8 Spice Blends & Seasonings You Can Make At Home

A couple weeks ago, we tried a new recipe from Erin Chase’s $5 Dollar Dinners. Cajun Chicken Fettuccine….YUM. This was one of the very first times we used a recipe that called for a homemade spice blend. Uh… what? We never thought about making our own spice blends! Totally crazy because it was amazingly easy and delicious. 

Since then, I’ve been searching around for more spice blends. It’s amazing what you can make yourself, and, you can avoid weird ingredients and chemicals that you can’t pronounce. You know, those ones that we definitely shouldn’t be putting in our food. 

Check out these 8 Spice Blends and Seasonings you can make at home!

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Crunchy Mama D’s Oatmeal

Now that we have two kiddos under 3 and I’m back to work part-time (back full-time in January), I have been trying really hard to make my mornings easy and as stress-free as possible, while maximizing sleep! One way I have been doing that is making a week’s worth of oatmeal and dividing it up for the work week on Sunday. Having a delicious and pretty healthy breakfast is a must-have for busy mamas (whether you’re working or not!). The great thing about oatmeal is that you can mix in pretty much anything, and, it’s TASTY! I keep mine pretty simple with just some raisins, maple syrup, coconut oil, cinnamon, and vanilla extract. Check out my recipe and add-in ideas below for a filling and simple breakfast all week!

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Rubbermaid Tupperware…My kryptonite. + GIVEAWAY!

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As a mom, I have a whole new appreciation for tupperware. As a kid, I always knew my mom loved hers, but, I didn’t “get” it…until now. I hoard tupperware like nobody’s business and I am not ashamed. I have tupperware of all sizes- little enough for my husband to take dips to work for lunch and big enough to store enough watermelon to feed an army (aka my toddler). I have specific tupperware for freezing and specific tupperware for things like spaghetti- I can’t have ALL my tupperware stained red, no way. I even have a special tupperware container to store homemade diaper pail fresheners…it is permanently peppermint scented. 

Lately, with our Renovation going on and my broken ankle, we’ve been doing big, family-style style dinners with my parents, Gramma, me, my husband, and our daughter. That makes 6 of us with a sometimes ravenous toddler (depending on her mood for the day). My mom’s been the main cook since I was in a non-weight bearing cast for 4+ weeks. She makes a bunch of food with plenty for leftovers! And what else would I want to store those leftovers in besides my amazing Rubbermaid tupperware!? Nothing. I love it more than my scarce alone time…okay, maybe not THAT much ;)

I was more than excited when I got to try out some of Rubbermaid’s best tupperware- their large Party Platter and their Easy Find Lids 24-piece Set. Be still my heart! This is one of my ongoing mom dreams come true…more awesome tupperware to add to my collection! I received the platter and set a few days ago and I am in love with them!

Plus, one lucky person will win their OWN set of (1) Party Platter and (1) 24-Piece Set of Easy Find Lids! Woo hoo! Good way to start the football season off when you have tons of snacks and leftovers from your game day parties!

Enter below!

Let’s start with the specifics…


 

Party Platter

  • Large outer container with a secure lid to hold chips, veggies, and other snacks
  • Removable Twist & Seal™ dip container nests snuggly into the base
  • Leak-proof Twist & Seal™ lid secures the dip and prevents spills
  • Divided platter base keeps different foods and snacks separated
  • Outer lid snaps onto platter base for a tight seal and secure transporation
  • All components are BPA-free
  • Microwave, dishwasher, and freezer safe
  • Available in ONE SIZE- outer container is 2.3 L/9.6 cups; dip container is 473 mL/2.0 cups
  • Available at Kroger, Publix, Meijer, and select online retailers
  • MSRP $8.99

Easy Find Lids

  • Lids snap together and to container bases so you can always find the right lid
  • Graduated sized containers nest for compact storage
  • One lid fits multiple bases
  • Square shape for optimal space utilization
  • Microwave / Freezer / Dishwasher Safe
  • Thick, durable container walls for everyday use
  • Bases and Lids are BPA FREE
  • Available in a variety of sizes
  • Sets range from $8.99-$25.99 MSRP
  • Individual containers range from $2.50-$8.99 MSRP
  • Available at Walmart, Target, various grocery stores (Kroger, Publix, Fred Meyers, and select others), & Club Stores (Sam’s Club, Costco, and BJ’s)

 

Now, I love pretty much every piece of tupperware, but, these Easy Find Lids are my favorite. The pieces are solid and sturdy without being too bulky. These pieces ALWAYS stay organized inside my lazy susan (and yes, I have an entire lazy susan dedicated to tupperware…no judging!). Everything “snaps” together so there’s no loose pieces sliding around and no crazy organization needed. Another bonus- multiple lids fit multiple containers! I also love that the lids and containers are BPA-free. That’s important to me when I’m using the containers to store food in that my family will be eating!

