Loaded Baked Potato Soup

I love my Instant pot! I practically use it for almost everything I cook. I like that I can just add everything from the recipe and look it cook while I get other things done. Even if there are a few different steps, they can all be done with ease. If you’ve got an instant pot or you are thinking of getting one you can find delicious recipes from my Instant Pot Pinterest board.

Welcoming the colder weather means welcoming warmer dishes. ‘Tis the season for all things soup! I for one love a good soup recipe especially if it’s wholesome and filling.

Loaded Baked Potato Soup Recipe #recipe #instantpot #soup #winter #meal

 

I’ve made this soup five times already and each time I tweak it slightly making it a little better than the last. I’ve made it twice using this exact recipe so I think it’s the best to share with you. It’s so much cheaper to make at home than buying it out or in grocery stores. It’s also fun to put together too and in no time you pretty much have an entire meal.

I love all things potatoes and this soup tastes like a loaded baked potato with sour cream, cheese, bacon bits, and butter. I used Better than Bouillon chicken base for a little extra flavor. I’ve made the soup a few times without it and it seems as though something is missing. 

Loaded Baked potato Soup #soup #instantpot #recipe #food

Ingredients: 

  • 1 1/2 pounds potatoes, red, or Russets (I used red because they are my favorite)
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp Better than Bouillon chicken base
  • 4 cups milk (any kind of your choosing)
  • 1/2 cup grated medium or sharp cheddar
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 (3 oz) package real bacon bits
  • 2 green onions, diced (you can add more if you’d like)

Get to cooking:

  1. If using red or yellow potatoes, scrub them clean. If using Russet potatoes, peel them. Pour 1 cup of water in the bottom of your Instant Pot and then place trivet in the bottom. Place potatoes on top of the trivet.
  2. Cover the Instant Pot and lock the lid. Make sure valve is set to “sealing.” Set the pressure cook button (mine says manual) for 10 minutes on high pressure. When the timer beeps carefully move the valve to “venting” to let the pressure release. When you can, remove the lid.
  3. Remove the potatoes and set aside. Discard the water. Turn the Instant Pot to the saute setting on “less.” Melt the butter. Once butter is melted whisk in one tablespoon of flour at a time until you get a creamy, lump-free roux. Add in the salt and pepper. Let it start to bubble, whisking constantly.
  4. Once it is bubbling add in the milk and Better than Bouillon and whisk. Adjust the saute setting to a high heat. Whisk every few minutes until the milk starts to thicken and bubble.
  5. Turn the Instant Pot to the warm setting. Stir in the sour cream, cheddar, diced onions and bacon.
  6. Smash the potatoes with a potato masher. My potatoes were somewhat smashed but still had some chunkiness to them. Stir the potatoes into the Instant Pot. Salt and pepper the soup if needed.
  7. Serve topped with shredded cheese and bacon bits. 

Loaded Baked potato Soup #soup #instantpot #recipe #food

 

Excuse the photos, it smelled so good and I was so hungry while making it my stomach was practically trying to eat itself. The left overs are better the next day too! Give it a try and please let me know what you thought! 

If you don’t have time to read it now, then PIN it for later!

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Instant Pot Recipe: Pot Roast With Potatoes & Carrots

Instant Pot Recipe: Pot Roast With Potatoes & Carrots

I have always loved potatoes and carrots that were cooked with a roast, they were so good to me! I had the idea to use the instant pot and thought a roast would satisfy us both; and satisfy it did.

Instant Pot Recipe: Pot Roast With Potatoes & Carrots #recipe #instantpot #potroast #meal #weeknight

I love the baby carrots so I use them a lot rather than cutting up large carrots. I didn’t want the baby carrots to turn to complete mush so I added them into the instant pot 10 minutes before the entire meal was done.

Instant Pot Recipe: Pot Roast With Potatoes & Carrots #recipe #instantpot #potroast #meal #weeknight

This recipe is by far the best pot roast instant pot recipe I’ve tried (the carrots, potatoes, and onions filled me up and the boyfriend couldn’t get enough of the pot roast). I’ll be hanging onto it for as long as my little instant pot will help me out. I’ve loved using it this summer because the oven doesn’t have to be turned on. 

