Loaded Cauliflower Soup – Instant Pot

Image borrowed from ChewNibbleNosh until I can take one.

It’s finally soup weather after a long summer that started in April and has lasted through mid-October. So I grabbed my Instant Pot and was simply inspired just by the veggies I had handy.


1 head cauliflower (broken into chunks)

2 poblano peppers (stem/seeds removed)

1 med sized sweet onion

1 leek stalk (white/light green parts)

2-3 cloves of garlic

3 fresh bay leaves (2 if dried)

4-5 fresh twigs of thyme (1 tsp if dried)

4-5 cups chicken stock (I used homemade)

½ cup crème fraiche (or cream cheese)

½ cup of half & half (or heavy cream)

4 strips of bacon

Grated cheddar, swiss or gruyere for topping

S&P to taste


  • Turn Instant Pot to sauté and cook bacon until crisp (keep an eye on it – it cooked up way faster than I thought it would)
  • Remove bacon and set aside to use as crumbly topping later
  • Cut poblanos, onion, leek and garlic into 1” chunks and sauté in the bacon fat until semi tender
  • Pour in 4 cups chicken stock and deglaze the bottom with a wood spoon
  • Add cauliflower – you may need to add more stock if it doesn’t cover all the veg
  • Add thyme and bay leaves

Close the lid and set it on high pressure for 10 minutes. It will take a good 10-15 minutes to come to pressure. After the timer goes off let it decompress for 15 minutes and then do a quick release.

Remove the thyme twigs (leaves will have fallen off). Don’t worry about the bay leaves – they will blend right up.

Using an immersion blender blend until smooth.

Stir in the Crème Fraiche and half & half.

S&P to taste

Serve topped with grated cheese and bacon crumbles.


I probably don’t even need to say this but the perfect bite would be to dip a piece of warm, crusty sourdough in the soup. Be sure to get some of the bacon and cheese toppings!


Cruciferous vegetables, like cauliflower, are unique because they contain sulfur compounds called glucosinolates which, research shows, possess inflammation-reducing and cancer-fighting properties. Read more here.


Chicken Tinga Bowl

I love a bowl. And this is super easy, especially since it’s made primarily of leftovers! The chicken Tinga is a recipe I have made often thanks to Valerie Bertinelli and her Food Network cooking show. She makes everything look so easy and this one really is! I’ll post her recipe as I made it below but you can also click the link above and see her full chicken Tinga taco recipe, including toppings.



1 tablespoon grapeseed oil (or any high smoke point oil)

1 small yellow onion, chopped (I used sweet onion)

2 chipotles in adobo, finely chopped (look for these in re-sealable jars now!)

2 garlic cloves, minced 

1 tablespoon ground cumin 

1 teaspoon kosher salt 

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper 

One 10-ounce can diced tomatoes and green chiles 

1 cup chicken stock 

1 rotisserie chicken, shredded 


1 cup canned black beans, rinsed and heated with cumin, cayenne, and homemade pico de gallo all to taste

1 cup fire roasted corn, thawed to room temp (I used Trader Joe’s frozen)

1 quarter of a head of iceberg lettuce, shredded or chopped

1 half of an avocado, sliced

1 handful of pickled red onions (or to taste)

1 handful of crumbled cotija cheese (or to preference)


Heat the oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the onions and sauté until they begin to soften, about 3 minutes. Add the chipotles, garlic, cumin, salt and cayenne and sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in the tomatoes and stock and cook until they begin to simmer, about 2 minutes. Turn off the heat and carefully ladle the sauce into a heat-safe blender. Puree until smooth. Pour the sauce back into the pan over medium heat and add the chicken, stirring to incorporate the chicken into the sauce. Cook until the sauce has thickened, about 5 minutes.

Either let the chicken cool a bit if using for the bowl right away, or reheat if using leftovers because Valerie’s Chicken Tinga Tacos looked so good you had to make those first and now you’re using leftovers. Which was the case for me. Either way, you want the chicken warmed but not piping hot as it will wilt the lettuce.

First layer is your shredded lettuce. I used iceberg because I wanted crunch. But you do you. Why do people give iceberg such a bad rap? They say it’s mostly water. Well, last time I checked water was good for you!