With football season here, the weekends are full of get-togethers and parties. The new Party Platter from Rubbermaid is the perfect thing to tote your snacks and dips in. You have 4 larger spots for veggies, chips, crackers, fruit, whatever you want! Then, you can store whatever dip you want in the included center tupperware without it leaking all over the snacks! Super easy and no weird nooks and crannies to clean. That’s great when you’re worried about more important things like just getting the dishes done quick so you can spend time with your friends and family and watch the game! Check out some of our favorite snack and dip combos for get-togethers here! :)

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Enter the giveaway below and share with your friends and family! :)

Good Luck!

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Rubbermaid Party Platter & Easy Find Lids Set Giveaway!

*DisclaimerCrunchy on the Weekend does not get monetary compensation to review all products. On occasion, companies will send me a product for review on my blog. I personally decide which products to review and feature on my blog- these are products or services I would use myself and for my family. Receiving products does not influence my final review at all. I will not we be held responsible if you decide to purchase an item and you are dissatisfied with it. I state my opinions on the products and do not claim any guarantees for you as the reader.*

Keeping Your Sanity in Chaos

Keeping Your

Being a parent is TOUGH. Go ahead, you can admit it. There are days when you let your kiddo eat puffs and grapes for every meal (I promise I won’t tell…my little one does it at least once a week). There are days when you AND the kids don’t make it out of pajamas (guilty again)! There are days when you realize you’ve been wearing the same yoga pants for 3 days (I’ll admit I lose track when I resort to dry shampoo and think my hair is cleaner than it really is). There are days when you have an enormous “to-do” list and you’re lucky if you can get 1/2 of one task accomplished. There are days when you have the entire house to clean and your little one decides you will be her slave and nurse all day, forcing you to be stationary on the couch ALL.DAY.

I get it, because, I know those days all too well. And to top it off, that’s just a REGULAR, NORMAL day. 

Lately, our house has been ranking in the upper levels of chaos with no mercy.

When we suddenly decided to think about putting our house up for sale, we realized we had a hefty “to-do” list before that would be possible. We’re not talking painting a few rooms and cleaning the carpets. Nope. We’re talking full-on construction and renovation project over weeks and weeks. On top of that, we decided to do most of the work ourselves, thanks to the amazing handyman skills of my Dad. 

We were pretty prepared for the timeline and work that would be ahead of us. 

BIG SURPRISE when I ended up breaking my ankle and having to be in a cast for 4+ weeks and being unable to bear any weight AT ALL. I’m finally in a walking boot, but, this was a major setback since my Mom and Gramma had to help with our daughter EVERY DAY while I was in my cast. Without that help, we would have been in a pretty bad place all around! So, instead of being done with our renovation project at the end of August, we’re now looking at being done at the end of September. 

Even better is the undeniable lack of routine in our household right now. Nap times? Ha! If we’re lucky.  Our good eater enjoying a plethora of nutrient-dense foods? Popcorn, tortilla chips, and grapes count, right? Bedtime routine? Now you’re really being hilarious! Kiddo going to sleep in her own bed at night before snuggling up with us later on? You have to be delusional! 

If I thought our day-to-day was hectic already, a renovation and broken ankle made me laugh at my previous daily mom “struggles”. Compared to lately, my days of having a fully functional ankle were a dream world! 

So, when your daily routine gets COMPLETELY thrown off a cliff by a broken bone, illness, or other major event, how do you deal?

Sh*! happens. REAL life happens. Bad days happen. Illness happens. Broken bones happen. Day-to-day life with a family is never ideal. Never flawless. Real life is how you handle those things when you really don’t want to or hadn’t planned to.

ADAPT AND OVERCOME, MAMAS. 

1.) Ask for help. 

When I broke my ankle (at a workout in the park- thanks for throwing me off track on my first day, ankle!), I was so freaked out about how I was going to care for my child and household. I expressed this fear to one of my fellow MOPS moms and she immediately asked if we could use some meals. This amazing mama (you’re seriously an angel, Ashleigh!) organized a meal train for the first 2 weeks. I am eternally grateful to all of the mamas who jumped in, regardless of their OWN daily demands and struggles, to help us adjust to our new “normal” for the next 6+ weeks. We not only had meals, we got fruit, cookies, and sides to go along! Huge help when our fridge was bare.

2.) Accept the help.

As moms, it’s hard to put your pride aside sometimes and admit that, yes- you, supermom, need some help. It’s okay, and believe me, no one will think less of you for it. I not only have my Mom and Gramma helping with my day-to-day stuff, they’re also helping with packing our belongings, scheduling appointments, cleaning our house, doing our laundry, cooking us meals, staging our house for moving, and the list goes on. I would have never been able to do even a fraction of that stuff with this broken ankle. Just graciously accept the help when someone offers, and when you’re feeling better, pay it forward!

3.) Try to get organized.

