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House and Home

    House and Home, Recipe

    Instant Pot Chicken Fajitas

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    I feel like I am so late on the Instant Pot train! We bought our Instant Pot last year and so far I have only used it to make hard-boiled eggs, steam veggies and make chicken super quick. We had yet to try anything fancy in it. Why? I have no clue. It’s practically the best invention since the microwave and you can have warm delicious food almost at the snap of your fingers. 

    I knew I had to try something different and exciting for dinner, but after opening our fridge I quickly realized we were limited on ingredients.  It was pouring rain out and the last place I was going was the market. I pulled out our sad looking onion, still good under a couple layers and 2 red peppers that were almost past their due date. My first thought was to chuck them and order take out, but with a little more digging in the freezer I found some frozen chicken. Hmmm.. FAJITAS! I knew it! I had been craving Mexican food all week and this was just the ticket.

    This is my healthy version of fajitas but are they really that bad for you anyways?! It’s so incredibly simple you will laugh that you hadn’t thought of it yourself.

    Instant Pot Chicken Fajitas 

    Cut chicken into long strips and place in Instant Pot. Add spices or taco seasoning packet and mix. Slice pepper and onion and place on top of chicken. Add 1/2 cup of water and quickly mix everything. Place lid on and make sure the vent is closed. Set manual timer for 30 minutes. 

    Once time is up let the instant pot vent for 10 minutes or if you’re in a hurry go ahead and release it. 

    I placed fajita mix onto of rice and added some fresh tomatoes and avocado! ENJOY! 

    New to the Instant Pot? Looking for some other great dinner ideas? Check out these yummy and simple recipes! 

    The Instant Pot has quickly become one of our favorite tools to use in the kitchen.  We use it for boiled eggs, oatmeal, dinner and everything in between. What is your favorite thing to make in the Instant Pot? Let me know what we should try next in the comments below! 

    House and Home, Recipe

    Healthy Chocolate Haystacks

    My son has a serious sweet tooth. It’s probably due to the fact that during my pregnancy with him any and all things chocolate went straight into my mouth. Since Christmas we have been trying to cut back on sugar. I have been searching for recipes that still taste yummy, but have less sugar and maybe, just maybe have some hidden health benefits. 

    I was recently introduced to Cacao powder. Smells like chocolate and tastes like chocolate, but is full of good things! Cacao is the purest form of chocolate which sets it apart from Cocoa, and it is considered a superfood. It is packed full of antioxidants, calcium and magnesium. It is the ultimate sleep and happiness nutrient. 

    To check out more of its wonderful benefits check out this great post here. 

    Austin’s all time favorite thing to eat is cookies so we decided to make some super simple Healthy Chocolate Haystack Cookies. The best thing about these cookies is they require no baking, which I alway seem to mess up! 

    The Ingredients you will need: raw Cacao powder, peanut butter, honey, ripple or almond milk, coconut oil, vanilla extract, salt and rolled oats

    You will notice the recipe calls for Ripple milk. We love ripple milk. Ripple milk is made from pea protein. For us, it is a great substitute for regular milk because it isn’t as thick as almond or coconut milk. It also contains tons of protein, zero sugar and lots of good nutrients. We use it in our cereal, baking and cooking. It makes for an awesome dairy supplement as well. 

    Let me know what you think of this new recipe and what your favorite “healthy” desserts are! 

    House and Home, Recipe

    Homemade Fruit & Nut Bars

    “Happiness is homemade”. This new year is all about health, happiness and embracing togetherness in the kitchen. My kids especially love mixing and eating our newest creations. This recipe is all about replacing unhealthy, sugary snacks that you buy at the market with outrageous price tags with healthy alternatives that you probably already have in your cupboards. I am not one to throw taste and satisfaction completely out the window for a healthy treat, but I am always striving to feed my kids healthier foods on a daily basis. Foods they love, energize them and get their little hands working in the kitchen.

    I can’t take full credit for our homemade healthy fruit and nut bars. My husband was the one who made them with the kids and prepared them. I was sick in bed fighting off the first cold of the New Year. I could hear him in the kitchen giggling with the kids as they spilled things on the floor and dirtied bowl after bowl, cup after cup and spoon after spoon, knowing quite well that the mess would be there for me when I rolled out of bed. But what good is a house if it goes unused? Something I am trying to get more patient at is the idea that a house without the temporary mess is really not a house at all. I believe it’s all how we manage the mess and our possessions that helps us stay sane. So as I hear them dropping each and every little thing on the the floor I can’t help but smile. 

    These Fruit and Nut bars have become one of my favorite things. They are so delicious, slightly sweet and very filling. They are the perfect snack time treat. Our kids love them, we love them and they disappear quick. The best part is you can create so many different variations. 

