Instant Pot Elderberry Syrup

Since becoming a mom of two and sending our toddler to preschool I try to do as much as I can to prevent sickness from spreading in our house. That is when we started using Elderberry Syrup. My husband and I usually only take it on an as need basis but I give my son Elderberry Syrup every day.

Elderberry Syrup is known to:
– Reduce Inflammation
– Reduce Cold Duration
– Fight the Flu

At first I was buying Elderberry Syrup. If you want to buy it and don’t want to make your own here is what we used: Organic Elderberry Syrup
But I wasn’t a fan of the other ingredients listed and I found that it was cheaper to make my own. So below you will find an easy and fast way to make your own elderberry syrup.

Make your own Elderberry Syrup:

Ingredients:
– 1 cup of dried elderberries
– 3 cinnamon sticks
– 4 cups of water
– 1/4 tsp of ground cloves
– 1 tbsp fresh ginger/ or ginger cut into 1/4
– 1 cup raw honey

Instructions:
1. Place Elderberries, cinnamon sticks, water, ground cloves, and ginger into the Instant Pot.
2. Put the lid on and turn nob to SEALING, Set Instant Pot to manual for 12 minutes.
3. Once the pot has finished turn to QUICK release, then turn on the sauté function for an additional 10 minutes.
4. Turn off your instant pot and grab a potato masher; Use this to get additional syrup out of your elderberries. Then poor through a strainer, make sure all berries are removed and keep only the syrup, discard the rest of the ingredients.
5. Wait for elderberry syrup to reach room temperature and add 1 cup of raw honey.
6. Store in your refrigerator. I like to store mine in a mason jar.

Recommend Dosage:
Daily Maintenance: Adults; 10mL/day Children; 5mL/day
Intensive Use: Adults; 10mL/4xday Children; 5mL/4xday
If you have any questions regarding the use of elderberry syrup of course consult you doctor first.


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Hello week 23!

I can’t believe how fast time is passing by. I’m now 23 weeks 1 day and it’s hard to wrap my mind around the fact that we will be having a sweet little girl join our family in 17 weeks! Her name will be, Emma Joy and she has already shown that she is going to be my feisty one!

Back at week 8 or so I wrote about the journey so far with Emma, you can read that here, but she wasn’t making the beginning of pregnancy very easy for this mama. A short synopses, she caused me to have a subchorionic hemorrhage that gave us a huge scare, a little bed rest and resting until our next doctor visit. Then she made me sick as a dog. This was no morning sickness, this was all day and night sickness. Nothing really helped and the medicine I could only take at night because it would make me pass out. Can’t do that when you’re at home with a toddler.

By week 17 I finally started to feel better, got back to a normal routine of life and felt more like myself again. I know Titus was finally glad to have his mom be able to function again. Then we were able to have our gender ultrasound at week 19 and found out that we were having a sweet girl!

I was so excited! I kept feeling like it was a girl but Nathan kept reminding me that I had a 50/50 chance of being right.

At that appointment the doctor brought up a concern that I hadn’t gained much weight. I already had a bump but I had only gained about 2 lbs in the entire 19 weeks. But remember I was super sick for a lot of that time and my appetite pretty much didn’t exist. She said that Emma was only in the 15th percentile and that for the next 4 weeks I needed to do my best to put on weight. Her actual orders were to eat ice cream every night. Every persons dream doctor order! But she said if it got lower than that we would have to see a specialist. I was worried after that visit but thought, You just need to gain weight! You can do this! So that’s what I did.

The next 4 weeks that’s what I did. I still ate healthy but added in snacks here and there, ate ice cream regularly and started drinking chocolate milk, sure things to make you gain weight. I was actually worried that she might tell me I put on weight to fast.

Yesterday I had a follow-up ultrasound with my next appointment. I went into the ultrasound thinking and even saying out loud to the ultrasound tech that I was sure my sweet Emma had put on weight. I had gained 8 lbs (which thankfully the doctor said was a perfect amount), I am feeling constant movement and this weekend you could even see Emma moving from the outside. After my ultrasound I had my appointment.

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During the appointment the doctor said that now Emma was in the 5th percentile for her size. She said that the next step was to followup with a perinatal specialist and have a more detailed ultrasound. My stomach sank right then. I thought I have been trying to do everything right. Eating a good amount of healthy food but also pack on the weight for my girl. It all hit me. I felt like my job when I’m pregnant is to protect, grow and nurture this sweet baby and I felt like I’ve been failing at my job. My OB reassured me that it’s very possible that my sweet, feisty Emma may just be small and that’s ok, but we just need to know for sure. That is what the specialist will tell us.

