Category Archives: Random

Pressure Cooking

On Christmas Day, Hubby and I got an electric pressure cooker from his mother.  I had never used a pressure cooker before Christmas.  We used it to make the green beans for our Christmas Dinner.

Once it got to our house, it got sat on a bench in our kitchen but not used.  The reason it wasn’t used was because I really did not know what I was doing with the pressure cooker.

This weekend I actually moved it from the bench to the counter.  We’ve had soup on Friday night.  I’ve also cooked a roast in the electric pressure cooker for tonight’s dinner.  Later I plan to make some potatoes in the pressure cooker.

My joke is that I can’t make great mashed potatoes or hard boiled eggs the traditional way.  I’ve been “hard boiling” eggs in the oven for 2 years now.  This morning I attempted to make hard boiled eggs in the pressure cooker.  The Imaginative One told me they were delicious.  Success.  I’ll share the method I used to make the hard boiled eggs later.

I’m hoping I’ll have the same success with my mashed potatoes for tonight’s dinner.

pressure cooker

Here’s my new pressure cooker.  Most people are getting the Insta-Pot but since this was a gift I’m not complaining.  The problem is there is not much information about the Bella Electric Pressure Cooker on in the Internet.

As I experiment with the pressure cooker, I’m going to share some of my recipes I’ve made.

Here are some blogs that are good starting points if you are going to start pressure cooking:

  1. Mel’s Kitchen Cafe – She had a blog post the other day discussing pressure cooking.
  2. Pressure Cooking Today – Lot’s of good recipes
  3. Hip Pressure Cooking – There is a beginner’s “class” for pressure cooking on this blog site.  The author of this blog shows you different ways to use your pressure cooker.
  4. Dad Cooks Dinner
  5. Pressure Cooker Diaries

What are your thoughts on pressure cooking?

Happy eating,
Traci

Weekly Ramble – October 17, 2015

I’ve signed up for a 31 day  writing challenge.  Everyday in October, I am posting a new slow cooker recipe, a link to a previous posted slow cooker recipe, or a link to a recipe from another blog.

This week I’ve shared many recipes.  Click on the pictures of the recipes to go to the recipe.

potato soup
Potato Soup

To save the recipe on Pinterest

Easy Slow Cooker Pot Roast
Easy Slow Cooker Pot Roast

To save the recipe on Pinterest.

Crockpot Ravioli
Crockpot Ravioli

To save the recipe on Pinterest.

Slow Cooker Cheese Steak Sloppy Joes
Slow Cooker Cheese Steak Sloppy Joes

To save the recipe on Pinterest.

Easy Pulled Pork
Easy Pulled Pork and an Easy Trick to shred the pork

To save the recipe on Pinterest.

Balsamic Roast
Balsamic Roast

To save the recipe on Pinterest.

Last Sunday, we went to an Apple Butter Festival for our lunch.  We didn’t eat any apple butter because the line was SUPER long.  The boys got to help stir the apple butter while it was cooking though.  They really enjoyed doing that.

apple fest

On Wednesday, I went with my school down to Cincinnati to the Freedom Center.  For some reason, the class I was chaperoning and another class went to the third floor.  The rest of the classes went to the second floor.  Since I was on the third floor, I had a great view of the Ohio River.  While the other chaperones were watching the restrooms, I watched the students who were not in the bathroom.  I took that opportunity to quickly take a picture of the view.

Later in the day, Google pictures stylized the picture.  I love the look of the picture because it looks like a postcard.  (Click on the picture to find out more information about the Freedom Center.  It’s an interesting place.)

View of the Ohio River from the Freedom Center

When I did my research for slow cooking recipes, I noticed a few of the recipes used a casserole Crockpot.  I was interested in the casserole Crockpot and decided I was going to treat myself to one for completing the 31 day writing challenge.  One reason I want it is so that I can use it on Thanksgiving.  I’m going to be cooking the side dishes and desserts for Thanksgiving while my mother-in-law cooks the turkey.

