My Favorite Instant Pot Recipes

1 Jan

Some of my friends asked for my favorite instant pot recipes and since I was a fan of pressure cookers before they were cool I have a ton of recipes I love. Here are some of my favorites:

Rice dishes and tomato-based dishes never work out for me. I stay away now or make rice separate.

Potato salad:

Add 1 cup water and trivet… add peeled diced potatoes. On top of potatoes put your washed eggs, high pressure for 8 minutes…I do quick release…shell the eggs, then make up your fav recipe.

Corn on the cob (soooo good!!):


I make this regularly and is way cheaper for my family.  Everyone loves it.  I literally sleep while it is being made.

Turnip Greens:

They turn out wonderfully!  We grew our own this year and they were soooooooo yummy out of the instant pot.

Beef and Broccoli:

I make rice in my rice cooker for a side.

Instant Pot Chicken and Rice:

This is the only rice dish that has ever worked well for me.

Homemade Hamburger Helper:

My favorite soups in the instant pot:

Hamburger Soup:

I just cook the hamburger in the instant pot on Sauté, then drain.  I just throw everything else in there and hit the soup button (30 minutes high pressure).  I use Better Than Bouillon Beef instead of cubes and I also use lima beans sometimes instead of green beans.  I’ve also put turnips, cabbage and/or corn in it….whatever I have on hand).

White Chicken Chili:

I usually use leftover chicken or canned chicken.  Throw everything in the instant pot minus the cream cheese and half & half….hit the soup button (30 minutes high pressure).  Then, follow the rest of the recipe instructions.  I’ve used the slow cooker method on the instant pot for this one too…just depends on how soon you need it.  Both work fine.

Yummy ham and bean soup:

16 oz. 20-bean soup mix from Marlette store

4 C water

1 or 2 Ham Hocks (I used diced ham or leftover ham)

1 can tomatoes diced including liquid

4 Chicken Bouillon (I use Better than Bouillon)

1 med. to large onion, diced

3 stalks celery, diced

1 carrot, diced

1 fresh sage leaf (I never add this)

1 bay leaf

1/2 tsp Thyme

1 sprig fresh rosemary or 1/2 tsp rosemary

salt & pepper to taste (I do this when the soup is done since the ham can add a lot of salt)

16 oz. Chicken Broth


Wash beans add to pressure cooker.  Cover with water.  Cook on High Pressure for 3 minutes.  Bring pressure down gradually (do not quick release).  (I rinse my beans to get rid of some of the gas).  Place all ingredients into the pressure cooker and lock the lid on the cooker.  Set the time for 45 min on high pressure. Do a quick pressure release. Remove the lid.  If you used a ham hock, remove bone from ham hock, shred meat and put back into soup.


Zuppa Toscana:

Cabbage soup:

I make this on the stove sometimes too. It is a very cheap meal and I double it for my family as they EAT IT UP.  Just cook the sausage first (I use the natural jimmy dean sausage that has no msg)…throw it all in the pot and hit the soup button (30 minutes high pressure).

Sloppy Joes:

Pork Chops:

Green beans:

I don’t use pearl onions though. I just cut onion slices since Kevan doesn’t like onions and he can pick them out.

Matching Fundraiser for Hannah Lu

9 May

As you know, we have a fundraiser to help us with our travel/China fees to bring home Hannah Lu.  It’s been 9 days since our matching donations began and we’ve already raised $875 in donations.  Matched that is $1,750!   I just wanted to say thank you to all those that donated online, handed us cash or mailed us a check!  My prayer is that God will bless you abundantly for being a part of his amazing plan for our Hannah Lu.

