Smokey Pecan Brussels Sprouts from The Ultimate Vegan Cookbook for your InstantPot

Have you guys been seeing InstantPot in the news lately?  They have become wildly popular with a fairly basic marketing scheme: word-of-mouth.  For those of you who have already joined the pressure cooker party, you are going to love this.  For those who need an extra push to get one, this new cookbook by Kathy Hester is it!

It is called The Ultimate Vegan Cookbook for your Instant Pot and it has quickly become my new favorite cookbook.  She has written it with particular instructions to make it easy and simple to use with an Instant Pot electric pressure cooker (of any size and model), but it could easily be used for other brands of electric pressure cookers as well as stovetop pressure cookers.

What sets Kathy's book apart from other pressure cooker cookbooks I have is that every single recipe has a picture.  So what?  Well, I love a cookbook with gorgeous pictures for the same reason I love reading recipe blogs.  You get to live the recipe before you make it.  On any normal day when I'm starting to get hungry for lunch, I wouldn't normally pick to make a recipe called "Snowy Day Potato Cabbage Soup" (page 130 in the cookbook), but when you see this cozy cup of soup sprinkled with parsley, you think "yes, that could totally be me snuggled under a blanket by the fire eating this soup."  This recipe is great, by the way.  I've already made it twice already.

The sections of the book are as follows as well as the recipes I've tried from each (I've highlighted my favorites in pink.  These will go into my regular rotation for sure!):
  • Five Recipes to Start You Out
    • The Best Not-Refried Black Beans
  • Quick and Easy Homemade Staples to Save You Money
    • Plain Applesauce
    • DIY Andouille Seitan Sausage
    • Tequila-Lime Jalapeno Really Hot Sauce
    • Make Your Own Jalapeno Powder
  • Bean and Lentil Recipes that Cook in Half the Time
    • Thai Red Curry Chickpea Spread
  • Fun and Delicious Ways to Add in More Whole Grains
    • Perfect Kamult (and Other Long-Cooking Grains) - used on whole oats
  • Eat Your Vegetables: Easy and Elegant Plant-Based Fare
    • Smoke Pecan Brussels Sprouts (featured below)
    • Healthy Cream of Asparagus Soup
    • Snowy Day Potato Cabbage Soup
    • Vegan Cauliflower Queso
  • Fast and Comforting One-Pot Meals
    • Winter One-Pot Lentils and Rice
  • Cook it All at the Same Time: Layered Meals with Sides
    • One-Pot Burrito Bowls
  • Decadent and Healthy Desserts
    • Vanilla Spice Tea Concentrate
I've had this cookbook in my hands for maybe two or three weeks, and you can see I have gone to town!  My favorite recipe (that would be worth it to get the cookbook on its own) is the Vanilla Spice Tea Concentrate.  It's made by pressure cooking water with spices, steaping in tea afterwards, and then you have a concentrated chai-like tea to heat (or have over ice) with an equal amount of plant milk (sweetened if you like).  

My parents, who are also plant-based, came to visit to see me (Who am I kidding?  They are totally here to see my little potato.  And who could blame them?) last weekend.  While on the drive across the state they usually stop for a little treat at Starbucks, most often for a chai tea latte.  I tested out the recipe the day before they got here and holy smokes!  Waaaaayyyy better than Starbucks!  I made it for them the next morning with our breakfast and my mom immediately got onto Amazon to order her own copy of the cookbook along with a bulk order of the spices needed to make the tea.

To make a batch of the tea, the ingredients cost me around $2 and it made 8 servings.  That's 8 chai lattes I wouldn't buy from a coffee stand for $5 each.  With the cost of the plant milk added in, each latte I make at home is well under $1 each.  Plus, I know exactly what goes into my tea and can control if I want it with more or less sweetener each time.

But here I am rambling on about a tea when you came here to see what these Smokey Pecan Brussels Sprouts are all about.  I've made this recipe twice... and ate the whole pot in one sitting... twice.  The recipe says it is for 4 side servings, but as a Nutritarian, I can eat LOTS of veggies, so I would say it is closer to 2 sides or 1 meal size serving.  The sweet of the maple syrup with the smokey bitter of the Brussels sprouts pair perfectly.  This would be an ideal recipe for a family holiday dinner side.  Or to make randomly and eat shamelessly all to yourself.

Smokey Pecan Brussels Sprouts
By Kathy Hester, The Ultimate Vegan Cookbook for Your Instant Pot.
Recipe attributes: gluten-free, soy-free, no added oil
Kathy's Recipe introduction:  This recipe will turn your sprout haters into sprout devourers!  I used a variation of this to get Cheryl to try sprouts for the first time.  The sweet and smokey flavor really make these Brussels sprouts addictive.
Time: <5 minute prep, 2 minutes High Pressure, Quick Release, 2-5 minute saute
Servings: 4 side dish servings (1 nutritarian serving, cus we like our veggies!)

