Monthly Archives: March 2020

FOOD - "The Delicious"

Instant Pot Diaries: Creamy Garlic Parmesan Pasta

March 17, 2020

I got an Instant Pot for Christmas and feel like I’m still learning my way around it. What I’ve found is that a pressure cooker is hella intimidating when you have no idea what you’re doing, but once you’re past the learning curve, you’ll wonder how you fared without it. Especially when you can make pasta in less than 10 minutes!

So this recipe started with me looking up some quick Instant Pot recipes. I found this one for a lemon-garlic pasta, which are three of my favorite things to cook with. I didn’t have all the ingredients, but I don’t let that stop me anymore when I cook. I instead experiment with substitutes. That’s how I landed on this slight alteration of the original recipe below.


  •  8 oz linguine or spaghetti
  •  2 tablespoons olive oil
  •  3 cloves garlic, minced
  •  2 1/4 cups water and 1 tbs of butter (substitute for chicken broth)
  •  1 teaspoon garlic powder
  •  2 tablespoons lemon juice
  •  1 teaspoon salt or to taste
  •  3 dashes ground black pepper
  •  1 cup evaporated milk (sub for the heavy whipping cream in the original recipe)
  •  1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese, plus more for topping
  •  1 cup chopped cherry tomatoes (I didn’t have parsley to garnish!)
  1. Break the pasta in half, set aside.
  2. Set your Instant Pot to Saute mode and add the olive oil. Once it’s heated, toss in the garlic and stir it to the side. After about 10 seconds, add the water/butter combo, garlic powder, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and pasta. Give it a stir then cover.
  3. Set the Instant Pot to Manual or Pressure Cook (depends what model you have) for 8 minutes. After it’s done, click the Quick Release or Vent. When you’re done venting, open up the cover, and add the evaporated milk, and parmesan.
  4. If the sauce is too runny, you can put it back on saute mode, or if you’re like me, you add a few tablespoons of a starch like arrowroot to thicken up the sauce (optional!).
  5. I added a little more lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Since I didn’t have parsley like the original recipe calls for, I looked for a garnish and found some cherry tomatoes in my fridge. I sliced them in half, gave it a quick saute with olive oil and garlic powder until it browned, and then topped the pasta with that.


I usually pair a pasta with a salad. I generally prefer warm foods, and this salad is just sautéed mosh-posh of things I love, but once I started making it, my husband literally alwayssss requests it.

This is practically a permanent side dish to our dinners and there’s no real recipe. I usually just chop onions and mushroom, and sauté it in a pan with olive oil and minced garlic. When they’ve browned a little, I toss in kale, then season with salt and pepper. Here I added a few sun-dried tomatoes too because I thought it would add a nice flavor.


x Shy

FOOD - "The Delicious"

Mongolian Beef

I’ve been tapering off meat in my own diet as I think I mentioned, but my husband is not. He’s been a great sport about all our vegetarian meals. But that while also being quarantined? I thought I’d go through and see if I could find anything in our freezer to try something new for him. I found a couple recipes for Mongolian Beef, and this one didn’t require a lot of ingredients so I gave it a go. He loved it. I realized myself I’m not a big meat eater anymore so while I thought this tasted great, it was really heavy for what I’m used to now. Regardless, it was easy to make so I’m sharing the recipe below with my little additions.

Mongolian Beef

1 lb beef flank
1/4 cup corn starch
1 cup vegetable oil
2 green onions
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup water
1 tbs garlic (minced)
1 tbs ginger (minced)
2 tsp vegetable oil

Optional: 1 tsp sesame seeds

1. Prepare the beef flank by slicing it in thin, small slices. Cover in cornstarch until it’s coated evenly and set aside.
2. In a pan, heat the 1 cup vegetable oil, and once hot, add the beef to fry until crispy (about 2 minutes). Stir the meat to make sure it cooks evenly, then transfer to a paper-towel lined plate to set aside. Discard oil.
3. In a wok, add the vegetable oil, followed by the ginger and garlic. Cook and stir for 30 seconds, then add the brown sugar, soy sauce, and water. Note, I also added a tsp of sesame oil to this mix! Cook until slightly thickened (about 5-10 minutes).
4. Add the beef into the sauce, and cook over medium heat until sauce thickens (about 2-3 minutes).
5. Stir in green onions. Garnish with sesame seeds. (I didn’t have sesame seeds alone, so I added the everything but bagel seasoning from Trader Joe’s which has them and more).

