Monday, August 29, 2016

Menu Monday!

As quick as it seems summer started here things are starting to cool down. We have a couple more days of warm weather and then it starts hitting the low 70's. It also makes it hard to blog consistently when I'm outside enjoying the few days of hot weather we've had this year. :) I do kind of feel like I missed out on summer this season. Such is life. But the cooler weather and a little rain in the forecast have me thinking of soups.

Tonight I'm making a “roasted” chicken in my Instant Pot. I'll make some mashed potatoes and turn all those wonderful juices the IP makes into some yummy tasting gravy. My neighbor also blessed us with some corn on the cob from his garden. So that will also be served along with a nice green salad.

The rest of the week is looking like this:

Sausage Potato Chowder
This is one of my favorite recipes. I'm converting it into an Instant Pot recipe so we'll see how that goes. Garlic bread and a salad will be the sides.

I figure this will be a good one later in the week. I'm planning it for our rainy day. Chili and rainy days seem to go together perfectly. I'll serve tortilla chips & salsa and a salad with this meal.

Lemon Butter Chicken
My daughter in law brought this recipe to my attention. It is an Instant Pot recipe (she has one too :). And she said it was very good. Looks like a super simple recipe to make and I'm going to give it a try. I'll serve rice and either green beans or broccoli with it.

That should do it for the week. How's your menu planning coming along?


Monday, August 22, 2016

Menu Monday!

My husbands schedule has been a bit jumbled up lately and that gets me off track as well! So I'm a little late in getting this out today. 

Summer heat continues you here, which I'm loving as I feel we finally have a summer! I think we are probably one of the only states (other than Alaska) that has not spent the summer in sweltering hot heat! The hot days means I really don't want to be heating up my kitchen and cooking all day. My cooking, as of late, is relying heavily on my Instant Pot. I love that not only do I get a meal cooked quickly but it does not heat up my kitchen.

Tonight we will be having pork roast with potatoes, carrots, onions, and peppers. It will all be cooked in my IP. Last time I made this meal I had a falling apart tender roast and the veggies (put in towards the end of the cooking time) in less than an hour and a half. I'll make a salad to go along with this meal.

The rest of the week is looking like this:

Korean Chicken and Rice
I plan on using THIS marinade to cook my boneless, skinless chicken thighs in and I'll make some rice, all in the IP of course. I'll serve some summer fruit and maybe broccoli on the side.

Yep another IP meal. Super easy, brown the hamburger in the IP, add a jar of spaghetti sauce, and one jar (from the sauce) of water, a few extra spices and the noodles. Cook for half the amount of time required for the noodles. Garlic bread and a salad will go with this meal.

Chicken Tacos
I cook the chicken (boneless, skinless, frozen) in the IP with a little water and a jar of salsa. When it is done, shred the chicken and use it to make tacos.

That should do it for the week!!


Saturday, August 20, 2016

Salted Caramel Cheesecake in the Instant Pot

Oh how I loved this cheesecake! :) Oh how my family loved it! It was gone in no time. I'm actually glad that the Instant Pot IP-DUO60 7-in-1 Multi-Functional Pressure Cooker, 6Qt/1000W makes a small cheesecake. Too much of a good thing is not a good thing for the hips! Ha, ha.. To make a cheesecake in the Instant Pot you will need a Springform Cake Pan, MCIRCO 7 Inches.

I made this 7”'s of amazing-ness from this recipe:

I gathered together all my ingredients....

I made the crust first. The crust uses Ritz crackers and it was a perfect compliment to the sweet goodness. The recipe also has you line the bottom of your pan with parchment paper. This was a good thing. The last cheesecake I made I did not do that and just sprayed with non-stick spray (I use:Kelapo Extra Virgin Coconut Oil, Cooking Spray, 5-Ounce Can ). The parchment paper and spray combo made it even easier to remove pieces from the pan.

After the crust was done I mixed up the cheesecake and poured it into my pan. The above recipe has you put a paper towel on the bottom of the pan and then a layer of foil over it. This was also a good idea. And you will need to make a foil sling to be able to set your cheesecake into the instant pot...

