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We love Food

Easy Instant Pot Tomato Sauce

Last year I canned tomatoes for the first time.  This year I decided to tackle tomato sauce.  But,  if you’ve learned anything about me, it’s that l like things to be as easy as possible in the kitchen!  So, when people were telling me that I needed to blanch tomatoes, take the skins off, deleted them, roast them with lots of seasonings, and other things, I thought…surely this has to be easier.

Of all the produce that our garden has produced this year, our tomatoes are some of the best.  Big, firm, and standing tall!  They may have been slow to turn, but I’ve been patient as I knew this would be worth it in the end when I have homemade tomato sauce this winter!  I’ve discovered that the older I get, the more joy I get in preserving our food through freezing and canning for use later.

My Instant Pot ready for making tomato sauce!

The Recipe

Thanks to my friend Jenny over at In the Kitchen with Jenny and my other friend Mary, over at a Natrual Soul, I talked through things and did indeed find that it could be easier!  So, between these friends and my Instant Pot, I now make what I’d like to consider is the worlds easiest tomato sauce.

Instant Pot Tomato Sauce
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: varies
 
Ingredients
  • Tomatoes
  • 1 Onion
  • Minced Garlic
  • ¼ c water
  • olive oil
  • salt
  • pepper
Instructions
  1. Place the trivet in the bottom of your instant pot and pour the water in the bottom.
  2. Fill the pot with the tomatoes, washed and whole, along with the onion that has been cut into quarters!
  3. Drizzle olive oil over all and season liberally with salt and pepper.
  4. Place the lid on with the valve set to steam and turn on to manual for 5 minutes.
  5. Once done, do a quick release.
  6. Drain all the juices from the tomatoes and onions and place in a blender and blend until smooth!
  7. Can or freeze.

 

After cooking in the Instant Pot

Cooks Notes:

  • There aren’t a lot of measurements on this recipe because it is a lot up to the cook!  Some batches I put more onions in, sometimes it was more garlic!
  • 1/4 cup of water may not seem like a lot, but the tomatoes produce so much of their own juices that you don’t need any more!
  • No, I don’t remove the skins or seeds!  The seeds don’t bother us and I believe the skins add a thicker texture!
  • Yes, it really is that easy!  I have a large drawer full of tomato sauce ready for the winter thanks to this recipe and my mom (who does my canning)!

I hope you find this recipe helpful and as easy as I did!  Enjoy tomato sauce year round!

Tomato Sauce

Other tomato sauce recipes from Iowa Bloggers:

Healthy Roasted Tomato Sauce from Farm Girl Cook’n

Easy, Homemade Roasted Tomato Sauce from Simplify, Live, Love

Traditional Slow Cooker Sunday Red Sauce from Ally’s Sweet & Savory Eats

 

Sweet & Creamy Strawberries – Keto Friendly 

I recently started eating Keto style and these Sweet & Creamy Strawberries are the perfect snack to satisfy my sweet tooth.  Most of you know that I have tried eating “clean”.  It didn’t work for me.  I can only eat so many stalks of celery before I need something of substance.  Several of my friends have adopted the Keto lifestyle and so after much research and talking wit them, I decided to give it a whirl!  Before I go any further, I want to say that I am not an expertise in Keto and not a professional, so before you decide to take on the lifestyle, please do research with those that are!

Finding What Works For Me

One aspect of Keo is high protein and high fat and very low carb.  I’ve actually come to discover that I love carbs, but they don’t love me.  I love cereal, muffins, and bread, but it makes me so bloated.  So, this diet has been great for me!  However, I’ve struggled to find low carb snacks to curb my sweet tooth!

We also have started a strawberry garden this year!  T has loved giving these “ladies” as he calls them extra attention and producing the sweet red berries for me to enjoy!  Next year I’ll have an abundance of strawberries and this will be the perfect way to use some!

strawberries
One of the many strawberries from our garden

Fruit is something I’ve always loved and love experimenting with recipes.  This yummy fruit recipe can be used as a side or a dessert!

