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!
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
Crackers with cheese or hummus (finally finishing that up this week!)
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.
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!
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
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!
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)
Hummus again with pretzels, carrots, and cucumber slices (for Selah I spread her hummus on toast or meat)
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
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
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
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*
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:
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!
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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.
Pigs in a blanket
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*
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)
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!
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!
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!
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!
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!
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!
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.
Stir to combine while slightly mashing the cranberries
Serve warm, room temperature, or cold – it’s good all ways!
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!
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!
As a new mom for the second time (still unreal?!) I get attacked often by hanger. Feeling “hangry” is feeling so hungry that you get angry, and unfortunately, this happens to me fairly frequently. It goes a little something like this: I wake in the 6 o’clock range to chubby fingers pulling my eyelids open and giggling morning breath in my face. After some persuasion, I get out of bed and am greeted by Coffee, my morning buddy. After having a semi-rough night of sleep either comforting a preschooler with a bad dream and/or nursing a hungry baby, the hanger strikes.
All of a sudden my hands are shaking, my stomach is growling, and my patience is thin. And something like cereal will not cure the hanger; at this point I need something substantial, and I need it fast! At this time of year, pumpkin flavored everything abounds, and I am not ashamed to say I love pumpkin flavored goodies (still haven’t tried a PSL, though), and even more so if I can have healthy pumpkin goodies!
How can this breakfast live up to all of my demands: fast, pumpkin flavored, healthy, and filling?! Blender waffles! It does not get much easier than blending all your ingredients then pouring them into a waffle iron! Have your kiddos help you blend it up while you sip your coffee: healthy, fun, and delicious for the whole family!
Spring has sprung – flowers blooming, I saw some bluebonnets this week, allergies flaring up, all the butterflies flitting about, and our second baby girl is about to make her entrance! I will be 38 weeks pregnant tomorrow, so for my last blog before Baby I wanted to do a third trimester recap (you can read my First Trimester Recap here, and my Second Trimester Recap here) plus give a run down of what I’ve stocked away in our freezer for those early weeks after birth.
Third trimester. Wow. I’d like to say it was rainbows and unicorns, but let’s face it, the end is uncomfortable for everyone! However, I’ve maintained a healthy diet, listening to my body’s cravings, and remained active. The difference in my third trimester this time and last time was incredible, though! When pregnant with Zemirah, I struggled with higher blood pressure, had pitting edema – I’d press my swollen ankle and the indention would stay there – terrible acid reflux, excruciating low back pain, and of course my weight was way too high. This time, however, my blood pressure has been perfect (lower than average), I’ve had minimal swelling here at the very end – I’m still wearing my wedding ring! My back pain has been non-existent until just this past week (it is always on the side Baby’s on), and my heartburn/acid reflux has been exponentially less! All in all, this pregnancy has been very easy, I’m so thankful, and praying the same for birth and the postpartum time.
So, what made the difference in these pregnancies?
Eating real, whole foods has made a world of difference in my life these past two years (you can read our food journey here), and an immeasurable difference in pregnancy. During my third trimester I ate:
Dark chocolate – and lots of it! The sweets cravings are real but only dark (60%-72%) chocolate will cut it for me. Add in some almonds or coconut and salt and I’m in my own personal heaven! One of my favorite packaged dark chocolate snacks is Bark Thins, but I also made a few homemade versions which I will blog after Baby.
Beef – it’s what’s for dinner. My midwives told me after my glucose screening that I was also anemic, which explained my meat cravings. So we started eating beef about once a week, whereas we usually go a couple weeks without red meat. Steaks are my favorite, but we would also have ground beef in pasta sauce, taco meat, or beef sausage.
Kale – sauteed in butter, topped with salt and a hefty squeeze of lemon juice has been a staple this whole pregnancy. Leafy greens also happen to be high in iron so that helped my anemia, too, in conjunction with upping my prenatal vitamin to twice a day.
Citrus fruit – tangerines, navel oranges, blood oranges, grapefruit, you name it! Not to mention, squeezing lemon and/or lime juice on everything. Fun fact, having adequate Vitamin C helps your body absorb iron (it’s almost like my body knew what it needed based on my cravings…hmmmm)
Fats – butter, olive oil, avocado, oh my! Seriously. Almost everything is cooked in butter and/or olive oil and we have avocado/guacamole nearly every day.
Dairy – this has been a theme throughout my pregnancy. I seem to digest dairy better when pregnant, and have been taking advantage of that! Soft, fresh mozzarella, goat cheese, and plain, tart Greek yogurt have been my go-to choices.
Water – how boring, huh? But seriously, lately I’ve been drinking around a gallon a day give or take a few ounces. I am so thankful for easily accessible, clean drinking water.
My weight gain has been average thus far (30 lbs), but I’ve remained active throughout this pregnancy not for weight, but for wellness for my mind and body! Some things I’ve done to exercise are:
Yoga – I love Yoga with Adriene on YouTube and completed my fourth round of “30 Days of Yoga” in January. I had to modify to accommodate my growing belly, but it felt so good to stretch and move daily, taking that all important time to myself. I would also do my own little stretchy yoga flows combined with some suggested activities from Spinning Babies to help get my body prepared for labor and delivery.
