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!

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!

Instant Pot Black Beans

Well, it’s mid-March and the year is just running by, full speed ahead. After our wild snow storm in Texas last month, I’ve never been so relieved to see Spring. My second baby is about to turn one in a few weeks *cue the ugly crying*, spring break is here, the time change is looming, and our red bud tree in the backyard is starting to blossom. Even though I’m relieved that spring has sprung, and I’m enjoying seeing the “rebirth” of nature, I am sad that time is moving so quickly – it’s like each day slips through my fingers like sand. These days are filled with equally precious and hard moments of motherhood that I won’t get back.

Part of the reason time is moving so quickly is that we have been extra busy over here. If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook, you may have seen that we have Selah (our baby) in physical therapy right now. She has both low and high muscle tone and is struggling with gross motor development. For the last three weeks or so we have had about 3-4 appointments a week between the chiropractor, PT, and other meetings with the therapists. However, after seeing improvement after just two PT sessions, I am encouraged that this busy season won’t last too long. But, wow! 3-4 appointments a week, on top of regular mom life, on top of two part time jobs, I just feel like I don’t have much extra time. Especially for cooking.

Enter: the Instant Pot. This little kitchen gadget has become all the rage in years past, and after receiving one for a Christmas present in 2019 I can see why! To be honest, I was a little terrified of it blowing up, and was hesitant to get started using it, but once I did, I started with beans, and I was sold! The first bean recipe I made in the Instant Pot was red beans, and even with the time it takes to get to pressure, then cook, then release (side note: I hate that Instant Pot recipes don’t account for that time – I learned quickly not to trust the “15 minutes” marking on a recipe), what would normally be an all day venture only took 90 minutes, and the beans came out the perfect creamy texture! Next I tackled black beans. We eat black beans and rice often for a cheap, plant-based meal; then I get to use the leftover black beans throughout the week to top fajitas, tacos, salads, and even scrambled eggs. So if you want to save time and money with this quick and easy dinner and/or side, keep reading for the recipe!

Instant Pot Black Beans

Ingredients

  • One medium bell pepper, chopped
  • One half of a yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 tbsp of olive oil
  • 3 large cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 cups of chicken broth or vegetable broth
  • 2 cups of water
  • 1 pound of
  • 2 tsp of salt
  • 1 tsp of smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp of ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp of chili powder
  • Optional for serving: rice
  • Optional toppings: avocado, lime, cilantro, jalapenos, scallions/red onions

Directions

  1. Cover beans with water and soak for at least three hours, or up to overnight. This is optional, but I find that it helps with digestion and less “tootie booties” as we say in our house hehe!
  2. Once beans are done soaking, drain and toss remaining water.
  3. Turn on “sauté” feature and cook bell pepper and onion in olive oil until tender and beginning to brown.
  4. Turn off Instant Pot and add garlic, stirring to get the garlic warm but not toasty.
  5. Add broth and water, scraping the bottom of the pot to get up any browned bits.
  6. Add in beans and seasonings.
  7. Select “pressure cook” and cook on high pressure for 30 minutes, allowing a 20 minute natural release at the end.
  8. Serve warm with rice and toppings, or as a side dish.
  9. Keep leftover beans in remaining liquid, cover and refrigerate for up to five days.

If you haven’t yet boarded the Instant Pot train, I hope you’ll check out my slow cooker recipes here, here, and here. Save some time in the kitchen…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!

Meal Plan Month: January Meal Plan 4

January is already coming to a close, which means two things:

  1. My first baby will be turning four in a few days. Four!
  2. It already looks like 2021 will be flying by. Time just doesn’t stop.

This week, I went back to work for the first time in over a month thanks to Ms. Rona hitting our home after the holidays, we also had our sweet baby in a splint after a fall, and we have not one, not two, but three birthday celebrations (to keep numbers down) coming up for Zemirah. So you could say it was…a week. With A Pinch of Crazy, as always! Enjoy some pictures of the birthday girl – four years has flown by!

Per usual, meals were kept simple and quick, and because I was buying stuff for the birthday parties, I really tried to keep costs down. Here is what I started with for the week:

Produce- spinach, mashed sweet potato, frozen broccoli, a few carrots and potatoes, apples, bananas, berries, cherry tomatoes, cucumber

Protein- frozen salmon filets, leftover black beans, nut butter, chia and flax seeds

Carbs- brown rice, oats

I was actually able to make two full dinners and prep two breakfasts with just what we already had! Doing kitchen inventory before planning meals can really save a lot of money! Here is what our meals were for the week:

Breakfasts:

