Monday, September 26, 2016

Menu Monday!

I have an exciting week a head. A friend that I met online 14 years ago is coming to see me! We started out meeting on an Yahoo Group and continued our friendship over all the years. So I'm hoping for easy meals, without a lot of fuss so we can spend our time visiting and sight seeing.

Today I plan on doing some house spruce up in prep for her arrival. So I'll pull some frozen Orange Chicken and pot stickers (from Costco) and make some noodles and a salad to go with this.

The rest of the week is looking like this:

Pulled Pork Sandwiches
I'll make this in my Instant Pot and serve it with buns and coleslaw and maybe make a potato salad too. I'm thinking watermelon sounds good to go along with it.

Chicken Soup
I have some sweet potatoes and was thinking of a fall-ish type soup. Chicken, sweet potatoes, carrots, onions, etc. I'll serve french bread with this and probably a salad.

Pot Roast
I'll make in my IP of course :). And serve it with mashed potatoes, green beans, and acorn squash.

Chicken Tacos
Put frozen, boneless, skinless chicken in the IP with a little water and a jar of salsa. Let that cook and shred the chicken. Sometimes I even add a cube of cream cheese to it all. Serve with all the typical taco fixings.

That should do it for the week, if I need another meal I can always do a batch of Spaghetti in the IP.

Happy Menu Planning!

Friday, September 23, 2016

Turkey Breast in the Instant Pot

I decided to gently step into this fall season with a meal that had a fall-ish feel to it. I bought a turkey breast, boneless, and cooked it in my Instant Pot. I really could not believe how moist it was. Usually turkey breast is dry (at least to me) and not always my favorite part of the turkey. But a pressure cooked turkey breast is so incredibly moist. It was devoured in no time.

I bought my turkey breast at Costco. It was a Butterball in the frozen section. I started opening it up and thought.. I should take a pic of it in case anyone looks for them. So it is a little wrinkled in picture but it will give you an idea of what it looks like...

The turkey comes with a gravy packet as well. I poured the gravy packet into the IP stainless steel pot and added 1 cup of water. I sprinkled a little salt, pepper and garlic over the turkey and put it in the pot. I left the netting that is on the breast on so it would be easier to remove from the pot. It came off very easily when it was done cooking. I chopped up one small onion and put that in there as well...

I put the lid on and set the top knob to “Sealing”....

I pressed the “Poultry” button (you could also use “Manual”. The other settings have preset times on them but they all pressure cook)..

And adjusted the time for 30 minutes. I will also mention my turkey breast was completely defrosted. When it was done cooking I let the pressure release naturally for about 15 minutes and then turned the knob on the top to “Venting” and finished releasing the pressure.

While my turkey breast was cooking I pulled out some frozen cranberries from the freezer (from last year) and made a ½ batch of my cranberry sauce. My family loves turkey and cranberries together.

Here is what I had when it was done cooking...

I sliced it up and served it!! I thickened the juices in the pot for anyone wanting a little gravy as well over the turkey. I was going to make mashed potatoes but I had leftover macaroni & cheese in my fridge that I wanted eaten up so I served that with it. And I added green beans to complete the meal.

As I said.. it was sooo good and a nice start to this fall season!

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Fall is in the Air

It's beginning to feel a bit like fall here. We had a couple 80 degree days last week and hubby and I went swimming in our pond and enjoyed the sunshine and warmth. We both agreed that this was most likely the last of the days warm enough to swim. We had rain and cool weather over the weekend and temps in the forecast are looking a lot more like fall. I'm sad to see summer come to an end. It is my favorite of all seasons. But, it is time to embrace fall and all the changes that come with it.

Do you have a list of things you do in the fall around your home? I've always take this time to do a little fall cleaning. After a summer of open windows and doors the dust really starts to collect in all the corners. I also like to clean my kitchen cupboards. I use to do a lot of fall baking and cooking so in preparation I would clean and reorganize the cupboards. I don't do as much baking anymore but I still like using this time of year to just freshen up the kitchen. I need to wash windows and curtains as well. 

Clothing is another area that I deal with. Years ago it was for all 8 children and me. Putting away the summer clothes and pulling out the fall/winter clothes. It was a big job. It's nice now that it is down to just me (hubby handles his own :). I was inspired by reading an article on folding clothes recently. I know it sounds almost simplistic, after all I've been folding clothes (lots of them :D ) for 35+ years now. But, this lady had a method of folding that made better use of the space and made clothes easier to find. I've never really enjoyed laundry (just accepted it) and so my drawers have not always been the most organized ha, ha. So I thought as I go through my summer clothes and change over it would be a good time to reaccess this make some changes to see if it would help stay organized. I'll keep you posted on this and if I like it.. I'll share more.. maybe it will give me a new view on laundry!

