Sunday dinner- InstaPot Beef Stew

I’m getting a little more comfortable with my Instant Pot. It does help to be part of an online community, like on Facebook, so I can read tips and ideas others share. For example I read that people were having a hard time keeping the insert shiny clean and others had issues with food odors on the lid. So truth be told, white vinegar does help get the stainless steel insert clean and shiny. Also, after washing the pot and drying I store mine open with the lid upside down. I think this helps avoid any sitting moisture and odors from what you’ve cooked.

So last night I decided to try beef stew. It’s a favorite fall/winter meal of mine so I definitely will make it often in the coming months. I normally either cook it in the crockpot all day or simmer for about an hour in my Dutch oven, so I was a bit sceptic with the quickness of the IP for this one.

The link is below. I prepared all the ingredients and started by browning the beef on sautΓ© like the recipe stated. I usually hate meals that have pre-cooking steps for the crockpot but I do think it really makes a difference because the beef was so soft. I added all the ingredients and cooked high pressure for 35 mins. It was getting late on a school night so I went straight for the quick release….in turn dinner was super hot when we sat down to eat so I do recommend the natural release as the recipe says. But it was so so good! All the veggies were nice and soft but nothing was mushy or overdone. And the whole family ate it so that makes this recipe a keeper for me!



I got an Instant Pot!

For my birthday last month I finally got an Instant Pot. It sat in the box on my kitchen floor for a couple of weeks and my intimidation grew. We had family come and visit, for some crazy reason I felt that was a great time to open it up and give it a try. I opened the box, washed everything and did all the pre-use stuff but I felt really clueless. I searched online and found a BBQ chicken recipe which seemed fairly easy. It didn’t go so good. 😫 I thought I followed the directions exactly but when I opened up to check out the finished product it was still half raw 😱 So I followed the steps again and this time it cooked through but it was pretty watery and didn’t really save me any time. I was beginning to think the Instant Pot wasn’t for me.

About a week later I finally got up the nerve to try it again. I chose a pulled pork recipe I found in my Instant Pot Cookbook (pictured below). It came out incredible! Seriously the pork just fell apart without me having to shred much and it wasn’t at all dry. At this point I still didn’t really feel like I knew what I was doing but at least I’m moving in the right direction. I’ve joined a few online IP groups and follow along. I’ve also started pinning recipes to try on Pinterest and follow some IP recipe boards. If the recipe doesn’t tell me exactly what buttons to push when ….then I’m totally at a loss. I see all these posts of people who are just winging it and trying new things in there, I’m nowhere near there yet!

Third times a charm they say! So the other day I decided to try it again and found a recipe for Instant Pot Honey Garlic Chicken (recipe link below). This came out AMAZING!!! The recipe was really simple to follow and start to finish 20 mins, no joke! I served over rice and my 8 year old son who complains about everything I make lately, had 4 helpings!!

I’m not giving up. Minus the anxiety -since this is still new to me, this certainly makes dinner so quick and easy with the right recipes. I will keep learning, trying and sharing along the way! πŸ’–



September Challenge πŸ‹πŸ»β€β™€οΈ

Summer may be coming to an end but I’m determined not to let all my summer progress get spoiled until the spring! We all work so hard to get our summer bodies ready then slack off when the cooler weather hits and we can cover up a bit more. Then spring comes and we start all over again….but I’m thinking if we keep going through spring and winter we won’t fall behind and be even better next summer!! Or at least that’s what I’m telling myself πŸ˜‚

Ok so I’m keeping Sunday rest days knowing full well I probably won’t use it as a rest day. Most weeks I have to skip a night any way due to our crazy schedule that I just replace it with Sunday. I’m keeping the squats and lunges going, although I love the lunges more because I can lunge my way around the house while I’m doing things and I’m finally starting to notice the difference from doing those consistently. I’m certain Erin doesn’t love the cardio as much as me πŸ™„ but I’ve said this before , there really is a difference in my energy levels when I am regularly doing cardio. Even just ten or fifteen minutes. Maybe if she did it regularly too she wouldn’t be so grumpy, lol…kidding Erin kidding 😬 For abs I chose 3 simple exercises but the ones I feel the most when I do them, and those flutter kicks are something πŸ™ŒπŸ»

I’m super excited about the arm exercise. I found some workouts that included a curl done 3 different ways and gave it a try. I loved how I felt it working in the different positions. The one video showed all three curls done intermittently which I think I might try and do them that way.

