Jen’s Broccoli Soup in the Instant Pot

Broccoli Soup. This is my favorite thing to make in the Instant Pot. The original recipe was from The Healthy Meal Prep Instant Pot cookbook. I loved the concept, but it was unseasoned and light on produce. My version tastes a lot like that mall restaurant we all used to know and love, Olga’s. If you know that name, you were probably a teenager in the 80s, too! LOL!

I’ve made two batches in a row a few times so I can fill a few Mason jars to find in the fridge later. So good! Continue reading “Jen’s Broccoli Soup in the Instant Pot”

Jen’s Steak Salad for 4 Fine Peeps

I was in the mood for a lovely hearty steak salad. Hope you love it, too!


Jen’s Steak Salad for 4 Fine Peeps

16-24 oz steak – Depends on how hungry your tribe is
Salt and Pepper
Season as early as you can to let the flavor penetrate the meat. Morning of is great. The night before is better. And two nights before is best. It’ll rest in the fridge, uncovered. Set on the counter an hour before you’re cooking it to let it come to room temp so it’ll cook more evenly.

Bacon – 1-2 slices per person, optional
Place in a single layer on a parchment lined baking sheet and put in a cold oven. Turn it to 400 degrees F, and set the timer for 20 minutes. Check it, and let it continue on its journey til it meets your strongly held conviction of the perfect bacon doneness level. Drain on paper towel.

1 red onion
1/2 Tablespoon butter or olive oil
Pinch of salt
Saute until softened and picking up a little color.

Grill the steaks or give them a stove top cast iron sear in butter and olive oil, turning often to desired doneness. Mine’s an internal temp 118 degrees F. Rest. Slice.

Spring Mix
Vinaigrette (Whisk 2 parts red wine vinegar (or whatever you have!), 3 parts olive oil, a squeeze of dijon mustard, and a pinch of salt and grating of pepper)
Toss and divide between 4 plates.

Top with:
Avocado (1/4 – 1/2 per person)
Bacon (optional)
Blue cheese (optional)

Need anything? I’m an Amazon Affiliate. Any time you use one of my links to get to Amazon to make a purchase, Amazon gives me a tiny percentage. I put it back into next year’s blog fees. Thank you!

My favorite cast iron skillet is a 12″ Lodge dual handle pan. Why, the long handles are too heavy to hold with a single hand when they’re loaded up. Since you’re using two hands anyway, you might as well get the ones that take up less space and stack so much better!

Lodge 12″ dual handle cast-iron pan

I get asked about my spice wall all the time. The magnetic tins on the wall are great for any spices or salt-free blends. Salt corrodes the tins, so anything with salt is in a glass jar on the counter underneath.

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20 magnetic spice tins

12″ x 24″ magnetic base

My favorite knife. It’s a 7″ full tang Santoku. Full tang just means that the blade runs the full length of the knife. The blade and handle aren’t two separate components, so there’s no breaking point. I chose the Ikon handle design, which is wonderfully ergonomic. I have spent hours on a produce sculpture before and my hand was just as comfy at the end. It’s worth the pennies.

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Wusthof WU4176 Classic Ikon 7-Inch Santoku, Hollow Edge, Black

Shin splints suck and I love CrossFit!

Shin splints! I was running 9 1/2 miles a day and loving it! Then shin splints. Shin splints are the worst. I needed to deal with them so they didn’t become a stress reaction or stress fracture. I’m on a lady fitness site, and asked what people did to heal them. Foam rolling, deep squats to deal with a muscle imbalance, stretching, and compression socks. To my surprise, icing was really controversial and people felt passionate about their positions.

Okay, I ordered compression socks, foam rollers, and started going after deep squats and stretches like nobody’s business. I’d worked for a few years on that running endurance, and didn’t want to give that up. I decided to give CrossFit a try. Holy workout, Batman! You’re a sweaty mess and done in less than an hour. It’s totally scalable to every fitness level, so it’s custom order-type challenging, and a novice and a gymrat can work out side-by-side. Perfect. To my shock, my husband quit with his nautilus-type gym and started joining me. And then the kids showed up. Too neat.

Continue reading “Shin splints suck and I love CrossFit!”

Breakfast Guacamole? Oh yeah! Jen’s Pineapple Breakamole

I’ve always adored avocado. My mother-in-law told me that when she was a little girl in Cuba, they loved pairing it in a salad with pineapple. Game changer. In Gran Cocina Latina, she caramelizes the pineapple spears under the broiler. So good! That’s inspired my breakamole this morning. If you have a sweet tooth, this will make your day! Continue reading “Breakfast Guacamole? Oh yeah! Jen’s Pineapple Breakamole”

Cold Sesame Noodle makeover – Jen’s Sesame Spaghetti Squash!

I was in the mood for cold sesame noodles. But I don’t want pasta, so I went with Sesame Spaghetti Squash. Well, Peanut Butter Spaghetti Squash, but that doesn’t have the right ring to it! Continue reading “Cold Sesame Noodle makeover – Jen’s Sesame Spaghetti Squash!”

Suzy B’s Spinach and Mushroom Frito Pie recipe and cookbook review: A Good Meal Is Hard to Find: Storied Recipes from the Deep South and the Guerrero quarantine bookclub picks

#AGoodMealIsHardToFind @AGoodMealIsHardToFind #ArtandPie @ArtandPie #MarthaFoose @MarthaFoose  #ChronicleBooks @ChronicleBooks

9781452169781They had me at the title with this one! I fell deeply in love with O’Connor’s work in a course back in college, and went on to read the whole collection. A Good Meal is Hard to Find: Storied Recipes from the Deep South is rich and storied, too. If you love the tales behind dishes, you’re going to love it. The illustrations are charming! And that’s just the frosting. The dishes are amazing!

I’ll tell you all about the dishes we tried in a minute, but first I wanted to share with you the recipe for THE SUZY B’S SPINACH AND MUSHROOM FRITO PIE. We love Frito Pie and had never heard of a vegetarian version before. It is absolutely amazing. To my shock, I strongly prefer it to the original one. It’s like a cheesy mushroom and spinach dip had a baby with frito pie. Yeah. Go make it now. I hope you love it, too!

We’ve been reading like crazy over quarantine! After the review of this book, I’ll tell you about our book-club for two. Let me know what great reads you’ve found!

Continue reading “Suzy B’s Spinach and Mushroom Frito Pie recipe and cookbook review: A Good Meal Is Hard to Find: Storied Recipes from the Deep South and the Guerrero quarantine bookclub picks”

Jen’s Spinach Artichoke Dip Crustless Quiche recipe

Mmmm. Spinach artichoke dip. Mmmm. Quiche. Now you can have it all! LOL! Breakfast, you’re set! Dinner? You could do a little side salad and berries and oranges. Continue reading “Jen’s Spinach Artichoke Dip Crustless Quiche recipe”