Saturday, February 4th, 2017

Eating Extra Green Cabbage w My Instant Pot

Easy delicious cabbage from the Instant Pot

I talk a lot about my Instant Pot because I love it to bits. It’s been a life-changing kitchen appliance. 

The Instant Pot has made vegetables more prominent in our lives, because it’s so easy to use (i.e., fast!) and super delicious. 

Lately, I’m making a lot of organic green cabbage in my Instant Pot

Here’s how easy it is:

  • 1 head organic green cabbage, chopped
  • Sea salt, to taste
  • Additional seasonings as desired (maybe turmeric? ground cumin?)
  • Squirt of mustard
  • 2 to 3 pats of grass-fed butter (or more hehe)
  • 1 cup water or broth (add extra if a soupy experience is desired)

Put everything in the Instant Pot and set it to LOW pressure for 3 minutes. Quick release. 

That’s it! Did you hear me? That’s it.

THIS is why I’m eating so many more vegetables … it’s too damn easy! 

With the Instant Pot and this basic recipe, delicious and healthy cabbage is ready in minutes… Ready to serve with a main-dish protein. 

Or, sometimes the cabbage dish is the main star and I toss in some Epic bacon pieces. 

I also jazz it up with Dr. Cowan’s veggie powders to amp up the veggie power. 

Veggie powders for the win.


Oh, and last night I added a 1/4 cup of hemp seeds. Fun texture. 

The possibilities of simply cabbage are endless. Yum Yum Yum!

Get an Instant Pot today and change your life for the better.

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Friday, February 3rd, 2017

Digital Nomad Expat Prep: Google Alerts For Travel

by Kristen Suzanne in Digital Nomad, Expat, homeschool, travel, Worldschool

One of the things I’ve done to research future expat destinations is setting up Google Alerts. 

What is a Google Alert? As you can see in the image, a Google Alert is

“a content change detection and notification service, offered by the search engine company Google. The service sends emails to the user when it finds new results – such as web pages, newspaper articles, or blogs – that match the user’s search term.”

 

Lifehacker says this about Google Alerts:

Google Alerts is one of Google’s hidden gems. It’s a really powerful tool to keep track of trends, interesting topics, or anything really new that appears on the web. 

A Google Alert is easy to set up, and it’s a good way to monitor the web for desired topics being written about.

Once you set up a Google Alert you will get a daily email with links to articles on that particular alert for the day. For us, that’s various travel destinations. 

For example, after Playa del Carmen (one of our chosen places to live) had violence in a nightclub last month :( I was able to easily follow the news on it with Google Alerts. As a result, I’ll follow the alerts for the next year to see how Playa fares but we’re also going to check other locations now.

Even though we aren’t leaving the United States for a while, Google Alerts gives me a better feeling of the places we’re interested in living.  

Worldschool here we come!

Digital Nomadism here we come!

Adventure here we come!

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Sunday, January 29th, 2017

First Planning Steps For Our Family Living Abroad

by Kristen Suzanne in travel

Italy… just one destination of many.

I’ve mentioned before that we’re planning to eventually spend a lot of time abroad. 

Sure, it’s still a long way off, but all this time allows me to research, research, research.

Things like: visas, projected costs (and savings!), housesitting, digital nomadism, finding the cheapest air travel, where to go, packing, and of course… can I bring my Instant Pot???

To assist, I created a “Travel” file in Evernote where I have the following notes:

  • To-Do (things like renew passports, take a self-defense class, get “global entry” and more)
  • Countries / Research (a long list of all the places we think would be fun)
  • Airfare/Train (how to get cheap air including the travel hack of “chasing miles”)
  • Packing (backpacks, carry-on, suitcases, first aid kit, clothes, herbs, food, etc)
  • Technology (adapters, cell phones, VPN, laptops, and more)
  • Accommodations (options, costs, etc)

Embracing minimalism will make this move abroad easier (and cheaper), so I’ve slowly donated and sold things. Admittedly, I get a surge of energy and excitement when I purge things (though not sure my husband or daughter share my thrill – sorry, Greg, about that bottle opener). 

