Perfect No-Soak Instant Pot Black Beans

Were you one of the many, many people that scooped up an Instant Pot during last year’s Prime Day Sale? Or Black Friday Sale? Or Cyber Monday Sale?

If you were then congrats!!! Instant Pots are awesome.

If you haven’t yet purchased one… shame on you!

Just kidding!!! Maybe you not interested at all. That’s okay, but I really think you would love one. Maybe you think it’s too big? They have little 3-quart ones now! Maybe you are scared because of all the horror stories you hear about using a pressure cooker? These are not your grandmother’s old school stove top pressure cooker! These are super cool and super safe.

I purchased mine Black Friday on 2016 and have become an avid Pot Head. Its use is in heavy rotation in our house. From meats to stews to soups to sweets. I love it!

But how is it that I have have had my Instant Pot for over a year now and I have only shared Instant Pot recipe… shame on me!!

What’s that recipe I shared? My Instant Pot Monkey Bread. Check it out!

The number one thing that we make in our Instant Pot is black beans. So many black beans. SO SO MANY!!!

We all love beans but Autumn really loves them so I happily make them for her so that she gets nice and full on a healthy protein packed food.

I previously shared our favorite recipe for black beans, which Autumn actually calls “Teacher Beans” as her previous daycare teacher used to make them and got her hooked on them. It’s a great recipe that I just slightly tweaked to make it perfect for the Instant Pot.

Gloria’s Black Beans are perfect but they do require an overnight soak, when not using a pressure cooker. Instead of making beans being an overnight process, I now can have them on our table in under 2 hours!

I have a feeling these will be a family favorite in now time and you will be walking past the canned beans from now on.

Perfect No Soak Instant Pot Black Beans

Makes 10-12 servinges

Total time: less than 2 hours

Instant Pot: 6 Quart+


  • 1 pound dry black beans
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 6 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 large green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon Cayenne pepper
  • 6 Cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • garnish with cilantro


  1. Pick through the beans to remove any stones or damaged beans. Set aside.
  2. Turn on the Instant Pot (6 Qt) to sauté setting and pour the oil into pot. Saute the garlic, pepper, and onion until soft; 3-5 minutes. Pushing the beans to the side, make a clear space in in the pot to toast the spices. Add the salt, pepper, cumin, Cayenne; toast for 1 minute. Turn the Instant Pot off.
  3. Add the dried beans and the stock.
  4. Place the lid on the Instant Pot system twist until it is locked in the closed position. Turn the Instant Pot on, press Manual, set the timer to 45 minutes.
  5. The Instant Pot will come up to pressure, cook for 45 minutes, and then the timer will go out. Let it Naturally Pressure Release (NPR) for 30 minutes. Release any remaining pressure manually. Change setting to “Keep Warm” to keep the beans warm until you are ready to serve them.
  6. Garnish with cilantro (optional) prior to serving.


Products used




Perfect No-Soak Instant Pot Black Beans_PIN


Honey Roasted Carrots

post from 11/23/15, pictures updated 11/6/17

Hello, Monday. We meet again…

It’s the 3rd Monday of the Month so it’s time for my monthly Secret Recipe Club post. Yes!

It’s crazy how quickly the month goes by from posts to posts. It goes by extra super duper quick when you’re super busy with work travel, deadlines, a sick kid, being sick yourself, and a little someone turning 2. Sob!!!

But here we go again.

I think I picked an awesome recipe this month too!!

It was hard work narrowing down to a few recipes from Sue’s blog, Palateble Pastime. I enjoyed going through years of recipes. She really has a wondeful arsenal of recipes! Her Chile-Bourbon Steak Marinade, Apple Spice Dump Cake, and Sweet Potato Biscuits were a few of the recipes that I stared to consider making.


The Honey Roasted Carrots were an easy choice from me when I picked up a BIG jar of Raw Wildflower Honey from Boston Honey Company when I went to Boston Public Market this past weekend. As soon as I picked it up I knew I had to make the carrots I was toying around with. Yes Yes!

Tender roasted carrots with a kiss of honey. Side dish perfection.