In June 2005, Kevan and I moved to Florida so he could attend seminary.  In July of that same year I flew to Michigan to meet my best friend’s sweet little boy she had just given birth to and try to help her with whatever she needed.  I got there within a few days of his birth.  Before I ever left, I was having reservations about going because I wanted my own child.  This was her 2nd baby.  I remember kneeling at my bed and asking God to take the desire away if this would never be His will for us or to give us a child.   Make us a family.  I knew Kevan wasn’t ready at the time because we had just bought a house and he just started seminary.  He was working full-time and going to school, but my heart’s desire was to be a mama.  I cried and cried.  I fell in love with her newborn boy when I visited.  The desire was worse after I came home.  I secretly cried all day after Kevan left to go to work.  I didn’t want him to know I was struggling so much.  I say all this to say, our Hannah Lu’s birthday is the SAME birthday as her precious baby boy.  At that same time that I was on my knees, almost 14 years ago, begging God for a child, Hannah Lu was being born.  God knew I already had a child that would be ours.  All the years that have passed she has always been.  All those times I cried on my knees for her….she was.  I will be able to tell her that I have literally prayed for her since the day she was born.  I don’t know why God had us wait so long to give her to us, but I know it was for good.  I will trust Him and his timing.

How lucky am I that I don’t just get to be a mama again, but I also get to be a part of “looking after the orphans” (James 1:27) and she will no longer be an orphan.  What a blessing it is to give her a forever home and to love her.  To finally hold her in my arms after all of these years.

Our matching fundraiser will go on only during the month of May.  If you would like to be a part of this wonderful journey….

Click here to help bring Hannah Lu home


Malachi is Doing so Well

28 Apr

Malachi is doing so well. God is amazing! Here are a few of my latest FB posts:

Friday 12pm: He looks a little disheveled but he is so happy to have the breathing tube out! Look at that sweet smile. After they took it out he went a little hysterical, for what felt like, 30 minutes. Just crying, screaming, asking for Josiah, Daddy, Papa Gerry, Grandma….we FaceTimed with them and he hysterically told them what happened. I think having that tube in for so many days, without being able to talk (the kid loves to talk)…he just needed to let it all out. Now he is happy watching a show. Unfortunately, his blood pressure has been climbing and they had to add in another med to keep it down. It is crawling back up again. It is serious because they believe his seizures are being caused by the high bp. His spinal tap came back fine. So, they are treating him for PRES syndrome and we will go home on Keppra twice per day to prevent seizures. We are scared to death of him stopping breathing so we’ve asked for some kind of meter with an alarm. They took the eeg off but didn’t wash his head yet. That is why his hair is a mess. I wanted to add something else to pray for. He bit his tongue bad during that last seizure and has a huge sore on his tongue. It looks so painful. Please pray it resolved quickly. Eating makes this kid so happy.

Friday 3pm: Happy to have his hair washed and teeth brushed! We are still waiting to see when he can eat/drink.

Friday 8pm: I’m home. (Kevan is at the hospital with Malachi.) I’m in my own very comfy bed. Josiah is sleeping and I’m about to doze off. I am laying here overwhelmed by God’s goodness. A few days ago I thought I might lose my son. Today, I’m rejoicing that he played all afternoon, sat up in a chair, ate a ton including a plate of spaghetti and our boys had the most precious FaceTime phone call together. Malachi told Josiah he missed him. Before Josiah could reply his pants fell down (he’s so wiggly). Josiah burst out laughing, Malachi laughed and laughed. He thought it was the funniest thing ever. It was such a joy to see so much happiness after such scary events. God is so good to me. We’ve been overwhelmed this week by so much love. Thank you for loving us, praying for us, visiting us, texting us, bringing us food, gifts, etc. God takes care of His people. Through all of you He has provided us with so much. My heart is full tonight. My sweet Malachi is a miracle and he will have such a testimony of God’s love.

Saturday 8am: my other cutie, Josiah helped me make pancakes this morning. So great to spend time with him today.

Saturday 5:30pm: I’m back up at the hospital. Kevan is on his way home. Malachi moved to a new room but he’s still in ICU. Hopefully, we will move on up to the 7th floor tomorrow. I ordered Panera for our dinner tonight but they canceled our order because they were out. I was so disappointed. I asked Malachi if he wanted Ramen 🍜 noodles, pizza or taco. He said “both”. 😂😂 So I got him all 3. Ramen and pizza were free so that was awesome. I had to call Miss Tiffany because I had no idea how to make the noodles in the microwave. Lol. She’s a pro! He has had a great day. The best part is that he is no longer on IV meds!! Woot woot! I can sit with him in bed now (it was too hard before with all the lines). He can walk around the room. Get up to go potty!! The nurse told me and Kev that Malachi is the talk of the ICU floor. He’s just always happy. He makes everyone smile. Even in the hard things he is so joy filled. #wecouldhavemissedthis #heartwarrior #somuchlove

