Our current Instant Pot favorites {April 2018}

Even though we hauled our Instant Pot across the country with us on our big drive last summer, it took me a little bit of time to warm up to it.

While it’s nice to be able to saute, slow cook, pressure cook, etc in one dish, the time needed to get up to pressure (15+ minutes) is annoying and makes weeknight IP’ing (as the cool kids are saying) more difficult.

Nonetheless, I’ve persevered and have been actually enjoying our Instant Pot lately and found a few recipes I’d like to share here (and keep on record for quick reference):

Urvashi Pitre’s Instant Pot Butter Chicken from the New Yorker

We pair ours with naan, jasmine rice, and roasted cauliflower with slivered almonds and raisins.

Delicious, delicious IP butter chicken

Instant Pot Salisbury Steak With Mushroom Gravy by Live Simply

We nestle these Salisbury steaks in a bed of creamy, garlic mashed potatoes with a veggie on the side.

It’s not that photogenic of a dish and I always devour it right away, so no photos. Please use your imagination.

Instant Pot Beef and Broccoli by Savory Tooth

Michael has a soy sensitivity, so when we can avoid it, we do. Thankfully, coconut aminos exist and are delicious as a soy sauce substitute in this recipe. We sub them 1:1 and the sauce tastes so much like “normal” sauce!

IP Broccoli beef

I electronically hoard other Instant Pot tips, tricks, and recipes on Pinterest too. Check them out. And please share some of your IP favorites for me to try out!

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The BEST lactation cookies

Lactation cookies: a reason to eat cookies? Yes, please!

As a breastfeeding working mom I had a little help in keeping my supply up: COOKIES!

When I was pregnant with Michael my love of chocolate chip cookies greatly intensified and I had at least one a day. My obsession didn’t end with pregnancy and my sweet craving — especially for chocolate chip cookies — has stuck with me ever since.

When Michael was still nursing, I tried a million recipes for lactation cookies — cookies with a purpose! An excuse to eat even more! — and my favorite one came from Milkin’ Mamas, but the link doesn’t work anymore, so I’m re-typing it here.

You know a recipe is legit if it’s posted in the lactation room at work and dated almost two years prior! Enjoy!

The BEST lactation cookies (Makes a lot of cookies! Bake extras to share with your lactation room friends! Freeze what you don’t want to bake now!)

  • 2 T flax seed meal
  • 4 T water
  • 1 c butter, soften to room temperature
  • 1.5 c firmly packed brown sugar
  • 2 eggs, room teperature
  • 1 t vanilla (I usually use don’t measure and just add a steady pour…)
  • 2 c flour
  • 3-4 T brewer’s yeast
  • 1 t baking soda
  • 1 t salt
  • 3 c rolled oats
  • 1 c chocolate chip (I prefer milk chocolate!)

Steps:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the flax seed meal and water. Let stand for 5 minutes. (This simulates an egg in texture for baking.)
  3. In a large bowl or mixer, beat butter and brown sugar.
  4. Add eggs and beat well.
  5. Add flax seed mixture and vanilla, beat well.
  6. Add dry ingredients: flour, brewer’s yeast, baking soda, and salt.
  7. Stir in oats and chocolate chips.
  8. Scoop rounded tablespoons onto baking tray.
  9. Bake 12 minutes.
  10. Cool for 5 minutes before transferring to a cooking rack.

Some notes: 

  • Use whole oats, not quick oats. Extra thick oats are even better.
  • Do not substitute the brewer’s yeast with regular yeast. These are not the same thing. Brewer’s yeast is available on Amazon, as well as at natural food stores.
  • Flax seed meal is available at Trader Joe’s and natural food stores.

I would make a large batch of cookie dough, bake the cookies I needed for the week and then freeze the extras, so I could bake them whenever I needed cookies.

Need other ideas for keeping your supply high? Read this post!

 

Halloween recap {2017}

While I’m very behind in posting about our adventures in Buffalo, I did want to share this year’s Halloween recap with you. Only a month late. Oy.

Michael loves the zoo these days so he celebrated Halloween as Zookeeper Michael! He dressed in his safari khakis complete with a hat, vest, and animal cookies for his friends at school.

Michael’s Halloween costume

Zookeeper Michael

One of Michael’s (and our) friends came over and we trick-or-treated around our neighborhood and met some of our new neighbors, which was nice. It only took us 45 minutes to visit 10 homes. Michael brought his zoo along with him. This was the perfect costume for the chilly Halloween night in Buffalo: Michael stayed warm!

“Trick or treat!”

I did a quick Halloween craft too. It was a Pinterest find and very easy and inexpensive. There are an obscene number of dollar stores here, which I’m getting more accustomed to frequenting for party needs. For this project you need only a couple of supplies: vase (I chose three in varying sizes), googly eyes, a roll of gauze, super glue, and a flameless votive.

Ghost votives!

How do you make these spooky ghosts? 

  1. Clean glass in lower quadrant and eye area with rubbing alcohol.
  2. Glue on eyes.
  3. Place glue in area you’ve just cleaned.
  4. Place gauze on top of glue (don’t glue your finger!)
  5. Wrap gauze around the vase, avoiding the googly eyes.
  6. As you’re reaching the end of your vase or gauze, place a dab of glue.

It’s not a holiday without some candy eyes. I colored my favorite browned butter Rice Krispies treats, added some green candy melts to the stem, and made these magical pumpkins:

Rice Krispies pumpkins!

Finally, what do you think of my cheese plate?! I love it. I also love our new local grocery store Wegman’s– and their orange cheese! It’s kid and adult friendly and was delicious!

Halloween cheese tray

Finally, Brandon and I ditched Michael to attend an adults-only Halloween party! We had a blast as Homer and Marge Simpson.

