Posted in Gluten Free, healthy diet, recipe, saving money

Post-Easter Instant Pot Ham and Bean Soup

I bought my Instant Pot  in Nov. 2016…I have used it about every day, multiple times a day, and can’t imagine my gluten-free life without it!!  It reduces my stress levels involving food prep significantly, especially since my diet has had to evolve so greatly.

This is one of my son’s favorite soups, which he calls “camping soup” ever since we read about what cowboys ate back in the day.  Recently I became aware that onions and garlic really upset my stomach (possibly due to chronic SIBO issues) and I had to start removing that from my cooking.  While beans are not Low FODMAP in general, they do not bother my stomach when I’ve soaked them overnight.

(We’ve also been using these digestive enzyme capsules for myself and my husband, and for the kids chewable digestive enzymes , and nobody felt bad or gassy after eating.  With chronic fatigue and high stress overall in our family, I felt it necessary to use digestive enzymes for a time until we’re seeing improvement.  After all, the saying “You are what you eat” is not so accurate; it’s more like, “You are what you absorb.”  Malabsorption issues (leaky gut) can do a number on your health no matter what organic, healthy stuff you’re eating.  If you’re not digesting well, nothing else goes well, at least in my experience.)

I keep shredded or sliced celery and carrots in the freezer for easy meal prep. This turned out so tasty that my son, who is learning a lot of new vocabulary, told me “Congratulations for how well this turned out.” hahaa

IP Ham and Bean Camping Soup

1 lb.  soaked beans (I used red beans, white beans or other are good too)
1 lb ham or ham bone with meat
2 c. shredded carrots
1/2 c. diced celery/celery leaves
2 tsp. oregano
2 tsp. smoked paprika (optional, but adds depth of flavor)
2 qt.s broth or filtered water, up to the fill line on the IP
3/4 c sliced fresh chives (or 1 Tbsp dried)
shake or two of cherrywood smoked sea salt
pepper to taste

1. Combine the above ingredients in the instant pot.
2.  Set IP to manual for 25 minutes, and release pressure naturally, or 30 minutes and release when it beeps.

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Posted in Day in the life of a mom, Featured Inspiration, minimalism, Ponderings about life

Still Learning

While I enjoy being creative with the video editing itself as I attempt this Youtube channel endeavor, it has been a struggle learning the right way to store the videos (and not lose all my many hours of edited videos.  *sigh*).  My phone quickly runs out of storage, so my husband showed me how to use the network storage.  However, if a video I’ve used in Shotcut is no longer where it was originally accessed when editing, the edited video shows up as missing, and the Shotcut file won’t play.  Heartbreak, truly.  Oh well, live and learn.  The beat goes on!

Here’s the channel intro I did, and a few other videos are in the editing/planning process.

My favorite part, as always, is my dog Kody (he’s a 4-yr.-old chihuahua-shitzhu mix) wanting to be in the spotlight on my lap or racing around at the end of the video.   But the Fabric Magic embroidery project/Instant Pot part was also a lot of fun.

Posted in Day in the life of a mom, minimalism, saving money, Uncategorized

After a Week of the No-Credit Challenge

After a search for podcasts online about ways to successfully save money to “get in the zone” and distract/motivate me as I folded laundry, I discovered a lot of people do a no-spend challenge.  (Which, in actuality, really means no impulse buys, because people still need to buy food to eat, in most cases, for those of us who are not farmers with a food cellar stocked up.) Yesterday, I was listening to a podcast by a financial advisor, Amanda Abella,* in which she mentions that after noticing some larger spending, she wanted to practice going without just to start building into savings more again.  One thing she pointed out that is so true is how shopping venues have really made it easy for you to spend mindlessly, for example, the Amazon One-Click order button.  Your credit info is already in there, and you “need” something?  Want it?  Get it!  To delay gratification isn’t really something happening in this day and age.  (So her advice was getting rid of the Amazon One-Click, unsubscribe to seller adverts in your inbox, and lose the store cards.)

Well, as Amazon Prime members ourselves, with “free shipping!” so enticingly easy, we had been in the habit of ordering something as we thought we needed it; for me, this was because I was so forgetful when I went shopping, and usually distracted by two kids.  It was easy to just remember while near a computer, and click away until we had acquired whatever we had forgotten at the store.  And why delay when you can get it in two days? So, a week into our no-credit month, my husband and I found ourselves having several conversations about “needs” and “wants”.  And I had a couple of chuckles at the fact that my husband, who generally looks at me as the “spender” in the family, and himself as the “saver” with few wants, was the one mentioning stuff to buy more frequently than I was! I had to remind him that he’ll have to wait for next month.  So he has a growing wish list for February.  Thank you, no-credit-month challenge, for building my credibility again in his eyes as someone not ruled by impulse.  *smug smirk*

Somewhat irksome to him, but not regrettable to me, is that I recently gave to a homeless drive the long johns he used to wear snowboarding, but didn’t plan to use again anytime soon, and hadn’t used in several years.  Although a cold snap arrived making him want them again, I do not feel badly for having gotten rid of them because of the fact that arriving at the point where I can part with stuff was a big milestone for me.  (And another chuckle might have slipped out because he’s the one saying we have too much stuff, and wanted us to be minimalists.  We had a conversation and he agreed the thermal unders could go.)  But now that he found himself wanting them again, well…Guess we’ll put them on the wish list.

