Saturday, June 16, 2018

Instant Pot Recipe #5: Sweet Potato

Tonight I made spaghetti in the Instant Pot (because its Saturday and I can make and puree the sauce while the kids are napping and I can add all the veggies and they won't even know it :). No one ever tells you how amazing it is when you can get BOTH of your kids to nap at the same time. Well let me tell you, its fran-freaking-tas-tic! Especially when you use the time to cook or study because I can't do either of those things if they are awake - hello anxiety. Spending all morning in the Austin heat and cooling them down in the splash pad (and a packed lunch sprinkled in between) was the best idea I've had in a while! Because both of those kids were knocked out hard while sleeping in the 73 degree house #momwin

(PS... I am normally napping with them on Saturday afternoons but today I got a free Starbucks TRIPLE mocha frappachino on my way home. I was hoping that the sugar and the caffeine would keep me from falling asleep. Now a days, if I sit for too long, I will just fall asleep wherever I am. True Story.) 

and BAM! I skipped nap this afternoon! ;)

Anyways, this post is supposed to be about sweet potatoes, not naps and mom wins. And sweet potatoes (although J won't touch them with a 10 foot pole) are the easiest go-to in the Instant Pot ever. Especially if you are trying to figure out what to cook/pack for lunch the next day. Soooo I have a craving to share with you!

When I was pregnant with Gabe I had a team that I worked with a lot in Austin so my travel was a lot lighter than most projects. This was great because when we'd get together for all day working sessions, I'd have to order us some lunch and this really let me try some new places near the office that I generally wouldn't try. For example, Jason's Deli. I always feel like I could pack my own sandwich from home if I wanted to eat there (I know, I know... they sell more than just sandwiches and even their sandwiches are better than my packed-lunch-wiches). I ordered this sweet potato MANY times and I just can't get enough of it.

So today's sweet potato recipe is brought to you by one of my all time pregnancy cravings - Jason's Deli Papa Verde Sweet Potato!

Baked sweet potato with butter,
USDA-certified organic spinach,
fresh avocado,
roasted turkey breast,
Jason’s own jalapeƱo ranch dressing
[obviously there is CHEESE too]

I'm just going to be 150% honest here and say that when I make this bad boy, it DOES NOT look that pretty. But it tastes almost just as good!

Constructing the sweet potato is definitely more complicated than cooking the potato itself in your Instant Pot. When I do cook something like this, Brad normally calls it "fancy"... but I just like to blend all.the.flavors! And this is great because I usually have all of the ingredients on hand.

So let's get to it, shall we?

The potato is as easy as washing it, putting some water into the bottom of the pot, inserting the trivet that comes with the Instant Pot, placing the potato inside and BAM! Cook that bad boy for like 10 minutes. If you want some in-depth potato cooking instructions and tips, A Mindful Mom has a great post on fluffy baked potatoes.

While the potato is cooking, I normally saute some spinach with garlic and seasoning. I normally have leftover chicken in the fridge, which I warm up if I am going to eat the potato once I am done making it, but I cut it up while it's still cold if I am going to pack this for lunch the next day (I have a weird thing about not wanting to eat cold food.. cold pizza anyone? not for me).

Once the potato is out, I slice it open and just dump all of the ingredients on top! First the cut up chicken, some cut up sliced cheese (I like Havarti), I drizzle some regular ranch (I am not fancy enough to attempt my own jalapeno ranch like Jason), cut up avocado and then plop the sauteed spinach on top. If you're feeling extra cheesy, add more cheese :)

Instant Pot Sweet Potato

  • 1-4 Sweet Potatoes
  • 1 cup of water
  1. Place trivet in Instant Pot and add 1 cup water.
  2. Scrub sweet potatoes until skins are clean. Place on top of the steamer basket.
  3. Cover and place vent on lid to "Sealed".
  4. Set on "Pressure Cooke" program and set time for 12 minutes.
  5. When finished cooking, don't open lid. Allow pressure to reduce naturally, about 8-10 minutes.
  6. Remove lid and serve.
I like to add ingredients such as diced chicken, ranch, sauteed spinach, avocado and cheese to mine. And next time you're at Jason's Deli... I totally recommend the Papa Verde Sweet Potato. This will do while you're at home, but Jason's does it best :)


Monday, June 11, 2018

12 weeks!

Oh how so much can change in 12 weeks!

