The Gratitude Project: Weeks 31 & 32

I have noticed that, when I am focusing on my primary vocation (being a wife) and my secondary vocation (being a mom), and then my volunteer commitments, I have a tendency to let time get away from me. I then glance at the calendar and realize it is Thursday evening or Friday, and I haven’t gotten a single blog post written – let alone one for my blog.

And, by then, I am too tired, or still too busy, to whip something up!

Therefore, last week went by with nary a word written. And, this week, I decided my soul whimpers a little when I don’t make time to write. However, I can’t find more than 24 hours a day in my life, and try as hard as I can, I don’t have the energy when everyone else is asleep around me at the end of the day, to break out my computer to write.

So, I have combined last week’s Gratitude moment with this week’s, praying that this doesn’t become a monthly project, rather than weekly!


If you are following me on social media, you will have noticed a recent trend to talk about the movie Frozen, since it created some power struggles between our two year old and five year old toward the end of the oldest’s lengthy winter break. One loves Elsa and Anna, and is working on memorizing the songs. The other? Would rather sing, “Let it pooooooop, let it poooooooop…,” under his breath.

Last week, I was grateful for the times in which my two children actually cooperated together and one little one acquiesced to the requests of the older one. You see, she doesn’t have to make things smooth or easy, and she doesn’t quite make things simple for her big brother because, well, she’s two and she’s a little sister. Her older brother’s life isn’t supposed to be easy or simple when she’s around!

Yet, last week, as he readjusted to going back to school, she gave in several times and instead of asking for “Elsa and Anna,” she was willing to watch the shows he was requesting – Scooby Doo (the originals) and RescueBots. What was even more heartwarming were those moments she played toys with him, and he shared his toys with her.

I see a little of myself in my daughter, when she expresses interest in her brother’s play things; I remember I developed passion for almost anything my older siblings did – simply because I just wanted to hang out with them, be like them, and be accepted by them. I recognize that desire in my daughter.

And, for the most part, my son is gracious enough to allow her to tag along and be his playmate.

Those moments, when they are deep into sharing, playing, or even watching a mutually agreed upon show makes me proud of them – and, makes me deeply grateful for the relationship they are in the process of building.


At the end of last week, I received the last of my Christmas gifts – a backordered Instant Pot. If you aren’t aware of what an Instant Pot is, it’s a brand-specific pressure cooker. And, I was assured by a friend before it went on my wishlist for Christmas that, being an expectant mother to three children, I needed an Instant Pot.

To say I was intimidated by the contraption is an understatement. It sat in the box, being stared at, for four days before I was willing to take it out of its package. Then, came the scouring the owner and user manuals, and doing research online. Finally, came the research into decent recipes for brand-spankin’ new beginners to the world of pressure cooking.

I am still intimidated by the Instant Pot, but I ripped the Bandaid off, and have used it several times this past week. It is such a handy kitchen gadget! I can see how people become slightly seemingly obsessed with their Instant Pot – however, I am still too intimidated to agree whether or not I will be someone who is totally devoted to pressure cooking.

It has been nice to know not everything has to be thawed to make a meal in under two hours’ time. There is also a certain benefit to knowing I only have to clean one pot at the end of meal preparation, rather than the four or five I traditionally accumulate.

I am not a food blogger, but I will be honest – I have considered creating a post with all the pretty picture of all the food the Instant Pot has helped me create! And, perhaps I will indulge that idea someday.

But, for now, suffice it to say, I am grateful for this new, confounding, intimidating kitchen gadget!

Here are links to the three recipes I have tried so far:

Pressure Cooker Turkey Verde & Rice

The turkey was a hit for everyone in the family; the kids could do without brown rice, and so that remained on their plates. Baby3 could do without leftovers of turkey (something we found out at Thanksgiving time), so thankfully, we had very little left over at the end of this dish.

Instant Pot Vegetarian 15 Bean Soup

Since this was my first time making anything starting with dry beans, I started this early, figuring I would have time to make an alternative dinner if the beans didn’t cook properly. My husband was the recipient of a telephone call around 1:45 PM, informing him that dinner was ready. We then tested out the “Keep Warm” feature on the instant pot for the ensuing 5.5 hours until he could get home. The house smelled wonderfully all afternoon and evening!

Instant Pot Enchilada Pasta

At the time we made this decision to try this recipe, I was stuck on the “enchilada” part of the title – homemade chicken enchiladas are a current craving. Since we’d had those earlier in the week, I tried my hand at this one. The kids did not like it, simply because it combined their favorites into a dish – noodles, and meat sauce must be separated, unless it is for spaghetti. That said, it reminded my husband of a healthier, homemade style of Hamburger Helper; it reminded me of a dish my mom used to make with tomato sauce and elbow noodles. Either way, pretty sure, against my children’s wishes, we will have a repeat of this at some point in their childhoods.

There you have it, dear reader – two weeks’ worth of The Gratitude Project, and three tried and recommended recipes for an instant pot.

Do you have an Instant Pot or other brand of pressure cooker? What do you like to make in it?

Finally, what are you most grateful for this past couple weeks? Let me know in the comments below.

Until next week, dear reader…


6 thoughts on “The Gratitude Project: Weeks 31 & 32

  1. Anni, I enjoyed reading your post. I have instant pot and only be used for making rice. 🙂 but your post encourage me to try to make other dishes with it. 🙂

    1. Thanks for the words! And, I certainly hope you will try something other than rice – I did do rice the other night, but while it turned out, I think I’ll keep making it the traditional way. Rice is too intimidating for me – I think because I can’t see the steam building. 🤔

      Let me know how things turn out!

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