The cool thing about grocery shopping without credit has been that money has turned up…change in the car amounting to enough with the money a friend paid me for something to get just what we need, within 25 cents of what I had in total going through the checkout.  Then, I found a bag of flour sack towels that I needed to return to Walmart because they weren’t nice enough to embroider as gifts as I’d intended (with unsightly fiber runs in them), which provided another $8.50 that I’ll be able to use for veggies or whatnot next time we need them.  Which is probably today.  There’s another something I can return to a store to get about $12, which makes me feel pretty confident that although we need sour cream (to go in the potato soup I plan to make with the pocket change potatoes I got at Aldi), eggs, carrots, cheddar, and greens, we’ll be able to get all that without feeling majorly deprived this month.

I’ve been using what’s in my freezer, which is awesome, instead of just refilling it atop what’s already in there.  So for fruit, after our apples run out, we’ll be using up the pear slices and pear sauce my mom gave me from their trees.  I “roasted” the two organic super-sale chickens in my big crock pot to debone, make broth, and use the meat this month.  That turned out really tasty and I will be looking for more sale chickens next month to restock the freezer with.  Then we’ve been having a variety of dried bean dishes (thanks, instant pot, for making those not seem intimidating!) like white chicken chili and beefy chili.  Perfect for extra-chilly weather.  I made fried rice with frozen veggies and some uncured bacon we had in our freezer (because I bought a few on sale b1g1 last month).  That was a hit, for sure.  We love bacon!  I’d already had some ham cubed and frozen from Thanksgiving as well a turkey meat, for a variety of other dishes with those.  I am finding I’m actually a better meal planner and cook when there is less in my fridge and freezer to work with, ironically.

So that’s recap of week one.  I don’t think we’ll feel deprived this week either, because on my husband’s day off we’ll be using a gift card we got for our anniversary to go to a restaurant with the kids.  We’ll definitely have to make sure we stay under the amount on the card enough to include tip, because we’re out of cash!  So I’m guessing we’ll skip drinks and go with water, no real biggie.

Have you ever had to or wanted to pinch pennies? What were some tips that worked well for you?

*P.S.  This podcaster had some good insights, but I should mention that earbuds are necessary if you look her up as some words she uses are not for little ears, IMO.  In our home we try to limit screen time, so when my kids watch their Octonauts or Little Einsteins show, I do a podcast or youtube with my earbuds in.  Nobody’s being ignored or needing attention that way.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Day in the life of a mom, painting, Ponderings about life, Quick Project, Uncategorized

A Year in Review

Here’s my recap of the year…plus my little acrylic cardinal in a gum tree painting I did (referencing a photograph I took some years ago to give as a gift this year.)

IMG_9116

How can it already be the tail-end of 2017?

This year was full of changes galore!

Aim resolved to ditch coffee at the start of the year

For happier hormones, then nixed even more:

Bye to gluten, artificial ingredients, sugar too…

Energy? Better…But FOOD?! What to do?

Enter electric pressure cooker: I heart you.

DH is supportive and eats the new fare,

But giving up coffee?  Not going there!

He will not part with that caffeinated drink

(Since it makes him nicer and helps him think.)

I’m thankful he brings home the bacon

Using his computeriffic brain.

If snickers and coffee are his worst vices,

I’ll not complain. 😉

Daddy and son make great knights

Protecting Queen-Her-Majesty-is-3 from any frights!

She likes to boss them, but they get the swords!

The dramatics are impressive

With grand fighting words!

Dances with Daddy, followed by boys jousting!

When it’s gotten too destructive,

Mom suggests books—not so rousing!

Son is enjoying pre-K up the road,

And readily does his homework load.

He loves art the most, and his friend Russ.

He likes his teacher, he tells us.

When he’s at home, he likes to build forts

Or read books about history and Star Wars.

This year our brave kid endured a sleep study

(lots of wires!) and had 2 surgeries, no less!

Little Miss is the busiest of all, our threenager girl,

Who talks all the time and loves to twirl.

She colors, sing-narrates each day

And has fashion opinions!

Pink is favorite; she wants more shoes;

You can’t have too many purses!

(This age is harder than twos!

So many emotions! Oy vey!

Yet so very humorous.)

Vacation was fun, to Cape May

Both Aunties with us!

Grandparents visited a bit later,

when we were in need—thankfully

Grandpa’s roofing expertise came in handy!

A busy summer indeed!

Other delightful visits we remember, too.

In 2018, we hope one will be from you

(here on this site)!

Now my attempt at rhymes concludes: We are thankful God made you as we count our blessings and wish you the peace that is sung about in the carol,

O holy night the stars are brightly shining!

It is the night of our dear Savior’s birth.

Long lay the world in sin and error pining

Till he appear’d… 

      For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.  John 3:16

In all our trials —born to be our friend. Truly He taught us to love one another, His law is love and His gospel is peace.