Overnight Oats
  • Sweet potato muffins topped with peanut butter *This was a concoction I made up to use up those mashed sweet potatoes. I wrote it down and will test it out again to hopefully get the recipe posted here!*
  • Overnight oats with chia seeds, cinnamon, and almond butter, topped with bananas
  • Breakfast tacos with egg, cheese, salsa, and avocado

Lunches:

  • Leftovers
  • Sandwiches
  • For Z’s school lunch I packed: turkey/mayo roll ups (nitrate free), a green apple, seaweed snacks, broccoli, and a cookie. For her snack I packed: a fruit pouch and cheddar bunnies
  • While Z was at school, Selah and I enjoyed a quiet brunch of scrambled eggs with spinach and tomatoes and a side of avocado toast topped with everything bagel seasoning. It was nice to change it up from our usual microwaved leftovers!

Snacks:

  • Cliff bars for grownups/fruit bars for Z
  • Fruit leathers
  • Pouches
  • Apples/bananas with peanut butter
  • Strawberries with honey (Z’s favorite)
  • Chocolate chip lactation cookies (mostly for me, but these only lasted two days hehe)
  • Boiled eggs

Dinners:

Slow Cooker Pork Roast
  • Monday: Black bean burgers with spinach, avocado, and habanero ranch; fries and cucumber tomato salad on the side
  • Tuesday: Slow Cooker Pork Roast with Veggies (this was my day at work, I got home at 6 and dinner was ready for us) with a side of bread and butter
  • Wednesday: Salmon *I just cooked in the skillet* with broccoli and brown rice on the side
  • Thursday: This was date night! Woo! The girls ate dinner at my parents’ house, and David and I got sushi 🙂
  • Friday: Pork tacos with leftover roast and sautéed peppers, onions, and mushrooms; guacamole and plantain chips on the side
  • Saturday: Birthday party foods – we are having a rainbow charcuterie board
  • Sunday: This is Z’s real birthday so I haven’t planned anything. We are definitely going out for breakfast, and maybe dinner, too. Or we might eat leftovers, or I might just buy some frozen pizzas. It’s up to the birthday girl!

There you have it! Because I was able to plan two meals just with what we had, plus going out one night, this week’s grocery bill was only $60! Now after I added all the birthday party foods, the total doubled, but still not too bad for multiple birthday parties. That’s a plus side of social distancing – not many kiddos get three birthday parties! We are doing a food for every color of the rainbow (red pepperoni, orange crackers, yellow cheese, etc.) and I made pink unicorn sugar cookies, confetti cupcakes (from a box mix), and will do different colored frosting using natural food dye. She is going to have a blast!

If you want to look back on the last few weeks of meal plans click here, here, and here. Maybe these posts can give you some ideas while you’re planning food for next week. Have fun cooking and feeding your 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!

Meal Plan Month: January Meal Plan 3

The first month of the new year is already almost coming to a close – how has 2021 just started yet is already flying by?! After the last two weeks of craziness, quarantine, and sickness, it was nice to get back to a little bit of normalcy this week. Thankfully the girls and I are all feeling well still, though I stayed home from work (I work one day a week out of the house teaching music lessons) just to ensure my students’ safety, and I taught my one Fit4Mom class virtually again this week. So we had another slow week kind of easing back into our normal schedule, but I still needed lots of quick meals because being stuck at home with two little ones can get a little Crazy!

As I have the past two weeks (read week 1 here and week 2 here) I will share any modifications necessary for the girls. One exciting thing from this week is that I have started introducing some dairy for Selah and me! This was exciting because she used to get terrible tummy pains, and, without too much detail, things were not normal with her diapers, when I would have dairy. Now, not only can I eat dairy, but she can too! I actually got a little too crazy with the grilled cheeses this week and found myself bloated and yucky feeling. Now that the initial excitement of being able to eat grilled cheese is over, I will work on scaling it back again hehe 🙂

Alright, on to the cheesy meal plan!

Doing my “kitchen inventory” this week I had:

  • Protein: Greek yogurt, almond/peanut butter, one pound of ground turkey, cheese (how am I still trying to finish up this block of cheese?!), leftover black beans, the last bit of hummus
  • Carbs: oats, rice, sweet potatoes, half a package of lasagna noodles, quinoa
  • Produce: spinach, berries, bananas, apples, leftover squash, leftover burrito veggies, frozen broccoli

Based on these few things here are the meals I planned:

Breakfasts:

Berries & Greens Smoothie
  • I made a “Tex-Mex” breakfast casserole using leftover beans and burrito veggies mixed with scrambled eggs and shredded cheese. I served it topped with avocado slices, hot sauce, and Greek yogurt.
  • Berries and Greens Smoothies *I added Collagen Peptides to these for protein*
  • Cinnamon Apple Oatmeal *I added almond butter and regular butter for some fat and protein here*

Snacks:

  • Cliff bars, Z bars
  • Fresh fruit with peanut butter
  • Cheddar bunnies
  • Seaweed snacks
  • Pouches
  • Crackers with cheese or hummus (finally finishing that up this week!)

