Start of Summer, 2017

The end of the school year finally came, and now I am sitting comfortably in the summer months.  Boise has been beautiful and warm lately, dipping into the 90s.  Of course I’d prefer it to stay in the 70s, or 80s, but I am always just happy it isn’t cold anymore.  I have been enjoying watching the flowers around my property bloom, iris and rose and all kinds of trees.  I almost killed quite a few things last year when I messed up the programming on my sprinklers, but hopefully I’ll get it figured out this summer.

Tucker, my kitty, has been going outside more and more.  I want to keep him in the yard for the most part, and for now he is content to stay within the confines of the fence.

I imagine that won’t last long.  The other day the neighbor kitty, Lucy, came for a visit.  She thinks this is her property, and gave Tucker quite the stare-down.  It started in the yard, but after I shooed her away they just stared at each other through the fence.  It would be cuter if I wasn’t afraid of them getting in a fight, but this is not their first interaction and so far so good.

I have been knitting a bit.  My brother had a baby with his wife, and I was making All The Baby Things for a while.  He visited the other weekend and I gave him the last thing I’ll make for the baby fora  few months, a pair of baby booties.  They are the cutest, just like the baby.  I hope that someday I’ll get to go to Alaska to visit, or they’ll come down to Idaho to see us.

I have grand plans for the summer, but we’ll see what I actually accomplish.  Yesterday was my first full day of freedom, with zero obligations or plans, and it was a little strange and difficult.  I did some knitting and started to build another cornhole set.  I fell asleep around 7:30pm.  It was a lazy and weird day, but I’m sure after a week or two (or by the time it’s the beginning of the new school year!) I’ll have everything figured out a little more.

Right now my main goals are to finish a few crafty project, relax, make things.  Maybe clean my house.  Get a lot of sleep.  Go outside, enjoy.

Every week, as long as I’m not too busy with work, I like to make my boyfriend a little treat to take with him to his friends. He hangs out with a group of dudes every week to play games and have some ‘man time’, an activity that is not only great for him, but allows me to bake and create sweet things without ending up eating it all myself. I’ve made all sorts of treats, most from scratch, although sometimes I’ll make box cupcakes and call it good. Every time I see his friends at parties and gatherings they express their gratitude, so I’m happy to continue. There’s just something about feeding others and having them enjoy it that brings me a ton of joy.

As I’ve already written before, I got an Instant Pot recently and have been loving creating new dishes in it. I found this great recipe for chocolate pots de creme online, and adapted parts of it to suit what I had on hand. I made mind in small mason jars, although they are so rich I think I would prefer to make them in ramekins in the future. I served them with graham crackers (my boyfriends idea!), although if I were making them for myself I would have bought fresh berries… next time I guess. The ‘finished’ pictures were taken by him-they didn’t assemble the whipped cream and graham crackers until after they ate dinner, so I wasn’t there to take the photos myself. I think he did a pretty good job, though! It’s amazing the quality you can get with phones, these days.

Recipe: Chocolate Pots in the Instant Pot

1 1/2 c. Heave Whipping Cream
1/2 c. whole milk
5 egg yolks
1/4 c. sugar
1/8 tsp. salt
6 oz. milk chocolate chips
2 oz. dark chocolate chips

In a saucepan heat the whipping cream and milk on medium to medium high heat, stirring frequently. While the cream mixuture is heating up, whisk the eggs yolks, sugar, and salt together until the sugar has dissolved. After the cream mixture has some to a simmer, slowly add it to the egg mixture, whisking constantly. You do not want to go too fast, or else the eggs will curdle. After two have been mixed together, whisk in the chococlate chips, continuing to whisk until they are completely melted.

Pour the chocolate cream mixture into ramekins, or into 4 oz. mason jars. Cover with tin foil.

In your instant pot add 1.5 cups of water, and place your trivet on top. Stack the ramekins on top of the trivet. Depending on your instant pot, if you are using mason jars you might need to do 2 batches. Seal the instant pot, making sure that the vent is also set to ‘sealing’. Manual set the instant pot on high pressure for 6 minutes. Let the pressure natural release for 10 minutes, before releasing the rest of the pressure using quick release. Uncover the ramekins and let set out to cool, before placing in the fridge for several hours or overnight. Top with some whipped cream and fruit or graham crackers and enjoy!

