Baby 3: Second Trimester Recap

My due date is literally one month away, which means we will most likely have a baby in 2-6 weeks! I cannot believe how fast this pregnancy has flown by, even in the midst of a *historically* hot summer. In just a couple of weeks I will start my postpartum freezer prep and will hopefully be able to update here before Brother makes his big debut, but for now I will recap the second trimester AKA the “honeymoon” trimester.

Easter at our church

Celebrations and Eating Healthy

We had plenty of celebrations in the second trimester: Easter, our second daughter’s birthday, pre-K graduation for our oldest, Mother’s Day, and the start of summer fun. I never want my daughters to feel like mom doesn’t enjoy fun times with them because I sit out from “fun” foods (although all foods are fun and have a purpose) so I always join them with a piece of cake or a couple of cookies if these are present. And I tell you what, I craved all sorts of sweet treats during the second trimester, and treat myself almost nightly with dark chocolate or nice cream.

Aside from celebrations, our everyday eating remained much the same. I always try and include a fruit and a vegetable in every dinner, sometimes lunches or breakfasts, too, as well as a fat, protein, and carb. Other than sweets, there are no specific cravings that really stick out to me from the second trimester. I was (and still am) just always trying to feed our family as cost effectively, healthily, and simply as possible. Some favorite meals we always enjoy are “bowl” meals: taco bowls, sushi bowls, and Mediterranean bowls to name a few.

Exercise

As I’ve mentioned in my last few posts, my exercise routine has remained the same for well over a year now: a ten minute home workout every weekday + walking whenever I can (usually 2-4 times per week). However, with summer starting in my second trimester, I started adding in the occasional lap swimming. It is a little tough to swim laps with two small children in the pool with you, but I get in what I can when I can. I also did some prenatal yoga with Spinning Babies exercises occasionally. I find that as long as I am doing something enjoyable and achievable, I will make it happen, and I love getting exercise!

Goodbye Honeymoon Trimester, Hello Heat

I think that is all for the second trimester; it was easy and over too quickly! During the second trimester, we moved the girls into the other bedroom and put them in bunk beds, started on the baby’s room, got his clothes put away, and did some small home projects. Now I’m currently baking the last bit of this baby and literally baking in the Texas summer. I’ll be back soon with a freezer stash! As always… enjoy your Pinch of Crazy!

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!

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)

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!

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!

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 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!

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