The recipe was so simple and good that I only made 1 change to it. I do enjoy rosemary but I like thyme like 100x more so I used that instead. I’m sure that the carrots would have been awesome with the rosemary that Sue used, but I have to say my thyme infused carrots were da-bomb.

You’ll want to add these to your Thanksgiving dinner. Shoot any dinner will be better with these Honey Roasted Carrots!

Honey Roasted Carrots

Makes 4 servings*


  • 1 Pound of carrots
  • 1-2 teaspoons olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 Tablespoons honey


  1. Preheat oven to 400F degrees.
  2. Peel then cut the carrots into 1/4″ thick slices on an angle.
  3. Coat the carrots with the oil. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and thyme leaves.
  4. Place on a baking sheet.
  5. Roast carrots for 30-35 minutes or until almost as tender as you like.
  6. Drizzle with honey. Roast again for about another 3-5 minutes. Serve hot.

*This can very easily be doubled or tripled to make a greater serving for a crowd for your holiday hosting needs

Adapted from Palatable Pastime



Check out all the other great Secret Recipe Club posts this month!

And be sure to check out my 4 years of Secret Recipe Club posts!!!!


Thanks for visiting. Please leave me a comment to provide some feedback. I appreciate all the comments I receive.

Healthy & Hearty Mushroom Stew

Mushroom Stew

Bring on 2015 and a fresh start!

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I love the new year. It’s a chance to start over. To resolve to better yourself. And if you don’t like to make resolutions then just enjoy that you are just getting closer and closer to warmer weather, which is what I live for.

This year I’ve resolved to eat ‘smarter’. I am on a mission to be more conscious about what I eat and how much. I’ve lost a lot of weight over the last year and I would like to loose another 15 or pounds before our wedding in June. But even aside from that I want to be more careful about what I put into my body and be more considerate regarding how it could potentially negatively effect how my body feels.

We’re about 2 weeks into the new year and so far so good. I have my moments when I eat a cookie but then I try to balance the sweet out with more paleo meals or salads. I’m just hoping to keep this up and settle in on something that feels good and is good for me.

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Lately, I’ve noticed that I keep seeing an old New York Times article getting shared and shared over and over again on Facebook. I think it has to do with the New Year as people are looking for some insight to a better life in the new year.

The article talks of how the people on these Greek island live significantly longer than most people, it’s known as “The Island Where People Forget to Die”. People are reaching their 80’s, 90’s and even to 100 at a greater rate than the rest of the world. They are not immune to cancer and other illnesses exactly, but if the are living longer than other cultures before getting ill.

They live their lives at a different pace than the rest of the world. They enjoy slower days that are filled with friends and families while they tend to their gardens and livestock. The food that they harvest is the focal point of the meals. Fruits, vegetables, and beans are diet staples, as well as goat and fish. Rich olive oils and red wine are, of course, enjoyed as well.

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But if you don’t live on Ikaria and want you experience some of their cooking yourself then get the Ikaria: Lessons on Food, Life, and Longevity from the Greek Island Where People Forget to Die cookbook by Diane Kochilas. Kochila divides her time between New York and Irakia, her family’s ancestral island. She has first hand experience cooking the foods native to the famous Greek island. She has foraged for mushrooms, dried vegetables, and made cheese, which she has made into incredible meals.

This cookbook shares the foods of the people living on Ikaria in a creative way by mixing in story telling with the recipes. And photos too!! The recipes are focused on Mezedes, which are small plates that are perfect for snacking while catching up with a friend, salads, soups, beans and legumes, meats, and fish. There are some sweet treats in there too. (I swear that one day I’ll make Loukoumades!)

There were so many recipes that I tagged to make but the one that first jumped out to me was the Mushroom Stew as I wanted something comforting for the cold weather. It was a perfect pick!

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The stew is easy to prep, I think it took me just a few minutes to cut up the onions and while they were cooking I sliced kale into very thin ribbons. And as that was cooking I sliced the mushrooms. Super simple.