The great thing about the monthly workout challenge is that in the beginning they really kept me motivated and were a way of staying accountable. But now I always push myself and do more than is listed for the day. We would love for you to join us and let us know how you’re doing along the way!!

~Elena 🍁


Chapter 4 A Time to Transition

I skipped over Chapter 3 because I didn’t realize that the study broke up the first part of Ecclesiastes 3:2 in two chapters.

β€œa time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot,”

Ecclesiastes‬ ‭3:2‬ ‭NIV‬‬

So Chapter 4 talks all about the second half of the verse, a time to plant and a time to uproot.

I am usually a creature of habit and not big on changing things up. I say that as I am in the middle of transition after going through my divorce. But normally I don’t like change that’s why I get the same exact latte at Starbucks every single time I go, I have tacos every single Tuesday, and depending on which restaurant I’m at I get the same exact meal I get every single time at that particular restaurant. If I find something I like why would I risk trying something different?! I don’t want to spend money on something I hate and then end up being hot mad the rest of the day. Nope, not gonna do it!!

So here I am now going through a transition season. I’m living by myself half the time and a single parent the other half. So my whole world has been completely turned upside down and as much as I know it needed to happen, it’s been hard at times. I worry for my girls, I worry about finances, and I worry about how I will find the perfect full time job that will fit best with my girls schedule. It’s scary and overwhelming all at once.

I know some of you love change, everyday is a new adventure and it’s exciting for you. But I am not that person! I have found ways to make this time exciting like decorating my new place, going to the movies by myself, and sleeping in past 9am! Lol

Change isn’t easy for most people. But rest assured that whenever you face a time of transition, God is with you. He longs to see you to a more fruitful life in Him.

“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.” Revelation 1:8

I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End. Revelation 22:13

On top of everything else that I am going through, I also wrecked and totaled my car about a month ago. Just when I thought it couldn’t get worse, I totaled a car that I had only owned for a solid month. So the worrying began, what will insurance cover, what will I drive until they figure that out, etc. I had to completely put all my trust in God because He is the only one who can work those type of details out.

If we believe, truly believe that God is the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End then we need to start loving change, embrace what life throws at us, and know that everything will work out in His perfect way.

After two weeks of not having a car and fighting with a really crappy dealership I have a car again. I have a cute little apartment that I got to decorate the way I like and my girls see me being the best me during the storms of life. I am really trying hard to keep a positive attitude no matter what life throws at me because I know that the One who created me will be with me from the beginning to the end. I will rest in Him.

-Erin πŸ™πŸ»πŸ™ŒπŸ»


What Not to Say to a friend going through a divorce…

We all have had those times in our life when we don’t know what to say to a friend when they are going through something. We try to show that we care for them but some of us have no filter and just say anything. That’s why I have come up with ‘what NOT to say to a friend going through a divorce.’

1. How are you going to make it?

Really genius, you don’t think I haven’t been worrying about that. Thanks!

2. It’s going to be hard.

Duh! πŸ™„

3. Are you sure you can’t make it work for the kids?

I’m pretty sure you better walk away from me as fast as you can.

4. What happened?

I don’t know you that well, it’s none of your business. 😡

5. Have you tried counseling?

No, I just woke up one morning and decided I was done. You’re kidding me with that, right?!

6. Well you’re still young and can get remarried.

News Alert…that’s the last thing I am thinking about. Never again!