Learning from Minimalism experts, I ask myself two things when deciding whether to keep or get rid of something:

Does this item spark joy?

Would I buy this now had I not bought it before?

Considering those two questions is powerful in inspiring me to just let… it… go.  

I will share what I learn about living abroad as I go. I hope it helps someone considering the same thing much as all the blogs I’ve read have helped me. 

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Monday, January 23rd, 2017

I’m Nicer Now That I Meditate :)

Taking time to smell…

 
 
Meditation has profoundly changed me in many great ways… 
 
I’m ridiculously more calm, which is good for everyone.
 
I don’t freak out as much, and, if I do, I quickly stop myself before it gets out of hand. (Mindfulness in action.)
 
Food tastes better.
 
I feel like I’m “flowing” more through life. More “in the zone” moments. 
 
I smile a lot more.
 
I laugh more.
 
I sleep better.
 
I embrace aging (most of the time).
 
I’m nicer to other people.
 
I’m nicer to my self.

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Monday, January 16th, 2017

My Favorite Meditation Book

by Kristen Suzanne in longevity, Meditation

Ralph.

I’m glad I started meditating a few years ago, BUT, I wish more than anything I’d had Dan Harris’ book, 10% Happier, when I started.

Frankly, the whole meditation thing would have been a lot simpler.

During my few years of meditation, I had my share of struggles. I sometimes wondered if I was doing it right (or well enough) in spite of the benefits I was experiencing. 

I bought things to amp up my meditation “powers” like crystals, frog statues (see, Ralph, above), meditation pillows, and salt lamps. Lots of salt lamps. 

Crystal power

Surely a salt lamp sets the mood for better meditation.

I thought by having these things around I’d be better at meditating or my meditation would be deeper and more profound. I even tried meditating a few times balancing a crystal on my head. Yes. I did that.

Then, Dan Harris’ book, 10% Happier, came across my path. 

I opted for the audiobook because he narrates it, and I love audiobooks. 

This audiobook is so good!

Man, was that ever a great choice. 

Hearing Dan Harris tell his story in his own voice made the journey through his book better, funnier, and just more enjoyable. I can’t speak on the experience of reading the book, and I expect it’s also pretty great, but I tell ya… the audiobook was special. 

The reason this book is my favorite on meditation is because he broke it down! 

Meditation Demystified!

By the end of the book, I knew everything I needed to meditate (which actually wasn’t much, funny enough), and it didn’t require crystals, uncomfortable seated positions, or super deep breathing. 

I just had to sit (anywhere and in any position). Close my eyes (if desired). Breathe normally. And, every time my mind wandered, I simply had to bring it gently back to feeling or hearing my breath.

What I didn’t realize when I was learning to meditate in years past… was that the whole issue of “I can’t keep my mind from wandering” is actually part of meditation. Yes, it’s part of it.

Every time the mind wanders, and our minds all do, you notice it and bring your awareness back to breathing or feeling –> that’s meditating. 

The back and forth of thinking and non-thinking is indeed meditating. 

It can happen many times in a single 5-minute session and that’s many times you’re building your meditation/mindfulness  muscle just like doing a bicep curl for the arm when building your biceps.

Huh. That’s simple. 

10% Happier taught me this, along with the really entertaining story of his life including experiences with Deepak Chopra and Eckart Tolle that left me in a fit of giggles.

I can’t recommend this book enough whether you’re a seasoned meditator, an excited newbie meditator, or scared of meditating. It’s for everyone.

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Monday, January 9th, 2017

Using an Online Drawing Class with My Daughter for Homeschool

by Kristen Suzanne in homeschool, kamea, Motherhood

Getting ready for our online drawing class.