Lunches:

  • Leftovers
  • Sandwiches (again, with uncured ham or nitrate free turkey lunch meat)
  • For Z’s school lunch I packed half a turkey sandwich, seaweed snacks, a pouch, cucumber slices, and dark chocolate candy. For her school snack I packed a Z Bar and a clementine.

Dinner:

Creamy Tomato Basil Soup
  • Monday: Grilled cheese (my first real grilled cheese in like a year!) and tomato soup
  • Tuesday: Spinach, squash, and turkey lasagna *I simply cooked a spaghetti sauce similar to last week but with turkey meat, mixed some shredded mozzarella with an egg and Italian seasonings, then layered those sauces between noodles and raw spinach and squash. Baked for about 45 minutes, covered for the first 30.*
  • Wednesday: Salmon with tzatziki sauce and a quinoa salad with broccoli, tomatoes, avocado, and a hummus based dressing *you can see this dinner on my Instagram highlights*
  • Thursday: Sushi bowls *I will be using leftover salmon shredded and mixed with mayo and sriracha, put over cooked brown rice, and top with avocado, cucumber, seaweed snacks, sesame seeds, and coconut aminos*
  • Friday: Sweet and sour meatballs with red bell pepper and mushrooms over rice *I will be using this meatball recipe, but with Asian-inspired seasoning, cover in this sweet and sour sauce, then serve over cooked brown rice and with sautéed veggies*
  • Saturday and Sunday: last week’s highlights, and we may go out to eat once 🙂

There is our full week of food! I kind of overly stocked up on snacks this week, so hopefully next week that won’t be necessary, as I will also be buying some birthday party foods next week. However, even with stocking up a little more than usual, I did not go too far over budget (I try and keep it at or below $100/week); I spent $110 this week. That may seem like a lot, but for a family of four eating three meals and two snacks a day, seven days a week, that’s really not too bad! We are all big eaters, too, so that’s even better!

According to insider.com the average fast food burger (not the sides, just the burger) cost $2.64 in 2018. I calculated buying 5 burgers for my family (again, no sides) for two meals a day every day and that came out to $184.80 for one week. So even with the “cheaper” option of fast food I would end up spending more per week and we would actually be eating less. Of course this is not even accounting for the health factor of eating home cooked food, which is invaluable, and I feel grateful to be able to serve my family in this way!

I think that covers everything for this week. Next week I’ll finally be going back to work after winter break/quarantine so I will likely have a crock pot meal in the menu sometime. Our sweet Z is turning four next week so I will also be sharing her birthday party foods, so stay tuned for the last meal plan of the month. I hope you can draw some inspiration from these easy meal plans, get in the kitchen, make some good, healthy food…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!

Meal Plan Month: January Meal Plan 2

Alright so we are halfway through the first month of the new year, and… wow. Things are already stressful, there is tension everywhere, and it can be easy to feel overwhelmed, get swept away with emotion, and drown in anxiety.

I have been going to counseling (for the third time in my life; no shame here) since March; I started going as a preventative measure before I had our second daughter, Selah, to help avoid postpartum depression/anxiety this time around. Then after the first two meetings with my new counselor, the world flipped upside down, and everything turned dark, a little scary, and a lot stressful. So on top of dealing with the stress of a new baby, I, like everyone, was dealing with the stress of current events, but my counselor advised me to really look at what I can control.

So what can I control to reduce my stress? Well, I can exercise because I know that when I move my body lovingly in a way that feels good to me (that is the key), those happy hormones will flood my brain and relieve some stress. I can make sure I don’t consume too much refined sugar, as I have found over the years that eating sugary treats will work against me by making my heart race and my stress rise. I can make sure that I feed myself and my family whole, healthy foods that will nourish us and make us feel happy and healthy (as always, with A Pinch of Crazy!), and this is really what got me through this week! Knowing that I am doing the best for my family to keep us all healthy, and make sure I’m doing what I can to reduce my stress.

On top of the upsetting news that is constantly swirling around us, this past week, my family got hit with that virus. I debated writing about this because I felt like I would get some backlash. However, at the start of the pandemic, with the professional advice from both my counselor and my midwife, we decided it would be unwise for me to self-isolate with a new baby. Due to my history with postpartum depression and anxiety, the best decision for me was to continue seeing my family, and I am so glad that I have! Both David and I have large families of origin (he has three siblings, I have four sisters, everyone’s married, and I can’t even add all the grandkids off the top of my head), so we figured eventually someone would catch the virus. It was David, my husband, but thankfully he is feeling fine now (though his smell is still slowly returning), and we finished up our quarantine yesterday.

