Wednesday, August 17th, 2016

Meet My New Best Friend: Instant Pot Smart

My new BFF in the kitchen - Instant Pot Smart. Book sold separately.

My new BFF in the kitchen – Instant Pot Smart. Book sold separately.

I’m a lazy busy mom, and this is my secret weapon.

The Instant Pot Smart

Back story: I have had an electric pressure cooker for years but I didn’t make much with it. That is until earlier this year I pulled it out when I learned that a pressure cooker is the easiest way to make hard-boiled “cooked” (or soft-boiled “cooked”) eggs. The shell peels away effortlessly 95% of the time. But… pulling out a pressure cooker just for eggs, I just don’t do it often.

However…

The Instant Pot came on my radar. This Instant Pot is a kitchen robot, basically, that has multiple functions including the main one as being a pressure cooker, using a stainless steel insert.

A multi functional kitchen appliance? Huh. I’m intrigued.

I started to look into it.

I learned the Instant Pot people had a new model that was dubbed “smart” because it connects via blue tooth. This means that I can write (and share) my own scripts (i.e., programmed recipes). Why is this cool?

Well, with this AWESOME function…

I put my food in and basically push a button (via the app – I use an iPhone these days) and it starts right up. The brilliance of this is that I don’t have to memorize the different times I use to cook different foods.

For example:

  • I like my broccoli to be under LOW pressure for only one minute.
  • Carrots… HIGH pressure for three minutes.
  • Those pesky-to-cook beets? I cook them under HIGH for 25 minutes.
  • Hard-cooked eggs for me cook HIGH pressure for five minutes, while soft-cooked they cook LOW for three minutes.
  • My rice cooks perfectly (brown rice 15 minutes, other rice varieties can be other times)

I can’t remember all of that, and I don’t want to pull a book out each time. Wth the Instant Pot SMART, I create the scripts and they’re programmed. Then, I just push a button.

Oh, and cooking spaghetti squash in 7 minutes under pressure? Um, yeah, awesome.

Effortless hard/soft cooked eggs with Instant Pot Smart.

Effortless hard-ish-cooked eggs with Instant Pot Smart.

Mega easy dinner anyone? Instant Pot Smart.

Mega easy dinner anyone? Instant Pot Smart.

 

I could go on and on and on and on about how much I’m loving my Instant Pot Smart. It has multiple functions and perfectly cooks rice, veggies, and whole chickens with ease and in a fraction of time.

This Instant Pot SMART makes yogurt(!) and is also a slow cooker (for the slow cooker they recommend the optional / additional glass lid). I’ve heard of some people using it for a sous vide too because it can hold a set temperature that you designate.

So many options with just one appliance.

It’s so amazing, I feel like Elaine from Seinfeld when she pushes people… GET OUT!

I sure wish I knew about this before I bought all of my slow cookers and my sous vide and my other pressure cooker. (By the way, even though I love that this is a slow cooker, who wants to slow cook when you can cook so much faster with a pressure cooker?)

Seriously… move over slow cooker, it’s time for something faster.

Hello, Instant Pot Smart. Can we hug?

Hello, Instant Pot Smart. Can we hug?

I figured there must be a catch, right? Where’s the yang that goes with the yin (that is everywhere in life)? Surely there’s something wrong with it – like maybe the nutrition isn’t as good or it’s hard to use? Something?

Well, I just can’t find anything wrong with it. In fact, I read that cooking under pressure is healthier. The quickness with which it cooks (and the process) keeps more nutrients available.

This Instant Pot Smart appliance has changed my life and I’ve only had it less than a month.

I leave it on my counter and use it daily, sometimes two or three times a day. I love how perfectly everything gets cooked and it’s mostly hands off, which means I have more time to do other things I love such as read.

My latest read. Gotta be prepared. #Parenthood

My latest read. Gotta be prepared. #Parenthood

Before buying an Instant Pot Smart, I’d over or undercook rice. Too many times to count. I’d ruin hard-boiled eggs. Too many times. I’d turn my broccoli to army-green mush more often than not.

