Wednesday, March 26, 2014

My Favorite Crock Pot Meals - Part 3, Perfect Pintos

My mexican grandmother inspired crock pot pinto beans!

Grandma's Perfect Crock Pot Pinto Beans
4 cups dry pinto beans - washed
edited: no need to soak these overnight
1 small piece of pork fat or bacon
1 clove garlic

Add washed pinto beans to crock pot then add water until the crockpot is almost filled to the top (about a 1 inch space remaining) add in piece of pork fat and a clove of peeled garlic. Cook on high heat 4-6 hours. About 3-4 hours into cook time add water, enough to cover beans again and stir. Once beans are nice and tender turn off crock pot. Remove pork fat and garlic clove if desired. Serve with a dab of butter, salt, and add cheese on top. These delicious pintos go perfectly with freshly made tortillas (find my recipe here). Beans do not keep long in the refrigerator, so consider freezing leftover beans after a couples of days in the fridge. Use ziplock baggies or mason jars and leave room for expansion. I love having beans in my freezer, ready to be whipped into refried beans anytime I want! Hope you enjoy my grandma's beans as much as I do, there is NOTHING like fresh beans from the crock pot!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

20 Weeks 4 Days Pregnant

the bump at 20 weeks 4 days

I made it half way! I usually enjoy the 2nd trimester. I feel my best and I usually sleep well. This pregnancy has been different for me. I have had a lot of pain this pregnancy. More days than not. It is mostly sciatic nerve pain, but I am also having round ligament pain and other aches and pains that have no known cause. Other than the pains I am having, I am feeling pretty good during the day. I have been taking an herbal tincture to support my immune system and I really like it. I can definitely tell a difference when I am not taking it and I would recommend taking it if you have trouble with illness during pregnancy. It is called Wish Garden Immune Boost for Pregnancy. I am also considering taking another tincture by Wish Garden called Sleepy Nights, because I am not sleeping well. I keep telling my brain to shut down but it seems to want to work overtime at 2 am... It is not good, busy pregnant mama's need their rest! Wish Garden has a large selection of different herbs and herbal mixtures made just for pregnancy and postpartum, check out their website.

I am also very emotional this pregnancy and I cry a lot. I can't help it...I really don't like being a basket case. My husband is amazingly supportive right now. He is willing to listen and put up with my emotional outburst whenever I need him to. It is not like me, to just cry every time something makes me happy, mad, sad, or otherwise. Hopefully my hormones will balance out soon and I then can stop being such a cry baby.

I decided it is time to finally switch out my wardrobe for maternity clothes. I still fit into a lot of my pre pregnancy clothes, which has been nice. Before I got pregnant with this baby I lost about 25 pounds (that's a guess, because I do not own a scale). I was on an eating plan, that my friend recommended to me, called Trim Healthy Mama. I tell everyone about my success and how easy it is to loose weight eating on plan. Although I do not agree with some of their food suggestions, the principals can still be applied and work effectively for weight loss. I was also doing Trim Healthy Mama when I started my pregnancy. I was having some issues early on, so I discontinued THM for a while. During pregnancy your body has different needs than before, so it is important to listen to your body and do what is right for you.

I can feel the baby move every day, he is very active. I am thrilled to have made it this far.  My days are very busy with caring for my husband and the littles, homeschooling, and house keeping. I hardly notice that the weeks have passed, which is a blessing, since I am anxious to meet our new little one!

Monday, March 10, 2014

My Favorite Crock Pot Meals - Part 2

Here is another go to recipe for any day. It is especially good on cold days paired with homemade bread or biscuits.
before adding water...

Crockpot Chicken Soup
1 Whole Chicken with innards removed
1 onion chopped
5 stalks celery chopped
4 carrots chopped or you can also use baby carrots
2-3 cloves garlic
salt and pepper

Place all of the ingredients into crock pot, then add water, enough to cover the chicken. Set crock pot on high for 4-5 hours or set on low for 6-8 hours. Always check the chicken breast temperature before assuming it is done. It should read exactly 180 degrees for perfectly cooked chicken.

Once your chicken is finished cooking remove from crockpot and set in a baking dish to cool. While it is cooling, perfect your soup. Be sure to add plenty of salt and pepper. Also you can add parsley or other herbs that you may like, just make the soup to your taste.

Now it is time to take the chicken from the bones. It should be very easy, and fall directly off the bones. Discard both skin and bones. Divide chicken into bite sized pieces and add to soup. That's it!

You could thicken the soup with corn starch or flour and serve over mashed potatoes. Or you could add egg noodles (homemade are best) or brown rice, about halfway thru cooking time.

It is so delicious!! You will probably have seconds. It is very good for you too. Hope you enjoy!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Cloth Diapering, it's Not For Wimps

freshly washed diapers on the line!

It's been a while since I did a cloth diaper update. I have been taking a break from cloth diapering over the past coupe of months. With pregnancy complications and holidays thrown into the mix, as well as moving to a new house, I have not been able to get into the groove of cloth diapering again. I have also gotten away from making my homemade wipes. I miss using them, and was planning to make some this week. But I could not find the wipe container I normally use. I suppose it is still packed in a box somewhere from the move. I am not in a hurry to unpack at the moment, as we will be moving shortly after the baby comes in just over 5 months...BUT I am determined to get back into my cloth diapering routine. I am also throwing around the idea of cloth diapering my newborn too. This decision is not easy for me, because it means at least one more load of laundry every day since I will have 2 in diapers...

I will be honest, I do not cloth diaper because it is fun. It is not fun at all. I do it because it saves our family money and is better for my baby's health. What I especially dislike is spraying off poopy diapers. Thankfully breastfed babies poo is water soluble and diapers can be thrown straight into the washer without having to spray them. The diapers I have will work for a small size baby, but not a newborn. So I am contemplating using prefolds for my newborn. I have 40 prefold diapers that I bought a few months ago, along with 10 barely used pocket diapers. They are very plain diapers, but they have been working just fine for Mary at this point. The pocket diapers are called OhBabyKa. They are definitely not a high quality brand name, but they do the job. That is all I care about. I have discontinued use of microfiber inserts all together. They are synthetic garbage as far as I am concerned. They hold in smells and cause diaper rashes. EWWW! The only time I may use a microfiber insert is for overnight cloth diapering, which I do not do unless I am forced to because I have no disposables. I am currently using the prefolds as inserts, and I like them much better!

I am getting a little more adventurous, and have decided that it is ok to take my baby out in a cloth diaper. As long as I am prepared. My brain seems to have a very bad memory these days and I am lucky if I even remember to bring a spare diaper with me when I go out...But with a wet bag, cloth diapering on the go isn't so bad.

Stay tuned to see if I will have the boldness to cloth diaper two babies or if I will wimp out...