Sweet & Creamy Strawberries - Keto Friendly
Author: 
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
Ingredients
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • ½ cup whipping cream
  • 2 T Swerve
  • 1 t almond extract
  • 3 cups diced strawberries
Instructions
  1. Begin by whipping your cream until somewhat frothy
  2. Add the cream cheese, Swerve, and almond extract and mix thoroughly
  3. Fold the cream cheese mixture into your strawberries

Cooks Notes

  • Swerve is an all-natural sugar substitute.  Any natural (no calorie) sugar substitute will work for this recipe.  You may just have to adjust the amounts based on what you use.  You can also use real sugar if you aren’t worried about those calories!
  • Your whipping cream will not whip up into an actual cream.  You aren’t using enough (or in my case, didn’t have the patience) and that’s ok!  You just want to whip it until frothy!
  • Stir your strawberries real well before eating or serving.  They will put off a natural juice and you will see “water” or juice sitting in the bottom of the bowl!  This juice just helps to spread things around, it’s all good!

I love enjoying these Sweet & Creamy Strawberries for an evening snack!  They are perfect for satisfying my sweet tooth, but not getting me off track with my diet!  If you want something extra special, toss a few dark chocolate chips in with your strawberries! YUM!

Eating & Drinking in the Twin Cities

T and I were privileged during our recent trip to Roseville, MN to enjoy some great restaurants and a brewstilary!  For me, because I love food as much as I do, the food can make or break a trip for me and thankfully Roseville and St. Paul now have a special place in my heart because of the good good we ate!

Bonfire Wood Fire – 850 Grand Ave, St Paul, Minnesota

If you’re looking for a great place to grab a bite in the St. Paul area, Bonfire Wood Fire won’t disappoint!  It is located in a fun neighborhood and the first thing I noticed when we came upon Bonfire was it’s appearance.  I loved the look of the building from the outside with its fun and brightly lit sign along with the piano and drum set that were being set up for entertainment.  How can you not love music on the street?

Once we entered, their decor automatically got me!  I loved the combination of modern and rustic.  The finishes were top notch and extra special.

With a small, but varied menu, you won’t be disappointed!  Meals like the Spit-Roasted Chicken and the Signature Walleye are sure to please.  The rustic, but modern atmosphere just adds to the delicious meal for an overall great experience!

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The Minnesota State Fair: A Must

This was not my first visit to the Minnesota State Fair! In fact, it was actually my 3rd or 4th visit. I do however consider myself an expert in fairs! Not only was I involved with the Franklin County Fair in my hometown for more than 10 years, T and I love visiting different fairs and especially the Iowa State Fair!

So, what’s so great about the Minnesota State Fair?

Things To Do

You will not, I promise, run out of things to do at the MN State Fair!  The choices are endless!  If you have small children, we recommend heading to Math On A Stick!  Created as a way for kids and adults to both enjoy mathematical skills without actually doing equations, there are several stations that challenge kids to use their logical and creative brains at the same time!  The stations can change each day as well!  The day we visited, there was  a station that used balloons to create different shapes, etc.  Even the big guys found it entertaining!

The creator of Math On A Stick explaining the concept to us!
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Easy Lemon Herb Chicken

Who loves easy and tasty recipes?? This girl, that’s who!  This Lemon Herb Chicken fits the bill exactly!

Lemon Herb Chicken

I’m pretty sure I’ve said it before, but in case I didn’t…my creative juices fly more when I have more free time!  The time to experiment and try things out is much more enjoyable when I don’t have exterior stresses!

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Instant Pot Minute Steak

I grew up eating minute steak, fried in a flour coating on the stove top. T did not and he does not love it, so I’m always trying new recipes to find something he likes. We always have several packages each year when we have a cow butchered, so I need to find ways to get rid of it!  For those of you who don’t have a lot of excess beef sitting around, minute steak is a very affordable way to get some iron into your diet!  However, if not cooked properly, minute steak can be incredibly tough!

We’ve had our Instant pot for about 2 months now and I’m still taking it slow and getting used to cooking with it.  I’ve made roast, chicken, chicken Alfredo, and hard boiled eggs in it!  While I love using it for a fast meal at night after work, I would be doing you an injustice if I didn’t tell you that making hard boiled eggs in the instant pot is where it is at!  This process of cooking eggs has literally changed my life!

