What is One Appliance You Could Not do Without?

A little back story before we get started. . .

After selling Pampered Chef for many years I have a lot of kitchen gadgets but the ones that are getting the most use lately are not PC products. A little back story for ya. When I was growing up I had a real hard time choking down breakfast. I came from a family that truly believed breakfast was the most important meal of the day. My mom, besides being an awesome stay at home mom, sold vitamins on the side. This particular company had a protein shake mix that I loved and I started using that for breakfast. That all started when I was in the seventh grade, before that I did all I could to eat breakfast without puking. I have been using the protein shake/meal replacements ever since for breakfast.

Let’s talk kitchen gadgets. . .

The first item that is most loved and used at my house is the Nutri Bullet. (no, I am not being paid for any part of this post). Both my oldest son and myself use this little gem daily. I like a good fruit/protein smoothie and he likes a coffee/protein smoothie. I am on my second one of these because I sent the first one to college with Sprat. Recipes will be at the end of the post. Using some frozen fruit in my smoothie I really needed something that would pulverize the fruit to make a very smooth smoothie. Sprat makes his coffee smoothie with ice and instant coffee and protein powder. He needed something that would pulverize the ice. Having used many different traditional blenders or even those blender ball cups over the years I feel I am a pretty good judge of the Nuri Bullet and it wins hands down.

Who loves the soft pellet ice? ? ?

Is there anyone that does not love that soft pellet ice? I go to certain fast food places just for a drink because of that ice. You know what I am talking about. Since I have been working from home since the pandemic I have had my husband or the boys go and get me that “good” ice for my cup at home. Evidently they got tired of trecking out to find my “good” ice and they got me my very own, you guessed it, counter top soft pellet ice maker. We have had this little gem for about a year now and it is well used and loved. Sprat uses this ice for his coffee smoothie and let me tell you it is the best dog gone smoothie out there with no added sugar. Recipe to follow I promise.

How do you boil your eggs?

We got an Instant Pot almost three years ago. My boss raved over hers and how easy it was to use I decided I would try one out. Awesome appliance, you can do boiled eggs for deviled eggs in 6 minutes. Yes, I said 6 minutes. These eggs peel so easy, normally my eggs look like my dog peeled them. You can do corn on the cob in 2 minutes. You can do potato salad in your Instant Pot in 6 minutes by doing your potatoes and eggs at the same time. This is the recipe that sent me to WOW ! Almost anything you can do in a crock pot you can do in the Instant pot quicker.

Smoothie Recipes. . .

My fruit smoothie: pineapple (frozen or fresh), cherries frozen, 6 oz coconut water, thumb size piece of ginger, and 1/2 of a beet, and 1 scoop of protein powder. We use Vega protein powder (myvega.com), it is protein from plants. I blend all of this in my Nutri Bullet cup till smooth. Sprats Coffee smoothie, this is a recipe I adapted to my own from Pinterest. Dissolve 3 tsp instant coffee granules in 3/4 cup water, fill Nutri Bullet cup 1/2 way with the “good” ice, pour coffee mixture over the ice, 1/4 tsp vanilla, 2 tbs Hershey chocolate syrup, 1/2 cup milk (latte smoothie), 1-2 scoops of protein powder and blend. To make the coffee smoothie a little more decadent you could use heavy cream or half and half instead of milk.

Drink Recipes. . .

Since I have been cutting back on calories and not using caffeine I have become quite creative in my drink choices. The most recent combination I have been using is 2 oz grape juice and 6 oz diet ginger ale and a splash of lime juice. I have cut my Dr Pepper out almost completely. I still like the bubbles so I use the diet ginger ale. You can substitute cranberry juice for the grape juice if you like, I use both it just depends on what I have in the fridge. Of course this is poured over the “good” ice. When our cucumbers come in I add them to my water along with lemon and or lime slices and mint leaves from my herb bed. Nothing beats ice cold water with cucumber, lime/lemon, and mint.

Conclusion. . .

Please post in the comments your favorite kitchen appliance. Post any drink or smoothie recipes too. Always willing to try something new.

Stay Focused, Stay Positive

Trying to stay positive. . .

Trying to stay positive in all the drama. We planted the cut flower bed a few weeks ago and now it is so hot and dry that my flowers just look pitiful. My hope is that later everything will be established and be able to weather the Sahara of Arcadia. It could be pouring rain all over the County and in our neighborhood it will dry as the desert. Hence my comment on the Sahara.

The Mandevilla bed…
The hubbs beautiful tomato plants
Zucchini plants are all a bloom.
The celery was really good

Updates on everything. . .

