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Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Instantly Loving My Insta Pot

This past holiday season seems like it went by in a blur, in fact I don't think I landed in one spot for more than thirty minutes from Thanksgiving until New Years Day. During these times of what I call "constant chaos" my family doesn't get the home-cooked meals that I normally pride myself on and are left to fend for themselves in the freezer. I must admit as a wife and mother I feel a mountain of guilt over this. These feelings are not placed on me, the issue is purely my own.

Oddly enough, under the Christmas Tree sat a enormously wrapped gift with my name on it. I knew I heard something whispering sweet nothings to me from inside the wrapping paper. I opened up my gift and met my new Insta Pot!

I had heard of these but had not given them a single thought. My eyes darted over the box as I took in just how many functions this one piece of cook-ware had. A few days after Christmas I perused some online Insta Pot recipes and decided on a Beef Strogonoff soup. In a little over an hour I had delicately moist and fork-tender beef over egg noodles. Not only was it delicious, but it seemed almost effortless... toss some ingredients in there and voila you have an entire meal.

One of my favorite features is the pre-set timer. I can prepare the ingredients in the Insta Pot at lunch and schedule it to start cooking at 5:30. After it finishes it will keep the meal warm so when i get home from a crazy day at work dinner is hot and ready! Goodbye mom guilt! I've already used it five or six times in a two week period. Although I've never been personally interested in yogurt making (I'm happy to just buy it) the Insta Pot has a yogurt making feature, so of course I had to try it and now I am a full on domestic goddess who even makes her own Greek yogurt.

After my two weeks of walking in Betty Crocker's footsteps I thought my hard work deserved some sort of prize or trophy. In my mind good cooks had to earn the right to have expensive kitchenware, and I felt like I had earned my token especially since my favorite extra wide, extra high ceramic lasagna pan didn't make it through this year's holiday rush (it got dropped in the sink.)

I saw Williams Sonoma was having sale on Le Creuset covered casserole dishes and figured my recent Insta Pot success earned me the the honor of having the finest of French cookware proudly displayed in my own kitchen.
After waiting 3-5 days for my online order to arrive the UPS man happily left my box in the driveway. You could imagine my dismay when I read the print on the side of the box that said my fine new "French" Le Creuset dish was actually MADE IN CHINA... just like everything else! Oh well, hopefully it cooks the same as the French one!

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Singing Road Trip... the best form of kid torture EVER!!!

We had just finished packing up the car, our Grey Traverse stuffed to the rim with dogs, bikes, the kid, and the numerous beach supplies needed for a week's stay in Gulf Shores. I was happy that the morning had been smooth and relaxed. We had managed to shove off at the planned time with no extra packing stress.

Just as the dirt road turned into pavement the voice floated up from the backseat. "Mama, can I have your phone?" I rolled my eyes. Once again we were not on the road more than three seconds before Senia Mae wanted to plant her face in the screen, getting completely sucked into the vacuum effect of electronic stimulation. What ever happened to families talking to each other during long drives. Didn't kids play I Spy or the Alphabet game anymore?

"Kara, it's going to be a seven hour drive," Kim said.

Most days I would push the family talking argument, trying to treasure the lost trove of Americana, but that day I just handed the phone back. Here we go, I thought to myself as I flipped on SiriusXM radio channel 15, The Pulse! Suddenly over the airwaves I heard the voice of Katie Couric announcing she was live on the air with Steve Perry of Journey and was going to spend the next full hour discussing his disappearance from the public eye over the last thirty years.

"Whaaaaat?" I yelled out in excitement as I raised my hand across the middle console to give Kim a high five. "I loooooove Steve Perry!"

Closing my eyes I could still see Steve Perry's smooth black hair and chiseled chin on the faded cover of Tiger Beat Magazine. That ripped cover remained plastered to the wall beside my bed until the mid-eighties. It was going to be a great day, I could feel it. Leaning forward I turned the volume knob up higher, drowning out the Monster High voices coming from the backseat.

"Even his own grandfather believed the rumor about him having throat cancer," I said, turning to Kim, my ears desperately hanging on every word that came out of the speakers.

"That's unbelievable," Kim replied. "Must be crazy living in the spotlight like that."

After a few minutes Katie said they were going to take a short break. I so wanted to be taking her place in that interview. She left us with Steve Perry's smokey voice belting, "I should've been gone... knowing how I made you feel..."

I screamed like an excited schoolgirl going to the eighth-grade semi-formal. Kim and I started swaying left to right in unison with the pulsating bass as he moaned, "Oh I must have been a dreamer..."

"Dream of Gold" Kim and I both sung back-up, wailing at the top of our lungs as the car rocked back and forth, bike tires spinning on the rear rack. We could have easily been Wayne and Garth cruising around town in a Pacer or Melissa McCarthy singing the Milkshake song during the car scene of Identity Thief.

"You guys know all the words to this song?" Senia Mae asked after we both belted out "You'd be better off alone... if I'm not who you thought I'd be..."

"Of course," I said. "I've had Journey's Greatest Hits on cassette, CD, and on iTunes. Even though this was his solo album."

"We love this music," Kim added. "I had this record on 45."

"Yes, I can tell," Senia Mae said with a cake-thick layer of sarcasm. "Do you think you can turn it down? I can hardly hear my video."

"That's what headphones are for," I piped in happily as a deep grunt came from the backseat.

"How long is this guy going to be on?" she asked.

"Hopefully the whole seven hours!" Kim said excitedly. "But more like sixty minutes."

"Sixty minutes? That's a long time..." Senia Mae groaned as Kim and I busted out laughing in the front seat, realizing that this was the best form of kid torture ever.

Thinking of all the countless hours I've had to listen to those annoying YouTube videos where the kids are screeching in pretend baby voices, this moment in time was absolutely priceless. We may not be day trippers but we definitely ARE fun Road Trippers!