Monday, March 20, 2017

Instant Pot Pasta and Meatballs

So, I got an instant pot.  On Amazon Prime day.  It was a super duper deal.  If you don't know what this is, you have been living under a rock.

It's a 6-in-1 or 7-in-1 combo appliance which is the best thing since sliced bread. Or so they say.  I heard lots about it forever and ever, before I finally bought one.  It's a Canadian invention, I think.  So, thanks!

Why did you need one?  Good question. I already have a crock pot, a rice cooker, a yogurt maker, and two pressure cookers.  Did I get rid of those?  Of course not.

Anyway, unfortunately I haven't tried a lot of things, because I'm too busy to try new recipes.  Thanks baseball.  And full time job.

What I *have* been using it for is recipes that I already made and liked, and adjusted.  The instant pot has been great for cooking dried beans (without paying attention to a pressure cooker).  I haven't tried yogurt (too busy for that).  I have a great recipe for Mediterranean chickpeas and rice - I used to make it in the stovetop pressure cooker, but I had issues with burning.  Perfect in the instant pot.

So here's the magic: one pot pasta.  I've waxed about how awesome this is before.  Problem is: it sticks to the bottom of my enamel cast iron dutch oven.  When I got the instant pot, I googled pasta.  I found a bunch of recipes.  I merged them together to try and match what I was already doing.

And so here it is, with one caveat: I've never done it.  It's totally my husband's meal, usually on Thursday but sometimes Monday.  I decided to blog it in case we accidentally throw away the back of the envelope that it is written on.

One (instant) pot pasta:
1/2 an onion, diced
other veggies as desired, diced
olive oil
1 24-oz jar of spaghetti sauce
1 24-oz jar of water
12 ounces of pasta (I use penne, fusilli, whole wheat works well too)
frozen meatballs (I think we use about 1/2 bag, so 8-12 ounces)

1.  Turn on the instant pot to saute. Add oil and onion and veg, saute until soft.
2.  Add pasta, sauce, water, and meatballs
3.  Press cancel on the pot to stop saute
4.  Close lid, make sure vent is turned to "close"
5.  Press "Manual"
6.  Set time to 5 minutes

It will start on its own.  Heat up, get to pressure, cook 5 min at pressure.  When done, let it natural release for 10 mins (counts down too), then open vent for quick release.

Enjoy.

Now, if you are a pasta snob...keep walking.  This absorbs the sauce into the pasta.  It's delicious.  It's easy.  The kids love it.  It's not fancy.  It won't come out al dente.  It's a bit mushier than the standard 1-pot pasta.  But I don't care.


Sunday, March 19, 2017

2017 Goals Week 10 & 11

Whoops, I guess I missed a week?  How did that happen?


1. Exercise: as of Saturday 3/18/17 

Running: 300 miles: To date: 54.19 miles  Whoo boy this went up a lot!  
Biking: 500 miles: To date: 38.84 miles (this week we had a birthday and sleep issues)
Swimming: 50 miles: To date: 7.31 miles (very sad.  Last week the pool was closed one day and the lifeguard didn't show one day.  This week I made it once).
Walking: 150 miles: To date: 44.14 miles
Weights/ yoga: 30 minutes a week (1560 this year): 368 minutes 

So, yesterday I ran a 10k race.  I finished in 1:12:19, a 11:39 pace.  Which is about 50 secs per mile faster than my training.  And I am PAYING for it today (ow).  I hit the carbs REALLY hard yesterday too.  I was pretty tired.

This was 3 minutes faster than the 10k that I did in September.  And it goes to show how they are all different.  I really enjoyed the course...along the ocean for a lot of it, quite a bit of it in dirt.  I run/ walk, so I played leap frog with 5 people for 4 miles until I could no longer leap them.  The old guy?  Turns out he's 73.

September was big, and I finished 47/87 in the 45-49 age group.
Yesterday was small, and I finished 10/10 in the same age group.  My coach was 3rd.

2. Grocery bill: Keep it under $7000 ($134.62/wk)$96.77 & $83.69.  My produce box was missing something this week too.  Hopefully I'll get a  credit.  $1323.51 so far, or $120.32/ week.  Not bad.  Hm.  I wonder if I'm missing some receipts.

3.  Weight: I have no idea.

4.  Family:
Go on 12 family hikes: fail. fail. fail.
Do game night once a week: More like daytime games on weekends.
I am enjoying the hikes with my friends on weekends with the run group, but have to get the kids out!  There's water in the creek!