On Thursday I was at Target and quickly looked at the crock pot aisle.  I found the casserole Crockpot on sale for $29.  So I took it as a sign that I needed that crockpot then.  This morning I made Hubby and Wee One French toast and bacon and then put it in the casserole Crockpot to keep warm until they were ready to eat breakfast.

French toast and baconSo very convenient!

I'm Hungry

Today’s slow cooker meal is not a real meal but a kitchen tip.  Did you know you can make freezer kits for slow cooking meals?  It makes life so much easier.  Make a batch ahead of time.  Then place the meals into freezer bags.  The night before you are going to cook the dinner, pull the meal out of the freezer into the fridge to allow it defrost.  Then on the morning you are going to cook the meal, you just put the food in the slow cooker.  (Sometimes I don’t even defrost the meal.)

I saw a great idea where you make the bags and place inside a bread pan.  Then you freeze the bag inside the bread pan.  The freezer bag would be a perfect size for the freezer and the food inside would fit into the crockpot.

Here is the blog post about freezer kits with some links of blogs that have great slow cooking recipes that could be frozen.

Screen-Shot-2014-10-01-at-1.48.07-PM

If you enjoyed this recipe, please share it on Facebook or Pinterest.  Here is a link to my Facebook page and my Pinterest page.

To check out the rest of the recipes I’ve shared during this challenge, click on this link.

Oh and please check back during the first week of November.  I’m planning a small giveaway.  No, it is not a crock pot.  More information will be forthcoming about the giveaway.

Happy eating,
Traci

Welcome!

Welcome!

 This October I decided to take the 31 day challenge of writing / posting a post every day in October.  My topic for the challenge is Slow Cooking Meals.  
image

My crazy self decided I need a separate blog dedicated to slow cooking.  My goal is to post at least once a week or once every other week with a new slow cooking recipe.  That is once the challenge is over with.

So why do I like slow cooking so much?  Slow cooking allows for me to get food on the table on a consistent basis.  I can prepare the meals the night before and then start the crock pot in the morning or prepare them in the morning to cook all day.  (If I do it in the morning, I do have some prep done before hand.)

My family gets fed delicious meals and I don’t have to worry about Hubby fixing our dinner.  I usually have to give him specific directions if he is to cook dinner for us.

Why do you like slow cooking?  How does slow cooking help you?  Or do you not like slow cooking?  Why is that?  Please comment below.

In future posts, I’ll introduce you to my crock pot that I use on the daily basis.  I have 3 others that I don’t use as much.  I’ll talk about tips and tricks.  

On my other blog, I posted a recipe/ method for “baking” potatoes in the crock pot for an easy meal or even part of a baked potato bar.

Let’s cook it slow together!

Happy eating,
Traci

Weekly Ramblings – October 3, 2015 and 31 days of Slow Cooking Day 3

This week we had a home cooked meal four out of the five work days.  The fourth day was out to eat before a concert.  I felt much more accomplished.

The slow cooker was used for all four meals which made getting dinner on the table easier.  The family was super happy having a home cooked meal.

Last week we bought some apple butter at the Apple Fest.  Three of us have been eating biscuits with the apple butter with our dinners.  Imaginative One didn’t want any of the apple butter.  Instead he ate the biscuits with grape jelly.  The apple butter has been a great treat.

Recipes shared this week:

Gelatin Poke Cake - Inside the cake
Gelatin Poke Cake
Pumpkin Pie Spice
Pumpkin Pie Spice

I'm Hungry

Onto the slow cooker recipe for the day.  Hubby LOVES chicken and dumplings.  So I found a recipe for chicken and dumplings to share today.  It’s going on our menu for next week.  Boy will Hubby be happy.