    What are your favorite homemade bar recipes? Let me know in the comments below! 

    House and Home, Minimalism, Uncategorized

    How to Enjoy Christmas as a Minimalist

    With Christmas eve upon us and the anxiety of last minute baking and gifting setting in. I thought what better time then now to work on my minimalist lifestyle. I am so lucky that I am constantly surrounded by “things” but the clutter gets overwhelming at times. I find clearing out clutter has allowed me to be more carefree and relaxed. My home is slowly becoming one that I dream of and my husband has stepped up too and helped me with this transition.

    I found that the best way to stay true to my minimalist lifestyle during the Holidays is to simply let things go. There are so many thoughts going through my mind that I often forget to truly enjoy the meaning of Christmas.  I have been blessed with the most fun loving family around. I look forward to seeing each and everyone of them every year. So this is a promise to myself to let things go and to enjoy the moments that I get with them. To remember that minimalism isn’t just about clearing out items, but also about clearing your mind. 

    • Don’t add to your “things” - My rule -One item comes in the house and three must go out! Amazon has made this incredibly easy to follow by sending me loads of boxes. You order 5 small items and get 5 large boxes? Each time I get a box I set it up in the garage and slowly fill it with Knick knacks. If you fill a box you can go online and they will print you a free slip to mail it to the closest goodwill. How easy is that?!
    • Let Routines Go - We work and work and work to get the kids on the most perfect routine and we try so hard to stick to those routines. During the holiday I have learned to let those routines slip.  Our kids want to stay up and spend time with everyone and they can’t nap because they are having too much fun in the snow. These memories won’t be here forever. Pretty soon they will be grown up. So this year we’re throwing routines out the window and adding to the memory book instead.
    • Stop Trying to do it All - Along with routines we are trying to squeeze in the maximum amount of  events and visits to friends that we can. We end up carting around cranky crying kids all the while tying to please everyone. This year the schedules are focused on the kids. If they need to rest and pop in a movie then we will do that. Having fun isn’t so fun if everyone is having a  fit. Happy kids = Happy parents! 
    • Eat Healthy, but don’t Make that the Focus - Each year I set this big ultimatum for myself. I always fail. It seems more realistic to enjoy the flavors of the Holidays, but don’t eliminate them. I am excited about this approach mostly because it means I won’t be kicking myself if I indulge in some of my favorite Holiday foods. 
    • Prep - This has been the number one way I have been able to cut back and feel more relaxed. If I plan ahead with snacks and things we may need then I spend less and we have more time for memories! Of course things don't always go as planned, but it is always better to be over prepped then under, especially with toddlers! 

    I am excited to have a clearer mindset as Christmas approaches.I have already started to let things go and just simply be me. Be in the moment and with those I love. Wishing all of you a carefree and magical Holiday!

    How do you plan to take on minimalism in this new year? 

    Crafts, Crafts, House and Home, Parenting

    Holiday Crafts

    We love to craft! And this Christmas is a little more exciting because Austin is finally old enough to craft with me! Not to mention Charlotte loves to make a mess. 

    Our favorite crafts are ones that are simple and require very few supplies. With two toddlers, I look for crafts that allow the kids to be creative and not restricted to specific instructions or guidelines. I decided to share a couple that we loved and at the bottom I included a round up. Happy Crafting 🙂

    Santa Handprint Ornaments

    Paper, red paint, white paint, black pen (or paint) and a cute little hand!

     1. Paint toddler’s hand- Paint the thumb and palm red for Santa's hat. Paint the rest of the hand white. 

    2. Stamp hand on paper.

    3. Add details! I added two little eyes and a red nose. 

    4. Cut your ideal size for an ornament and add yarn to hang! 

    So easy, so fun, and after I got their perfect little handprints they got to finger-paint! 

    Christmas Tree Frames

    Popsicles sticks, paint, glitter glue, hot glue, pasta wheels or other knick knacks for ornaments

    1. Paint popsicles sticks. We cheated and bought color popsicles sticks! 

    2. PARENT- hot glue sticks in triangle to represent tree. You may add sticks across or leave empty like we did. 

    3. Decorate! We used glitter glue, pasta wheels and glitter pipe cleaners. Other great items - beads, cereal, puff balls.

    4. Hot glue picture and add pipe cleaner to hang. 

    We had so much fun making these simple ornament gifts.  It helped to have a tray out to hold the mess and glue!

    For other wonderful Toddler approved Christmas Crafts check out my round up list below: 

    This one may have to wait till next Christmas, but it was too good not to share. It’s so fun and it’s not in a box. I see lots of cookie cutter Gingerbread houses these days, but for this one the kids get to be super creative.