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Thankfully it’s nothing super serious and it seems like Emma is “healthy”. Strong heart beat, tons of movement and looks great in the womb. They are just concerned about her size. Nathan was not able to go with me to my appointment and I felt like I needed to tell him, my family and close friends to be in prayer for us before posting my update. I am supposed to get a call today with my appointment for the specialist and she wants me to see them sometime within a week. So that’s the plan for now.

As her mama, I just want to make sure that I’m doing the best I can for my girl. I’m giving her the nutrition and fat that she needs to grow and be strong and healthy. So we are going into this appointment thinking that we are just going to have a petite little girl. Last night Nathan joked that Titus took all of the fat genes in the family so Emma will just be our little girl! And I am totally ok with that, I just need to know that she is healthy!

So if y’all would, be praying for my sweet family this week. Pray that our Emma will keep growing strong, that the specialist will give us a great report, and that I wouldn’t let it consume my thoughts questioning if I could be doing better as her mama. I am so thankful and blessed that God choose me to take care of these amazing babies of mine!

Love,

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Cheesy Enchilada Bake

Thank you, Thank you, Thank you for being so patient with me. I know I’ve been MIA, but up until about 6 weeks ago I was still struggling pretty bad with all day sickness. This little one wanted to take mama on a little bit of an adventure, more than Titus ever did. I’m finally feeling better, cooking for my family again and getting our house set up to add our sweet addition. On Monday you will get a completely updated blog post on whats going on with me, my family and our pregnancy. Until then here is one of my new favorite recipes that I’ve been making. Since Nathan is on a healthy journey and I’m growing a baby, we are both working on eating better.

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Cheesy Enchilada Bake (No tortilla)

Printable Version

Prep Time: 10 Minutes Cook Time: 20 Minutes

Ingredients:IMG_2487

– 1 Rotisserie Chicken
– 1 can of Red Enchilada Sauce; I used Old El Paso brand
– 1 red, 1 yellow and 1 orange pepper
– 1 onion
– Bag of shredded Cheese Blend; Use as much as you need to cover the top of the dish
– Bag of Spinach or Riced Cauliflower
– Taco Seasoning
– Sour Cream and Guacamole

Directions:

  1. Remove Chicken from your rotisserie Chicken
  2. Dice peppers and onion; sauté for 5 minutes
  3. Shred Chicken; You can choose to shred it yourself, or I added all of mine to my Kitchen Aid Mixer until it was fully shredded. While it was shredding in the mixer I added my taco seasoning so it would mix well.
  4. Add chicken to baking dish
  5. Top with Peppers and Onions
  6. Add Enchilada Sauce
  7. Cover with Cheese Blend
  8. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes
  9. Top either your cauliflower rice or spinach with your finished Enchilada Bake.
  10. Use Sour cream and/or guacamole as you wish. ENJOY!!

I hope you enjoy this meal as much as we have! Its delicious and you get 2 great servings of veggies!

Don’t forget to check back on Monday for our family update. I will also include another recipe in Mondays blog. Have a great weekend!

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I’ve been away, but for a good reason.

So I’ve been pretty MIA from the blog for the past 2 weeks and I’ve hated it. But I promise I’ve had a good reason……

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Do you see my reason? Right up there. If you’re still missing it, check out Titus’ new shirt! He is going to be a big brother! We are 8 weeks pregnant and will be expanding our family October 1st. Baby #2 has been making me so sick and gave us a pretty big scare a little over a week ago.

I have always said that because of our past loss I would share our news with close friends and family as soon as we found out and then wait until my first ultrasound to make our big announcement. This baby has made that a little bit more difficult. We haven’t left the house much in the past 2 weeks. First because as soon as I hit 6 weeks I didn’t just have morning sickness, I had the wonderful all day sickness. And it was killer. Feeling like that and having a 20 month old was not easy.

