Instant Pot Sweet and Spicy Glazed Brussels Sprouts

I got this beautiful cookbook in the mail on Tuesday. I had forgotten I preordered it so it was A nice surprise. I don’t usually preorder cookbooks because I like to know there are recipes in the book I would like to cook. I have been disappointed by cookbooks too many times. However, I have 8 out of 9 of Urvashi Pitre’s cookbooks and I have never been disappointed with any of them.

This new cookbook didn’t disappoint either. The first recipe I opened the book to had not one but two of my favorite ingredients, Brussels sprouts and cranberries. I couldn’t resist that and it was delicious. In the head note to the recipe Urvashi states she knows that most people only like their Brussels sprouts roasted and she isn’t wrong. I was sorely tempted to roast the Brussels sprouts instead of cooking them in the Instant Pot because I believe the reason most people don’t like them is they have only had them boiled or steamed to death. I know that was certainly true in my case. There is a reason the people who follow Urvashi have a hash tag that says #trusturvashi. Urvashi’s recipes are always spot on.

This recipe would make a nice Thanksgiving side dish. Yeah. Thanksgiving is only 6 weeks away. Time to start planning that feast.

Sweet and Spicy Glazed Brussels Sprouts

Adapted From Instant Pot Miracle Vegetarian Cookbook

1 lb small Brussels sprouts, trimmed

1/2 cup dried cranberries

1/4 cup orange marmalade

1 TBS butter, melted

1/2 tsp kosher salt

1/4 tsp to 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

Chopped, toasted walnuts, optional

Pour 1 1/2 cups water into the pressure cooker liner. Place a steamer basket in the liner and add the Brussels sprouts and cranberries to the steamer basket.

Close the pressure cooker and lock the lid. Make sure the pressure cooker valve is sealed. Set the pressure to high and the time to 3 minutes. Use a quick release to depressurize.

Transfer the Brussels sprouts and cranberries to a serving bowl. Add the marmalade, butter, salt, cayenne and walnuts. Toss to combine. Serve hot.

Cocoa Cranberry Granola Bars

Today someone asked me if I do anything besides cooking and baking. I said yes but I don’t think she believed me so here are somethings I enjoy besides cooking.

1. Spending time with my pets. Although I don’t say much about them here, by far my favorite way to spend my time out of the kitchen is with my pets. I currently have 3 cockatiels, Squeak, Beau and Ella, 6 parakeets, Manny, Milo, Katie, Pepper, Eli, and Skyler, 2 finches, Tucker and Pearl and one rat, Missy. We train, hang out, and play together. They are a major part of my self care. I couldn’t imagine life without them.

Don’t know why they are in the box together

2. I love to watch TV and movies, especially since Covid started. Of course, I love cooking shows like Chopped, The Chef Show, and Somebody Feed Phil. I am also obsessed with the show River Monsters. In October all the best and worst, horror movies hit the streaming services and I am here for all of them. So far the worst horror movie I watched is Silent Hill. For a movie based on an absolutely terrifying game, the movie is oddly devoid of any scares or any tension of any kind. Its very boring.

3. I am currently spending a lot of time crocheting. I am crocheting dish clothes and dish scrubbies for my kitchen. When I am done with that I am going to start on project of making as many things out of these two books as I can as a Christmas present for a friend’s children. I am also going to make a bunch of these as magnets for my fridge because there aren’t many things cuter then tiny crocheted foods.

My yarn box over flows
So freaking cute

4. I play Trivial Pursuit with my friend, Steph. My family quit playing trivia with me years ago because the think I cheat. I don’t and never have. My “problem” is I have a tremendous memory for trivia. I can’t remember my name most days but I can remember the names of a minor character in a movie I saw once when I was 10. Its not my fault. Until I started playing with Steph I never met anyone who could keep up with me at trivia. We have so much fun playing.

So you can see that I do do other things other than cook and bake.

I made this recipe without toasting the grains and it still tasted amazing. Press the granola firmly into the pan because this is what keeps the bars from crumbling. pay special attention to the corners and very middle.

Cocoa Cranberry Granola Bars

Adapted From

1 1/2 tsp coconut oil

1 1/4 cup rolled oats

1/4 cup raw sunflower seeds

2 TBS unsweetened coconut flakes

1/4 cup dried cranberries, coarsely chopped

2 TBS butter, cut into pieces

2 1 /2 TBS honey

2 TBS Sunbutter

1/4 tsp vanilla

1/8 tsp kosher salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cover the bottom and sides of of a 4 cup baking dish with foil or parchment paper, use the coconut oil to grease the foil or paper, set aside. Spread the oats and sunflower seeds over a sheet pan and toast for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

In a medium bowl, combine the toasted oats and sunflower seeds,scoconut, cranberries and cocoa. Stir to combine.

In a small sauce pan, combine butter, honey, Sunbutter, vanilla and salt. Cook on low heat until the butter melts, stirring constantly. Pour the butter mixture of the grain and seed mixture, mix well.

Transfer the mixture to the foil lined pan and use a spatula to spread the mix into the corners and to the sides. Firmly press the mixture into the pan, paying close attention to the corners and the middle. Pressing the granola mixture firmly into the pan is what keeps the bars from crumbling so spend a minute making sure it is press into the pan all over.

