Instant Pot

Instant Pot…Not your mother’s pressure cooker

Instant Pot.  These two words changed the way I cook for my family.  What is an Instant Pot, you ask?  It’s brilliant.  It is a pressure cooker/slow cooker/steamer/yogurt maker and more!  Around Mother’s Day 2017, I was introduced to this life changer on Facebook.  I did a ton of research after being told I could cook a roast in an hour from FROZEN!
I begged.  I pleaded.  I practically swore to do anything in exchange for this magical kitchen appliance!

Mr. Paras listened to my cries of need and surprised me with an Instant Pot IP-DUO Plus60 9-in-1 Multi-Functional Pressure Cooker, 6 Qt as a Mother’s Day/Birthday gift.  I was smitten.  I normally hesitate about new appliances and machines.  This took me about a day to unbox.  I was nervous.  Pressure cookers scare the bejeesus out of me.
I followed instructions and the rest is history.  I cook almost every meal in my IP.  I am notorious for not taking food out of the freezer to thaw.  This solved all of my problems.

Instant Pot

My poor pots and pans are left sitting unused, unloved, and clean.  There is nothing like using ONE pot to saute, sear, roast, steam, or pressure cook to feed my endlessly hungry family.  My favorite recipes are going to be in separate posts because this would never end if I started here.
So far I have attempted and everyone has eaten:
Pork roast for which I have no link. I googled how long to cook it and did it.  It was fantastic.
Chicken and Dumplings-minus the dumplings…again, no link. I just threw things in the pot as I saw fit.
Instant Pot Cheesy Broccoli Chicken – Don’t pre-cook your chicken. Also follow the recipe and make sure it’s small bits of chicken. I got lazy, used too much chicken and, while it was yummy and leftovers were not a problem, I got the feedback that there was not enough broccoli and too much chicken.
Homemade Sloppy Joes – which were a smash hit.  The 15-year-old was astonished that I made this from scratch and it was amazing.  I did add more ketchup, more Worcestershire sauce, more salt, and a dab of brown sugar to get it to taste just right.
Instant Pot Crack Chicken – which was a SMASH HIT with the men folk around here.  I felt it was extremely rich and, even though I will probably make it again, I may not eat it again.

I have tried and failed Chicken and Brown Rice because I did not know I had to cook the rice first.  It was ok but if the rice hadn’t been crunchy it would have been a whole lot better.

I vote every kitchen in America needs an Instant Pot.  It saves my sanity, my time, and my wallet.  Here’s hoping I don’t blow this sucker up.

 

Socks for Bird

Riley loves socks.  She loves socks so much, in fact, that she will hunt down her favorite socks to wear on her hands nearly everywhere we go.  She has about 25 pairs and I believe maybe 10 are matched correctly.   She will wear mismatched socks on her hands and rarely wears them on her feet.  She is like me in that regard.  I hate socks on my feet.

With all of the patterns I have sourced in the last year, I made sure I found a sock pattern.  I have adult and children sock patterns.  My absolute FAVORITE pattern is from The Wolf and the Tree.  The Abby’s Trailblazing socks and Adult Going Rogue socks are stellar.  The fact that there are options on a sock pattern is awesome.  Bobby Socks, crew, knee, and thigh lengths along with leg warmers and optional heel pieces round these out.  The pattern is super easy and I think these took about 5 minutes to cut out and the same to sew and finish.

 

 

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Riley’s “fancy” socks

 

I have made her about 5 more pair of socks.  I also made some for an order for a wonderful customer who purchased them for her Aunt.  I loved getting feedback that she loved them as much as I had hoped!
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Sometimes you have to treat your feet to something super soft and amazing.  I hope everyone in my family really loves socks because “Merry Christmas”!