So, yeah. All in all, a stressful start to 2021, but we had a fun snow day on Sunday, we are all healthy, and I feel thankful to control what I can. Please enjoy these happy snow day pictures to take your mind off your troubles! I hope this easy, yummy meal plan can give you some ideas for healing, healthy food for your family!

Here is what I had when taking my “kitchen inventory”:

  • Carbs- a little bit of brown rice, half a box of spaghetti noodles, a few packages of grits, oats
  • Protein- half a bag of frozen shrimp, ground beef, a little bit of Greek yogurt, nut butter, cheese, Cliff bars + Z bars, hummus
  • Produce- avocados, cucumber, apples, baby carrots, cilantro, frozen blueberries, bananas, lettuce

Starting with these few items, I made a menu for breakfasts, dinners, and snacks, then got my grocery order in. I ended up only planning for four dinners this week because my mom brought us a meal (which she just dropped on our porch while we said our masked hellos) on Tuesday since we had to miss out on my dad’s birthday dinner over the weekend.

Like I did last week (you can read last week’s plan here), I will share our meal plan with recipes and/or short directions, and any baby modifications necessary. We do baby led weaning, so while she typically eats what we do, sometimes there are modifications necessary, especially since Baby and I usually eat dairy free.

I am also trying to start implementing more of a schedule for meals and snacks with Z; otherwise she will want to eat snacks all day. I try and offer snacks that have protein and fat so that she feels fuller longer. I am always learning, and get excited to learn new things, about feeding these little ones!

Two resources that I have loved in regards to feeding my family healthy foods are Kids Eat in Color on Instagram, and the Doctor Moms Podcast (formerly known as “Whole Mamas Club”). Also from these wonderful health-minded moms, I have learned about some supplements, so while this is different from just a meal plan, I will also share the vitamins/supplements we were taking this week to get back to full health.

I hope you can find something that works for you and your family this week, take what works for you, leave what doesn’t. Enjoy!

Breakfasts:

  • Baked oatmeal again with blueberries, bananas, and almond butter
  • Greek yogurt with honey, cinnamon, granola, and berries
  • Breakfast burritos with eggs, cheese, avocado, and salsa (for our slower mornings… which were almost all of them due to quarantining)
Spicy Garlic Salsa for our breakfast burritos

Snacks:

  • Hummus again with pretzels, carrots, and cucumber slices (for Selah I spread her hummus on toast or meat)
  • Fruit pouches for Z and Selah
  • Apple or banana slices served with peanut butter
  • Hard boiled eggs (sometimes serve with mayo and/or mustard for flavor and extra fat)
  • Cliff bars or Larabars for the grownups, Z bars for Z

Lunches:

  • Leftovers
  • Sandwiches with nitrate free turkey lunch meat or uncured ham
  • For Z’s school lunch this week (thankfully was the day after our quarantine ended!) I packed healthier vanilla wafers and strawberries for her snack, and for lunch a half a turkey sandwich, baby carrots, pretzels, and bunny fruit snacks

Dinners:

  • Monday: shrimp and grits *with cheese for those that could have it* and broccoli
  • Tuesday: meal from my mom plus any leftovers from the night before or weekend
  • Wednesday: spaghetti *I used this sauce recipe* with sautéed squash on the side
The sauce used for my spaghetti – great on noodles or veggies
  • Thursday: black beans and brown rice with avocado and cilantro on top and guacamole with plantain chips *I wish I had this recipe posted, but I cook dry beans in the instant pot (after soaking) with broth and water, bell pepper, onion, garlic, and lots of spices*
  • Friday: burritos/burrito bowls using leftover beans, rice, guac, plus sautéed bell peppers and onions, and turkey taco meat *will cook this taco meat*
Guacamole for beans and rice/burritos
  • Saturday and Sunday: last week’s highlights 🙂 AKA leftovers

There you have it! Our meal plan for a family of four – three meals and two snacks a day – this week’s grocery store total came out to $97, which is really pretty good! I’ll see what I can get it down to next week.

As far as supplements and vitamins go, usually I like to rely on food as our medicine, but we have been taking these off and on for months now, but really consistently these last few weeks. I love the Garden of Life vitamins/supplements as they are made from only whole foods, so I will be linking those below:

For David and me:

  • Vitamin B12
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin D every three days
  • Echinacea
  • Zinc

For just me:

  • Prenatal vitamin (not pregnant!)
  • Omega-3 to help with getting fattier breastmilk

For just Z:

For just Selah:

  • Vitamin D (does not come through breastmilk)

For all of us:

  • Elderberry syrup made with maple syrup
  • Plenty of healthy food, limited dairy (increases mucous production) and refined sugar (lowers immune support), and outside time!!!

