The Instant Pot

Have you heard of the Instant Pot? Do you have one? It’s something I’ve been wanting to get but I have to admit it is a little intimidating to me. Plus, I am a really picky eater and weird about food and the thought of cooking meat in just minutes kind of freaks me out a little bit. I like my meat overcooked and crispy. Anyone with me on that? I know, I know… I’m kind of a weird one.

An Instant Pot looks kind of like a crock pot, the main difference is instead of taking all day to cook something, the Instant Pot speeds up cooking and uses 70% less energy. I have a friend that swears by her Instant Pot and uses it almost daily. She ones made this chicken with this Winger’s sauce (remember the restaurant Wingers?) and then she put it over a salad. It was so good!  When I asked her which brand she recommends, she said she uses the Instant Pot brand (affiliate link). That is the brand that I have been researching and watching for good deals on.

To be honest, I really don’t like to cook and if something like the Instant Pot could help simplify my life, it might be worth the investment of $50-100, depending on the features. For example, there is one that has Bluetooth and connects to your phone. There is lux series that comes in a mini or all the way up to an 8-quart. It has 12 smart built-in programs that allow you to make soups, meats, eggs, rice and even a cake, to name a few.  And all of that in a matter of minutes instead of all day.

So help me out, if you have an Instant Pot and you love it or hate it I want to know. I also need some tips and recipes so please share those with me too. And if I end up getting one I’ll post what I think about it.

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The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies

Just in time for the holidays! These chocolate chip cookies are sure to be the talk of the party. There is one secret ingredient that makes all the difference! Should I tell you what it is? It the Ghiradelli milk chocolate chips. Now, these are not your typical chocolate chips. They are like at least three times the size of a regular chocolate chip. My kids love these cookies and usually have them gone as soon as they come out of the over because warm, doughy cookies are the best.


Shop kitchen essentials from Hamilton Beach at Walmart.com
HOW TO MAKE THE BEST CHOCOLATE COOKIES EVER

INGREDIENTS

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 cup Crisco butter flavor baking sticks softened

2/3 cup brown sugar

2/3 cup granulated sugar

2 teaspoon vanilla

2 large eggs

1/4 cup milk

1 package Ghiradelli Milk Chocolate Chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine baking soda, flour and salt in a bowl. In another bowl mix together Crisco, sugars, vanilla until creamy. Add eggs. Slowly add in flour mixture. If the dough is too thick add some milk to make it a little more creamy. Stir in chocolate chips. Drop tablespoon size balls onto an ungreased baking sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes. Eat them warm or let them cool a little and dip them in milk.

 
Get your kitchen ready for the holidays with Hamilton Beach products from Walmart.com

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Insalata Grande

The title sounds so fancy!

Lately salads have been my top choice for meals. Maybe it’s because of my get fit and healthy quest for 2017. I don’t know? You’d think with the weather we’ve been having I’d be going for comfort foods like soups and pot pies and meat and potatoes.

There is a little pizza shop in Farmington called Settebello. It’s special to me. It’s one of my favorite restaurants and it’s where I meet my 2 besties for lunch 2-3 times a month. We’ve been going there since they opened and before that we would go to the one in Salt Lake.  Shauna introduced us to it on our way back from one of her cancer treatments. We got it to go and went back to her house and ate it and talked and laugh. So maybe why it’s our go to spot. All I can say is I’ve gotten take out from there before and it’s not nearly as good as it is when us friends are all together there.

Anyway, my point for this post is to talk about the salad I get with my pizza. It’s called Insalata Grande and it is delicious. Normally I don’t venture out and try new things but when they added this to the lunch menu I decided to try it — good choice. So the other night the salad sounded so good, but since it’s a good 30 minutes away and we have been pretty much snowed in I decided to recreate the salad on my own and it was so good I’d thought I’d share the recipe… and put it here because I know it won’t get lost – haha!

Here is how I made it…

I got the mixed greens from the salad bar at Smith’s Marketplace because for some reason the lettuce in the bag looked brown and old. Which this actually was a good idea because I knew I’d be the only one eating it so I got plenty of greens just for me for $1.00 and didn’t have to worry about the rest of a bag going to waste.

Next, I went to the olive bar there at Smith’s and got a half a pound of the grilled artichoke hearts and kalamata olives. They had marinated artichoke hearts that tasted like they’d been pickled and olives with pits in them so make sure you get them without.

Lastly, I got a tiny bit of pine nuts from the healthy food section. Pine nuts are $19.99 a pound! So I just got what I needed which cost around .75. The pine nuts are the icing on the cake and so good.

And that’s it! I forgot the tomato but it was fine and flavorful without it. At the restaurant they add shaved parmigiano reggiano and balsamic vinaigrette, I leave those off. They do have a delicious spicy olive oil that I love to add to the salad and my pizza.

Another good salad that you can buy from the deli section at Smith’s is the superfood salad. It is so good! It has kale, sunflower seeds, craisins, blueberries, edamame and so much more. Next time you’re there ask them for a sample.