5.  Crafts:
- Crochet a blanket - working on it.  It's looking good!

- crochet a purse: nothing
- participate in my quilting group's exchange: I cut a bunch of blocks.  We are all making 20 half square triangle blocks for each other.
- make 12 snowflakes: nothing
- attempt to make socks: I've pinned a bunch of instructions?  Right now we are cleaning out closets - never did dig through stuff after Christmas. Donating stuff to the elementary school rummage sale.  Not our school, but a different one.

6.  Sleep: Um.  So little guy had a cold.  Monday night, he woke up crying every hour.  So little sleep.  Tuesday night I slept like the dead.  Turns out it's because hubby slept with him.  Weds night was worse than Monday, because he just wouldn't let me leave his room.  I was awake for hours.  Friday night I couldn't sleep because of race nervousness and last night was awful because big kid had a sleepover.  Please don't ask me how last week was - I don't remember!

7.  Food: eat vegan 2 days a week. I'm not sure when or if I'm going to jump back on this train.

8.  Cookbooks: Try 1 recipe from every cookbook I own.  Ditto.  See #7. I'm making a lot of things over and over again.

9.  Work:
     a. Skills: Learn enough programming to automate the data pulls for problem lots (which requires pulling data from 2 different databases).  Haven't worked on this yet.  REALLY need to.
     b. Personal:  Don't engage.  Really.  

10.  Home: Contact contractor/ architect on adding a second bathroom.Nothing. But we did talk to the plumber about (finally) replacing the sewer line.  Nothing like $8k bill!  Haven't gotten the written estimate.  

Honda is going to be fine, still driving the rental.  It's an SUV and pretty sweet, but kinda big.

11.  Garden: actually plant tomatoes this year.  Baby steps. Nothing
Ooh, need to add: put some ground cover in the back dirt patch.  Now we are discussing hiring a landscaper to do the work.  Friend in the neighborhood.

12.  Spouse: once a month lunch date.  We went to the school fundraiser last weekend and had a great time.  Wasn't much of a date - we tend to socialize with others!

13.  Beverages:
- Drink less coffee and more tea (one cup coffee per day): Uh, lots of coffee this week.
- Do not buy any wine aside from my two wine club memberships.  I don't even drink that much anymore, but I did open a bottle Friday night. Bought two bottles at the school fundraiser.

- Drink two 24-oz bottles of water a day, minimum.  I managed this on my running days.

14.  Mom's nights/ dad's night once a month: Jan, check.  Feb, fail.

15.  Host friends.  Jan, check.  Feb, fail.  We did make it to the neighborhood potluck today.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Recipe Links - focaccia and orange muffins

Because these days, this blog has devolved back into what it was in the first place - a location where I can find the good recipes that I've made before...I'm posting links.

You see, finding the "right" recipe is hard.  Remembering it?  Harder.  Sometimes, I print out recipes.  I have a PILE over the microwave.  If it's good, it stays.  If not, I toss it.

Sometimes, I find a recipe on Pinterest. If I like it?  I copy it over to the "recipes I've made and like" file.

Sometimes, one of the recipes from my cookbooks is awesome, and I put it on the "cookbook" tab.

Sometimes, I made up a recipe and posted it here years ago.

Today, it's a couple of links for things we've made this week.  That I want to repeat.

First: orange muffins.  We used lemon and blood oranges.  Should reduce the sugar by 1/2 cup next time.

http://www.feedyourtemptations.com/fresh-orange-muffins/

Second: rosemary garlic focaccia.  Now, I used the focaccia recipe in my bread machine instructions, and just added the garlic and focaccia on top.  That was yummy BUT messy, as the garlic and focaccia just kept falling off.  So TODAY, I put it in the dough, and we'll see how it tastes.

https://www.keyingredient.com/recipes/222623649/shaved-garlic-and-rosemary-focaccia/

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

2017 Goals - Week 9

1. Exercise: as of Saturday 3/4/17 

Running: 300 miles: To date: 33.15 miles  (4.1 miles in pouring rain today)
Biking: 500 miles: To date: 19.4 miles 
Swimming: 50 miles: To date: 6.74 miles 
Walking: 150 miles: To date: 37.89 miles
Weights/ yoga: 30 minutes a week (1560 this year): 353 minutes 

2. Grocery bill: Keep it under $7000 ($134.62/wk)$127.23.  My produce box was missing 2 baskets of strawberries!  First ones of the season.  They said they'll give them to me next week.  I was really looking forward to them! 😪

3.  Weight: 139

4.  Family:
Go on 12 family hikes: fail. fail. fail.
Do game night once a week: More like daytime games on weekends.

5.  Crafts:
- Crochet a blanket - working on it

- crochet a purse: nothing
- participate in my quilting group's exchange: nothing.  I don't even remember what this is.
- make 12 snowflakes: nothing
- attempt to make socks: I've pinned a bunch of instructions?  Right now we are cleaning out closets - never did dig through stuff after Christmas. Donating stuff to the elementary school rummage sale.  Not our school, but a different one.