We are planning to move abroad (Worldschool here we come!), and even though we won’t be doing this for over a year, I’ve been diving deep into research to decide where to go.

Through my research I found a witty blogger and author, Christine Gilbert, who wrote a book called Mother Tongue which I am crazy eager to read. If the book is anything like her blog I’ll be entertained the whole way through as she tells her family’s globe-trotting tale.

So while devouring her blog, I learned that her husband offers an online drawing class for only $12 (looks like the price went up to $39 now but still worth it).

LEARN TO DRAW AND KEEP A SKETCHBOOK

Have you ever sat yourself in a cafe in some unfamiliar place just to people watch? Have you been thinking about keeping a visual journal of your trips? Make this the year you take your travel sketchbook out to sketch your travels, and start by learning how to put on paper what you see in the world.

Wow. Awesome.

This will be a super fun way to spend time with Kamea and improve our drawing skills. Kamea is a huge fan of doing art. It’s never been my forte but that’s because I suck at it. :)

Case in point: the assignment for the first day it was to look at a picture of yourself and draw it. By the time I was done I looked like I had drawn a monkey.

Don’t laugh. No, please, go ahead and laugh.

That’s going to change though. I’m already seeing progress.

The assignment for the second day had amazing results because of the technique used. We drew a picture that was presented upside down. It was trippy seeing the results when I turned my sketch right-side up.

Mine: left. Kamea’s: right.

Hard at some fun work.

I can see it now … Greg, who is very good at drawing, alongside Kamea and me, with our sketchbooks and pencils in hand … drawing what we see as we travel the world. I’m loving this dream.

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Saturday, January 7th, 2017

Hiking Date With My Husband

by Kristen Suzanne in arizona, movement

Black Mountain here we come!

The other day I took my daughter to find Black Mountain for hiking. I’d heard it was steeeeeeeep and a great workout.

We found it. We took some pics. We started our ascent. (Buns of steel here I come.)

My Vibrams handled this well.

This was just the beginning.

But, about 15 minutes in, my head was pounding so we turned around. We declared it a reconnaissance mission and went for oatmeal at the local coffee shop.

Grotto Cafe in Cave Creek AZ

Today, I told my husband that for date night we’d go hiking and this time I’d make my way to the top. The promised 360-view was calling me.

And?

We did it! Hard as heck as our hearts pounded in our chests (I’m a bit out of shape) and our legs burned as we climbed over jagged rocks up and up and up.

But wow what a workout!

We made it!

The view. Carefree, AZ

 

After we went for burgers.

Dinner earned.


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Saturday, January 7th, 2017

The Secret to Not Eating Too Many Cookies.

by Kristen Suzanne in cookies
Fresh baked cookies = Sweet Memories

Fresh baked cookies = Sweet Memories

I had einkorn flour in my cupboard from my sourdough bread attempt-making days. I wanted to use it, and I decided chocolate chip cookies would be perfect because I could make them with my daughter, creating memories and giving us an opportunity to homeschool through it.

I found a recipe online and the thing that stuck out from it, apart from all of the yummy real food ingredients it had like grass-fed butter and pasture-raised eggs, it recommended freezing the dough in balls and then cooking them -> only a few at a time.

Brilliant.

I can make a batch of cookies, only bake a few, and freeze the rest so I don’t eat them all at once.

See? The secret to not eating too many cookies. :)

And… that’s what we did.

Raw cookie dough balls ready to freeze for 2 hours.

Raw cookie dough balls ready to freeze for 2 hours.

Errr… if you’re wondering my cookie dough looks so yellow, it’s because I added turmeric to them. Of course.

 

After 2 hours in freezer, put in freezer-safe bag. Bake and eat 1, or 2, at a time. :)

After 2 hours in freezer, put in freezer-safe bag. Bake and eat 1, or 2, at a time. :)


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Sunday, January 1st, 2017

Welcoming 2017 With More Hands Free Mama Time

Happy New Year!