Malachi – Thursday update

26 Apr

We’ve made huge progress today. Thank you to all those praying for our boy! Here are some posts I made on FB today:

Thursday 7:30pm: Look at this smile! We are watching Big Hero 6 and he keeps laughing and laughing. He used to watch this movie when he was in China at the orphanage. He’s told us before. I am so glad he can laugh through all this awfulness. I’m so glad he’s my son. 🥰 We could’ve missed being his parents if we let fear guide us instead of relying on God.

Thursday 6:30pm: Look at this sweet boy winning at candy crush!!! He amazes me! He is such a warrior. The nurses are so impressed with how sweet he is. That he’s not angry, not fighting the tube but just trying to make the best of such an awful thing.

2:30: Guess who finally fell asleep and IS STILL BREATHING!!! We are so relieved! He’s been breathing on his own (cpap) for hours and we’ve been waiting for him to fall asleep. I am soooo excited!!!

Thursday 11am: Malachi was doing really good. We played and he’s been laughing. Bad news is they will not be removing the ventilator today. Since when he would fall asleep he would stop breathing there is a concern that his poor body is so swollen inside from being re-intubated so many times (it was hard for them to do it last time) that they don’t want to remove it until they are absolutely sure it won’t happen again. They are doing some trials with it just on cpap mode to see when he falls asleep whether he still breathes. They had to put a feeding tube in. They want him to have nutrition. He, understandably, did not like it. X-ray revealed it was in the wrong place so they just had to remove it and redo it again. I sure hope it’s in the right place. He’s been through so much. They are still treating him for PRES syndrome and they believe the seizure med is working since he hasn’t had another seizure since they upped the dose. He was seeming depressed so they brought him a transformer toy and he’s doing better now. If he does well today I’m considering going home tonight. Our fundraiser for Hannah Lu’s adoption starts tomorrow and I just hate asking others to help with it when I really wanted to work hard to get everything done for it. 😢 Hopefully, the video doesn’t disturb you. We were actually very happy he was playing. He even rolled it into a ball and threw it at me. 😃

Our Daughter – Meet Hannah Lu

25 Apr

We’ve had a few blog followers ask about our upcoming adoption so I thought it would be a good time to sit here and type out the story of how we came to start the process of adopting her.

Last fall, Kevan and I started questioning whether we should adopt again. Does God have another child for us? We started to ask God what he wanted for our family. We were feeling led to adopt another child with CHD (congenital heart disease). A girl. We wanted it to be a girl that would be the oldest (we are going backwards lol). I reached out to our adoption agency and asked them for the waiting list. I asked them if they had any girls older than 8 with CHD. Our contact responded right away and told me they JUST RECEIVED a girl (THAT DAY) that met that criteria. I kind of freaked out. What are we thinking? But, I received her file and then sent it to Kevan. She was beautiful. She seemed so sweet in all of her videos. She had a minor (compared to Malachi) issue with her heart, but her heart was “fixed” in May 2018. She is 13. In China, children age out of the orphanages at 14. Then, they can no longer be adopted. We’ve had to hurry the process to make sure we get her by her 14th birthday.

As we were praying about what to do, Kevan was very open to adopting her. I was the one that was scared and unsure. I felt overwhelmed already, working part-time, homeschooling Malachi, raising Josiah too and all of the household duties. I would be adding another child to homeschool. We started adding onto Kevan’s dad’s house so we could move there so the boys could grow up on the farm. So our savings went into the house renovations. It took me some time to come around. I never wanted to go to China again. Mostly, because of the flight. Ha! My back hurt so bad sitting in the coach seats on the plane (the ones that do not make a bed) that I just never wanted to do the flight again. Plus, I hardly slept and going that long (26 hours) without sleep in such a stressful situation was SO HARD. I told myself that unless we had upgraded tickets I would never do it again. Ha! [just FYI…..We do not have upgraded tickets. 😔] Given these were my only major reservations I continued to pray for God’s guidance.

