It's time for a TIDBITS Talk and a little twist on my usual cup of Crio Bru. We're coolin' things down just in time for the summer heat with this Healthy Frozen Crio Bru!
Hello, all you amazing people out there! With the changing of each season comes a desire to chat with all of you, see how things are going, get some advice, etc, etc.
TIDBITS TALK – SUMMER EDITION
A quick intro to newbies around here: TIDBITS Talks are a chance for me to talk to you about things other than recipes. Life, love, family, hair removal . . . anything goes.
And if you aren't familiar with Crio Bru, this Instant Pot Crio Bru post will catch you up!
With lots of things on my mind today, let's jump right in!
First up: This Frozen Crio Bru. Come to mama.
I posted this recipe in 2016 and with life-sucking heat coming my way, I felt it needed to be brought back to the front of the blog.
Think Crio Bru meets milkshake, but remains healthy, naturally sweetened, and so refreshingly light. If you really wanna spoil yourself, top the whole thing off with a dollop of chocolate whipped cream and a shave of your favorite chocolate. The creamy cold textures going on here are a big ol' party to eat. I can handle sweating and makeup melting off my face as long as I have this in my hand.
We'll talk a bit more on that in a second, in the meantime, turn up your AC, grab a drink, and snuggle into a comfy chair for a fun chat.
IMPORTANT ITEMS OF BUSINESS FOR TODAY
- Reader Question: How do you menu plan?
- Summer plans?
- Summer chore goals – it's gonna work this time, right?
- Favorite sunscreens
- Female Entrepreneurs – you need to watch this!
- My new favorite finds – Lotion for eczema, ultimate tramp sprayer, new favorite chocolate brand, etc.
1) Reader Question
“How do you menu plan? I want to enjoy cooking, but I hate menu planning. Help!”
This question is a tad intimidating to me because I don't consider my method to be revolutionary, but I love it.
I'll try to keep it short and to the point because, in reality, I could talk your ear off for an hour about how I like to do this. Maybe I should do a whole post on this someday? What do you think?
A few things I should point out first:
- I plan out a week at a time(not the full month like some superheroes out there)
- I don't repeat meals very often in a 30 day period (I love trying new things)
- I don't plan exactly what I'm making each night, rather I pick the meals I want to eat that week, then decide the morning of which dinner sounds good for that day.
- I've used this Menu Planning pad for years. It's very basic and that's how I like it.
- I rarely menu plan breakfast, but always have the essentials around that I'll need (oats, flour, eggs, fruit, yogurt, etc)
- I never menu plan lunch.
- I do my menu planning on Thursday so I can order and schedule a grocery pick-up for Friday night.
- I only plan 4 dinners a week. This makes menu planning fast and easy. It also allows me to make good use of leftovers from that week, and if by chance we eat through those 4 meals early on in the week, then I can get creative with ingredients I already have to make something edible – the recipe creator in me loves this! This also makes room for an “eating out” night if we want.
- I have basics I always add to my grocery order regardless of what's on the menu like milk, eggs, cheese, tortillas, spinach, butter, and lots and lots of fruit.
- I've just started using my sister Cami's “Inventory Checklists” to help me keep track of what I have on hand better, and it's honestly been the greatest thing ever.
Actual meal made from freezer leftovers. It was so good, I wrote up the recipe and posted it on the blog!
So with that said, here are my basic menu planning steps:
- STEP 1: Assess what I have. This step sounds time-consuming, but it's not. I just take a quick glance at what I have already. In fact, since I've started writing things down on Cami's checklists, it takes about 1 minute.
- Assess fridge for leftovers. If I have sauces, leftover meat, vegetables, or any other ingredients that need to be used up soon, those get turned into salads, bowls, quesadillas, etc. This cuts down on what I'm spending on groceries every week and makes sure I'm using what I have.
- Assess freezer. This helps to make sure I'm using what I have and prevents an overflowing freezer.
- Assess pantry for ingredients that need to be used (like half-empty packages or things that are expiring soon)
- Based on the assessment of what I already have, this could account for 1 – 4 of the next week's meals. I write these meal ideas down on my Menu Planning List.
- STEP 2: Look at recipes I have bookmarked, recipe ideas I'm working on, or look at my blog or recipe binder for what sounds good. Then I write those recipes down on my Menu Planning List.