Slow Cooker Chicken and Dumplings

For the other recipes, 31 days of slow cooking

Happy Eating,

Traci

I’m Sorry

I haven’t been posting any recipes or my menu plan this week.  Last week I battled a nasty sinus infection.  I thought I got better from it.  Then my boys got sick.  They were very sleepy and weren’t eating very much.  The Wee One ended up staying home from school for two days last week.  Fortunately the Imaginative One got sick over the weekend so he didn’t miss school.

Monday night came and I started to come down with a headache and sore throat.  It was persistent into Tuesday, Wednesday, and into today.  I went to Doctor’s Urgent Care and it isn’t the flu or Strep A.  I’m on antibiotics for it.  I’m not allowed to go back to work until Monday.  Since I was basically down for two days I haven’t been in the kitchen or at the computer.

Tonight was the first time I was able to tell Hubby what was in the fridge/freezer that he could cook up or warm up.  His mom provided their supper last night and we did Tim Horton’s the night before.  I’ve been just trying to force myself to eat something.  Food is not too appealing to me right now.  It looks good but doesn’t taste the I would expect it to.  The bummer is that I’m not digging chocolate right now.  😦  I’ve enjoyed cuties.  I also craved Whopper Jrs. and Dr. Pepper.  Hubby got me those after the doctor’s appointment.  He was glad I wanted to eat something.

So when I feel better I’ll be back to blogging.

This Weather

Many states in the United States are currently deal with the Polar Vortex.  From my understanding, it is always around but this is this first time in 20 years that it’s gone so south and then stalled.  We are experiencing record lows that have not been felt in 20 years which was my first year in college.  I am surprised I don’t remember that because I went to a community college and would ride public transportation to and from school.  I would have to walk several blocks to catch the bus home even though I could ride a bus down there but I decided to be healthy most of the time by walking.  I don’t remember it getting that cold or I just forgot.

However I do remember when I came home from Walt Disney World in January of 1996.  I had been down there for the College Program.

Disclaimer:  Cell phones and the Internet were not as readily available as they are now.  In fact, I did not use the Internet until the summer of 1997 and did not own my first cell phone until my first year of teaching (2000-2001 school year).   Even then I rarely carried it around.

This day reminds me of the day I came home from my Disney internship 18 years ago. (We are having record-breaking cold weather. The forecast had been 8 to 12 inches of snow and we only got 1.5 inches of snow.)

I had talked to my mom before leaving for the airport. She told me that it was cold and snowy. It was 80 degrees in Lake Buena Vista, Florida and I was wearing shorts during that phone call.

Later on that morning, I got onto the plane (no longer in shorts) and never heard about the connecting flight from Atlanta to Dayton. Another person who had done the internship and I had taken the same flight home. We took times calling our family in the Dayton area. (Had to use the pay phone) The other person waited in line to find out information about our delay. We knew more from our family than we did from the Atlanta airport.

Almost 11 hours after we were suppose to take off, we finally did take off. (11ish at night). When we landed in Ohio, we were greeted with 8 inches of snow on the ground (looked it up today). I put on layers because I had no winter coat with me. We then hunkered down in the baggage claim area which was freezing because of the exterior flaps. One of the baggage claim carousals had some diet Pepsi and peanuts come through so that was our middle of the night snack. I had no pillow but did have a big Pumbaa stuffed animal. That ended up being my pillow. (It was about 2 am at this point.)

Between 6 and 7 am, we found one cab driver willing to drive me home. Even though the other young man lived really close to the airport, he rode with me to assure I got home safely.

I could not find the spare key outside the house and everyone was asleep. Luckily my grandma woke up to go to the bathroom. She heard me outside and let me in. (No cell phone because cell phones were nothing like we have today.) Even though they wanted to celebrate Christmas since I was in Disney on Christmas Day, I told them I was ready to sleep.

When I got up, we had to go to Wal-Mart because I had left all of my personal hygiene goodies in my apartment in Lake Buena Vista and my glasses had broken right before I had left.

Oh this was a Sunday into Monday ordeal . . . And we were only supposed to get 2-3 inches of snow that Sunday.  (The dates were January 7 into the 8th).