But I digress, layer your crunchy water lettuce on the bottom, then I like to put the beans in one third, then the corn in another and the chicken in the last third (see photo). Then in the center top with slices of avocado and picked red onion, and then sprinkle the whole thing generously with the crumbled cotija cheese. I mean – you can just throw it all in the bowl at once and have a party. No need for such precision. It will taste just as good. But I like my food to look styled before I eat it. I probably watch too much Food Network.


You know me, I’m a fork-stacker. And this is the perfect dish for that. Just get in there and get a little of everything. Guaranteed to be the perfect bite. I also love that this dish has the perfect mix of hot and cold. Cold, crisp lettuce and the sweet crunchy, corn contrasted with the warm, spicy chicken and tangy beans is utterly delightful.


I know most would say that an ice cold beer would pair best with a chipotle heavy dish… but if you’re like me and prefer wine over beer, I suggest a chardonnay. It’s buttery texture will help cool your palette from the heat of the chilis. Or, to stay in the Mexican theme try making my Pineapple Aqua Fresca. It’s really refreshing!


The vitamin A in chipotles is in the form of carotenoids like lutein and beta-carotene, which are antioxidants. Your body converts carotenoids into vitamin A. The antioxidants in chipotle peppers can help to lower blood pressure, thus reducing your risk of developing cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

I also love that when you blend Tinga sauce it becomes rich and creamy with no dairy whatsoever… making this pretty guilt free!

Peppermint Chocolate Martini

I typically don’t like super sweet drinks.  But man-oh-man this is one tasty beverage. More boozy desert than anything.  Very simple to make and perfect on a cozy winter evening.  Enjoy!

Tools you’ll need:

  • cocktail shaker
  • measuring cup
  • grater or plane
  • handful of ice
  • chilled martini glass


  • 4oz your favorite vodka 
  • 4oz chocolate liqueur (I used Trader Vic’s because they were out of Ghirardelli)
  • 4oz Bailey’s original
  • Chocolate syrup
  • Ghirardelli peppermint bark square (or any chocolate you have – but this is the peppermint element) 

Combine first three ingredients in the cocktail over ice. Shake really well.  Shave about a tablespoon of the chocolate bar of your choice and set aside. Put a small dot of the chocolate syrup on your finger and run it around the rim of the frosted glass. Repeat until the rim has chocolate syrup all around it. Roll through the shavings until coated. You could also use crushed candy canes for this.

Right before you are ready to pour, drizzle chocolate syrup along the walls around the inside of the glass.  Immediately pour shaken mixture into glass before the chocolate starts to drip.

PRO TIP: Having all ingredients cold helps the look of  the drink hold up. So does frosting the glass. 

White Bean Chicken Chili

The minute the weather drops below 70° I start craving chili. And this is one of my favorites. The key to making this extra special (I even had a co-worker cuss when he tried it!) is using my garlic broth as your base. This recipe is for the stovetop but can be adapted for the slow cookers or Instant Pot.


  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken cubed or shredded if using pre-cooked
  • 2 cups garlic broth (or use plain chicken stock if you must)
  • 1 whole medium sweet onion, chopped
  • 3/4 teaspoon garlic powder (omit if using the garlic broth)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 can Great Northern Beans, drained and rinse
  • 1 can white cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can white chili beans not drained or rinsed
  • 2 cans (4 oz) chopped green chilies (sub 1 can of jalapeños if you like it spicier)
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried Mexican oregano
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup half & half or heavy cream
  • Shredded cheddar cheese, for serving (optional)
  • a handful of the tortilla chips crumbs from the bottom of the bag (optional)


Heat oil in a large soup pot. Sauté chicken, onion and 1/4 tsp of salt until chicken is no longer pink. If you are using a store bought rotisserie (which I often do!) just sauté onion until soft and translucent.

Add beans, broth, chilis, and seasonings (everything but the dairy). Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 30 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in sour cream and half & half. Serve garnished with cheese and tortilla chip crumbles, if desired.


Obviously the perfect bite would be to have a spoonful of everything on it – but I also like to use a big tortilla chip as my spoon!