Ingredients
1 3-5 pound beef chuck roast (see notes for instructions from frozen)
1 tablespoon oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 pound baby red potatoes
1 pound baby carrots
1 large yellow onion, chopped
4 cups beef broth
2 tablespoons worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons corn starch

Instructions

  • Turn on your instant pot and set it to “saute”. In a small bowl stir together salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and smoked paprika. Rub mixture all over the roast to coat all sides.
  • Drizzle oil in instant pot, wait about 30 seconds, then use tongs to place roast in the pot. Do not move it for 3-4 minutes until well-seared and browned. Use tongs to turn the roast onto another side for 3-4 minutes, repeating until all sides are browned.
  • Switch instant pot to “pressure cook” on high and set to 60-80 minutes (60 for a 3 pound roast, 80 for a 5 pound roast). Add potatoes and onions to pot; arrange them around the roast and pour beef broth and worcestershire sauce over everything. Place lid on the pot and turn to locked position. Make sure the vent is set to the sealed position. (If using baby carrots set your cook time 10 minutes earlier than the recipe time calls for, once the instant pot goes off so a manual realer then add in the baby carrots, cook the additional 10 minutes).
  • When the cooking time is up, do a natural release for 10 minutes (don’t touch anything on the pot, just let it de-pressurize on it’s own for 10 minutes). After 10 minutes, turn vent to the venting release position and allow all of the steam to vent and the float valve to drop down before removing the lid.
  • Transfer the roast, potatoes, onions, and carrots to a platter and shred the roast with 2 forks into chunks. Use a handheld strainer to scoop out bits from the broth in the pot.
  • Set instant pot to “soup” setting. Whisk together the water and corn starch. Once broth is boiling, stir in corn starch mixture until the gravy thickens. Add salt, pepper, and garlic powder to taste.

 

Taking The First Steps Towards Becoming A Healthy-Eating Family

Taking The First Steps Towards Becoming A Healthy-Eating Family

Did you know that, on any given day, more than one in every three American children will eat fast food? Our bad eating habits seemingly start much sooner than we might think – as early as in our toddler years according to researcher Victor Fulgoni. Until about 9 months of age, our diets are pretty balanced, consisting of breast milk or formula, baby cereal and mashed up fruit and vegetables. At 10 months we are generally introduced to our first bite of cake while our first birthdays open up a portal to a land strewn with sodas, candy, potato chips, chicken nuggets, pizza and a whole array of other overly-processed foods. Judging by our early start at eating junk food, it is no wonder that we inherently find it difficult to make healthy food choices as we grow older. Luckily there is still a chance to become a responsible adult and parent, making small changes to your eating habits that will soon see your family following a healthier lifestyle without kicking up a fuss.

Taking The First Steps Towards Becoming A Healthy-Eating Family #healthy #eating #family #lifestyle

Set a good example for your children

As adults, we are required to set good a good example for our children, regardless of how hard it may be at times. Leading by example is one of the most effective ways to get your children to follow a healthy diet as children are naturally prone to copying their parents. Resist the urge to drink countless glasses of soda in front of your children, opting for a homemade lemonade or ice tea instead. Pack a healthy lunch for yourself for work and offer the children something similar for school. If everyone in the household is on the same page as healthy eating is concerned, it will be significantly easier to make permanent changes to your lifestyle.

Taking The First Steps Towards Becoming A Healthy-Eating Family #healthy #eating #family #lifestyle

Don’t buy what you can make yourself

As convenient as it is to reach for the nearest bottle of ketchup or a tub of yogurt, it is not the healthiest option for your family. Even seemingly healthy store-bought foods are often riddled with hidden ingredients that are not nearly as healthy as the manufacturers make them out to be. When you prepare your own meals from scratch you have complete control over what ingredients you use. You may be surprised to find how easy it is to whip up a batch of homemade yogurt or prepare your own healthier take on corn dogs or chicken nuggets.