 

Four years later, I traveled down there with Hubby.  It was our honeymoon a year after we had married.  On the way home, we got stuck in Newark, New Jersey.  They had a plane for us but then all of a sudden there was no plane.  We ended up spending the night in the Newark, New Jersey airport.  The next 2 times we traveled to Walt Disney World were by car and when we go in March, we are once again driving.

What I’m Thankful For – Last 10

11.  Hubby – He’s been such a brave soul trying the new foods I’ve been cooking.  A lot of them, he’s actually liked 🙂  Yeah!

12.  My favorite book series – Leslie Meier’s Lucy Stone series, Joanna Fluke’s Hannah Swenson series – I love visiting my “friends” and catching up with them.

13.  Spring is almost here!  It’s a time of rebirth and renewal.  

14.  My family – They are very important to me.

15.  Foodie Pen Pals – I’ve done it in October, November, January, and February.  I love shopping for a new person and trying to figure out their likes and dislikes.  Then I get my package in the mail and I get to try new foods from different places in the US.  Okay my last one was from five minutes from the house.  This month the person who is sending me my box is from further away so that’s exciting.

16.  Going to the beach this summer – I love Charleston, SC.  We finally made a commitment to go to the beach.  Yeah!  I get to eat at my favorite restaurant there.  The boys are going to get to go to Piggly Wiggly.  They want to dump sand on grandpa down there.  We are going to Charlottesville, VA either on the way down or the way back.  

17.  the zoo – I love going there.  

18.  Coffee – Enough said there!

19.  Chocolate

20.  Being a teacher – There is nothing more fulfilling as teaching especially when the students have learned something new and are excited about it.

What I’m Thankful For – First 10

One of my challenges for Healthy Self is to make a list of 20 things you are thankful for.  It was suppose to be done on Monday.  Monday was such a crazy day for me so I didn’t get it done.  Yesterday I was just LAZY plus because of the changes in the atmosphere – AKA snow coming in – my head was bothering me.

So today I’m going to make my list:

1.  Snow day – I’m suppose to be testing today so this does stress me out some.  However I got almost half done on Monday because I knew this was a possibility.  Go me because these tests are L-O-N-G and one on one with the student.  

2.  The Imaginative One – He always gives me a run for my money with his random knowledge.  He loves to learn but doesn’t like to test (discussion in car the other day).  

3.  The Wee One – He had a music program on Monday night.  If he had a chance, he could have directed that program.  He was on top of the whole production.  There is a special needs student who visits his classroom.  He is so gentle and caring with the little boy.  During the production, he allowed the boy to play with his tie because he knew that the little boy needed that.  He also loves to learn.

4.  Losing 15.5 pounds in 2 months – On Monday, a retired teacher subbed in my room so I could test.  She hadn’t seen me since either September or October.  One of the first things out of her mouth was “You lost weight.”  Made me feel good that someone noticed my effort.  I’m down 2 pants sizes!!!!!  

5.  Learning to eat new foods – I never in a million years would have thought I would have loved eating shepherd’s pie made with sweet potato/cauliflower mash on the top.  I was absolutely delicious!  I also never thought I would make double chocolate chip muffins with avocados.  Actually I would never have thought I would eat avocados.

6.  Cuddles with the dog when he’s not sensitive to weather (shakes and won’t leave me alone)

7.  Cuddles with the Wee One 

8.  The Imaginative One showing affection or appreciation towards me – These moments are fleeting but appreciated.

 9.  Being able to cook healthy foods for my family – I constantly tell the boys how lucky they are their mom cooks them dinner.

10.  Photography – I love looking at nature in a different way when I’m taking photographs.  Nature is cool!  I also love taking pictures of the boys growing up.  I have a few pictures of my childhood.  I really wish I had more.  My memories are visual in nature and I really wish I had the picture to go with my memories so I could share them with the boys.