Not anymore. YAY!

I love my INSTANT POT SMART so much that I just HAD TO TELL EVERYONE! (those links are affiliate, by the way, but I only rave and get cray cray over products that I use and love. And, if you should choose to buy it via my link then that’s awesome! As you might’ve noticed I haven’t been blogging as much. You could say I’m in the “space between stories” in my life right now. But with this friggin’ awesome Instant Pot, I had to get on my horn and write about it.)

Wait… did I tell you that you can make bone broth in like an hour??? 

It’s actually just a bit more than an hour. You have to add the time to get the Instant Pot to pressure. Plus add the time for it to come down in pressure – a quick release is fast though. This time-to-pressure and de-pressure vary by how cold the item is once it’s placed inside plus how much food there is in total. But it’s all hands off and that’s the important thing. And still, it’s waaaaaaay quicker than using traditional methods like the stove, sous vide, or slow cooker.

If you want to make bone broth and don’t have a pressure cooker then here’s my epic post on it.

Instant Pot Chicken Bone Broth in an hour.

Instant Pot Chicken Bone Broth in an hour.

 

I make the most delicious rice pudding in it. I had never made rice pudding before getting my Instant Pot Smart, but I make it regularly now. OMG so good and creamy with grass-fed whole-fat milk, unrefined sugar, pasture-raised eggs, vanilla, sea salt, cream and raisins and arborio rice. The first time I made it, Greg rolled on the floor in the fetal position because he loved it so much. I thought he was going to suck his thumb.

I make cheesecakes, too!

Yes. That’s right.

Cheesecake in a pressure cooker.

Gluten-free Greek Yogurt Cheesecake

Gluten-free Greek Yogurt Cheesecake

 

I make a lot of things in my Instant Pot Smart… most things in fact. But my favorite? 

Vegetables.

Having an Instant Pot Smart has made veggies a regular appearance, because they’re just so damn easy to make. I don’t know what it is about veggies but I can get so lazy when it comes to making them.

With my Instant Pot – Smart, I can make “baked” potatoes, sweet potatoes, yams, squashes, etc in much less time. I don’t have to watch the oven and test for doneness a million times because I know that my pressure cooker will do the job.

Broccoli, cauliflower, and beets are a pleasure to make. I never thought that before. Is that just me or do others feel the same?

Before cooking... just throw the whole thing in there.

Before cooking… just throw in the whole thing.

After 1-min under pressure. Vibrant.

After 1-min under pressure. Vibrant.

 

And. Don’t forget to drink the vegetable tea that’s left behind. It has nutrients! I use Castle Rock Spring water when cooking veggies under pressure and then I drink it when the veggies are done cooking.

Broccoli "tea" - from pressure cooking.

Broccoli “tea” – from pressure cooking.

 

I also cook gluten-free pasta in it. No more filling my stove pot with water and waiting for the boil, then stirring frequently, yada yada yada.

Nope. I just toss some sauce and noodles (plus some water or broth) into my Instant Pot and it cooks easily. If I want to get a bit fancy, I can saute some onion and garlic first, using the saute function, then add the sauce, noodles, and any extra water that’s needed. (The Instant Pot has a saute and browning feature).

There is just so much that can be made with the Instant Pot Smart and I love how I can control it from my iPhone using their app. I’ll keep you posted on the progress. Speaking of the app, I think I can share my scripts on Twitter. I’ll look into it.

As you can guess, I wholeheartedly recommend everyone bring an Instant Pot Smart into his/her kitchen. You will be so happy did.

 

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Monday, March 2nd, 2015

My Imperfect, Too Small (But Cozy), Evolving Kitchen That I Kind-of Love

by Kristen Suzanne in Kitchen Tools, Kristen Suzanne
Bird's eye view of my cozy kitchen.

Bird’s eye view of my cozy kitchen.

I feel drawn to write about my kitchen.

