Instant Pot sous vide egg bites (breakfast with love)

Healthy-ish sous vide eggfast

When I consider healthy alternatives to regular egg dishes, I think of poaching and boiling eggs. Sous vide opens up more options. This recipe makes 7 servings, perfect for a weekend brunch. You can even save and reheat the next day.

What is sous vide?

Sous vide has become popularized in the culinary world. A French term, it literally translates to “under vacuum”, and it applies to a method of cooking in which food is sealed in an airtight plastic pouch or a glass jar, and cooked in a bath of hot water or steam environment for a long cooking time (i.e. 1 to 7 hours+). The temperature is regulated during the entire duration of the cooking process. 

[Optional] appliances that make it easy-peasy

You can find best-selling appliances online like the ChefSteps Joule (list price: $199) or the Anova Culinary Precision Cooker (list price: $149). These nifty gadgets create the right temperature control by heating up the water in a pot. You can monitor the process through an app on your smartphone. The art of sous vide means there is absolutely zero contact with flames or smoke. What’s great about this French method of cooking is that you forego the need for unnecessary oils and butter. 

But, all you need is an Instant Pot

The beauty of the Instant Pot Egg Bites is that you enjoy the sous vide execution without other appliances. I used the 6 Qt Instant Pot. It’s very simple to make, and you can add your own creative flare.

In my case, I used heart-shaped silicone egg bite molds, which you can buy on Amazon. An alternative heart version can be found here. I also have a set of adorable food punch-out cutters, which I use to dress up kid lunches, and weekend brunch. 🙂

Heart-shaped (IP) recipe – made with LOVE

So, let’s get started with making the recipe. Nothing says I love you like a beautiful heart-shaped breakfast. The family and kids love it. You can accompany your eggfast with an expresso, English Breakfast tea, or a bubbly mimosa.

Get the Instant Pot ready
Pour (1) cup of water into the bottom of the pot, and place a metal (or silicone) trivet on the bottom (as you don’t want the egg mold sitting in the water).

Prep strawberries and punch out hearts
Take a carton full of ripe strawberries. Rinse them, remove the stems and then halve the strawberries. Then use the heart-shaped fruit cutter and punch out hearts. Set it aside.

Prep the egg dish ingredients
You’ll need five large brown eggs and a large mixing bowl. Prep your diced ham and/or pre-cooked breakfast sausage, diced tomatoes, and shredded cheese. You can sprinkle some wonderful Herbs de Provence in keeping with the French origin of sous vide.

I used diced rosemary ham and a turkey sausage patty. If you’re vegetarian, you can sub with vegan breakfast sausage or do without it. Same goes for cheese if you’re lactose sensitive, opt for a non-dairy version like Daiya mozzarella style shreds.

You’ll also want to add 1/4 cup of milk. I used almond milk, but you can use a milk of your choice.

In the mixing bowl, blend or stir all the ingredients together (eggs, cheese, ham, sausage, tomatoes, milk, and herbs). If using a blender, you can pulse for about half a minute.

Egg mixture
Blend all the ingredients in the egg mixture

Pour the egg mixture into the molds
You can lightly grease the molds with olive oil spray. There are seven reservoirs, so pour the egg mixture into each all the way to the top. The carefully place the mold tray onto the trivet resting in the Instant Pot. You’ll want to keep your hands steady for this part.

Egg mixture in egg molds
Pour egg mixture into the molds

Pressure cook on high for 8 minutes
Close the top of the Instant Pot lid and turn dial to sealing position. Turn on the manual setting at high pressure for 8 minutes. You can let the steam release naturally.

Voilà! Your egg bites are perfectly cooked.

IMG_6153

For presentation purposes, I take a plate and cover it with paper towels and carefully flip the egg bites out of the molds. The paper towels removes the excess moisture.

Toast some bread
Eggs and toast go well together. You can toast some bread and lay it out on a toasting rack. Your company can butter and jam their toast to their liking.

