, uncured salami haha! Other things I ate often in the first trimester were: California sushi rolls, bean burritos (super unusual for me), and avocado toast. I could not stand peanut butter, eggs, and even chocolate was iffy for me! I also started quickly on my prenatal vitamins – I took these vitamins while pregnant with and while nursing Selah so I just immediately ordered them again. This was my first time having my first trimester be in the winter so maybe the colder weather helped me feel better, maybe it’s because it’s my third, or maybe it’s because it’s a boy. Whatever it was, I was thankful that I made it through the whole first trimester without being sick. (Other than when I caught a stomach bug from my girls.)

Now, nausea may have been no biggie, but the exhaustion was (and sometimes still is) so tough! I also got covid at 6 weeks pregnant which wore me out, though thankfully nothing too severe, and that + pregnancy had me falling asleep on the couch as soon as the girls went to bed. I struggled to wake up in the mornings, I felt like I couldn’t make it through the day without a nap, so most days I would try and sneak in a power nap when possible. And as has been the case with all my pregnancies so far, coffee just wasn’t it. I could usually handle a cup in the morning, but later in the day it was too revolting to think about a second cup. Sleep was the only thing that could cure what ailed me.

Exercise

As I wrote in a recent post about body image, my exercise routine has remained largely the same for the past year and a half. I get in five super short morning workouts a week and walk about three times a week. This has felt both enjoyable and sustainable for me and I plan on keeping this up! I did take some breaks at the beginning of pregnancy, though, due to exhaustion, then covid, then a stomach bug a month or so later. But on those days that I didn’t feel I could do squats, or bicep curls, or get out for a walk, I would just do some nice gentle stretching. This way I could still get some movement in – this is something that has only recently become important to me – and that movement felt good for me. When I was six weeks pregnant, dealing with backaches and headaches thanks to Omicron and I was exhausted and queasy due to the teeny life in my womb, the last thing I would want to do would be squat jumps! Some gentle stretching is sometimes all you can muster, and as one of my midwives said to me during my last pregnancy, any movement is better than no movement.

Thankfully now that I’m 25 weeks my energy level is much better! I do still take power naps when I can (just woke up from one before typing this blog hehe), but exercise is much easier to accomplish now. This morning, for example, I did a quick 10 minute workout of skater jumps, squat jumps, then grabbed my dumbbells for wall sit with bicep curls, walking lunges with chest press, tricep kick backs, and delt flies, then ended with some Spinning Babies stretches. After breakfast and getting the girls dressed I was able to get out by myself (thanks to my husband for working from home!) for a 1.5 mile walk. I got a little sweaty, but didn’t feel like my exercise was too intense, and it was very enjoyable!

If you are in your first trimester right now… rock on, mama! Find what feels right for you, whether it’s popsicles or salami, walking or stretching, and keep it up. You’re doing great! Get some rest…and enjoy your Pinch of Crazy!

This post contains affiliate links; if you purchase using the links, there will be no extra charge to you, just a small commission for me. Thank you for supporting A Pinch of Crazy!

Kitchen Hack: How to make a Cake Mix Taste Homemade

I love baking from scratch: muffins, cakes, cookies, biscuits, you name it. However, after having my second daughter, and especially now being pregnant with my third (a boy!) I’ve come to appreciate the convenience of a store bought cake mix. I mean, you cut open a package, add some eggs and water, and you have a cake with barely any effort! The downside to not making homemade desserts is that they don’t taste homemade. I mean, they aren’t, but why can’t it taste the same? Well I have a few hacks (that I have used plenty over the past couple of years) that can make a cake mix taste homemade! People will never even know 😉

Chocolate/orange cake for a friend’s baby shower

With a typical cake mix you usually need to add oil, eggs, and water, so some basic swaps I like to make are: melted butter for oil, an extra egg, and milk (or coffee in a chocolate cake) for water. Those changes alone will take your cake mix to the next level, but you can take it a step further by adding some extra goodies to the batter. Some things I like to add are salt (always! It helps balance out the sweetness), ground cinnamon, some orange zest in a chocolate cake, lemon zest in a vanilla cake, a flavor such as vanilla (in any flavor), mint (in chocolate), or almond (in chocolate or vanilla), or some extra mix-ins like chopped nuts, shredded coconut, or chocolate chips. Be sure to stay away from anything too wet such as fruit because it will mess with the baking times.