Happy 2017.

I’m starting off the year by still wearing the same clothes I wore for the past couple of days, which means I’m wearing the same clothes as last year – hehe. It’s just been one, or two, or three of those days.

All good though, because my lack of changing into clean clothes meant more time for me to plan our move abroad, in the sort-of (not sort-of) near future. So much more detail on that throughout the year as we plan our epic adventure, and OMG I’m beyond excited to Worldschool Kamea.

In other news, I am not loving my dark hair and feel the need for some highlights… And… I’m becoming a Hands Free Mama to spend more quality time with my daughter and husband.

Enjoying this book very much.

Enjoying this book very much.

 

Being a Hands Free Mama means more active listening and less thinking about snacks while people talk to me. Or, maybe that’s just plain being polite.

Yes!

Yes!

I stumbled upon this author’s website last week and it hit home.

I immediately started implementing the ideas.

I took my Hands Free Mama-ness seriously when I forced shined a smile while Kamea threw those pom-things everywhere and rolled in them, scattering them even more. My old normal reaction of, “Ok ok, cute, um ok can we clean those up now?” was put on hold for a good ten minutes while I played with her. Rolling in poms.

Pure joy.

Pure joy.

Sadly (because I didn’t do this with her until now) yet excitedly (cuz I see how I can be in the future), Kamea had one of the best times of her life giggling into fits as we played with the poms on the floor.

Creating a life with more moments like this.

Creating a life with more moments like this.

We will have a lot more funny crazy moments.

Case in point.

Life is too much fun.


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Sunday, November 6th, 2016

Eating 4X As Many Vegetables with Instant Pot (Smart)

Instant Pot - Smart, I fucking love you.

Instant Pot – Smart, I fucking love you.

Instant Pot – Smart

I am so grateful this brilliant electric pressure cooker came into my life!

I must be eating at least 4-times the amount of veggies now, because it is so easy to make delicious and extra nutritious vegetables with it.

Instant Pot – Smart is a set it and forget it appliance so I don’t have to stand over a hot stove watching my veggies cook. And? This is WAY FASTER.

Be still my heart.

Would you believe I am still using my Instant Pot every single day… multiple times a day. I use it for my veggie-heavy breakfast, lunch and dinner.

So Easy.

Here are some of my latest creations.

By the way, if you get an Instant Pot – Smart and want my preprogrammed recipes, email me and I can send them to you where you add them to the Instant Pot – Smart app on your smart phone with the click of a button. Not sure if the app works on all phones – I’m using an iPhone but I think it works with Android, too. Double check though!

Chicken and Vegetable Soup

Nourishing Chicken and Veg soup - no noodles needed.

Nourishing Chicken and Veg soup – no noodles needed.

One Pot Meals - Love 'em.

One Pot Meals – Love ‘em.

For the chicken and vegetable soup, I basically put a cup of spring water in the Instant Pot plus the trivet rack. I placed a small pasture-raised organic chicken on top that was seasoned with salt and pepper. Cooked on HIGH for 13 minutes (it’s about 5 minutes per pound of thawed whole chicken). Let it release naturally. Then, I took the chicken out and set aside in a glass baking dish.

While the chicken cooled for a few minutes, I added lots of veggies to the instant pot like carrots, celery, kale, and Dr. Cowan’s awesome veggie powders (tomato salt, leek powder, and three-fold blend). This makes the veggie amount and diversity go even higher. By the way… my readers get a 15%-off coupon to use with Dr. Cowan’s online store:

Coupon Code: KRISTEN 

Read here for more about my using Dr. Cowan’s garden vegetable powders.

Back to the chicken and vegetable soup recipe… I added a bit more water ensuring at least a cup’s worth was in the pressure cooker. It always needs liquid in it to work.

