No pressure, but I think you should start pressure cooking…okay, maybe that wasn’t very funny…

What made me really want to start pressure cooking was talking to missionaries that said they used their pressure cookers so much when in foreign countries and highly recommended it. So now I’m on this journey of learning how to use a pressure cooker, but what are the benefits of using a pressure cooker?

  • Uses less energy – For example, I made  deer roasts the other night and I only had the stove on for probably under an hour (counting the time to build to pressure, 30 minutes maintaining pressure, and then building pressure again after adding the veggies and maintaining pressure for 3 more minutes). Usually a roast in the oven takes hours.
  • Less time – I usually make my roasts in a slow cooker, but that would’ve meant getting the roasts in before classes in the morning. Instead I was able to put off starting supper until 4:30 in the afternoon.
  • Good for tough meats - Kind of like a slow cooker, pressure cooking can really tenderize those tough (often cheaper) cuts of meat. One missionary said she really liked her pressure cooker when villagers would bring her tough game meat. Often venison can be a little tough, but the ones I made in the pressure cooker turned out nice and tender.
  • Maintains the nutrients in foods well.
  • Keeps food nice and juicy!
  • It can also be a great tool for people living in high altitudes, although you’ll have to adjust some things.
We’ve only made a few recipes with our pressure cooker so far, but here’s two that I’ve used a lot already and really love:

Veggies and scraps ready to be made into stock!

 

This post is linked at Carrie This Home, and Tammy’s Recipes.

Happy Kitchen Tip Tuesday! If you’re joining us from Tammy’s Recipes, I just want to say welcome and thanks so much for stopping by! I’m so excited to be able to host KTT for Tammy while she’s away! If you have Kitchen Tip to share please leave the link in the comments and I’ll add it to the post.

My kitchen tip is how to make corn tortillas, which we’ve recently learned how to make. Why Make Corn Tortillas?

  1. Healthy – Unlike flour tortillas you don’t need to use lard or oil. The masa (cornmeal for tortillas) has nutrients in it. According to the bag one serving (1/4 cup) has 8% of your daily value of fiber, 2% calcium and 2% iron.
  2. Few ingredients – All you need is masa, water and salt!
  3. Cheap! – We bought a 4.4 lb. bag of masa for under $4, which makes a ton of tortillas!
  4. Delicious! – If you’ve never been a fan of corn tortillas it’s probably because you’ve never had them fresh and hot!

It took us awhile to get them down good and we’re still learning, but we stuck with the recipe on the masa bag for the most part.

The only ingredients are:

  • 2 cups masa
  • 1 1/4 cup of water (we used more than that)
  • 1/4 tsp. salt

Mix the above ingredients. We just mixed with our hands and kept adding water until we could form a ball without it cracking.

Roll into individual balls and place between 2 sheets of wax paper on a tortilla press and press into tortilla rounds. NOTE: The first time we did this we didn’t use a press and tried doing it with our hands and between plates, but we saw that it would be way easier with a press, so the next day Cameron made one for me! Maybe I can get him to do a post on making your own press. :)

This makes quite a lot of tortillas, but we’ve successfully kept the already mixed up masa in our fridge. Just mold it into a big ball and wrap in saran wrap or put in a big zip top bag and store in the fridge. When you want more fresh tortillas pull it out and make some more!

 

Put on an ungreased skillet (our cast iron pan works well for this) and cook on low. Cook for almost a minute, then flip to the other side for almost a minute then flip it back to the first side again and take off.  You want the tortillas to darken just a little before taking them off the griddle. To keep them warm wrap the tortillas in a towel.

You can eat your tortillas with some refried beans and cheese for a dirt cheap meal or enjoy them smeared with butter! We also like them with taco meat or chicken fajitas.

Just leave a direct link to the Kitchen Tip you blogged about and I’ll add it to the list! Thanks so much!! 

  1. Cutting Celery Sticks Quickly (Tammy’s Recipes)
  2. 7 Ways to Save Money on Kitchen Gadgets (Cooking Up a Sale)
  3. Breakfast Freezer Cooking (Extraordinary Ordinary Life)
  4. Making Bulk Spaghetti (Western Warmth)
  5. 30 Simple Money Saving Tips for the Kitchen (Shopaholic Savers)
I’m linking up for Show & Tell Saturday at The Peaceful Mom.

