Category Archives: Gadgets

Umm… Wut?


Multi-Pot Recipes: Beef and Barley Soup

Yummy photo by the great JeffreyW

I have used my Multi-Pot consistently for the last few weeks. I made two batches of soup, pulled pork, pasta sauce and two batches of rice. The first batch of rice I was all cocky and used the simple pressure cooker setting and my own time – because you know, I’m the Queen of Pressure Cooking – well, that didn’t turn out very well. I mean, it was great sticky rice, but I was going for light and fluffy. So the next batch I used the Rice Button! I mean, come on, a pot you can just push RICE and 10 minutes later have fluffy rice – why was I fighting it??

The buttons on this brand are easy and intuitive to use. It does help that I’m familiar with what times work well with my stove top cooker and there are good resources in the booklets that came with the machine to help pick timing.

My first batch of soup was to make Beef with Barley Soup:

I used this recipe (click here). I was excited to try out the browning feature and the pressure cooking setting.

I quickly and easily sauteed the onions and browned the beef with about a tablespoon of olive oil. Then added the remainder of the ingredients, sealed it shut and turned it to the Meat/Stew setting and set it for 30 minutes.

It took it 10 minutes to come to pressure – which didn’t surprise me because I filled it to the highest mark allowed.

The soup was delicious – I could easily leave it on warm, open the lid and let sit and fill the house with yummy soup smells as long as I desired.  It was good and tasty. And clean up was a breeze – just tossed the insert into the dishwasher.

The one part of this electric pressure cooker that has been a learning curve for me is the quick -release method. I am so used to taking the pot over to the sink and running cold water over the top. With this, they say to just turn the pressure valve to open. Which sounds easy-peasy.  EXCEPT it spews greasy, starchy steam all over my kitchen cabinets.

The solution is fairly simple – I grabbed an old kitchen towel and cover the valve with that as it releases. Takes a bit longer, but no mess and no risk of a scary steam burn.

So for this recipe, I’d give the Multi-Pot a solid A.

I know, I know I promised a puppy update…give me a few minutes. Until then…


Multi-Pot Electric Pressure Cooker

I finally got my new pressure cooker/slow cooker. I was going to get the Instant Pot, but every time I went to order it, it was back ordered. Then I stumbled on the Multi-Pot and it had all the features I was looking for – stainless steel insert, steaming rack and stackable pot to cook two items at once. It also came with some fun accessories – silicone mitts, which I found invaluable, and utensils.

Operation is very intuitive, so I’ve barely opened the instruction manual, so that was a plus and it comes with a link to a website with hundreds of recipes. My thought going forward is that I will try out a recipe a week, rate it and offer my tweaks.

We’ll have to see if I’m able to maintain that…so far I’ve made beef and barley soup, rice, chicken tortilla soup and used the slow-cooker for pasta sauce which was waiting for us when we got back from the “Ice Castle” adventure up in the mountains last night. I’ll share a few of those photos later. Until then…



Homer has that “ate the canary” look but I can assure you there are no canaries stopping by the feeder.

I cooked a pork shoulder in a 200 degree oven overnight in a covered pot.  That big Dutch oven is good for projects like this.  I added the usual seasonings and also a bottle of regular Coke.  It turned out fairly well.  After pouring off the excess liquids, I boosted the temp to 350 and returned the roast to the oven, uncovered, to get a little more color on the meat.  The reserved liquids were skimmed of  fat and reduced in a separate sauce pot before adding them back.

InstaPot Moroccan Chicken

This was pretty good.  I wanted to do something in the Instant Pot with a whole chicken I bought the other day. (Those poultry shears worked great.)  I liked this recipe when I skimmed it for ingredients, pretty much everything it called for I had on hand.  Subbed regular raisins for the golden kind, and used green olives instead of ripe, and added turmeric to the spice mix, maybe 1/2 tsp.

The couscous was from a box mix with a packet of garlic powder and other spices, it worked pretty well and was in keeping with the Mediterranean feel of the dinner.  They eat broccoli in Morocco?  Well, I like broccoli.

Gadget Post – Poultry Shears

I’ve been using the wrong search term when looking for good scissors for cutting up chicken.  Amazon offers tons of listings for kitchen shears/scissors.  I have several pair that are just okay.  Then I saw these!  Had to have them!  They do a good job of cutting a chicken into smaller pieces.The red latch tab is pretty flimsy and I worried that it would break off, sooner rather than later, but it folds away into a slot while the shears are in use.  Of course they come apart for washing.  I like that they are spring loaded, and that if you need to really bear down to cut a bone you can let the bottom handle rest on the cutting board and put your full weight on the top.

Critter Cam

Bobcat!  We’ve seen this one several times on one camera or another.  I’ve never seen it in person but Mrs J came up on one and it scared her and the dog, both.A healthy and happy looking coyote.  Lots of these around, much more so than the ‘cats.

I’m pleased with the newer trail cameras we have out.  This location seems to be productive, the other new camera is mounted on the picnic table overlooking the feeder.

Kind Of A Gadget Post: Me-Mover

This has been on my wishlist for a few years. A half-price sale tipped the scales from wishlist to purchase.

Between walking the dogs and still un-restored trails after the flood of 2013, cycling has lost it cachet. I do miss my rides, but walking the dogs out by the lake or up in the mountains takes precedent.

Yet…walking dogs is not exactly an aerobic sport. More like an exercise in patience as they explore their world in fits and starts.  Especially now that I’m tasked with leash training a puppy. So my workouts needed something more. And this was it.

It operates like a stairmaster on wheels. It’s a heck of a workout in a short amount of time. Twenty to thirty minutes is exactly what I wanted, outside and in the fresh (cold) air. I’m not a fan of the gym.



Gadget Post: Splatter Guard

A silicone spatter guard. Genius. It comes in some fun colors and I kinda wish I’d chosen something besides black.

I know it looks funny. But it really works. And despite the awkward appearance, it does not get in the way of cooking. I’ve prepared bacon, hamburgers and eggs with it in place. Next up I’m going to do battered fish – I usually avoid because of the mess it makes.

I’ll let you know how it turns out. Until then…


Critter Cam

A healthy looking coyote from last night.  This camera is being retired in favor of a newer model from Browning that offers a higher resolution capture.  Won’t help with the fog, though.