My Friend the Instant Pot

My Friend the Instant Pot

I held out buying an instant pot for a long time. I hesitated to buy yet another appliance to fill my kitchen shelves or take up counter space. Counter space is truly special; I must really love the appliance for it to earn countertop space. My Cuisinart mixer, toaster, and coffee pot have all earned counter top space. And now, my instant pot has earned it’s special place on the counter. I just made space for it last week after I decided enough was enough of brining it out of the cabinet so often. I use it at least once a week if not more.

Now, I know some of you have also not purchased an instant pot, yet. Maybe for the same reason. I get the hesitancy especially if you have a small kitchen. Luckily, I have a fair amount of cabinet space, which is one of the main highlights of our kitchen. You must wonder if you’ll use it enough. Is it worth the price? Well, my opinion is yes…but to each his own opinion.

One thing you should know: it’s not instant. Sure, it’s fast, but it ain’t instant. One of the first things I learned was that it needs time to build up pressure before the cooking time begins. Oh, and it also sometimes needs time to release the pressure. So if something takes 4 minutes, it will be more like a 10 minute process. But it is faster than a crockpot. And it builds lots of great flavor.

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Thanksgiving Favorites

Thanksgiving Favorites

Usually I’m all about planning out a Thanksgiving feast. I research new recipes, I make a plan on when I’ll start each dish, figure out what I can make ahead…you know a game plan. However, this year I’m trying to take it easy since little baby might come anytime. Plus, standing and cooking in the kitchen for a lengthy amount of time just sounds like a backache, literally. I feel a bit like I am giving in, but I know it’s the right thing to do. Being 38 weeks pregnant for Thanksgiving is a bummer, man.

To take it easier, we decided to order a small pre-cooked turkey from Whole Foods this year. I was actually impressed that the price wasn’t as terrible as I anticipated given a raw turkey plus all the brining and cooking ingredients would come out not that far off…not to mention the price of your time and labor. Hopefully it’s delicious!

Another shortcut this year is on dessert. Our realtor, Harber Home Group, offers a free apple pie every to his past customers every year. This year we’re taking them up on it. It pains me not to make dessert. Baking is one of my favorites. If we get the pie and it’s not up to snuff, then I’m hunkering down and baking something (see below: Dessert).

I already make the stuffing and froze it, so all I need to do is defrost it. Then, I’ll make a simple side the day-off and there we have our feast. It’s just Josh, Caleb, and me so it doesn’t have to be a huge meal. Just a nice way to celebrate together and eat some delicious food.

Maybe you’re reading all this and saying, “man, I’m totally down for a huge feast with all the homemade fixings.” Power to you! I would reply telling you to check out this game plan I wrote a couple years ago . Also, How Sweet Eats timeline or the Faux Martha Cooking Schedule have some organized schedules for you.

Or, maybe you want to know some of my favorite Thanksgiving dishes. You can pick and chose if you want to make any of them. YES! I love sharing, let’s do this.

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Uber-Fast Weeknight Meals

Uber-Fast Weeknight Meals

As my due date approaches, I get more and more nervous about how my meal planning will change. Right now, I usually cook dinner during Caleb’s nap. But will that still be possible once the baby arrives? Perhaps for a little while. However, I also know I’ll be exhausted and not wanting to cook much. I tent to push myself too far and cook meals that take too long and/or are more complex when I know I should be relaxing more…or at least that’s what my hubby tells me. But, I love cooking and coming up with delicious new meals - and I tend to frown upon pre-made things since I feel they aren’t as good for you (ugh, I hate that I wrote that, but it’s true - it just sounds so hoity toity. Goodness, I hope I’m not really hoity toity!).

On top of that, I’m terrible at taking it easy. I go-go-go until I drop. Oh sure, it’s productive, but by the end of the day I’m just plain pooped. Sooo, I’ve been trying to think up ideas of healthy, yet tasty meals. I thought you might be interested in what I’ve come up with so far.

For starters, I created a new Pinterest board titled, “Dinner: Uber Quick & Easy” (<— click the link to get to the Pinterest board). I’ve been saving some tasty looking meals to it. The Trader Joe’s hacks intrigue me. The one that grabs my attention the most is the Sweet Potato Gnocchi With Spicy Chicken Sausage and Mushrooms. I will definitely be making a trip to Trader Joe’s and stocking up on some items for when baby arrives.

Anyway, you should peruse my board. if you have any suggestions, please share! Now, for the ideas I’ve come up with so far on my own:

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