Instant Pot cooking at home and new pots for the trailer

It has been a while since I posted much about cooking. We just didn’t do any interesting cooking on the last trip, either due to rain or heat or fire warnings. I decided I needed to pull out the Instant Pot and make some food for the next trip. Tonight I made pork chops with mushroom gravy, and they were yummy. I sautéed 8 ounces of mushrooms and a tsp or so of chopped garlic in some olive oil. I then browned 6 boneless pork chops, the only ones Kevin found at the store. I added some paprika, rosemary, parsley, salt, and 1 tsp of Better aThan Boullion to 1 cup of water and added everything to the IP. I let it cook at high pressure for 15 minutes, then let it naturally release the pressure. I removed the chops and added a slurry of cornstarch and water to thicken the mushroom sauce while on sauté. I made the mashed potatoes using just the instant Ore-Ida brand that are pretty good. We at two of the pork chops, and I put the remainders (plus the gravy) in two containers and froze them. Later I will let Kevin package them with the vacuum packer. All I have to do later is heat them up and put over pasta or rice. We also bought a couple of Costco rotisserie chicken to package into 1/2 pound quantities.

I also got my new cookware for the trailer today. I had tried to use an inexpensive set, but they bent getting bumped around in the trailer! We researched a number of alternatives, and we ended up buying a set from Magma. They nest together, have a non-stick interior, and they are HEAVY! They are actually much heavier than the ones I use at home. I am looking forward to trying them in the trailer.

Today was for onions and sewing

I make an onion dip that is really amazing. It is made with dehydrated carmelized onions, sour cream, and garlic powder. You mix 2-3 handfuls of the dehydrated onions to 16 ounces of sour cream, and add 1/2 – 1 tsp of garlic powder. Mix well, and let sit in the refrigerator for 12 hours or so. As the onions rehydrate, they absorb some of the moisture in the sour cream so the resulting dip is quite thick. Part of the trick is how to make the onions themselves. I chop 3-4 pounds of onions, then carmelize them in a skillet (my cast iron works great for this). When the onions are light brown, add 1/2 c white wine to deglaze the pan. Cook another 5-10 minutes to evaporate the wine, then add another 1/2 c of wine and deglaze the pan again. Continue cooking until the wine has evaporated. Dehydrate for 12 hours or so at 135 degrees. If you plan on using them quickly, they can stay at room temperature. I leave them in the refrigerator if I don’t use them in a couple of weeks. Here are some pictures of the process.

Ready to take off the stove. The onions are a lovely caramel color.
On the dehydrator tray.
The final product. Obviously less volume than about 4 pounds of onions!

I also did some preparation for sewing. I have my grandson’s baptism outfit cut out and the interfacing fused on the waistband. I have the most beautiful fine broadcloth that should work beautifully. Tomorrow I will practice my pintucks on scrap fabric, work a bunch of them on the romper front, and hopefully start construction. We decided to leave here on next Wednesday instead of a week from Friday for our next trip, so I have a few less days to get the romper finished. I can do the skirt later, but I want to make sure the romper fits; this kid is growing like a weed! We decided we are going to Fossil Butte National Monument (spending the night on Green River Reservoir), then someplace in the Bighorn National Forest, followed by a night at Devil’s Tower KOA to clean tanks before heading near Spearfish, SD for a vacation with our kids and their families.

Yesterday Kevin went back to the surgeon who did his knee surgery. The surgeon says there is still swelling and a small MCL strain left over from the surgery. That is the reason he still has pain and stifffness. It is nice to hear an explanation, but fairly frustrating too. He has been riding his bike as much as he can since that is a good rehab exercise.

I’ve got goodies

I had a fun two days. First I had a friend with a long arm quilting machine baste my Carpenter’s Square queen sized quilt. It is wonderful! See how even the backing lies? No puckers, no wrinkles even with the fluffy wool batting. 

Any little wrinkles that show on the picture are because I had it partially draped on my ironing board. She used water soluble thread, a basting stitch about 1/2″ long, and programmed 5″ squares. She said she cussed at the thread for a little while until she got it working, but she is more than willing to do this on additional quilts for me or others.

While we were chatting, she mentioned she has a company that makes assorted quilting “stuff.” In particular, she has a new model of bobbin wonder that is programmable for up to two different bobbin types. I just hate my old-style Handiquilter bobbin winder so I was intrigued. She and her husband showed me how it worked, and I was hooked; I bought one right there on the spot. I have since tried it at home on my Handiquilter and my Happy multineedle embroidery machine. It winds both types of bobbins (Class M and Class L) perfectly. She has also wound Featherweight bobbins on it. My FW bobbin winder is getting difficult to use; after all it is made out of rubber and is over 60 years old (1952 model).

I left the snippers on it for size. The copper wire guides the thread to the tension assembly. It is so neat and clean compared to my old bobbin winder. If anyone is interested in her stuff, either quilting or quilting accessories, she can be found at (I wish I could make that a hot link – sorry). I highly recommend her products.