- STEP 3: If I have more than 4 recipes written down, I narrow it down to the 4 I will definitely be making, the others stay on the list in case I need one of them for that week or they might go to next week's list.
- STEP 4: Order groceries for pickup (huge time saver tip!). There are some ingredients I'll only get from certain stores, so I make a list for those things. This typically includes meat (I'm picky about where that comes from) or hard to find ingredients that I'll need to run to Natural Grocers for.
- STEP 5: Grab my daughter, go out to dinner, make the special grocery store stops, then grab my pick-up order on the way home. Sometimes we throw in a pedicure too, cuz' girls night and all 🙂
- STEP 6 (OPTIONAL): Wash and prep fruits and vegetables so they're convenient to use throughout the week. I don't always get to this step, but it's so helpful when I do.
After that, I simply:
- Glance at my Menu Planning List each morning to decide what I'm making for dinner that night.
- Determine if I need to pull anything out of the freezer.
- Determine if there is a part of the recipe I need to start earlier in the day or if I can make it all happen 30 minutes before we sit down to eat.
So that's about it. I hope that helps or that you can find a few pointers in there.
My #1 goal is to make sure I'm making good use of what I already have. Throwing away food kills me so I will repurpose it every way I can.
Whenever I look at leftovers I think: Could I turn that into a taco, pizza, salad, pasta, or rice bowl? Could it be pureed and put in a soup? How about a smoothie? You get the idea. Zero waste means more money in my pocket!
More meals made from leftovers. You can't tell me they don't look delicious!
One of my favorite nights in fact is when I pull all leftovers out of the fridge and tell the family to make whatever they want out of what's there. This is a great way to use up what you have and gives the kids a chance to be creative.
So there's my system. Not really “Best Seller Book” material, but I think there are bits and pieces there that will help just about anyone.
If you ever have an ingredient on hand you're not sure what to do with, check out the TIDBITS index page. There is a full list of ingredients tied to recipes that could give you some inspiration! I even do this myself sometimes.
Alright, now give me your tips and tricks! I'd love to hear what works for you.
2) SUMMER PLANS
What have you got planned for this summer? I struggle with creativity in this arena so please oh please share!
Our summers are typically all about our food garden, kid birthdays, playing in sprinklers, and riding motorcycles. New this summer: my kids have each started jobs with neighbors. It'll only be a few hours a week but it's enough to shake up their week and give them something to be responsible about.
My cute lil' moto kiddos 🙂
I've decided we're going to skip out on summer camps and use that money for mini-vacations instead. We typically don't venture too far, but stay in the Utah, Idaho, Wyoming areas.
For those of you that live in this area (or want to make a road trip out here), here are a few of our favorites:
- Dirt biking, hiking, biking, etc in Star Valley Wyoming. Our favorite place to stay is Kodiak Mountain Resort. It's close to Jackson, WY so while you're there go to Snow King Mountain Resort and ride the Cowboy Coaster approximately 500 times.
- Our other favorite adventure spot is Lava Hot Springs. It's a small town with lots of fun things to do. You can walk from your hotel, to the pool, to the restaurant all in about 10 minutes. I LOVE it! We love the swim park there (best slides ever). Over Spring Break we did the Lava Zipline and Ropes Course Adventure and it was the best money I've ever spent on a vacation. It was 4 hours of adventure that pushed my kids out of their comfort zones (in a safe way) and imprinted some amazing memories. We'll be going to Lava again this summer to hit the pool and check out the Lava Hot Go Karts.
Zipline and Ropes Course at Lava Hot Springs – so fun!
3) SUMMER CHORE GOALS
After my disastrous Family Chore Chart of 2020, I've decided that 2021 is my year to get organized. I asked my kids what they hated so much about chores and their reply was, “It's not so much the chores we hate, as much as being nagged to do them.”
WELL THAT WAS REVOLUTIONARY!
I bought this course called Freedom Moms in 2020 and never touched it until 3 months ago, and now I feel like an empowered mama on a mission. The creator is a mom of 10 and she has inspired me.
Her vision is that the family is a team and as a team, we run the home together. No longer is it mom's job to pick up the slack or feel the heavyweight of keeping things in order. If mom isn't around, things still get done because everyone knows the part that they play.
This sounds like an absolute dream to me and something I've struggled to figure out. I'm feeling more organized and capable than ever after listening to her course, I am so ready to stop being “the nagging mother”.