6.  Sleep: Meh, okay this week.

7.  Food: eat vegan 2 days a week. I'm not sure when or if I'm going to jump back on this train.

8.  Cookbooks: Try 1 recipe from every cookbook I own.  Ditto.  See #7.  Did make some blood orange/ lemon muffins that we improvised on.

9.  Work:
     a. Skills: Learn enough programming to automate the data pulls for problem lots (which requires pulling data from 2 different databases).  Haven't worked on this yet.  REALLY need to.
     b. Personal:  Don't engage.  Really.  

10.  Home: Contact contractor/ architect on adding a second bathroom.Nothing. But we did talk to the plumber about (finally) replacing the sewer line.  Nothing like $8k bill!  Haven't gotten the written estimate.  

On top of that, our car just got crunched pulling out of the driveway today.  Same thing happened EXACTLY 8 years ago.  A row of 3 big-ass SUVs parked in front of our house, blocking view of oncoming traffic.  Here's to hoping it's not totaled.  The car is 8 years old with only 60k miles on it.  It needs to live another decade.  It's a honda!

11.  Garden: actually plant tomatoes this year.  Baby steps. Nothing
Ooh, need to add: put some ground cover in the back dirt patch.  Now we are discussing hiring a landscaper to do the work.  Friend in the neighborhood.

12.  Spouse: once a month lunch date: nothing.  We need a date.  We will at least get one at the school fundraiser this coming weekend.

13.  Beverages:
- Drink less coffee and more tea (one cup coffee per day): Okay on this one.
- Do not buy any wine aside from my two wine club memberships.  I don't even drink that much anymore, but I did open a bottle Friday night. Something about having to drag my 4 year old out of preschool - carried him screaming and kicking to the car.  (He wanted daddy.)

- Drink two 24-oz bottles of water a day, minimum.  I managed this a couple of days.  I do best when I just fill my big bottle twice.

14.  Mom's nights/ dad's night once a month: Jan, check.  Feb, fail.

15.  Host friends.  Jan, check.  Feb, fail.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

2017 Goals - Week 8

1. Exercise: as of Saturday 2/25/17 - Not my best week due to rain and sleep.  I ran 2x, but didn't swim at all, and didn't bike either.

Running: 300 miles: To date: 29.01 miles  
Biking: 500 miles: To date: 9.6 miles 
Swimming: 50 miles: To date: 5.04 miles 
Walking: 150 miles: To date: 35.44 miles
Weights/ yoga: 30 minutes a week (1560 this year): 319 minutes 

2. Grocery bill: Keep it under $7000 ($134.62/wk)$993.88.  This was a big week.

3.  Weight: 136.2!  Stomach flu weight hasn't come back yet.

4.  Family:
Go on 12 family hikes: fail. fail. fail.
Do game night once a week: Lots of UNO

5.  Crafts:
- Crochet a blanket (a "thermometer" granny square blanket, based on the temperature each day). Moving along.  Afghan #1 will be 120 blocks and will end by the end of April.  Unfortunately, they must never reorder yarn at my Michael's.  I had to sub a different blue for the 50-60F already, and now it's almost empty.  And I had to sub ANOTHER blue.  The only way to get it online is to buy 3, and shipping is expensive.  So I could spend $49 and get free shipping, but that's WAY more yarn than I need, KWIM?

- crochet a purse: nothing

- participate in my quilting group's exchange: nothing.  I don't even remember what this is.
- make 12 snowflakes: nothing
- attempt to make socks: I've pinned a bunch of instructions?  Been really busy taking care of sick people.

6.  Sleep: Meh, okay this week.

7.  Food: eat vegan 2 days a week. I'm not sure when or if I'm going to jump back on this train.

8.  Cookbooks: Try 1 recipe from every cookbook I own.  Ditto.  See #7.  I made chili, but does it count if I change almost everything in the recipe?

9.  Work:
     a. Skills: Learn enough programming to automate the data pulls for problem lots (which requires pulling data from 2 different databases).  Haven't worked on this yet.
     b. Personal:  Don't engage.  Really.  

