The Ultimate Guide for Making Any Crockpot Recipe in an Instant Pot

Did you know you can convert slow cooker meals to Instant Pot/pressure cooker? Save time and have dinner perfectly cooked – every time! Here is the ultimate guide for making any Crockpot recipe in an Instant Pot.

The Ultimate Guide for Making Any Crockpot Recipe in the Instant Pot | Super Healthy Kids | Food and Drink Slow cooking is still a wonderful thing, but pressure cooking in the Instant Pot is really wow-ing us. We love being able to saute in the same bowl we cook in. We love not having to “babysit” the cooking meal. And we especially love that dinner can be on the table so quickly!

With so many family favorite meals already perfected in the slow cooker, we wanted to figure out the best ways translate them for pressure cooking. We’ve found that most recipes translate just as well – if not better! No need to totally re-invent your recipe collection when you can follow these guidelines to convert.

Here are our tips, conversions, and cautions for making any Crockpot recipe Instant Pot friendly
The Ultimate Guide for Making Any Crockpot Recipe in the Instant Pot | Super Healthy Kids | Food and Drink
Basics for converting a crockpot recipe into instant pot

Here are some basic rules to help you know what (if anything) should be changed for your recipe to work as a pressure cooker recipe. Plus some tips to help you make the most of your Instant Pot!

One-cup liquid rule: If your recipe does not already call for at least a cup of liquid, you will need to add a cup of water or broth. Pressure cooking requires liquid, so don’t try to cook anything without at least a cup!

The Ultimate Guide for Making Any Crockpot Recipe in the Instant Pot | Super Healthy Kids | Food and Drink

When to use the drop-in steam rack: this is great for when you do not want whatever you’re cooking to touch the bottom (for more even cooking), such as when “boiling” eggs. This also works for keeping things like “baked” potatoes from sitting in the water at the bottom. I also like using it for roasts so I can pull them out easily.

Take advantage of the saute function! Truly a wonderful feature to save on dishes! It does take a few minutes to heat up, so just turn it on before chopping veggies and it’ll be ready for you. And did you know it has three settings? Yes, 3! It automatically turns to normal, but you can also push the “Adjust” button to set it to “Low” for bringing broths or sauces to a simmer, or “High” for searing meats.

The Ultimate Guide for Making Any Crockpot Recipe in the Instant Pot | Super Healthy Kids | Food and Drink

Use the bowl-in-bowl method: did you know you can use smaller bowls and cups within the Instant Pot? If you want to make just a single serving or two of oatmeal, for example, you would put a cup or so of water into the Instant Pot, place the steam rack inside, then set the desired amount of oatmeal and water in a bowl or cup on top. The possibilities are endless! You can use any heatproof container made of metal, heatproof glass, or ceramic container.

How long to pressure cook a slow cooker recipe

For many recipes, you actually do not need to change anything but figure out pressure cook time! This is the case for many soups, meat-only recipes such as roasts or chicken. In the beginning it takes some experimenting and practice because no two meals are exactly alike. Here are some basic guidelines that will get you going in the right direction!

The Ultimate Guide for Making Any Crockpot Recipe in the Instant Pot | Super Healthy Kids | Food and Drink

If a Crockpot recipe calls for 8 hours on low (or 4 hours on high), it will probably be done perfectly in about 25 minutes in the Instant Pot. If it isn’t done, just cook it for another 5 minutes on manual (unless it still looks reaaaally raw – then add maybe 8-10, but that is highly unlikely). And don’t worry, the Instant Pot will come up to pressure much faster the second time because everything inside is still so hot.

The thicker the piece of meat, the longer it will need. Volume does not matter, but density does. So if you have a large, thick piece of meat it will need more time than the same amount of meat cut into smaller portions.

If you throw your meat in frozen, just add 5-10 minutes to the total pressure cooker time. If it’s a really huge block of lots of ground meat or something, maybe 10.

The Ultimate Guide for Making Any Crockpot Recipe in the Instant Pot | Super Healthy Kids | Food and Drink

Use the natural pressure release method when cooking meat to make it extra tender. It’s also important to allow for natural pressure release when cooking beans, rice, oatmeal, or other grains that foam so that it doesn’t sputter and clog the vent.

Use a manual or quick pressure release when you cook more vegetables or fruit. This helps keep fruit and veggies from getting too mushy. A manual pressure release is simply opening the vent once pressure cooking has finished – just keep your hands clear! Manual pressure release is also good if you’re not sure if you gave enough cooking time – so you waste less time before checking.

Liquid conversions for cooking beans and grains

When grains and legumes are pressure cooked, they require less water. For most grains, rice, legumes, and beans you will need less water than other forms of cooking.

Most slow cooker recipes do not call for rice and grains that cook quickly since they typically turn to mush. But if a Crockpot recipe calls for brown rice or barley, look at the Instant Pot chart for more information on minimum cook time and liquid amounts. Know that the “Rice” button is programmed for white rice only.

The Ultimate Guide for Making Any Crockpot Recipe in the Instant Pot | Super Healthy Kids | Food and Drink

Beans and legumes will double in size when cooked, so never fill the Instant Pot more than halfway with them. If cooking beans alone, simply cover the beans completely in liquid.

To find out cook times, visit the Instant Pot website. Remember, cook times listed are typically minimum – beans and legumes are difficult to overcook but are gross if under-cooked. I always err on the side of cooking a little longer. The “Bean/Chili” button is set to cook beans, but if you are using beans that require more time you can either push “adjust” to “more” or use “manual” mode.

Soaking beans and legumes overnight is typically the best way to decrease cook time and have the best results (for your tummy). But you can definitely cook beans without soaking them in the Instant Pot, which is pretty great when you need to cook them last minute.