So the next time you run into someone that’s going through a divorce remember to think think think before you speak. Ask them how they are doing, say that you are thinking about them, praying for them, and if you need anything I’d be happy to help. That’s all you have to do. Short and sweet people.



Pet Peeve Friday…let’s talk waiting room etiquette!

Ok friends, this edition of Pet Peeve Friday really gets me fired up! Much of our time is spent waiting….auto mechanics, business offices, schools, doctors appointments, etc. Sometimes waiting rooms are crappy, crammed and super uncomfortable. We may have to squeeze in seats between people, stand and at times I even sit with kids on my lap when there isn’t room. The other day I found myself in the Mecca of waiting rooms.

I mean this waiting room was a giant window lined room with seven or eight different horseshoe shaped sections of seats, sofas and loveseats. Each section had at least 15 spots for individuals. It was clean and spacious with coffee tables intermingled between the chairs. There was even a little coffee shop right outside the door. πŸ™ŒπŸ»β˜•οΈ. I knew I would be there a while waiting so I walked all the way to the second to last section and sat by myself. If you saw my Instagram pic yesterday, I grabbed a coffee and brought a brand new book. The entire time I was there there weren’t more then ten people sitting and waiting at a time. So I of course went to a section without people, far away from people because that’s how I roll πŸ’πŸΌ

You could imagine my shock and surprise when people decided to come not only sit in my general vicinity but a seat away from me or directly across from me. If there is a room full of open seats please do not go and sit next to a stranger who’s enjoying their peace and quiet! Ok you might be a people person so unlike me this wouldn’t bother you. So I dealt and continued reading my book while enjoying my coffee. For the most part they were pretty quiet and respectful thus far…..

But then it happened! Some lady came and sat in the seat directly across from me. She was loud and rambling out loud about how far it is to park and walk to the office. I look up from my book assuming she will surely see she’s being disruptive but clearly she did not. She then decides to take out her cell phone and phone a friend. And by phone a friend what I really mean is she Facetimed a friend! No joke! This lady preceded to have a ten minute LOUD FT conversation with her friend not five feet away from me while I was clearly sitting there reading. She did not get up or seek a private location but carried on an entire conversation right there until she was interrupted and called back for her appointment.

I was truly beside myself and continued to stare at this lady hoping she would get a clue. You might ask why I didn’t just get up and sit somewhere else. How dumb am I that I was worried about offending her by obviously getting up and relocating to get away from her. She clearly was not worried about offending me. I mean seriously! Let’s use this as a reminder to remember there are other people in the world around us and in waiting rooms πŸ™„ And if I’m there keep your distance, lol. Joking. No I’m really not joking 🀣

~πŸ’— Elena


August Fitness Challenge

Summer is winding down and I cannot believe it’s August already!! I certainly indulge a lot more in the summer since I’m out and about with the kids all the time. I’m so thankful these challenges have kept me feeling good though. On the weekdays I’ve been getting up and working out before the kids are out of their rooms and asking for breakfast, otherwise I wouldn’t be able to find the time so easily. The other day we went out to dinner and I ate way too much!! At some point I joked that I had a food baby. Yesterday while I was getting dressed to exercise my 5 year old asked if I had to go to the hospital to get the food baby out😬 πŸ€£πŸ˜‚ Oh my Goodness!

Last month we changed the challenge up a bit and this month I switched things around a little also. I really like the Sunday rest day…some weeks I’ve even used it for a different day if I wasn’t able to get a workout in so I like that flexibility. Instead of different counts every day I kept the numbers consistent but alternated workouts from day to day. I tried to focus on the workouts that I’ve noticed work the best for us. Both Erin and I started incorporating flutter kicks and ankle touches in to our workout mid month and we both agree we really feel them the most. With the flutter kicks I don’t lay flat, but hold my upper body up of the ground a bit and πŸ™ŒπŸ» oh I can feel those abs working!

So we hope you join us for the month of August. Whether you are new to working out or just want to incorporate the challenge into what you already do please let us know what you think.

~πŸ’– Elena