Ensure you have healthy snacks in the house

While it is fairly easy to eat healthy at meal times, snacking is often a whole different ball game. Make sure there are a number of healthy snack options available to indulge in while watching TV, firing up the BBQ or to take along on a family road trip.  Instead of potato chips, buy a packet of pretzels and bake a batch of oat cookies rather than buying a box of Oreos. Investing in a popcorn maker and an air fryer will go a long way in enabling you to make nutritious and delicious snacks any time a craving rears its head.

While it is of vital importance for you and your family to follow a healthy diet it is also important to not expect all the changes to happen overnight. Be patient with both yourself and your family, auctioning one small change at a time. Before you know it, you and your loved ones will be leading a healthy lifestyle without even sparing a thought for the unhealthy eating.

 

Herb Crusted flank steak

Herb Crusted flank steak

I had a craving for some meat! So I decided I’d cook, since it had been awhile, It turned out to be a great idea! The day was rainy and lazy so i whipped up some homemade horseradish sauce for the side too. I have a love hate relationship with horseradish sauce though.

I made fingerling potatoes and snow peas for the sides, which we quickly gobbled up. 

Herb crusted flank steak #recipe #dinner #food

Herb Crusted Flank Steak 

Ingredients:
2 tsp rosemary, finely minced
2 tsp thyme, finely minced
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp each salt and pepper
2 lbs flank steak

Get cooking:
1. Chop the rosemary, thyme, and tarragon for the marinade. Next, mince some garlic, and add it to your herbs.
2. Drizzle in the olive oil and add pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Stir well.
3. Lay the flank steaks out over plastic wrap and pour the marinade right over. Rub in the marinade all over with your hands, make sure you don’t miss a spot.
4. Grill the steaks about five minutes on each side (for a beautiful medium steak).
5. Slice it into strips on a platter and serve.

Herb Crusted Flank Steak #dinner #food #recipe

This is a great weeknight meal and can be mixed with a little wine. I love shedding a busy day starting with dinner, a glass of wine, then a shower before bed.

Homemade Honey And Oat Energy Balls

Homemade Honey And Oat Energy Balls

I am not a good breakfast eater. I have to be awake for awhile before I am even hungry. I feel a little nauseous if I make myself eat in the mornings when I’m not hungry.

I know to get my metabolism jump started I need to eat a little something. I love breakfast bars but I don’t love what’s in them most of the time.

I personally think this recipe is the holy grail of all healthy breakfast balls (I’ve also been called a liar, but this one is SO good!) Because with honey, peanut butter, & rolled oats as the base – what’s not to love??

I will be eating these (on the way) at work so I didn’t want to make them as bars so I decided to roll them into bite size balls. They can be stored a lot easier and they’re perfect for popping one in your mouth at the desk or in commute.

Healthy Breakfast Balls

Ingredients:
1 cup of honey
3/4 cup of peanut butter
2 1/2cups of rolled oats

Optional:
Dried cranberries
Raisin
Pistachio
Dark chocolate chunks
Coconut
Peanuts

Instructions:
1. Put the peanut butter and honey in a medium mixing bowl.

Mix peanut butter and honey
2. Place in microwave and heat for 15 seconds. (You want to soften the ingredients together rather than melt them)
3. Throughly mix honey and peanut butter until well blended.

Blend the honey & peanut butter together
4. Add in the oats, then fold into peanut butter and honey mixture. (a cup at a time helps to blend all the ingredients throughly)

Mix In the rolled oats
5. Place mixture onto wax paper and spread about 1/2 an inch. (You can also used a greased rectangle pan)
6. Set in fridge for 5-6 hours to let the bar set.

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7. Use a spoon to measure the amount of the bar you desire.
8. Use spoon or hands to roll into bite sized balls.

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If you think you’d like this recipe please share it on Twitter or Pinterest! I’d love to know if you give it a try too!

