The Perfect Morning Latte (Without A Fancy Espresso Machine)


How To Make The Perfect Morning Latte (Without a Fancy Espresso Machine) Using a French Press and a Mason Jar | via The Crispy Mama

Call me “basic” but I love Starbucks. A regular old cup of coffee at home just doesn’t compare. The coffee isn’t as strong, the milk isn’t as “foamy”, it doesn’t have that vibe. While I am a loyal Starbucks customer, with the Gold Status membership to prove it, sometimes I really can’t justify spending up to $6 on a latte (no matter how perfect and delicious it may be). I also have to wake up before sunlight Starbucks hours for work (yeah, it’s as early as you’re imagining). When that is the case and I can’t get my fix, I break out my trusty old French Press and a mason jar and whip up one of these bad boys.

How To Make The Perfect Morning Latte (Without a Fancy Espresso Machine) Using a French Press and a Mason Jar | via The Crispy Mama

You’ll need a standard French Press coffee maker, a Mason Jar (or other microwave safe container with a lid), ground coffee (I am and forever will be a loyal Community Coffee drinker, as any self-respecting southerner is), cinnamon, salt, and your milk of choice. Note that the type of milk that you choose may affect your “foaminess level”. Some milks that contain no fat or too much fat don’t create as much foam as others. I use four scoops (tablespoons) of coffee for every eight ounces of water, but you can adjust this to your liking. I like “fire station coffee”, as my dad always called it, that is so strong you can almost stand the spoon up in it. Seriously, I want it to be borderline sludgey (none of that Keurig garbage here!). Anyways, scoop your desired amount of coffee into the bottom of the French Press along with a sprinkle of cinnamon and a pinch salt (Pro Tip: Salt cuts the bitterness of coffee. This works in a regular coffee maker too!). Bring water to a boil either on the stove or in the microwave. Remove the water from heat and allow it to cool a little bit. Meanwhile, pour your desired amount of milk (soy, almond, 2%, whatever your jam is) into a mason jar and screw the lid on really tight. Make sure the jar that you choose leaves plenty of head room for the milk. It will expand and you don’t want it to overflow in your microwave. You and I both know that if it does, you will forget that it spilled, leave it there, it will be sticky, it will stink, suddenly you’re crying, everyone is crying, the microwave is on fire, and no one is happy. So yeah, make sure the jar is big enough.

How To Make The Perfect Morning Latte (Without a Fancy Espresso Machine) Using a French Press and a Mason Jar | via The Crispy Mama

Now shake the shit out of it. I mean really go to town. Shake it really vigorously for about a minute. Is it foamy yet? No? Keep going. When you’re satisfied with the foaminess level, TAKE THE LID OFF (seriously do not put metal in the microwave, kids) and stick it in the microwave for about 30 seconds. This will warm the milk up and make the foam “stick” together.

How To Make The Perfect Morning Latte (Without a Fancy Espresso Machine) Using a French Press and a Mason Jar | via The Crispy Mama

While your milk is foaming it up in the microwave, pour your hot water water over the coffee grounds in your French Press, put the lid on, but DO NOT push the plunger (gross, but the proper name for it) down. Wait it out for about 5 minutes, depending on how “fire stationey” you want it. When the time is up, push the plunger (ew) down slowly. If you push it down too fast, you’ll end up with little coffee grounds in your cup. Yuck. Pour the coffee in a cup and pour the perfectly foamy milk over the top. Sprinkle with more cinnamon and try to chug it before your kid wakes up.


Are you a Starbucks addict, too? More of a tea kind of gal? Share in the comments.

Xoxo,

The Crispy Mama

Amazon PrimePantry: How To Get The Most Out Of Your Box

Shop Amazon – Introducing Prime Pantry – Everyday Essentials in Everyday Sizes

Disclosure: This post includes affiliate links, meaning that I receive a small commission for items purchased through my blog, at no cost to you. All items advertised are items that I actually use and all opinions are 100% my own!

I’m seriously an Amazon addict. My lovely fiancé will tell you, we usually have at least one smiley-face box on our doorstep every single day (usually something weird, like a 6000 pack of coffee filters). One of my favorite Amazon features is PrimePantry. Prime members (seriously, the most worth-it membership you will ever buy) can fill a box with food, baby, paper and plastic, cleaning and other staples for a flat delivery fee of $5.99 with two day shipping. Thats right. Groceries. Shipped. To. Your. Door. It’s basically a busy Mama’s dream come true. On top of that, many of the items are listed for a better price than the grocery store. There is a program where if you buy five “qualifying items” you can get your shipping for free. If you shop for other items on Amazon frequently, you can choose “No-Rush” shipping, rather than the free Two-Day Prime shipping and get a $5.99 credit towards your PrimePantry box to cover the shipping. To recap, these are groceries shipped to your door, in two days, for cheaper than the grocery store prices, with the possibility of free shipping. Seriously, jackpot.