My kitchen, bathroom and laundry room floors also need a good cleaning. Not just run the mop over them cleaning. But clean the corners and edges and give it a good scrubbing.

So far that is my fall cleaning list. I may add more as I move along.

What about you.. do you do any fall cleaning? 


And I have a question about laundry.. I know people who love it, and those who don't.. we all have to do it.. but..
do you.. love it or not?


Monday, September 19, 2016

Menu Monday!

I was really stumped this weekend trying to figure out what to serve this week. Have you ever had one of those times when nothing really sounds good? That was me.

As the weather here is cooling down I'm thinking about fall type meals. While shopping last week I found Costco had turkey breasts for sale. I bought one. It's about 4lbs. I'm cooking that tonight and will make gravy and serve it over rice. And maybe pull out some frozen cranberries and make a half batch of my cranberry sauce. I'll serve green beans to go with this.

The rest of my week is looking like this (I did finally figure out what to make :)....

Creamy Tuscan Garlic Chicken
I saw this recipe not long ago on one of my favorite pressure cooker blogs and it sounded so good. It looks pretty fancy but in reality with the Instant Pot it looks pretty simple. You can find the recipe here  I'll serve pasta, french bread and a salad with this.

Green Pork Chili (Salsa Verde)
This is basically a pork chili with no beans. I don't have an exact recipe written down, so I'll do that when I make it so I can share this. But it is pork, green salsa (salsa verde), peppers, and I admit, I add a couple cups or a can of beans because I love the combo of flavors. This will be served with cornbread and a salad.

Sausage Potato Chowder
I love the simplicity of this meal, not to mention how good it is! It's always been one of our family favorites. You can find my recipe here French bread and a salad will round out the meal.

That should do it for the week!


Saturday, September 17, 2016

Natural Solution for Dry Eyes

I've been dealing with dry eyes for a few years now. I have other eye issues including double vision at a distance. But my biggest problem has been extremely dry eyes. I wear contacts but even when I don't wear them my eyes are dry.

I go to the eye doctor once a year and he has been trying to help me solve this issue. I was put on steroid drops at one point that did help. But they have side effects, like so many other drugs. After that the doctor put me on prescription eye drops called Restasis. This worked very well. I put the drops in morning and night. Their main goal is to increase your own tear flow.

I have one big problem with this. When you stop putting the drops in your eyes, you go right back to where you started, dry eyes. So you are tied to the drug. I have a personal issue with this. If it at all possible I have no desire to be on a prescription for the rest of my life. I know for some, it is necessary. I don't want to be tied to that if at all possible. I will do whatever I can to avoid this.

After a year on Restasis, our insurance plan changed (by our choice) and they no longer covered prescriptions until our deductible had been met. Our deductible was pretty high. And when I went to get my monthly prescription of Restasis I was told that the cost was, $500! Yes, $500 a month. I was in shock. There was no WAY I was going to pay that. So, I started looking into more natural ways of dealing this. Something I probably should have done sooner. But I was listening to my doctor.

As I researched here is what I found. You loose tears in two ways. The tear ducts and evaporation. While I could not find any natural ways to increase my tear flow I did find a natural solution for slowing down the loss of my own tears. When the loss of tears is slower, the eyes stay moist longer.

What I found was not only inexpensive but effective! The solution? Castor Oil. I put a couple drops in each eye at night before I go to bed. 


I have been doing this now for about 2 months and my eyes are no longer dry. I have been shocked by how well this has worked for me. And how simple it is.

In the morning before I put my contacts in I wash my eyes with warm water and a small drop of baby soap to remove any residue oil. Simple, effective, natural and inexpensive.

Of course I am not a doctor or as specialist in any of these areas. I'm not giving advice, just simply sharing what I found to have worked really well for me. I have had no side effects from this at all.

One thing I did learn as I was researching this was that the castor oil must be organic, cold pressed and hexane free. This is important. Hexane is a solvent used to extract oils and not something you want in your eyes. Organic is important as you don't want pesticides in the oil either. And cold pressed oils are the most natural way to extract oils from plants. 

Here is the castor oil that I purchased... 
{affiliate links}


I also purchased a dark colored eye dropper bottle...


In all I spent about $20 for a solution that has worked amazing!


Monday, September 12, 2016

Menu Monday!

