Instant Pot Black Beans

Instant Pot Black Beans
These black beans so so delicious!!  Once you make them, you'll never want canned black beans again!  They are perfect for tacos or soup.  Sooooo good!

You can find my bacon black bean soup recipe here.  Yum!


Instant Pot Black Beans

Ingredients
  • 1 lb dry black beans (sorted and rinsed)
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tsp worcestershire  sauce (optional)

Instructions
  1. Place all ingredients in instant pot.
  2. Place lid on and turn steam release valve to sealing.
  3. Set pot to manual (high pressure) for 22 minutes.  It may take about 10 minutes to come to pressure.
  4. Allow steam to release naturally for 10 minutes.
  5. After 10 minutes, carefully open steam valve to release any remaining steam.
  6. Once steam is fully released, carefully open lead.
  7. Serve beans as desired.



6 Terrific Reasons To Be Happy

6 Terrific Reasons To Be Happy
In today's society, it seems almost impossible to always be happy...truly happy.  There is so much negativity around us, often even within our own homes, that happiness seems to be fleeting and hard to find.  I want to take a moment to encourage you to find your path to happiness.  But first, let's define happiness according to Merriam Webster Dictionary:
ba pleasurable or satisfying experience

Now, let's take a look at some terrific reasons to be happy:
  1. Happy people attract happy people.  Have you ever noticed that just one bad mood can ruin it for everyone else in the room?  The same applies to happiness.  One person with a cheerful attitude can help all those around to feel happier.  Go ahead, try it and you'll see!
  2. It can improve your health.  There are several studies done on this, and though it is hard to prove, the results clearly show that happiness can improve your overall health.  I don't know about you, but I'll take it!
  3. Lower stress levels.  Positive emotions can help to broaden your perspective and encourages new ideas.  This can help you keep the stress at bay when you are confronted with, well, anything!  Business, home, life...
  4. More productivity.  Those who are happy tend to have better focus and motivation, therefore making them more productive in their tasks, which also means they are more likely to reach their goals.
  5. Happier people tend to take care of their bodies better, which could also be why they are happier!  Nutrition, exercise, mental health...it all works together.  If you have a healthy diet and exercise regularly, it helps to produce endorphins, which aid in happiness.  Did you know that this is one reason we often crave chocolate?  Yep, eating chocolate can help produce those feel-good endorphins.  More chocolate please!!
  6. Better relationships.  This takes us back to #1, people enjoy being around happy people.  Therefore, it stands to reason that you will have better, healthier relationships with others.  We need each other.  Being with others is part of what makes us tick (even if you're an introvert like me).  So, here's to better relationships and spreading happiness all around
There are many different studies done on this topic and though it isn't fully understood, it's fairly evident that happiness can improve your overall quality of life!  

Want some more tips on learning to choose happiness?  Check out this link for info on a 21 day happiness challenge






Healthy Cinnamon Honey Granola

Healthy Cinnamon Honey Granola
I love having a bowl of granola cereal in the evenings.  However, last time I went to the store the price was too high for my liking.  So I decided to make my own!  It's super simple and has a great flavor!  I had a bowl last night and it passed the test.  Super yummy!  

Next time I may try upping the oven temp to see if I can get it a tad more crunchy.  But that's just a personal preference.  This recipe browned nicely and has a great flavor.

You can add dried or fresh fruit to it after you have baked it to add even more flavor.


Homemade Cinnamon Honey Granola

Ingredients
  • 9 cups oats *see notes

  • 1 cup organic honey (local is best)

  • 1 cup organic coconut oil

  • 1 t himalayan salt

  • 1 t ground cinnamon

  • 1/2 cup pecans, broken (optional)


Instructions
  • Preheat oven 350*.
  • In a large bowl, combine oats, salt, cinnamon, & pecans.
  • In a small saucepan, mix together honey and coconut oil.  Bring to a gentle boil, stirring to help break up clumps.  
  • Pour over dry ingredients and mix well.
  • Spread onto 2 large baking sheets, lined with parchment paper.
  • Bake in oven 15 minutes for soft granola
  •  For a more cereal-like granola, stir granola and place back in over for another 10 min.
  • Cool and store in air-tight container.
Notes:

*I did a mix of old fashioned oats and quick oats, about half and half, to add more texture and variety.

