Instant Pot Chicken Tacos with Fresh Pico de Gallo

I’ve been in serious meal planning mode recently and these Instant Pot Chicken Tacos with Fresh Pico de Gallo have been at the top of my list!  Thank goodness for the Instant Pot which makes meal planning and prep so easy!  During the few weeks of track season, I seemed to have really got off the path of clean or whole eating and have been working to get back on track!

I also noticed that when I don’t meal plan, there is a lot more waste of food and even money!  Meal planning helps me save a $!  For some reason, when I don’t have meals easy to grab and portioned off sitting in the fridge, I have a greater tendency to run to a convenience store or restaurant for lunch and we even do it for supper! So, now that track is over I am making the dedication to meal plan and meal prep to save our family money!

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Celebrating Memorial Day Family Style: A Round-Up

This is the first year since T and I have been married that we aren’t camping over Memorial Day weekend! Can you believe it?!  This also means that I’m on the hunt for something for us all to do!  The boys will be spending the weekend with us, but R will be working, so it’ll be T, M, & I!  I decided since I was on the hunt, I’d put together a round-up of family friendly things to do in Iowa over the weekend!

So, let’s get started!

Iowa Veterans Cemetery – The Iowa Veterans Cemetery in Van Meter, Iowa is breathtaking.  Pack up the family and take a visit to talk about Memorial Day and it’s original purpose!  What better place to do this than in the Iowa Veterans Cemetery?!  Check out what Jeni of Sincerely Iowa thought when she visited.

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A Memorial Day Picnic Recipe Round-Up

Memorial Day Recipe Round-Up

Can you believe Memorial Day is almost here?!  In less than two weeks, we’ll be embarking on the first holiday weekend of the summer!  Memorial Day is typically the sign that summer is starting and a great time to get together with family and friends for a picnic!  There are so many delicious recipes, but how tasking to go from website to website finding the perfect ones!  I decided to snag some of my favorites of my own and also some of my blogger friends to share with you in one handy place!

Snacks

Everyone knows that a good picnic has plenty of snacks on hand!  So, why not start off with these yummy snack mixes from my friend Val over at Corn, Beans, Pigs, & Kids?!

Sweet & Salty Corn Chips

Kid-Friendly Trail Mix

Image courtesy of Corn, Beans, Pigs, & Kids

 Caramel Crispix Mix

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Instant Pot Minute Steak

I grew up eating minute steak, fried in a flour coating on the stove top. T did not and he does not love it, so I’m always trying new recipes to find something he likes. We always have several packages each year when we have a cow butchered, so I need to find ways to get rid of it!  For those of you who don’t have a lot of excess beef sitting around, minute steak is a very affordable way to get some iron into your diet!  However, if not cooked properly, minute steak can be incredibly tough!

We’ve had our Instant pot for about 2 months now and I’m still taking it slow and getting used to cooking with it.  I’ve made roast, chicken, chicken Alfredo, and hard boiled eggs in it!  While I love using it for a fast meal at night after work, I would be doing you an injustice if I didn’t tell you that making hard boiled eggs in the instant pot is where it is at!  This process of cooking eggs has literally changed my life!

But anyway…I digress and we must get back to the minute steak!  I love using more than one function on my instant pot and for this recipe, we’re going to use both the saute and the manual cook!

Instant Pot Minute Steak
Author: 
Recipe type: Supper/Main Dish
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 3 servings
 
Ingredients
  • 1lb minute steak
  • 1-2 cups beef broth
  • 1 package brown gravy mix
  • 1 can cream of chicken soup
  • flour
  • pepper
  • olive oil
Instructions
  1. Cut minute steak into bite size pieces
  2. In a plastic bag combine pepper and flour
  3. Add minute steak pieces to the bag and coat thoroughly with flour.
  4. Set Instant Pot to saute and add 2 T oil
  5. Brown each piece in the Instant Pot
  6. Remove the meat and deglaze the pot with the beef broth!
  7. Add the gravy mix and cream of chicken soup, stir thorougly
  8. Place trivet in bottom of pot and add meat
  9. Cook on manual for 10min with a natural release
  10. Serve

Cooks Notes

A couple of cooks notes:

sauteing the minute steak
  • Don’t overcrowd your Instant Pot when browning the flour coated meat.  I did mine in about 3 groupings.
  • You may need to add more oil in between each batch of browning depending on how bad it’s sticking!
  • Before deglazing your pot, you can saute a little diced onion if you choose (I did this the first time!)
  • The amount of broth you use is completely up to you!  I used 2 cups the first time and only 1 the second.  It depends on how thick you want your gravy!  We preferred using the 2 cups of broth!
  • Serve over noodles, rice, or mashed potatoes!

