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!

2016 resolutions

What’s old is new again, especially with my resolutions this year. 2015 was quite a year. In fact, I found out I was pregnant a mere seven days into the year. (A year ago today, you might note.) Shortly after that positive pregnancy test, my 10+ weeks of constant nausea set in and most of the 2015 resolutions I wrote about went out the window.

So, let’s replay 2015’s resolutions, eh?

Our life this year is 10,000% different than it ever has been: balancing an infant (he’s older than three months and no longer considered a “newborn”) with a full-time job, a side business, wanting to see my friends and family, and getting some actual sleep will take some work. We’ve laid a solid foundation, but have our balancing work cut out for us this year. So the word of my year is balance.

Here are my 2016 resolutions. You’ll recognize some redundancy from 2015:

Eat balanced. Every year we end up with a new approach to food (20152014, 2013, 2012) and 2016 is no different. It is, however, a bit more relaxed than years past. In 2015 I was nauseated for more than 1/5 of the year, often only able to eat plain quinoa or mozzarella, dropping 12 lbs during my first trimester. Thanks to the hottest summer on record in Seattle and no air conditioning at our house, I retained a lot of water and gained more than 50 lbs over the rest of my pregnancy. I was very lucky that I lost all the weight very quickly (to the detriment of my gall bladder, but that’s another post for another day) but that 60+ lb fluctuation makes me want to be kind to my body, trying my best to eat healthy, good whole foods (along with a cookie every now and again, but not one daily).

No special ingredients this year. No rotating cookbooks. Just real, good food. We’ll continue purchasing organic when we can and I’ll focus my meal planning on quick and balanced meals. I’ll post some of my favorite recipes here, don’t you worry. I’ll also try and write up the reviews of the cookbooks we tried out in 2015. It was a ton of fun and we found some great recipes.

Physically balanced. Carrying around a 15+ lb weight (Baby Michael) is new this year, and I need to make sure I’m in shape for him. That could mean getting off the bus a few stops early or waking up early to hit the 7:30 a.m. barre class on Saturdays, or even indulging in a massage a pedicure; spending time taking time to take care of myself. I’m still a dedicated FitBit user and have set my daily step goal to 10,000 steps daily. It doesn’t seem like a lot, but it’s a lot more than I’ve been walking the past year, so 10k it is. I’m also making time for taking care of myself.

Drink balanced. As a breastfeeding mom, I have to drink a lot of water to maintain my supply. I plan on continuing this in 2016. Besides, it’s good for both me and Baby Michael. When I said our wine cellar was bursting at the seams last year, I wasn’t kidding. Add in nine months of really cutting back our wine drinking and we have too much wine!! Rather than waiting for a special event to uncork our “expensive” bottles, we’ve been drinking from the cellar and really enjoying ourselves. This will continue in 2016 and beyond!

Be balanced. I’m recycling this one straight up from 2015. Cheers to an amazing 2016!

2015 2016 resolutions

{Wine Wednesday} Girl Scout cookie + wine pairings


Yes, you read that right: Girl Scout cookie and wine pairings! A few of my favorite things coming together. 

I found this gem on Pinterest with a blog post with some great pairings:

Girl Scout Cookie and wine parings

From JDomb’s Travels:

Thin Mints

Ah, Thin Mints. I think those are just about everyone’s favorite. What’s not to love? Dark chocolate enveloping a mint flavored cookie. The great news is that wine and chocolate is a kick-ass pairing! Because of the mocha flavors and complex layers of spice in Syrah, it was made for pairing with dark chocolate.

Try 2009 Fable BOBBEJAAN Syrah $48 per bottle.


Sweet and little bit salty, samoas are so addictive with the gooey caramel, toasted coconut, and of course chocolate. The slightly carbonated and lightly sweet Lambrusco compliments the rich Samoa very nicely. With earthy notes and flavors of red and black fruits, the mix of sweet and bubbly brings out the salinity of the Samoas.

Most Lambruscos cost less than $20. The best come from the Emilia Romagna region of Italy.


Not everyone’s favorite, but I love the buttery shortbread Trefoils. And a serving size is five cookies compared to just two Samoas for about the same amount of calories. Just saying… Sparkling wines and champagne cuts through the rich buttery flavor of the cookie. True champagnes can be expensive, but a fizzy Italian Prosecco is a match made in heaven with the Trefoil.

Try Ca’ Salina Rivete Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG Brut $12 per bottle.


Tagalongs, or Peanut Butter Patties, are the Girl Scouts’ version of the Reese Peanut Butter Cup. Like Samoas, they are a sweet and salty flavor combination. But is there a wine with a taste complexity that can handle peanut butter? A port from Portugal is the perfect pairing with peanut butter. Say that five times fast!

Try a 10-year old Tawny Port from Portugal’s Duoro Valley. You’ll find them for around $20 per bottle.

#WinewednesdayIn case you haven’t bought your cookies yet, you can find them in front of pretty much any grocery store, or you can visit the “find cookies” site or download the app. (My favorites are thin mints and tagalongs.)

You can also cook with Girl Scout cookies. Don’t believe it? Check out these posts from 2012, when “Girl Scout cookies” were an ingredient of the week:

Happy eating… and drinking! And most of all, happy Wine Wednesday!