Kitchen Appliance Obsession

I love small kitchen appliances. They fascinate me. They inspire me. They make cooking and baking easy and fun. The picture above shows a few of my appliances: KitchenAid stand mixer, KitchenAid food processor, Cuisinart toaster oven, Nespresso Aeroccino Milk Frother, my brand new Instant Pot (!), and SodaStream. Oh, I shouldn’t forget my coffee corner with the Nespresso and Keurig:

 

Or, my Christmas present obsession the Power AirFryer XL:

 

Hidden away I also have an air popcorn popper, a FoodSaver, and a Ninja Blender System.

For the past 2-3 weeks I’ve been feeling a bit blah about my weight loss journey. Not discouraged, but disconnected. I’d been thinking about buying an Instant Pot for a couple of months and this past week I placed the order. It arrived the very next day – even though I didn’t request any special shipping service. Was that a sign?

Did I need the Instant Pot? No. Did I want it? That’s a big old YES.

When it arrived I immediately unpacked it and read the manual from cover-to-cover. I was a bit nervous about how the whole electric pressure cooker worked exactly, but I was ready to explore what I’d been hearing and reading about this “amazing machine.” A friend of mine, Michele G., received one as Christmas gift. She’s quite an amazingly creative and talented person in many areas, one of them happens to be with food. I took her suggestion that I begin with hard-boiled eggs. They. Were. Amazing! I was so excited that I even gave one of them to another friend as a gift. My next Instant Pot adventure was steel cut oatmeal. Once again, amazing! Everything is so easy and tastes delicious.

I searched the internet for healthy Instant Pot recipes and stumbled upon a whole section in Skinnytaste.com (http://www.skinnytaste.com/recipes/pressure-cooker/). Score! I love her recipes.

I’m feeling much more engaged with my weight loss journey. Go figure. I’m going to go plan my next Instant Pot adventure.

What are your favorite small kitchen appliances?

 

Snow Day!

I am a public school teacher. I am a 10-month employee. I have built-in vacations throughout the school year. And, I have snow days from time to time. Today is a snow day! Usually “the call” comes between 4:30 and 5:00 AM, today’s call came early last night. That is a definite treat. No matter how the unexpected (or sometimes anticipated) day off comes I always feel excited – like 9-year-old, clap your hands, and jump up and down excited. When the call comes in the morning it’s sometimes hard for me to fall back asleep. When the extremely rare night before call comes there’s time to prepare for the celebration.

In my past I would have loaded up on comfort foods, grabbed a good book and movie, slept in late, and stayed in my PJs all day. It would basically be a day of eating and not moving very much where I’d end up feeling a bit achy and sluggish.

My new snow day reality is a bit different. I still feel all the excitement, I hit up the grocery store for provisions, and I sleep a bit longer than I would on a normal work day BUT my food choices have surprisingly adapted to my personal health goals and I seem to be no longer capable of sitting still for long periods of time. When on earth did this happen to me?!

My grocery basket last night included bananas, celery & carrots, blue cheese, Frank’s Hot Sauce, BOCA crumbles, Halo Top ice cream, PB2, Quest bars, and a bottle of Diet Mountain Dew. Did I need everything I bought? Nope. But, I wanted options for making food on this snowy day. I’m seriously contemplating making Skinny Buffalo Chicken Strips (http://www.skinnytaste.com/skinny-buffalo-chicken-strips/) and Low Fat Creamy Blue Cheese Dressing (http://www.skinnytaste.com/low-fat-creamy-blue-cheese-dressing/) from http://www.skinnytaste.com – hence the celery & carrots, blue cheese, and hot sauce. The BOCA Veggie Ground Crumbles I like to have on hand for one of our favorite Weight Watchers recipes of Pasta with “Meat” Sauce (7 SmartPoints). I had my typical breakfast of a Shakeology protein shake with banana, but I did add a little something special with an Eggo Nutri-Grain Low Fat Whole Grain Waffle spread with PB2. As for the Halo Top ice cream, Quest bars, and Diet Mountain Dew? Total splurges of comfort. Will I eat them any or all of them today? Yes to the diet soda (and, yes, I know it’s really not good for me) but probably no to the other items. Right now I’m splurging on having a second cup of coffee with half-n-half – I’m methodical in measuring out 1 tablespoon for each of my cups of coffee.

I slept an extra 2 hours from my regular work day wake-up time of 5:00 AM. That felt wonderful! I also stayed in my PJs and leisurely prepared and ate my breakfast. Then, instead of heading for the couch and my warm blanket, I tidied up a bit and changed into my yoga clothes for my daily practice with Yoga with Adriene (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCFKE7WVJfvaHW5q283SxchA). I feel awesome! When I’ve been sitting too long my Fitbit will buzz to remind me to get up and move, which I will do. I also see some serious shoveling in my near future. Of course I will mix this all in with reading (YOGA: Mastering the Basics – Sandra Anderson/Rolf Sovik, PsyD) and watching some Netflix (The Crown). All-in-all a lovely day.

I still have the excitement for snow days, but now I physically and mentally feel great after the day has ended.