Malachi’s October surgery was coming up. We decided to make the decision before his surgery so that we didn’t make the decision out of sadness if something happened to Malachi during his surgery. We had one more weekend before we decided to make our decision. I decided to do some research. I found a Facebook group of her orphanage and asked a question about adopting older children from that orphanage. Then, long story short, I found her best friend, Lilly. Lilly was adopted in May 2018. Lilly didn’t get to say goodbye to our daughter before she left and she’s been praying every night that her best friend would find a forever family too. I was thinking…..God…..why are you doing this to my heart? I cried. How do I say no to a girl that has been praying for her best friend to also have a forever family. How do I say no even not knowing this, but this made the decision so much easier. I couldn’t get past it. I had no reason to say no. I wanted another child. I wanted a girl. I wanted a child with CHD. God had me miraculously find this girl’s best friend. It was his confirmation for us. We said YES. We decided to name her “Hannah Lu”. Hannah in the Bible has meant so much to me through all the years of infertility and begging God for a child. She had so much faith. I want our Hannah Lu to have that kind of faith. That even though she was abandoned God knew her before she was ever born, He heard our prayers for a child and He knew she would be our precious daughter.

Our pediatric cardiologist read her file and thinks that she won’t need any more surgeries. She should live a healthy life. Malachi and Josiah already know about her. We’ve been talking to them about her for a months. Josiah carries her picture around the house and says “my mister” (my sister) and then kisses her and says, “she’s so cute”. Melts my heart. Malachi doesn’t want us to go to China to get her because he will miss us, but if we bring him back snacks he’s okay. Haha! He is pretty excited too and loves to be in her room and lay on her bed.

I’m concerned going to China after all Malachi has been through this week and what he may still be going through if they don’t find out the cause of his seizures. We will hopefully be going to China at the end of June or early July. The time will come fast.

If you are still with me reading this we’ve set up a Go Fund Me to help with the remaining travel and in country (China) expenses. We are also having a fundraiser yard sale at our church this weekend. If you want to help bring Hannah Lu home the link is below. If you give, we will put your name on a puzzle that she will have on the wall in her room visually showing her all those people that love her and have helped bring her home.

Malachi Update: Day 7 post-op 7am

25 Apr

Kevan and I had to get sleep last night so we went to a sleep room since Malachi is on the ventilator and precedex (keeps him sleepy). When I came in his room at 5 he started to cry and almost jumped out of his bed. I didn’t realize he would be more awake or I might not have left him. He was very happy to see me and he’s been responding very well. He nods when we ask him questions, can tell us numbers on his fingers and gives us a thumbs up when we ask him… so his brain seems to be working well. It breaks my heart though that he’s not sedated and knows what’s happening. He tries to talk and sign but I don’t know what he’s trying to say. Regarding the spinal tap, some results have come in. It doesn’t look like it’s an infection. One result looks like autoimmune encephalitis but the MRI doesn’t correlate with that. It doesn’t sound like they will remove the ventilator today since he hasn’t had a seizure since they reintubated him. Also as we were all talking last night we think that he was showing seizure signs on Saturday but we just thought it was the Ativan. 😔 He’s just watching his tablet. I did ask child life to come by and do some play things with him. I know he’s bored.

Malachi MRI Update

24 Apr

The MRI was abnormal. There is abnormal activity (areas of injury) all throughout the brain. It is atypical for PRES. It doesn’t look like a stroke. No bleeding. No signs of pressure. They’ve consulted infectious disease. I asked them to check him for a UTI yesterday and it came back today as an antibiotic resistant E. coli. They are wondering if it got into the brain. The culture they took before surgery was clear. He did not have it when we got here last Thursday. Some of the places in the brain that control the breathing and the balance are lighting up, as well as other areas. They think that is why he stops breathing when he goes to sleep. They are going to do a spinal tap tonight. We have no answers currently. They still have no idea. My sweet and funny Josiah will be here to play with me in a few minutes so I’m going to go love on my little baby for awhile. I’ve missed him so much. Oh, also, his heart and lungs are great!!

Malachi – please pray!

