Saturday, July 26, 2014

The Instant Pot

Last Christmas my friend Betsy got a new kitchen work horse: the Instant Pot.  She told me how great it was and I was intrigued, but I really had no need for another kitchen appliance.  Then, after doing a deep clean on my crock-pot (and apparently getting water behind the electronic panel), it died on Easter Sunday with the ham already in it!  I was less than pleased.  Luckily I have the kind of Crockpot that has a removable stoneware crock and I was able to save Easter dinner in the oven.

Now I had my chance!  I had a genuine reason to shop for a new kitchen gadget and the Instant Pot was at the top of my list.  It wasn't cheap, but it was more than a slow cooker, it was a pressure cooker, rice cooker and yogurt maker.  Normally I say appliances that try to do many things can only do them poorly, but so far my Instant Pot 7-in-1 has yet to disappoint.  I have made many recipes with this appliance and I even removed my food processor from the counter top to make room for this pot to stay out all the time.

Here are just a few things I like about the Instant Pot.  It:
  • allows me to make homemade yogurt and coconut yogurt cheaply and with minimal effort
  • shortens cooking time for most dinner entrees by 50% or more
  • as a nice display with self-explanatory buttons
  • has wonderful side slots that hold the lid for you while you saute or for serving
  • has an easy to clean, dishwasher safe stainless steel pot
  • makes the perfect brown rice in less than 45 minutes
  • turns two-pot slow cooker meals into 1-pot meals with the built-in saute feature 
  • comes with a recipe book that helps to introduce you to pressure cooking as well as yogurt making
  • cooks greens in a way that I actually like them! 
Drawbacks are few.  One of the drawbacks is that you have to be careful and not add any ingredients that might scorch before you use the pressure cooker.  Many recipes add flour to the pot before cooking, but the flour will scorch and prevent the cooker from functioning properly.  If this happens you will get a "Ovht" error and the pot will shut off.  Once, I had to remove an entire (still raw) chicken from the pot and clean the liner before returning the chicken and the pot to the cooker.  Now that I know I won't make that mistake again, and hopefully by reading this review you won't make it either!

Betsy has invited me to post recipe reviews for this pressure cooker over on her fulltummies page, so in the next few weeks or so you can look for full recipes there.  

Happy cooking!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Loving the Little Years: Motherhood in the Trenches

At our church for the past six months we have been taking this amazing parenting class!  Amazing and challenging...some days I would walk out of class feeling like I was challenged and needed to change some things about my parenting, but most days I would walk away convicted of my sins and feeling somewhat like a failure.

One of the neat things about my Amazon wishlist is that when I hear about a good book I put it on my list.  Years (or just months) go by and I don't remember how I heard about the book or who recommended it to me, but I leave it on the list thinking, "It must have sounded good or else I wouldn't have put it on the list."  So it goes with this book.  I don't remember putting it on my wish list, much less who suggested it to me or how I found out about it, but I'm so glad it made it's way on there!!

My friend Rebecca bought me this book for my birthday last year and I had a chance to read it on our trip down to Louisiana for Christmas.  It is great!  It was just the encouragement I needed to balance out our parenting class at church.  The chapters average about 2-3 pages and take you 3-5 minutes to read.  Sounds like the author knew her audience!  Chapter Two was my favorite and lucky for you, if you download the sample Kindle book, you can read the whole chapter for yourself.  She compares motherhood to life in a rock tumbler.  We are always being rubbed by the (little) people around us and our sins are constantly being exposed.  Instead of it becoming overwhelming, we need to view it as an opportunity to become more like Jesus.

Whether or not you are the mother of little children I think the illustrations Rachel lays out will be an encouragement to you.  Relish this time you have with your littles and let God work in your life and theirs.


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