Make The Most Of Your Pantry Box

  1. Crushable Items– Pay attention to what type of items you are getting. You wouldn’t put a bag of potatoes on top of your loaf of bread in your grocery cart. The same principle applies here. Don’t get a box full of canned goods and one bag of chips and expect the chips not to be crushed. They will be. And the bag will bust and there will be chip crumbs everywhere. Everything will be greasy and you will cry. Mind the weight of your items.
  2. Box Percentage– Each item listed shows you exactly how much of your box is filled by the item. To get the most out of your box, chose items with packaging that doesn’t take up the majority of your box. For example, if one type of granola bars includes 5 bars and takes up 10% of your box, but another kind has 10 bars and takes up 5% of your box, you would want to choose the second one.
  3. Free Shipping Items– While the free shipping program is a great deal, be careful not to fall into temptation. Only buy free shipping qualifying items if you really need them. It doesn’t make sense to buy an $8 free shipping qualifying item that you don’t need to save $5.99 for shipping. I can almost always find something that I need in the list, but if not, I just bite the bullet and pay for the shipping.
  4. Price Per Item/Ounce– To easily determine which items are the best deals, check the price per item/ounce. If there is a listing for the same granola bars, but one is a pack of 5 for $1.50/item, and the other is a pack of 10 for $1.25/item, the pack of 10 is the better deal.
  5. Shop By Category– When I grocery shop in the store, I go down every aisle, whether I think I need something on it or not. This is kind of the same idea. Some of the best deals end up being items that I wasn’t originally searching for. Amazon changes the items listed fairly often, so if you can’t find the specific item that you are looking for, check the category that it would fall under. You might be able to find something similar for an even better price.
  6. Coupons– Thats right, on top of Amazon’s already low prices, they offer coupons on select items. Sometimes, coupons are good for up to 50% off.

Favorite PrimePantry Items

Food:

Cleaning:

Household:

Baby:

If you have never shopped PrimePantry before, I recommend taking the time to look through all that they have to offer carefully. My favorite items are a good place to start. If you already shop PrimePantry regularly, hopefully these tips can help you get more out of your box. What other items do you like to get in your pantry box? Share in the comments!

Xoxo,

The Crispy Mama


Shop Amazon – Introducing Prime Pantry – Everyday Essentials in Everyday Sizes

Mom Hack: The Leftover Baby Food Smoothie

Us Mamas pretty much live on a diet of cold coffee and our kid’s leftovers. Incredibly appetizing, right? When I make Liam’s baby food, I always taste it first. Today, as I was whipping up his Avocado-Banana-Cinnamon mash, I took a bite and thought, “Damn, this stuff is pretty good.” As usual, he ate about 1/3 of it before he was over it and ready to get out of his chair and go play. Since avocados and bananas don’t keep particularly well (especially organic bananas, I swear they turn brown in 15 seconds), I either had to eat the leftovers or throw them away. I decided to throw the leftover mash, the remaining half of the avocado, what was left of the banana, some ice cubes, chia seeds, soy milk and some more cinnamon into the blender and this super fresh tasting Mom Hack Smoothie was born. You get a dose or healthy fats from avocado to help keep you full, protein and antioxidants from chia seeds, calcium from soy milk, and potassium from bananas. Plus its way easier to drink a smoothie one handed while holding a baby than it is to eat something. If soy isn’t your thing, you could easily sub almond or coconut milk (I think coconut would be amazing in this). You could also add some greens like spinach or kale for an extra serving of veggies.


Ingredients:

  • Leftover Avocado-Banana-Cinnamon baby food (yum)
  • Remaining half of avocado
  • Remaining half of banana
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 cup unsweetened soy milk
  • Pinch of cinnamon
  • 3-4 ice cubes

Throw it all in the blender and call it lunch.

Do you have any other creative ways to use your kid’s leftovers? Share in the comments!

Xoxo,

The Crispy Mama

Disclosure: This post includes affiliate links, meaning that I receive a small commission for items purchased through my blog, at no cost to you. All items advertised are items that I actually use and all opinions are 100% my own!

