Finding My Way Back On Track

If you were to only look at my site stats for November, you would see that I am having one of the best months ever…but I haven’t posted anything since the beginning of October. Most of my traffic is coming from recipe pins on Pinterest which makes sense since this is the type of weather where you just want to curl up with a bowl of soup or stew. In other words, it is Instant Pot weather and I have a lot of recipes for that. So why haven’t I posted anything? Well, it comes down to motivation and I have had a decided lack of it lately.

There were a couple of things that led to my lack of motivation. Work has been extremely busy because new hires finally started after being short staffed all summer, but that also meant they had to be trained. We also finally heard back from Social Security about my husband’s application for SSDI. He was denied, so we are appealing the decision. Honestly, that decision had me floored since everything I had read about the SSA Blue Book rulings led me to believe he would have been approved on the first shot. Then the killing blow happened at the end of the month when I got back the numbers on how many participants I had for my doctoral study. Out of a pool of over 400 people invited to participate, I only had 8 people participate in my survey. This was two years of work, taking at conferences to inform people about what I was researching, etc…and nothing. Colleagues, co-workers, even friends didn’t take 20 minutes out of their time to help me out. I hit a rut hard and am only now digging myself out.

Now, I teach about Happiness and Productivity. I know all about fueling your fire and flipping the script to be more positive. I also know that when you get in that rut it can be hard to dig yourself back out of it. So what can you do (and what did I do)?

Self-care is a big one. I stopped putting it off and I went to get my hair cut. It might not sound like much, but I was not happy with the way my hair looked, so that was only contributing to the problem. I got three inches cut off and bangs. With my hair looking better, I also felt better. I also prioritized me and my family. We spent the Thanksgiving holiday at home instead of traveling to visit anyone. We took our time making the meal; it was also a simple meal. We watched a lot of movies during the break. Having a stress free holiday was wonderful. I did all my holiday shopping online during the sales; so I can also say that I slept in instead of braving shopping madness. Of course, I also read books. I will have another update posted with the books I read this month. I also did some simple baking of muffins, Instant Pot experiments, and setting up some of our holiday decorations…all of which qualify as small “c” activities (everyday creativity), which can help reduce stress.

The other thing is to make a list of everything you have to do and sort that list into priority order. It is okay if not everything gets done right away, but bonus points if you do give yourself a deadline to accomplish the task. Writing the tasks down gives the task value and importance. When we give it a date or time that it needs to be finished, we are more likely to stick to completing that task. We hold ourselves more accountable. So I am back to making my lists. I use Amazon Alexa to keep a list of things I need to buy. I have multiple lists for things like groceries or things I need to buy or gifts I am tracking in the mail. I have a paper planner for my personal tasks and I use my task list in Outlook to keep track of my work-related tasks. It is important to have a system in place and to be consistent. Yes, I like post-its for reminders too, but too many can create clutter and that can just stress us out further. So I try to keep my post-its strictly for the quick notes that need additional information (like the phone number for a doctor’s appointment that I need to schedule) or the reminders about the Big Hairy Goals like focusing on graduating next year and taking a big family trip to celebrate. In other words, the reminders to celebrate and look forward to something. I also have a whiteboard setup to list my three daily gratitudes. I also decorate that whiteboard with little drawings. Currently, I have a Christmas candle with holly, but I did have a turkey on there last week. Once again, using creativity to help alleviate stress and feeling overwhelmed.

I plan to be fully back on track with everything in December. It is a new month and a new start. Let’s get this holiday season rolling!

Advertisements

Flash Sale- 2 Days Only: Ultimate Healthy Meal Planning Bundle!

This post contains affiliate links…

Healthy Meal Planning Bundle 2018

As you know, I post a lot about food here on NQS. Dinner always seems to be the most hectic part of our day. You have to plan the meals, buy the groceries, then put it all together. So what if there was a way to make all of that just a little easier? What if it could also follow any special diets like keto, gluten free, paleo, or vegan? What if I told you there was a resource with all of that and it is available at a special price for just two days?!

Healthy Meal Planning Bundle 2018Today and tomorrow only, you can get your hands on ready-made meal plans for just the way you eat—complete with shopping lists and fresh recipes—for a ridiculously low price.

It’s called the Ultimate Healthy Meal Planning Bundle – back for just two days! – and here’s how it works:

It’s a complete meal planning solution made up of 10 mini-bundles:

  • Budget Meals

  • Freezer Meals

  • Gluten Free

  • Instant Pot & Slow Cooker

  • Keto

  • Paleo

  • Meal Planning

  • Quick & Healthy

  • Real Food

  • Vegan

Each bundle contains digital cookbooks, fresh meal ideas, and ready-made plans (and even grocery lists!). No matter how you eat, there’s a mini-bundle that’s perfect for you and there are two buying options:

Option 1: Pick up just one mini-bundle that works best for your life right now – quick & healthy, budget-friendly, Instant Pot & slow cooker OR diet-specific options like vegan, real food, paleo, keto, gluten-free… there’s one that’s right for you.