The creator is a down-to-earth, genuine, and entertaining woman that makes you feel like you can do anything.
I've been incorporating the things I've learned from her this summer and so far, it is going AMAZINGLY WELL! I've never been able to stay on top of the house like this and it has felt like sweet freedom.
What is your system? Have any of you creative people created chore charts that resonate with your kids?
It's summer so let's talk seriously about sunscreen. My skin is crazy sensitive and burns on a dime. So with that note, here are my favorites that have kept our skin protected the best.
First, my sunscreen requirements:
- Don't leave a strange looking white paste on my skin
- Don't stink
- Don't make me breakout
Favorite Daily Facial Sunscreen – Supergoop Mineral Sheerscreen SPF 30: I put it on before my makeup and I can't even tell I have it on. Hands down the best daily, mineral sunscreen I've ever tried. This one is not waterproof so I don't wear it at the pool.
Favorite Waterproof Facial Sunscreen – Supergoop Unseen Sunscreen SPF 40: This is another great daily face sunscreen that stands up to water and sweat better than the first. The downside is that it has to be reapplied every 40 minutes if you're swimming, so I only use this one for myself because my face is so darn sensitive to other sunscreens.
Favorite Full Body Sunscreen – Elta MD: This stuff is amazing! I always burn at swimming pools, but haven't since using this. I'll warn you though, it's a tad expensive. I don't suggest getting the spray version. It was hard to get a good application.
Favorite More Affordable Full Body Sunscreen – Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Body Mist: I don't personally use this one because I don't like sunscreen that feels like I'm wearing sunscreen, but my kids don't mind it, it works great, and it's so easy to apply.
Your turn, do you have a favorite?
5) FEMALE ENTREPRENEURS, LISTEN UP!
I was introduced to Sarah of the Sarah Grace Live Podcast this year and she has been the answer to my prayers as I embark on my InstaFreeze Meals entrepreneur dream. Well, I actually knew her in high school, so I guess I should say I was “reintroduced” to her at the very moment I needed her.
She's made the impossible feel possible, been the genius strategist I've needed on my side, and above all else, the energetic cheerleader I've needed in my weak moments. She offers many business services, but I would suggest first listening to this Podcast episode titled: The Heroine's Journey is not the Hero's Journey. I had chills from start to finish; it spoke to my female/mother entrepreneur soul. If you are feeling called to do or create something great, you need to listen to this.
6) NEW FAVORITE FINDS
You know I get excited for this section! I just love testing new products. Here are some recent loves of mine.
Manuka Relief Ultra Soothing Cream: I asked for your favorite hand cream recommendations this past Spring and now Manuka Relief is my new favorite. It's so unlike the greasy creams I've tried for irritated skin and eczema, but it works like magic. It's light, soaks in without a trace, and clears up my hands within a week. I've since used it on my kids for extra dry skin and eczema and can confirm it worked on them as well. I'm absolutely giddy to have found it!
Trampoline Sprinkler: Remember setting up a sprinkler under the tramp as a kid and there would be one tiny spot where you could actually feel it? Well, this hose hooks to the top of the net for the ultimate sprinkler experience. My kids have LOVED this! What a great invention!
Hu Chocolate: This chocolate, oh my word, I am in love. It's sweetened with coconut sugar and has the most incredible melt-in-your-mouth texture of any chocolate bar I've ever experienced. Yay for companies who figure out how to use wholesome ingredients to make food taste better than the less healthy versions. It's pricier than a gas station chocolate bar, but 100% worth it in my opinion. My favorite flavor is the Cashew Butter Vanilla Bean, my daughter's is the Crunchy Mint.
Greenlight: If you receive my TIDBITS Newsletter, you've heard me mention this handy little card. Greenlight is a debit card for kids that is controlled by parents through an app. I never have cash in my wallet and I hate trying to keep track of what my kids are doing with their cash (ie. their savings “accidentally” finding its way into their fun money stash). With the app I can pay them what I owe, then help them move a percentage of that money into “savings” and “donations”.
My daughter's Pinwheel phone (the safe phone for kids I've mentioned to you before that I adore!) has this app on it so she can move her money to savings and donations on her own. However, if she wants to move money from savings to spending money, it will send me an alert to approve or disprove this move. Awesome, right! I also get an alert anytime she uses her card to show me how much she spent and where. You can also limit where they can spend money. There are also investing options. I mean the list of smart features goes on and on, it really is quite genius. To avoid going on for 3 paragraphs about it, I'll refer you to the Greenlight website to read about it.