When it comes to frosting, the same things work. Make canned frosting creamier by adding a bit more butter or cream cheese, add a pinch of salt, maybe flavor it with an extract or citrus zest, maybe mix in some jelly or nut butter, and it will taste like delicious, creamy homemade frosting!

This is such an easy kitchen hack, but it’s really been helpful, and I’ve been able to gussy up so many basic boxed cake mixes. These simple swaps and additions can help make an ordinary cake into something special, in a fraction of the time! Have your cake and eat it, too…and enjoy your pinch of crazy!

Some Thoughts: Pre-pregnancy body, vanity, pride, and health

Hello people of WordPress! I have not blogged since Halloween… oops. November and December passed in a flurry of holidays, then on December 27th, my husband and I got a late Christmas gift of a positive pregnancy test. Yep, Baby #3 will be joining our family in about five months!

Since those fateful two pink lines I’ve been… well, exhausted. This pregnancy has been (ironically) the easiest nausea wise, but the toughest exhaustion wise. I’ve basically floated through the first 1/4 of 2022 just trying to get the daily tasks done, and consequently I’ve fallen off the blogosphere.

I’m now 17 weeks pregnant and starting to get some energy back, so hopefully I’ll be back to monthly blogging… at least for the next five months! I’ll get a first trimester recap up soon, and have a couple of kitchen hacks (not exactly recipes) coming too, but I thought I would jump back into blogging with some thoughts about body image.

17 weeks pregnant with Baby #3

It’s hard to imagine that 2021 was a whole year and some months ago, but let’s back up to there. At the start of 2021, I was still about 15 pounds over my pre-pregnancy weight, and Selah (Baby #2) was almost one. But I wasn’t too worried about it; I thought with all my exercising with Fit4Mom I’d drop the weight once Selah was weaned. Well, thanks to covid, the Fit4Mom franchise I worked for lost all members and I lost that workout avenue. Shortly after that, in February, we started getting Selah involved in Early Childhood Intervention (ECI) for her gross motor delay. She was 6 months behind developmentally and needed weekly physical therapy as well as bi-weekly feeding therapy because she was unable to use a cup due to poor muscle tone. I also was taking her to twice weekly chiropractor visits, and we had frequent meetings with our ECI case manager at the beginning of services. So at that point, we had 3-4 appointments per week, I was dealing with the stress of knowing my baby has something “wrong” with her, I was juggling two children, two part-time jobs, faced with the loss of one job and a workout avenue in one, and was still nursing my almost one-year-old probably 6-8 times a day because she had no other source of hydration. It was a very stressful start of the year for me as a mom, and really for my whole family. As most people do when times get stressful, I let some things go; in my case that was working out and cooking from scratch for my family. I started buying a lot more packaged goods, and even though I tried to make “healthier” choices, there are so many added ingredients that aren’t ideal. Add that to my complete lack of exercise and my stress with Selah’s needs and I quickly gained 10 pounds. I felt terrible about myself; I was only five pounds away from the weight I was at 40 weeks pregnant!

I beat myself up mentally for a while, but then I started actually seeking the Lord about weight loss, and was convicted that I was being vain. My body is actually here on this earth to serve Him; not to be thin or even strong. Now I knew that I wasn’t taking care of myself the way I should, so I just started doing a ten minute workout every day and walking when I could. A year later this is still my current workout plan, and I feel great about it! This is something that is sustainable for me no matter how crazy life gets, and I feel wonderful starting my day off with exercise, even if it’s not “hard core”. I continually need to go to the Lord in prayer about my attitude regarding my body and my health because I can easily get swept away in sinful, vain thoughts; this vanity can be in the form of pride or self-loathing.

Once I got back down to a weight I was comfortable with and felt I could maintain I realized that I may never be back to my pre-pregnancy weight, and that’s okay because I am not the same pre-pregnancy Molly! I was able to take part in the miracle of bringing another baby into the world, and it’s okay if my body reflects that.