To reduce the fat or omit dairy altogether – reserve half of the can of the Great Northern Beans and puree in the blender with half of a can of the broth or stock. Pour into the pot at the end and stir to thicken the chili. Your chili will not be as white as what’s pictured here but it will be creamy and dairy-free!

Homemade Chicken Stock in the Instant Pot

So, just what is the difference between stock and broth? According to Food & Wine broth is something you sip and stock is what you cook with. Stock is typically made from bones with added aromatics (i.e., carrots, celery, onion, garlic and assorted herbs). Broth is typically made using stock and then adding additional flavors to be enjoyed for sipping or a base for soup. For example, I make my favorite garlic broth (it’s literally simmering on the stove as I type this) using this stock recipe I’m about to share with you for the base.

For this recipe I use either the carcass of a chicken I’ve roasted myself, a rotisserie chicken the store cooked for me or raw chicken wings (the large whole ones). The roasted and rotisserie chicken bones are going to bring a richer flavor but are pricier than the wings. But just use whatever you have or can get!

Regardless of what version of chicken you use, the flavor comes from the skin and bones. if using a cooked carcass be sure to pick off all the meat and use it for something else. We are cooking this for a long time and it will be mush and not really tasty. If using raw wings, throw the whole thing in there. Are usually keep raw wings in the freezer when I want to make a quick no first batch of stock and don’t have time to cook a whole chicken.

Ingredients (measurements are for a 6qt Instant Pot and yields about 5-6 qts)

  • 1 whole roasted or rotisserie chicken carcass with skin (remove meat), or 3-4 whole raw chicken wings.
  • 2-3 celery sticks cut in half and washed – include leaves if they have them
  • 2-3 unpeeled carrots washed and cut in half
  • 1 large sweet onion with peel left on (this helps give the stock a beautiful golden color). Cut in quarters.
  • 3-4 whole garlic cloves. No need to peel but be sure to smash so flavor can release.
  • 10 whole peppercorns
  • 2-3 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon of salt (add more to taste when finished cooking)
  • 2 sprigs of fresh or 1 teaspoon of dry thyme
  • 2 sprigs of fresh or 1 teaspoon of dry oregano
  • 2 sprigs of fresh or 1 teaspoon of dry rosemary
  • 2 sprigs of fresh or 1 teaspoon of dry sage
  • 6 cups of water or fill to an inch over contents. Do not exceed fill line on Instant Pot insert.

Ready to Cook?

Throw all ingredients into the pot and cover with the water. Close the lid of your Instant Pot and set to seal if not automatic. Set to pressure cook on high for 2.5 hours. This will really get all the good flavor and gelatin out of the skin and bones. Let naturally release for 30 minutes. It will take about 20 minutes for your pot to come to pressure so total cook time will be about 3:20. You can let it go longer with no problem – but I wouldn’t cook it less or you will miss out on all the depth of flavor a long pressure cook will bring.

Once your natural release is done, carefully remove the lid. I use a large ladle to remove the bones and veg from the pot. These have served their purpose and really have no life left in them so they can be tossed or composted. Thanks bones and veg! I turn off the warmer and let it cool for 30 minutes to avoid burning myself – which is inevitable. Once it’s cooled some, strain the liquid through a fine mesh strainer or cheesecloth with a large bowl underneath. I store my stock in gallon-size ball jars that I got on Amazon. You can use a fat separator if you want, or just put in the fridge and the fat will rise to the top and solidify and you can scrape off. If you’re not watching your fat intake then skip this part!

PRO TIP: I use this quite often so I typically do not have the need to freeze it. However, it does freeze well. Freeze in single portion freezer Ziploc bags to easily grab the amount you need. Should last in the refrigerator in an airtight container for a good 2 weeks and in the freezer for 3 months.


I personally love to just sip this broth by itself. But it makes an incredible base for some home pho, or chicken and dumplings or just about any comfort soup that’s calling your name. I also use one cup of it as the liquid when cooking chicken breasts or pork shoulder in the Instant Pot. I also use it when making rice in the IP – adds delicious flavor!


Bone broth is all the health rage and pressure cooking this for at least the 2.5 hours I suggest gets all the gelatinous goodness out of the bones – which is great for reducing inflammation and good for gut health.