Thank you for following along with our meals and health journey this month. I am far from perfect and know I could always do things better, so I always enjoy learning more about health and food, but I love sharing with others some of the easy things we do in our home for our health. I truly hope this helps someone in some small way! Stay healthy, have fun cooking and caring for yourself and your family… and enjoy your Pinch of Crazy!

This post contains affiliate links; if you purchase using the links, it is of no cost to you, just a small commission for me.

Meal Plan Month: January Meal Plan 1

Happy New Year! I’m glad to be back with my first blog of the year! Enjoy a poorly lit photo of my family over the holidays. The girls’ dresses (and Z’s big purple bow from Santa) are just too cute not to share!

Before the holidays I was trying to plan out some easy blog content for 2021 and posted a poll on my Instagram (follow me here) asking if people would like to see meal plans. The result was unanimous – everyone that answered said “yes”.

Since everyone usually tries to get healthier at the start of the year, and since we’re all cooking more due to restaurant shut downs (although, let’s be honest, DoorDash was the real hero of 2020), I figured posting my meal plans for the month of January would be a fun way to kick the year off on A Pinch of Crazy!

If cooking more, eating healthier, saving money, or trying new recipes are some goals you have for the year, then follow along for the month! Hopefully you can get some ideas that will work for you and your family, tweak what needs tweaking for you, maybe scrap some things all together, and just maybe find a new family favorite!

I will start this meal plan month off by sharing how I usually plan our meals for the week. Over the weekends, we usually eat “last week’s highlights” (my husband’s cute name for leftovers) or go out/get food delivered. Over the weekend is when I begin planning for the following week. To start with, I take a little “kitchen inventory” in the pantry and fridge to see what we have – this little jumping off point ends up saving a lot of money, reducing waste, and fuels my kitchen creativity. The three categories I usually check for are carbs/starches, protein, and produce. Once I plan meals based on what I have, I make a grocery list for items I still need. Then I usually pick up my groceries on Monday so I start the week off with a well stocked kitchen.

So after Christmas and New Year’s Day I actually didn’t have much in the way of leftovers, but I will share what I did end up starting with.

  • Carbs: brown rice, a few potatoes/sweet potatoes, oats, instant grits (a treat for my hubs), and a can of crescent roll dough
  • Protein: turkey bacon, almond butter, chick peas, tahini, some cheese, and a package of little beef sausages
  • Produce: carrots, greens (kale, spinach, and lettuce), cauliflower rice, blueberries, apples, and bananas – this is not really “produce” but I also had a half full jar of green curry paste

Starting with those few ingredients I planned five dinners (leftovers on weekends), and leftovers are used for lunches. I also planned a few breakfast items to meal prep for the week and wrote down snack ideas. These meals are all things I share with my two girls, but I will make sure to include which modifications, if any, were needed for our nine-month-old. Baby and I also eat dairy free (though I am starting to introduce a little here and there), so I will include modifications for that, too.

Breakfasts:

  • Pigs in a blanket
  • Grits
  • Baked oatmeal with almond butter, blueberries, and bananas *this is the only breakfast I fed to the baby, and I added less maple syrup so it wasn’t too sweet for her*

Snacks:

Classic Garlic Hummus
  • Hummus with carrot sticks or crackers *I put the baby’s hummus on toast or rolled up in nitrate free lunch meat*
  • Boiled eggs (I only did 6 since they weren’t for breakfast)
  • Cliff bars for grown-ups, Z bars for our oldest
  • Apple slices or bananas with peanut butter
  • Pouches and mandarin orange cups for both girls
  • Puffs for the baby
  • Christmas candy

Dinners:

Roasted Chicken with Carrots
  • Monday: Roasted chicken with carrots and potatoes *This recipe is for a whole chicken, but I used just drumsticks and chopped the carrots and potatoes to roast underneath them.*
  • Tuesday: Brown rice risotto with mushrooms, kale, and shrimp *I made this dairy free, but topped with cheese for those that could have it and subbed in my chicken stock in place of veggie broth*
  • Wednesday: Green curry chicken with coconut lime cauliflower rice, topped with avocado and cilantro *I don’t really have a recipe for this, but I just heated some shredded chicken with the cauliflower rice, added a couple tablespoons of the curry paste, poured in coconut milk, and squeezed a lime in. On this day I also took a meal (chicken tacos) to a friend so I boiled a bunch of chicken, shredded it, and seasoned it like taco meat. This is the chicken I used for the curry; it turned out great!*
  • Thursday: Lettuce wrapped mushroom swiss burgers and fries *Again, no real recipe for the burgers, but I usually season the ground beef with salt, pepper, garlic and onion powder, and smoked paprika then cook them in my cast iron skillet. We will top them with sauteed mushrooms and onions, swiss cheese (I will omit this for Baby and I), greens, dairy free ranch, and use lettuce in place of buns.*
  • Friday: Breakfast for dinner – turkey bacon (will not give to Baby), scrambled eggs, toast and/or leftover potatoes from burger night
  • Saturday and Sunday: last week’s highlights!