Cautions when converting slow cooked meals into Instant Pot

Here’s a basic list of things to be careful of when using your Instant Pot, especially when converting recipes:

Do not use milk in pressure cooking. Milk can scald, which would ruin flavor and consistency in cooking. Instead, add milk products after cooking or find non-dairy substitutes or broths to use during pressure cooking.
Do not pass the “Max Fill” line. Not only could overfilling possibly clog your Instant Pot, but it might leave you waiting for a long time and not actually ever reach pressure.
For beans and grains, only fill halfway. Anything that expands will, well, get bigger – so leave plenty of room! Cooking beans and grains also often causes foaming, so you need the extra room to keep the foam from clogging the vent.
Add thickeners after the pot finishes cooking. To add corn starch or flour, for instance, use a small bowl to make a slurry: add the thickener to a small amount of cold liquid and whisk well. Then pour into the cooked goods after the cooking is finished and whisk.

The Ultimate Guide for Making Any Crockpot Recipe in the Instant Pot | Super Healthy Kids | Food and Drink

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Plan a Lebanese Feast for Your Next Dinner Party

It’s the smallest country in the Middle East, but Lebanon packs a powerful culinary punch. Located on the coastline of the Mediterranean Sea, it’s a perfect example of the type of delicious, nourishing and healthy foods being promoted by those who follow the popular Mediterranean Diet.

Middle eastern or arabic dishes and assorted meze concrete rustic background. Meat kebab falafel baba ghanoush muhammara hummus sambusak rice tahini kibbeh pita. Halal food. Lebanese cuisine

Traditional Lebanese dishes

Is Lebanese cuisine the next big thing? According to Maeve Webster, president of Menu Matters, a consultancy focused on helping the food industry understand trends, “It’s a cuisine that carries a well-deserved healthy halo, because it uses any type of fat sparingly, has a very small presence of red meat (and then usually healthier and more sustainable choices like lamb or goat) and relies far more heavily on lean protein (particularly chicken), as well as plant-based proteins. It’s a cuisine that fits well with produce-focused culinary innovation.”

Two Favorites

You’re already probably very familiar with two dishes that are a mainstay of Lebanese cuisines — tabbouleh and hummus. Try this hugely popular staff pick version of Tabbouleh. Or add a modern twist by teaming your Tabbouleh with Edamame.

Tabbouleh with Edamame

Tabbouleh with Edamame | Photo by Meredith

If you’ve been buying hummus from the grocery store, you’ve been missing out on how easy and delicious it can be to prepare at home. Here’s a version of Hummus that’s easy to whip up in a blender or food processor. To make it as a main dish, try this Hummus Casserole, which layers the garbanzo puree with pita pieces, pine nuts, lemon juice, parsley, and ground beef.

Super Easy Hummus

Super Easy Hummus | Photo by lutzflcat

Meet Mezze

The trend for shareable platters and snacks as meals just keeps growing, and Lebanese cuisine is a perfect fit for that focus. It’s easy to pull together a few dishes and enjoy a Lebanese mezze, a word derived from mazeh, the Farsi word for “taste.”

“Mezze is the Lebanese form of tapas, and it’s great to enjoy a series of small plates served as appetizers or drinks accompaniment with a few people across many plates,” Webster says.

Get started by making your own version of Lebanese cream cheese, called Labneh [LINK TO LABNEH ARTICLE]. It’s a tangy, creamy accompaniment for dunking, dipping and sharing. Its perfect served with Manaaeesh Flatbread made with Za’atar, a spice blend of thyme, toasted sesame seeds, and sumac powder that’s common in Lebanese kitchens. According to the recipe developer, it’s “a blend of many spices that will make your taste buds sing.”

Labneh (Lebanese Yogurt)

Labneh (Lebanese Yogurt) | Photo by Buckwheat Queen

Or try Fattoush, a light salad served with crunchy fried pita chips. Don’t miss out on these crispy appetizer bites made with ground beef and lamb.


Fattoush | Photo by Meredith


As a main course, consider Lamb-Stuffed Zucchini (Koosa), which features a cinnamon-spiced tomato sauce. Or try Kibbeh, made from a blend of cooked bulgur wheat, mint and chopped onions combines with ground lamb and served with tahini. Lamb Shawarma is another popular choice, made from yogurt-marinated strips of lamb.

Pita sandwich with labneh

Photo by Meredith

Sweet Endings

A delicious platter of Namoora (Basboosa) is the sweet, golden end to many traditional Lebanese meal. Or consider these authentic-tasting Arabic cookies.

Check out all the tangy, tasty, and satisfying options in our collection of Lebanese Recipes.

Get more cooking tips and awesome food finds.

The post Plan a Lebanese Feast for Your Next Dinner Party appeared first on Allrecipes Dish.

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Turn Greek Yogurt into Silky, Show-Stopping DIY Cream Cheese

Forget Philadelphia. Your new go-to cream cheese originated in Lebanon, and you make it yourself, starting with a container of plain Greek yogurt. With just a few minutes of prep and a day of “drain time,” you’ll be rewarded with a fresh, bright cheese that offers concentrated, tart flavor and silky creaminess.

Labneh (Lebanese Yogurt)

Labneh (Lebanese Yogurt) | Photo by Buckwheat Queen

Labneh is a classic favorite that’s incredibly simple, is always popular, and goes with everything. Like a culinary version of the Little Black Dress, labneh, also known as Lebanese cream cheese, is endlessly versatile and easy to dress up or dress down, depending on your mood and the occasion. Want a protein-rich, on-the-go breakfast choice? Labneh. Searching for a party treat that knocks their socks off but doesn’t bust your budget? Labneh. Yearning for the sort of hipster cred that allows you to offhandedly say, “Oh yeah, I’m a cheesemaker”? Guess what? Labneh.

If you have a container of Greek yogurt in the fridge, you’re just 24 hours away from having DIY labneh on the table. Get out a colander and bowl, some cheesecloth or a clean kitchen towel, and stir in a bit of good-quality olive oil and a pinch or two of salt. Put the draining mixture in the fridge forget about it for a day, or even longer if you prefer a firmer texture. When you check on your creation, you’ll have an tangy spread that can be used in a multitude of creative ways. And you, my friend, are now free to call yourself a “cheesemaker.”

