Review: Punctuate Double-Ended Markers

Review: Punctuate Double-Ended Markers

I recently picked up a pack of Punctuate Double-Ended Markers at Barnes & Noble.  In the United States, they were $12.95 for 12 markers, not bad at all!  For a little over a dollar, I wasn’t sure I even cared how they wrote.  They feature both a brush and fine tip as illustrated below.

photo-dec-29-1-29-07-pm

One of the most attractive features to me, besides the price, was their size.  The smaller form factor makes them ideal for writing in journals and planners.   Here they are pictured on a Rhodia No 16 Dot Pad, which is A5 size, or 5.8″ x 8.3″.
photo-dec-29-2-17-57-pm

Here you can see some examples of different pressures applied to the tip.  With a firm downstroke, most of the tip will bend, and produce a thick stroke.

photo-dec-29-2-11-31-pm

Perhaps one of the best things about them is it is super easy to make a nice thin upstroke, which is something I generally struggle with.

photo-dec-29-2-11-12-pm

All in all, these are great markers that simply can’t be beat for the price, and have fine enough brush tips to be used for bullet journaling.  I definitely should have purchased the larger pack!  Be sure to grab some next time you visit your local Barnes & Noble

Easy Instant Pot Beef Stew

Beef Stew is probably one of the things I have been most excited about since getting an Instant Pot!  It is usually something I put in the slow cooker in the morning to enjoy for dinner.  Not with my Instant Pot!  When making Easy Instant Pot Beef Stew, I can be ready to eat in about an hour!  While beef stew is not the most complicated meal to make, I was looking for ways to make it even easier.  Since it is naturally gluten free and dairy free, it is a great meal for any one looking to eliminate one or both of those items from their diet.  In my allergy friendly Easy Instant Pot Beef Stew, I use baby potatoes and baby carrots so I do not even have to worry about veggie prep, but their full sized counterparts can easily be cut and used instead.
 
This is a meal that will please any crowd, and is naturally gluten free, dairy free, and allergy friendly.  It will please any crowd, whether or not they have food allergies or sensitivities.
 
Now, a word on browning meats in the Instant Pot.  While it can be done, and works extremely well, there is one drawback, the diameter of the Instant Pot stainless steel pot.  The smaller diameter means less surface area for you to use in order to brown your meat.  You may want to break out a larger frying pan to reduce the amount of time browning takes.  This of course comes with a tradeoff, something else to wash!  As long as you don’t mind taking a few extra minutes of browning tine, the Instant Pot will be happy to take care of it for you.
Yield: 8

Easy Instant Pot Beef Stew

Easy Instant Pot Beef Stew
An easy to make stew in in the Instant Pot Smart. This Easy Instant Pot Beef Stew is gluten free, dairy free, and free of the top 8/top 11 food allergens.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Additional Time 20 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 lb stew beef
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 lb baby carrots
  • 1-1.5 lb baby potatoes
  • 1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp parsley
  • 3 cups water or beef stock

Optional Ingredients

  • Corn
  • Celery

Instructions

  1. Turn Instant Pot Smart on to Sauté , and use the Adjust button to increase the temperature to More. Add 2T of olive oil, and stew meat.
  2. Brown stew meat to desired color, then add 1 cup of water or beef stock. Gently scrape the bottom of the Instant Pot with a wooden spoon to remove any stuck on meat.
  3. Add the can of crushed tomato and stir.
  4. Add carrots, potatoes, and parsley.
  5. Add two more cups of water or beef stock. You may add more water or beef stock depending on how you like your beef stew, but remember not to fill the pot more than 2/3 full.
  6. Set Instant Pot to Meat/Stew. By default, this is a 35 minute cycle, and took about 20 minutes to come to pressure.
  7. If stew is not desired consistency, either add more water, or create a slurry of flour or corn starch and water. Turn Instant Pot to Sauté, and add slurry, stirring until desired consistency is reached. Liquid can also be reduced by simply turning Instant Pot to Sauté and waiting until desired consistency is reached.

