Category Archives: food

Instant Pot Expedition – Part Two

A few months back I wrote a post about how I was late to the instant pot party and even after getting one for Christmas I had hardly used it so I challenged myself to try one new IP recipe a week. I realize now that I failed to include links to the recipes in that post, so I have since gone back and done that. You’re welcome, Future Kat.

Now, there are things people make in the IP that they SWEAR by – like steamed veggies and rice – but my current way of making both of those things are so simple that I really don’t feel like it warrants a switch to the IP. However, hard boiled egg? Life. Changing. Especially since farm fresh eggs are notorious for being hard to peel because of their freshness.

However, I did want to share another update on some new IP recipes I have tried and whether or not they will be making it into our regular rotation:

  1. Mac-n-Cheese – This was super easy. I thought it was good, but the kids didn’t care for it. I’m guessing because they are SO used to the homemade mac-n-cheese I have been making for years, that that’s what they were expecting. I likely won’t make this recipe as-is again, but I was able to take what I learned from this recipe and tweak my own recipe to simplify the prep of it, so WIN!
  2. One Pot Spaghetti – Much like the penne & meatball recipe I shared in my last post. However, this one I used the italian-spiced turkey sausage that I use when I make “traditional” spaghetti. I loved that it was all in one pot. And that all of said pot can go in the dishwasher! When I made it, the noodles did stick together a bit, but we will for sure have it again!
  3. Frech Dip – I just need to state for the record that all of my kids loved this and it shocked the hell out of me! I’ve already made it twice and the girls have already both asked for it again!
  4. Creamy Lemon Chicken Breasts – This one was an overall “meh” for the family. I think I liked it the most out of all of us. None of us disliked it, but it probably won’t be in our regular rotation.
  5. Fried Rice – Andy & I initially had this one night we when were over at some friends’ house for dinner. He liked it so much, I asked for the recipe. Kids were 50/50 on it. But we will for sure keep it in the rotation. I added asian BBQ style pork I found in my grocery deli section. That was an awesome addition. Next time I will go no peas and I will cook the eggs on the side and then mix them in.

Also worth noting: a few recipes I have pinned and will be trying soon:

  1. Jambalaya – Now, I’m sure this will not be nearly as good as the recipe our friends for Lousiana make for us, but I’m hoping it’s at least a close second.
  2. Breakfast dishes – I don’t know which one I will try first, but that’s one thing I definitely want to!
  3. Roasted Garlic – Andy and I LOVE roasted garlic. This has got to be worth a shot.


Instant Pot Expedition – Alternative title: Late to the party as usual

I’m late to jump into most trends … Skinny jeans, riding boots, statement jewelry, snapchat (which I have already ditched) … you get the point, right?

Most recently? The instant pot.

Christmas time two years ago, I remember them being all the rage. I had no idea what the thunder they even were. I didn’t get the hype. Like, at all. Then one of my best friends got one, so I started paying more attention to it. Then I saw a screaming deal on Amazon’s Cyber Monday deal. So I bought one for Andy and the kids to give me on Christmas.

As of a few weeks ago, I had used it exactly 3 times since Christmas, to cook 2 different things. It intimidated me. Then I decided that was dumb. And committed to overcoming my fear and cooking at least one new IP meal a week.

I’m two weeks into my challenge. I’ve cooked 5 different meals. I’m still having to remember that even though something only needs to cook for “5 minutes” it still takes at least that long to get up to pressure before it actually starts cooking. That’s somewhat annoying and makes recipes a little misleading, but I think it lives up to the hype.

What I’ve cooked and my thoughts:

  1. One pot penne & meatballs – Andy and the kids loved this one! I like it but wouldn’t say I loved it. I did think it had a better flavor the next day when I ate it for lunch.
  2. Southwest stuffed peppers – Everyone but Lincoln liked this one! Well, the girls didn’t love the cooked pepper itself, but they liked the stuffing. My favorite part? The filling didn’t have to be cooked ahead of time. [I used a version of this recipe and made it my own SW style]
  3. Roasted chicken – THIS WAS REVOLUTIONARY! The chicken was frozen solid. And in 90 minutes? Done. Great flavor, not dry and at all.
  4. Egg roll in a bowl  – eh. I made this one just for myself as a healthy lunch thing. It was ok. It certainly won’t become a new staple by any means.
  5. Chicken burrito bowls – Yumm. We love basically anything that could be considered taco-esque.

I’m now obsessed with looking through pinterest for recipe ideas and I’m definitely planning on sticking with my personal challenge.

How I Whole30’d


  • I have 3 kids, at the time of my first Whole30 they were 7, almost 3 and 9 months
  • I was still breastfeeding at the time of my first Whole30.
  • I worked full time, outside of the home
  • I worked out 4-ish times a week
  • I was the only one in my house to do it
  • I never read the “it starts with food” book
  • The real reason I did it: to trim down, maybe lose a few pounds to achieve my ultimate goal of fitting in my wedding dress by my 10th wedding anniversary

Favorite Resources:

  • Whole30recipes on Instagram was awesome. Every week they feature a new food blogger that shares tips, recipes, etc.
  • PDF Downloads on the Whole30 website. I used this area to do the bulk of my research before pulling the trigger. It includes a helpful shopping list download, how to eat out and more.
  • The day by day breakdown. This gave me a decent guide to know what to expect as I went.
  • Pinterest, of course.


