I’d written recently how we are finding ways to save money because we are headed toward the bliss of financial independence! Whoohoo!
One way to support our goal is being mindful when buying groceries. In my former days I had a habit of stocking up on things, food especially. In fact there was a time we had two refrigerator/freezer combos PLUS a huge stand alone freezer. Ya sure would think we were some hard-core preppers although we weren’t really. I don’t think?
These are new days though! And my passion for minimalism stretches to the pantry. It’s probably how I lost a couple pounds so easily.
Well, we were running low on food yesterday and I wanted to hold off on shopping for a couple days.
Challenge was that Mr. Pantry and Ms. Refrigerator looked like the apocalypse.
Ok bean soup it is. I had a couple stalks of celery left, half a bell pepper, half a bulb of fennel, one red onion (a whole one! Yay!), plus….
drumroll please…. Dr. Cowan’s veggie powder. (That’s an affiliate code which doesn’t cost you anything extra but supports my writing. Thanks!) I’m so happy I have these veggie powders in my pantry for the times I run out of fresh veggies. Just add a tablespoon to amp up the nutrition and flavor of pretty much anything (including desserts!).
I LOVE these Veggie Powders.
Plus, I added cumin, paprika, turmeric, salt, and black pepper.
Oh. And butter! Gotta add grass-fed butter.
Still though… pretty boring. It needed more heartiness. Hmmmmmm.
I headed back to dive the depths of my apocalyptic pantry and refrigerator shelves. They were so empty I could practically crawl in them. (Tee-hee)
What’d ya know?
I found a few things.
I came out with sunflower seeds, raisins, mustard, and half a jar of pineapple salsa. I added them to the soup.
My Apocalypse Bean Soup, actually, was hearty and damn tasty. I’m going to remember this recipe for future use.
This recipe’s a keeper.
Oh… and OF COURSE I USED MY AWESOME INSTANT POT to make this (that’s an affiliate link too… same drill as above. Thank you!).
As I sit here in my kitchen eating my fourth piece of sourdough toast, dripping with melted butter plus lemon zest, sea salt, and raw honey, I’m looking around the kitchen and realizing there are four kitchen machines that I use every day and don’t ever want to be without. I would even say that I use each of them multiple times a day. That’s a good return on investment.
It will come as no surprise that my Instant Pot is one of my favorite kitchen machines. I use it, at a minimum, once a day. It EFFORTLESSLY does everything from making rice to oatmeal to hard-boiled eggs to soup or stew to chicken to cheesecake to pretty much anything you want.
When we move abroad I will do everything I can to take that sucker with me.
Coffee Pot ☕️
A stunning coffee pot.
A good cuppa coffee really makes my day special. It’s the little things. When I go to bed at night, I think with excitement about waking up and having my coffee.
My love with coffee started back when I was seven years old, and my Nana gave me my first taste. We are Italian after all. Start ‘em young. She also taught me to shave my legs at that age. We are Italian after all.
I’ve been using my coffee machine, a Technivorm, for about five years. It’s a beautiful machine, and its hefty price tag is worth it. As my Papa used to say, “It doesn’t cost more to go first class.” When you spend more for something, it’s usually for quality and it will last you.
Electric Tea Kettle
A well loved tea pot and my good ol’ blender
I’ve had this electric tea kettle for many years. I love how fast it heats water. I can also program it for a specific temperature to ensure the best tasting tea. I probably use it 4-5 times a day between using it for heating water to make oats, tea, or heating a thermos with the hot water.
A kitchen would not be complete without a good blender. I’ve had my high-powered blender, a Vita-mix, for about 10 years (and it looks like it – but, hey, it still works like a charm). My blender gets used every day, multiple times a day. I make everything from smoothies to dressings to ice cream to soups to chia pudding to Bulletproof Coffee.
The love for my kitchen robot appliance continues to grow.
I have immense gratitude for how it has made my life easier to effortlessly get more vegetables into my life (and my family’s).
Case in point.
Super fast lunch of purple carrots.
Instant Pot Effortless Vegetables.
I simply scrubbed the organic carrots, broke them in half (the ones that didn’t fit in “whole”), and cooked for only three minutes under high pressure.
Tossed them in a bowl with nutritious grass-fed butter, sea salt, fresh organic rosemary, and….
… my other NEW trick for getting EVEN MORE veggies into my family’s life: Veggie powders, but not just any veggie powders. These are veggie powders with a mission!
See those jars in the picture? See the green stuff on my carrots?
Those tasty powders are from the brilliant Dr. Cowan and his Garden Vegetable Powders. Honestly, I want to rave continuously about these veggie powders. Instead, I’ll guide you to the place I first heard of them: Chris Kresser’s podcast (do yourself a favor and listen to it). You’ll learn the importance of VARIETY when it comes to vegetables and how it’s not necessarily easy to do that.
With Dr. Cowan’s extremely cool, bad-ass garden vegetable powders.
My carrot lunch above included Dr. Cowan’s leek powder (one of my favorites!!!) and the perennial greens. A mere 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon each and I’m bombarding my body with vegetables.
These powdersare a brilliant way to increase veggies in your family’s life by adding them to soups, marinara, buttered toast, eggs, pies, smoothies, bread puddings, veggies, oatmeal, yogurts, sauerkraut, broth, chicken dishes, burgers, sauces and so much more.
I made a most delicious savory breakfast kefir that blew my mind. I loaded my body with gut-healthy probiotics along with the foods (the veggie powders) to help feed them.
Kefir bursting with veggie goodness.
Edit September 16, 2016: I changed the basic link of Dr. Cowen’s to an affiliate link today. I signed up for their affiliate program, because I love their products so much and I use them every day. If you purchase through them, you can help me buy more of those awesome vegetable powders.
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.
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.
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-ish-cooked eggs with 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?
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
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.
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
I make a lot of things in my Instant Pot Smart… most things in fact. But my favorite?
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 in the whole thing.
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.
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.
I originally found myself in the market for a pressure years ago when I was eating a plant based vegan diet (here’s why we stopped our vegan ways). We consumed a lot of beans in those days and I wanted a faster way to prepare them instead of watching them cook in a big pot on my stove all the time.
Fast forward to today… my pressure cooker was sitting on my counter not being used because we don’t fancy beans much these days. I was eager to make a meal quickly with a cut of meat that would usually take all day in the slow cooker. Hello, Pressure Cooker. This thing rocks for its speed and simplicity.
That’s my pressure cooker pictured above: All Clad (I bought it at Sur la Table). This gem was worth every penny because of its high quality. It’s stainless steel and I wanted something that wasn’t non-stick crap or aluminum. I also like this one because I don’t have to stand around the stove watching it (it plugs into the wall), so I feel safe using it. It’s basically a “set it and forget it” piece of kitchen equipment.
You can get very creative here and add other flavors like a halved onion, a few cloves of crushed garlic, etc, especially if you’re using water as the liquid. I usually keep it extra simple though with just flavorful homemade broth and generously salted grass fed meat.
Put all of the ingredients in the pressure cooker. Cook at HIGH pressure for about 45 minutes. Voila! You’re done.