I also got a combination cup holder and mini trash can at my Bernina dealer when I was at the embroidery software class. I am always worried about spilling a cup of coffee or tea in the sewing studio, and I never have a trash can close enough. This hits two birds with one stone. I figure it will really be wonderful to take to sewing get together or classes. It screws on the edge of a table, and the cup part is HUGE, over 4″ inside diameter. It should easily hold even an insulated water bottle.

I should have more fun things tomorrow to show off after I attend the Utah Quilting and Sewing Marketplace show. I will help staff the American Sewing Guild booth in the morning, then I get to shop and look at the show quilts. So far I just have boring things to buy (needles and bobbins), but I probably will find something fun to get in addition; I usually do.

On the Instant Pot front, we had a great stuffed pepper casserole last night. The night before we made pork chops in the Anova sous vide again. We have been eating quite well.

I actually do know how to spell and use correct grammar!

I was looking through old posts, and I can not believe how many errors they have! I am in the process of editing a number of them.

And I probably should have posted about our latest kitchen toy, an Instant Pot! I made stew first, and it was lovely.

Today we are going to make steaks with the Anova sous vide and garlic mashed potatoes with the Instant Pot. Nothing like good food!

Baby presents done

I finished up my daughter’s baby quilt a couple of days ago, and I finished a car seat canopy for her today. Lots of pictures of the quilt, but I forgot to take a picture of the canopy! I mailed the package today, and it will hopefully be there for her baby shower Saturday.

Cheyenne’s elephant quilt
Elephant was quilted with random circles.
The background was quilted using a bamboo design.
Some straight line quilting too using rulers.
Back needed to be just a little bit bigger so I added a cute stripe

We also got a Anova sous vide cooker. It is wonderful! One of my sons got one for Christmas, and he convinced us to try it. Last night was pork chops, and tonight is chicken. The meat is evenly cooked and very moist. We do have to brown it after the sous vide, but that only takes a few minutes.


I spent a lot of today cooking and prepping, but I decided I would wait until tomorrow for pictures. Three pies (two pumpkins, one pecan), a 17 pound turkey cooked and cut up, “pink stuff” salad, cranberry sauce, and the dressing is made (mushrooms, onions, celery, cornbread, wheat bread, egg, chicken broth, sage). Tomorrow all the last minute stuff and a lovely dinner with husband, son, and friends.

Well, I thought it would be an easy Thanksgiving dinner …

I am a planner. I spent 30 years planning and executing engineering projects, and I look at Thanksgiving dinner as a project with tight deadlines. I have everything planned pretty carefully for resources (oven space, stove space, refrigerator space, ingredients) and schedule. We are only having a total of six people for dinner, and I was looking forward to a pretty relaxed preparation. The menu was smoked turkey, a good Amana pre-cooked ham, sage/cornbread dressing, gravy, mashed sweet potatoes with syrup and pecans, cranberry sauce, a cherry/pineapple/cool whip/condensed milk salad known in our family as “pink stuff”, plus lots of pies – two pumpkin and one each apple and pecan pies. Friends are bringing a cranberry salad and another vegetable dish.


Monday: Smoke Turkey

Tuesday: Bake cornbread for dressing. Roast pecans for pies and sweet potatoes. Unrelated to Thanksgiving, smoke a big piece of salmon we bought on Monday morning. Make smoked turkey broth for the dressing with the remainder frozen for later.

Wednesday: Make the dressing, cranberry sauce, four pies, and put together the pink stuff salad.

Thursday: Cook (small) ham, rolls, gravy, dressing, and sweet potatoes. Enjoy friends arriving at noon with dinner planned for 1:00. See how easy?

Well, that lasted until Monday afternoon when Kevin discovered the main burner on the smoker had burned out! Of course, this was after the turkey had been in a 110-120 degree smoker for four hours (the heater for the wood chips was still working). It certainly would not be safe to eat so it went into the trash. Search the entire city for a replacement burner, but they have to be mail ordered – not available before late Wednesday. Off to Costco Monday afternoon for a new fresh turkey only to find them sold out! Way too late for a frozen turkey, so we were at their door as they opened today to pick up a turkey they had delivered last night. Now I have to cook a 18 pound turkey (the smallest they had) on Thursday in addition to doing the ham, sweet potatoes, and rolls plus cooking the dressing. I will have to plan everything pretty carefully since I only have one big oven plus one (relatively big) toaster oven. The poor salmon is getting baked this evening since it won’t be any good by Friday when the replacement burner element will be installed in the smoker.

Sigh. I might have to push dinner back some because of how much time the turkey will take. I am even thinking of the sacrilege of making the turkey on Wednesday using an oven bag, and then just reheating it in the microwave on Thursday. I will report back, with pictures.