Super Creamy Almond Butter

almond butter

How have I had my Ninja food processer and blender for 3 years and not know it was powerful enough to make nut butter? I have the Auto IQ Boost system and quite frankly – I just use the start and stop button to make smoothies and hummus.

But after a trip to the store to get some almond butter only to discover that the cheapest I could find was $7.00 – I decided I was crafty enough to make my own. I mean, it’s just almonds and salt, right?

So after doing some research and deciding that I think my Ninja can handle the job (even though there’s no preset button for nut butter)… I found raw organic almonds, bought $3 worth and gave it a whirl. Literally. And it did not disappoint! Keep ready for instructions.


  • 2 cups organic raw almonds (or however much you want to make)
  • 1 teaspoon of kosher sea salt (or to taste)
  • 1 drizzle of honey (optional)
  • 1 drizzle of extra virgin olive oil (optional)


  • High-powered blender or food processor
  • Spatula
  • Cookie Sheet
  • Parchment paper


almond butter2

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Place parchment paper on cookie sheet and spread almonds in a single layer.  No oil is needed.

Roast almonds for 10 minutes and let cool until they are still warm but not hot. You can buy pre-roasted/salted almonds and it will work fine. But the flavor isn’t as good and you don’t get to control the level of salt used.

Add roasted almonds to your blender or food processor and depending on your unit turn it to high speed and let it go. It will take roughly 10 minutes to get it to a smooth consistency. It will seem like it’s never going to happen but be patient! Every few minutes stop the machine and scrape down the sides with the spatula to make sure all your almond goodness is incorporated. Keep in mind, your blender is going to heat up some from working so hard and for so long. You may want to let it cool off for a minute when you pause to scrape down the sides.

And if you are patient and let it go long enough it will eventually become creamy!  Now, this is optional… if you want to add a small drizzle of olive oil to help it along – that is perfectly okay. It’s heart-healthy after all. But if you are avoiding oil then just rely on your patience.

Be sure to wait until your almond butter is just about the consistency you want before adding salt or any other add ons. I suggest tasting it before adding anything so you know what it needs. It added just a little salt and a drizzle of honey and it was good to go. This homemade version is WAY tastier than any store-bought almond but I’ve ever tasted… and was half the cost!



I put a warm slather of almond goodness on a toasted piece of Dave’s Killer Bread. So much nuttiness!






Almonds contain lots of healthy fats, fiber, protein, magnesium and vitamin E.

The health benefits of almonds include lower blood sugar levels, reduced blood pressure and lower cholesterol levels. They can also reduce hunger and promote weight loss.

All things considered, almonds are as close to perfect as a food can get.

Read more HERE.



Cold-start Yogurt in the Instant Pot

Cup of yogurt

This recipe is for what is called a “cold start yogurt” process. It omits the need to boil the milk first because you use Fairlife milk which is ultra-filtered. This really is a very simple process – however, there are some important details to know in order to successfully achieve creamy, delicious yogurt – so you’re going to want to read this whole post before you get started.

What is Fairlife Milk?

  • Fairlife Milk is an ultra-filtered product, which runs through “soft” filters to concentrate the Milk and remove impurities
  • There is more natural protein and calcium which comes directly from the Milk.
  • Because of the Filtration process, the Milk is higher in protein and calcium.
  • There is less sugar and the Milk is Lactose-Free!
  • Fairlife Milk is not organic but is ultra-pasteurized.

DISCLAIMER:  This is not an advertisement for Fairlife. This Instant Pot cold-start yogurt recipe is not to be used with milk that hasn’t been through an ultra-filtration process, like Fairlife which is different than ultra-pasteurized. Regular milk has some bacteria that need to be brought up to 180 degrees prior to making yogurt.

Okay – back to our regularly scheduled program: I wanted a vanilla-based yogurt for this batch and opted to put the vanilla creamer and the sweetened condensed milk in the mix at the beginning of the process to get a more intensified vanilla flavor (and boy did I!).  Because this makes about 96oz of yogurt (I filled 12 8oz jars) you might want to do it at the end and divide your yogurt in half so you can have both vanilla yogurt and plain yogurt for savory purposes.