The Simpsons: Brandon and Megan

I hope you had a wonderful Halloween! I’m already thinking about family costume ideas for next year, so please share your ideas if you have any!!

Still thinking about Halloween? Check out my recaps: 2013 | 2014 | 2015.

(I didn’t do a Halloween recap for 2016!? I’ll get right on it! It was too cute not to share!)

Super Bowl eats {2017}

SuperBowl LI ~ 2017

SuperBowl LI ~ 2017

We didn’t go all out for this year’s Super Bowl, like we have in the past (2016, 2014), but we tried out some new recipes and rekindled some old favorites!

We’ll start with dessert.

Cocoa Krispies Football Treats

Cocoa Krispies Football Treats

I used my very favorite rice krispie treat recipe and swapped normal Rice Krispies for Cocoa Krispies. These take less than 5 minutes to make and they’re delicious!

Cocoa Krispie football treats

Make a batch of the rice krispie per the instructions and spread them out on a jellyroll pan instead of a 9″ x 9″ pan, making them thinner than a normal batch (about 1″ tall).

Once cooled, use your football cookie cutter to cut out your treats.

Use icing (I used store-bought icing from my pantry, but you could easily make your own) to draw on your laces.

And… Enjoy!

Cocoa Krispies football treats

Cocoa Krispies football treats

We also enjoyed a large plate of shredded pork nachos, topped with my infamous black bean and corn salsa (recipe below!), which I can’t believe I haven’t shared here yet.

We went basic (but SO delicious): shredded pork nachos

We went basic (but SO delicious): shredded pork nachos

Our delicious SuperBowl nacho plate

Our delicious SuperBowl nacho plateWe also made pretzels from scratch!

First-time, homemade pretzel bites

First-time, homemade pretzel bites

I hope you had a great Super Bowl 51. I’d love to hear about any favorite recipes from your game day celebrations!

Megan's famous black bean and corn salsa

Megan’s famous black bean and corn salsa

Megan’s Black Bean and Corn Salsa

I’ve committed this recipe to memory and trigger that memory by going through the colors of the rainbow: red (tomato), orange (and orange), yellow (corn), green (cilantro, lime juice), blue (no ingredient, but a stickler for Roy G Biv), and purple (shallots).

Combine the following in a bowl:

  • 1 can corn, rinsed
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed
  • 1 bunch cilantro, chopped
  • 1 Roma tomato, chopped (or a handful of grape tomatoes, whatever you have on hand!)
  • 2 shallots, chopped
  • The juice of one orange
  • ~2 T lime juice
  • ~2 T White balsamic vinegar (I haven’t tried the normal balsamic vinegar because this one is too good! Buy it. It’s worth it.)
  • A liberal drizzle of honey (maybe 1 T?)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

The nachos were a hit, especially with Michael!

Nacho lover: Michael

Nacho lover: Michael

 

{Wine Wednesday} Pie & wine!

WineWednesday

I appreciate the desire for a good pie this time of year, but personably I’m not a pie person. (I much prefer to drink my desserts!) When I found this pie and wine pairing guide from VinePair though, I knew I had to share with you and plan appropriately!

wines-and-pie

I’m pretty excited to make this pumpkin pecan baked brie on Sunday for our big feast. Have you made something similar? Did you love it? Any tips?

brie

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving! Check out photos of our day tomorrow on Instagram!

Football season… already!?

So, it’s September. Along with Brandon’s last school year starting, Michael turning one, and fall TV and weather returning, it’s time to dust off our football gear and get ready for the NFL and NCAA football seasons.

We’re Seattleites who support the Seahawks, but the Broncos are our main NFL team. (And here.)

Of course, we have to dress the part!

We've got Bronco spirit!

We’ve got Bronco spirit!

Michael outgrew last year’s outfit (he was so little!)…

Our little fan watching the pre-game

Our little fan watching the pre-game

And this year’s arrived last week.

Michael's 2016-17 Bronco outfit is here!

Michael’s 2016-17 Bronco outfit is here!

While we were ordering Bronco gear, I went ahead and updated my look too: new orange sweatpants! Brandon has been an avid Bronco fan since he was in utero and he has a plethora of game day attire. My sister gave Brandon this Bronco sweater for his birthday this year, so I imagine we’ll see it a lot this fall!

Since the Broncos are the reigning football world champions, we’ll of course be celebrating the season kick off and SuperBowl 50 rematch on Thursday.

I’m thinking something easy and delicious, probably pulled pork. Maybe pulled pork tacos? Or nachos? If you have any great ideas, I haven’t made the menu yet, so I’m all ears! Please share your great plans for the 2016-17 NFL (and college! Our fan photos will come soon!) season and enjoy! Go Broncos and go Seahawks! (That’s for you, Peter and Molly!)

 

 

$1.31 scoops at Baskin-Robbins

BaskinRobbins

Are you as hot as I am right now? Summer in Seattle is usually lovely, however, we don’t have air conditioning and when it gets much above 80 degrees outside, it stays that hot (plus!) in our house.

It’s 83 degrees inside and 75 degrees outside as I type this now. At 10 p.m. Ugh.

With hot weather comes the need to cool down and boy do I have the hot tip for you: $1.31 scoops at Baskin-Robbins on Sunday! You know why? It’s the 31st of the month.

Turns out Baskin-Robbins does this EVERY time there are 31 days in a month.

I must confess that I’ve kept this information from you for over a year. But, now you have some notice to get to your closest B&R!

Mark your calendar and you’re welcome. Maybe I’ll see you on Sunday? And every 31st of the month after that?

Enjoy your scoops and you can thank me in the comments section below…