Heart-shaped presentation
For presentation, use a nice wooden board and cover it with a sheet of parchment paper. Arrange the egg bites on the board with some gaps, so you can add the heart-shaped strawberries.

Breakfast with love
Breakfast with L-O-V-E


Ingredients

– 5 large brown eggs
– 1/4 cup almond milk
– 1/3 cup diced tomatoes
– 1/4 cup shredded cheese (mozzarella and cheddar)
– 2 slices of ham or turkey (diced)
– 1 savory breakfast sausage patty (diced)
– 1/2 tsp herbs de provence

– Olive oil spray (grease the mold tray)
– 1 cup water

– 1 carton of ripe strawberries

– Several slices of toast

Things used
– Instant Pot pressure cooker
– Trivet (goes inside Instant Pot)
– Silicone egg mold tray
– Fruit/veggie shape cutter (heart)

Hope you enjoy the sous vide eggs. Lots of love went into this dish. 😉

Galbi Jjim (갈비찜): IP + Slow-Cooked Braised Beef Short Ribs

Fully Loaded Comfort Food 

When it comes to comfort foods, Korean braised beef short ribs (aka Galbi Jjim, 갈비찜) tops my list. It is traditionally made as a slow-cooked stew, and a gorgeously delicious meal. Great to make during the fall and winter months (House of Stark would approve). I also love it as a weekend supper during the summer, as an alternative to a BBQ. I’ve made galbi jjim in both an Instant Pot, as well as over a stove top.

갈비찜 History

This rich braised beef dish is rooted as a celebratory meal, often eaten during Chuseok, Korean Thanksgiving Day.  Chuseok originated as an annual harvest celebration and is  observed around the 15th day of the 8th month of the lunar calendar on the full moon.  The braised beef short rib dish is made for special occasions, and social gatherings and parties.

I’ve come to appreciate galbi jjim as a one-pot family meal that comes fully loaded with root vegetables like daikon radish, carrots, and potatoes.

Instant Pot takes one-third the time

As a busy mom (someone is tugging at my sleeve as I write this!), I enjoy the convenience of the Instant Pot (IP) to maximize what little free time I have. Using the IP, I can whip this up in one-hour. Over a stove top, I’m committing 3 hours from prep to plate.

The Short Version (IP) Recipe

Let’s start with the short IP version, and I’ll elaborate a little more on making this tasty, simple dish on a stove top. First, you’ll want to assemble your ingredients together and arrange them on the kitchen counter. That way, you know you have everything you need. This meaty dish will serve 4-5 people.

Don’t forget the steamed rice!
Nothing soaks in that rich tasty galbi jjim than a steaming bowl of white rice. I covered the ins/outs of making rice in a previous post that covered a keto-friendly Korean jigae dish here.

Prep the marinade
Make sure you have the basics needed to whip up a marinade. My marinade here is gluten-free and rates low glycemic. I use tamari soy sauce (gluten-free), rice vinegar, a dash of sesame oil, low glycemic coconut syrup (in lieu of brown sugar), minced garlic, fresh ginger, and roasted sesame seeds.

Marinade making ingredients
Get your marinade ingredients ready. Soy sauce (or tamari), rice vinegar (or mirin), garlic, ginger, sesame oil, coconut syrup (or brown sugar), and sesame seeds

The marinade is simple to make. In a medium size bowl, pour 1/2 cup of tamari soy sauce, 1/4 cup of coconut syrup (or sub-in with raw coconut nectar, or brown sugar), tbsp sesame oil, tbsp of minced garlic (~ 6 cloves), tsp of fresh ginger (grated, or chopped fine), and tsp of roasted sesame seeds. Mix the ingredients in a bowl, and set it aside.

Marinade made
Combine the marinade ingredients together in a bowl, and set aside

Soak beef ribs, then score them
You’ll want to get 2.5-3 lbs of trimmed beef short ribs, and place them in a bowl filled with cold tap water. This will help drain the meat from impurities.  Thickly cut beef short ribs are easily found in Asian markets like Ranch 99, or you can specify the particular cuts you want from your local shop.