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The recipe calls for red wine but if you don’t want to use it or have it on hand then feel free to substitute in beef broth. Skip the wine and it will be a great Whole 30 meal. Yum!

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The Mushroom Stew is healthy and hearty. It’s rich tasting but not rich for you. The flavors are earthy and it has great texture. It’s great served with mashed potatoes, rice, freekeh, or crusty bread. Just be sure to have something to absorb the flavorful broth.

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Embrace the ingredients, recipes, and lifestyle of the people Ikaria and you’ll live a long and happy life. Oh, so you can’t take midday naps? Well, at least make this amazing Mushroom Stew! Enjoy!

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Healthy & Hearty Mushroom Stew

Makes 4 generous servings


  • 1 1/2 pounds (750 grams) mixed mushrooms, such as white button, oyster, boletus, porcini, chanterelles, portobellos,
  • 1/4 Cup Greek Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 large red onions, coarsely shopped (yields approximately 2 Cups)
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1-2 pounds sweet greens, such as chard, spinach sweet dandelions, sweet sorrel, kale, and/or wile fennel  (optional)
  • 1/2 Cup dry red wine, or beef broth
  • 1 Cup chopped canned tomatoes
  • 3  Tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 bay leaves
  • pinch of ground allspice
  • 3 or 4 sprigs fresh or dried oregano
  • 3 sprigs fresh or dried thyme
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper


  1. Slice the mushrooms, into 1/4″ thick slices, as needed, depending on the size of the mushroom.
  2. In a very large, wide pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat.
  3. Add the onion once the oil is shimmery. Cook until translucent and soft, about 6 minutes. Stir a bit so they don’t brown.
  4. Add the greens, and cook for about 8-10 minutes until they are wilted.
  5. Add the mushrooms and cook for a few minutes to soften. Add the red wine and bring to a boil.
  6. Add the canned tomatoes, red wine vinegar, bay leaves, all spice, oregano, and the salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Cover and reduce the heat to medium-low. Simmer for 30-40 minutes, until everything is tender.
  8. Enjoy with rice, mashed potatoes, freekeh, quinoa, or slices of toasted bread that has been drizzled with olive oil. A glass of red wine doesn’t hurt either!

Sourced from Ikaria: Lessons on Food, Life, and Longevity from the Greek Island Where People Forget to Die


While I received this complimentary cookbook for review, all opinions are my own.

Post contains affiliate links

Vegetarian Wontons with Spicy Soy Dipping Sauce- SRC

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One day while Autumn and I were shopping at Trader Joe’s, they were sampling their vegetable dumplings. Since dinner time was fast approaching I grabbed her a sample for her to try. Well, no surprise here, but she loved it. I actually, politely, asked for another sample for her since she enjoyed it so much. It was just enough to carry her over so we could finish shopping and head home.

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She enjoyed the samples so much that I grabbed some vegetable dumpling bags so that I would have them on hand for dinner. They work perfectly as they are quick to prepare, as 2-3 only take about a minute in the microwave. Plus, they the easy for her to grip to feed herself. I break a cooled dumpling into 3-4 pieces which she immediately picks up and shovels into her mouth. So cute!

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Well, it’s great to always have something that she loves on hand for her to have for dinner, but my issue with these delicious dumplings is the amount of sodium they have. You know, infants, in fact kids under 2 years of age, are only supposed to have 370-400 mg of salt a day. The Trader Joe’s dumplings have soy sauce in the filling so they are on the borderline of what is acceptable for Autumn.

Well, Amy from Fearless Homemaker has come to my rescue! While I was looking around for a yummy recipe for this month’s Secret Recipe Club post I came across her recipe for Vegetarian Pot Stickers. They sounded great and I loved that not only would we be able to enjoy them but Autumn would too. In fact I didn’t add any salt to the mixture making these really healthy for us and her Autumn.

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Dumplings are so much fun to make!! I haven’t made them in years but it all cam right back to me, just like riding a bike. It was fun to do the filling, sealing, and folding. When doing it just be sure not to put in too much filling or you won’t be able to seal the wonton skins properly.

