Christopher and Anna Marie hosted a wonderful Scripture memory party on a recent Sunday evening. Christopher had encouraged all the cousins to memorize and come prepared to quote it before the others. Christopher had a reward prepared for those who recited their verses.
The evening included singing and special treats. It was a wonderful time together.
Steve and Teri
“Let those that fear thee turn unto me, and those that have known thy testimonies. Let my heart be sound in thy statutes that I be not ashamed.” Psalm 119:79-80
Mom has been writing Mom’s Corners for almost 30 years, and some of the early ones are compiled in our books, Just Around the Corner (Vols. 1 and 2). My dad also wrote monthly articles for dads, although now he writes weekly e-mails.
Plus, we still offer free economy shipping at $25 in the United States (some exceptions).
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Hello and welcome December! 🙂 I hope you had a blessed Thanksgiving. Today, we’re sharing a post from Anna Marie on Instant Pots which we think you’ll find helpful. –Sarah
The Instant Pot is in use almost daily in our home. I like the ability to quickly cook frozen (yes—you don’t have to thaw) chicken breasts or thighs. It’s super handy to be able to make broth from beef bones or chicken carcases in less than three hours. And for making easy-to-peel “hard-boiled” eggs in a jiffy, it’s hard to top. But what I use it for the most is cooking dry beans. They don’t have to be soaked ahead, can be spiced in many different ways, and can be ready within an hour or two. Since they’re packed with healthy fiber, plant protein, and many essential minerals (including folate which is great for pregnancy!), they make for a truly nutritious “fast food”!
Here are a few examples of dry beans that we like:
Small red beans or chili beans are delicious in chili or cooked with Mexican spices and served over rice or taco salad.
Navy beans or small white beans are perfect for white chicken chili or navy bean soup! To make a delicious quick soup, I saute carrots, celery, and onion in the Instant Pot before adding in the dry beans, salt, pepper, bay leaves, and water or chicken broth. Once cooked, I mash part of the beans (a potato masher works well for this) and it’s ready to serve!
Garbanzo beans/chickpeas are perfect on salads, in soups, or made into hummus. Sometimes after cooking about 4 cups of these in lightly salted water, I will stir in a jar of Tikka Masala simmer sauce from Aldi and some precooked shredded chicken. This is great served over rice.
Pinto beans are a staple for burritos or Mexican side dishes, and I use a hand-held mixer to mash them right in the pot when they’re done cooking. Left whole, we enjoy them on taco salads or added into soups.
Black beans are great in a “Santa Fe Chicken” with cans of diced tomatoes/chilis, corn, spices, and shredded chicken served over rice. If you’re feeling adventurous, black bean brownies are actually pretty tasty and have been enjoyed here!
Lentils cook quickly and don’t need to be presoaked whether you have an Instant Pot or not, but I’m including them here anyway because they appear on our lunch table weekly in Sue Gregg’s Lentil Rice casserole. I like to make it in our Instant Pot because I can put all the ingredients in after breakfast, and set the timer to have it done at lunchtime.
As you probably noticed, we frequently enjoy various seasonings in our beans served over rice or another grain. There are so many variations you can do with this and we especially like it with some precooked shredded beef or chicken added (I keep bags of it in the freezer for this purpose). And don’t feel limited to rice as a base; quinoa, millet, or even riced cauliflower all work great, too!
Keeping some containers of cooked beans in the freezer is also very handy to add in to vegetable beef or chicken soups, or for easy main-dish salad toppings.
Cornbread is a popular side dish that we have with our Instant Pot bean dishes and soups. It’s not cooked in the Instant Pot although I’m sure some people probably do cook their cornbread that way. My go-to recipe is Sue Gregg’s blender cornbread which uses whole dry corn. It takes me about 5-10 minutes to get it in the oven and then it bakes for 30 minutes. The recipe is available on her site in a PDF download of sample recipes. Search for the text “sample recipes” on the homepage to find the PDF download link. The recipe is on page 63.
