Summer went by soooo quickly this year! It’s so crazy that it’s September already!
I know a lot of kids are back to school already, I’m avoiding it a little bit longer over here. 😉 But, the schedules are already filling up for fall time!
Most of us are looking for help with dinner time for these back to school days.
And these are the crazy days I’m so thankful to have dinner packed away in the freezer. I mean seriously, with piano lessons and Lego class (my guy is super excited about that one), homeschooling, and chasing around our 1-year-old. Rushing us all off to Awana classes and MomStrong Bible Study… The last thing I can do is spend loads of time prepping and cooking dinner every single night!!!
So, in case dinner time is crazy for you too, I thought I’d share how we use our membership with Once A Month Meals to help!
I love love love using my Instant Pot with my freezer meals.. guys, you don’t even have to remember to thaw your dinner!!!!! If you use your crock pot as much as I use to, you know that it’s a super bummer when you forget to get out your meat or whatever for your crock pot to be able to cook it all day long for you…. so in comes the joy of the Instant pot! Seriously, from the freezer.. some of my meals are as quick as 20 minutes from freezer to table! I’m not even kidding! This has been a game. changer. over. here. 🙂
We love eating this Strawberry Chicken Salad all summer long! A little crusty bread is all you need for a complete, refreshing meal!
If you are anything like us, you have been filling these “last days of summer” with as much sun and fun as you possibly can. Or perhaps you are amoung the many who have already started school and all sorts of busy activities. Either way, You should add this refreshing salad to your regular menu, especially while the days are still so warm!
Add the tea bags. Place lid and set for 3 minutes (making sure valve is set to seal)
When it's come to pressure and cooked for the 3 minutes you can manually release the pressure. fish out the tea bags and discard.
I usually leave the lid off and allow it to start to cool.
After it has cooled a little, I take out a portion of the tea out and add my own sweetener to this pitcher (usually about a 4 of a cup of my home made sweet blend)
I mix in the cup of regular sugar to the tea remaining in the IP.
allow this to continue to cool. Then I transfer the rest into a bottle or pitcher.
Store in the fridge and enjoy.
You can change the strength of your tea by adding less or more tea bags.
Make whatever kind of tea you'd like by choosing different flavors of tea bags.
And of course customize your desired level of sweetness.
One of my hopes with starting this blog was to encourage other moms out there… I had dreams of encouraging and inspiring.. But, then, I found myself hesitating to speak on anything involving the heart of motherhood or family, because I’m here in the middle of it too. I stop myself from saying anything because, “who am I?” How could I help anyone when I’m neck-deep in the trenches.
I don’t feel equipped or strong or wise and sometimes (most days) I don’ t feel right for the job in front me.
I see a friend struggling or she tells me she doesn’t know how to keep on going or what to do with a situation.. I want to tell her truth, I want to fill her with life-giving words. Truth is.. I do know the TRUTH!! And it IS exciting, thrilling, and absolutely life-giving!!!
The Lord has not turned His face from us, He has appointed you and me to this far-reaching, Intensely important role of MOM!! And you know what? He knew exactly what He was doing. And He doesn’t just shove us into this and leave us (like the hospital does when they send you home with a day old babe and say good luck)
He really has equipped us with all that we need and His power is available to us. Hebrews 13:21 says that God will “Equip you in every good thing to do His will, working in us that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen. ” He is aware that it is daunting and that everyday we feel exhausted, overwhelmed, and unsure….
But that is exactly why he sent his bravest, toughest, soldiers for the job. He knows everyday is a battle, a battle for the hearts of our children, for their protection, their training.
I know these things in my heart. but I still stop before saying them to my friends the majority of the time. I don’really believe them for myself or at least I temporarily forget them. I start to think things like “how dare I speak so boldly when I’m honestly cowering in front of my calling at this very moment.
Even now, you might be tempted to envision me sitting at beautiful desk, in a beautiful peaceful home writing all this to you. Maybe you see my kids playing so quietly with everything in it’s place. Truth is, I’m sitting in the dark, hiding in my room, typing this into my phone because it takes to long to locate my laptop. I can hear chaos in the living room, I left them with sheets and chairs to build forts and ran in here for just a break from the noise. My dishes are piled high in the sink, mostly because I tried to do way to much this morning and didn’t even finish the dishes from last night. I ruined an entire pot of yogurt that my husband was looking forward to and I’m leaving to attend an out of town conference tomorrow and the house is a complete mess. I haven’t packed or even figured out how to get the boys to sitters and all those details.
(updated to say: Turns out I can’t just copy and paste things from my phone notes on to here…. or I don’t know how to, so now you can picture me sitting with my laptop retyping this furiously, while my kids are eating way to many gold fish and watching tv so that I can finish this, before I lose my nerve to share it.)
So, Here’s the thing I’m trying to learn… I cannot wait for my life, and situation and calling to get figured out. My friends can’t wait around for me to perfect all this before helping them. If I do we all drown.
Instead, When a friend so bravely shares her struggles or concerns. I can and should speak love, peace, and truth to her. In doing so, I’m not saying to her, ” see how I’ve figured this all out? ” But I can say I feel you, I hear you.. ” I can “preach” a little truth to myself in the process!
Christ’s truth for us is in fact true… Even when we forget it. Did you know that? He doesn’t change with the winds (Hebrews 13:8 Jesus Christ (the Messiah) is (always) the same, yesterday, today, [yes} and forever (to the ages). )
He doesn’t rely on us for his identity or his power. BUT, He sure does long for us to rely on Him for ours!!!
Mommas in the trenches. Let’s do this hard thing! We aren’t alone in any stretch of the imagination.
YOU are loved, and Amazing, even (and maybe especially) when you don’t feel like it!!!!
~ In the trenches with you,
Know any Mamas in the trenches? Would you share this with them? Maybe add an encouraging “we can do this” word for her!
Hey even if all you can do is cry together.. it sure it better than crying alone! 🙂
Preparing for overnight babysitters can be a daunting task but, although we don’t get to do so very often, I find that it helps if I’m as prepared and organized as I can be. Maybe some of the things I did this week will help you too!
Set IP to saute
Throw in chopped onion and mushrooms.
Saute until onions are translucent and mushrooms are tender.
Meanwhile take flour, garlic powder, basil, oregano, and parsley and mix in a gallon size baggie! ( can you tell I hate dishes? but you can always do this in a shallow dish too.)
place the chicken into the baggie and gently shake until chicken is coated.
Now here is where I would like to tell you to just brown the chicken in the Instant Pot.. however when I try to do this, it never ends well.. the coating sticks to the bottom and then begins to burn... I find it's just easier to get a frying pan out and brown the chicken a couple minutes each side.
While chicken is browning on the stove you can start adding the parmesan cheese, crushed garlic, marinara sauce, chicken broth, and red wine to the IP. Mix it up and add just a pinch of pepper and salt, remember you can always add more later.
transfer the chicken to the IP and cover it with the sauce.
secure the lid and make sure the valve is set to seal. Set to manual for 11 minutes. While this comes to pressure (took about 10 minutes) and cooks, you can prepare some noodles and bread.. or whatever you want to serve with it.
When cooking is done, let it Naturally Pressure Release (NPR) for 5 - 10 minutes. Smother it in mozzarella cheese and more Parmesan before serving.
Serve with Pasta and bread!