Lunches:

  • Leftovers
  • A couple of days we had outdoor picnics with friends so I packed sandwiches/lunch meat, hummus, fruit, and crackers for the girls and me
  • Our oldest went back to her Mother’s Day Out program this week so for her lunch I packed crackers with uncured salami and cheese cubes, a mandarin orange cup, and avocado and cucumber slices

Alright I think I covered it all! My grocery list for this week was basically proteins and snacks, plus of course a giant box of diapers and other essentials such as paper towels and foil. I ended up spending more than I usually do because I actually shopped in person for once and took advantage of coupons I saw to stock up on snacks and essentials; that brought my total for this week to $189. Since I got so many snacks this week, I am hoping next week to get the grocery bill down to less than $100. I’ll come back next week and share!

I hope you were able to get inspired for some meal ideas for your family this week, and that maybe you are able to save some money and try something new. Bask in the freshness of a new year…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!

Holiday Desserts

Sitting by a crackling fire, listening to classics like “The Christmas Song”, watching the tree lights twinkle, and enjoying my mom’s sweet, chocolatey fudge are some of my favorite Christmas traditions while growing up.

I’m not sure I can call myself “grown up” now, but I guess having two kids, a mortgage, and crow’s feet kind of qualifies me as so. Being a wife and mom myself (and, yeah, I guess a grown up) now, one of my greatest joys is creating a safe, cozy home for my family, and at this time of year, holiday traditions really add to the coziness of home.

I am sure throughout the years we will add in some more traditions, but right now our traditions are: picking out and decorating the tree together, having a Christmas scent on the stove filling the house with sweet and spicy aromas, Chinese food on Christmas Eve (which started as a young married couple after a busy evening at church, and I liked it so much we have kept it up), and of course, having ample goodies. Two goodies we have every year are peppermint bark and molasses cookies, but I am trying to add some more snacks and treats into the mix.

The holiday season always has its own level of Crazy, but add in a global pandemic, and having a new baby, and you have A [big] Pinch of Crazy! All of that to say, this year I didn’t really have the time or mental capacity to come up with a new holiday goodie, but I wanted to compile a list of some of my previous holiday treats for y’all to maybe make some traditions of your own!

Our Favorites

  • Marbled Peppermint Bark – This treat is both cool and refreshing and chocolatey and rich. While it is not refined sugar free, it is a breeze to whip up, and everyone is sure to love it!
  • Molasses Cookies – These warmly spiced cookies are soft and chewy with just the right touch of unrefined sweetness. These are my husband’s favorite, and I love making them for him every year!

Fall Flavors

  • Apple Pie Parfaits – These cute individual desserts are layered with warm apple pie filling, granola crumble, and whipped cream.
  • Pumpkin Bread with Crumb Topping – Just because fall is over, doesn’t mean you can’t finish up your canned pumpkin in the pantry. Pumpkin bread is always a hit; add a cinnamon crumb topping and you’ve got a family favorite!
  • No Bake Pumpkin Pie – Not just for Thanksgiving, this pie will be sure to please with its date and walnut crust filled with spiced pumpkin filling.

Candies and Confections

  • Chocolate Nut Clusters – These crunchy chocolate covered nuts are topped with a touch of salt, and are perfectly poppable for this time of year.
  • Two Layer Paleo Fudge – Fudge is a Christmas classic, and this refined sugar and dairy free version has a creamy almond butter layer beneath a salted dark chocolate layer.
  • Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups – Who doesn’t love a peanut butter cup at Christmas time? This healthier version of the classic candy is rich, gooey, and so simple to make!

Classic Desserts

Holiday Beverages

  • Dairy Free Eggnog – Eggnog is one of my favorite holiday drinks, and being strictly dairy free this year doesn’t mean I have to miss out! This thick, creamy, and sweet drink is made with coconut and almond milk, sweetened with coconut sugar, and can be made “adult” with some bourbon.
  • Slow Cooker Apple Cider – Warm, spiced apple cider is simple to make in your slow cooker, and your home will be filled with all the spicy scents.
  • Death by Hot Chocolate – Another treat we have often this time of year, this dairy free, refined sugar free hot chocolate is not missing out on flavor. It is so rich, it tastes just like drinking melted chocolate!

