Sang Gretchen. I smiled. My heart smiled. My soul smiled. I sat in our car as we drove adventuring on our rock, shut out my eyes, hoped I’d remember this moment of joy and — goodness loved this minute. Big girl your words are my now. Sweet awesomeness of four girls, adventuring, happiness and then … yes weeks that last a month.
“Weeks of the Month” had me thinking that task management is the same dang topic I’ve been blogging about for well EIGHT years. I can look at Sweetpea and realize that I STILL do not have a solid task management process…or I am inconsistent in my application. I drown. I plan. I stop drowning. I drown again. Repeat. According to all my things, I do change in April.
So let’s do change April. On a Sunday. On the 18th of said April. Because who doesn’t start mid-month.
A life coach reached out to me and said that yes her process was very simple. So that summarizes again to me to ACCOUNTABILITY. So. I’m going to just start with one thing at a time. This month, or what remains, I am going to practice putting my phone down. If I put my phone down, I will gain an average of 5 hours and 19 minutes back to my day (thank you Apple).
Ok fine, George was at work for 24 hours and I will admit I was going to have Kraft Mac-n-Cheese for dinner with frozen veggies of Sweetpea’s choice. This was after one of those stereotypical evenings that are supposed to break you down. I dumped Elle’s milk for the next day on the counter, dropped two eggs out of the fridge (I wasn’t even using eggs…how did that even happen?)…and now Elle’s screaming (shrieking?) for more food was starting to really get to me. So it was crisis mode. I needed meat now. Just because I have an instapot pressure cooker does not mean that I have seventeen hours to chop, grind, prep for the perfect dinner. I need dinner NOW!!!!!!
Chicken NOW by me
Two large chicken breasts
1/2 – 3/4 cup barbecue sauce (you can make your own if you’d like!)
20 oz can of chopped pineapples with juice (do fresh if you can…I couldn’t today!)
Place chicken in the pot
Pour in BBQ sauce
Dump pineapples, pineapple juice in and stir
Press the poultry function (it will say 15 minutes but it takes another 15 minutes to pressurize up…so it’s not completely instant but while it was cooking bananas, rice, green beans were eaten)
De-pressurize naturally or vent (be careful!)…I vented
Check internal temp of the chicken (yup I threw in frozen chicken this time and it was perfect temperature wise)
If you have a minute more, you can make a sauce out of the pineapple/BBQ sauce mixture that cooked under pressure.
Either use the Instapot saute function(with the lid off) or place about 1 cup of the liquid in a stovetop pot. Separately, stir 1-2 Tablespoons of cornstarch in a small cup with another 1/4 cup of the liquid to dissolve the cornstarch. Pour the cornstarch mixture in with the 1 cup you put in the pot (or left in the Instapot) and stir on medium heat. Cook until you have the right consistency. (Add more cornstarch if you want a thicker sauce or add more liquid to thin it). These days I have been serving dinner with rice and veggies as well.
In an effort to make the most of my third move in the last month, I find that having a simple goal for each day can be helpful. That and I’m realizing I like things to look pretty. So I imagine the next few months will be about parenting, organizational tools, and cooking!
I intend to change the three stock photos and keep yellow stripes. I’m thinking my next house will have some version of yellow, blue, raspberry, and cream as inspiration.
While I was making pumpkin pancakes this morning (BECAUSE IT’S AUTUMN!!!!!), I thought I’d throw together a slow cooker recipe.
Yes, I love cooking with my daughter. She and I threw (literally) together our pumpkin pancakes this morning. I love that she wants to “help”. Anytime I’m in the kitchen, she’s asking to “heeaaallllllllllllpppp?” I love learning play!! I try to say yes! Get right in and up here. Cleaning up can easily happen and I can always make the recipe again if it all ends on the floor. http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Pumpkin-Pancakes/ (I did add about an extra 1/2-3/4 c milk to thin them down…as George said…not a fan of pancake bricks…I’ll take the pancake version).
Anyhow, while the pancakes were cooking (on very very low) we put together the spices and juices in the slow cooker while we defrosted the chicken in the microwave (on the defrost function). 8 minutes later I put the chicken in the slow cooker and turned it on for 6.5 hours.
1 1/2 pounds boneless and skinless chicken breasts or thighs
3/4 cup orange juice
1/4 cup lime juice
4 t prechopped garlic
1 tablespoon chili powder I used cayenne (I’m apparently out of chili powder)
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
The recipe went on to say broil it and crisp it up but if you don’t have time…don’t!
Ok, fine. I like to cook. This past week or so, I made the decision to go anti-paperless. I made a binder for the house divided into tasks, menus, trips/vacations/and other such goals….only to realize having something written in the …written form apparently helps me get things done.
With that being said, I pulled out this month’s Food Network Magazine and Cooking Light and began cutting out recipes for my newly created binder. After selecting 10 menus, I put them into my pretty plastic page covers and smiled. Such organizational pretty-ness.
Anyhow, I keep feeling that recipes that say “40 minutes to complete” lie. They never take 40 minutes. Maybe that’s because I keep adding onto the meal??? Anyhow…this one went fast and was definitely delicious.
I enjoy eating. Sorry but that’s out there. Ever since Sweetpea marched into our life, that thing called ‘free time’ has slightly decreased — imagine that?! In an effort to “have it all” and not eat cheesy fries daily, I made the inevitable decision to give up my 1-2 hours cooking routine (particularly when George works the 12 hour night shift) and find a reasonable solution. I have a few things that limit my day: a 2-3 hr commute (door to door), I make George’s lunches every day, and I value quality time with our lovely little lady.
Drum roll……..AMAZING DISCOVERY: FROZEN CROCKPOT MEALS MADE AT NIGHT!
I am testing several recipes and will share the results but for now here are some of my finds:
1. Crock pot liners: streamline cleaning…just throw out the bag after you remove your dinner
(such as reynolds slow cooker liners but oven bags work fine as well)
2. Cook your dinner at night!
Most days I’m gone for greater than 8 hours. The crock pot we have is programmable with a manual or temperature probe dependent (Hamilton Beach® 6-Quart Programmable Slow Cooker $49 from Bed Bath and Beyond). The issue with long hours is after the 8 hour cook time the crock pot kicks to warm, which still cooks the food READ: dried out dinner. So I usually am home in the evening for atleast 8 hours (including sleeping) so… a) Cook at night b) refrigerate in containers during the day and c) warm up at night.