Growing up, my sweet grandmama had a pressure cooker. She cooked quite a bit of meals in it, but my favorite was her fried chicken. My mouth is watering just thinking about that chicken–juice on the inside, crispy on the outside… Sorry, I’m getting a little distracted by the memory.
Unfortunately, today’s pressure cookers don’t fry chicken like the old ones, but they are much safer. We recently acquired a Cuisinart Pressure Cooker. I know lots of folks who have an Instant Pot. I think the Instant Pot is the more popular brand, but I from what I understand they are about the same.
We’ve made several recipes like cubed steak, whole frozen chickens (cooked in about half the time it takes to roast a fresh one), dried beans, brown rice, chicken and rice, and more. I think my favorite recipe right now is this spaghetti squash recipe I’m sharing below.
I love that pressure cooking shaves so very much time off of my cooking tasks. I’m always looking for ways to lighten my load and give more time to my family. Pressure cooking has been such a lifesaver for us. In fact, my husband is so intrigued by it that there have been many times when we’ve both had something on our evening schedule, and he has come home, thrown ingredients into the pressure cooker, and prepared dinner for us. I think it’s a bit of a Tim Taylor–MORE POWER grunting mentality, but that’s okay…whatever gets it done!
Pressure Cooker Spaghetti Squash
1 cup water
Place rack and 1 cup of water in pressure cooker. Cut spaghetti squash in half and remove seeds. (You can remove seeds after cooking, but it’s much easier before. I forgot on to do it beforehand on this particular day.) Place it in pressure cooker. Using high pressure, cook for 8 minutes on high pressure and use quick pressure release.
Using a fork, scoop out squash, which fluffs out into strands like spaghetti noodles. Serve with your favorite meats and sauces.
A sweet aroma is in the air… Well, love is in the air too since it is Valentine’s Week. Today, I’m sharing a new cookie recipe I’ve been making for my sweet valentines lately. It’s a delicious peanut butter cookie recipe that is healthy, sugar free, gluten free, and low carb. For Trim Healthy Mamas, these cookies are a satisfying S that shows how much you love yourself and your family.
Peanut Butter Cookies, low carb, sugar free, THM S
Using mixer, cream butter, gentle sweet, and stevia. Add eggs and vanilla and mix well. Mix in peanut butter. Add baking blend, baking powder and salt. Stir in optional chocolate chips. Scoop tablespoon-sized amounts of dough and roll into a ball and place on prepared cookie sheet or stoneware. Gently smash down with fork and sprinkle each one with gentle sweet. Bake at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes. Allow to cool slightly before removing from pan.
Building gingerbread houses is a favorite tradition at Christmas time. As you may know I have one child with gluten allergy, one with gluten sensitivity, and one with soy allergy. Most gingerbread house kits contain these allergens. So do most graham crackers which is what many people use instead of kits.
For the past few years I have made homemade gluten free gingerbread dough, rolled it out, and cut out pieces with a template and baked them. It’s not much more effort than anything else I do for my children with food allergies. I really wouldn’t have it any other way because almost everything I make is from scratch. Even if they didn’t have food allergies, I’d still prefer to make that effort because homemade foods are much healthier.
However, we’ve had a busy break so far. Some of our traditional activities have sneaked up on me. So today was the best day for us to make our gingerbread houses, but I did not have time to make them from scratch. There are no stores near us that sell gluten and soy free graham crackers.
I did some research and found a wonderful alternative: cereal treats. You know, those old favorites made from crisped rice cereal or cornflakes and marshmallows. I rushed out to my local store and they were all out of gluten free crisped rice cereal. So, I scanned the aisle and racked my brain for a good substitute. Cocoa Pebbles were my choice. They do contain more chemicals and sugar than crisped rice, but they are gluten and soy free, and they are brown–perfect for a house!
So I gathered up some of their favorite gluten and soy free candies. I grabbed some marshmallows, ingredients for icing, and rushed home for some fun with my two youngest blessings.
When I arrived home I made a batch of treats using the traditional Rice Crispy recipe.
Gluten Free Rice Crispy or Cocoa Pebble Treats
3 tbsp butter
10 oz bag mini marshmallows
Melt butter in a stock pot. Pour in marshmallows and continuously stir until melted. Dump in the cereal and coat completely with melted marshmallows.
I greased two mini loaf pans, packed most of the mixture into the pans, and inverted the pans onto a plate or cardboard. Then I put them into the freezer to set and harden a little.
Once they were set, I dumped them out of the pans back onto the plates or cardboard. I used the remaining mixture to make roofs for the houses. I greased my hands and molded roofs into the shape of triangles onto the houses. Then I put the houses back into the freezer to finish setting.
While they were setting, I made homemade soy free, gluten free buttercream icing.
1 cup butter
4 cups powdered sugar
2 tsp vanilla
2 tbsp milk
pinch of salt
Soften and cream butter, milk, and vanilla. Gradually and slowly add powdered sugar while mixing. Add salt. Mix until nice and smooth. Add icing to piping bags or use plastic zipper storage bags by cutting a small corner of the bag after filling.
Allow kids to squeeze or spread icing onto their houses wherever they would like to add accents of snow and candy. We used gluten and soy free sprinkles, gumdrops, peppermints, candy canes, and holiday Skittles. I melted soy free, gluten free chocolate chips into a square plastic dish, froze it, and broke the hardened chocolate to make shingles or stones for pathways. You could decorate with peppermint flavored marshmallows, gummy bears, or red hots, too.
One of the best things about these houses is NO ROYAL ICING! Let’s face it–it’s not that tasty. We weren’t wishing we were an octopus trying to hold panels of gingerbread or graham crackers waiting for the royal icing to harden like glue. Many times in the past our houses have broken during the decorating phase, but not these!
My twins made some beautiful houses this year, and we had so much fun!