I covered the top of with another piece of foil because moisture does collect on the top. Lower the cheesecake into your IP on top of the trivet...

Set it on Manual and cook for 35 minutes..

Pull it out, let it cool down and then put it in the refrigerator for a few hours. I put mine in overnight...

When ready to serve, remove from pan and drizzle caramel sauce over the cheesecake. I purchased caramel sauce in the grocery store. It was ice cream topping. And while it was good, I know there are better quality caramel sauces available. Next time I will buy a better brand or I will search for a good homemade sauce recipe to use. The sauce really helps to make this amazing.

Regardless, everyone in my house at it all up in no time at all!!

The above article contains affiliate links.  This is one way I support the costs of this blog and I thank you so very much for your support! 

Monday, August 15, 2016

Menu Monday!

I was thinking all weekend about the meals for the week ahead.. without getting very far.. :), which is not good because we need to eat this week and I needed a plan.

So I started looking through all my saved recipes, my own recipes, my freezer and pantry to get some ideas. Finally I came up with a plan.

Tonight we are having chicken thighs cooked in the Instant Pot with Yoshida's sauce. I have some rice already cooked up in the fridge and a salad already made. Pretty simple, but then the IP makes most all meals pretty simple!

The rest of the week is looking like this...

I have one in the freezer. I'll serve garlic bread and a salad on the side.

Salmon Patties
Ok, I'm cheating on this one. It is to hot to heat up the kitchen and I'm using already made patties from Costco. They are super good. I'll serve potato salad (made in the Instant Pot), and sliced cucumber salad.

Beef Stroganoff
Once again this is an Instant Pot meal. It can all be made in the pot at one time. Can't beat that. I'll serve a salad or some summer melons (or maybe both) with this meal.

Not sure if I'll need another meal but if I do it will be...

Summer Pasta
This is one of my favorite easy meals. It is a simple meal you put boneless, skinless chicken in a pot of water with your choice of seasonings and add lots of veggies, when the chicken is almost done you toss in some pasta and cook until the pasta is done. Strain it all and serve... The only thing I don't like is you have to heat a big pot of water and boil the chicken and pasta and that really heats up a kitchen in the summer. I'm going to try it in the IP and see how it turns out. I'll serve toasted garlic bread with this meal.

That should do it for the week! How's your menu planning coming along?


Friday, August 12, 2016

Getting Fit in my 50's... Update

I'm a year and a half into my goal of getting fit. My goal was not to lose weight.. it was to get fit.. I did not care about the weight loss. How much stupid wasted time have I spent on focusing on weight loss only to gain it all back. Only when I stopped focusing on weight loss and started focusing on getting fit did I finally see some changes.

Last year I decided to start walking. I wanted to just move. I wanted to be more active. One mile about killed me.. LOL.. today I walk 4, 5 or 6 miles and have no problem with it. I've even started doing a little running during my walks. I go easy.. because.. well.. I'm 52.. my knee joints don't like it when I stress them out.. the joys of getting older. But, step by step.. walking or jogging.. I am getting fit.

I have a FitBit.. and I LOVE this thing. Daily my goal is 10,000 steps or more. More has been my goal this year. In January (my one year anniversary to making the choice to get up off the couch and just MOVE) I made a commitment to myself to get my 10,000 steps in JUST exercise at least 3 to 4 times a week. And, other than vacation time, I have kept this goal.

And this is what I have seen … I have way more energy today than I use to, while the scales may not have changed a lot (I have lost some weight).. I've lost inches. My clothes fit me so much better. My metabolism has changed a lot! I eat a healthy diet and don't desire sweets like I use to. I get up every morning wanting to move and go... my new motto has been.. a body in motion, stays in motion. I have muscle building in places I'd given up on long ago.

I love the changes I'm seeing. It is the motivation for me to keep on moving and doing and exercising. There are days I get up and think, I just can't today, but then I look at my Fitbit and think about how good I feel when I reach my goal and how good I feel after a walk. I put my walking shoes on and start walking and I never regret it.

