Wednesday, November 25, 2020

{ Busy day in the kitchen }

It had been a long time since I walked into the kitchen, and spent some hours pottering around, cooking, baking, prepping and just enjoying being in that little space. 
The kitchen is the heart of the home!
I have always said that my favorite room in my homes, the many we've lived in, has always been the kitchen.  But when Curt retired from the Air Force, 7 years ago, our lives took a huge tumble, and everything that I was used to, the routines, the schedules, the moments I had perfected over the years, just fell to the wayside.

I've struggled to find my footing since then.

"But it's been 7 years Sandra, surely by now you've gotten back on track?".

Well, no.  You would think that 7 years is long enough to get back to that way of doing things, but the truth is that life has changed and I don't think I will ever truly get back to exactly how I used to do things.  It's understandable, I'm older, my children are older, we are in a different State, we've been through a lot and frankly, we are not the people we were back in those days.


I've slowly been molding a new way of doing things, pulling some of the old habits and incorporating newer routines and so forth.

Yesterday though, was a day that very much reminded me of the way things used to be.

I was in my kitchen for hours, and I loved every second spent in there.

I was mostly trying to do some food prep and getting some things ready for Thanksgiving, and by that I mean making sure I had all the ingredients I needed on hand, ordering some last minute things from Walmart pick up, and doing some baking because I needed to use up cranberries before they went bad.


 I had picked up this magazine from Taste of Home, a while ago, and the recipe on the cover was calling my name.  I had everything I needed on hand so quickly whipped up this Chocolate Chip Cranberry Bread, the recipe will be on my food blog today.


I have about 2 cups of cranberries left so I'm going to make some homemade cranberry sauce today.  I have never made it myself so we will see how that turns out, and of course I'll share with you my thoughts and the recipe too.


I also had some oranges that were starting to go back, so got those sliced up and in the oven to dry, for my orange garlands.  I make one every year, to hang over the fireplace and as a decoration for my real Christmas tree.


While working in the kitchen, I put my instant pot to good use.  I don't know about you all, but I love mine so much and use it at least 4 times a week, some weeks I am using mine every single day.

I cooked up some sweet potatoes, I realized I only had 2 so I've added a bag of sweet potatoes to my Walmart pick up.  My Jasmine will never forgive me if I don't make some sweet potato casserole for her.

And with the remaining potatoes, I will make a sweet potato pie and then slice some up for fries, blanche and freeze them for future meals.

If you're wondering how to make sweet potato in the instant pot, I place them on the metal trivet, or you can use a steaming basket (which reminds me I don't have one for my pressure cooker, so I think I'll add that to my Christmas wish list lol).

Anyway, wash the potatoes, add them to the trivet or basket, add a cup of water, and then pressure cook on HIGH for 26 minutes for 4 to 5 potatoes.  Quick release the steam.

Since I only had 2 potatoes I cooked them for 20 minutes, and it is the perfect timing.  Once they were out, I let them cool slightly and then pulled the skin right off, and put them in the fridge until I use them.


While the food was cooking and baking in the kitchen, I gave my fireplace a quick clean to get it ready for winter.  We have had pretty good temperatures so far, and we never light the fire unless it gets to 30 degrees or below.


I must say, these cold winter like mornings have been wonderful.  Oatmeal has been my go to breakfast, and now that I've figured out how to make it in the instant pot, I'm loving it even more.
I'm a creamy oatmeal kinda girl, my daughter on the other hand loves thick clumpy oatmeal. 
If you enjoy creamy oatmeal like I do, then here is the recipe for you, give it a try and let me know what you think.
Instant Pot Creamy Oatmeal
1 and half cups old fashioned oats
1 and 3/4 cups of water
2 and 1/4 cup milk
4 tablespoons brown sugar
Cook on HIGH pressure for 6 minutes, then do a quick release.
Note:  If you use steel cut oats, cook for 5 minutes on HIGH,  then naturally release for 20 minutes.
If you use quick oats, cook for just 1 minute on HIGH and do a quick release.

Today, I plan on making all of my pies, and then just do the turkey and side dishes tomorrow.   I think I will more than likely put up a Thanksgiving post with the food I'm making including the recipes.  

Are you having a Thanksgiving dinner with family, or is it just you and your immediately family at home?  What are you fixing, keeping with the traditional big Thanksgiving meal or making it smaller, changing it up this year?

Would love to know what your plans are, let's have a chat down below :)


  1. I have been blessed with a Thanksgiving meal provided for my family from Illinois Cancercare where I receive my treatments. However, because of COVID, our plans have changed and my son and I will enjoy Thanksgiving with just my parents and not my siblings and families.

  2. All this food looks so good! I do the dried orange slices too.

  3. The bread looks yummy. Perfect for a chilly winter morning


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