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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{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!

50 days to go!

About 50 days ago I blogged my master to-do list for the baby’s room.

Well, time has flown by and over the weekend we hit the 50 days until D-day mark. We also spent a lot of time wrapping up some of the nursery projects.

Here’s a update of where we are, and what we still have left to do before the little guy comes in just about seven weeks. (Or sooner?!)

UPDATED master to do list: 

  • Remove the mattress and bed frame. Wrap for transport to the cabin. Transported to the cabin over the Fourth, where I won an award for my quinoa salad!
  • Apologize to Maddie for stealing her favorite napping spot. She still sleeps in there, and has made do with the bassinet. She’s in for a rude awakening when that bassinet is full with an infant!
  • Wash sheets, take comforter to dry cleaners.
  • Remove ball lights.
  • Clean out and remove the bookshelf side table.
  • Vacuum and dust thoroughly!
  • Buy paint and paint the room. We’re debating between Behr’s Sparrow and Anonymous. Which one is your favorite? We went with Sparrow. It’s very pretty and so serene!
  • Secure baseboards. Touch up with paint if necessary.
  • Hang curtain rods and curtains.
  • Place the art on the shelves and think about where wall art will be placed We still have some art to frame, but it’s we’re running out of space!
  • Empty Brandon’s clothes from the dresser. He’s all moved into the master bedroom! It only took 5 years…
  • Replant and move Brandon’s terrarium. It looks so good! I realized that I never posted about it. I’ll add that to the list of blogs to work on!
  • Assemble new rocking chair. Assembled! And we’ve used it several times. We have this pouf on order to complete the look!
  • Grab crib from home-home and set it up. It’s grabbed, but it turns out my sister busted one of the rungs when she was a kid. It’s in Dad’s shop now, getting repaired. We’ve got the mattress and lots of sheets for it!
  • Finish whale mobile. It’s almost ready. I just need to find the embroidery floss in my rather cluttered craft room. Maybe this weekend I’ll finish it!
  • Finish painting ceramic fish and lampshade. Painted. Now I just have to find a spot for the fish and put the lampshade on the lamp.
  • Measure dresser, cut whitewood (or other kind of cheap wood) to create a top. (We’re making something like this, but only the top.) We a went a different direction; one that I’m really pleased with the direction we went! See the photo of Michael’s new ombre dresser below!
  • Sand and paint dresser, replace drawer pulls. Painted. Pulls replaced! See photo and let me know what you think!
  • Sand and stain dresser top, elephant rocker, side table, trophy bases and book boxes. Rocker and side table sanding/staining are still on the to do list, but the trophy bases and book boxes are done and look great.
  • Spray paint the ceramic animal heads, adhere them to the wood trophy bases. They’re painted and now they need to be adhered. I’m debating between using super glue and hot glue. Anyone have any recommendations?
  • Make rope basket “zoo” for stuffed animals. It’s a great idea and project, but I could not find the rope anywhere. Then I went to Homegoods and found an adorable bin for far less than it would’ve been to make the rope basket.

Some new to do’s, in addition to the ones not crossed out above:

  • Get sun from home-home, hang in the corner of the room. Michael and I will grow up with the sun in our rooms, made by my Aunt Peggy!
  • Buy laundry hamper.
  • Clean out ‘candle drawer’ in the kitchen, so we have a place for all of his bottles and supplies. (Yes, we have a candle drawer.)
  • Clean out the bathroom a bit, making room for all of Michael’s new stuff.

And what you really came here for… updated photos!

Here's our super-sized rocker and the photo area. I imagine I'll be spending some quality time here soon!

Here’s our super-sized rocker and the photo area. I’ll be spending some quality time here soon!

Here's the ombre dresser and changing table area.

Here’s the ombre dresser and changing table area.

A close up of the "zoo" bin for Michael's stuffed animals.

A close up of the “zoo” bin for Michael’s stuffed animals.

Here is one of our rolling apple crates for books. Brandon did such a great job sanding and staining them! We both did a good job on the wheels.

Here is one of our rolling apple crates for books. Brandon did such a great job sanding and staining them! We both did a good job on the wheels.

Here's the latest on the whale mobile. It's looking great and will be finished soon!

Here’s the latest on the whale mobile. It’s looking great and will be finished soon!

I hope you enjoyed our nursery update. There will be more photos as we keep finishing projects in the next (less than!!) 50 days!

{Gone Pinning} Memorial Day mocktails

GonePinning

I’m more than halfway through my pregnancy and as the weather warms up, I want nothing more than a refreshing cocktail. While I know that I CAN drink during pregnancy, I’m opting against it for the most part. I’ve had a few sips of wine but I’ll be sticking to the mocktails this weekend and into the summer months.

Here are some of the delicious-looking mocktails I’ve found Pinterest:

Blackberry fauxjito

Blackberry fauxjito

Pear basil sipper 

Pear basil sipper

Ginger beer mojitos 

Ginger beer mojitos

Strawberry lemonade -- a classic!

Strawberry lemonade — a classic!