  • For breakfasts during the week I ate egg cups that I cooked the weekend before. Eggs, sausage, bell peppers and asparagus. Sometimes I’d eat a side of berries, sometimes not. They say you’re not supposed to eat at your desk…but well, ain’t nobody got time for that.
  • I’d always do some kind of “big dinner” on Sunday night like roast a chicken, or pork roast. I’d do a giant pan of roasted garlic potatoes and then portion out the leftovers to go with my breakfasts for the next few days.
  • Making my own mayo was super easy and definitely a MUST. I really liked mixing it with salsa and using it as a dressing for taco salads or a dipping sauce for homemade fries.
  • I hardly used any coconut milk and coconut oil. This is an interesting point because SO many of the friends/people I followed that had done a W30 in the past raved and raved about both of those things. So naturally, at first I thought that meant I was doing something wrong.
  • Lunches were typically leftovers from the night before
  • I got really good at modifying meals that were already family favorites.


Favorite Meals (mostly because the entire family ate the SAME thing):

  • Taco Tuesday! Either as taco cups in butter lettuce, a taco salad or a burrito bowl over cauli-rice.
  • Cauliflower rice
  • Roasted chicken, roasted red potatoes, cooked carrots and brussel sprouts
  • Turkey burgers on butter lettuce topped with guac and my mayo/salsa mix, oven-roasted fries and fresh fruit
  • Spaghetti made with jarred (compliant) sauce and zucchini noodles

Burrito bowl: taco seasoned ground beef, lime-cumin cauli rice, bell peppers, avocado, cilantro, salsa // Steak, sauteed mushrooms, baked potato, asparagus // Southwest flavored turkey burger, guac, salsa/mayo mix, bell peppers, fries

Favorites Snacks: So technically, you’re not supposed to snack during Whole30, but a) I was working out a lot, b) I was still breastfeeding and c) I didn’t really care.

  • Lara bars. For the record they taste nothing like the “cookies” and “pies” they claim to in their names. But my favorites were the cashew cookie or the lemon bar. I ate one nearly every day.
  • Sparkling water. There are all different brands, but La Croix has a great variety of compliant flavors. Lime, Coconut , Grapefruit and Cherry-Lime were my go-to flavors.
  • Dry roasted almonds. Got them from Costco and a handful of them were a great way to put something in my stomach before my lunch time work out.
  • Apple & almond butter. This was always a good mid-afternoon snack.

Other tips:

  • Try to get someone to do it with you. I had a coworker, and a whole slew of online friends, doing it with me.
  • Pre-planning is everything.
  • Summer is a great time to do it because SO MUCH FRESH PRODUCE! and Grilling!

Things I learned:

  • I love black coffee. It’s still all I drink.
  • I ate a lot of meals out of bowls.
  • Good or bad, I am a serious creature of habit.
  • I didn’t really miss the bread or dairy.
  • I DID miss the sugars.

The results:

  • I lost 5-ish pounds.
  • I lost 5.5″ between my butt, belly button, true waist and hips.
  • I fit back into my wedding dress 6 weeks before my goal date!
  • Since I completed my first round, one of my sisters has done it twice, my mom has done it and now my other sister is doing it!

Taco Tuesday

We’ve been pretty die-hard Taco Tuesday fans in our house for a while now…so long that I can’t actually remember when it started. Over the course of our Taco Tuesdays we’ve even converted a number of people to following along. It often comes up in conversation at daycare drop off or pick up…especially on Tuesday {go figure}.

A few weeks ago, one of Rylee’s friends at daycare asked if she could come over for Taco Tuesday sometime. I laughed, and told her absolutely and I’d chat with her mom about it. We had a Taco Tuesday date set for the following week. Then Rylee had a TBall game that night so we rescheduled for the following week. Then Reese ended up with HFM so we rescheduled, yet again, for the following Tuesday.

Well, that Tuesday was this last Tuesday and the stars aligned and third time’s a charm and such and we made it happen! This is also kind of a big deal because it was both girls’ first time having a “without parents staying” playdate.

It was so much fun to watch the girls play together. They were glued at the hip. They, of course, excluded Reese which kind of made me chuckle because…little sisters. When her mom came to pick her up I had a serious flashback to when I was 6 years old and my best friend would come over. {We would always, always hide her in my closet and tell her mom that she wasn’t here anymore in hopes that she could stay longer. Go figure, it never worked.} Rylee hid her friend in hopes of getting her to stay even just a little longer.


We all decided a sleep over should happen soon.

I know I’ve said it before, but I am loving this school-age stage that Rylee is in! So many fun milestones to watch her experience.

Yup. Thankful.

Holy crap just realized I almost missed posting today! I guess I got too caught up in sleeping in until 8 am, not showering until 11 am, cooking a perfectly timed and quite delicious thanksgiving spread ready at 5:30 PM sharp, then eating dessert and playing board games for the next two hours.

Today was unlike any other thanksgiving we have ever had we went exactly zero places and didn’t even have anyone over until after 5:00.

I think every year since I’ve been out of the house I’ve remarked how “that didn’t even feel like thanksgiving”. I don’t think anything will ever feel like thanksgivings from my childhood…maybe because I’m the one doing the cooking, maybe because of family dynamics, or maybe because it seems like we have a different plan every year. There’s no real tradition yet. Now that the day is done I can say that’s exactly how I felt again this year. But..There were people I love. Lots of good food. And plenty of laughter. That’s definitely something to be thankful for.