three questions for readers: instant pot, green smoothies, golden milk

I'd love reader feedback on these three questions. I know most people will reply on Facebook, which makes it really difficult to save reader reaction. But there's no stopping that train, so... copy/paste/save.


Yes, I know it's an Instant Pot. I like to call it an Instapot. I think the Instant Pot folks missed an opportunity.

I'm late to the Instapot bandwagon, but I'm glad I waited before jumping on. I bought a huge 8-quart Ultra, which is big enough for the batch cooking I prefer, has all the features, and has more safety features than the early models.

I love making steel cut oatmeal in this thing, and also rice. It is so easy, and it comes out perfect every time.

Steel cut oats don't actually take less time in the Instapot than on the stove top. Factoring the time to pressurize and the natural release, it's about the same time on the clock.

But using the stove top, you have to stand there and stir. And if you don't pay attention, and sometimes even if you do, the oats will stick to the bottom of the pan. With the Instapot, you measure the water, measure the oats (2:1 ratio, water to oats), seal it, set it, and forget it. Then it's done, and it's perfect.

Same for rice. Measure (1:1 ratio, if it's only rice; 2:1 if there's chicken or other meat involved), seal, set, done, perfect.

When it comes to making meals, I've had some successes and a couple of failures, most notably overcooked chicken and rice that had turned to mush. This points to a drawback of pressure cooking: there's no turning back until you're done. With the slow cooker, you can check on progress, adjust the seasonings, decide it needs more or less time. With an Instapot, you eat your mistakes.

Many people rave about being able to saute or brown in the same pot. That is very convenient for onion, garlic, and whatever other vegetables are in the dish. But I find it very inconvenient for browing chicken or meat. The bottom surface of the pot is very small, and when cooking in large batches, it can take three separate rounds to brown. I've gone back to browning in my huge skillet -- breaking a sancrosanct rule of Instapotting -- so I can do all the meat at once. A nonstick skillet is very easy to clean. Even the person doing the dishes agrees.

I always brown meat or chicken before pressure-cooking or slow cooking. It makes a real difference in flavour. I totally understand why many folks don't. I just can't bring myself to throw raw meat in the pot when I know an extra few minutes will enrich the taste so much.

There are a gazillion Instapot recipes online, most littered with useless verbiage and ads. But there aren't a lot of recipes of things I want to eat. What are your Instapot favourites? I'd like to know.

Green smoothies

I mentioned that I had a consult with a registered dietitian. I eat very healthfully with the occasional splurge (which I think is healthy, too), but she did recommend adding two pieces that seem easy and worth doing: green smoothies and golden milk.

In general I don't do smoothies. I'm horribly allergic to any made commercially, from Jamba Juice or any other company. At home, I would always rather eat fruit drink it. The green variety happens in some other universe. I'm not vegan, I like eating greens, so I didn't get the whole drinking greens thing.

But now I've mixed up a batch of basic green smoothie in my food processor, to keep in a sealed container in the fridge. (I go bowl-and-spoon, rather than drink.) It's very easy, tastes fine, and gives a huge shot of fibre and nutrients with either breakfast or lunch.

So far I'm not eating the smoothie for breakfast or lunch, but with. It's definitely helping me be less hypoglycemic and hungry.

I got the recipe at Fit Foodie Finds, an excellent site which also also links to many other variations.

Do you eat green smoothies, and what's your favourite recipe?

Golden Milk

The dietitian also recommended trying golden milk to reduce inflammation.

Golden milk is all about turmeric, which to me seems like a nutritionism fad, something I normally ignore and avoid. But here's a health professional telling me turmeric and some other stuff may help me have less pain. The possibility of less pain is a good incentive.

There are many golden milk recipes online: here's a basic one. I bought a pre-mixed variety from my favourite vitamin/supplement shop. You add warm liquid and stir.

Do you drink golden milk? Do you notice any benefits?


Stephanie said...

ctuallI love green smoothies. My favourite recipe includes kale and pineapple. One can always experiment to avoid non-local. For example substitute ripe peaches for the pineapple. Smoothies go really well with a freezer! Freeze local fruit whole or halves and you are laughing throughout the winter. Add spinach and the smoothie is almost always green but some fruits like blueberries might turn a drink brown...Don't worry about the colour if your nutrients are on point.

Stephanie said...

I am still working on Tumeric. We cook with it but there is a good taste too much have to br careful. My sister drinks it in the morning (fresh ground) and I would imagine sweeter would be better but my sister-in-law uses no sugar but I think I would have to add some honey or maple syrup. Rice pudding seems a natural to me.

impudent strumpet said...

I have no insight into anything, but I'm super curious why the dietician recommended green smoothies rather than eating greens.

laura k said...

Looking at my diet, she wanted to add vegetables and fibre to my breakfast and lunch. She suggested this as a convenient and tasty way to do that. Fruit, flax or chia seeds, and greens, all ready to eat straight from the fridge.

I do eat greens and many other vegetables, but only for dinner.

laura k said...

Stephanie, I definitely don't care about the colour. I'm using frozen fruit because it's easy and then i dont have to add ice.

Stephanie said...

Frozen fruit is perfect! I just prefer my own, it just tastes so much better.

Stephanie said...

Sorry, my second comment was got a little mashed up. Just trying to acknowledge that too much tumeric an be a bad thing (taste wise that is).

mkk said...

Commercially prepared juice removes the fiber (fibre, for you Canadians!), which is why dietitians advise against them. Even freshly hand-squeezed orange juice retains the juice and leaves the fiber behind with the peel. Blending fruits and vegetables retains the fiber, as opposed to using a juicer, which rejects a lump of fiber. Turmeric has certainly been found to reduce inflammation; in addition to cooking with it, I take it in capsule form, derived from the actual root, not from chemicals. Green smoothies can be far more nourishing than eating greens, because you can blend lots more greens than you could ever manage to chew. I use four ounces of greens in my smoothies (usually frozen spinach, but sometimes chard or kale). Again, commercially available smoothies are unlikely to have this advantage, because they probably use a token amount of greens, to achieve a green color (colour!) without much nutrition.

Stephanie said...

So my sister-in-law confirms she is still drinkinG "GOLDEN MILK" as an anti-cancer. She was diagnosed with pre-cancer of the breast a few years ago and started drinking it then and continues to drink it.

Dharma Seeker said...

Some folks in a Rotti specific group I am in swear by "golden paste" - same idea, but for dogs. Curcumin in a tsp of turmeric just isn't enough to have any therapeutic value - and good luck getting a dog to eat more than that lol - though if you were skipping turmeric and going straight to curcumin I can definitely see how it'd be beneficial. It definitely won't hurt!

laura k said...

Only Diego would eat that. :)