As you prep the beef and separately the veggies and marinade, make sure you keep your space clean from cross-contamination.

Beef Short Ribs
Place 2.5-3 lbs of beef short ribs in a bowl, then soak in cold water

After the ribs have been soaked, remove them and place ribs on a cutting board. Remove excess fat. Score the meaty part of the beef ribs. When scoring the ribs, I make a simple criss-cross pattern with shallow cuts.

Prep the veggies
Wash all the vegetables and get them ready to prep. I used half of a large daikon radish, 2 cups of cut n’ peeled carrots,  2 medium russet potatoes, 4 stems of Chinese chives (sub with scallions), and several small sweet peppers (sub with 1 bell pepper).  I prefer the mellower flavor of chives (over scallions).

Wash and prep veggies
Half a large daikon radish, 2 medium potatoes, 2 cups of carrots, sweet peppers, and 4 stems of Chinese chives (sub with scallions)

Peel and cut the veggies
Peel the potatoes and rough skin of the daikon radish. Then chop the potatoes and daikon into large cubes.  Remove the stems and seeds from the peppers and slice them lengthwise. With the Chinese chives (or scallions), chop them into long pieces.  I used baby cut n’ peeled carrots purely out of convenience, but you can alternately peel and chop up 2-3 large carrots. Then set your veggies aside.

Put it all together in the IP
Plug in your Instant Pot. In the IP, place the beef short ribs in first, followed by your veggies. Then pour in the marinade last.  Add 1/4 cup of water over the top.

Put it all together in the IP
Put the braised ribs and veggie in the IP. Then pour the marinade all over the top

Pressure cook on high for 35 minutes
Close the top of the Instant Pot lid and turn dial to sealing position. Turn on the manual setting at high pressure for 35 minutes. You can use the meat/stew setting, or manual setting. You can let the steam release naturally for 10-15 minutes, or speed things up by opening the vent wearing a protective glove like a silicone mitt.

The one-pot meal is done
Fully cooked galbi Jjim in an IP

Ingredients 

– 2.5-3 lbs of beef short ribs
– 2 medium russet potatoes
– half of a large daikon radish
– 4-5 small sweet peppers (or 1 bell pepper)
– 2 cups of pre-cut carrots (or 2-3 large carrots)
– 4 stems of Chinese Chives (or sub with scallions)
– 1/4 cup water

Marinade
– 1/2 cup tamari (or soy sauce)
– 1/4 cup rice vinegar (or mirin)
– 1/4 cup coconut syrup (or sub with raw coconut nectar, or brown sugar)
– 1 tbsp minced ginger
– 1 tsp minced or grated ginger
– 1 tbsp sesame oil
– 1 tsp roasted sesame seeds

Modified recipe for Dutch Oven on a stove top

If you prefer the slow-cooking method, or don’t own an IP, here’s a slight modification on the recipe above.

Pour the marinade and 2 cups of water (bring to a boil)
Pour the marinade and 2 cups of water into the dutch oven and stir. Then bring the mixture to a boil.

Add the beef ribs; bring down to a simmer
Once you get it to a boil, add in the beef ribs, and lower to a simmer. Cook the ribs at this low heat for 2 hours. Make sure the pot is covered with the lid.

After 2 hours, add in the veggies
Add your lovely veggies and let it simmer for 30-40 minutes. You want to make sure the beef is tender and the veggies are soft.

Kalbi Jjim
Korean-style braised beef short ribs (갈비찜)

Mom juice pairing

Galbi Jjim goes well with a nice glass of cab, merlot or a lighter pinot noir during the summer.

Bon appétit. Wind down and enjoy dinner!

Instant Pot: GF Berry-Apple Bread Pudding Recipe

Low-glycemic dessert for breakfast

I have a sweet tooth, but I try to find ways to make healthy-ish versions of my favorite desserts. Nothing is more comforting than a warm, gooey bread pudding. I’ve come up with my own version that’s gluten-free, dairy-free, low GI, and something you can whip up easily. All you need is an Instant Pot and 30 minutes from prep to plate.