Updates on everything: the hubbs and I are still working from home, the garden is feeding us very well, and the boys are doing their thing too. I am so proud of myself, I have made and frozen three pots of cabbage enchilada soup and two loaves of chocolate chip zucchini bread and a pot of potato soup and I do not want to forget the mountain stew. Last night I made a lemon zucchini pasta that was to die for. I will share that recipe later in the post. If it were just the hubbs and I we could live out of our garden, sadly the boys want meat and I cannot grow that in our garden. I am not a vegetarian or a vegan or anything like that I just do not have to eat meat. In fact, I prefer not to eat meat just because I do not like the texture.

I am dazzled. . .

I am dazzled by my hubby’s green thumb. Our garden is going like gangbusters this year and I know it is because we are blessed. Our peas did not do as well as we expected but I did enjoy those fresh little pearls of sweetness. I have high hopes for cantaloupe, honeydew, and watermelon this season. Our cucumbers and zucchini are just starting to mature. My goal, is a full freezer by Winter.

Recipe for lemon Zucchini pasta:

  • 2 medium Zucchini thinly sliced
  • 1 onion thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic pressed
  • 2 peppers sliced (jalapeno, banana, green, red what ever you like)
  • fresh basil leaves
  • fresh oregano leaves
  • fresh lemon thyme
  • olive oil
  • white wine
  • 1 lemon juiced
  • Parmesan cheese
  • whole wheat pasta

Saute onion, peppers and garlic in olive oil then add Zucchini and a splash of white wine. While that is cooking, cook your pasta. I like the whole wheat angel hair pasta personally. After your Zucchini is soft add your fresh herb leaves and your lemon juice and cover and let simmer, if it seems dry add a little more white wine. Once your pasta is done top with your Zucchini mixture and a little fresh Parmesan.

Stay tuned I will share my enchilada cabbage soup recipe next time.

Enchilada Soup

Random Thoughts. . .

Uncertainty . . .

Some many things are uncertain right now, this pandemic has reeked havoc on everything. We do not know one day to the next what new limits will be imposed on us. We have imposed some limits on ourselves. The hubbs and I have weekly calls with our managers and co-workers to stay up to date on this ever changing environment. The boys have meetings with their teachers and coaches weekly too. We still do not know if schools will be back on campus in August. This is the end of Big T’s junior year of high school and we normally would be planning college visits. Not sure how all of this is going to play out but we will attack it as a family.

Thankful Tuesday. . .

I am very thankful for my husband, there is not anyone any better than him to have to endure this “thing” with. He is my rock, my love, and my best friend. The other day I was working and we had been very busy so I had not had a break for food. My very sweet husband had fixed dinner for the boys and brought me a plate downstairs to the office so I could eat. When I am working the boys will come down and visit with me, if I am not on the phone. Big T has entertained me with his Ukulele on numerous occasions. Did I mention that he is teaching himself how to play the Ukulele?

Awww the Ukulele. . .

The Ukulele is an interesting little instrument, it is small and has a twang to it’s sound. I am not sure where Big T got the idea to learn to play the Ukulele but he is actually pretty good at it. He has been teaching himself via YouTube and other online tutorials. He is also learning to play the electric guitar. My hubby played the guitar many moons ago and so we still have ALL of the equipment. I love listening to Big T play his Ukulele he is quite talented, he gets that from the hubbs. I could not carry a tune if you strapped it to my back.

Big T and the Ukulele

The Garden Grows. . .

The garden is growing and we are so thankful the frost we got in this early May did not kill anything. Our peas did not come up as well as we had hopped, luckily though I still have some in the freezer. We had some volunteer Tomatillos come up and those will be a blessing since the ones we bought have not done well.

Recipe Flops and Recipe Wins. . .

Trying New Recipes. . .

I love trying new recipes, they do not always work out they way they should but I always learn a lesson. The other day I learned coconut oil does not always fry up the way you want. I love falafel but I have never made it and wanted to try my hand at making it. I found a good recipe on Pinterest https://theviewfromgreatisland.com/the-best-falafel/

My Mistake. . .

My mistakes usually start with leaving parts of the recipe out. This was no different, I used can chick peas instead of dry and I did not add near enough fresh herbs(I used dry herbs) or flour. The flour was really my biggest problem. I had everything mixed up, my balls formed and oil heated to 350. I dropped 3 balls in the oil and with in seconds they disintegrated. The oil bubbled up and almost out of my pan and I almost set the house on fire. I tried to bake my falafel in the oven and they also flattened out and some fell completely apart.

Looking Back. . .

Looking back, I should have added all of the flour but I thought it had enough. The flour was the real problem and the coconut oil. The ones that did well baked were very tasty. You bake at 375 for 30 minutes and flip them half way through. The recipe itself was very good, they had a great taste, I need to work on my baking. I will try these again, I do love falafel!

My Recipe Win. . .

My recipe win was deviled eggs, I decided to try a new recipe with horseradish. https://bevcooks.com/2012/08/horseradish-deviled-eggs-for-jennys-baby-shower/ These little devils are very good, the horseradish adds that extra kick. The hubbs and Sprat liked them and I got to use my fresh dill.