A Few LAQs (Labneh-assistance-questions) to Get You Started:

Cheesecloth? What is it? I don’t have it! Help!
Cheesecloth is a gauzy cotton cloth used to finely strain solids from liquids in cooking. In the case of labneh, you’re literally separating the curds from the whey, just like Ms. Muffet.

Don’t have any cheesecloth on hand?
Never fear. Simply line your sieve or colander with a kitchen towel, clean white t-shirt, or even a coffee filter.

It’s gotten to the texture I want, but it’s still a little…wet.
Pat finished labneh with a paper towel to remove excess liquid.

When can I get started?

How’s now working for you? Here are two starter recipes:

Labneh (Lebanese Cream Cheese)
“This Lebanese version of cream cheese is a lot tastier and lower in calories,” says the recipe submitter. “Serve on a plate, sprinkled with olive oil, olives, tomatoes, cucumbers and mint. Or simply spread it like cream cheese on pita bread.”Labneh with Fresh Mint and Dill
“Creamy deliciousness! I used mint and basil…and loved it,” says Buckwheat Queen.


Meatballs with Labneh

Meatballs with Labneh | Photo by Meredith

Can You Tell Me 6 Fun Ways to Use This New Spread?

1. Spread it on toast for a zingy morning treat. Add mashed avocado and a sprinkle of flake salt for a breakfast with great taste and satisfaction staying power.

2. Connect with labneh’s Middle Eastern origins by using it to top warmed pita bread, drizzling it with good-quality olive oil and dusting with a Lebanese spice blend.

3. Make a labneh sandwich, adding leftover grilled meat or fish, mint leaves, chopped olives and a shake or two of za’atar, a spice blend made from thyme, sesame seeds, and ground sumac powder.

4. Mound finished labneh in a bowl, then use the back of a spoon to make a swirl pattern on top. Pour on a generous splash of good-quality olive oil and add a sprinkling of Dukkah, the spice blend made with hazelnuts, sesame seeds, coriander, and cumin. Dip with raw veggies, crackers, or pita bread toasts.

5. Let the yogurt drain until it’s fairly firm, then roll into little balls, sprinkle with chopped herbs. Arrange on a platter and you’ve got a standout appetizer, called “labneh korat” or “labneh makbouseh” in Lebanese (If you’re planning on serving these at a party, it’s a good rule of thumb that each quart of yogurt will produce about six ounces of labneh).

6. Store labneh balls in a mason jar, cover them with olive oil, add a few herbs, and you’re ready to go with an impressive hostess gift.

Once you’ve made a successful batch, you’ll be ready to begin incorporating labneh into other dishes. Try this Veggie Labneh made with roasted cauliflower, topped with fresh rosemary, and served on toasted flatbreads.

Spicy Roasted Cauliflower and Labneh Spread with Fresh Rosemary

Spicy Roasted Cauliflower and Labneh Spread | Photo by Allrecipes

Want to read more about Lebanese cuisine? Check out how to plan a Lebanese feast for your next dinner party. And don’t miss our collection of Lebanese Recipes.

Get more cooking tips and awesome food finds.

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2017 Testing Your Sanity? Here Are 5 Ways to Cope

Understatement of 2017: There’s a lot happening in the world right now.

Have you already fallen off your New Year’s resolution plans? Found yourself going through something stressful in your relationship? Tough time at work? Or are you just generally stressed out because, well, there are things to be stressed about right now?

Regardless of what’s got you feeling like 2017 is one big test (I’ve been using #2017IsTestingUs lately), the reality is there’s always going to be something to push us a bit out of our comfort zone, and we all need to take care of ourselves if we want to make it through.

Last weekend, I met up with a friend for a lovely brunch and play at a local theater. I was in an Uber and running late when one of my best friends called and kept pushing me to talk about something that I just didn’t have the energy to go into. I blew up in a pretty irrational moment — not quite as intense as Kristen Wiig’s freakout at the bridal shower in “Bridesmaids,” but still bad. Like the kind where you hang up and ask yourself “What did I just do, and why did I do that?!” The kind where you have to call back, swallow your pride and say “I’m sorry, I love you, thank you for being my friend.” When I hung up the second time, I realized I was pretty wound up and not really acting like myself, but I had let myself get there. I had a lot on my mind and needed to chill the bleep out.

For context, I’m usually a calm person and pretty good about carving out some “Kirby time” throughout the week, whether it’s squeezing in a few yoga poses beside my bed in the morning or makinge breakfast and eating it intentionally. But I had a lot on my mind and I was clearly pretty stressed and wound up.

After the play — which, considering my mood, was appropriately called “I Wanna F—ing Tear You Apart” (I think it was a sign) — I decided I needed an evening workout to just sweat it out. So that night, I did all the things that bring me to my personal “happy place”: I did the elliptical and immersed myself in my high-intensity playlist. I ordered my fave Thai dish (pad woon sen), with some extra veggies on the side and I foam rolled and rolled and rolled, while listening to some more calm tunes and then took a looooong bath with epsom salts and lavender essential oil. And finally, I drank a lil mint tea with lemon and ginger before bed. (I should literally relax from within, too, right?) Honestly, with each activity, I felt myself calming down. It was exactly what I needed.

So maybe you didn’t bite your friend’s head off like I did, but maybe you’ve neglected your New Year’s resolution and are pretty bummed about it. If so, you aren’t alone. Only 8% of people actually succeed at a New Year’s ressie. On top of that, over 50% of Americans resolve to either lose weight/eat healthier/make self improvements or work out more often — so that means while you might feel alone when you fail, there are actually droves of people like you who want to step up their health and fitness game each year and are failing, which can be very frustrating. Or maybe you are just overwhelmed right now. No matter what’s stressing you out, here are some quick tips if you find yourself needing a lil “me time”:


Personally, I’m a huge fan of intense hikes, but even a simple walk in the great outdoors can do the trick to fight stress and improve your mental well-being. A study found that something as simple as walking outside can help improve the mood of someone who has recently experienced a traumatic event, like a serious illness, death of a loved one or divorce. So if you need a pick-me-up, lace up your sneakers and get outside.