    Pressure Cooker Ingredients:
        2 cups small baby Brussels Sprouts, as close to the same size as possible
        1/4 cup water
        1/2 tsp liquid smoke
    Saute Ingredients:
        1/4 cup chopped pecans
        2 Tbsp maple syrup
        Salt, to taste

1.)  For the pressure cooker, add the Brussels sprouts, water, and liquid smoke to your Instant Pot and mix well.  Put the lid on and close the pressure valve.  Cook on high pressure for 2 minutes.  (Note: If you have very large Brussels sprouts, you may need to double the cooking time.)
2.)  Once the cooking time is up, carefully move the pressure release valve to release the pressure manually.
3.)  For the saute, switch to the saute function and add the pecans and maple syrup and reduce the liquid as you finish cooking the sprouts.  Remove from the heat once tender and add salt to taste.

Per Serving: Calories 96.4, protein 2.2 g, total fat 5.5 g, carbohydrates 11.7 g, sodium 11.9 mg, fiber 2.4 g

Brussels sprouts vary greatly in size.  Do your best to pick ones close in size or cut the largest ones in half.  You can use frozen sprouts in this recipe, just up the cooking time by a minute or two depending on their size.

Convinced you need this cookbook in your life?  Find it here on Amazon for purchase.

Health and Happiness,



Meet Baby Ben

I can't believe how quickly time has gone by!  I briefly popped on here over the summer to let you guys know I was pregnant and how things were going at 25 weeks.  I turned away for a minute and now I have a three-month-old!

My birth story is for another day and another time.  It didn't go as planned at all, but in the end we ended up with a beautiful healthy baby boy.  Here are a few pictures of my little potato.






Health and Happiness,



Update at 25 Weeks!

The weeks have just been flying by!  Summer is officially here, and thankfully our region hasn't been too unbearably hot.  I've been steadily growing and have gained about 10 lbs at this point, which puts me at a little under 1/2 lb gained per week.  Hopefully that pattern continues, but we shall see.

It's strange for once in my life viewing slow and steady weight GAIN as a good thing.  At first it was a real struggle to wrap my brain around, but once I started getting an obvious baby belly (not just the "is she getting chubby"-stage), I embraced it!  I've been picking lots of fun stripes and other patterns for my maternity clothes as we go too.

At 25 weeks.
I have had no real complaints to speak of, other than occasional sore back and neck depending on how active I am in a day, and increased hunger throughout the day.  Lately, I have been eating closer to four meals a day with a decent sized breakfast and lunch, a medium snack late in the afternoon, and a smaller dinner to keep from feeling too stuffed right before bed.

I've still been using the Happy Herbivore Meal Mentor plans for about two months now, but I'll tell you all about them another day.  All you need to know is, they are the best and this prego lady would not be eating nearly as well without them!

A few weeks ago we had our anatomy ultrasound and found out we are having a boy!  We were both hoping for a boy, so we are thrilled!  After finding out, I got to work like crazy planning the nursery on Pinterest!

Last weekend my parents visited and we got A TON done on the nursery.  Here are a few pictures.

Mom and I painted the nursery over the weekend.  Three walls are the Seaglass, and the window wall is Sonic Silver.

Shopping around we found this fabric shower curtain for $15 at Target that my mom cut in half and sewed into curtains.
We also found a nice curtain rod for $8 at Joann Fabic, and curtain hold backs for $5 at Ross.  Considering the curtains I had liked on Amazon were $45 by themselves, we got a steal!  The green chair will be leaving us in a yard sale soon.  The cute bassinet was from when I was a baby.  We'll be using it in our bedroom for the first month or so.  

My dad made me these fantastic book leaning shelves (idea from Pinterest).  The bottom shelf is smooth so I can put a cup of water and my phone there while sitting with the baby.  The top three shelves used grooved baseboard planks so that they would perfectly hold leaning books.  We don't have any baby books yet, so Kevin brought up some comics to fill the space.  The glider we got for a great deal at a yard sale for $40!

My dad helped me make this tree branch shadow box (idea from Pinterest).  After this picture we had touched up the white outer box.  You can see it finished in the photo above.  We had the outer box wood leftover from another project and we got the branches from the woodsy area by my house, they had already been cut down.

The changing table was a find from a friend's neighbor who was trying to get rid of it for $20.
The storage bins were a present from my parents from Target. 

Another view of the bookshelves and rocking chair.

Kevin and I found this cute definition at a market vendor in Portland that had painted it on reclaimed wood (wanting $40 for it!).  I took the lettering and embroidered it on a burlap frame I had used a long time ago to hang my earrings on.

My mom also helped me to put some adorable owl buttons on a cardigan I finished knitting a few months ago.

 In the end, everything is coming along, but I still feel like there are so many more little projects I want to do!  Our summer is quickly filling up with traveling and plans so I'm sad to say it will probably go by quickly.  One day at a time till we get to meet our little boy. :)

Health and Happiness,