Then last Saturday night after Titus had gone to bed and I was falling asleep on the couch I started bleeding. I instantly began to panic. I cried to Nathan and said to him over and over again, this isn’t fair if we lose another baby. We called our parents, then the doctor who instructed me to come right into the ED for an ultrasound. My amazing husband and supportive family and closest friends kept encouraging me that this wasn’t the end, that our sweet baby could still very well be in my belly growing along. And thankfully that’s what we learned. After a few hours in the ED, they did an ultrasound and I got to see my sweet little blueberry right there with its tiny little heart just pumping away. In that moment I felt peace, and that God was saying this is going to be ok. I was diagnosed with a Subchorionic hemorrhage and my instructions for a week were taking it easy and no picking up Titus. Even though he is 20 months old and fully able to walk, I couldn’t pick him up to comfort him, I couldn’t lay him down for naps or bed, and I couldn’t give him his baths. I also couldn’t carry laundry on top of still being pretty sick I had to have lots of help. Thankfully I am one of the most blessed people in the world and my husband really took on the super dad role and for the most part took care of Titus as much as possible. My family took him for hours at a time so that I could rest and Nathan could work, and my amazing friends came over and put groceries away, folded my clothes, and got Titus out of his crib after naps if Nathan couldn’t be here. It was a hard week for me! And to those of you that helped, Thank you again so much!

So today was my follow up, my 8 week appointment with my OB and it was a GREAT appointment. I was pretty nervous going in to it because I just didn’t know what they would say or what was going to show up on my ultrasound. But thankfully our baby has more than doubled in size, has an amazing heart rate and I have been released to normal duty. Praise God! Our sweet baby is still growing strong. I’m still feeling pretty sick, which I just keep reminding myself is a good thing. Sickness means hormones and a growing baby.

So that’s why I’ve been gone and may still miss some blogs here and there until I’m feeling back to myself again. But I will continue to keep you posted on our new amazing journey as a growing family!

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IP Must haves!

So have you bought your Instant Pot? If you haven’t, you should!

Having an Instant Pot makes life so much easier! Now that I have had mine for a while and cooked a wide verity of meals I have found my top 5 accessories that make the Instant Pot even better!

Top 5 Instant Pot Must Haves!

1. Stainless Steel Inner Cooking Pot

Your Instant Pot already comes with one Inner Pot61zteQNThkL._SL1500_but having a second one has been a game changer for me. With an additional pot you can store on in the refrigertor with left overs or when you are cooking more than one thing you can prepare two meals and cook them back to back. You can buy one here .

2. Silicone Lid Cover

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Are you storing your left overs? Or prepared a meal that you’re taking with you to a party? Then you need one of these covers. It fits over the inner pot perfectly with no leaking. I ordered 2 for each pot. You can get one here.

3. Silicone Egg Bite Molds

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This is one of my favorite accessories for the Instant Pot, with it  you can make:
-Egg Bites
-Muffins
-Mini meatloaf bites
-Baby Food; if you have a baby these are the perfect size to make your own.
I would say get one of these as your first purchase for your Instant Pot. Get one here.

4. Steamer Basket

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Any type of veggie, hard-boiled eggs or if you’re making homemade broth. The steamer basket is perfect for this. There are 2 options for the steamer baskets and you can get them both here or here.

5.Silicone Loaf Pan

I just recently got one of these and I’m already loving it. This loaf pan is perfect for making your own bread, cakes and meatloaf. The loaf pan was also very inexpensive. You can get one here. 71Vm8lgdVoL._SL1500_

So once you have your Instant Pot or if you already have it, these are the best most usable accessories to ease cooking. Let me know if you decided to try these and how it goes. Enjoy cooking in your Instant Pot!

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Who doesn’t love breakfast?

Seriously, who doesn’t love breakfast food? Eggs, Bacon and hash-browns. I could eat that kind of meal everyday. But the worst part of breakfast food is most of the time I don’t want to cook as soon as I wake up in the morning. I’m usually pretty tired, entertaining my toddler and trying to get him fed. Once I’ve done all that time has passed and I don’t feel like preparing it, or having to do the clean up afterwards.

So I have started to prep our breakfast food. I’m making some type of delicious casserole that last us the week. I spend one day cooking and then every morning its in the fridge and only has to be heated up.

Below is one of my go-to, Whole 30 approved, healthy breakfast meals.


Ranch Sweet Potato Sausage Egg Bake

Prep Time: 15 minutes Cooke Time: 25 minutes

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Ingredients:
-2 Medium sweet Potatoes, cubed
-1 lb Turkey breakfast sausage
-3 cups spinach
-9 Eggs
-1 Red Pepper
-1 tbsp coconut oil
-1/2 yellow onion, diced.
-Salt and Pepper to taste
-Avocado to top

Directions:
1. Pre-heat oven to 400, grease baking dish.
2. Add coconut oil to sauté pan and add diced sweet potatoes.
3. In a different sauce pan add Turkey sausage, brown.
4. Once Turkey is brown, add diced pepper, spinach and onions.
5. In a bowl whisk egg, add salt and pepper.
6. Once Sweet Potatoes are tender, mix them with Whole30 Ranch.
7. In your baking dish, layer sweet potatoes, sausage bake and top with whisked eggs (cover dish evenly).
8. Bake for 20 minutes.