 

My Must-Have Apps For Pregnancy and Parenthood

Hi! Admitted iPhone addict here! As a first time mom, I constantly have little questions and I-wonders about my child and myself. There is no more easy, and accessible way to find the information that I need than a quick check on my phone. These are the apps that I used most during my pregnancy and as a parent.

  1. Ovia Fertility– This is what I used when we were trying to conceive (which happened way faster than we expected it to, so I suppose it’s pretty accurate).
  2. Ovia Pregnancy– My go-to app for looking up food and medication safety, and symptom checking. It also has that thing where it compares your unborn child to different fruits and vegetables, so that’s cute, I guess.
  3. Ovia Baby-Helps keep track of milestones and development. Plus it has interesting little articles and fun facts. I like to check it while kiddo naps.
  4. What To Expect– This falls under “pregnancy” and “parenting” because I still check it almost daily. It has interesting little facts and articles about your baby, both before and after birth. My favorite thing about it though, is the Groups. I joined an “October 2016 Babies” Group that is awesome. During pregnancy it was great to ask about certain symptoms or feelings that I was experiencing. Now, the Mamas in the group all have babies close to the same age, but with some a few weeks older and some a few weeks younger than mine. This is incredibly helpful because the Mamas of older babies can help me out and warn me about growth spurts, leaps, etc, a little before they happen and I can do the same for the Mamas of younger babes.
  5. Pampers Rewards– You’ll most likely start stocking up on diapers before baby arrives. Each box of diapers (assuming that you use Pampers) has a code in it that you can enter into the app to earn rewards points towards free baby stuff. Awesome.
  6. Amazon– Also known as the best app in general. Amazon is THE place to buy your diapers. You can get them as much as 50% off, and you can subscribe. I also ordered about 80% of my nursery stuff from Amazon. Its the best.
  7. The Wonder Weeks– If the phrase “mental leap” means nothing to you, download this now. It, unfortunately, isn’t free, but I cannot emphasize how helpful it has been to us. Basically, your baby will go through some periods where they are learning a whole lot all at once and it makes them act like little nightmares. This app lets you know exactly when to expect these leaps and tells you exactly what baby is learning. Leaps suck, but knowing what baby is learning and actually noticing them mastering these skills makes it a little better.
  8. White Noise– Great for helping baby sleep, great for helping giant uncomfortable pregnant ladies sleep, great for The 5 S’s. Just great. Our favorite is “Heavy Rain Pouring” but there are a ton on here to choose from.
  9. BabyTime– For the first couple weeks after bringing baby home, your brain will be fried. This helps you keep track of when baby last ate, how much or how long, how many wet and dirty diapers your baby has, and what those diapers look like (your pediatrician will ask).
  10. Facebook– Some of my best advice from other Mamas has come from the closed Facebook groups that I have joined. I suggest Milky Mommas, Sleepy Littles, Bringing Up The Littles, COSLEEPING, and Peaceful Parenting. All of the groups have no-bullying tolerance and have guidelines about what types of things that can be posted, so be relevant and be nice! Since they are closed groups, your friends will only be able to see that you are in the groups, not what you post.

What apps were a lifesaver for you while you were pregnant and as a parent? Share in the comments!

Xoxo,

The Crispy Mama

HelloFresh: The Good, The Bad, And The Umami

This week, we got our first HelloFresh box. These food boxes seem to be a big trend lately, and because going to the grocery store with an infant is a very large pain in my ass, we decided to give it a try. I found a Groupon to get my first box for $30, plus I had a $10 off Groupon code, so I ended up getting my first box for $20. The box includes 3 meals per week, for 2 people (they also offer a family option with enough for four people, and a vegetarian option). That works out to only about $3.33 per person, per meal. That is such a good deal considering that I rarely, if ever, get out of the grocery store without spending $50 (sometimes just for one meal). I downloaded the app, chose our meals, and excitedly waited for delivery. After making and eating all of the meals from our first box, I’ve found that the whole system has some pros and cons. Trying to decide if HelloFresh is right for you? This should help.
Pro: The Meals Were DELICIOUS

Our box included Penne with a Kick in Pancetta-Tomato Arrabbiata Sauce, Lean Mean Chicken and Greens with Rosemary Potatoes and Gremolata, and Meatloaf Balsamico with Mashed Sweet Potato and Green Beans. Each meal was actually really good, and according to MyFitnessPal, fairly healthy. The produce was super fresh and the meat was high quality. They also send more than you need of some of the ingredients, which is nice. I used this week’s leftovers for this quick and easy soup recipe.