I put the lid back on the Instant Pot and cooked for a few minutes (low pressure is usually my choice for veggies except for big root veggies). While those were cooking I effortlessly pulled the meat off the bones and cut the meat into pieces (saving the bones to easily make chicken bone broth with the Instant Pot later).

Once the Instant Pot Smart was done cooking the vegetables, I opened it up immediately with Quick Release and added the chicken. Stirred it up, tasted for seasoning. Done.

Green Beans with Ghee and Sea Salt

Thanksgiving just got easier making green beans in the Instant Pot.

Making green beans in the Instant Pot.

BTW – Thanksgiving cooking just got easier with this Instant Pot – Smart. I plan on making the mashed potatoes, green beans, cranberries, and gravy with it. Have I mentioned how stress-free this kitchen robot makes my life?

Ok, the green beans…

I simply put 12 ounces of organic green beans in a colander basket along with a cup of spring water to my Instant Pot – Smart. I set it for LOW to cook for 3-minutes (they were yummy-soft but next time I’ll try 2 minutes to cook a bit less). While they were cooking I set out a bowl with grass-fed organic ghee (<– that’s the only brand of ghee I’ll buy as it tastes the best) and sea salt.

In case you’re wondering why I use spring water sometimes, it’s because I drink the vegetable tea (I call it) after the cooking is done as it has nutrients and is tasty. I don’t do that with everything I cook in there, like eggs, so those types of recipes I just use tap or filtered tap.

Broccoli n Carrots

After I took these out of my Instant Pot, I cut the broccoli more.

Normally when I cook broccoli by itself, I put the big ol’ head of broccoli straight up in the Instant Pot not bothering to cut. After it cooks I take it out with tongs, transferring it to my cutting board where I then cut it.

For the broccoli and carrot combo, I put them in a bowl and added grass-fed butter, Dr. Cowan’s tomato salt, leek powder, and kale powder plus hemp seeds and Jovial’s borlotti beans. A perfect lunch!

"This sh*t is TOO EASY!"

“This sh*t is TOO EASY!”

These are tasty straight from the jar.

These are tasty straight from the jar.

Kale with beans and Dr. Cowan’s Veggie Powders 

Are you getting my message as to how easy it is to add more vegetables to your life with an Instant Pot – Smart? Do you and your family a favor and buy one. Then, buy one for your BFF for the holidays and your mom probably needs one, too. Mine did!

Tender kale and beans. So good. #InstantPotSMART

Tender kale and beans. So good. #InstantPotSMART

Here I cooked the kale on the trivet over a cup of spring water under LOW pressure for 3-minutes. The only prep I had to do was wash the kale and I simply chopped it in half once. While it was cooking I grabbed a bowl to which I added my Dr. Cowan’s veggie powders plus grass-fed butter and sea salt.

When the kale was done cooking I took it out with tongs (it’s hot!) and transferred it to my cutting board for a few more cuts. Then stir it into the bowl with butter and added some beans. Awesome breakfast! (Another day I did the same thing but added two Instant Pot cooked eggs when I added the beans. See how I do the eggs below.)

Instant Pot Eggs (soft/medium/hard cooked)

Instant Pot Eggs

Instant Pot Eggs

Eggs are reason alone to buy an Instant Pot – Smart. They cook easily without watching a pot, come out perfectly every time and best of all? They peel so easily!!!

I add a cup of tap water to the instant pot plus the trivet. Add 12 eggs in shell that are straight from the fridge. Cook on LOW for 3-5 minutes depending on desired doneness (for me that’s 4 minutes). While they’re cooking, get an ice bath ready (large bowl with half water and half ice). Once the Instant Pot Smart is done cooking, Quick Release. Transfer the eggs to the ice bath with tongs. After letting them cool a few minutes, get to easily peeling off the shells which is actually fun when it’s as easy as this. Store in the fridge.

Or… make my delicious deviled eggs featured in my Turmeric Hacks ebook.

Turmeric Recipes Ebook!

Turmeric Recipes Ebook!

 

 

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