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I fried the ones that Price and I ate but the ones for Autumn were frozen and then when I was serving them were put into a small microwave safe bowl and microwaved until they were just warmed through. She loved them!

I did get a bit lazy and didn’t make the whole batch of wontons so I just kept the filling so that we could just give her that on her highchair table. Basically the filling is sooo good. I want to try some egg roll wrappers next time and maybe jazz things up further with some ground chicken in there as well. yum!!

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Be sure to check out all the great recipes that Amy has on her blog. Plus, she shares very cute updates on her young daughter, . She is just a few months older than Autumn so I love checking out what she is up to on there and on Instagram so that I have a peak at what is to come in the next few months. So much fun!

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 Vegetarian Wontons with Spicy Soy Dipping Sauce

Makes 24-48 wontons, depends on the size of wonton skin you use


  • 1 red onion thinly sliced
  • 1 Tablespoon minced/grated ginger
  • 8 oz diced shiitake mushrooms
  • 2 cups white cabbage, shredded
  • 1 cup carrots, shredded
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onions
  • 1 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro (I used Gourmet Garden’s cilantro paste)
  • 1 12 oz package wonton/dumpling skins
  • wok oil for frying

for the dipping sauce

  • 1/3 cup thin soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 1/3 cup sliced scallions
  • 1 tablespoon sambal


  1. In a wok or large saute pan, heat 1 tablespoon wok oil over medium heat. Sautee the red onion and ginger 3-4 minutes.
  2. Add the mushrooms and cook until the mixture is soft. Stir in the cabbage, carrots, green onion and cook until the cabbage is soft.
  3. Remove from heat and drain, if needed.  Add the cilantro when the mixture is cooled.
  4. Lay out the wonton wrappers/gyoza skins on a clean surface. Place a teaspoon of the filling in the center of the wonton wrapper
  5. Either fry or steam the wontons to cook them.
    1. To fry the wontons, place a 2 Tablespoons of wok oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add a few wontons to the oil and brown all sides.
    2. To Steam the wontons, pour just enough oil to cover a large skillet ( about 1 teaspoon). Heat the oil over medium heat, add the wontons. When the bottoms get golden brown, add 1/4 cup of water, then immediately cover. This only takes a few minutes so be sure the water does not completely evaporate allowing the dumplings to stick to the skillet
  6. To make the dipping sauce, combine all of the ingredients in a small bowl. Serve along side of the hot wontons.

Adapted from Fearless Homemaker


Check out all the other FANTASTIC bloggers who are participating in SRC today!. Such great recipes!! 🙂

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Dinner in 20: Pasta with Veggies and Cream Sauce

I have not been the mood to do anything lately. Well, that is not true. I want to scrapbook all day, every day. I just don’t feel right not being able to be creative. Thinking about how far behind I am working on Project Life makes me want to break out in hives. I left off at week 12… it is now week 26. kill me. And no, I don’t have to continue, but I want to. When I work at it I feel good, I really enjoy it. So I just need to get set up for it, and find some time, and I’ll feel like myself again.



Being so disinterested in cooking I have been gravitating towards quick fix dinners. Salads have been gracing our table a lot lately but this Pasta with Veggies and Cream Sauce dish was a big winner. I had just restocked the fridge and pantry from moving so I didn’t have to run out last minute to grab something. I love when that happens. I also love Philadelphia Cooking Cream. We use a lot of this to add to pasta dishes, casseroles, or on eggs. It adds a lot of flavor to dishes easily. I’m not singing their praises because they are sponsoring me, I just really like the cooking creams. Man I would love to be sponsored by them, that would be so cool since we go through so much of this stuff. Ha!

Pasta with Veggies and Cream Sauce

Serves 6



  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook according to directions for al dente pasta.
  2. While the pasta is cooking, saute the red pepper and mushrooms together in the olive oil. Cook until the vegetables are tender.
  3. Add the cooking cream to the vegetables and mix together until fully incorporated.
  4. Add the cooking cream onto the pasta when you serve it.


Thanks for visiting. Please leave me a comment to provide some feedback. I appreciate all the comments I receive.