Notes

In order to make this Easy Instant Pot Beef Stew even easier, I used baby carrots and baby potatoes.  You can of course cut and use their full size counterparts instead.  If you want to add corn, celery, or other quick cooking vegetables to your stew, turn Instant Pot to Sauté after natural release.  Add corn, celery, or other vegetables and cook for 10 -15 minutes before serving.  This Easy Instant Pot Beef Stew recipe is naturally gluten free, dairy free, and allergy friendly, and sure to please any crowd.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

8

Serving Size:

8

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 447 Total Fat: 12g Saturated Fat: 4g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 8g Cholesterol: 112mg Sodium: 387mg Carbohydrates: 45g Fiber: 7g Sugar: 10g Protein: 43g

Gluten Free Dairy Free Chicken Noodles and Sauce

I really used to love those pasta side dish packets, which were super easy to make.  You know what I am talking about, empty the packet into a pot, add some water or milk, and enjoy!  Now, those tasty little packets don not fit with my dietary restrictions, so I set off to make my own with the help of my Instant Pot!  This just proves that we can indeed eat anything we want, even if we must stick with a gluten free, dairy free, or allergy friendly diet.  My Instant Pot Chicken Noodles and Sauce do not take much more effort than opening a packet, and are still ready in minutes.

These Instant Pot Chicken Noodles and Sauce are gluten free and dairy free (and free of the top 8 and 11 allergens) to fit my diet, but could be made with any sort of pasta or milk if you are just looking for a less processed alternative.  I also used chicken stock I had made previously in my Instant Pot, but whatever you have on hand works just fine.  To help me finely chop my carrots, I used my Vitamix on speed 1, but this could be done by hand or in a food processor.  The key to cooking pasta in your Instant pot is half the normal cook time, and enough liquid to cover the pasta you’re making.  I used Tinkyada Fettuccini to try to mimic the noodles in the packets I used to like, but any pasta would work.  For more on pressure cooking pasta, check out The Secret to Al Dente Pressure Cooker Pasta over at Hip Pressure Cooking.

The Instant Pot Chicken Noodles and Sauce turned out wonderful on the first try.  I generally don’t use salt in cooking, so feel free to add some to taste afterwards to make Instant Pot Chicken Noodles and Sauce taste even more like their inspiration!  No one will even notice this dish is gluten free or dairy free unless you tell them.

Yield: 4

Instant Pot Chicken Noodles and Sauce

Instant Pot Chicken Noodles and Sauce
Creamy chicken flavored noodles and sauce made in the Instant Pot. This recipe uses gluten free pasta and dairy free milk, but any pasta or milk could be substituted.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 7 minutes
Total Time 17 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 Carrots
  • 2 tbsp Fresh Parsley
  • 1 tsp Oregano
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 cups Chicken Stock
  • 1 cup Coconut Milk (So Delicious Unsweetened)
  • 1 package Tinkyada Fetuccini
  • Salt

Instructions

  1. Turn Instant Pot to Sauté and add Oil.
  2. Chop carrots finely, sauté Carrots, Oregano, and Parsley until fragrant
  3. Break up Fettuccine and add to Instant Pot, you may want to use a wooden spoon to break it up more once it is in the pot.
  4. Add chicken Stock and coconut milk to Instant Pot, ensuring pasta is covered. If pasta is not covered, add more liquid until it is.
  5. Close the Instant Pot and set to Manual. Set the cook time to half the time of the pasta, in this case 6 minutes.
  6. Manually release pressure when Instant Pot is done cooking. Stir, salt to taste, and enjoy.