Option 2: For less than the price of two mini-bundles, get the ENTIRE package with over 3,000 recipes and 100 weeks of made-for-you meal plans, so you’ve got total control no matter how your food needs change.

Get your Ultimate Healthy Meal Planning Bundle (or any of the mini-bundles) right here!

This special deal will only be available for two days! So grab your copy quick! I have my eye on the Instant Pot and Freezer Meal bundles. Which ones sound appealing to you?

Did you find this post after the sale end? Don’t worry, you can still put your name down to be notified if the Ultimate Healthy Living Bundle goes on sale again, but don’t wait too long so you don’t miss it again.
Ultimate Healthy Living Bundle

I Tried Acorn Squash in the Instant Pot…Yum!

Since purchasing my Instant Pot, I have tried cooking a lot of new foods I was hesitant to try before. Different varieties of squash probably being the biggest. I have learned that I don’t like Spaghetti Squash no matter how it is prepared, but love Butternut Squash (check out my soup recipe here!). Aldi has Acorn Squash on sale this week, so I thought, why not? I purchased two (for less than $1.50!), but could only fit one in the Instant Pot once I cut it in half. I was worried it would not be enough for my family of three. But it turned out that one was enough of a side for us and both my husband and son enjoyed it. So win-win!

Here is what I did:

Materials:

  • Instant Pot Trivet
  • Spoon
  • Tongs
  • Measuring Cup
  • Knife
  • Cutting board

Ingredients:

  • Acorn Squash
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tbs butter
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Procedure:

  1. Wash Acorn Squash and remove any labels.
  2. Cut Acorn Squash in half and, using a spoon, scoop out any seeds.
  3. Place water and trivet in inner pot of IP.
  4. Place Acorn Squash side by side, cut side up on trivet.
  5. Place 1tbs butter in each half, season with salt and pepper.
  6. Close lid and seal vent. Set at Manual on High pressure for 5 minutes. NPR for 15 min.
  7. When done, careful remove from pot using tongs or a large spoon.
  8. Enjoy!

Instant Pot Beets

I love beets in salad, but I am not always a fan of the beets you get from a jar or can. So when I saw a bunch of fresh beets at my local grocery store, I decided to try cooking them in the Instant Pot. Perfect!

Materials:

  • Ingredients:
    • Beets
    • 1 cup Water
  • Procedure:
    1. If your beets have stems, discard those. Some people like to eat them, but I am not one of those.
    2. Place your beets whole on a trivet in the Instant Pot inner pot with 1 cup water.
    3. Close Instant Pot lid and the vent. Set on Manual on High Pressure for 20 min and QPR when done.
    4. Peel beets. You will find that the skin almost slides off. Be careful though cause these will be hot and will stain your hands bright pink if not wearing rubber gloves.
    5. Enjoy!

    The beets will keep for a few days in your fridge. I tossed mine with some salt, pepper, and butter. I ate them with some lettuce, tomatoes, sprouts, and blue cheese as a salad. Yum!

    Cranberry Pecan Chicken Salad (no mayo!)

    I cannot eat mayo. I am not sure what causes the intolerance, but I have been that way since I was a kid. If I eat it, I get a rather queasy stomach. So I often look for ways to substitute sour cream or cream cheese in recipes instead. Today for lunch I made chicken salad. My son had a friend over and they both had some. I can say this has the thirteen (well almost) year old boy seal of approval.

    Materials:

    • Large Spoon
    • Bowl Scrapper
    • Measuring Cup

    Ingredients:

    • 3 Chicken Breasts
    • 1 cup Chicken Broth
    • 8 oz Sour Cream
    • 16 oz Cream Cheese block
    • 1/4 cup Craisins
    • 1/2 cup chopped Pecans
    • 1/8 tsp Garlic Powder
    • 1/8 tsp Salt
    • 1/8 tsp Pepper
    • 1/8 minced Onion
    • Crackers (optional)

    Procedure:

    1. Cook your chicken and broth in your Instant Pot. Mine was frozen, so I cooked it on Poultry on High for 20min. NPR…actually I forgot I was making it, so it naturally depressurized because it was out of sight out of mind.
    2. Place your chicken in your mixer bowl. Turn on low setting. Let your mixer do the work of shredding your chicken (I wish I took a picture of this! It was the first time I tried, but it worked perfectly).
    3. Add your sour cream, cream cheese, and seasonings. Turn mixer on low setting. Scrape sides if needed to make sure it is mixed evenly.
    4. Add your fruit and nuts. Fold in.
    5. Enjoy with crackers or alone.

    This turned out so well. Like I said, the boys enjoyed it too. I have extra in the fridge so lunch for tomorrow is taken care of as well. You can add more seasonings or extras as you want. I think next time, I will add some diced celery for some extra crunch.