I served this with white rice, and it made a delicious dinner. Let me know if you try it!

x Shy

FOOD - "The Delicious"

Paleo Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

March 12, 2020

For anyone else who never seem to finish their batch of bananas before they go brown, this is for you. I love this recipe because it doesn’t have a ton of ingredients, and makes for a really light serving of banana bread. That said, unlike “non-paleo” banana bread, it’s a lot more moist (I hate that word, but there’s no other way to describe it). But if you have diet restrictions, it is paleo and gluten-free, and you can make it sugar-free by skipping the chocolate chips.

Paleo Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

  • 1 1/4 cup mashed ripe bananas (about 3 bananas)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup almond butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chip, dairy free (I like the Enjoy Life brand)
  • Optional: I add 1/4 cup of arrowroot starch to make it a little more dense…I suppose you can just add more coconut flour too here
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a nonstick loaf pan with cooking spray.
  2. Mix the wet ingredients (bananas, vanilla extract, almond butter) until smooth and creamy.
  3. Add in eggs one at a time and mix with a mixer (I just do this by hand cuz I don’t have one).
  4. Blend in coconut flour, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, and fold in chocolate chips last
  5. Pour in batter into the loaf pan, and smooth. Stick in the oven for 25-30 minutes.
  6. Let cool, and serve!



FOOD - "The Delicious"

Chrissy Teigen Recipe: Carrot Coconut Soup

March 5, 2020

As I’ve gotten older, I’m noticing a lot more now how careful I have to be with my diet. Gone are the days of luxury when I could indulge and not pay for it every single time in my energy or weight. I see you 30s. I did try eating paleo for a month with my husband and truth be told, we loved it. We felt energetic and alert. The downside of the diet for us (and where we ultimately lost) was the immense amount of prep we needed for our meals, because it’s truly not easy to find non-proceed, grain-free food everywhere. 

All that to say, while we do want to get somewhere closer to there again in our diet, for now I’m trying to focus eating more plant-based. Personally it’s more for digestion issues, but also because I already made my diet 80/20 veggie so trying to see if going all the way makes a difference. I’m also experimenting a TON with different recipes (not all super healthy), but just to keep some creativity in the kitchen. 

I’m not sure where I came across Chrissy Teigen’s carrot coconut soup, but I’ve made it maybe 6 times since I did (and probably posted it on IG every time), so here it is for you to reference if you did ask for the recipe. I’ll post her version, and some modifications I’ve experimented with right after!

Carrot Coconut Soup


  • Serves 4. Active time/ 10 min. Total time: 1 hr 10 min.
  • 4 tbs butter
  • 1small onion, chopped
  • Kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 450g (4 cups) carrots, chopped
  • 500 ml (about 2 cups) low-sodium chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 (400 mL) can full-fat coconut milk, shaken
  • 1 stalk fresh lemongrass, trimmed
  • 1 tsp finely grated ginger
  • 2 tbs Thai sweet chili sauce
  • Chili oil, or crispy shallots for serving, coriander for garnish

In a medium-large pot, heat the butter over medium heat. Once foamy and slightly browned, add onion, 1 tsp salt and pepper and cook stirring until the onions just begins to soften, about 2 minutes. Add carrots and cook, stirring, until softened and the onion has turned deep golden, 18-20 min (some bits of onion will turn a little darker than others, it’s cool).

Add the chicken stock, coconut milk, lemon grass and ginger. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a very low simmer (leave lid open a crack), walk away for 40 minutes.

Stir in sweet chili sauce, remove from the heat, and let cool slightly. Remove and discard the lemongrass. Blend the soup in the pot with a stick blender (or in a stand blender) until smooth. If using a stand blender, hold the lid on tight and make sure to leave a little vent so steam can escape from the blender, protect your hand with an oven mitt or towel). Season to taste with salt. Divide among bowls, and top with chili oil and/or crispy shallots. Garnish with coriander.


  • I have actually never made this recipe with lemongrass, because after going to 3 grocery stores and being unable to find it, I had to forge ahead. It still tasted delicious without it.
  • For the step when you cook the onions and carrots, don’t overdo it, or you will have bits of char in your soup that time you forgot the recipe says 20 min and not 40. It ruins the whole thing.
  • A lot of pre-chopped carrots come in 450g plastic bags, so you can just pick one up and use that for ease.
  • For the coconut cream, I like using the Thai Kitchen brand, unsweetened.
  • There was one horrible time that the chicken stock I normally use went bad, so I substituted with 1 more tbs of butter and purified water. It ended up being a little lighter but kept the taste!
  • If you ask me, I’ll always say, “More ginger please!” I def add a little more than the recommended amount for an extra kick.
  • I personally love topping this with crispy onions. Adds a nice texture to the soup! 
  • For big parties, I’ve poured this in disposable plastic shooter, and it made a cute appetizer!

Let me know if you try it and enjoy!