Notes

This recipe uses So Delicious unsweetened coconut milk, and Tinkyada brown rice pasta to make it dairy and gluten free.  Any milk and pasta could be substituted, and no matter which ingredients you chose you will still have a healthier alternative to the original.  Be sure pasta is covered by liquid, and is cooked for half of the normal cooking time on the package.  To chop the carrots and parsley finely, I used a Vitamix on speed 1.  Salt is added after cooking to taste.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

4

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 268 Total Fat: 18g Saturated Fat: 12g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 5g Cholesterol: 5mg Sodium: 426mg Carbohydrates: 21g Fiber: 1g Sugar: 4g Protein: 8g

Instant Pot Chicken Chili

All I wanted for Christmas this year was an Instant Pot, and I’m so glad I got it!  In fact, I cheated and used it to make some great stuff on Christmas Eve.  If you haven’t heard of Instant Pot, it is a magical electric pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice cooker, steamer, and yogurt maker in one.  You can also use it to saute before you apply pressure or let it cook slow and low!  Being the techie I am, I of course has to get the Instant Pot Smart, complete with Bluetooth capability and app.

After the standard Instant Pot water test, I made a great sweet potato and carrot soup, and some rice.  One of the things which had me the most excited about the instant pot was the prospect of Instant Pot Chili.  Who doesn’t love chili, especially when it can be cooked in a fraction of the time?

Lately, I’ve been a huge fan of Chicken Chili., and I figured I would give it a go in my Instant Pot.  It took me a while to warm up to the idea of Chicken Chili, but once I made it, I was hooked.  As a bonus, I used my Vitamix to chop all the vegetables and make the ground chicken chunks a little smaller.  As a bonus, this Instant Pot Chicken Chili is also gluten free, dairy free, and free of the top 8 and 11 allergens.

Yield: 8

Instant Pot Chicken Chili

Instant Pot Chicken Chili
Vegetable and ground chicken chili, a lighter alternative to beef chili. Also top 8/top 11 allergen free.
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 8 minutes
Additional Time 20 minutes
Total Time 58 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs Ground Chicken
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 Red Bell Peppers
  • 4 Carrots
  • 4 Celery Stalks
  • 2 heaping tbsp Chili Powder
  • 1 tbsp Oregano
  • 1 tbsp Cumin
  • 1 tsp Paprika
  • 1 28oz can Crushed or Pureed Tomatoes
  • 2 cups Water

Instructions

  1. Heat olive oil in skillet. Once oil is heated add ground chicken to skillet to brown, chopping and stirring frequently, as ground chicken does not contain much fat and will stick much more than ground beef.
  2. Dice all vegetables, by hand, food processor, or Vitamix. Set Instant Pot to sauté, and add diced vegetables and spices, stirring every few minutes.
  3. Once chicken is browned, it can be added to the Instant Pot. Depending on how you like your chili, you may want to pulse the browned chicken in a food processor or Vitamix, or chop it more finely before adding to the chili, it does not break up as well as ground beef.
  4. Add canned tomatoes to instant pot and stir.
  5. Add an additional 2 cups of water to Instant Pot and stir.
  6. Set instant pot to 8 minutes manual. Instant Pot will automatically begin to build pressure, then cook 10 seconds after setting. Instant Pot will count down time remaining once pressure has built.
  7. Allow pressure to release naturally, and enjoy. Instant Pot will switch to Keep Warm once cooking is complete, keeping the chili hot until you are ready to serve it. Remember to safely switch Instant Pot from sealing to venting and ensuring pressure is released before opening.

Notes

Remember, while the total cook time is 8 minutes in the Instant Pot, it will also take time for the pot to come to pressure.  Since we used the sauté function and heated everything up, it took about 10 minutes to come to pressure.  After cooking, make sure to wait at least 10 minutes to allow some of the pressure to release naturally, before releasing the rest.  I waited until I was ready to serve the Chili, about an hour, since the Instant Pot will keep warm, and all of the pressure was released from the pot.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

8

Serving Size:

8

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 322 Total Fat: 20g Saturated Fat: 5g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 14g Cholesterol: 121mg Sodium: 182mg Carbohydrates: 10g Fiber: 4g Sugar: 5g Protein: 28g