This year has been tough on so many in different ways; I hope these treats can fill your home with love and Christmas cheer. Maybe you can even add a new tradition to your usual ones. Stay safe and healthy, hug your loved ones, soak in the magic of the season… and enjoy your Pinch of Crazy!

Honey Cranberry Sauce

We are a mere three days away from arguably food’s biggest holiday, and I’m day dreaming about my turkey swimming in gravy, and don’t forget the sweet and tart cranberry sauce that compliments it so well! To be honest, I used to not really be a fan of cranberry sauce, but in recent years discovered how delicious it can be! I guess I tend to enjoy my berries fresh and not gelatinous. *shoulder shrug*

This year, I won’t be cooking for Thanksgiving (big benefit of living near your family), but in years past have cooked Thanksgiving meals for hungry marines, and have always served fresh cranberry sauce! It really cuts through the saltiness of your turkey, the fattiness of the skin/juices, and adds a tart, refreshing compliment to the meat. It’s also great on leftover turkey sandwiches! The best part is, it’s so easy to make that it barely constitutes a recipe!

No matter how small your Thanksgiving celebration may be this year (year of the dumpster fire 2020), some Honey Cranberry Sauce will be a welcome addition at the table.

Honey Cranberry Sauce

Ingredients

  • 12 ounces (1 bag) of fresh cranberries
  • 3-4 tsp of raw honey
  • Squeeze of fresh orange juice (about 2 tbsp)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 cups of water

Directions

  1. Bring water to a boil in a medium pot
  2. Add cranberries
  3. Boil until soft and skins are bursting
  4. Strain out water and return to pot
  5. Add honey, orange juice, and salt and pepper
  6. Stir to combine while slightly mashing the cranberries
  7. Serve warm, room temperature, or cold – it’s good all ways!
  8. Store leftovers covered in the fridge. Spread leftover sauce on toast and top with leftover turkey for a delicious leftover sandwich.

And that’s all, folks! It really is that easy, and in my opinion, better than the canned stuff. If you are having a smaller feast this year, try my Roasted Chicken with Carrots. That is what I used to test out this cranberry sauce with and it was fantastic! For a bigger feast, check out my Ghee, Garlic, and Herb Turkey with Gravy for a traditional turkey with a buttery, citrus-y twist.

For more Thanksgiving feast ideas, including sides, drinks, desserts, and appetizers, check out A Cornucopia of Ideas, where I’ve compiled a list of recipes for a delicious, healthier Thanksgiving dinner.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! Whatever you are doing during this strange holiday season, be safe, be kind, love on your people – even from afar if you must…and enjoy your Pinch of Crazy!

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

Green Pancakes

It was Halloween morning and my second attempt at my Green Pancakes. The first attempt did not go well, but I thought I would try again (with a touch more almond flour) because green goblin pancakes sure would be fun for Halloween breakfast! As if the excitement of dressing up like a unicorn (cute Halloween pics below) and wearing sparkly makeup wasn’t enough to send shrieks through the house, let’s add some syrup!

In my recently posted waffle recipe, I admitted to my morning hanger problem… oops. So like those waffles, this batter is made in a blender just to simplify everything and get some food in my, uh… I mean my kids… belly faster.

Speaking of kids, these pancakes are perfect for all the kiddos in your family, even your baby! These are perfect if you are doing baby led feeding. My seven-month-old absolutely loved them, and because breastfed babies iron stores are depleted around six months, I was glad to give her something so high in iron. Thanks, spinach!

Now I know you might be thinking ‘spinach pancakes sound like my kid’s personal torture’, but don’t worry: they won’t even be able to tell there is spinach in them. Now, I don’t recommend lying to your kids by trying to hide the fact that there is spinach, but this is just spinach dressed up, so to speak. The spinach has such a mild flavor, gives the pancakes their fun green color, but they taste just like a bananas!

So what do we do for toppings? Arguably the most important part of a pancake breakfast, don’t skimp on the toppings. Because these taste so strongly of banana, peanut butter and/or chocolate chips are delicious options, chopped walnuts would be great, and you can’t go wrong with a hefty glug of maple syrup.

Whether you really deck these out with toppings, keep it classic, serve them up for a holiday breakfast (perfect for Christmas, St Patrick’s Day, or Halloween) or just a fun Saturday morning surprise, these Green Pancakes are sure to please!