Instant Pot Low Carb Creme Brulee, Experiment 1

My dad is on a keto diet, so I wanted to experiment with a ‘keto-friendly’ creme brulee.  Regluar creme brulee has a lot of sugar in it, but has very simple ingredients, so I figured I would try just replacing the sugar with Truvia, a sugar my dad had on hand.

I am overall semi-satisfied with trial 1.  I decreased the sugar in half, as per Truvia’s directions, but the creme brulee wasn’t as creamy as usual.  I could try increasing the time by a few minutes to see if that at least solidifies it a bit more (it wasn’t runny, but it wasn’t solid either), and the sweetness was lacking so next time I’ll add in another half TBS of Truvia.  The Truvia DID NOT work for the topping, so I added in a half teaspoon for the top.  You can see where it burned, before I put on the sugar.

Recipe: Creme Brulee, Test 1 (makes 6)

2 cups heavy cream
6 egg yolks
2.5 TBS Truvia
1 TBS vanilla extract

Whisk the egg yolks and Truvia together until the Truvia as dissolved. Add in the cream and vanilla extract, being sure not to beat. Strain through a mesh strainer, and then pour into ramekins. Cover the ramekins with foil.

In the instant pot liner, fill with 2 c. of water, and place the metal trivet on the bottom on the pot. Stack the creme brulee to fill the pot. Set on manual high pressure for 7 minutes. Let it naturally release pressure. When done, uncover the foil from the ramekins, and cool completely in the fridge. Use .5 tsp of sugar for the tops, and caramelize using a (pretty awesome) torch. Enjoy!


Instant Pot Pulled Pork

For my birthday my parents got me an Instant Pot. For months it sat in the spare room where I house most of my cooking appliances (oh the joys of a small kitchen and little pantry space) because I was terrified that it would blow up when I turned it on. I knew it had to be easy, otherwise people wouldn’t be so obsessed with them, but still the fear lingered.  Finally, after making plan after plan to cook something I just went for it.  I made a whole chicken, and it was a miracle.  Tender, moist, and just falling off the bone… I was sold.  The next week after I finished my chicken I made a pork roast so I could have carnitas for the week.

I didn’t even end up crisping the pork to make it true carnitas.  It was divine, and so easy.  From the minute I took the pork out of the fridge all the way through pulling the roast, I was only 1.5 hours in.  For about an hour of that time I was doing other things, waiting for the Instant Pot to do it’s thing.  It was magic.

Last week I made the realization that my local grocery store often has meat on sale on Wednesdays and Thursdays.  They must pack it on Fridays for the most part and then the sell by that falls mid-week.  Beef is usually only a little on sale, but this week pork was half off.  For perfectly good pork.  I bought two packages, one for this week and one for the freezer.  I’ll be doing most of my meat shopping mid-week from now on!

To make this I winged what I threw in, because I didn’t have everything I wanted on hand.  Next time I want to try apple juice instead of ginger ale… the first time I made pulled pork I used orange juice and it was too much.  Some recipes use just water, but I like the sweetness of juice (or in the case, pop).

Recipe: Instant Pot Pulled Pork

3 Pounds Pork Roast, cut into large chunks
Spices to taste… I used
Cumin, Chili Powder, Chili Flakes, Oregano, Garlic Powder, Onion Powder, Salt, Pepper, Chipolte Seasoning
1 Orange, sliced
1/4 Red Bell Pepper, Sliced
1 Ginger A le
Olive Oil

Turn the Instant Pot onto Sautee. Add in olive oil, pork. Brown. Add on top all your seasonings and bell pepper, toss to mix. Place orange slices all on top of pork, followed by the ginger ale. Turn the instant pot onto manual high pressure, for 25 minutes. Natural Release for 15-20 minutes, before Quick Release. Transfer meat to a heat-proof dish and pull. Enjoy!



I’ve been painting a lot lately.  I’ve been wanting to set up my ceramic studio, but between work and a social life it just hasn’t quite happened.  Instead, while I’m teaching, I paint.


Mostly I watercolor animals.  Poppies.  Mushrooms.  Flowers.  Nature, intertwined with itself referencing a dream-state only achieved by setting your mind free of the constraints of our society.  It’s fun.  The kids enjoy it, and I feel like I’m finally settling on a style of my own.


So many moons.


Today I also decided to dabble in a little acrylic, and some figurative work.  A portrait.  This is the rough base layer.  There’s some fixing to be done, but for 45 minutes of work I’m happy enough.