FROZEN CRIO BRU
Now on to the Crio Bru treat of the summer!
I'm not bashful in my vocal dread of summer heat. I never minded it as a child, but for whatever reason, heat drains the life out of me as an adult.
So when sipping on a hot cup of Crio Bru doesn't sound that appealing, I make this Frozen Crio version topped with chocolate whipped cream and for a moment, I feel sure I can handle 3 months of life-sucking temperatures.
Have you ever heard of Frozen Hot Chocolate? Well, this is a bit of the same vibe except it's made with frozen cubes of Crio Bru and naturally sweetened with maple syrup and frozen bananas and clocks in WAY below the 1000+ calories of the dessert versions.
To make Frozen Crio Bru, simply:
- Freeze cubes of Instant Pot Crio Bru.
- Add frozen Crio Bru cubes, bananas, and milk to a blender and blend until smooth.
- Top with a dollop of chocolate whipped cream and some chocolate shavings or mini chocolate chips if you're feeling fancy.
- Dive in with a long spoon and a smoothie straw. Heaven.
The contrast of the cold slushy Crio with the luscious dollop of chocolate cream is out-of-this-world good while still being a reasonable treat for swimsuit season.
I can't wait for you to try this one! It's such a refreshing and healthy treat, we make it almost daily around here.
Your comments and experience in the matters discussed above are a true treasure to me and all of my readers, I can't wait to hear what you have to say!
Much love going out to all of you. I hope this summer is filled with loads of family memories for all of you. I might hate the heat, but I adore the experiences only summer can bring.
Frosty Crio Bru
A light, refreshing, chilled version of the best drink of all time-Crio Bru! With a handy supply of frozen Crio Bru cubes handy in your freezer, your wait time to chocolatey heaven is seconds away!
- Prep Time: 2 hours
- Cook Time: 5
- Total Time: 2 hours
- Yield: 1 serving 1x
- Category: Drinks, Dessert
- Method: Pressure cooker
- Cuisine: American
For Crio Bru
- 2 cups water
- 2 cups milk (I like Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk)
- 1/2 cup Crio Bru grounds
- 1/4 cup pure maple syrup (or up to 1/2 cup if you're not a dark chocolate fan)
For Frosty Crio Bru
- 12 cubes of frozen Crio Bru
- 1/4 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk (or milk of your choice), plus more if needed
- 1/2 frozen banana, sliced into disks (can substitute half of an avocado)
For Chocolate Whipped Cream
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1/4 cup cocoa powder
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- Mini chocolate chips or chocolate shavings for garnish
- Pour water and Crio Bru grounds into the pressure cooker pot.
- Secure the lid and turn pressure release knob to a sealed position. Cook at high pressure for 10 minutes.
- When cooking is complete, use a natural release for 10 minutes and then release any remaining pressure.
- Place a fine mesh sieve over a large bowl and pour Crio Bru through the sieve to filter out the grounds.
- Stir maple syrup and milk into the hot, strained Crio Bru.
- Let Crio cool slightly, then pour into ice cube trays (my trays fit about 1 tablespoon per cube). Freeze until solid then transfer to a gallon size freezer bag.
- To make Chocolate Whipped Cream: Add cream, cocoa powder, maple syrup, and vanilla to a high-powered blender. Blend on medium speed until thick. (This can also be done with a bowl and a hand mixer). Store in a sealed container in the fridge. Will stay thick for up to 5 days.
- To make Frosty Crio Bru: Add 12 cubes of frozen Crio Bru, milk, and banana to a high powered blender and blend until smooth. Add more milk if needed to help it blend.
- Top with a dollop of chocolate whipped cream and a sprinkle of mini chocolate chips or chocolate shavings.
- If you don't want to bother with freezing the Crio Bru into ice cubes, just use the cold Crio Bru as your smoothie liquid and add extra ice or bananas to make it thick.
- If you don't have enough ice cube trays to freeze all of the Crio Bru, you have 2 options:
- 1) Store remaining Crio Bru in fridge. When cubes are frozen solid, transfer them to a gallon size ziplock bag and pour more refrigerated Crio Bru into the trays.
- 2) Drink the remaining Crio Bru cold from the fridge-it's amazing!
Keywords: chocolate drink, easy recipe, cold drink