*Spoiler Alert: No heavy cream (or dairy) was used in the following recipe. Taste was not compromised.*

Bits of Bread Pudding History

Bread pudding is said to date back as far as the 11th century. A humble dish, it was designed out of necessity so leftover bread would not go to waste. In the 13th century in England, bread pudding was described as “poor man’s pudding.”

Bread pudding is typically made with leftover bread, and baked with a mixture of milk, cream, eggs, butter and/or oil, and includes other add-ins. It can be made as either a savory or sweet dish. Though most of us think of bread pudding as a sweet dish, served in restaurants or made at home.

Many countries have a version of the bread pudding, so you’ll find variations in Europe, Latin America, Asia, and in the US.

Bread pudding in an Instant Pot

I figured why not? I thought about the ingredients that go into a French toast, and not much different! I use the duo 6-in-1 Instant Pot, and have re-created a healthy-ish version. This recipe will serve 4-5 people. 

Get Your Instant Pot and steam rack ready
Pour 2 cups of water into the Instant Pot, and place a steam rack on top. (I ended up getting the silicone steam rack as part of a set on Amazon, which comes with a pan).

Grease the bottom of a 7- or 8-inch pan that will fit in your Instant Pot. Spray a little Coconut Oil to coat the bottom of the pan to ensure the bread pudding won’t stick.

Wash and prep your fruit
Fruit comes with natural sweetness and a load of nutrients, fiber, and antioxidants. That’s reason enough to make them a centerpiece in this recipe. I used two medium apples and a bowl of berries (blueberries and blackberries).

Apples and Berries
2 medium apples, blueberries and blackberries

For apples, I used Pink Lady and Gala. Wash and remove the skins. Core and slice the apples into cubes, then set aside. With the berries, simply wash and set aside.

Cut bread into cubes
You can chop up leftover bread. I use 4-5 slices of Udi’s Delicious White Bread (large version). Set aside the cubed bread.

Udi's Delicious White Bread (large size)
Gluten-free bread cut into cubes

Whisk the liquids together
In a large bowl, crack 3 large eggs, 1/4 cup of raw coconut nectar, 1/3 cup of almond milk, 1 tsp of Vanilla extract, and 1 tsp of Cinnamon.

Side note: I like Big Tree Farms Organic Amber Coconut Nectar, which I covered in an earlier post on GF pancakes. Made from the sap of coconut tree flowers, coconut nectar contains essential amino acids, and is low glycemic, so you don’t have the effects of blood sugar spikes.

Mix everything together in a big bowl
Take your cubes of apple and berries and toss into your liquid mixture. Then toss in the bread cubes and gently mix until the bread is coated.

Pour the mixture into the baking pan
Take your greased baking pan and pour the entire mixture into it. Press down into the pan to make sure everything is generally even. Drizzle the top with 2 tbsp of maple syrup.

Pressure cook for 15 minutes
Place the baking dish on top of the steamer rack inside the Instant Pot. Close the top of the Instant Pot lid and turn dial to sealing position. Turn on the manual setting at high pressure for 15 minutes.

Mixture placed in a baking pan
Sit the baking pan onto the steamer rack inside the Instant Pot

Voila! It’s done
You can let the steam out via natural release if you have the time. Or if you don’t, put on a silicone mitt and vent the top.

Gluten-free, dairy-free Berry Apple Bread Pudding
Gluten-free bread pudding perfect for breakfast or dessert

Serves 4-5 people

Ingredients

– 2 cups of water
– 1 tsp coconut oil (or olive oil). Or use spray
– 3 large eggs
– 1/4 cup unrefined raw coconut nectar (substitute is maple syrup)
– 2 tbsp of maple syrup
– 1/3 cup of almond milk
– 1 tsp of cinnamon
– 2 medium apples
– 1 to 1 1/2 cup of berries (blackberries and blueberries)
– 4 cups of bread, cut into cubes (or 4-5 slices of GF bread)
– Whipped cream (optional)

Serve up in a shallow bowl
You can use a pie server to cut and place a generous wedge of bread pudding in a shallow bowl. You can add a dollop of whipped cream, like I did, to give it a bit of umpf. Whole Foods and other health food stores sell traditional whipped cream and non-dairy alternatives like So Delicious Dairy Free Coco Whip.

