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.

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!

First Trimester Recap

If you hadn’t heard, now you know! Baby Mills #2 is coming in April 2020! I briefly spoke about my pregnancy in my most recent post, and have also shared on my social media, but I wanted to give a more in-depth recap of our journey to Baby 2, how my first trimester went, and what I ate – this is a food blog after all 😛

IMG_5843.JPG

Journey to Baby

On June 25th, 2019 I took a pregnancy test which, much to my shock, came back positive; I didn’t have any symptoms other than being late. We had talked about wanting to start trying soon, but weren’t quite there yet. However, we were so excited and planned to tell our families on July 4th festivities. Sadly, this little one never made it that far – we lost our darling babe on July 2nd. Due to our recent move, a surprise pregnancy, and the holiday, it took what seemed like forever to finally get in to see a doctor and make sure everything had passed and was okay. But I eventually found a team of midwives that we (all 3 of us!) adore! They tested my hormone levels to make sure I didn’t have any pregnancy hormones left, and said we could start trying again at any time.

We weren’t exactly “trying”, but also weren’t preventing, and when I had three consecutive days of slight, annoying nausea, and still no cycle after the miscarriage, I decided to take a pregnancy test on July 30th. Again, positive! We were simultaneously nervous and over the moon. Almost immediately we visited the midwives to test my hormone levels and make sure they were rising appropriately – they were! We even did a very early ultrasound at 6 weeks to make sure everything was in the right place, and got to see our teeny tiny grain of rice baby flicker ever so slightly with a heartbeat.

Now I am 18 weeks pregnant (almost halfway!), Baby is the size of a cucumber, and while I still think about, and feel sad about, the sweet baby we won’t meet on this earth, I am so thankful to feel these precious baby jabs in my womb. It is frightening that there are so many variables that can cause a pregnancy to fail, but all I can focus on is that for now I have this little, wriggling life inside of me, and he/she has a rambunctious big sister who loves to kiss them already and even put lotion on them! Rather than fretting about what could be, I will choose to cherish these moments.

10 weeks, 12 weeks, 15 weeks

Symptoms and Cravings

Nausea: the dreaded symptom of all pregnant mamas, yet, this time around, it was an odd comfort to know that my hormones were high and Baby was well! Miraculously, I never vomited due to morning sickness *praise hands* but had plenty of food aversions, uncomfortable nausea, sensitive gag reflex, and was sensitive to smells.

One of the first foods I quickly had to give up was eggs of all kinds. I thought my first pregnancy barf was coming one morning when I was 8 weeks pregnant and peeling a hard boiled egg for Zemirah. Gag! So then instead of our standard boiled eggs and oatmeal (which was also hard for me to stomach), we would usually have toast and a big glass of my Berries and Greens Smoothie; something nice and cold, sweet, and with hidden veggies – which were another food aversion.

I started craving dairy, which we hardly have in the house. I made a big lasagna with gluten free noodles, spinach, and lots of cottage cheese, I also ate cheese-sticks for snacks, bowls of cottage cheese, and made my Spaghetti Bake with Balsamic Glaze with ooey gooey mozzarella! The dairy craving has passed now, but I have found with this pregnancy that my stomach can handle dairy much better than my non-pregnant stomach can.

I have been craving all things tart and sour since the beginning of pregnancy, and still am! Green olives and/or kalamata olives are a standard snack for me, along with pickles or banana peppers, and at the beginning of pregnancy I couldn’t get enough ice cold lemonade! Instead of drinking the overly sugary, overly dyed kind, I chose to get Simply Lemonade, made with water, lemon juice, and cane sugar. A deliciously sweet/tart treat I’ve enjoyed this pregnancy is Annie’s Sour Bunnies – an organic, real sugar chewy treat!

Sandwiches! Oh my word, I could not get enough sandwiches at the beginning of pregnancy. They were light, refreshing, cold, and I could put lots of tart condiments like mustard, pickles, banana peppers, and put extra veggies in there like greens, tomatoes, or cucumbers. Not to mention, I could pile them high with meats! The sandwich craving has passed for now, and I’ve lowered my bread intake, but I was just letting myself eat as much whole grain bread as I needed to to stave off the nausea while filling my belly.

Speaking of meat…yes I craved meat at the beginning of pregnancy. Which was weird for me because I wasn’t like that with Zemirah. Maybe it’s a boy??? But I was all about big, juicy lettuce wrapped burgers or tacos, Slow Cooker Pork Roast with Veggies with pork or beef, and have made a lot of Roasted Chicken with Carrots to satisfy my cravings while getting some vegetables in, too.

My eating habits have pretty much returned to normal now; I still have more carbs than usual due to my growing appetite, but I am eating more vegetables and little to no dairy again. However, I felt perfectly comfortable letting my body dictate how I needed to eat those first few months and just steering it healthier. Because while I might have been craving deep fried mozzarella sticks (yep, I was) I knew I could satisfy that craving and feel better in my body by eating a cheese stick and some crackers with hummus…probably with a handful of olives, too. Yum!

Activity

While pregnant with my first, Zemirah, I struggled to be active and exercise. With this baby, though, I am fortunate to be a Stroller Strides instructor so I have to get outside and exercise at least twice a week! And on those mornings where I thought I wouldn’t even be able to hold down a piece of dry toast, I found that movement and fresh air really helped cure my nausea. My goal for each day is to move my body, whether that’s instructing Stroller Strides, going to one of the other classes offered with Fit4Mom, going for a long walk, and some days when it’s hard to get out of the house, that may just look like some stretchy yoga. One of my midwives told me, “any movement is better than no movement” so if all I can manage one day is a few downward dogs, I’m counting it!

I’ve also given myself more grace to rest and nap this time around. I can usually find a hundred other things to do rather than lay down, but I know I need to get rest for this little baby. Oftentimes, I nap when Zemirah does, but on days where I have to work, I make sure to have time to sit and quiet my brain. Nearly every night, I go to bed early…usually on the couch and then my husband cruelly wakes me up to go to the bed haha! And if I’m feeling extra sleepy when my alarm goes off, I snooze until Zemirah comes and wakes me.

Basically what I’ve learned in this Crazy season of having a toddler, multiple part time jobs, and being pregnant is that it’s all about grace. Grace to not post a new recipe here every week, grace to not have a spotless house, grace to sleep in, grace to eat toast or cheese. And whatever season you’re in, you deserve some grace, too. Eat that dessert, take that power nap, leave your dishes overnight, whatever you need to do for a little breathing room…and enjoy your Pinch of Crazy!

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