I had a busy crazy week. But it was all good. I had visits from my sons, my son's girlfriend, a trip to Port Townsend to see my mother in law and her hubby, and a weekend spent with my grandchildren here giving my daughter and her hubby a little break. It all left me happy but also left my house looking like a tornado has gone through it! Ha, ha. Today is house recovery day. I have a big to do list to tackle. Hopefully this week I'll be back here blogging a bit more.

Needless to say after such a busy week I was thankful to have a menu all planned out last week and my Instant Pot to help cut down my time spent in the kitchen.

Today I'll be making pork chops. I had them on my menu last week but had one evening with a big house full so I made chili (and nachos) instead. So I'll make the pork chops (in my IP of course) and I'll serve rice and broccoli with this meal.

The rest of the week is looking like this:

Clam Chowder
When we went to visit my mother in law she had made clam chowder. Oh my was it good. So I decided I need to put it on my menu rotation. I'll serve crackers and a salad along side.

Pot Roast
I have a beef pot roast in the freezer. I plan on making Mississipi Pot Roast with it in my IP. This was the first meal I made after I purchased it. It is still a favorite of ours. Mashed potatoes and gravy and green beans will round out this meal.

Asian Chicken
Not really sure what to call this dish. I put boneless skinless chicken thighs (breasts will also work) in to my IP, take about a cup of Yoshida's sauce and add a ½ cup of water and pour that over my chicken. Cook for 10 to 20 minutes (depending if the chicken is frozen or not) and that is it. Super tasty. I'll serve rice and a salad with this meal. Simple but quick and very good.

That should do it for my week!

And I'm hopeful for a less busy week and sharing more here on my blog in the next few days!!


Monday, September 5, 2016

Menu Monday!

Happy Labor Day! Do you have fun things planned for this day? A bbq or a picnic maybe? :) Hubby had to work last night so today we have not planned anything big. We were hoping to go and visit my daughter and family, but they have colds, so we will go another day.

The weather here is cloudy and cool, but despite that we are going to have a little bbq. I have some steaks in the freezer that I bought a couple months ago when they were on sale. I think I'll make some garlic red potatoes in my Instant Pot and I have a cantaloupe that I need to use. Maybe I'll add a little garlic bread with this.

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

Pork Chops
I found a good deal on pork chops last week when I was shopping. I'll make a rub with my favorite combo of spices (salt, pepper, garlic, Italian seasonings) and then cook them up in my IP. I'll serve rice and a salad on the side.

Chicken Noodle Soup
Homemade chicken broth, chicken, a few veggies and noodles equals YUM! And with the cooler weather a pot of soup is sounding good. Crackers and a salad will round out the meal.

It's been a while since I made meatloaf and it sounds like a good choice this week. I'll make mashed potatoes and cook up a veggie to go with it. Not sure what veggie yet, I'll see what looks good when I go shopping this week.

I never did get the chili made that I had on my menu last week, so if I need another meal for the week, it will be chili. This should do it for us!

Happy menu planning!!


Saturday, September 3, 2016

Instant Pot Spaghetti – New YouTube!

Spaghetti was always one of my go to dinners when I needed something quick and easy. With the Instant Pot, well, it only got easier and quicker!

Below is a short little YouTube on how to make spaghetti in an Instant Pot (electric pressure cooker). The recipe is below the video.

Instant Pot Spaghetti

1 lb hamburger
1 small onion, chopped
1t salt
1 ½ t Italian seasonings
1t granulated garlic
1 can or jar spaghetti sauce, 24 oz
1 can/jar of water (the can or jar the spaghetti sauce was in)
8oz angel hair pasta**

Turn Instant Pot (IP) to “Saute” and wait until it gets hot. When it says “Hot” add hamburger and chopped onion and cook until the hamburger is browned. Turn IP “Off”. Add spices. Add spaghetti sauce and water and stir. Add pasta (it fits better if you break the pasta in half). Stir around a little, just enough to submerge most of the pasta in the liquid.

Put lid on IP and press “Manual”. Make sure knob at top is set to “Sealing”. Set the timer for 3 minutes. It will take a few minutes to come up to pressure, then the timer will count down. When the time is up, it will beep. Turn IP “Off” and do a Natural Pressure Release (NPR) by turning the knob to “Venting”. When the pressure is released the the pressure valve will drop down and you can open the lid.

Carefully open the lid and stir and serve your yummy spaghetti!

**If you are using regular spaghetti instead of angel hair spaghetti you will need to cook for 4 minutes.