[Instant Pot] Insta-Spaghetti!

This recipe is one of my go-to lazy-cook dinners – especially helpful right now while I’ve been learning how to manage dinnertime with a newborn baby in the house! My back-pocket beef & veggie bolognese is lovingly known as “insta-spaghetti”, and while it’s not the same as your all-day ‘Sunday Sauce’ fancy bolognese affair, it is a filling, nourishing, very easy comfort food dish. The recipe combines grass-fed ground beef, lots of chopped mixed vegetables, canned tomatoes and whole-wheat pasta – all in one pressure cooker. 

Continue reading “[Instant Pot] Insta-Spaghetti!”

[Instant Pot] Freezer Meals: 5 Favorite Make-Ahead Healthy Dinner Recipes

As I waddled through the third trimester of my first pregnancy, my attention turned toward strategies for make-ahead meal prep and easy-cooking plans to keep myself well-fed this winter when my life turned happily upside-down!

That’s right… the time has come for us to dish about Instant Pot Freezer Meals! As part of my post-partum food prep strategy, I embarked on a little project to store a lineup of five of my favorite freezer-friendly pressure cooker dinners. Today I’m here to share what I’ve learned along the way – and all of the recipes too, of course!

Continue reading “[Instant Pot] Freezer Meals: 5 Favorite Make-Ahead Healthy Dinner Recipes”

[Sourdough] Overnight Cinnamon Rolls

Ever since I committed to powering all of my yeasted baking with sourdough starter, I’ve looked forward to perfecting a signature recipe for pillowy, enriched breakfast buns. Finally, the time has come! Just in time for Christmas morning (the cinna-bunniest day of the year), AND to celebrate the big debut of our very own bun-in-the-oven!

That’s right, there’s a baby in the house! Her name is Lola Jane and I love being her mom. We’ve been having a dreamily cozy winter at home with our new family of three, and I’m thankful I made time to set the scene with some homemade comforts like these (freezer-friendly!) cinnamon rolls. (I owe you another post with a rundown about the rest of my freezer-prep projects soon… stay tuned!)

Continue reading “[Sourdough] Overnight Cinnamon Rolls”

[Sourdough] Pumpkin Donuts

It’s not often that I fill my dutch oven with oil for deep-frying – but this pregnant lady felt like kicking off the Baking Season with a bang this year… and after prepping a big bowl of Insta-Pumpkin, I couldn’t stop dreaming of homemade sourdough pumpkin donuts!

On a perfect rainy Fall weekend morning, this batch warmed our hearts and earned true epic status by featuring three sweet topping options: spiced cinnamon sugar, salted maple glaze, and dark chocolate glaze. Choose your own adventure, or choose all three like me! 

Continue reading “[Sourdough] Pumpkin Donuts”

[Instant Pot] Insta-Pumpkin! DIY Pressure Cooker Pumpkin Puree

I love and respect canned pumpkin as much as the next fall baking enthusiast – but if you have a local source for fresh pie pumpkins to take advantage of, you can’t beat your Instant Pot for the easiest way to prep your own pumpkin from scratch. A pressure cooker can make quick work of dense vegetables like pumpkin – instead of baking in the oven for a whole hour, you can get your squash fully cooked in just 15 minutes under pressure.

I’ve seen a lot of noise online about pumpkin puree, so I must submit my Hot Take on the juicy controversies:

canned pumpkin isn’t really pumpkin!” … let’s settle down with the labels, man! Botany is not so black-and-white. It’s true that the “Dickinson Pumpkins” that the major producers source for their canned goods are a different species than the pumpkins at your grocery store, and that labeling regulations allow “canned pumpkin” products to contain different types of squashes within both of these species – but the reality is that “pumpkin” is just a vague term for, well, pumpkin-like squashes. Like many other common vegetables, “squash” is a broad category that covers several species and seemingly infinite varieties (I’ll refer to my favorite culinary botanist for the full trip down that rabbit-hole: Cucurbita Squash Diversity). 

fresh pumpkin puree is bland and watery and terrible for baking” … Nonsense! Don’t let Big Pumpkin tell you there’s anything you can’t accomplish with fresh ingredients in your own kitchen. It may be true that your favorite brand of canned puree is reliably flavorful/sweet/dense – but in the many articles I’ve seen urging readers to not waste their time cooking fresh pumpkin, all of them end with a comment section full of dissenters who treasure their annual fresh pumpkin pies.