 

Minute Steak
Instant Pot Minute Steak

The minute steak gets so tender that the meat pretty much melts in your mouth, which is a huge accomplishment if you’ve ever had this cut of meat!  We hope you enjoy this dish as much as we do!  If you try it, let me know what you think!

Garden Update, May 8th 2017

Can you believe two weeks have flown by since the first garden update?!  How does time fly faster each week?  Thanks to Iowa weather, we had almost a week straight of rain and cold temps, so I was wondering if I was ever going to get to dig in the dirt!  Praise the good Lord, the sun came out last week and the rain stopped, so dirt has dried up and I went shopping for my flowers with my mom!

I’m so excited to give you a tour of my gardens this week because I finally got my annual flowers planted and even snagged a couple new perennials as well! So, let’s just get to showing you all the goodness!

If you followed along last year, you’ll know that I have flower boxes and a plantar by my front door, a raised bed around our flag pole and a couple pots that all get annuals.  I also have a spot that I call the North bed which is all perennials and thanks to my friends at Natural Plus Nursery, it seems to get something new each year!

North Perennial Bed

So, we’ll start with the North bed!  This year I added a Firewitch that will bloom pink!  I’m so excited about this as the leaves are a completely different shade green as the other items in this bed and the pink will be a fun color!  It will also be a shorter plant so, it’ll offset all the phlox I have in this bed!  I’m looking forward to seeing how it grows and spreads throughout the year!

Firewitch
Firewitch

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What I’m Loving Right Now, May 2017

It’s May already?! How did that happen?? We are on the downhill slide of track season (unless R makes it to the state track meet)! We actually only have 4 meets left between the two boys!  But, since it’s a new month, that means a new round of What I’m Loving Right Now and a giveaway (that I’m super excited about) at the end!

It’s All About the Tunic

Can I be perfectly honest with you?  I could live in nothing but leggings and tunics!  It’s true and I’m not ashamed to admit it!  If you find the right combo, it can be like wearing pajamas to work, so really…what’s not to love?!  Right now I’m loving this Apt. 9 Tunic Tee from Kohls!  While they call is a tee, the texture is similar to a microsuede so it makes it dressy enough to wear to work!  Seriously comfy and stylish at the same time!  It comes in a variety of colors and prints, but of course, I snagged it in gray!  That is one of my two color groups that I wear!  (If you don’t believe me, check out last month’s edition!) Ha!

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A Smooth & Sour Moonshine Margarita

Spring is a crazy time of year in our house and this Lime Moonshine Margarita is currently my saving grace!  Ok, well…maybe it’s not as dramatic as that, but I can say that I have enjoyed a few of these in the past couple months when I have a minute of down-time!Moonshine margarita

As T and I were headed back from Branson this past February, it dawned on us, that the only souvenirs we brought back with us were alcoholic.  (I promise we don’t need AA!)  But, as it ended up on this trip, we visited the Crown Valley Distillery for a short tour and some tastings and we also visited Smith Creek Moonshine Tasting Room at the Branson Landing!

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2017 Garden Update, 4/24/2017

Can you believe it?! Gardening season is finally here! Well, according to the weather forecast, it’s gardening season for a day or two then it’ll be cold and wet again! Geesh!  But, I couldn’t wait any longer, so it’s officially the first Garden Update post!  Last year, I waited until the end of May and well…that is just too long!  So, here it is!

So, is there a lot to update you on with the gardens?  Have I actually done a lot in the gardens yet?  No, not really, but I am so stinking excited this year to share it all with you, that I figured we might as well start from the very beginning, right?!

Vegetable Garden

I basically badgered T this weekend to till our vegetable garden until he gave in!  It seemed dry on the top…well, maybe he was right and it was too wet.  However, he’s as stubborn as I am, so by the time he had tilled half of it, he told me I was planting it, so planting we did!  We put in cucumbers, green onions, radishes, tomatoes, and a row of green beans!  I’m hoping the sun and warm temps today will give those little seeds a jump start otherwise, I’ll never live this down!  (I think you can see from the picture how wet it actually was..you can see where we packed it down in between rows!)  There is still the other half of the garden to till and plant (when and if it ever dries up) along with 2 other sections that are adjoining!

Vegetable Garden
April 23rd 2017 Vegetable Garden

 

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A Springtime #CharmVoxBox: A Review

Every time that Influenster contacts me to let me know I’m getting a new VoxBox, I’m excited!  It’s always fun to see what goodies they are sending each time!  I’ve gotten this one, this one, and this one in the past!  So, when I was notified this spring that they were sending me the #CharmVoxBox, I was extra excited!

#CharmVoxBox

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