While going to get a massage is a nice treat (and I love a good massage), sometimes it’s just not practical. My self-massage routine involves a foam roller that I keep in front of the TV, so I use it all the time while catching up “Homeland” or “Being Mary Jane.” If you haven’t foam rolled before, check this out!


Yoga always melts me into a nice mellow being. Last month, I tried something new and took a yoga class with Liz Arch, who taught us her practice of Primal Yoga.It’s described as “dynamic yoga and martial arts fusion style that merges Vinyasa yoga with the artistry of Kung Fu and the grace of Tai Chi into an athletic, heat-building flow, while focusing on alignment, balance, strength, power, and flexibility.”

And it’s every bit as unique as it sounds! In the class, Liz guided us through familiar yoga poses with a twist: at one point midpractice, she had us ball up one fist and use it to beat against our bodies. It sounds bizarre, but it felt great.


This is probably the easiest one on the list. Growing up, my mom always reminded me “it doesn’t cost anything to be nice to people.” So why don’t we do it more often?! You already know this, but it’s good to be reminded. When you do something nice for someone, whether it’s a compliment or volunteering your time, it can instantly make you feel better, so give it a try. If you like a random stranger’s leopard print booties, compliment them. Smile more. Let that car merge ahead of you. Their happiness and appreciation can help to pick you both up that day, even if just for a moment. Plus, kindness is actually good for your heart too!


Do what you love doing, whether that’s reading a good book, meditation, yoga, catching up with a friend that you haven’t connected with in awhile or some time journaling. Only you know what takes you to your personal happy space.

So carve out some you time.

If you are feeling great, more power to you! That’s awesome and I’m happy for you (insert praise hands emoji)! If not, I hope these tips help!

I’m curious. What do you do to stay sane in times of high stress? Feel free to post in the comments below.

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10 Great #TransformationTuesday Successes on Instagram

Ask anyone who has lost weight: There’s nothing more empowering than seeing how far you’ve come compared with where you started. That’s what makes the Progress Photo so inspiring for so many people — especially on Instagram. We’ve seen hundreds of folks hashtag #myfitnesspal on Tuesdays, so we’ve compiled a few of our favorites that make #transformationtuesday a cause for celebration any day of the week. (If you’re new to MyFitnessPal, check out our rundown of how to celebrate your success through the Progress Photo feature.)

Check out MyFitnessPal on Instagram for motivation on living a healthier life each day, every day.


Instagram Photo

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Recipe: Smoky Tomato Herb Baked Chicken


This saucy and flavorful dish from Clean Eating is an easy weeknight dinner. Smoky, herbed chicken thighs are smothered in an aromatic tomato sauce. The secret ingredient? Smoke paprika! Serve with a side of roasted veggies or greens for a complete meal.


Smoky Tomato Baked Chicken with Baby Tomatoes

2 tablespoons whole-wheat flour
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon sea salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper, divided
8 bone-in, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 1/2 pounds baby potatoes, scrubbed and quartered
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 1/2 cups no salt added tomato sauce
3/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 to 2 large red and/or yellow bell peppers, cut into 1/2-inch strips


Preheat oven to 375°F. Mist a large roasting pan with cooking spray. In a wide, shallow dish, mix together flour, paprika, oregano and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and black pepper. Dredge chicken in flour mixture, turning to coat and shaking off excess.

In a large nonstick skillet on medium-high, heat 2 teaspoons of the oil. Add half of the chicken and cook, turning once, until lightly browned, about 4 minutes. Transfer to prepared roasting pan. Repeat with another 2 teaspoons of oil and remaining chicken.

In a large bowl, toss together potatoes, 1 teaspoon oil and remaining 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Add to roasting pan, spreading around chicken. Bake for 25 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, heat remaining 1 teaspoon of oil on medium heat. Add garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in tomato sauce, red pepper, remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low, and simmer gently, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, about 15 minutes.

Pour tomato sauce mixture over chicken and potatoes and top with bell peppers. Return to oven and bake until an instant-read thermometer inserted in thickest part of chicken reads 165˚F and potatoes and bell peppers are tender, about 20 minutes.

Nutrition Information

Serves: 4 |  Serving Size: 2 thighs with veggies

Per serving: Calories: 457; Total Fat: 15g; Saturated Fat: 3g; Monounsaturated Fat: 5g; Cholesterol: 150mg; Sodium: 642mg; Carbohydrate: 33g; Dietary Fiber: 7g; Sugar: 9g; Protein: 44g

Nutrition Bonus: Potassium: 1698mg; Iron: 25%; Vitamin A: 19%; Vitamin C: 97%; Calcium: 8% 

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Our 3 Favorite Quick Treats

Cottage cheese with apple and ginger honey

Our daughter’s school teacher sent along a pale blue little text book for her to draw and write in during our recent trip to Cape Town. Considering that Elsa’s previous writing experiences mostly consisted of scribbling random letters from the alphabet and signing her drawings (often reversed), we honestly didn’t expect this journal to be anything more than a sketch book. But to our surprise, she filled the pages with both drawings and sentences about her days. She is no Donna Tartt just yet. Her letters look a little wonky, she spells words exactly as they sound and writes without space between (so it all looks like a long hashtag): ”weesaasharkindeseetodey”. But regardless of how much or little that happened every day, she found something to write about, she tried her best to get the spelling right and she filled that book with memories.