Continue reading “[Instant Pot] Insta-Pumpkin! DIY Pressure Cooker Pumpkin Puree”

Edible Yardwork: Year 2

Following up from last year’s post, I wanted to document another quick progress report as we continue to work toward cultivating an edible landscape here in the wild yard of our home in Sequim, WA. This year had its ups and downs, but overall we saw some big improvements in our gardening efforts as we start getting a little more accustomed to the climate!

Continue reading “Edible Yardwork: Year 2”

[Instant Pot] Dark Chocolate Greek Yogurt Cheesecake

Today we revisit the first and most popular of my Instant Pot dessert recipes: the classic Greek Yogurt Cheesecake. This time… it’s chocolate! Sometimes the occasion calls for chocolate cheesecake, and this is my go-to method for turning my basic recipe into a super-rich and deeply chocolate-ized treat.

Aside from revealing my chocolate-ization techniques (!) – the other reason I’ve been overdue to return to this recipe is that I’ve discovered a new cheesecake crust that I’m WAY into. Believe it or not, the secret ingredient is dried almond pulp, which I am always scheming to get rid of because the man in my house has a serious DIY almond milk habit (the pulp is the mass that remains after soaking/blending/pressing to make nutmilk). This coarse almond meal does a beautiful job replacing graham crackers in a crumb crust – it comes out less sweet than a graham crust, which I appreciate, and gains a tasty nutty quality. Another added bonus for some of you: it’s gluten-free, too!

Continue reading “[Instant Pot] Dark Chocolate Greek Yogurt Cheesecake”

[Instant Pot] Double-Decker Coffee Pot Roast + Butternut Mash

Double Decker Dinner is a personal favorite Instant Pot recipe theme, all about finding the right combination of foods that pair together as a balanced meal and that can be stacked and cooked at the same time in the same pressure cooker. It’s one-pot wonderful! 

I’ve been told that my grandmother cooked a famously aromatic pot roast made with coffee. Unfortunately nobody knows the recipe, so I imagined how I would like it to taste. Deeply savory, slightly bitter but countered with natural sweetness from onions, enhanced with thyme and bay leaf, and finished with a touch of syrupy acidity from aged balsamic vinegar. I gave it a shot, and it was love at first bite. Now, I am here to make sure nobody loses this recipe!

Continue reading “[Instant Pot] Double-Decker Coffee Pot Roast + Butternut Mash”

[Instant Pot] Broccoli Cheddar Soup

Cozy comfort food – it’s what I need right now! This creamy soup is made from roasted broccoli, real sharp cheddar cheese, and an earthy-sweet foundation of onions, carrots and celery. It’s also enriched (in both the culinary and nutritional sense) with a healthy dose of hemp seeds, which blend into a creamy texture without any need to add actual cream.

Reflecting on my favorite soup recipes, it’s hard not to notice a pattern: there are a lot of creamy soups made with roasted vegetables. Why? First, because roasting makes vegetables delicious! Second, because it reflects an efficiency in my food-prep workflow. If it’s the weekend and I’m heating up my oven to cook dinner or bake anything, I always try to double-down and bake or roast several foods in that single session. It saves time and energy, and it’s always handy to have extra roasted veggies on hand. 

Continue reading “[Instant Pot] Broccoli Cheddar Soup”

Broccoli Sprout Pesto

Fresh broccoli sprouts are a staple food in my kitchen, especially in the winter when it’s the main home-grown vegetable crop we’ve managed to keep in season. Sprouting is one of the simplest ways to grow your own fresh food, especially for people limited by their climate, space constraints, or urban captivity. You don’t need access to the outdoors or even a sunny windowsill, because seeds are designed by nature to push their own way through dirt and set sail with their first leaves before they can start catching solar energy to power their growth. 

By the time they reach that point, these tiny plants are brimming with glucosinolates, the precursors to isothiocyanates, which are plant defense compounds known for their hormetic anti-inflammatory and anti-carcinogenic impact on the humans who eat them. This story mirrors the one about garlic and allicin – again, tissue damage (the plant’s sense that it is being eaten!) is a trigger for the conversion of a stable storage molecule into a reactive defense molecule. In the case of broccoli sprouts, myrosinase is the enzyme that converts glucoraphanin into sulforaphane. For the same reason we chop garlic before cooking to maximize its potency, it is also optimal to break down broccoli sprouts. My favorite way is pesto.

Continue reading “Broccoli Sprout Pesto”