And now, here I am blessed with another life to carry, and Lord willing, birth safely into our family! I have already gained a healthy 7ish pounds. I am a good bit heavier than I was at this point in my pregnancy with Selah, and probably around the same weight I was with Z, and I’m still working on being okay with it, honestly. But I know it is okay! I do my ten minute workouts, I walk a few times a week, I cook frozen veggies (one of the delicious kitchen hacks coming!), and I eat grilled cheese sandwiches and dark chocolate semi-regularly! All I can do is take care of myself for the glory of the Lord, for the furtherment of His Kingdom, and as an image bearer of Him. Eyes off of me, eyes on Him.

“…Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” – Hebrews 12:1-3 (NIV)

Halloween Cookies

It is Halloween weekend, and you know what that means! Costumes and candy galore, of course! I want you to imagine the spooky holiday season from a different perspective for a minute…the candy’s perspective. Imagine being given to someone awash with excitement and wonder at the thought of you only to sit on a counter for months getting yuckier by the minute. Eventually you get thrown away and replaced by festive Christmas candy. What a sad life all our leftover candies live!

Well we can make these candies have a purpose again! After all the Halloween excitement has died down next week, these pumpkin cookies are a fantastic way to utilize leftover chocolate candies (I would not suggest mixing pumpkin spice with sour gummy worms…) and eliminate food waste. The cookies themselves are fantastic: thick and cakey with real pumpkin, the chewy texture of oat flour, all the fall spice flavors, and sweetened with maple syrup. Then you add some chocolate on top and wow! Halloween explosion in your mouth!

I tried three types of chocolate candies with these: plain dark chocolate, crushed up Heath bars, and Reese’s cups. I will say that the Reese’s ones did not look too attractive because the candy didn’t really hold its shape, but those were a family favorite based on taste alone. I kept thinking that Rolos would taste amazing with the caramel, peanut butter or plain M&Ms would be a fun pop of color, and probably almost any of the little snack-sized chocolates would go great on top. If you try these out with your kids’ leftover candy, please let me know which candies you used and how they turned out! If you’re like me, throwing out food makes you cringe, so I hope this recipe hits the spot while simultaneously creatively using leftovers. Happy Halloween!

Halloween Cookies

Ingredients

  • 15 ounce can of pumpkin puree
  • 1/3 cup of melted butter, ghee, or coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup of maple syrup
  • 2 eggs
  • 1.5 cups of oat flour (you can blend your own old-fashioned oats for this)
  • 2 tbsp of ground flaxseed
  • 3 tsp of ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp of ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp of ground cloves
  • 1 tsp of baking soda
  • 1 tsp of baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp of salt
  • 30 small chocolate candies/pieces of candies

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Prepare baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone baking mat.
  3. Combine all wet ingredients (pumpkin through eggs) in a medium mixing bowl.
  4. Add dry ingredients (except candy) and stir to combine.
  5. Using your hands or a cookie scoop (my favorite birthday gift from my husband!), place 1 tbsp balls of dough on baking sheet.
  6. Press candies on top, slightly flattening the cookies – they are so cakey they don’t spread much.
  7. Bake for 17-20 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean
  8. Store leftovers covered at room temperature for three days; after that, store covered in the fridge.

If you can’t get enough pumpkin this season, be sure to check out my Pumpkin Bread with Crumb Topping or Pumpkin Spice Cake, and for fall-inspired breakfasts, check out my Pumpkin Pecan Muffins and Pumpkin and Oat Blender Waffles. I hope that whatever you eat this weekend warms your tummy and your heart. Be safe, have a fun Halloween, enjoy family…and enjoy your Pinch of Crazy!

This post contains affiliate links; if you purchase using the links, it is of no extra cost to you, just a small commission for me. Thank you for supporting A Pinch of Crazy!

Easy Instant Pot Carnitas

By now, y’all probably know that I just love bargain shopping! Saving money and eating healthier? That’s a literal win-win! If you read my weekly January meal plans this year, then you know I try and spend as little as possible at the store each week. Basically, I can’t pass up a good deal and/or coupon! There was recently a buy one, get one for a penny deal for pork shoulders at the store. So you already know I got two of those pork shoulders and we ate some delicious carnitas tacos/taco salads two weeks in a row!