12 weeks ago our baby boy, Gabriel Lucas, joined our already hectic circus. He came 4.5 weeks early and all of my planning went out the window (a lesson I learned again, that children are not project plans:)!

Oh mama, how many times must you learn?

My mama jumped on a plane just a few days after Gabe arrived to rescue me from being alone as Brad had to go back to work (his *planned* paternity leave wasn't for another 5 weeks). She stayed with us for a week and Joanna had the time of her life as I adjusted to night feedings all over again. Then Brad's mama and sister drove from Florida to be with us. My MIL stayed for 3 weeks and helped us with preschool drop offs, dinner melt downs and everything in between. We just about solidified a good bedtime routine with Jo by the time she left us. Joanna also had a grand time with her!

Gabe was tiny! He was born 5lb 13oz and considered a "pre late term baby". He looked like a full term baby, without a lot of fat. We needed to wake him to feed him because he was sooo sleepy for the first month. He gained weight well and by 6 weeks he was more alert. In this first month home with Gabe, I some how managed to finish my 4th MBA class. I did have to ask for re-take on a test I completed while I was in the hospital. My professor graciously gave me a re-take to do on my own time - he agreed that having a baby early was an extenuating circumstance :|

In the first month home, there were a lot of melt downs by all...

Then the time came where all of our help went home and Brad started paternity leave. He was off work for 4 weeks and he completed soooo many projects around our house. He almost ran out of things to do! We kept up with Joanna's bedtime routine and got to spend a lot of much needed family time doing activities together. I was also cleared from my 6wk OB check up to start running again (slow and easy).

Brad and I both focused on our running, we got in a few "day dates" and we focused on reasoning with Joanna. Joanna is pretty communicative for a 2.5 year old. We really began talking to her about Gabe's needs (he is hungry all the time, he sleeps a lot, he is little, we need to be careful with him) and looking back, she really started to turn a corner in maturity. We had several melt downs along the way - but I believe that it was thanks to that focused time we got to spend as a family that I can leave the house with two kids and feel pretty confident that Joanna will listen, help and stay by my side. This does require a lot of packed FOOD, patience and being extremely flexible with our plans.

And although the last 12 weeks have been challenging in so many different ways, they have also been just what we needed... just what I needed.

When Gabe was 5 weeks old, I was given the opportunity to go back to work early to start planning a big project that was just getting started. Gabe is still home with me while I work part time and occasionally we have meetings at the office and I bring him with me. Going back to work early has helped my mental health immensely. Checking the boxes and making plans is at my core and although I was checking several boxes at home - laundry, cleaning, cooking, feeding, burping, changing diapers - it never felt completely finished. I never actually felt accomplished.

I also took what I like to call a "30 day sabbatical" and challenged myself to stay unplugged from social media. I focused on my faith, on my children, on my confidence to be a mother of two. I focused on my marriage and my husband. And somewhere along the way I found this excerpt and it really changed my perspective of planning and constantly feeling the need to start something new or to finish something old...

God wants to give us a story. Something we can look back on and say, "GOD DID THIS." And that story is found in the middle places between where we've been and where we're going, in the middle places of where we don't want to be and where His promises are revealed, in the middle places of difficult days and who God is shaping us to be.

...I'm learning that you can't rush through the middle because some things God can teach us only in the journey. And ultimately our entire lives are a journey. Beginning, middle, end. God alone sets the pace.

And in this excerpt from Melanie Shankle's daily devotional called Everyday Holy I reflected on my urge to rush through the middle places of all of my plans. I forced myself to slow down, stop comparing and enjoy my children in this precious time of their youth. 

And so I am back! After a major adjustment in the last 12 weeks. After a major reflection of myself, my children and this world. After significant gratitude toward my husband and all he does to help keep our home running smoothly and ALL the support he provides to me to chase my wildest dreams of wifey-ing, momming, running, project managing and MBAing. 

I cant say that I have it all figured out - we are taking it one day at a time over here! But I can say that my heart is SO full. It's more full than I thought it could ever be and for that I am truly grateful. I can say that I am learning to be more patient, to slow down and to speak softly with my children. I can say that I'm learning to give myself a lot of grace and I am reminding myself that my worth isn't in those boxes I check.

(PS - I also traded in my gym membership for a cleaning lady who comes twice a month. I am proud to say that I am never going back to the gym! :)

Just another wife, mama and runner (still learning domestic-like skills)!