I always have a lot going on with my two businesses, writing this blog, pondering the start of another unrelated business, and taking care of my 3 dogs, but I try really hard not to compromise on cooking and eating healthy meals. With some planning and a few tricks, I can pretty much make most of my meals at home, unless I choose to eat out. And I don’t count popcorn and wine as a meal. How do I do it? I’ve got the help of my two favorite kitchen appliances. If you don’t have time to cook, you do now …
Get a Vitamix and Change Your Life Forever
After living in blender hell for years, I finally got myself the Vitamix 5300 (certified refurbished), in black with the cookbook. And life really did get better.
How? Well, I’m glad you asked. When you own a powerful blender like the Vitamix, you can easily eat more fresh fruit and vegetables.
Since getting my Vitamix, I’ve been able to blend … everything!
I’ve been able to consistently eat breakfast, which has always been a problem for me. I can blend anything (including ice) with ease to make smoothies. I’ve made soup on a weeknight. And been able to put pesto and other healthy sauces on just about everything. But the best thing about my Vitamix is that I can make my own almond milk.
Now, making your own almond milk might seem super time-intensive and only for “those crazy health nuts.” But it takes about 45 seconds and saves me about $10 a week. As a bonus, I know I’m not eating any hidden sugars or additives—check your nut milk labels! Your seemingly “healthy” almond or cashew milk is likely loaded with sugar and other additives and preservatives.
Homemade Almond Milk
1 cup almonds, soaked overnight (I use the raw, sliced almonds from Trader Joe’s)
3 cups water (I used filtered water)
And … that’s it! All you do is put almonds and water in the Vitamix and power it up. Crank that baby up to 10 for about 45 seconds and … you’ve got yourself some almond milk. You can pour the almond milk into an air-tight, glass container to store in the fridge for up to 3 days. You can strain the almond milk through a nut milk bag to make it more like what you’d buy in the store—if you don’t strain, you’ll get the full fiber from the nuts and the consistency will be more grainy. I don’t usually strain my almond milk because I like the grainy texture—I find it filling. And yes, you can put homemade almond milk in a Nespresso Aeroccino Milk Frother to make an amazing latte!
Click Here to see the Vitamix I purchased: Vitamix 5300 (Certified Refurbished), $359.99—Now $259.95!
Pro Quality Nut Milk Bag, $8.99
Libbey Glass Milk Bottle with Lid, 33.5 oz., $9.92
Instant Pot Literally Cooks While You’re Working
I like to joke that my dogs would be perfect if they vacuumed up their own hair and had dinner ready when I got home from work. Luckily for them, I got an Instant Pot, so they’re off the hook … for dinner.
Have you heard of the Instant Pot? You need one. Like now.
What exactly is an Instant Pot? It’s a Pressure Cooker, Slow Cooker, Rice Cooker, Yogurt Maker, Egg Cooker, Saute Pot, Steamer, Warmer and Sterilizer all in one! Basically, it uses pressure and steam to speed up the cooking process, so what takes an hour or more on the stove will take about half the time in the Instant Pot. There is also a “Delay Cook” feature that allows you to put all the ingredients in the pot and start cooking so it’s all ready when you get home. While I was at our Team Meeting on Monday night, my Instant Pot made Fresh Fennel Shredded Chicken:
When I got home, it was ready for me to saute and reduce. While that was happening, I made some crispy quinoa. My time spent cooking was 10 minutes and I poured myself a glass of wine to enjoy while I was stirring. Check out my Instagram stories for a video of the Instant Pot in action!
I made amazing Creamy Tomato Basil Soup in about 30 minutes:
It would have taken more than an hour on the stove.
And this is so crazy … I even made my own yogurt with coconut milk. I researched several recipes and combined a few to come up with this one, which was a really tasty Greek-style yogurt and made with only 5 ingredients:
Coconut Milk Yogurt
2 cans Coconut Cream
1 t. vanilla extract
3 T. maple syrup
1 package yogurt starter (Click here to see the one I used)
1 T. grass-fed beef gelatin (Click here to see the one I used)
Combine coconut cream, vanilla extract and maple syrup in the Instant Pot and push the “Saute” button to bring to a boil. When the coconut milk is boiling, turn off the machine and remove the pot to cool down to 100 on the counter. Use a thermometer to take the read and make sure the mixture is at 100—super important because the yogurt cultures won’t work if the milk is too hot. Gradually whisk in the yogurt cultures and put the pot back in the machine. Turn the Instant Pot back on, close the lid and push the “Yogurt” button. Set the time for 8 hours. While the yogurt is forming, you can sterilize some glass jars and lids to store it in. After the yogurt is finished, remove the lid. While the yogurt is still warm, gradually add the gelatin and whisk together. Pour the yogurt in the glass jars and put in the fridge to firm up for about 4-6 hours. Add any toppings and serve.
Since this is a pretty long process, you could cook the yogurt overnight. Or I made mine first thing in the morning, mixed the gelatin in later that day and enjoyed eating it the next day.
Check out the Instant Pot I own: Instant Pot 6 Quart 9-in-1 Multi-Use Pressure Cooker, Slow Cooker, Rice Cooker, Yogurt Maker, Egg Cooker, Saute, Steamer, Warmer and Sterilizer, $119.95
Belle & Bella Non-Dairy Yogurt Starter, $7.99
Beef Gelatin Protein from Pasture Raised, Grass-Fed Cows, $24.95
Think you’re too busy to cook. Think again. You just need the right tools and a little planning. Bon Appetit!