After my first time making this succulent pork in the Instant Pot I knew I needed to write it down to share with you. It is flavorful (but not too spicy for kids), juicy, fall apart tender, and ready in less than an hour thanks to the pressure cooking powers of the Instant Pot! My suggestions for serving as a salad are to top with habanero ranch, crumbled plantain chips, guacamole, fresh cilantro, and a hefty squeeze of lime juice. My suggestions for serving as a taco are on a fresh, warm tortilla topped with salsa, cilantro, and, again, a hefty squeeze of lime juice. I hope you can enjoy this delicious, healthy pork recipe for a Taco Tuesday real soon!

Easy Instant Pot Carnitas

Ingredients

  • 2-3 pound pork shoulder
  • 3 tsp of chili powder
  • 2 tsp of salt
  • 2 tsp of ground cumin
  • 1 tsp of paprika
  • 1 tsp of black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp of garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp of onion powder
  • Cayenne to taste
  • 1 and 1/4 cup of chicken stock
  • 1/3 cup of salsa
  • Juice of half a lime

Directions

  1. Season pork shoulder with all seasonings chili powder through cayenne
  2. Turn Instant Pot to sauté feature (or sauté on the stove in a pot if yours does not have this feature)
  3. Cook for two minutes on each side, until brown. Your Instant Pot might give you the “hot” signal (mine did), but it is okay – it won’t burn!
  4. Remove pork shoulder and set aside.
  5. Add chicken stock, salsa, and lime juice, scraping up brown bits.
  6. Put pork shoulder back in with the liquids, close lid and set to “pressure cook” feature.
  7. Cook for 15 minutes per pound (add 5 minutes per pound extra if your shoulder is frozen) and allow for a 20 minute natural pressure release.
  8. Shred meat and serve with desired fixings!
  9. Store leftovers covered in fridge for up to a week.

The Instant Pot is a quick and easy way to get a flavorFULL meal on the table in no time! For more Instant Pot recipes check out my Instant Pot Black Beans and my Instant Pot Mushroom Pot Roast. It took me a long time to actually utilize my Instant Pot so if you would rather use a slow cooker check out some of my slow cooker recipes like Slow Cooker Chicken Tacos or Slow Cooker Potato and Kale Soup. I hope whatever you decide to cook that you love both the process and the outcome, have a family meal…and enjoy your Pinch of Crazy!

This post contains affiliate links; if you purchase using the links, it is of no extra cost to you, just a small commission for me. Thank you for supporting A Pinch of Crazy!

Strawberry Creamsicles

Summer is almost over; Labor Day is right around the corner, and hopefully cooler temperatures are soon to follow. That is not the case right now, though! It is late August in Texas and we are all about ready to sleep in our freezers. Every time I walk in from outside, I literally say a little prayer thanking God for air conditioner; I can’t imagine how miserable we would be without it!

Now, as hot as it is, summer brings lots of fun things like swimming, lake trips, beach trips, and of course delicious summer produce like berries! Selah, my youngest daughter could eat her weight in blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, and strawberries, but Zemirah, my oldest, is a bit more picky when it comes to fruit. She doesn’t really like blackberries or raspberries because of the seeds, only likes the perfectly firm yet sweet blueberries (such a pain trying to find those illusive berries in the container), and loves strawberries…dipped in honey. In general Zemirah is less of a picky eater than Selah – not so when it comes to berries! But what is a mom to do in the summer when the store has wonderful sales on berries?! I have to get them! Oftentimes I use berries in smoothies, but when I got a giant bag of frozen strawberries (for a super steal!) I decided to do something a little different with them.

While we do love to eat nice cream or drink chocolate milkshakes for a summer treat, something portable is always a nice option. When Selah started refusing bottles at 10 months old, I started making her breastmilk popsicles to have while I was away at work. Because of that I had these popsicle molds and I thought blending up a creamy strawberry popsicle would be a hit for the girls. Check out these pictures to see just how much they enjoyed them! They were a perfect treat for us all (mom, too) after playing outside in the sprinkler one hot summer morning. These are so easy, full of only real ingredients, creamy, sweet, and I bet your kids will love them as much as mine did!