Enjoy!

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My Simplified Life

New year, new you? Was one of your New Years goals/resolutions to be more organized, tidy and to destress your life? If so, you need to read “Simplified Life” by Emily Ley. Even from the first chapter alone, I can guaranty that she has helped simplify my life.

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I don’t like to toot my own horn, but I already tend to be a pretty organized and tidy person. However, I’m always trying to find new ways to help life stay organized and make everyday life less chaotic. This book made me realize I still have many things that add to the stressful nature of my day to day.

I love her explanation on why she has a simplified life:

I don’t organize or structure life just because it’s my job or because I want things to look good from the outside. I do these things because I want a life that is rich, seen, and uncomplicated. I don’t want to be weighed down by day-to-day responsibilities. I want to be able to enjoy Saturdays, making memories with my family instead of folding mountains of laundry. I want dinner to be a calm time to reconnect and enjoy good food with the people I love, not a rushed, chaotic evening ritual I’m just hoping to survive. I want to be able to sit with my kids or with a friends and wholeheartedly listen, not spend my days with stresses running through my head. I want to be able to enjoy this beautiful life, not be constantly overwhelmed by it.
-Emily Ley, A Simplified Life

Then she starts with the first task; simplifying your space. For the most part I’ve always thought my space was pretty simplified. I don’t have lots of clutter, it makes me anxious, I don’t keep a lot of things unless they are being used or will be used regularly in the next few months. And I’m not someone who has lots of sentimental objects. I love pictures and creating memories, I just don’t tend to keep everything that has to do with that memory or experience. This is not the same for everyone and, believe it or not, people give me a really hard time about this; but it helps me feel comfortable in my home and relaxation after a long day.
My husband actually said something to me the other day that probably meant more to me then he even knew. I was processing with him about if it’s a struggle for him that I don’t tend to keep things or that I’m not saving everything Titus ever did. That sweet husband of mine looked at me and said I would rather have a clean, organized house for the rest of our lives than spend 2 minutes reminiscing on something from our past or present.
↑ so thankful for this man, he so gets me!

So the first space I started was my kitchen, since I figured I would tackle the downstairs first. I went through and thought, “Do we use this?” And “does this help make my life easier or harder?” I realized that I had 30 glasses, 16 mugs, and duplicates of many kitchen gadgets in my cabinets and drawers. Then I asked myself at what point am I going to use all of these cups? Lets be serious, if I’m having that many people at my house, we are using plastic cups so I don’t have to do as many dishes at the end of the day. There are 3 people living in this house and 1 of those people is only 19 months old and will not be using glasses anytime soon. So I kept 10 glasses and my specialized mugs and one of each gadget. The rest I either sold or donated. Then I moved to the dining room and living room and went through my craft cabinet and Titus’ toys. Believe it or not, I do feel more relaxed in my house and it seems like I’m not spending as much time during the day cleaning up, doing dishes or thinking of ways to keep it more organized. It just naturally became that way without so much stuff.

Simplifying your space means giving your home potential to inspire and soothe.

-Emily Ley, A Simplified Life

 I’m loving this journey so far! My downstairs has been simplified and I can feel the difference. I am in the process of doing our bedroom and Titus’ room and it has been a relaxing process. I can’t wait to see what the next chapters hold for our simplified life.

If you want to start your simplified life you should check out Emily Ley’s book, Simplified Life.

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Banana Muffins (Whole30, Paleo)

We are in week 3 of Whole30 and feeling great! I’m not going to say that I still don’t really want a Reese cup or have a desire to have a piece of stuffed crust pepperoni pizza, BUT we are feeling good and seeing the difference that it is already making in the way we feel.

This week I decided to make a new recipe for banana muffins. I made these in the oven and in the Instant Pot. I wanted to try out both ways of cooking to see if one was better or easier over the other.

The difference in the two:
The Instant Pot: The muffins were good and moist, but my husband and I both felt like something was missing.
Oven: This was perfect for us. The muffins were still moist but had a crisper outside.