Delish bread pudding made in an Instant Pot
Make your GF bread pudding special with a dollop of whipped cream. Yum!

Enjoy spending time with your loved ones, and treat yourself with this version of bread pudding for breakfast, brunch or dessert. Bon appétit!

What’s your favorite healthy-ish dessert made for breakfast? Feel free to comment. 

Gluten Free Berry Pancake Hack

Very Berry GF Pancakes

Only have 5 minutes to prep a heart healthy breakfast? You can check brekkie off your list with this superfood fueled meal.

Go gluten free on these beauties and prevent the belly bloat that often comes from ingesting too much wheat gluten (a protein found in wheat).

TJ’s Breakfast Hack

If Trader Joe’s is within a short distance from your home, hit the freezer section and grab a box of the Gluten & Dairy Free Homestyle Pancakes. These frozen silver dollars are surprisingly tasty with a fluffy, glutinous texture. The primary ingredients in these premade pancake are rice and tapioca flour. Each packet comes with a stack of 3 small pancakes. There are a total of 4 packets, or 4 servings per box. If TJs is not your jam, then you can find frozen pancakes from quality brands like Vans and Earths Best.

Follow the heating instructions on the box. Once ready, you can either stack’em up or lay them out like so.

Gluten Free Waffles Instead?

Now if you’re hankering for waffles, you can find gluten free frozen ones in the freezer section. Vans makes wheat and gluten free waffles, which are dense, moist and fluffy. Vans waffles are much more satisfying than the TJ’s gluten free version, which tends to be dry and crumbly in texture. Harder to find is the delightful Kitchfix Grain Free Banana Cinnamon Waffles (or Blueberry), which I’ve found at my local Sprouts Farmers Market.

Organic berries and bananas

Chop up some organic strawberries, blueberries and bananas and toss them on your pancakes. The combination of bananas and berries balance the flavor of sweet and tartness from the berries.

Blueberries and strawberries are superfoods that pack a powerful anti-inflammatory punch and come with vitamin C, fiber, folate, and potassium. These colorful gems are also rich in age-fighting polyphenols and are low in calories. Polyphenols are those touted micronutrients that come loaded with antioxidants.

Bananas contain potassium and come with vitamin B6, vitamin C, magnesium, copper, and manganese. The pectin and resistant starch found in bananas may help with moderating blood sugar levels.

Dash of cinnamon and try coconut nectar 

Generously sprinkle cinnamon, and don’t feel bad if you’re a bit heavy handed. You can also incorporate unsweetened coconut flakes to really blend in some of the white if the off-white banana slices aren’t patriotic enough for you.

Cinnamon is a spice that lays claim to being anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial with health-promoting antioxidants. Cinnamon has also been studied for its effects in helping to lower blood sugar.

To top it all off, substitute maple syrup with coconut nectar. We found Big Tree Farms Unrefined Coconut Nectar to be a great sweetener that goes well on pancakes and waffles.

Made from the sap of coconut tree flowers, coconut nectar contains essential amino acids, and is low glycemic, so you don’t have the effects of blood sugar spikes. The consistency of coconut nectar is that of a brown liquid that is runnier and earthier in taste than maple syrup.

Breakfast Hack Ingredients (serves 4)

Package of gluten free pancakes or waffles (frozen)
Strawberries (small carton)
Blueberries (small carton)
1-2 ripe bananas
Cinnamon
Dried unsweetened coconut flakes (optional)

Raw Coconut Nectar (optional replacement to maple syrup)

Enjoy the fireworks of flavor

Now if you have the time or have pancake batter mix hidden away in your cupboard, by all means, whip up a batch of pancakes or heat up that waffle iron. Enjoy this healthy habit!