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Frushi

If you’re looking for a healthy and delicious snack this one is sure to hit the spot. It looks like sushi but is made with a wheat tortilla, almond butter and fruit, making it frushi. I recently wrote a couple articles for the Standard-Examiner’s Health & Wellness magazine. Thank goodness I know a few people that were more than willing to help out. Stacy Springer who owns Einstein’s Kitchen invited Joan and I over to her amazing home and made a healthy snack and a healthy meal. I photographed the steps as she prepared the food. Then we ate it all gone. It was so good. I wish I had her mad cooking skills. I really need to take one of her cooking classes because she is amazing. She even sent me home with a sushi roll for the kids, but do you think it made it home? Ooops!

Anyway, this is Stacy’s amazing recipe. I’ve been making this for lunch and for an afternoon snack. It’s nice to have something already made and on hand when we’re feeling hungry.

Frushi

Ingredients:

4 whole wheat tortillas

4 bananas

2 Granny Smith apples, thinly sliced, sticks

4 tablespoons maple almond nut butter

4 strawberries

1/4 cup Pomegranate arils.

Directions:

Lay down four pieces of tortilla. On each tortilla spread out almond butter, put peeled banana in the center, place apple sticks on either side of banana. On top of the banana place sliced strawberries, then roll up as tightly as possible. Before wrapping the edge, place a little more almond butter to help keep the roll together. Slice into 1-inch sections and top with pomegranate arils.

 

Frushi.3 Frushi.5

 

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Pork Chops & Noodles

This recipe has been in the family for as long as I can remember. My grandpa used to make it for me when I was little, however he would use Ramen and I just can’t get myself to eat Ramen. My mom used to make it all the time too and we loved it, even the friends did. She would use some Chinese egg noodle that I can’t ever find, so I just use angel hair pasta. A few years ago an old friend messaged me on Facebook (I hadn’t seen her in years) and she wanted my mom’s pork chop and noodle recipe. I said only in exchange for her mom’s cinnamon roll recipe (which was a good trade by the way). All of my kids LOVE it and beg for me to make it– well except for the one really picky one.

IMG_2630(1)

The recipe is quick, simple and easy to prepare:

Thin pork chops (1-2 per person. You can use thicker pork chops but I think the thin is much better)

Season-All

1 package angel hair pasta

2 cans Campbell’s Consomme (found by the soup)

Green onions (optional, but make it so yummy)

Place pork chops in a pan on the stove top. Sprinkle with Season-All. Cook till done.

Cook pasta as instructed on package.

Warm Consomme as instructed on package.

When all is done, put pasta in a bowl.

Cut up pork chops and slice onion.

Add Consomme, pork chops and onion to bowl with noodles in it. Enjoy!

This amount will serve 6-8 people, including 5 really hungry boys.

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Top 5 places to eat/shop in St. George

One of my favorite places to visit in this beautiful state that we live in is St. George. In fact, if I could move there I would. It’s always warm, the houses are beautiful and there is so much to do.

A couple of weeks ago I headed south to the St. George Parade of Homes. It has been a tradition for about 10 years and is something I look forward to every February.

Part of that tradition is going to eat at our favorite places and shopping at our favorite stores. If these places ever went out of business Cyd and I would be so sad!

Here is the list — if you are in town be sure to stop by and support these places:

  1. Tiki Island Broiler – 144 W Brigham Rd. Ste. 14
  2. Ichiban Sushi & Seafood Buffet – 969 N 3050 E
  3. The D.I in St. George has such a fun collection of treasures.
  4. This T.J. Maxx has the BEST clothes, shoes, furniture and more.
  5.  Last but not least, Fabulous Freddies. Yes I’m talking about a gas station. This gas station has styrofoam cups and yummy pebble ice.

Where is your favorite place to eat/shop in Southern Utah?

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Party Slush

Here’s the thing, this is the best slush ever and it is perfect for every occasion. The problem is I can never find the recipe for it. The recipe comes from my friend Cyd. Last time she gave it to me I told her I would write it down. Her response, “ya right.” So I’m not only writing it down, I’m also putting it here and on Pinterest.

Here is the original recipe for Marla’s Slush. I like original recipes, but hopefully you can read it. One change I make is I add frozen raspberries instead of the fruit mentioned.

slush

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Superbowl Party Ideas

It’s really bad when I start laughing so hard I can’t stop! That’s what happened in this week’s show when Joan and I try to do a football quiz. I should know this stuff! I mean I do have SIX boys who love football! Oh well, at least I can plan a party and make the game fun for them. If the video doesn’t come up, watch it here.

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Chick-fil-A’s new side item

IMG_1982Chick-fil-a’s new Superfood Side Salad is so delicious!  I had a sample of it last weekend at the Spring Bridal Gathering so when I took the kids there today for lunch I had to add it to my order — along with the must have nuggets, lemonade and I stole a couple of fries from the kids.

So, I guess it is pretty healthy. It has Chopped Broccolini® which I had never heard of. It’s like broccoli but a little softer and lighter — so good, and a yummy kale blend. The best part  though was the dried sour cherries and roasted nut blend. I normally don’t like dressing on my salad but the sweet and tangy maple vinaigrette dressing actually made this the perfect side to an already great meal.

 

Next time you are at Chick-fil-A try it out! Just writing about it makes me want to go back for more.

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