The connection I am trying to make here is that this blog is Luise’s and my journal. And we have been bad at filling it lately – with memories and recipes. Ever since the children outnumbered us, it has been difficult to write. Not only due to lack of time and sleep, but we’ve also been looking for meaning, relevance and motivation. We have been doing this for more than seven years now and I have personally come to a point where I want everything to be so damn perfect every time that I often get stuck in this circle of “this is not good enough”. But seeing Elsa’s journal made me realise that we don’t always need the grandest of recipes or ideas. Sometimes a simple 5-minute snack or treat can be good enough.

Okay, I don’t really think one snack is good enough. So we are actually sharing three today!

These recipes are all great options when you need a late afternoon pick-me-up, a post workout treat or simple Tuesday dessert. Although different in their execution, they can all be made in a breeze and all of them also happen to include tahini. If you haven’t tried tahini with sweet flavours before, consider this your lucky day. It’s the bombest flavour combo!

First up, easy but epic stuffed dates.


I shared these stuffed dates on instagram a few weeks ago, calling them ugly delicious. Although a lot of people seemed to think that they weren’t ugly, I still argue that this isn’t a very glamorous dish. Frozen raspberries, grated ginger and tahini, mashed into soft dates is preferably something that is enjoyed under dim light in front of a tv series. Unhulled tahini is excellent for this dish because of it’s richer tones. And if you’ve got a dark chocolate bar (70-80%) lying around, you can break it up and cram small pieces of chocolate into the date along with the other ingredients. It’s probably the quickest and easiest sweet firework your mouth will ever experience.

Tahini & Berry Stuffed Dates
Makes 10

10 soft dates
1 tsp fresh ginger
3 tbsp tahini (preferably unhulled), almond butter or nut butter of choice
20 fresh or frozen raspberries
a handful desiccated coconut
dark chocolate (optional)

Open up all the dates, discard the stones and place the dates on a plate. Grate the ginger over the dates and then fill them with approx 1/2-1 tsp tahini per date and two slightly mashed raspberries (and a small piece of chocolate, if using). Top with a scattering of desiccated coconut. Indulge.


We obviously think smoothies are the ultimate quick treat, having written a whole book about them. They are easy to make, easy to improvise and easy to like. This recipe is not from the book but it combines many of our favorite smoothie ingredients mentioned in the book into one master smoothie which we often make in family size and portion out in mini bottles. Berries are always great in smoothies being low on sugar and high on freshness. Avocado and banana makes it exceptionally creamy. Dates add a caramel tone and cardamom, ginger and tahini blasts the flavours. Depending on the tartness of your berries, a squeeze of lime or lemon can also be good in this.

Berry & Tahini Smoothie
2 large glasses

1 banana
1/2 avocado
2-3 soft dates
1 tsp freshly ground cardamom
1 tsp fresh ginger
1 tbsp tahini
1 cup / 150 g frozen raspberries and blackberries
1 cup oat milk or other plant milk

Add all ingredients to a blender and mix on high speed until smooth. Taste and adjust the flavour, add more ginger, tahini or cardamom if needed. Add more milk if it feels too thick. Pour into two large glasses or bottles and enjoy right away or store in the fridge with a lid on.


On a recent car ride from Copenhagen to Stockholm, Luise picked up a snack pack of cottage cheese with topping. It is not something we often buy but it tasted pretty good and we started talking about making our own version of it, adding lots of crunch and more freshness along with the sweetness. The combination of cottage cheese and yogurt is creamy, fluffy, tangy and rich in protein and has become one of our favourite post workout meals lately. We serve it with some chopped apples on top, an easy crunchy topping of toasted buckwheat groats and nuts and top it all with a syrup made of honey, fresh ginger, cardamom and tahini. The syrup should taste quite strong of ginger to contrast the cheese and it’s really what makes this dish special, but if you are not a fan of ginger, use the lesser amount. If you’ve got a jar of our Ginger & Turmeric Honey Bomb at home, that can be used instead.

Cottage Cheese with Apple, Honey Ginger Syrup and Crunch
Serves 2 (hungry people) or 4 (as a snack)

1/4 cup / 50 g buckwheat groats
1/4 cup / 35 g hazelnuts, roughly chopped
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 cup / 250 g cottage cheese
1/2 cup / 125 ml plain thick yogurt (turkish or greek style yogurt)
1 large apple
1 1/2-2 tbsp honey
1 tbsp tahini
1/2–1 tsp freshly grated ginger
1/2 tsp ground cardamom

Dry toast buckwheat groats, hazelnuts and salt in a skillet or sauce pan on medium heat for approx 10 minutes, stir every now and then. While it’s toasting, divide the cottage cheese on two plates or four bowls. Discard the core from the apple and chop it in roughly 1/2 inch / 1 cm pieces. Scatter the apple pieces over the cottage cheese. When the buckwheat and nuts smell fragrant and look golden, turn off the heat and scatter it over the cottage cheese and apple. Without rinsing the skillet/saucepan, use the after-heat in the pan to stir together tahini, honey, ginger and cardamom – it only need a little heat to combine easily. Drizzle generously over the two plates and finish with a sprinkle of cinnamon. Dive in!

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The First 40 Days Without My Son

The First 40 Days Without My Son

A few weeks before Afton was born, I bought a book called The First 40 Days.

Have you heard of the 4th Trimester? You know, those fresh days after you bring your baby home, when you – the powerful, beautiful, natural mother – are reeling and healing and head-over-heels in love all at once? This book embraces the idea that we should look at pregnancy and birth as more than three trimesters. That there’s so much healing and adjusting that needs to happen after a baby is born, and that we should really view those first 40 days after birth as the 4th Trimester.

The book is really beautiful and intentional, and I’d recommend it for any hippie-leaning mama who is preparing for life with a new baby.

But that’s not me anymore.

The First 40 Days Without My Son

I need a new book – one that’s written for moms who never brought their baby home. Whose first 40 days included, mainly, surviving the shattering of their own hearts. Instead of giving us recipes for how to promote healing or lactation, this book, in my imagination, would tell us what to eat when we literally cannot find room for anything in our stomachs other than rock-heavy grief.