Green Pancakes

  • Servings: 16-20 mini pancakes
  • Print

Ingredients

  • 4 small, ripe bananas – the more freckled, the better
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups of almond flour
  • 1 tsp of baking powder
  • 1 cup of loosely packed spinach
  • 1/2 tsp of cinnamon
  • Desired oil for coating skillet (I used coconut)

Directions

  1. Heat large pan (I used my cast iron) over medium-low heat and coat generously with oil
  2. Blend all ingredients in blender or food processor until smooth
  3. Pour small rounds on pre-heated skillet
  4. Once bubbles around the edges have formed and popped, flip pancakes over (these are quite delicate so be gentle)
  5. After about two minutes on the other side, take off pan
  6. Serve pancakes warm with desired toppings

For more breakfast recipes with leafy greens, check out my Berries and Greens Smoothie, Turkey Sausage Breakfast Bake, or Whole30 Breakfast Hash. For a heartier, less green (actually not green at all hehe) pancake, check out my Flax and Oat Pancakes. Have a little fun with breakfast, don’t skip the most important meal of the day…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!

Constipation Cure Baby Food

Feeding babies. Who knew something as basic as feeding your kiddos could spark such controversy? But the controversy, shaming, and self-imposed mom guilt literally starts from birth. Breastfeeding versus formula feeding seems to be the hot topic of a lot of new moms and there are a lot of feelings wrapped up in it. While I do love breastfeeding and desire to see it normalized, and want more education for expecting and new moms, it is cruel to shame moms who choose to feed their babies with formula.

If a mom’s mental health is suffering and she feels better switching to formula, then that is great! She is a good mom to care about being there and being mentally healthy for her kids. If a mom is struggling to produce enough and switches to formula out of exhaustion, then that is great! She is a good mom for wanting to have more time and energy for her kids. There are a ton of different reasons a mom may want to switch to formula, and they are all okay! On the opposite side, if a mom wants to nurse and tries desperately to make it work, then that is great! She is a good mom for sticking to her guns. If a mom nurses past a year, then that is great! She is a good mom for wanting to comfort her toddler. If a mom is trying hard to feed her baby, whether through the hard work of breastfeeding or the expense of buying formula, then she. is. a. good. mom! So let’s stop the breast versus formula debate, shall we?

Now, moving onto the shame revolving around solids for Baby. There is a whole new hot topic of purees versus baby led weaning/feeding. If you start too young, that is bad, but if you start too late, that also is bad. If you use purees, that is bad, but if you give your baby table food, that is also bad. Literally. There are so many schools of thought out in the world wide web revolving around babies/children in regards to ev.er.y.thing. which drove me to the edge with my firstborn (you can read about my postpartum experience here), and this time around I really wanted to tap into my own mama instincts, and let the Lord guide me in how I raise my children.

So for right now, in regards to our preschooler, we try and discipline gently *always needing God’s help for this*, let her explore/make messes, and never have a kid’s menu – she eats what we eat. In regards to our baby, we breastfeed (well, I do) and give a little formula to help with weight gain, we gently sleep trained, and we do a mixture of purees and baby led feeding.

Yep, even at seven months old, she eats what we eat, but with modifications. However, once we introduced her to both formula and solids, we had a little blockage issue; I’m talking 48 hours without a dirty diaper. So I made this constipation cure for her dinner one night, and the next morning when I walked into her room I smelled… victory. I make one big batch per week and we give it to her every night at dinner along with some of our table food. So far, both of my girls have been big eaters and love to eat all the foods! The second Selah sits down in her highchair (our cute, wooden high chair is currently out of stock on Amazon, but this one looks so cute, too!) she starts dancing and grabbing everything on her tray! When she sees her baby food come out in her little bowl she starts whining and we can’t feed her her “dessert” fast enough!

So, however you feed your baby, there is no shame here, but if you need some help getting them *ahem* moving, this recipe is for you!

Constipation Cure Baby Food

Ingredients

  • 1 medium pear (I’ve used both red and green), sliced with skin on
  • 8 prunes
  • 6 baby carrots
  • 1/3 cup fresh baby spinach
  • Optional: a pinch of ground ginger and/or ground cinnamon
  • Optional mix-ins: coconut oil, baby cereal, breastmilk, or formula

Directions

  1. Bring a medium pot of water to a boil
  2. Put baby carrots in the boiling water first
  3. Once carrots are softening (not quite fork tender), add in pear slices and prunes and seasoning if using
  4. Once everything is fork tender, turn off water and add baby spinach
  5. Once spinach is wilted slightly, blend using an immersion blender or carefully transfer to your blender.
  6. Add extra water to reach desired consistency
  7. Serve to your baby either cold or lukewarm with desired mix-ins
  8. Store in air tight container in the refrigerator

Sorry I got on my soap box at the start of this blog, but now you know how I feel about mom shaming and mom guilt. It’s the worst. Let me know how you feed your baby, and what their favorite food is! However you feed that little love, take care of them, snuggle your babies…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!