Beef Vegetable Instant Pot Soup

So, my goal this year is to convert some of my Slow Cooker recipes for use in the Instant Pot.  This one is loosely based off some of the Beef and Vegetable Soups listed in the Fix-it and Forget-It Cookbook Feasting with your Slow Cooker by Dawn J. Ranck and Phyllis Pellman Good.

I used those recipies as a starting point and then used what we had in the house.

Ingredients:

  • Approximately 1 pound of beef cut into small pieces
  • 2 pounds of fresh vegetables which included
    • 2 potatoes roughly chopped
    • 3 large carrots roughly chopped
    • cut up celery ribs
    • cut up fresh green beans
  • flour  (any, but in my case gluten-free)
  • garlic powder to taste
  • onion powder to taste
  • salt to taste
  • pepper to taste
  • 1/4 medium onion chopped
  • 28 oz can of diced tomatoes
  • 32 oz beef stock (I use the kind in a box)
  • olive oil
  1. Mix the flour, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper in a plastic bag or in the bottom of a pie tin.  Dredge the beef pieces through the flour mixture.
  2.  Plug in your Instant Pot and turn on to Saute
  3. Pour a small amount of olive oil into the Instant Pot.
  4. Put the beef pieces in the Instant Pot and brown.  Remove the beef pieces after they are all partly browned.
  5. Add the beef broth, diced tomatoes, vegetables, chopped onion and beef pieces to the Instant Pot while it is still on the Saute setting.
  6. Stir all the ingredients together.
  7. Add stock until it is below the Max Line.
  8. Keep using the Saute feature until the liquid starts to get hot.
  9. Turn off the Instant Pot and then set it to High Pressure for about 10 minutes.
  10. After it is done, turn off the Instant Pot and do a Quick Release of the pressure.
  11. Check that the liquid level still covers all of the ingredients.  Add more liquid, if needed.
  12. Use the Slow Cook feature and set to ‘More’ (high temperature setting) and for over 4 hours.

After about 5 hours we were hungry.  The potatoes and carrots were soft and it smelled amazing.

My family really liked how the soup turned out.

! instant pot beef veg soup

 

What have you made in the Instant Pot lately?

Later – Heather

 

 

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Dryer Vent Wizard

This post is Not Sponsored and all opinions are my own.

When is the last time you cleaned your dryer vent?  A family member bought a new LG dryer and it gave a warning that the dryer vent was mostly blocked.  When the manual was reviewed she found out that when it went above a certain percentage the dryer would actually not run anymore until the dryer vent was cleaned.

I actually have a dryer vent cleaner kit that I bought from FlyLady.net years ago, but it is not available anymore.  But, when the house was inspected we realized that the dryer vent went under a bedroom and out the other side of the house!  No way was my kit going to be able to clean that.

We did some searching and found out that there was a Dryer Vent Wizard location that covered Northern Nevada.  (And I just found out that they are nation wide).

http://www.dryerventwizard.com  Dryer Vent Wizard

The guy from Dryer Vent Wizard came out and within a few hours the dryer vent was completely cleaned out and the dryer was working great!  It turns out the vent piping was over 60% blocked!

Per https://www.usfa.fema.gov/prevention/outreach/clothes_dryers.html

‘2,900 home clothes dryer fires are reported each year and cause an estimated 5 deaths, 100 injuries, and $35 million in property loss. Failure to clean the dryer (34 percent) is the leading cause of home clothes dryer fires.’

So, when was the last time that your dryer vent was cleaned and are you going to put it on your To Do list for this year?

Later – Heather

Oh, and if you are WordPress wizard could you explain where my sidebar went?  It was the area where I set up the tags, etc.  Thanks!

Starting a new hobby?

I was thinking of writing a blog post about what steps to take when starting a new hobby, but then Crafty Staci wrote one on her blog.

I definitely agree with her post!  I have made some of the mistakes that she lists and would like to help others from doing the same thing.

Here is the link to her post.  Enjoy reading it.

10 Steps to Learning a New Craft

 

So, what new hobby is on your wishlist for this year?  I have multiple, but I am trying to limit myself to just relearning to take photos with a real camera and not a point-and-shoot or my phone.

Until later – Heather

Animal Ark in winter – That is in Nevada?

Animal Ark is north of Reno, NV.  We had been there in the summer, but never in winter.  We found out that Animal Ark was opened for two weekends in the winter of 2017 .

The Reno, NV area of Nevada had received a lot of snow in the winter of 2016- 2017.  At one point Animal Ark didn’t know if they would be even able to open on Martin Luther King weekend since there might have been too much snow!  (What a difference a year makes.  So far in the winter of 2017-2018 the Reno area has only received a dusting of snow.)

We decided to go up with our daughter and her boyfriend and we had a blast, but boy were we cold!  It was so neat to see the animals be active instead of hiding in the shade like they do when it is hot.