As far as I know, that book doesn’t exist (does it? please tell) and this post is not my attempt to write that book. I’m in no position to be giving advice. In all honesty, today I could hardly get out of bed and it was 50 degrees in February. 50 DEGREES IN FEBRUARY.

Earlier, in my happy days of being pregnant, I decided to share first trimester and second trimester posts. Now, after his too-early arrival at 23 weeks, I’m going straight to the fourth.

Here it is in all its wordy honesty: a full documentation of the first 40 days without my son.

Phsyical Healing

The First 40 Days Without My Son

People often ask me, how are you healing? physically?

And I really appreciate it.

But I have almost nothing to say because, if I’m being honest, having a major abdominal surgery and several very large incisions on both the inside and outside of my body is really a non-issue in comparison to the emotional pain of losing my baby.

The First 40 Days Without My Son

For the record, everything seems to be healing just fine. I bought these things which seem to be helping on a cosmetic level, maybe? I guess I didn’t realize that a c-section scar would not heal super smoothly, so there’s that special and very glamorous detail that I will now live with forever. The uneven scar would have really bothered the old Lindsay, but it doesn’t ruffle even one single feather of my new exhausted self. Okay, maybe half a feather. I might still have a little shred of vanity hanging on.

Bottom line – I’m healing. I can sit up, I can walk, it’s all fine. And even though I never wanted a c-section and I definitely never wanted this story, I’m grateful that my body is putting itself back together.


The First 40 Days Without My Son

After giving birth at just 23 weeks, my body started producing that liquid gold for my baby, and it was incredible. I’m obnoxiously proud.

I decided to pump and donate milk, primarily because the idea of just stopping lactation immediately upon getting home from the hospital was so heartbreaking that I couldn’t handle it. I knew I needed to have this experience, even if it was just for me.

Meeting a mom and handing her a bag of almost 100 ounces of hard-earned breastmilk that should have been for my son was sweet and weird and super emotional. I thought: maybe I won’t cry. I cried immediately. Her baby was a former one-pound preemie, and the mom hugged me and teared up with me as her happy little buddy smiled at us from the backseat of the car. I smiled back at him and thought: that could have been Afton. That one-pound preemie who grew up to smile happily at strangers could have been my son.

As amazing as the donating experience was, I would do the pumping all over again even if just for me. It was so emotionally healing to just find a quiet place to sit and be close to the memory of my baby every day. I’d hold his blanket and think about him, and a lot of times I’d light a candle or just cry, but staying close to Afton and close to the pregnancy through pumping milk was one of the best things I did in the first 40 days.

It gave me structure, purpose, and a really bittersweet joy. It made me feel like a mom.

The First 40 Days Without My Son

I decided to officially stop one month after his birthday. It’s hard to describe the level of emotional pain that I felt as I watched my body produce less and less milk, and then eventually none. There were so many hard changes: My nursing bras no longer fitting. My appetite completely vanishing. The feeling that my heart was literally, physically, breaking. For two days, I had a hard time talking to anyone about anything without needing to leave the room for a good hard sob. Those were some of the darkest days of my life.

Letting go of this crazy-beautiful body miracle has made Afton’s goodbye official for me. He’s here in my heart, yes, always. But he’s not a part of my body anymore.

Sleeping and Eating

The First 40 Days Without My Son

Sleep? Sleep has been okay.

The time before I got to bed and the time after I wake up are the hardest for me. Bjork and I realized our differences one morning when his use of the paper shredder just after I had woken up was enough to trigger full-on waterworks. I don’t know why. I don’t even know. It’s just one of those things. When I wake up from sleep, I am so emotionally fragile that I cannot handle a paper shredder.

But sleep is there. It’s happening. And that’s a really good thing.

The First 40 Days Without My Son

But oh, the eating, you guys. The eating during these first 40 days has been unlike any other season of my life, and I don’t mean that in a good way. My stomach is constantly full, unnaturally satisfied, not hungry at all, because it’s heavy with emotion and anxiety and grief. There is absolutely no space left for food.

Food fits neatly into two categories: Okay and No.

Right now in the Okay category, we have:

sugar cereals (calling back to those first trimester days)
avocado toast
hot chocolate, of which I can drink exactly one third of a small size from Caribou
soups and crusty white bread with butter
chocolate covered animal crackers
ginger tea

I’m trying to eat just a little bit every day, but even foods in the Okay category are just okay. Nothing tastes good. Nothing gets me excited. It sounds cliche, but it’s the truth. Food has lost its flavor.

The First 40 Days Without My Son

Can I just tell you, though? My one successful experience with food came after a day of really struggling to eat. I had picked at my oatmeal that morning (as with almost every morning) out of sheer obligation to keep my body alive and then just skipped lunch altogether because I couldn’t even handle the thought of forcing myself to eat any more food.

That day, Bjork and I went to Afton’s grave. We spent some time just being with him and near him, crying together, loving the sweet spot that we picked for him (pictured above). And when we came back to my parents’ house that evening, I smelled lasagna right when I walked in the door and I came alive. Garlic and cheese and meaty tomato sauce… ah, there you are, hunger. I had a huge bowl of lasagna that night and felt just a little bit like my normal self again.

The strange thing is that every time we spent time with Afton, even after he had passed away, I felt a little bit better. It’s like after I was close to him, holding him or being near him even after he was gone, it pulled up my last reserves of strength to keep putting one foot in front of the other. It feels symbolic: when I was with him, I was okay for a little while longer. I could eat.

Food = survival in the first 40 days.


The First 40 Days Without My Son

If you came for the juicy stuff, this is your spot.

To use a super common analogy, the first 40 days have been nothing short of an emotional shipwreck.