Kung Pao Chicken Lettuce Wraps (Whole 30)

This week I have spent a lot of time in the kitchen playing with my friend, Steph’s, Sunbeam Pie Maker and having so much fun doing it.  It makes 2 small pies in about 10 -15 minutes.  I am experimenting with making different kinds of crusts from scratch to make just two pies with no leftover dough and all sorts of fillings both sweet and savory.  These recipes will never show up here on A Solitary Feast because I am betting you don’t have a Sunbeam pie maker. But if you do and would like the recipes leave an email address in the comments and I’ll send them to you. 

The other cooking I am doing that will end up on A Solitary Feast is from my new favorite cookbook and blog, The Primal Gourmet by Ronny Joseph Lvovski.   His cookbook provides an awesome mix of what I consider fancier recipes and recipes you can throw together in a half hour.  He also has a section on with spice blends I haven’t tried yet and my new passion, sauces.   Best of all, every recipe  I have tried so far have been freaking delicious. 

From The Primal Gourmet Cookbook


Note:  This sauce is amazing and can be made anytime you need a Teryaki sauce

1/4 cup coconut aminos

1 TBS grated garlic, about 3 cloves

1 TBS arrowroot

1 TBS toasted sesame oil

1 tsp grated fresh ginger

1 tsp red pepper flakes


2 TBS oil

1 lb ground chicken

1 red bell pepper, diced

4 scallions, white and green parts, thinly sliced and seperated

Kosher salt

8 lettuce leaves, for serving

In a small bowl, combine all the sauce ingredients and whisk until well combined; set aside.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat for 5 minutes.  Increase the heat to high and add the oil.  When the oil is hot add the ground chicken.  Cook, stirring and breaking up the meat as it cooks, until the chicken is browned and most of the liquid had evaporated, 4-5 minutes.  Add the white part of the scallions,  red bell pepper and cashews.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until the bell pepper has softened a little, 2-3 minutes.   Give the teriyaki sauce a stir then add it to the ground beef, stirring to coat.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is thickened, about 2 -3 minutes.  Sprinkle with scallion greens and serve on lettuce leaves.

Chocolate Sun Butter Cups

Chocolate Sun Butter cups are what happens when I look at food blogs 30 minutes before I go to bed. I dream about them and wake up with a craving so intense I get my butt out of bed and directly to the store for the ingredients a 6 in the morning. I am frequently up by 6 in the morning but I am seldom dressed and out the door for anything at 6 in the morning which tells you how badly I wanted these.

These cups only took about10 minutes to put together and most of that was setting the chocolate in the freezer. I don’t have a microwave so I melted my chocolate chips in the air fryer set on the lowest temperature possible. It took about a minute and a half, stirring occasionally. You could also melt the chocolate chips on the stove with a double boiler.

In interest of full disclosure, I received the Sun Butter I used in this recipe from my friend, Steph, who works at Sun Butter. I have received no compensation for this post. I just really liked the recipe.

Chocolate Sun Butter Cups

Adapted From The Primal Palate Blog

3/4 semi sweet or milk chocolate chips

1 1/2 tsp coconut oil

2 TBS Sun Butter

3/4 tsp sugar

1/4 tsp vanilla

Place 6 mini cup cake liners in a mini muffin pan; set aside. In a heat proof container combine the chocolate chips and coconut oil. Microwave the chips on low power, stirring every 30 second until melted. Fill each mini muffin cup half way with chocolate. Place in the freezer for 5 – 10 minutes to set the chocolate.

Meanwhile, combine the Sun Butter, sugar and vanilla in a small bowl; mix well. When the chocolate has set, divide the Sun Butter mixture over the 6 mini muffin cups. Make sure to spread the Sun Butter mixture to the edges of the chocolate bottom. Use the remaining chocolate mixture to cover the Sun Butter mixture, again make sure you spread the chocolate all the way to the edge. Place in the freezer for another 10 minutes or until the chocolate is set.

Air Fryer Baked Oatmeal

Its that awesome time of year in North Dakota where it is too warm during the day to turn on the heat but too cold at night not to turn on the heat.  So it is time to drag out the oatmeal, turn on the oven and have warm breakfasts for a while. 

My favorite way to eat oatmeal is to bake it but it takes 35- 50 minutes to bake it in the oven.  This morning I was running a bit late, which is hard to do when you work from home but I managed it none the less, so I decided to try baking my oatmeal in the air fryer.   It took about 15 minutes with me running around getting the animals fed and taken care of for the day while it cooked.  The best part was when I was done taking care of the animals, I had more than enough time to enjoy a hot breakfast before work.

This recipe is just a basic template for any kind of baked oatmeal feel free to change up the strawberries for other fruit or leave it out  entirely.  Feel free to change any of the spices to those of your liking.  Baked oatmeal is really versatile and a great way to warm up on a cold day.

Strawberry Baked Oatmeal

Adapted from My Forkin Life

3/4 cup strawberries, chopped

1 cup  rolled oat

2 1/2 TBS brown sugar

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/8 tsp nutmeg

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/8 tsp salt

1 cup milk

1 egg, lightly beaten

1 TBS butter, melted, optional

1/8 tsp vanilla
Preheat air fryer to 320 degrees. In a medium bowl, combine oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking powder, and salt.  In a separate bowl, whisk milk and eggs. Add in melted butter, if using,  vanilla.  Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and stir until combined.   Place the oatmeal mixture in a 1 quart  casserole dish (I used a 6 inch cake pan). Place strawberries over mixture. Bake in the air fryer for 10 minutes then check and if necessary bake for 5 minutes more.