Strawberry Creamsicles

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of fresh strawberries (stems removed), or thawed from frozen
  • 1.25 cups of full fat coconut milk
  • 1 tsp of maple syrup
  • Squeeze of fresh lemon juice

Directions

  1. Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor
  2. Blend until smooth
  3. Pour into popsicle mold or small freezer-safe cups
  4. Insert popsicle sticks or small spoons or straws if you’re using a cup
  5. Freeze until solid – at least 3 hours
  6. Run a little warm water over the molds to easily remove popsicles
  7. Store leftover popsicles in freezer for a month.

These little frozen treats are so deliciously strawberry flavored, sweet, and so creamy thanks to the coconut milk, and they are so refreshing to have on a hot day. If your kids are crazy about strawberries, they will love these! If popsicles aren’t your thing, but you’re not trying to sweat with the oven on, check out some of my other no-bake treats like Date Cake, Cookie Dough Bites, or my coconut milk based Cheesecake; all of these desserts will satisfy your sweet tooth while keeping you cool! It may be hot, but soak up these last few weeks of summer, get some sun…and enjoy your Pinch of Crazy!

This post contains affiliate links; if you purchase using the links, it is of no extra cost to you, just a small commission for me. Thank you for supporting A Pinch of Crazy!

Cookie Dough Bites

The kids are in bed, the kitchen is clean, there’s a new episode of your current dramedy on Hulu; you sit down and snuggle up on the couch and realize… you’re missing a sweet snack! If you don’t have anything readily available, baking may be your next best option, but who wants to do that when it’s already past 9, you’re exhausted, and you just want to relax? Not to mention it is summer time and the oven is only used in emergencies: AKA dinner for hungry children, not mama’s cravings.

This was the exact situation that drove me into the kitchen to whip up something quickly that I was hoping would resemble cookie dough bites. These little bites checked all the late night craving boxes: peanut buttery richness with bites of dark chocolate, enhanced by a touch of salt, and all sweetened with golden maple syrup. The cherry on top is that this took me about three minutes to make, and it was vegan and refined sugar free! With a swap of maple syrup for this monk fruit syrup, this recipe is also keto friendly, and swapping the peanut butter for unsweetened almond butter makes it paleo friendly, too. There is a simple dessert out there for everyone!

I loved these little cookie dough bites so much that I made another batch just a couple of days later, and knew that this simple recipe (if you could even call it that) was something to share here! If you’ve got a sweet tooth, but life is a Pinch of Crazy and you can’t find time to bake, I got your back! Read on for this dangerously simple recipe.

Cookie Dough Bites

  • Servings: 8 cookie dough bites
  • Print

Ingredients

  • 4 tbsp of unsweetened peanut butter
  • 2 tbsp of coconut flour
  • 2 tsp of maple syrup
  • 1/4 tsp of salt
  • Dark chocolate chips to taste (“The limit does not exist!”)

Directions

  1. Combine all ingredients in a small bowl
  2. Roll dough into bite sized balls
  3. Eat as is or refrigerate for 20-30 minutes for a firmer texture
  4. Store any leftovers (pssh) covered in fridge.

And that’s all, folks! Your late night cravings cured without breaking a sweat, and it’s just the perfect amount to share with your special someone. For some other no bake treats check out my Date Cake, Peanut Butter Cups, Cheesecake, or Fudge. Treat yourself, stay cool…and enjoy your Pinch of Crazy!

This post contains affiliate links; if you purchase using the links, I get a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thank you for supporting A Pinch of Crazy!

Instant Pot Mushroom Pot Roast

It is getting seriously hot out here in Dallas, Texas! We blew up the little pool and hooked the splash pad up to the sprinkler this week for some outdoor summer fun, and nice cream and no bake treats are on repeat in the kitchen lately. But what about dinner? Turning on the oven just turns our little house into an oven! We can’t have chicken salad or sandwiches every night, right? This is when the Instant Pot saves the day! Well, this and when I forget to defrost the meat, of course.

Anyways, when it’s too hot to turn the oven on, the Instant Pot or the slow cooker is a great option! I have plenty of slow cooker recipes on the blog, but this is only my second Instant Pot recipe. Like most trends, I was late to the game (literally just set up my iPhone 7… only about five generations behind), but now that I’m on the Instant Pot bandwagon, I may never get off!