Above all, it’s disorienting. One moment I’m having the thought: “I think I actually love being pregnant,” and the next moment I’m slammed, pinned down under a waterfall of grief, trapped and scrambling to right myself but not knowing which way is up. I find the surface, I catch my breath, I scramble to hold on to Bjork, and then I get pounded again by a new wave. There is heavy water rushing over my head and pushing me back under, and this time I know which way is up a little better than I did before, but I’m also getting tired. It’s getting harder to claw my way back up for air the second, third, fourth time. The exhaustion is bone-deep.

And then between the waves, in the periods of stillness when I come up and catch my breath, I look around and see a wide expanse of open sea in every direction which brings its own type of panic. Here I am, stranded, in the middle of my own ocean of sorrow and confusion. Where is everyone? Just a minute ago, I was on solid ground, safe and naive, and now it will be years before I ever make it to shore. Wait, will I ever make it to shore?

The First 40 Days Without My Son

This is where I live now: in the heart-and-soul identity crisis of being a mom but not.

It’s my ocean. I’m out here in the middle of it, miles away from my baby and all the dreams I had for our family, present and future. And what’s really overwhelming is knowing that my new identity – a mom without a baby – is one that I’ll carry for a lot longer than I’d like. Maybe, in some ways, forever.

I’m not a soul without hope. I know that I will be okay, and I know Bjork will be okay, and I know that because we made that promise to our baby as he was dying in our arms.

“It’s okay, Afton. You can go. We will be okay.”

I WILL keep that promise. For him, I will.

But damn. My heart.

Hard Things Vs. Helpful Things

The First 40 Days Without My Son

Things that are hard:

Seeing baby bumps
Seeing babies, kids, families, and anyone who doesn’t know about Afton… so basically all people
Looking at social media because the babies are everywhere
Getting dressed – maternity clothes are too big, regular clothes are too small
Talking to people without acknowledging Afton
Making small talk with anyone about anything
Listening to music without crying

Things that are helpful:

People asking us questions about Afton
People making plans with us and understanding if we have to cancel last minute or if we are a little on the socially weird side right now
People texting us throughout the day just to say, “How are you today?”
Writing about Afton
Writing to Afton
Snuggling with Sage
Walking with Sage
Doing anything with Sage
Following a bunch of animal accounts on social media
Lighting candles
Browsing trash magazines
Binging on TV shows
Reading about other peoples’ similar experiences with loss

And Now What?

The First 40 Days Without My Son

I was probably moderately good at this in my Before Life, but in my current state of mind, my ability to fake my way through anything has gone down to zero percent.

My counselor recently asked me: what feels good right now? And I said: telling the truth.

Which is good – it just means that the hardest possible thing for me to do right now is to pretend to be excited about something I’m not. So I’m going to honor the honesty that this situation is asking of me.

I think the answer to the Now What question looks like slowly trying to cook and eat, just for me, just because. Now What looks like walks with Sage and naps as needed. Now What looks like finishing those thank you cards and finding the right special box for packing away all of Afton’s clothes and blankets. Now What looks like writing posts about whatever is true, and only when the inspiration comes, such as at 1am when I am drafting this post. That night owl lyfe tho.

Now What looks like love and grief in a holy mix: slow and steady, little by little, day by day.

The First 40 Days Without My Son

My vision for these next few months involves a slow re-assembling of all the pieces of our life… and the blog sort of coming along with it. My promise to you is that when I’m ready, I’ll write about food. And when I’m not, I won’t fake it.

To all of you who read these posts? Even though it’s such a hard and weird season for us, I’m thankful that you’re here for it. Really, deeply thankful.

I closed my other baby posts with this note, and as I stand here on the other side, I think it’s worth ending with that one last time.

To you mamas who are pregnant – I’m glad you’re here. Please love your precious babies the very best you can. ❤️

To you mamas whose journey involves loss of a pregnancy, a child, or a dream  – I now stand bravely with you. I see you, I love you, and I’m cheering for you and your babies.

To you readers who are in a completely different life stage altogether but still show up to be friends on the internet – you are amazingly cool. We’re lucky to have you here. 

The First 40 Days Without My Son

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5 Real Benefits of Workout Selfies

In late 2015, Karla Pankow was an occasional gym-goer who struggled to ditch soda, junky snack food and way too much sitting. Then she got on Instagram.

Setting a goal of losing 100 pounds, she decided to start taking gym selfies, although it was unsettling at first. “It made me feel incredibly vulnerable,” she recalls. “But nothing else was working to motivate myself. I thought that if I put myself out there, it might be the change I needed. And I was right.”

Not only did she lose the weight in about a year, but she also ended up becoming a certified personal trainer and nutritional therapy practitioner. Snapping a photo of herself nearly every day has been more of a boost than she ever anticipated. “I still feel like a goofball when I do it,” she says. “But now I can understand that there are serious benefits to something that can feel a little silly.”

Check out MyFitnessPal on Instagram for motivation on living a healthier life every day.

Gym selfies, of the kind Pankow takes, are ubiquitous on social media, particularly on Instagram, and they range across all types of fitness endeavors — from yogis snapping pics of themselves in backbends to weightlifters capturing their form in the mirror. Despite some eye rolling from non-gym types, they actually confer some benefits.


If you take an extra rest day and it turns into a week — and then a month — you may be kicking yourself for it later, but it’s not like everybody else knows it. Unless you share it online, of course. Although that might feel like a reason not to post your pics, that level of accountability can often be the push you need, says Sloane Davis, a certified nutritionist and personal trainer.

“The best way to get, and make, any type of change is to be accountable,” Davis says. “Part of that is keeping track of what you’re doing. When posting a gym selfie, you’re bound to get positive feedback, and that helps keep you accountable.”


Day-to-day efforts may feel like they don’t add up to much, but when you glance at selfies taken months — or even just weeks — before, you’ll be instantly struck by the difference. “You’re more than likely to be pleasantly surprised by how much your body has changed and how far you’ve come,” says Davis.