But anyway…I digress and we must get back to the minute steak!  I love using more than one function on my instant pot and for this recipe, we’re going to use both the saute and the manual cook!

Instant Pot Minute Steak
Author: 
Recipe type: Supper/Main Dish
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 3 servings
 
Ingredients
  • 1lb minute steak
  • 1-2 cups beef broth
  • 1 package brown gravy mix
  • 1 can cream of chicken soup
  • flour
  • pepper
  • olive oil
Instructions
  1. Cut minute steak into bite size pieces
  2. In a plastic bag combine pepper and flour
  3. Add minute steak pieces to the bag and coat thoroughly with flour.
  4. Set Instant Pot to saute and add 2 T oil
  5. Brown each piece in the Instant Pot
  6. Remove the meat and deglaze the pot with the beef broth!
  7. Add the gravy mix and cream of chicken soup, stir thorougly
  8. Place trivet in bottom of pot and add meat
  9. Cook on manual for 10min with a natural release
  10. Serve

Cooks Notes

A couple of cooks notes:

sauteing the minute steak
  • Don’t overcrowd your Instant Pot when browning the flour coated meat.  I did mine in about 3 groupings.
  • You may need to add more oil in between each batch of browning depending on how bad it’s sticking!
  • Before deglazing your pot, you can saute a little diced onion if you choose (I did this the first time!)
  • The amount of broth you use is completely up to you!  I used 2 cups the first time and only 1 the second.  It depends on how thick you want your gravy!  We preferred using the 2 cups of broth!
  • Serve over noodles, rice, or mashed potatoes!

 

Minute Steak
Instant Pot Minute Steak

The minute steak gets so tender that the meat pretty much melts in your mouth, which is a huge accomplishment if you’ve ever had this cut of meat!  We hope you enjoy this dish as much as we do!  If you try it, let me know what you think!

Oven Packet Asparagus & Life Right Now

I love asparagus and pretty much anyway you cook it, I’ll eat (except pickled).  It’s one of my favorite vegetables.  Traditionally, I eat it sauteed or steamed, but the other day I was feeling adventurous and whipped up this Oven Packet Asparagus!  It’s tasty, easy,  requires little attention, and is healthy!  What makes for a better recipe?!

Life Right Now

Remember those posts where I said we were on “vacation”…meaning there was no sports season going on?  Well, that is no more!  We’re officially into the swing of track season!  Both R & M are participating this year!  It adds more track meets (19 in about 6 weeks to be exact), but I’m so excited about it!  Track is definitely R’s sport.  It’s what he excels at and I would bet to say it’s the one he enjoys the most!  This is M’s first year participating and I can’t wait to see how he does, which events he enjoys, and where this takes him!

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Italian Egg Salad – A Creamy Twist

I love hard boiled eggs, which results in loving egg salad!  Recently, I developed a love for this Italian Egg Salad and I’m so glad that I discovered it.  It’s refreshing and simple, yet full of flavor and delicious!

Italian Egg Salad

My Grandma P made THE BEST egg salad I remember ever having!  Unfortunately, she was killed in a car accident when I was 11, so I never got to write down her recipe and of course, like many grandmas, she never did document it.  So, no matter how hard I’ve tried in my adult years, I can’t recreate it, so I’ve stopped trying!  Instead, I decided to come up with my own delicious egg salad.

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Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread

Just when we think Spring has arrived in Iowa (70 on Monday), Mother Nature proves us wrong (8 inches of snow on Sunday). So, while I was wallowing in the turn of the weather, I decided to whip up a batch of my Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread for the boys and myself! It’s one we all enjoy because really…who doesn’t enjoy a warm sweet bread loaded with chocolate chips?!

There seems to be nothing like the smell of freshly baking bread in the oven when you’re dreading the impending snow storm!  We all know there is nothing like snacking on a warm sweet bread straight from the oven either!  There are probably hundreds of pumpkin chocolate chip bread recipes and while mine is nothing unique and there is nothing that sets it aside from the others, it’s pretty dang good, a classic, and super easy to throw together!

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