Four days ago a new acquaintance said, “I want to eat a whole-food, plant-based diet but my family isn’t providing any support. My wife likes what I cook but isn’t interested in learning a new method of cooking herself.” I saw the disappointment on the man’s face but I felt his wife’s struggle.
The same day I received a call from a dear friend: “Sue, I need your help. This [transition to a healthier lifestyle] is hard for me. Will you teach me how to make some easy meals? I don’t like to cook as much as you do.”
Later, reflecting on our conversation, I wondered: Do I like to cook?
Yes and no.
Pulling a well-worn cookbook off the shelf and baking cinnamon rolls or Snickerdoodles is one thing—a memory of my past. But, placing one to three delicious and nourishing meals on the table everyday is quite another. Especially when many of the recipes are new.
This journey my husband and I chose is fun most of the time. The health benefits are remarkable. Our food has never tasted better. But I don’t want to mislead you. It’s lots of work.
The roughest part is the time required to learn and prepare.
I started out opening a can of beans. They’re fast but not flavorful. Then I tried cooking a pot of beans. Those silly beans took f-o-r-e-v-e-r. Dinner was late or crunchy.
Finally, I made an SOS call to Aunt Opal. She knows everything about cooking. Seriously. After running through a list of recommendations I’d already tried, she said, “Start them early in the day and be patient.”
I like my kitchen but I don’t want to spend the whole day there.
Drumroll: rat a tat tat, a tat tat.
A little over a month ago my Instant Pot arrived on my porch. Afraid my excitement might waver when the new wore off, I didn’t rush to tell you about it. Besides, I had to learn to use it. But deep inside, I turned cartwheels on that day. I still am.
I love it!
What’s an Instant Pot? It’s an electric pressure cooker.
The Instant Pot has taken a lot of pressure off of me. It cooks beans, grains, and vegetables quickly. I even make almond-milk yogurt in it.
A week ago Saturday I attended an all-day workshop and my husband flew home from a business trip. Both of us were scheduled to arrive at the house about dinner time. I’d been clinging to Randy’s offer to take us out to dinner. It was the end of a busy week.
But who wants to leave home when they’ve been gone all day or longer? And where would we go? What would we order?
I chose to stay home and managed to put the meal (pictured above) on the table in less than thirty minutes. The sweet potatoes went into the Instant Pot first. I pulled kale, quinoa, and soup (leftovers) from the fridge to reheat. Then I chopped cucumbers, radishes, and red onions. I quickly whipped almond-milk yogurt, fresh dill, lemon juice, and garlic together to pour over the fresh veggies. Every item I served had been cooked in my Instant Pot except the salad. But the yogurt, made earlier in the week in my Instant Pot, made the salad delicious and the meal taste fresh and complete.
Do you need an Instant Pot? I think so!