*If you want them a bit crunchier, try using a higher oven temp and check after 15 min




Organizing with Amanda

Organizing with Amanda
I have struggled for years with being organized.  I have tried several different methods, including KonMari, but never was able to really make it stick.  Over the past few years I have been on a mission to declutter and have a welcoming home.  Since we homeschool, we really do LIVE in our house.  The books, blankets, dishes...every thing we use throughout the day tends to stay put where they were last used.  I really struggled to find the perfect solution.

Until now!  I was browsing the book store one day and came across a book on decluttering and becoming organized.  The title really caught my attention, "The Clutter Connection: How your personality type determines why you organize the way you do" by Cassandra Aarssen.  Wait a minute!  You mean to tell me that organizing has to do with personality?  It's not a one-size fits all and if you don't fit that one size, you fail?  Now you've got my attention!

I couldn't wait to get started with this book.  I kept thinking, wouldn't this make a perfect addition to my coaching program where I help moms find balance among the chaos of daily life? I thought it was a long shot, but the moment I got home I just had to look.  Sure enough, the author has a certification course!  So I jumped on it.  And I'm proud to say that I am now a certified organizational specialist.  Hooray!

Finally, a process that makes sense AND allows me to help other moms declutter and finally be organized.  Just what is it that clicked?  It's actually fairly simple:  If you find that something constantly is being used in a certain place, give it a home in that area.  That's it.  Organize to fit YOUR needs.  If your kids do homework at the kitchen table, give their backpacks and school supplies a home near the kitchen table.  I know, it seems like such a simple method, but it absolutely blew my mind to realize that this actually IS being organized!

The book and course also go through different organization personalities/types.  Basically proving that it's not a one-size fits all.  And there IS a way to organize according to your style that can still give you a warm and inviting home for others to visit.  
Now that I've said all of that, I'm super excited to announce that I am now ready to help YOU get organized in a way that suits your needs.  What's even better?  You do NOT have to be local!  I can do it via email/text and/or zoom calls.  How neat is that?!  
So now I leave you with this question:  Are you ready to finally be free of the clutter and have an organized home that suits your needs?  Good!  I'm ready to help!

You can find more information here! I'm looking forward to working with you and helping you find balance among the chaos!

When Life Throws Tomatoes At You, Make Soup!

When Life Throws Tomatoes At You, Make Soup!
We've all heard the saying, "when life gives you lemons, make lemonade".  But, if you are like me, you like lemons.  So someone giving me a lemon would be a good thing.  But what about tomatoes?  What if life throws tomatoes at you?  I really don't know anyone who likes that, even if you do like tomatoes!

There are times in life when bad things keep coming our way and it becomes too much to handle.  But if we can learn to see the positive in the mess of it all, then it's not so bad.  So, when life throws tomatoes at you, make soup!  How many amazing soup recipes are out there that use some form of tomato?  

  • Enchilada Soup
  • Taco Soup
  • Chili
  • Stew
  • Tomato Soup
You can also make tomato paste for yummy things like pizza sauce.  You can make tomato sauce for yummy home made spaghetti sauce.  The possibilities really are endless!

Just think of all the amazing things that can come of one "bad" thing.  There's always a silver lining. Something good can come of everything in life, sometimes we just have to look a little harder to find it.

So, when life throws tomatoes at you, make soup!  Don't let it get you down.  Make a good thing out of the bad.  There are too many things in life that can bring us down.  Make it your mission to always find the good in life.  You may find yourself amazed at how good life really can be, even when nothing seems to go your way.

Remember that God always has a better plan.  I can't tell you how many times I thought I was finally getting things all figured out, then there was a curveball (or tomato)...then another and another.  It's times like that that I have to step back and try to see the bigger picture.  I have to realize that there's more to those tomatoes than just a juicy fruit that stains and leaves messes behind.  It's about learning to navigate and choosing to see the best that can come of the situation.

No, it's not always easy.  Sometimes it's flat out hard and, if I'm honest, I just don't want to see the good at times.  It's so much easier to focus on the bad.  Last year held so many rocky moments (for pretty much everyone).  It would have been easy to just give up.  But instead I chose to look for the good.  To see what can be made of all those tomatoes.  And you know what?  I feel like my family is in a good place.  No, things aren't perfect.  But where we are now is just another stepping stone to where we are heading.  And that's what really matters.



 
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