10.  Home: Contact contractor/ architect on adding a second bathroom.Nothing. But we did talk to the plumber about (finally) replacing the sewer line.  Nothing like $8k bill!  Haven't gotten the written estimate.

11.  Garden: actually plant tomatoes this year.  Baby steps. Nothing
Ooh, need to add: put some ground cover in the back dirt patch

12.  Spouse: once a month lunch date: nothing.  We need a date.  We will at least get one at the school fundraiser in March?

13.  Beverages:
- Drink less coffee and more tea (one cup coffee per day): I only had one cup today!
- Do not buy any wine aside from my two wine club memberships.  I went to pick up my wine shipment today. I hadn't been in awhile - and this is the winery that is 45 minutes away.  She said I had 2 shipments.  But I ended up with 6 bottles of wine.  That's more like 3 shipments (I get 1 red, 1 white - 3 times a year).  I was going to hit them up for donations for the auction - but I chickened out because they were packed.

So, I'm confused because when I get home, my 6 bottles are 2 white and 4 red.  Maybe they changed my membership?  My 2 bottle membership is old, and they don't offer it anymore - I got grandfathered in for years.  Anyway.

I figured since I rarely drink anymore, and my OTHER wine shipment comes in a week (another 6 bottles), that I would just donate wine from my personal stash to the auction.

- Drink two 24-oz bottles of water a day, minimum.  I managed this a couple of days.  Was really dehydrated this week.

14.  Mom's nights/ dad's night once a month: Jan, check.  Feb, fail.

15.  Host friends.  Jan, check.  Feb, fail.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

2017 Goals - week 7

1. Exercise: as of Saturday 2/18/17
Running: 300 miles: To date: 26.51 miles  
Biking: 500 miles: To date: 9.6 miles (made it one day, then got sick)
Swimming: 50 miles: To date: 5.04 miles 
Walking: 150 miles: To date: 32.11 miles
Weights/ yoga: 30 minutes a week (1560 this year): 276 minutes (School dance, weights)

2. Grocery bill: Keep it under $7000 ($134.62/wk)$828.20, only $19.20 last week.  That's super low for a few reasons: 1. I got a mild version of whatever stomach flu the kids had.  So I didn't eat much. 2. We were on vacation, so we ate out more. 3. We were on vacation, so we didn't get our produce box.  Actually, I'm *pretty* sure the total is bigger than this.  I think there's a missing receipt with milk and applesauce that's in my husband's wallet somewhere.  It will turn up later and end up on the year-end total.

3.  Weight: Scale had me down 3 pounds before the trip, and my pants were falling off me.  I'm sure they will come back though.

4.  Family:
Go on 12 family hikes: fail. fail. fail.
Do game night once a week: We played cards on our vacation to Legoland.

5.  Crafts:
- Crochet a blanket (a "thermometer" granny square blanket, based on the temperature each day). 50 blocks done out of 120!



The photo really doesn't do it justice.

- crochet a purse: nothing
- finish a quilting baby blanket: done.  Mailed.

- participate in my quilting group's exchange: nothing
- make 12 snowflakes: nothing
- attempt to make socks: I've pinned a bunch of instructions?  Been really busy taking care of sick people.

6.  Sleep: keep track of it and see if the low dose estrogen helps.  I was sick. Slept like crap. I'm having a really hard time with heat. It seems like I go to bed cold, then get hot.  When my husband comes to bed I have to strip down, and have been ending up on the couch.  The estrogen is NOT helping.  I think it's making it worse.  And I'm getting headaches.

7.  Food: eat vegan 2 days a week. No attempt at this while I have been sick.

8.  Cookbooks: Try 1 recipe from every cookbook I own.  Nothing this week.

9.  Work:
     a. Skills: Learn enough programming to automate the data pulls for problem lots (which requires pulling data from 2 different databases).  Haven't worked on this yet.
     b. Personal:  Don't engage.  Really.  Ugh Facebook.  Ugh Trump.  Americans are so stupid.  Do you know that in a single month, the cost to the US Taxpayers for him to go to FL has been $12 million??  That was the ANNUAL budget for the Obamas.  Make America broke again!!  I'd rather my tax bill go to subsidize the ACA.

10.  Home: Contact contractor/ architect on adding a second bathroom.Nothing. But we did talk to the plumber about (finally) replacing the sewer line.  Nothing like $8k bill!

11.  Garden: actually plant tomatoes this year.  Baby steps. Nothing
Ooh, need to add: put some ground cover in the back dirt patch

12.  Spouse: once a month lunch date: nothing.  We need a date.  We will at least get one at the school fundraiser in March?