Baking soda….so many uses, so versatile, so cheap, so wonderful! While, I do use many store-bought cleaners, I really like my baking soda cleaner. I’ve started buying the big boxes of it to use not only in baking, but also in cleaning. My favorite things to clean with it are my bathroom and kitchen sink, and occasionally I even use it in my toilet bowl. I used to just grab a spoon and spoon out a little at a time to use, but then I saw on pinterest someone had used an old spice bottle to store their baking powder. Now I have an oregano bottle converted to a baking soda bottle. I have reasons 5 why I like this:

  1. It helps keep my cooking baking soda and cleaning baking soda separate.
  2. It’s less bulky to take a little container into the bathroom to clean than a big box.
  3. I like how I can sprinkle a small amount in my sinks. I think I actually use less this way.
  4. Since it’s easy to use, I feel like I’m less likely to grab my chemically cleaners when scrubbing.
  5. For extra cleaning power and a science experiment for the kids, put a little vinegar on the baking soda when cleaning and watch the bubbles fizz!
  6. UPDATE: I forgot about this until I was cleaning my cutting board, but having the baking soda in the bottle makes it perfect for sprinkling on my cutting board to get strong smells out.

Any of you out there clean with baking soda?

This post is shared at Tammy’s Recipes for Kitchen Tip Tuesdays. Thanks Tammy!

I LOVE baked potatoes! We usually top them with chili, but I really like them with just some sour cream, salt and pepper too. Yesterday I tried “baking” the potatoes in my crock and they turned out fantastic, and just as easy as making them in the oven!

  1. Scrub and pat dry your potatoes
  2. Poke a few holes in them with a  fork.
  3. Rub in oil (I used olive oil) and salt.
  4. Wrap in aluminium foil and put in your crock pot. I cooked 6 potatoes on low for 7 hours, but you may need to vary the cooking time, based on the size and number of potatoes and your crock pot.
  5. Enjoy with your favorite toppings!

Crock Pot Tip: A crock pot uses about 8 cents of electricity in 7 hours, whereas an oven uses between 16-24 cents per hour of use. I know the savings is small, but crock pots also keep your house cooler in the summer! Information from Michael Bluejay, a.k.a Mr. Electricity.

This post is shared at Tammy’s Recipes for Kitchen Tip Tuesday.

To make a scrubbie you just need a mesh bag, the kind produce sometimes comes in, and a rubber band, one that was tied around broccoli or asparagus works well.

Stretch out your bag.

Pull the bottom of the bag down to the opening of it, like you're making it inside out, except you stop when you get to the opening.

Grab it all up at the end like so...

Do the same thing you did above.

 

Grab all the ends together again.

Depending on the size of your mesh bag and how big you want your scrubbie to be, you might want to do it one more time.

Tie with a rubber band and you're done!

Now you can use your scrubbie for cleaning your tub, sink, dishes or use as a potato scrubber!

This post is linked at Armstrong Family Fare, who is hosting Kitchen Tip Tuesday for Tammy today. Go check out more kitchen tips!

One  of the veggies we eat the most is steamed broccoli. I buy fresh broccoli and steam it in a pot with my steam basket. All three of us love it with a little butter, salt and pepper. The only problem with  buying fresh broccoli is there’s usually quite a bit of stem on the broccoli. I keep some of the stem on the broccoli when I steam it, but I also cut a lot of it off and used to just throw the extra stems away. In my effort to waste less food I stared chopping the leftover stems up and tossing them in a bag in the freezer. Here’s some ideas for using those broccoli stems instead of wasting them:

  • Freeze – Like I just mentioned I like to cut them up into bit sized pieces and freeze in a bag. It probably would be best to only freeze them if you plan on cooking them before eating.
  • Use in Soup – This is my favorite way to use them. I make a veggie soup using whatever veggies I have, including broccoli stems. The last time I cut up broccoli I had a whole cup of broccoli stem pieces, that’ll really help stretch my next soup!
  • Juice in a juicer – If you have a juicer you could juice your stems in a veggie drink.
  • Peel the tough outside and cut the inside into sticks and enjoy as a tasty snack (idea from The Complete Tightwad Gazette).
  • Shred the stems and use in a coleslaw (idea from my mother-in-law).
  • Another idea my mother-in-law suggested was if you do want to cook all of the steams, but the outer skin is tough, just peel it off and cook up the rest.

Broccoli Leaves: You know those little dark green leaves that are often on broccoli stems? I remember reading once that they’re really nutritious, so leave those on and cook them up too!

This post is shared at Tammy’s Recipes for Kitchen Tip Tuesday.


A whole cup of broccoli stems for soup!

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