We buy our organic dry beans, dry corn, popcorn, wheat, oats, millet, etc. in bulk from Azure Standard and have been pleased with the quality and prices (disclosure: the Azure link is an affiliate link that is part of their “Share Azure” program. If you order through it I may receive a credit in my account. You could also just go directly to Azure Standard’s site; or, if you have a friend who orders from Azure, ask them if they have a Share Azure link you can use). I’m sure you can probably find these at your local grocery store or health food store as well.
So, is an Instant Pot a necessity? No. But we’ve found it to be a time saver for the uses I mentioned. We have the 8-quart size and I love having that size (larger meals and/or more leftovers), even though it takes a bit longer to come up to pressure than a smaller one. If you have a smaller family or cook lower volume, the 6-quart would likely be adequate. We have seen both sizes come up on very good sales (for example 8 quart around $60) during the holiday season in the past. And, of course, there are other brands of modern pressure cookers that would function in a very similar fashion.
God bless you as you seek to cook nutritious meals for your family!
Love, Anna Marie
“But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation” (1 Thessalonians 5:8).
Recently a blog reader sent us a note and some photos we thought you would enjoy. Here’s what she said:
“I am a blog reader from the UK. I loved seeing the books you suggested for Thanksgiving. I actually live on Plymouth UK, and we are preparing for the Mayflower 400 festival next year. I was walking past the Mayflower steps the other day and thought that you might like to see a couple of pictures of what it looks like. The first is close up with both flags. They have just built a new arch ready for next year.”
“The second is a bit further away so you can see the houses behind it and the steps themselves.”
“The last is the view out to sea which would have been what the pilgrims saw just before they set off.”
It was interesting to learn of the 400th year festival coming up and preparations for it. We especially liked the photo of what the pilgrims saw as they began their adventure into the unknown in search of a place where they could worship God in freedom.
Trusting in Jesus, Teri
“But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth” (John 4:23-24).
Back in September, Dad had the idea to host a Family Day. It would be in our backyard and involve games and a barbecue. Originally scheduled for early October but canceled due to inclement weather, we rescheduled for the second Saturday in November. The day arrived, with perfect weather for our Family Day.
Anna, Jesse, and Mary took responsibility to set up an obstacle course before the event start time. The creativity they used to skillfully design an awesome course took some effort, but the results worth it.
11am came, and families began to descend upon the backyard with little kids’ faces full of excitement and delight. We started out with some activities such as corn hole (loved watching Grandpa and Grandma do that with the kids) and Spike Ball, while some of the young moms and Gigi sat and talked.
From there, we moved to Cat and Mouse. Mom found the game online–a perfect combination for young and old. People stand in a circle, and then you pick two names. Ahead of time, Dad wrote everyone’s names down and had them folded in his pocket. One person is the cat another the mouse. They are blindfolded, and with people still forming a circle, the cat and mouse can begin wherever they like. Then, the mouse can take one big step in whatever direction, and when it’s done, it has to “squeak.” The cat, still blindfolded, can take one big step (in pursuit of the mouse), and when it’s done, it has to “meow.” The goal obviously being the cat catches the mouse. It caused lots of laughter as the blindfolded people moved around. Even the older ones got really into it, taking ginormous steps to stay away from the cat or in the attempt to catch the mouse.
After that, we enjoyed lunch together. The menu consisted of hot dogs, veggies, picnic eggs, chips, and dessert. Everyone pitched in to bring things.
Following lunch, the anticipated obstacle course began. The absolutely beautiful part of this was the older ones coming alongside the youngers to help them. The aunts and uncles were right there with the littles, cheering, walking next to them, and encouraging. That’s what teamwork is all about. The reverse was true too. The littles cheering the aunts and uncles and daddies and mommies along. Many wonderful memories were created on the Maxwell Family Day.
Maybe Family Day could become a tradition in your family. We loved it, and I’m quite certain it’ll be an annual event at the Maxwells.
“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might” (Ephesians 6:8).
The Maxwell family and ministry blog of Titus2.com.