Lean Mean Chicken and Greens with Rosemary Potatoes and Gremolata. This was my favorite meal, but required the most prep. Shout out to Baby Daddy for photo cred this week. I was so excited to eat the meals, I forgot to take pictures first!

Con: Prep… So Much Prep

I have never done so much chopping in all of my life. If you aren’t handy with a knife, beware. You’ll need to brush up on your chopping, slicing, dicing, mincing skills. Even as someone who cooks often and is fairly skilled with a knife, I was over it. Be sure to check the prep required for each recipe before choosing what to put in your box.

Pro: No “I Don’t Know, Whatever You Want.”

The most spoken, most hated phrase, among married and long term relationship couples. Seriously, I would rather be punched in the forehead than hear this. The box cut down the options to a manageable three things to choose from.

Con: Picky Eaters Beware

Meatloaf Balsamico with Mashed Sweet Potato and Green Beans turned into Meatloaf Balsamico with (slightly burnt, bummer) Sweet Potato Fries and Green Beans (apparently mashed sweet potatoes are a “no” in our house). This was probably the most “picky eater friendly” of all of the meals. It was also my least favorite.

We are pretty adventurous eaters in our house, so HelloFresh really helped us mix up our weekly meals, without us having to worry about not liking what we got. The meals aren’t exactly your standard meat-and-potatoes type food, so if you have kids that freak out if their food has “thingies” in it, or if the word “Gremolata” freaks you out, this probably isn’t for you.

Pro: I Didn’t Have To Leave My House

Seriously, huge huge pro, here. This pro pretty much trumped all of the cons for us.

Con: The App Is Not The Most User Friendly

This may be a bug with only my phone, or I might be doing something wrong (I tend to be a little technology illiterate). I found several times that I would make a change on the app, then log into my account on the computer to find that the change hadn’t been saved. Ugh. At least I caught it before the box was shipped. I also found that some of the things on the app were hard to locate. Again, could be me. I miss flip phones.

Pro: Less Food Waste

Penne with a Kick in Pancetta-Tomato Arrabbiata Sauce. This was incredibly light and delicious. It also made just the perfect amount for the two of us.

For anyone who doesn’t like to eat leftovers, HelloFresh is a great option because they send enough to make two servings without much (or any) leftovers. I know we always say we are going to eat leftovers and I end up throwing the moldy remains away a week or so later. In general, cooking for only two people is hard, and HelloFresh makes it a lot easier.

Con: Lots Of Kitchen Equipment Needed

Do you own a zester? Several large, medium, and small bowls? How about a strainer? Large pan, medium pan, baking sheet, large pot, medium pot, cutting board, chef’s knife, paring knife, and grater? These are all things that I needed to make my first week of meals. If you don’t have a well stocked kitchen, you’ll either need to purchase these things, or HelloFresh isn’t for you. You can look at the prep for the recipes that you have chosen before your box arrives to ensure that you have all of the tools that you need.

Pro: You Can Try It For $20

You can use my code ASHLWILS4 to get $40 off your first box, so you can give it a try and see if you like it without spending the usual $60. You are free to cancel your subscription after the first box if it’s not for you, or if the usual $60 is a little more than you’d like to spend. Personally, $60 is less than I would usually spend on groceries anyway, so it ends up being a pretty good deal.

BONUS!

I’ll be sending out three FREE boxes! To enter for a chance to receive your first box completely free, comment on this post and subscribe to the email list! For an extra entry, you can share the post on Facebook or Pinterest (please include your social media name in the comment if you choose to share the post). Note: receiving the free box automatically enrolls you in a weekly subscription, so remember to cancel if you don’t want to continue your subscription!

Overall, we enjoyed our first box and plan to continue our subscription, at least for a while. The food is good, even if the prep sucks. Having it delivered to my door makes my week so much easier, and since it’s only 3 meals, we are still free to go out to eat or make something else we feel like having a couple times every week. It makes work nights a breeze, and all but eliminates the dreaded “I-Don’t-Know-Whatever-You-Want”. I recommend at least giving it a try. Canceling your subscription is easy and you can even keep your subscription but “skip” weeks if you are going to be out of town, have guests, don’t have the money, or just don’t feel like getting one. Don’t forget to use my code to get your first box for $20! Do you use HelloFresh and love it? Hate it? Do you use a different “food box”? Share in the comments!

Xoxo,

The Crispy Mama