One of our biggest struggles with me being down right now is our household, well, EVERYTHING. I’m always the one in charge of our household binder including bills, checking account register, grocery lists, food prep/meal prep, cleaning (for the most part), and miscellaneous things here and there. With our routine being so out of whack, our household binder went downhill, FAST. We were forgetting due dates for bills because our routine was simply gone and my typical routine of seeing our calendar on the fridge with the bills written down (on a daily basis) was long gone. Grocery trips were done by my husband (with baby in tow) or by my mom. We were constantly forgetting things because I wasn’t able to make a quick notes throughout the week like usual. So, if something catastrophic happens to your day-to-day routine, carve out some time to get organized. Designate duties to your husband, kids, whoever. Make notes on how you usually do things so people can just take charge. Ask for help!

4.) Let it go.

Whatever it is that has forced its way into your normal daily life, accept it. It’s happened, and as frustrating as it can be, it can’t be changed (in most cases at least). We all have our way of doing things and it’s hard to forfeit that and let others take control of our usual daily tasks. I like to fold laundry completely different than my mom does, but, she’s doing me a GINORMOUS favor by doing MY laundry so I deal with it, thank her, and just tell her where things belong! The alternative is me trying to hobble down a flight of stairs to our construction zone of a lower level while trying to figure out how to get the laundry baskets down there on crutches…not a good idea and a recipe for more broken bones. Don’t dwell on the fact that some things may not be done the way you’d normally do them. Just let it go and know that eventually, you’ll be back to doing those things YOUR way!

5.) ENJOY IT.

Yep. I said it. And no, I’m not being delusional or facetious! This will obviously not apply to all derailed routines, but, you can try it regardless.
As I’ve been stuck on the couch for the last 4+ weeks with minimal movement besides the necessities, I’ve come to realize that this happened for a reason. I know, I know- overly cliche, right? Bare with me.
As a mama who has struggled (and still is struggling) with PPD and postpartum induced anxiety, this broken ankle has allowed me to take a break. It has allowed me to open up to some of the closest people to me and allow them to see my daily struggles as a mom. It’s allowed me to focus on my blog, freelance work, networking, and in some ways, myself. I was so stressed out by so many things, and then, I break my ankle. Am I glad it happened? Not one bit. It added to my stress at that moment. However, it happened and I know it happened for a reason. As much as I don’t want to admit it, it was nice to not have to clean the house, cook meals, and change diapers. I was essentially good for boobs to nurse my daughter, and, arms to snuggle her. It wasn’t an ideal “vacation”, but, it was a little break and I know things will return to normal, eventually. You’re not less of a mom for wanting a break once in a while.

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Your kids will survive a not-so-perfect bedtime routine. Your spouse will manage to figure out your side of this parenting thing. Your family will realize how insane your kids can be on a daily basis when they’re seeing them for more than an hour or two at a time. Your spouse and kids will realize how much you do for them and see that they’d be screwed without you :) Your family will understand why you’re exhausted half the time when they see you. Your kids will realize that they can’t and don’t want to survive on popcorn for the rest of their lives.

We forget how specific our routines are and how they impact our daily life. We stress out at the first sign of change and think about all the negatives. We overwhelm ourselves with schedules and routines. We rarely stop and think about the positives in our daily life and why the craziness makes it worth it.

We all want a break, and when we get it, we want our craziness back. We must be INSANE, right!? Yes. Yes we are. And that, is what makes us moms. 

End of the Summer Canning & Cooking

We have had a wonderful summer here in Colorado. A little hot throughout, but, we’ve lucked out with decent weather and tons of sunshine! Sunshine is always a good thing, right!?

Since our homestead plans changed drastically (just a little home renovation, no biggie right?), our planned garden was a no-show this year and we’re okay with that.

We’ve got next year to plant and harvest goodies (in a new home hopefully!).

Canning and storing food is not only a great way to use up excess veggies and fruits before they go bad, it’s also a good way to have a good stock of healthy, preservative-free canned goods for quick meals and snacks!

Those canned veggies, fruits, sauces, and other goodies are perfect for quick and easy meal prep! A mom's lifesaver! ;)
Those canned veggies, fruits, sauces, and other goodies are perfect for quick and easy meal prep! A mom’s lifesaver! ;)

Another way to use up excess garden harvests is freezing! It’s great to have veggies and fruits on hand that still taste fresh when you thaw and cook them! Plus, frozen fruits are amazing in smoothies :)

If you’re feeling neighborly, you could even bake some goodies for your neighbors.

Donating to a local food bank or shelter may be an option as well, and, you’d be helping to feed others who may not have much to eat that week. Talk about a good feeling- I love helping others.


For now, I want to share some awesome recipes for those end of the season veggies that you may have an excess of!

*(Keep in mind that most of these recipes are for large amounts for canning- adjust appropriately if needed)*

Canning & Other Recipes

An entire index of delicious & creative recipes from Food in Jars

Homemade Spaghetti Sauce

Mild Tomato Salsa

Apple Pie Jam

Cinnamon Blueberry Jam

Grandma’s Dill Pickles

Photos by Taste of Home
Photos by Taste of Home

Most of these recipes are super simple and you can make and store a lot (even gift some if you’re feeling generous!)

This is also a great time to can and store some goodies since the holidays are right around the corner!


What is your favorite recipe (canning or otherwise)?

Tell us below! :)

 

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