    The perfect craft for toddlers! My kids are obsessed with stickers. All you need for these construction trees are paper and stickers.

    These are beautiful! Snowy pinecone garlands that bring a rustic feel to any room.

    Check out these DIY Mugs. My sweet sister in law made something similar to these for the all of us a few years ago and we still use them. They are so simple and gorgeous. The secret is to bake them to keep the decor.

    This is a mom adventure craft! I love this Anthropology - inspired garland and can’t wait to make it one of these nights.

    A round up of 7 personalized ornaments. I love these for my son’s teachers and our friends!

    Toddler craft that can be made with your kitchen utensils! Austin loved stamping the spatula and Charlotte had fun decorating.

    I love wreathes! This rustic wreath made by Little Mama Jama gets you into the Christmas mood and needs very little supplies.

    I fell in love with these simple wreaths the minute I saw them. Any project that the kids get to paint and decorate are our favorite.

    A collection of sweet little handprint crafts! I especially love the reindeer platter. The perfect piece to save for every Christmas to come.

    What’s your favorite Holiday craft? Let me know in the comments below! 

    Adventures, Crafts, Family Adventures, House and Home

    December Bucket List

    With the holidays right around on the corner I have decided to come up with my ultimate Holiday bucket list. This has helped me keep my promise to myself and my family to spend more time together and go on more adventures. We are usually rushing from place to place, getting gifts ready and running errands, but not this year. This year I want my focus to be on our family and ways we can spend more time together.  We hope to check each one of these off before the end of December. 

    • Tree Hunting

      This one was done in November! I randomly took Austin to the most precious tree lot and we had the best time running in and out of the trees. But come December we are going to cut down our own tree! A tradition that was destined to start. My husband is a city boy but loves everything about the country. If this doesn't’ scream country I'm not sure what does. 

    • Give Back

      This has been at the top of a couple of my lists. Why? Because it’s so close to my heart. It doesn’t matter how you do it, but showing compassion and love to the world is one way we can make it a better place to live. It’s difficult for my kids to give back at their age but a few ways we are this Holiday season is by donating things we no longer need. Austin has shown interest in getting his dad and grandparents gifts so I am taking him shopping at our local church. The money raised there goes to local families in need. 

    • Tree lighting ceremony

      There is something so magical about going to a tree lighting. Something we did in my small town growing up. There are so many in our area and I am making a point to take the kids to a few. There is also a parade of lights in our local park and we have loved making it a yearly tradition. 

    • Hallmark movies

      Clearly this ones for me! The same movie goes the same way - small town girl trying to figure out her life, falls in love with the guy, ends up getting married. They are just so addicting and it immediately feels like Christmas when they come on! 

    • Holiday Train

      The best thing about living in the bay area is that there are so many wonderful family events. There is a Polar Express train here that you get to meet Santa on. They serve hot cider and snow falls outside the windows. It is so unbelievably magical and special for the kids! It has become a tradition we do with our cousins.

    • Crafts

      We love crafting! Most of the time my kids make a mess instead, but I love turning their messes into little masterpieces. We have so many favorites that we love to do during the holiday seasons. I love to make special gifts for family.  Making gingerbread houses is high up on our list! 

    • Cookie Bake Off

      This is all Austin and me! Our hearts are made out of cookies. Sometimes I feel bad for giving him my insane sweet tooth, but now I have someone to share all the joys in life with! We love baking together (or I love it and he loves sampling).

    • Enjoy the COLD outdoors

      Build a snowman, go ice skating, get crazy with puddle jumping. Whatever it may be (or the weather may give us), I want the kids to enjoy what every season has to offer. It’s cold and yes I would rather be inside eating my cookies, but we need the outdoors. This year we are heading to the snow for Christmas so I am excited to share all the experiences I had growing up with my kids! 

    • Letter to Santa

      We did this every year as a family and it was a tradition I want my kids to continue. I feel like there are so many ways you can incorporate a kind heart into your letters. Austin has already been asking for some toys and I don’t think he needs everything he asks for nor do I want to raise him that way. For our letters we will be focusing on asking Santa to bring peace to whatever it is in their hearts. I know this will be hard as they are younger, but I think it would be great to start now. I want them to really think about what they want and why they want it. My goal is to incorporate some learning lessons into these letters.

    My bucket list will grow, just like our family is growing. These are simple December must do’s but the most important part about them is they encourage us to spend time together. After all, that’s what the Holidays are about, being with and appreciating your loved ones. 

    Whats  on your December Bucket List this year?