Guest Post: Healthier Zuppa Toscana

Hello Cookin' Mama blog readers! Once again, Mama has been slacking as of late on this blog. Thankfully, she also has friends who love to cook and share recipes! Below is another guest post for 2016 (See? not all of 2016 has been bad) from a lovely friend I met through theater. Enjoy! ~Cookin Mama

Hello all!My name is Angela, and this is my first blog post ever.I think Kristi must be some kind of magician, because I took my first selfie with her (see above!) and now she has me writing a blog post.As a fan of her (and her cooking!), I am pleased to be here.

First, let me give you the nutshell bio.I’m old enough to have seen the original Star Wars in the movie theatre. Ha!I live with my husband, Ken, and our two cats, Binx and Xena.I love to cook and bake; my nickname in college was Betty, for Betty Crocker.I am also perpetually working on losing a few pounds.We eat pretty healthy in our house, but it is a struggle.Recently, we have cut out most white carbs and sugar.It’s not exactly …

One-Pot Moroccan Pasta

My biggest helper for finding recipes these days is Facebook. I kid you not. I subscribe to a couple of different sites that share all sorts of fun recipes. Current favorites are Tasting Table and Bon Appetit.  If a recipe they share looks interesting, it gets pinned to the appropriate board on Pinterest. Believe it or not, I actually do go back to those boards when meal planning. If a recipe works out well (like this one did), it's kept and maybe notes are made. If it was not good, it gets deleted.

This past week I was feeling more in the mood for vegetarian and vegan options for meals. Monday night was vegetable coconut curry. For Tuesday, I chose a recipe from Tasting Table for Moroccan Linguini. The tag line was "turn a fragrant chickpea stew into a one-pot pasta meal." Um, okay. Sold.

This recipe had me purchasing freekeh for the first time. Freekeh (free-kah) is an ancient grain, and it is young, green wheat. Therefore gluten free friends, this is not the grain for…

Guest Post: Instant Pot Potato Salad!

Recently I posted about my newly purchased Instant Pot, and how much I already enjoy having it in my kitchen. Below is a guest post from the woman who is mostly responsible for me purchasing one of these time saving and delicious food making devices! I hope you enjoy Brigitta's post, let us know what you think! ~Cookin' Mama

It is true that the Instant Pot can make your life easier. My story started with an infomercial.  About a year ago I was sitting in a restaurant when the story about an electronic pressure cooker came on the television.  I was mesmerized by the claims.  I subsequently did a ton of research and found that the Instant Pot received many of the best ratings and reviews.  Flash forward to today and I own 2 Instant Pots! Just this weekend my pot came in handy for a family barbecue. The perfect deli potato salad was a must on my menu but I really dislike the messy task of boiling a large amount potatoes.  I can never get them quite right and am usually left with an…

Ode to the Instant Pot with a Quick Pork Shoulder

Quick pork shoulder? Yes. Quick pork shoulder. I realize this is a cut generally relegated to the slow cooker or oven for hours of braising. However, thanks to the recommendation from a friend, I purchased the Instant Potduring Amazon Prime day and I haven't regretted that decision for a moment. The Instant Pot is the modern day pressure cooker. I can make perfect brown rice in 20 minutes, pre-soaked cannelini beans in 12 minutes, and today I'm making pork shoulder in 90 minutes. From Cooking Under Pressure by Lorna Sass: "Pressure cookers are making a comeback," declared Mario Barros in her New York Times column, "Eating Well" (February 3, 1988). "There is no clear explanation of why they ever went out of fashion," she continued, "but now they are particularly appealing because they make it possible to cook many healthful foods like dried beans and peas in a very short time." Sass, goes on to suppose that upgrades to the original pressu…

Half-Way Year Check In on those Resolutions.

I posted in January that we were starting the new year by going on a more whole foods journey. Not that we hadn't been doing a decent job already, but we can always do better. You may also remember I made my daughter cry by donating the unopened pack of Oreo cookies to the food pantry at our church. I am happy to report that she has been fine through the ordeal and has been rather happy with her personal resolution to eat healthy. We won't talk about her resolution to listen to Mommy and Daddy more often...

As for me, I was ten pounds heavier beginning January of this year than I was at the end of summer 2015. I could no longer even make it a mile on the treadmill at a 12 minute pace running. Staircases were problematic, and I felt awful. If we/I were going to do this health thing, we had to do it right. We had already been making strides over the past years, but we really had to commit. Here we are, halfway through the year, and I can report that for the first time in over 10…

Ode to Cashew Butter

Cashew Butter?! Yes. Cashew Butter. Before I get into that however, I must first admit something. I totally made fun of Paleo when I first heard of it. You can ask my friend Becky who introduced me to the concept. I was completely lost. It's a diet? No, it's a way of eating (okay, that part made sense). But, "healthy" included heavy cream in my coffee and I could eat wings?! Here's the thing, like everything else that I did not understand in the past about healthy eating, I went right to making fun before doing some research. Now, we're not going full on paleo around here, but, those recipes generally help make for gluten-intolerant/Celiac/no dairy friendly recipes. Something we make more and more around here.  These recipes also gave us cashew cream...more about that in a minute!
Admittedly, when I heard about the "caveman" diet, I guffawed. (You wouldn't believe how long I've been waiting to work that word into a blog post!) I mean, I'…

Oh the Hypocrisy

hypocrisy noun, hy·poc·ri·sy \hi-ˈpä-krə-sē also hī-\: the behavior of people who do things that they tell other people not to do :behavior that does not agree with what someone claims to believe or feel

I've been thinking about hypocrisy for awhile now. Partly due to it being an election year, partly due to the world around me, and partly due - in a more light hearted way - comments made to me by friends. You see, I operate in a "what you see is what you get" kind of way, but recognize that online, much of what I post is either staged, or something my adorable daughter has done (I may be a little biased on that last statement, but seriously, I can't get enough of what that little brain comes up with and shares with us), or is only one section of a moment. I'll post a picture of a vegan bowl we had for dinner (that was DELICIOUS by the way), but maybe not post the Pizza Hut delivery that came the next night for the daughter as we headed out to a farm-to-table rest…