Now I am a fan of all pot roasts because I’m a big red meat lover, and anything that is flavorful and cut-with-a-fork tender is alright in my book. This pot roast, though, is extra special because it is covered in mushrooms and onions, which are beautifully caramelized by the end of the cook time, and is cooked in red wine which compliments the richness of the meat so perfectly. So if you want shreddably (pretty sure it’s a word) tender pot roast that took a wine bath then got dressed in meaty mushrooms and sweet onions, keep reading for the recipe!

Instant Pot Mushroom Pot Roast

Ingredients

  • 2-3 pound chuck roast
  • 2 tbsp of olive oil
  • One yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 cup of sliced white or baby Bella mushrooms
  • 3 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 2 tsp of salt
  • 1 tsp of dried thyme
  • 1 tsp of black pepper
  • 1/2 cup of dry red wine (I used Cabernet Sauvignon, but Merlot would be good, too)
  • 1/4 cup of water

Directions

  1. Turn the Instant Pot to “sauté”
  2. Add olive oil when the IP is hot
  3. Sauté onions and mushrooms for about 3 minutes, until tender, then add garlic, stirring for about 1 minute.
  4. Season the pot roast with salt, pepper, and thyme.
  5. With the IP still on “sauté” mode, push the mushroom mixture aside and sear the roast for about 2-3 minutes per side.
  6. Next pour in the wine, and allow it to cook (still on “sauté”) for about one minute.
  7. Turn off “sauté” mode, add the water, cover, and put the IP on “pressure cook” mode.
  8. Cook for 20 minutes per pound, and allow a 20 minute natural pressure release.
  9. Shred and serve covered with mushrooms and onions.

You can serve this fantastic pot roast as is, but it is delicious with mashed potatoes and carrots on the side. A classic! This recipe, although simple, really takes classic pot roast and intensifies the flavors, making it like a whole new dish; I hope you give it a try! Check out my other Instant Pot recipe here, and plenty of slow cooker recipes here, here, and here. Keep the oven off, beat the heat…and enjoy your Pinch of Crazy!

This post contains affiliate links; if you purchase using the links, it is of no extra cost to you, just a small commission for me. Thank you for supporting A Pinch of Crazy!

DIY All Natural Kitchen Cleaner

Okay so I realize that spring is 2/3rds of the way over, but surely I can’t be the only one still needing to do spring cleaning? I think a really thorough deep clean would be good for my mental health; you know, the kind where you actually move the furniture to mop under it? Imagining sitting in a house that clean sounds heavenly; I would have the windows open, letting in the warm, spring-scented fresh air while relaxing with a cup of coffee and a good book.

Unfortunately the reality is the most cleaning I usually have time for is wiping down the counters and running the vacuum. All while listening to my four-year-old whine and watch my one-year-old throw her food and spill her milk on my freshly cleaned floors. *sigh/laugh combo* However, there is some good news: having a one-year-old that army crawls means that her shirt mops up all the hard to reach places for me. Joking…kinda. The truly good news is that many months ago, I started making my own all natural kitchen cleaner using vinegar, essential oils, and water. I seriously use it everywhere – even the dreaded high chair! It smells great, gets the job done well, and I don’t have to worry about if my girls accidentally drink some. They definitely wouldn’t be pleased with the flavor, but at least I don’t have to worry about it poisoning them! If you are looking for something that is great on tough messes (again…high chair), but is all natural, smells good, and is easy to make yourself, read on for the recipe!

DIY All Natural Kitchen Cleaner

Ingredients

Directions

  1. Combine all ingredients in a glass spray bottle
  2. Use to clean everywhere! Cabinets, counters, appliances, table, high chair, etc.

That’s it! This is such an easy “recipe”, and like I said, I’ve been using this little cleaning concoction for months now! I even use it on wood furniture when dusting (you know, on the once a month occasion that I dust), and squirt a few sprays into my dishwasher’s pre-rinse section to help with water spots. It is really handy, cheap, and the best part is that it’s all natural. I hope this helps you feel like keeping a clean and green home is a bit easier! If you need a snack after all your cleaning, I got you covered there, too 😉 Maybe something crunchy or salty, or something for your sweet tooth. Check out some recipes while you’re here! However much you end up cleaning, or not, and whatever you snack on, I hope you have a wonderful week. Don’t sweat the small stuff, soak up the little moments with your people…and enjoy your Pinch of Crazy!

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