It’s been my kitchen for over 10 years. I’m a girl of change and I like to move around, but I can’t bring myself to leave our rather small condo in Scottsdale. I love the location. I love the area. It’s been home for awhile now.

But, it’s not as big as I’d like.

My husband works from home and has one of the bedrooms as his office. With me as a stay at home mom with a four year old, we’re all a bit close. That’s ok though because I like the closeness. Most of the time. The only time I didn’t like it was when I had a sitter come stay with Kamea for a few hours a week so I could sleep work, I found that I couldn’t escape or get anywhere to really be on my own.

My kitchen has gone through some changes over the years though. Nothing huge, but as my diet changed from vegan (with a lot of raw food) to omnivore, my kitchen evolved. From there, as I learned how I like to cook best and what makes it easiest, I found myself making some kind of weird changes. Basically, I have a lot of stuff hanging everywhere.

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Thursday, February 26th, 2015

Do Yourself A Favor. Sharpen Your Knives With This To Be A Kitchen Ninja

by Kristen Suzanne in Kitchen Tools, MAC knife
Great knife sharpener and my favorite knives. Get a good knife!

Great knife sharpener and my favorite knives. Get a good knife!

Having a sharp knife in the kitchen makes a world of difference with your food prep and cooking experience. A super sharp knife will take you from feeling like a boring ol’ home cook-wanna-be to a bad-ass kitchen ninja. Truly. :)

If you don’t have a good knife, then go get one. On Amazon.com (<— best deals). Or ask for one on your next gift receiving holiday. Of course, there are many who would say you should feel the weight of the knife in your hand before purchasing. There’s some truth to that. Decide for yourself.

Back to the importance of a sharp knife: Would you believe a dull knife can be more dangerous than a sharp knife? Truly. When you have a dull knife, it can slip off the food your cutting and easily hit (read: injure) your finger. But with a sharp knife, although it’s sharp and seems more dangerous, it cuts effortlessly which gives you more control over the knife.

Control is a good thing.

Plus, a sharp knife makes for faster chopping.

Speed is a good thing.

The trouble is keeping your knife sharp. The best way is with whetstone sharpening, but I don’t have the whetstone, I don’t have the time, and I don’t have the skill – it’s a world unto itself.

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Sunday, January 25th, 2015

I Got Slow Cookers Coming Out The Wazoo – I Have My Reasons

by Kristen Suzanne in Kitchen Tools, slow cooker
My slow cooker collection.

My slow cooker collection.

I wouldn’t have felt compelled to share my slow cooker collection with the world except that the last two people who came to our home exclaimed, “Wow why do you have so many slow cookers?”

Doesn’t everybody? Just kidding. I know most people don’t have a stash of slow cookers.

I asked Kamea the other day, “Kamea, if someone asked you about your mom, like, what does your mom do? What would you say?”

Her response… “I’d say you like pots.”

Me: “Ha – cute and funny but make sure you emphasize the “s” on the end of pot.”

It is what it is. I love the kitchen and cooking and everything that comes with it – pots and all.

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Friday, June 27th, 2014

Review: Food Huggers Get a Thumbs Up For Saving Food

by Kristen Suzanne in Kitchen Tools, product review

Food Huggers hugging foods.

Food Huggers recently sent me some of their food huggers to try out. I get offers from time to time for product reviews but lately I turn more down than I agree to. For Food Huggers, I was definitely interested. They seemed to solve a problem I’d been having lately. My desire to only eat half of an apple or avocado, for example, left me with either wasting food or overeating. When I saw their website, I was intrigued and wanted to give them a try.

I’ll be quick about this review.

They work. They’re great. You should buy some for yourself, family, friends, hair dresser, kid’s teacher, etc. 

Food Huggers in action.

What are they? They’re easy-to-use reusable silicone food savers. You can eat half of an orange, persimmon, grapefruit, apple, lemon, avocado, onion, bell pepper, tomato, and save the other half… for days in most cases.

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