! Animal Ark bear sign revised

The actual bears were hibernating.

 

! Animal Ark bobcat revised

Bobcat (photo courtesy of my husband)

 

We were seeing a lot of cottontail rabbit ‘remains’ in the enclosures.  We were able to watch this jaguar catch this rabbit.  The rabbit ran right for the jaguar!  The staff thought it was since there was fresh straw, etc put out in the enclosures.

!Animal Ark jag bunny revised

Jaguar with a fresh catch  (photo courtesy of my husband)

 

I have to admit that I mentally have to think of Pepper (the golden retriever) with her stuff toys when I look at the above photo.

This year Animal Ark will be open on Saturday January 13th, 2018 and Sunday January 14th, 2018.  They will also be open on Saturday February 17th, 2018 and Sunday February 18th, 2018.

I have no idea if there will be snow on the ground this year, but it would be nice to see the animals in their winter coats either way.

Here is the website for Animal Ark:  http://animalark.org/

If you are interested in going it is a good idea to either check out their posts on Facebook or check out their website a head of time.

Until later – Heather

 

 

 

Happy New Year!

I can’t believe it is already the 10th of January.  I hope everyone is enjoying the new year.  Even though I haven’t posted I have been writing down ideas for new blog posts and I already have a sheet full so stay tuned.

Some of the topics will be:

  • Word for 2018
  • Instant Pot tips and recipes – I have a few friends who just got an Instant Pot (or electric pressure cooker) so these are definitely needed
  • My new camera and some of my photos
  • Home Improvement projects
  • More companies with great customer service
  • Sewing projects
  • Trips we have taken
  • Planner tips

I have some internal goals when it comes to posting, but I won’t share them until it appears I can actually follow my plan.  I will say that there will be multiple posts in the month of January – I know that is shocking 🙂

Until later – Heather

 

 

Over sized Bag

Well, I failed at posting daily what I was thankful for to the blog.  Heck, I failed at posting it to Facebook also.  Lately my life hasn’t not evolved around a computer, which is a good thing.  At least I have been thinking about what I am thankful for each day even if I didn’t write it down.

So, on Saturday the local Quilt Guild had a 2nd Saturday workshop.  Members can come and learn a skill and/or make an item.  I haven’t gone in a long time, but when I saw this Over sized bag I signed up.

I think it turned out pretty good.  The hardest part was making the handles.  It did take about 5 hours from start to finish.  I used it on Monday and I was able to get a bed pillow, piece of material and a few other things in it.  It holds a lot!

 

 

20171111_164501

 

What project have you made lately?

Later – Heather

Hallelujah Toffee

For November I want to focus on the positive. We will see if I can post daily.  If there are no photos, etc involved I will have a higher chance.

Today I am glad that I get to volunteer with Hallelujah Toffee.

http://hallelujahtoffee.org/

This year I was able to help by cooking and packing into bags, helping at the boxing party and I will be helping sell it at a craft fair.

Oh, and by the way, the online store is open as of today so if you want to buy some great, handmade toffee and support a great cause then please buy a box.

My only warning is it is addicting and we are selling out earlier and earlier each year even though we make over 4,000 pounds.

100% of our profits go directly to 40 well-deserving students from the slums of Kenya, each with their own personal story of difficult circumstances and even stronger resolve. Affectionately referred to as our “Candy Kids,” these secondary students are now receiving a full year of education, room and board, mentoring, an emergency medical fund, and summer camp experiences during their holiday months.

What organizations do you volunteer with?

Later – Heather

Emoji Movie review

Our local paper gives the opportunity to will tickets to new movies at the local theater and I actually won this last week.

I won tickets to the Emoji Movie, which is rated PG.  I knew a little bit about the movie before going, but not everything

I was a little nervous when one of the movie previews was for the My Little Pony movie!?!

I won’t give away any of the Emoji Movie, but I will say that I enjoyed it and I am happy I entered to win tickets.

What movie have you seen lately?  Do you go to the movies often?

Later – H

Chocolate Zucchini Cake

Our garden has exploded with Zucchinis this season so I went looking for some new recipes.

I received a blog post from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe for  ‘The Best Chocolate Zucchini Cake’

https://www.melskitchencafe.com/best-chocolate-zucchini-cake/

and boy is this cake and chocolate whipped cream good!

To make this cake Gluten-free I used Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-free 1 to 1 Baking flour and the only other change I made was I used dark, unsweetened cocoa powder since that is what I had in the pantry.

I sent the leftovers with the husband to his work and his coworkers loved it and I received multiple requests for the recipe.

So, thanks to Mel’s Kitchen Cafe for posting the recipe and whipped cream.  I will definitely be making this recipe again.

Do you have a garden?  If so, do you grow Zucchini?

Later – Heather