13.  Beverages:
- Drink less coffee and more tea (one cup coffee per day): I haven't had coffee since Tuesday.  Tummy bug will do that.  Been enjoying green tea.  The hotel on this trip had Tazo Zen green tea with lemongrass and spearmint.  Yummy.
- Do not buy any wine aside from my two wine club memberships: I had a glass of wine at my winery before Valentine's day, and bought a bottle to donate to the school auction. 
- Drink two 24-oz bottles of water a day, minimum.  I managed this a couple of days.  Was really dehydrated this week.

14.  Mom's nights/ dad's night once a month: Done for Jan, not for Feb yet.

15.  Host friends.  Done for Jan, not for Feb.  Not gonna happen.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

2017 Goals - Week 6

Let me see if I can get back on track after taking care of sick people for 4 straight weeks, 3.5 of which were spent sleeping on the couch. I get to sleep in my own bed tonight, whee!

1. Exercise: as of Saturday 2/11/17
Running: 300 miles: To date: 22.4 miles  
Biking: 500 miles: To date: 0 miles (rain, sickness, more sickness)
Swimming: 50 miles: To date: 4.19 miles (oy, been gone weeks)
Walking: 150 miles: To date: 24.95 miles
Weights/ yoga: 30 minutes a week (1560 this year): 276 minutes (School dance, weights)

2. Grocery bill: Keep it under $7000 ($134.62/wk)$809.10, avg of $134.85.  Funny how a couple of weeks of sickies will do that.  Homemade bread, white rice, applesauce, saltines, and plain pasta are cheap!  Last 2 weeks were $101 and $71.  I don't expect that to stay that low.  I think my $7000 goal is going to be tough this year with growing boys.

3.  Weight: Still good.

4.  Family:
Go on 12 family hikes: We failed this month
Do game night once a week: Lots of games this week - Candyland, concentration, Olympus.  Not full family but pairs of people playing.

5.  Crafts:
- Crochet a blanket (a "thermometer" granny square blanket, based on the temperature each day).  It's coming along really well.  The low so far this year was in the 30s (purple) and the high was in the 80s (orange).  For reference, there are 3 unused colors.  Magenta (under 30), which we might not hit.  But if we go to the snow for spring break, we will.  (I want to use the temps where we physically are, not necessarily here in town.)  Red is 90-100, and Pink is >100.


The photo really doesn't do it justice.

- crochet a purse: nothing
- finish a quilting baby blanket: done.  I need to mail the sucker.  My friend is due ANY DAY.

- participate in my quilting group's exchange: nothing
- make 12 snowflakes: nothing
- attempt to make socks: I've pinned a bunch of instructions?  Been really busy taking care of sick people.

6.  Sleep: keep track of it and see if the low dose estrogen helps: It was okay.  Maybe I'm getting used to the couch.  I did not get up and go to the gym, however.

7.  Food: eat vegan 2 days a week. No attempt at this while kids are barfing and hubby is sick.  I'm losing steam.  But honestly, vegetarian has been easy.

8.  Cookbooks: Try 1 recipe from every cookbook I own.  Nothing this week.

9.  Work:
     a. Skills: Learn enough programming to automate the data pulls for problem lots (which requires pulling data from 2 different databases).  Haven't worked on this yet.
     b. Personal:  Don't engage.  Really.  Did okay here, unless arguing on FB about politics counts?  I can't help myself.  Some people are so young.  And stupid.  And young.

10.  Home: Contact contractor/ architect on adding a second bathroom.Nothing. But we did talk to the plumber about (finally) replacing the sewer line.  Nothing like $8k bill!

11.  Garden: actually plant tomatoes this year.  Baby steps. Nothing
Ooh, need to add: put some ground cover in the back dirt patch

12.  Spouse: once a month lunch date: nothing.  He was sick and I was doing triple duty (work/ kid/ household).  He's finally  healthy but was sick for almost 3 weeks.  I think we might try for a lunch date on Valentine's day.

13.  Beverages:
- Drink less coffee and more tea (one cup coffee per day): I think I managed this 5/7 days.
- Do not buy any wine aside from my two wine club memberships: No wine here!  I don't remember the last glass of wine.  But my winery is having a cupcakes and wine tasting this afternoon.  I'm tempted.
- Drink two 24-oz bottles of water a day, minimum.  I managed this at least 4 days.

14.  Mom's nights/ dad's night once a month: Done for Jan, not for Feb yet.

15.  Host friends.  Done for Jan, not for Feb.