One aspect of gym selfies that Pankow didn’t expect was the outpouring of questions and appreciation from others on the site. As she took her own journey to fitness, she realized early on that others were paying careful attention as well. Sometimes, followers would tell her that one of her pics motivated them to make healthier eating decisions, or to skip happy hour in favor of the gym. In turn, that fueled Pankow’s fire even more.

“I’ve always been a big believer in small steps leading to great results,” Pankow says. “If someone takes a small step because of a selfie I posted, that’s humbling. And, it makes me work even harder.”


Even though you might never meet your followers on Instagram, they can often become closer to you than some of your in-person friends, Davis notes. Plus, they may be that vital sense of support and encouragement when you need it. In just a few months, Davis went from 3,000 followers to over 10,000. Her use of selfies seemed to keep that number ticking up, and she feels a sense of community whenever she posts one.

“If you’re having a bad day or feel like giving up, your followers could be the exact inspiration and motivation you may need to keep going,” she says.


Everyone has those days at the gym when PRs seem a long way off and routines can seem a little, well, routine. Those are the moments when Pankow makes sure to capture a selfie the most.

“It reminds me of why I’m here,” she says. “It causes me to be more present, to appreciate this opportunity to get fit and really enjoy this workout. That’s a lot packed into a selfie, I know, but it works.”


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Ingredient of the Week: 7 Farro Recipes Bursting with Flavor

Farro is an ancient wheat experiencing a modern resurgence. It has gained so much popularity that Merriam-Webster has added it to the dictionary. Hearty and robust, farro has a nutty flavor and chewy, al dente texture. Its mild taste make it a great stand-in for other grains like rice, quinoa or oatmeal. Chock-full of fiber, B vitamins, zinc and even protein — farro is a best kept secret superfood. Compared with modern wheat, farro is higher in soluble fiber and antioxidants. If you are looking to mix things up, farro is a wonderful addition to soups, salads, stir-frys and more. Add variety to your choice of grains with these seven delightfully toothsome farro recipes.


Re-create your own version of fried rice using farro. The nutty flavor of farro goes great with sauteéd greens. Just prep all the ingredients you want to add in, so they’ll be ready to toss into the pan. Top off this fragrant “fried rice” with a fried egg for a simple, quick and filling meal. Recipe makes 2 servings.

Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 396; Total Fat: 13g; Saturated Fat: 3g; Monounsaturated Fat: 7g; Cholesterol: 186mg; Sodium: 278mg; Carbohydrate: 63g; Dietary Fiber: 16g; Sugar: 7g; Protein: 18g


A chilly night calls for a warm, home-cooked meal. This dish requires some time and patience but the end result — a creamy and tender risotto — will be worth the wait. Whether topped with a poached egg or grilled salmon, this dish is the perfect canvas for any meal. Recipe makes 6 servings.

Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 354; Total Fat: 20g; Saturated Fat: 7g; Monounsaturated Fat: 8g; Cholesterol: 0mg; Sodium: 492mg; Carbohydrate: 35g; Dietary Fiber: 4g; Sugar: 6g; Protein: 8g


Sit down to a helping of rich and bold flavors with this jambalaya by Food Fanatic made with hearty farro and succulent shrimp. Each serving of jambalaya gets you a nutritionally complete meal with whole grains, veggies and lean protein. This home-cooked meal will leave plenty for reheatable leftovers! Recipe makes 6 servings.

Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 297; Total Fat: 8g; Saturated Fat: 1g; Monounsaturated Fat: 5g; Cholesterol: 110mg; Sodium: 381mg; Carbohydrate: 37g; Dietary Fiber: 9g; Sugar: 9g; Protein: 21g


Move over oatmeal, a new grain is in town. Farro is versatile and can be used in both sweet and savory dishes. Plump, chewy farro is paired with creamy bananas for a texture-rich breakfast. Feel free to customize this bowl with your favorite toppings: cinnamon, raisins, flax seeds or even coconut. Recipe makes 1 serving.

Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 322; Total Fat: 11g; Saturated Fat: 1g; Monounsaturated Fat: 0g; Cholesterol: 0mg; Sodium: 182mg; Carbohydrate: 49g; Dietary Fiber: 8g; Sugar: 17g; Protein: 7g


Do not be fooled by this veggie bowl. It is jam-packed with tons of nutrient-filled ingredients. These bowls are layered with with wholesome grains, fresh herbs and crunchy veggies. A tangy, jalapeño yogurt dressing livens up this bowl of vibrant grains and greens. Recipe makes 6 servings at 1 bowl each.

Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 312; Total Fat: 11g; Saturated Fat: 2g; Monounsaturated Fat: 7g; Cholesterol: 4mg; Sodium: 467mg; Carbohydrate: 46g; Dietary Fiber: 11g; Sugar: 7g; Protein: 15g


Have dinner on the table in less than an hour with this simple chicken and farro dish. Seasoned chicken thighs are simmered along with farro in a broth with herbs and spices. Pair with a side salad for a complete meal. Recipe makes 6 servings at 2 chicken thighs and 1 cup farro mixture each.

Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 516; Total Fat: 14g; Saturated Fat: 3g; Monounsaturated Fat: 7g; Cholesterol: 160mg; Sodium: 756mg; Carbohydrate: 49g; Dietary Fiber: 10g; Sugar: 5g; Protein: 44g


Packed with mushrooms, beans and veggies, these burgers are loaded with flavor and will satiate even the meat lovers. The natural sweetness and firmness of the farro makes it an ideal burger base. Make a batch of these ahead of time and freeze for an effortless lunch or dinner. Recipe makes 6 servings at 1 burger patty each.

Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 158; Total Fat: 3g; Saturated Fat: 0g; Monounsaturated Fat: 2g; Cholesterol: 0mg; Sodium: 339mg; Carbohydrate: 33g; Dietary Fiber: 8g; Sugar: 1g; Protein: 8g

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