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Today is the day I will try pressure cooking for the first time as I want to incorporate more dried legumes in our diet. Pressure cooking suggests itself as the fastest way (2-4 minutes! – yes…that’s right… no more than 4 minutes!) to make dried beans edible. I was given my first tutorial in pressure cooking last week when I had a play date with Priya and her daughter Anika. Priya explained terrifying prospects to me: pressure cookers can explode (!), they can erupt boiling contents and steam all over the kitchen and the lid itself can hit the ceiling if you’re not careful and if the lid is not securely locked. Priya has graciously lent me her largest pressure cooker so that I can try it out for awhile and see if I like it. First step: I carefully read the entire manual the night before, which was somewhat reassuring – it’s first sentence upon leafing it open was: A Pressure-Cooker can be the safest pot in your home.

Alright, I’m as ready as I’ll ever be – give me the locking pot:

Pressure Cooking

My husband and son were already out in the sunshine digging around in the backyard planting flowers, creeping vines, and ferns, and the baby was tucked away for a nap. It was just me and the pot: let’s do this thing.

I filled it with a modest 1.5 cups of black beluga lentils (which I love!), 3 cups of water and put the burner on medium high. I immediately felt unsure – the directions said “medium flame”. On an electric stove is that the setting 5? or closer to 7 or 8? The dial only goes 10? But isn’t flame hotter than electric? I settled on 8, then started to chicken out and dropped it to 7. I locked the pot, put the little black cap on the spout and waited for the cap “to rock”. The instructions suggested that you need the cap rocking before you start timing minutes. So, now I’m watching waiting for water to boil – terrifying water to boil. The cap starts to rock, I set the timer, my pulse jumps. This is it – this is the moment where pressure happens. Explosions can occur. I’m backing away from the stove watching that cap rock. In fact I’m watching the whole pot rock a little. I’m starting to think – no, I should have used the medium setting. I basically spent 3 minutes at the edge of the kitchen then chickened out and took the pot off the heat. I didn’t wait the full four minutes.

It takes another 10 minutes of so for the pot to depressurize, I waited 20 or so, then opened it up. There were my black lentils. I stirred them around – they were cooked! We ate them in a “salad” bowl as the grain/protein for lunch, and they were just the smallest amount hard because of my pressure cooking timidity. I’m going to try again Monday – and not let the rocking put me off for four full minutes!

day 14 of 30 Healthy Eating Challenge

Breakfast:

1 whole egg

1 slice whole wheat bread

1 teaspoon olive oil

…..

Lunch:

1 cup lentils

artichoke hearts

spinach

cherry tomatoes

4 oz turkey burger cut up

1 tablespoon greek yogurt

pumpkin seeds

Garlic-Herring dressing

…..

Supper:

Grilled Portobello Mushroom

2 oz goat cheese

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

1 teaspoon olive oil

Iceberg Garden salad with shredded carrots, red onion, cherry tomatoes, cucumber and Italian dressing topped with a perfect avocado.

I feel accomplished. It’s not just about the pressure cooker, although, that in itself is a big deal for me. It’s about the weekend in general. Every day we were up at 6am because both our children were sleepless this weekend. 6am is hard…especially on a Sunday. We sucked it up and spent the weekend putting in the bedding plants and bringing flowers, ferns and vines in potted plants up onto our porches and decks. It feels good to have a lot of green around even though the first push to get it done is a lot of work. Sitting amongst our newly potted plants, my partner and I were tired, but also really happy – we both made it through the weekend eating only healthy food choices. Weekends are our hardest time, and even though we drank a bottle of wine between the two of us – that only put us off our goal by 6 oz. That’s just amazing and the karaoke boosted our spirits in a sleepless and tiring time.

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