Blueberry mint lemonade

Blueberry mint lemonade

Dark invader

Dark invader

And these booze-filled cocktails also look good. I can just omit the booze and they’ll taste more-or-less the same, right!?

Blackberry margarita

Blackberry margarita

Peach Mango Pineapple White Sangria 

Peach Mango Pineapple White Sangria

Strawberry and peach sangria

Strawberry and peach sangria

Sstrawberry and rhubarb sangria

Strawberry and rhubarb sangria

Cheers to the long weekend and our expected Seattle sun! 

{Gone Pinning} Snacks for finals

GonePinning

School is not in my recent past or immediate future, but school is challenging for Brandon this quarter. Thankfully, he’s just finishing up the last week of the quarter and next week is FINALS week.

How can I help? With finals snacks! Where do I go to find some delicious, nutritious snacks for Brandon and his cohort? PINTEREST! In case you’re also supplying study treats over the next week, I’ve scoured the internet for some great ideas. Don’t worry, these are great for non-finals times too.

Snack combos

Snack combos

Chickpeas

Chickpeas

No bake energy bites

No bake energy bites

Chocolate raspberries

Chocolate raspberries

Power snacks

Power snacks

And maybe some not-so-healthy options…(via my “Sweets for my sweets” board)

Funfetti cookies

Funfetti cookies

S'more krispie treats

S’more krispie treats

Happy snacking! And good luck on finals!

{Gone Pinning} Luck ‘o the Irish

GonePinning

Irish cake toppersI can’t believe that St. Patty’s day is already next week, on Monday, March 17. This year is flying by, which is good because I’m over all of this rain we’ve been having. I’ve scoured the internet for some great ideas to make your St. Patrick’s day a golden success.

We’ll be enjoying corned beef (my favorite!), potatoes, and cabbage, and if you’re not a corned beef-aholic like I am, here are some other fun Irish ideas:

Irish beef stew

Irish beef stew

Shamrock tortilla chips

Shamrock tortilla chips

Maybe we’ll deviate a little bit and combine our two favorite things: corned beef (mine) and pot pie (Brandon’s):

Corned beef pot pie

Corned beef pot pie

Corned beef and cabbage soup

Corned beef and cabbage soup

We’re always looking for desserts…

Sweet And Salty Guinness Chocolate Pie With Beer Marshmallow Meringue

Sweet And Salty Guinness Chocolate Pie With Beer Marshmallow Meringue

St. Patty's day bars

St. Patty’s day bars

Baileys Irish Cream Cookies

Baileys Irish Cream Cookies

Check out all of my ideas on my “Luck ‘o the Irish” Pinterest board. And have a wonderful St. Patty’s day!

2014 Oscar party

GonePinning

The Oscars are one of my favorite excuses for a party. Unfortunately, an Oscar party isn’t in our cards this year, so, you get the benefit of my creative mind and ideas. Here we go!

First, cocktails.

Champagne + Chambord  + Raspberries = Hollywood Glam

Champagne + Chambord + Raspberries = Hollywood Glam

Next, food. Let’s start with dessert.

My go-to is the popcorn cupcake. They’re pretty easy to make (although cutting all those marshmallows is a bit tedious…) and everyone loves them.

Megan's Popcorn Cupcakes

Megan’s Popcorn Cupcakes

Oscar popcorn cupcakes

Oscar popcorn cupcakes

However, these are some pretty amazing cupcakes too. These might be good for next year!

Oscar cupakes | Party Pinching

Oscar cupcakes | Party Pinching

Oscar statue cookies!? I own the cookie cutter and have used edible glitter to make flat cookies, but I haven’t made cookies that look nearly this good. These are exceptional.

Adorable and delicious cookies

Adorable and delicious cookies

And snacks! Last year we had a panini bar, with a variety of meats, cheeses and veggies.

Our 2013 Oscar panini bar

Our 2013 Oscar panini bar

We also did a quinoa salad and truffle popcorn. I’ve seen a lot of ideas for popcorn bar, but I prefer to keep it more on the classic side.

These tux cheese and crackers are some cutest appetizers that I’ve ever seen. These will definitely be on the table next year!

Tux cheese and crackers

Tux cheese and crackers

To put the finishing touches on the best Academy Awards/Oscar party ever, you’ll need to decorate like an award-winner! Gold is clutch when decorating, and if you want, you could bust out my favorite metallic spray paint and make your own trophies, like these Ken dolls…

Opportunity to spray paint? Yes, please!

Opportunity to spray paint? Yes, please!

Or keep it classy, keeping to the gold palette:

Our Oscar spread from 2013

Our Oscar spread from 2013

Academy award party decor

Academy award party decor

And of course, you need an activity. I like completing ballots and “grading” them as the awards are presented. I give away past Oscar-winning films as prizes.

There are a lot of printable ballot options online right now and I’m really liking this one from Studio DIY:

Studio DIY 2014 Oscar ballot

Studio DIY 2014 Oscar ballot

Have a wonderful weekend and really enjoy those Academy Awards on Sunday!