I have the most simplest Fitbit that is made, the Flex. It does not do anything but count my steps. And that is all I wanted it to do. I don't regret making the choice for the Flex. After a year and half it is still working strong and seems quite accurate in it's step count. I charge it about once a week. I know there are more fancy ones out there but this one has been a gem for me.

If you are feeling tired, sluggish, feel depressed, have health issues, weight issues and feel stagnant in life all I can say is... walk. I am not a doctor or health expert in any way.. I am only speaking from my own experience. No matter how small the distance you can walk, it does not matter. Every great journey starts with the first step. You won't regret getting up and moving.

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Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Instant Pot Kalua Pork

This blog post does contain affiliate links, thank you for your support!
I did not have this on my menu this week. I went grocery shopping and saw Costco had pork shoulder/butt roasts at a great price and I immediately thought.. Kalua Pork!!! One of my favorite meals. But the only reason I don't make it that often is that it takes 16 hours in a crockpot. That is a lot of pre-planning. However with the Instant Pot (Instant Pot IP-DUO60 7-in-1 Multi-Functional Pressure Cooker, 6Qt/1000W ) it was only 90 minutes of cook time. Much better. And it turned out fantastic.

To make Kalua Pork you will need Red Hawaiian Sea Salt. This salt has a naturally light smoky flavor that makes this meal authentic. I'm sure another salt would work but you would want to add some liquid smoke. I've never made it with any other type of salt so I'm not sure of the measurements.

The recipe to make this meal is pretty simple. Besides the salt you will need a pork shoulder/butt roast. Don't use any other type. This recipe needs the fattier type of roast to make it melt in your mouth, falling apart, amazing goodness.. :) You will need a few cloves of garlic, and a few slices of bacon.

To begin with cut your roast into 3 pieces. Mine was a 3# roast. Cut slits in the roast and put pieces of garlic into them. I had 3 large cloves and I cut them into smaller pieces and put them in the roast..

Next, turn your Instant Pot to Sautee and put the bacon pieces in the pot.

When the bacon starts to sizzle put your roast pieces in the pot. Sprinkle the red salt all over them...

Add 1 cup water (because you have to have water when you pressure cook). Put the lid on, set to Sealing, and hit Manual. Set the timer for 90 minutes.

When the cooking time is done turn the IP off. Let the pressure release on its own, also known as Natural Pressure Release (NPR). When the pressure is released, the little silver button will have dropped down. Open the lid. Take the meat out and put in a serving bowl.

I made macaroni salad to go with this meal which I had made in the IP before I cooked the meat (next IP blog post! :) …

The recipe..

Instant Pot Kalua Pork

3# pork shoulder/butt roast
3 large cloves garlic
3 T Red Hawiian Sea Salt, course grind
3 slices bacon
1 cup water

Cut your roast into 3 pieces. Make slits in the roast and insert garlic cloves.

Turn your IP to Sautee and put bacon in. When the bacon starts to sizzle put your pork roast pieces in. Sprinkle salt on meat.

Pour in 1 cup water. Put lid on. Hit the Manual button and set the timer for 90 minutes.

When the time is up turn the IP off. Let the pressure release on its own (Natural Pressure Release NPR).

Remove lid when the pressure button has dropped. Remove meat. Serve and enjoy!! 


Monday, August 8, 2016

Menu Monday!

The busyness in my home has settled down, the leftovers are gone and it's time to plan a new menu this week. And get some groceries in the house. Which is my plan for today.

I have errands to run and the groceries to buy so I'm not sure what time I will get home and dinner needs to be quick and easy. I'm going to make Instant Pot spaghetti. I love how fast it comes together. While it's cooking in the IP I'll make a salad and slice up some french bread to go along with the meal.

The rest of the week is looking like this...

Meatball Subs
Typically I make my meatballs in sauce in the crockpot. I am going to give it a try in my IP. Meatballs in sauce in a sandwich roll topped with coleslaw is a family favorite. I have one more cabbage left in my garden and I'm going to make coleslaw with it. Plus potato chips on the side will make a nice quick summer time meal.