IngredientsCast of Characters

  • 1-52oz Fairlife whole milk (Fairlife does have skim milk but it will definitely change the consistency)
  • 1-cup of natural bliss creamer (or use two tablespoons vanilla extract – omit if you want plain yogurt)
  • 1/2 a can of sweetened condensed milk (you can substitute 1/4 cup of honey – omit if you want plain yogurt)
  • *2-Tablespoons of store-bought yogurt (this is the starter – you can save 2 tablespoons from this batch for your next one).

*It’s critical for you to check the ingredient list of the store-bought yogurt when you’re shopping for a yogurt starter. It must have active bacterial cultures for it to work as the yogurt starter.  A live culture usually contains at least 2 types of bacteria (L. bulgaricus and S. thermophilus). I used Oui for this recipe but Oikos and Fage are both good options and have unflavored plain yogurt if you’re going that route.  Dairy-free yogurt will not work. Continue reading

Homemade Granola

JarsI initially made this granola because I finally learned how to make my own yogurt (recipe HERE)! But it turned out so delicious that I plan to make it a regular staple in my pantry. And it freezes well, too!

PRO TIP: The ingredients below are what I enjoy – feel free to substitute whatever nuts or seeds you prefer – but they need to be raw and not pre-roasted or they will overcook. If you want to add coconut or dried fruit – you will need to add that in halfway through the cooking process.


  • 4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1.5 cups sliced almonds
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/3 melted butter (you can always substitute coconut or vegetable oil, but I mean, come on… butter!)
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg or 2 medium eggs – whites only

Ready to Cook?

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Adjust the oven rack to the second level from the top.

Mix the dry ingredients together in a large bowl (oats, almonds, sunflower seeds, brown sugar, and salt). In a separate, smaller bowl mix together the wet ingredients (butter, egg whites, honey, and vanilla). Drizzle over the top of the dry mixture, stirring until well-combined and all the dry has been coated with the wet mixture (


add additional honey if it seems too dry). Transfer the granola mixture to the baking sheet and spread out evenly with a spatula, pressing down firmly so it’s compact. This will helps create “chunks” of granola later.

Bake for 30-35 minutes – rotating halfway through for even baking. Since all ovens vary – check around the 25-minute mark (especially if you can really smell it!). It should be golden brown with crispy edges, and the nuts should look lightly toasted.  Just keep an eye on it because it can burn quickly!

Remove from oven and let cool completely before breaking into pieces. It should keep in an airtight container up to 3 weeks – if it lasts that long!


Creamy Garlicky Hummus using the Instant Pot


I. Love. Hummus.

I mean, it really is the perfect food. Such a vehicle for a multitude of flavors yet equally delicious plain. I could eat buckets of the stuff.

But oh the fat!  Typically there are 5 grams of fat per 1 ounce of hummus. By the way, most store-bought tubs of hummus say that 1 ounce/2 tablespoons is a serving. Who are they kidding? So, I set out to make a lighter version.

Water. Who knew? I have always made hummus by blending olive oil into the mixture as it whirled through the blender. But I recently came across a recipe using water instead. I’m still using tahini so there is still some fat involved… but not nearly as much as when using oil (most store-bought hummus has soybean oil in it – even worse!).

Continue reading

Grown-up Grilled Cheese with Sherry Tomato Basil Soup


Who doesn’t love grilled cheese and tomato soup on a cold wintery day? If you don’t, we probably can’t be friends. This grilled cheese is a result of LOTS of experimentation. I have a bit of a reputation because of these – and countless requests to finally get it posted. So here you go… now you can stop bugging me make your own whenever you like!

The soup recipe comes from the one and only Pioneer Woman. I mean, she puts sherry and cream in it. She can definitely be my friend.

Ingredients for Grilled Cheese

  • Any bread that can stand up to some weight. I personally love sough dough bread.
  • 1 slice of TWO of your favorite cheese (2 slices total – swiss ,cheddar, gruyere, etc)
  • 1 tablespoon whipped cream cheese
  • 1 tablespoon grated parmesan
  • 1 tablespoon butter

Continue reading