The Babe Hoodie-Pattern Review

I love to test patterns.  Being a plus size gal, finding patterns that work for my body straight off the file is tough.  Luckily, there are several Indie pattern designers taking the lead in the pdf pattern world and designing with extended sizes in mind.
Enter the Do It Better Yourself Club (affiliate link), owned and operated by the amazing Jessica Hooley.  She decided there was a need for an amazing hoodie pattern and got to work.  When she introduced the option for testing, it only went to a size XL or XXL but she heard the cries of the voluptuos ladies (I really harped about it because I wanted what the cool kids could have).  Enter The Babe.

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The Babe hoodie pattern is gorgeous.  Not only is it pretty easy for any skill level sewist/seamstress/person who wants to sew, but it is chock full of options.  Lets roll through them quickly.  Sleeve length-sleeveless, short, 3/4, and long sleeves.  Cuffs or hemmed for 3/4 and long lengths.  The hoodie can be made in a cropped, jacket or tunic length.  Pocket options included are welt, scoop, and kangaroo pockets.  I know it has already been added on by testers to include inseam pockets and someone did a sleeve pocket on the cropped length.  It can be a pullover or zip up!

Sizes.  Let’s talk sizes.  I advise EVERYONE who wants to make or order handmade clothing to use their measurements.  This specific pattern has a size range from 31″ bust to 64 1/2″ bust.  That is an AMAZING range!  For reference, I made a 7+ size and there are 2 sizes above that in The Babe sizing.  I would equate that size to about a 5x, maybe 6x depending on what brand in ready to wear clothing you buy.

This pattern is excellent.  I made my “test” in a cheap Walmart $1 knit and I will totally wear that hoodie even though it wasn’t the final version.  I  made this zipped version from some custom cotton lycra from TKB Prints.  I am slightly obsessed with Harry Potter so this hoodie is now my favorite.  I have a slew of ideas for this pattern.  A swim cover, some Christmas hoodies, maybe team spirit hoodies. I can’t wait to make some more!  This will be added to the Bird & Bear Creations shop lineup!

Check out the Do It Better Yourself Club (affiliate link), or the Facebook group for the DIBY club-https://www.facebook.com/groups/dibyclub/ and check out all of the amazing tutorials and hints Jessica and the members share.  It’s not only for sewing!  Bath bombs, sewing guides, party planning and crafts, candle making…it’s so much in one place!

So…the Adventure Begins!

Hi to anyone and everyone reading!  Is anyone reading?  Probably not.

Well, if there is anyone out there in the land of the web, welcome to my little corner.  I have had years to consider my first post and this is just as lame as I expected.
I finally bit the bullet and jumped on the blog train after spending the last year trying to decide what to do with my life.  I am a work at home mom with my own little photography business and handmade clothing business.  My family consists of my husband Jeremy, our 3-year-old daughter Riley who is the “bird” of Bird & Bear Creations, and our 15-year-old nephew Logan.  I’m sure I will reference these people on the regular so learn their names if you don’t know them.  Or bookmark this page.  It’s a good idea.
As I said before, I have my hands in a few businesses but have decided to slow way down on the photography as it just doesn’t hold my passion any longer.  I enjoy it but not like I did.  I do, however, have the very strong love/obsessive feelings towards sewing and creating clothing.  Knit fabrics are my kryptonite.  I put my families move from our home of almost 4 years to our new home on hold for an entire day so I could finish a test pattern.  It worked out well.  I have an amazing hoodie and we had excellent pizza that night because I could not cook for fear of grease transfer.  Check out just some of my work that I have been doing for the last 8 months or so here: http://www.facebook.com/birdandbearcreations

I do love cooking and my personal favorites are Pinterest recipes.  We have had many a fail here in the Paras site.  Many, many fails.  I will be trying to cook my way through my Pinterest food boards but there are, like, 4 of them so this may take a while.  Hungarian food is also my downfall and I will use all my money to buy the ingredients for 1 recipe if I can make it taste like Nagymama’s.
There is so much that I want to use this blog for so you will just have to follow to find just how much I actually make happen.  What works and what ends up in the fire pit.  Crafts, food, sewing projects…
Eventually a move to Montana.  But that’s another blog post. 😉