24 Apr

I haven’t posted much here. It is easier to post to Facebook. We need prayers for Malachi. He was progressing well and we were going to move to a new room yesterday. The only thing that was keeping him from being upgraded was that he was having high blood pressure. Yesterday morning (Tuesday) at around 5:50am his heart rate went up to 150’s, he had an episode that caused him to desat to 40, stop breathing and his eyes rolled back. It was very scary. They called it a stroke alert. They called everybody in, got the crash cart and intubated him in front of me. They asked me if I wanted to leave, but I wanted to stay with him. I’ve seen him intubated in front of me before when he had his bleeding episode a year ago. Unfortunately, by the end of this post you will see that he is intubated another time. Anyway, yesterday….they took him to a CT of his head/neck almost immediately. They didn’t see anything and ruled out a stroke. They then thought it was a seizure. He was put on an EEG for the day. Nothing showed. They told us it must be PRES syndrome. They extubated him (removed the breathing tube). Malachi woke up, after awhile he was able to have a popsicle and he was himself again. I went to get some sleep. I slept about 30 minutes and Kevan called my phone to come back right away. Malachi had another seizure (they were now calling it a seizure)….it was a focal seizure. His muscles on his left side cramped up, he began to shake his leg and look to the left. This was not as bad and they did not reintubate him. He recovered in about 30 seconds, but Kevan was quick to push the alert button so they were able to watch the seizure. They gave him Keppra for the seizures. He was acting okay again and I knew we needed sleep so I went to lay down in a sleep room again. I slept 3 hours, but while I was sleeping……..

He fell asleep and immediately stopped breathing. His sats went down. They woke him up, they bagged him and sats came back up. He did it 6 more times. The med was making him drowsy. They did not understand what was happening and they were trying to figure out a pattern (high blood pressure, stimulation, etc) to see what might be causing it. They got him on a cpap instead of reintubating him again. I woke up at around 1:15am and came back to see how he was doing. He was doing great. Just sleeping. But he would wake up very agitated. He was trying to rip off all of his dressing and scratch off all of his scabs. Kevan decided to go lay down at 1:30am. Shortly after Kev left I asked if we could give him a popsicle to get his mind off of the itchiness. He was back to himself and acting great. Then, after he would have periods of staring, not knowing his name, not knowing how old he was. But, every time he knew his brother’s name. Not his own, but he knew Josiah’s name. Warms my heart. He called me daddy and he also did not know his colors.

Kevan woke up at 7ish. I decided to go back and lay down because we can only have a sleep room until 9am. Kev texted me they removed his pacing wires to ready him for the MRI today. I decided to take.a shower and while I was blow drying my hair his heart rate went back up to 156. I got Kevan’s text and ran out to his room. He started having a seizure as soon as I entered the room. It was a bad one. He stopped breathing for several minutes. They re-intubated him, gave him more Keppra again and ativan. They told us the seizure was a left lobe seizure and was caught on the EEG. They scheduled him for an MRI and he is currently having his MRI as I type this. We are praying for answers. Answers that have fixes. Hopefully, easy fixes.

OHS: Day 1 post op 8:45pm update

20 Apr

Good news. The doctor ordered a certain CT that requires certain people and they are not at the children’s hospital. He was going to call them in but wanted to repeat the echo first to see if there were changes. The earlier echo was around noon. They redid the echo and he’s had 20% improvement with the heart function on the left side. He’s very happy. He hasn’t canceled the CT just yet. They may do it in the morning before the vent is removed but he is pretty sure, since his echo improved that there is not an emergency right now! I believe God has answered our prayers!

OHS: Update Day 1 Post op 7pm

20 Apr

Malachi needs your prayers. Please flood heaven. We want good results. Please Lord.

We got some not-so-good news. They won’t be taking him off the ventilator today. 😭 They did an echo and the right side of his heart looks good. The left side looked great after surgery yesterday but after the bleeding issue it diminished and is depressed. They believe his heart may be having an issue or it could be because he had high blood pressure earlier today. It could be that the conduit is stretching his coronary artery or a clot. PLEASE pray it is not the latter. That the CT he is about to have reveals that everything is fine. If it is the latter a temporary injury could turn into a permanent injury. It would not be good.

Also, he is so pitiful. He wakes up and cries. He gags and tries to talk but he can’t with the ventilator in. It is breaking my heart.