Walking – I love walking, and I make sure to get a long walk in once a week, but now that the weather is warming up and my due date is getting closer, I’m trying to walk almost every day.
Fit4Mom – I love this company and what they stand for – helping moms find their fit. I am a Stroller Strides instructor, and was teaching two classes a week until last week (taking a break until a few months after Baby) and would also go to the occasional Stroller Barre class to get my legs strong for birth.
In preparation for those first few months postpartum, AKA the “fourth trimester”, I began stocking my freezer with some meals a couple months ago. Here’s what I have:
Lasagna – I have used this lasagna recipe for years. I just subbed in gluten free noodles, used cottage cheese in place of ricotta, and added mushrooms to the sauce
Chicken/broccoli/rice casserole – this one speaks for itself; it’s all held together with my creamy dairy free “cheese” sauce
Beef taco meat – like the taco meat in this recipe
Cooked brown rice
Meatloaf – just like this meatloaf but with ketchup and kale
I think that’s everything! I plan to make a big batch of overnight oats and bake some russet and sweet potatoes for the fridge when it’s almost time for the baby. Who knows, maybe that’s how I’ll keep busy during early labor hehe! I am praying all these healthy, whole foods will nourish me and Baby well during those early weeks.
To read more about baby stuff, check out Zemirah’s Birth Story and My Postpartum Journey. Can’t wait to introduce our newest girl to the blog world; thank you for following along on this pregnancy with me! Stay safe, stay healthy, hug your family…and enjoy your Pinch of Crazy!
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Ahh the second trimester. Also known as the “honeymoon trimester”. As I sit here and type this “honeymoon trimester” recap, I am nearly 34 weeks pregnant, feeling our baby girl tap dance on my internal organs, and feeling like there is no way I’ll be able to make it to my due date… I am certainly thankful to carry life in my body, but no one likes the last few weeks of pregnancy – kind of a blessing in disguise because by the end you are so ready to deliver!
My creativity and motivation so late in pregnancy is close to 0 so, similar to how I wrote a First Trimester Recap I wanted to recap my second trimester, including all things exercise, food, and family related!
What I Ate
So to be fair, I was in my second trimester during the holidays and when the flu struck our house, but I was just wanting us to stay healthy, enjoy some holiday treats, and try and eat nutritious foods for myself and Baby. So we did have a lot of carbs, yet again, and I ain’t mad about it! Some foods I ate frequently during the second trimester were:
Also same as the first trimester, but plain Greek yogurt with berries, honey, and granola – another breakfast fav!
Lemon-y kale sauteed in butter (yum!) at least twice a week!
I could finally stomach eggs again toward the end of my first trimester, so we have also had plenty of big breakfasts (eggs, uncured bacon, more lemon-y kale, avocado, toast…) both for breakfast and/or dinner. Always a quick, delicious option!
I am sure there were more foods I loved, but I didn’t have strong cravings, and I was just trying to keep things simple during this time – lots of frozen veggies, baked sweet potatoes, and simple proteins.
How I Exercised
As I mentioned in my First Trimester Recap, exercise has greatly reduced pregnancy symptoms for me. Because the second trimester is the honeymoon trimester, I was already feeling pretty good to begin with, but exercise helped me stay energetic and feel my best on top of beginning to prepare my body for labor!
At least twice a week, I would do a Fit4Mom class, even if it was just my two Stroller Strides classes I instruct. I also began to make yoga a regular part of my exercise routine again – at least once a week. At the suggestion of my midwives, I looked up Spinning Babies and incorporated many of their recommended activities into my yoga flows – including psoas/hip flexor stretches, lunges, squats, and a safe and simple inversion. While the weather was nice, I would try and go walking once or twice weekly without pushing Zemirah in the stroller. It doesn’t hurt that walking all by myself listening to the birds and worship music is one of my favorite things to do. All of these activities make me feel my best, they are movements that make me happy, and are great for preparing my body for labor!
Other Second Trimester News
During the second trimester we also discovered the Baby is in fact Baby Girl and everything looks good and healthy! The doctor who did my sonogram said that he thought she would be small, but currently, as she is simultaneously pressing into my ribs (both sides!) and my hip, I don’t see how that could be possible. I can’t wait to find out how big she is; see her face, who she looks like, and sniff her little newborn head. Okay, now I’m crying.
We also ran the normal gestational diabetes blood work towards the end of my second trimester and saw that everything looked normal with my blood sugar, but that I am low on iron. So at the suggestion of my midwives, I’ve been eating a little (lot) of dark chocolate every night – just following doctor’s orders 😉
The honeymoon phase of pregnancy definitely flew by in a rush of holiday fun/madness and ended with a sick house, but I enjoyed this trimester. I was able to start getting to know my newest little girl; when she is most active, what foods she seems to like (she kicks a lot after a protein packed meal), and even begin playing with her! Oftentimes after dinner, we will all take turns pressing “Baby Sister” and then feeling her press back. I know she will add a fun new dimension to our family, and I’m so excited to meet her in about six weeks!!!