Burrito Bowl
I saw this video online: h
ttp:// It looks so good and I thought I'd give it a try. I'll post on it afterwards and let you know how it turned out.

Roasted Chicken
I'm all out of chicken stock and chicken bones to make stock. So it's time to roast a chicken for dinner and make stock the next day. I'll once again make my chicken in my IP. Macaroni salad and summer fruit will be served on the side.

That should do it for the week. If I need another meal it will probably be a soup and sandwich night.

How's your menu planning coming along this week?


Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Family Time

I had such a busy week last week. My daughter Leanne, who is an English teacher in S. Korea, was coming home for a short one week vacation. Her biggest desire was to spend time with family. It had been a year since she was home. So I planned a family get together. I asked my daughter Emily if she and her hubby could come up from California for the weekend, and they did. My other local children and their families came. It was a big event. When you have a big family and they grow up and start families of their own and have husbands/wives, boyfriends/girlfriends.. the number of people is pretty big! I had 25 people.. adults and children...

When the night ended and some went home, some stayed the night.. my husband and I looked at each other and were a little bit in awe of what we had started... LOL.. we both felt more than blessed by that day. The Bible says.. blessed is the man that has his quiver full.. and on the hard days, the stressful days, the difficult days, the times when you walk through storms with your children, the times you wonder where you went wrong, the times we stressed out as we watched our kids make choices that we did not approve of.. ... we often thought.. and the blessing is .. where?

The storms in life.. they do pass.. and while we were stressing about so many things.. the one thing we lose sight of.. God is there.. He is working.. He loves our children.. He is not letting go... and when the storm is over that is when we truly see GOD!

In the last 10 years I've shared a lot about my family. And I tend to share the positive, the good, the encouraging.. but life has not been all roses. We've dealt with pain, sadness, heartache. I choose to see God in all things, I choose to see His hand in our life and have chosen to keep some things private.

So.. as I share about the wonderful blessing of a day with my children, grandchildren, their families, their girlfriends, boyfriends, I don't take it lightly.. God sheds His blessings even when there has been grief, and sadness. So, yes, no matter what we may walk through.. Blessed is the man that has his quiverfull.. I see it now..

As my children, grandchildren and friends gathered at our home on Saturday... My husband and I were in awe... we looked at each other and said.. WOW.. who would have seen THIS! God's blessing.. Him bringing together so many people that started because we had this vision of family and were not afraid to have babies and live a life for Him. God is good... ALL the time.. never lose heart.. and never give up... because the blessings will come..

My Family...

Monday, August 1, 2016

Menu Monday!


This week's menu is really late.. it is the first quiet moment I've had.. :) What a great week … my daughter Leanne came home for a visit from S. Korea, my daughter Emily & her hubby Brandon came up from Cali, and all my local kids and grandkids (and friends) arrived here on Saturday for a little (ok.. big..  when you have a big family and they have families... it is always BIG :)  family reunion and barbecue. My daughters left this morning and I moved into home recovery mode! Ha, ha.. :) I'll share more about it all in my next blog post.

But the week marches on and we need to eat. I need to do a little shout out for my Instant Pot. On Sunday I still had several of my children here and never have I been able to feed so many people and spend so little time in the kitchen. I made chicken thighs smothered in Yoshidas sauce, rice, green beans (from my garden) all in the IP. I also had garlic bread as well. Tonight we were eating the leftovers from this meal. Win-win...

The rest of the week...

Spaghetti in the IP is a dream. Super easy meal and so good. I'll serve some butter & garlic sauteed zucchini (from the garden) and french bread to go with this super easy meal.

Still have not decided if it will be hamburger or chicken tacos. But they will be served with all the trimmings and chips & salsa.

Fish Sticks
Fish sticks and IP mac & cheese... our favorite combo. I still have been picking cabbage from my garden so it will be coleslaw on the side.

That should do it for the week! How's your menu planning coming along?