Check out the recipe below and let me know what you think!


Whole 30 Banana Muffins

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: Instant Pot: 8 minutes; Oven: 20 minutesIMG_1297

Ingredients:
– 2 ripe bananas
– 1/2 cup apple sauce: I made me own apple sauce, you can find the recipe here
– 1/4 cup coconut oil
– 3 eggs
– 2 cups almond flour
– 1 tsp baking powder
– 1 tsp baking soda
– 2 tbsp cinnamon

Instructions:
1. Add all ingredients into your KitchenAid, or a bowl to mix with your hand-held mixer.

Instant Pot:
2. Add all ingredients into your silicone tray
3. Cover with Foil
4. Place 1 cup of water and trivet to the bottom of your instant pot.
5. Put silicone tray in Instant Pot
6. Set to manual high pressure for 8 minutes. Then QR. Enjoy!

Oven:
3. Preheat Oven to 350ºF
4. Line muffin tin with liners
5. Add mixture evenly in liners
6. Bake for 20 minutes. Enjoy!


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Cinnamon Apples: Instant Pot

Another quick and delicious recipe for a healthy snack or desert. It has helped fill our sweet tooth since being on Whole30. The great thing about this recipe is you can use it not only for cinnamon apple dessert but you can also make your own homemade cinnamon apple sauce.


Cinnamon Apples:
Prep Time: 5 Minutes Cook Time: 2 Minutes

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Ingredients:
– 5 Apples ( I used Fuji and Granny Smith)
– Cinnamon
– Honey (If you are on Whole30 OMIT honey)
– Water

Directions:
1. Core and Slice your apples. ( I choose to leave the skin on the apples for a better taste)
2. Put all of your apples in the Instant Pot and cover with Cinnamon, Stir.
3. If you ARE NOT on Whole 30 you can add 2 tbsp of honey.
4. Add 1/2 cup of water
5. Set Instant Pot to manual high pressure for 2 minutes
6. Quick Release and Serve
↑ If you choose to make apple sauce, do a natural release for 5 minutes and then mix apples, you can use hand-held mixer or a KitchenAid. Mix until the consistency your happy with for your apple sauce.

 


 

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we have! Let me know if you try it out and look out for my next blog post on Friday! Happy Monday!

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Homemade Chicken Jambalaya

I have always loved to cook but I am the kind that once I find something that I really like I will cook it over and over again until everyone is sick of it. Since getting my Instant Pot and now starting Whole30 it has pushed me out of my box and has me testing out new recipes and even creating some of my own. To me, that has been one of the best things about all of it, being able to create new, tasty and healthy meals for my family. So on my meal planning calendar I planned to make Jambalaya for dinner this week but I couldn’t find a recipe that I really loved. I thought one of the points of Jambalaya was a delicious meal with lots of spices and flavor but for the most part you could make it the way you want. So thats exactly what I did, last night we had homemade Chicken Jambalaya and boy was it good!


Chicken Jambalaya                                                                                                                                                                                                    Prep Time: 7 minutes Cook Time: 15 minutes                                   
IMG_1137
   INGREDIENTS                                                                                                                                                                              2 lb Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast, diced                                                                                                                        4 Chicken Sausages                                                                                                                                                                        2 tbsp. Coconut Oil                                                                                                                                                                    Salt                                                                                                                                                                                           Pepper                                                                                                                                                                                                1 cup chopped onion                                                                                                                                                                     3 garlic cloves, minced                                                                                                                                                                   2 cans diced tomatoes; 1 can diced tomatoes, 1 can fire roasted tomatoes                                                                            15 oz can tomato sauce                                                                                                                                                                3 cups chicken stock                                                                                                                                                                        2 tsp paprika                                                                                                                                                                                        2 tsp thyme                                                                                                                                                                                     2 tsp oregano                                                                                                                                                                                     2 tsp garlic powder                                                                                                                                                                          2 tsp onion powder                                                                                                                                                     Cauliflower Rice or Spaghetti Squash 
    INSTRUCTIONS                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 1. Dice Chicken breast and chicken sausage, chop onion and mince garlic.                                                                  2. Turn InstantPot to sauté and add above ingredients, until lightly cooked.                                                          3. Turn off Sauté.                                                                                                                                                                          4. Add additional ingredient, stir.                                                                                                                                  5.Cook on Manual High pressure for 15 minutes                                                                                                                6. Serve with Cauliflower rice or Speghetti squash 

Enjoy!!!