Stress Management Techniques for Family Get-Togethers

Stress Management Techniques for Family Get-Togethers

The holidays are all about spending time with your family and friends. That’s why it’s such a special time, right? Well, let’s be honest; that’s also why it’s such a difficult time. Stress rates spike, family altercations increase, and you somehow find yourself in tears after what should have been a lovely dinner.

Stress Management Techniques for Family Get-Togethers #stress #family #anxiety #together

Much as we love them, family can be difficult. Whether your family is the type to get into out-and-out arguments, or whether the stress is usually a result of subtle barbs and hurt feelings, we can all use a little extra help with stress management over the holiday season. Here are some tips to help you keep your cool:

Deep Breathing
It might seem really basic, but it’s a classic because it works. When we’re stressed, our sympathetic nervous system goes into overdrive and forces us into a reactive state, where we might act in ways we regret later. It can even become a self-perpetuating cycle, where you become vigilant for any perceived threat and it just continues to feed the stress. Instead, cut off your stress reaction by reassuring your body that it’s not in physical danger. How? Give it oxygen. Regulated, relaxed oxygen. Whenever you find yourself reacting to the stress, start to measure four counts as you inhale, four as you exhale.

Communicate Boundaries
If setting boundaries feels like a mean-spirited thing to do, consider sociologist Brene Brown’s advice that the MOST compassionate people are those with clear boundaries. Setting clear boundaries with our loved ones allows you to stop stressing about how much you need to take before just snapping. It also lets you have more peaceful relationships because others know where you stand, instead of being surprised that you’re reacting so negatively to something they say. It’s especially great for those arguments that you keep having over and over again. This post has fantastic advice for setting and communicating boundaries with loved ones in a way that will avoid conflict instead of creating it.
Stress Management Techniques For Family Get-Togethers

Check Your Self-Talk
Usually we’re quite sensitive to things that our families say because there’s actually more behind every statement. We hate when our sister brags about how great her children are doing in school because we feel self-conscious about our own performance as a parent, or we react badly to our father’s advice because we feel he’s never been satisfied with us, even back when we played little league. Instead of reading into each comment, check your own self-talk. Write it down and follow each lead down to the extreme conclusion so that you can decide whether or not it’s logical. Then, when that harmful self-talk creeps in again, you can nip it in the bud.

Take a Walk
Did you know that walks outside–especially walks in green spaces–have a powerful effect on our cognition? It gets us outside of our own heads, puts our body chemistry into a healthier balance, and redirects self-deprecating thoughts. So include a nice walk around the neighborhood into your family get-together, whether it’s with a few other family members, or just by yourself. If you want some time alone, you can always say that you have to take a call and step outside.
Stress Management Techniques For Family Get-Togethers

Have an Exit Strategy
By hour 4 of family socializing, stresses and conflict can compound. Evenings that seem to go on and on can wear on us, and yet slipping away might not feel like an option if you have a mother who has perfected guilt-tactics (and let’s face it, all of our mothers know how to guilt us). So, go into the evening with a plan and an excuse to leave. Tell yourself you’re heading out at a certain hour, and a reason why. For example, you might have to get the kids to bed, you might need to get to sleep for an early morning appointment the next day, or you might even have to leave a daytime party before it gets full dark because you don’t want to drive icy roads at night when your vision is compromised. Let your mother try to argue with the safety excuse!

Maple Bacon French Toast Cupcakes

Maple Bacon French Toast Cupcakes

I love baking when i have time off from the 3 part time jobs I’ve acquired. It helps me relax, if its been a rough day i will give the Kitchenaid a break and mix ingredients myself. It helps get the frustration out, ya know.

While taking a baking break and getting the ingredients together for my french toast I did a little pondering, could I turn this into a cupcake?? So it began! I made about 4 different recipes until i nailed it on the 5th. Everybody loves these cupcakes, even the picky eaters.

I made a couple dozen, placed them inside little pink boxes I use to deliver cakes and cupcakes i make for friends and family. So they know what these pink boxes mean. They mean business to me sweet treats for them. Needless to say they loved them!

I heard so many “she put bacon on a cupcake!”, “Is that bacon?”, “these really do taste like French toast!”. I was proud of myself, I started making them for relatives and friends who’d request them. They’ve helped me perfect my baking hobby piece by piece (pun intended 😉).

 

Maple French Toast & Bacon Cupcakes.

Ingredients
For the Cupcakes:

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup cake flour
1 3 .9-ounce box instant vanilla pudding mix
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon potato starch
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 large egg whites, at room temperature
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup half-and-half, at room temperature
1/2 cup chopped cooked bacon (5 strips)

For the Glaze:
1 8 -ounce package cream cheese, at room temperature
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3 strips bacon, cooked and chopped

Directions
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Place paper liners in a 12-cup muffin tin. Prepare the cupcakes: Combine the flours, pudding mix, baking powder, potato starch, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt in a bowl with a whisk.

In a separate bowl, cream the butter and sugars with a mixer on low speed until combined, 6 to 8 minutes. Gradually mix in the vanilla and egg whites. Scrape down the sides of the bowl; continue mixing until light and fluffy. Add the flour mixture in 3 batches, alternating with the maple syrup and half-and-half, mixing after each addition and ending with flour. Mix until the ingredients are just combined; do not overmix. Fold in the bacon. The batter will be thick.

Pour the batter into the prepared muffin tin, filling each cup about three-quarters of the way. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 40 minutes. Cool completely.

Meanwhile, prepare the glaze: Beat the cream cheese and butter with a mixer on medium speed until creamy. Add the confectioners’ sugar, maple syrup and cinnamon; beat until combined. Spread on the cooled cupcakes; top with chopped bacon, if desired.

www.FlirtyAprons.com

Hello There!

Hello There!

You may have seen me around here before, I’ve had 2 previous blogs (The Crafty Side Of Sarcasm & Namaste And Eat Cupcakes) over the last few years.

I didn’t know anything about blogging, really. I was just sort of winging it with a post here and maybe one there with one falling towards the end of the month too.

I had no real focus with these two previous. I have learned so much in the 3 years i have been blogging, I decided on the niche I’d like to take part in, along with a few side subjects.

I want to research and write post like i do in my freelance business. I was throwing up posts that spewed out whatever was on my mind at the time. Which if you know me, ya know it was very random.

Let me introduce Myself

I’d like to formally introduce myself!

I’m Leslie Nichole, i live in the south with my FURbaby Quin who is 14 months old. I pretty much run on caffeine (usually in the form of mocha’s), (carbs – pasta, gnocchi, & muffins. I love them but i am trying out a healthier lifestyle) and sarcasm (please don’t take offence to the sarcastic posts that may show up). I have horrible anxiety which makes ut hard to come out of my shell, but I’m working on it.

I enjoy yoga, baking (there will ve recipes, which will not be healthy), light cooking (these recipes will be healthier), watching Disney movies (Belle is my favorite), i am a runner (only in the fall/winter though. The summers here in NC are brutally hot) oh and i collect sugar skulls. I absolutely love them, i love color which they are full of.

I have one sibling whom i share most of my sarcastic moments with, my twin brother – Kevin. Throughout life he has always been my best friend, financial advisor (i make horrible decisions), role model (for him to be an idiot he makes smart choices), and partner in crime (when i have no one else to hang out with me at food truck rodeo’s or craving a cheeseburger pizza and beer).

I juggle a schedule of part times such as assistant to my aunt at the insurance agency she owns and freelance writing. I enjoy working with my aunt, she is my favorite. She loves me as much as my own mom, she even wanted me when i was a baby. I decided to quit my cushy full time job in January to peruse freelance writing, i love intertwining words that make up incredible stories or that share amazing facts. On Monday, i picked up another part time job at Yankee Candle! I am one of those people who feel lazy if they aren’t doing something, so why not fill more time slots. I think forcing myself to talk with strangers will help me get a hold on my anxiety or at least help me identify triggers.

I believe that is enough about me, i want to hear from you! What is one thing that makes you, you? What do you love, hate, despise? I want to come out of the shadows to build new friendships this time around, i can’t wait to meet you!