Instant Pots: Orange & Dark Chocolate Cheesecake

I’m not sure why I am so surprised that you can bake in an Instant pot. More surprising though? It can actually bake certain items beautifully. Traditional cooking school put together this Orange & Dark Chocolate Cheesecake recipe using fresh oranges and orange essential oils. It is sooooooooo gooood. SO. GOOD.


For the nut crust:
1 1/2 cups blanched almond flour, or ground nuts
1 1/2 tablespoons dry sweetener of choice (Sucanat, Rapadura, coconut sugar) OR a few pinches of stevia
3 tablespoons melted butter

For the orange cheesecake filling:
(2) 8-ounce packages cream cheese
2 large pastured eggs
1/2 cup dry sweetener of choice, whizzed fine in blender (Sucanat, Rapadura, coconut sugar) OR 1 3/8 teaspoons stevia, to taste
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 to 4 tablespoons orange juice (about 1/2 juiced orange)
2 teaspoons orange zest (optional)
1/4 teaspoon orange essential oil OR 2 teaspoons orange extract


To make the nut crust:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Combine all ingredients.
  • Then press mixture into 7″ springform pan or divide between 2 stainless steel stackable pans.
  • Bake for 10 minutes.
  • Remove from oven.
  • Turn off oven.

To make the orange cheesecake filling:

  • Blend all ingredients together in blender until smooth.
  • Then taste and adjust sweetener.
  • Put 2 cups of water and trivet in pressure cooker.
  • Cover with a glass lid or plate to prevent evaporation.
  • If using an Instant Pot, put it on sauté so it can begin pre-heating.
  • Next, pour filling into 7″ springform pan with crust (see above recipe).
  • Cover with a piece of parchment paper followed by a piece of aluminum foil.
  • Crimp down loosely.
  • Use sling to transfer (carefully) to pressure cooker.
  • Then cover the pot, checking the seal and components to make sure all is well.
  • If using an electric cooker, set to high for 25 minutes.
  • If using a stovetop cooker, bring to low pressure and maintain for 35 minutes.
  • When cooking time is over, if using an electric cooker, hit the Cancel button to turn off the heat, and also unplug it.
  • With a stovetop cooker, remove from heat.
  • Let pressure release naturally.
  • When pressure is released, transfer the cheesecake carefully out of pressure cooker and put on cooling rack.
  • Then remove the covers.
  • If any water is pooled in the center, siphon off with a spoon.
  • Use a butter knife to separate cheesecake from sides of pan.
  • Replace covers.
  • Refrigerate to chill thoroughly.
  • Then remove from springform pan as desired for presentation.
  • Finally, top with shavings of dark chocolate. Enjoy!

Recipe Notes

*For a fun twist, use 1/4 teaspoon tangerine essential oil instead of orange! Orange, lemon, or tangerine juice will work for the juice option. Same for the zest.

Instant Pots: Beef Dip

The fast & family friendly recipes continue this week with Slow Cooker Gourmet and their Beef Dip (they call it “french dip”) Instant Pot or slow cooker recipe. You could make this in the same time it would take to drive to your local fast food restaurant, and you will have leftovers for lunches the next day.

3-4 pound beef rump roast
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons paprika
2 teaspoons mustard powder
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoons onion flakes
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
3 cups beef broth
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
8 hoagie rolls (I prefer soft)
4 tablespoons softened butter
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder


  • Cut roast into 2-3 inch chunks
  • Mix together seasoning and coat roast
  • Place in slow cooker or instant pot
  • Whisk together broth, Worcestershire and balsamic and pour over roast
  • For Instant Pot, seal, close steam release, and set on high pressure for 35-40 minutes. Once done, follow instructions for quick release of pressure
  • For slow cooker, cover and cook on low for 8 hours
  • Remove beef and shred or slice
  • Strain juice to serve for dipping
  • Mix together softened butter and garlic powder and spread on inside of rolls
  • Add a couple of slices of provolone and broil until lightly browned and cheese melted

Instant Pots: Faux-tisserie chicken

This “Faux-tisserie” chicken recipe from Cooking with Curls has a southwest flair, but could easily be converted using Greek seasoning, Curry, or even BBQ seasoning or sauce.  While you are letting the chicken rest, you can use your Instant Pot to make this Potato Salad (in 4 MINUTES!!), or if you have more time on your hands, these Chili Lime Black Beans!



2 1/2 to 3 pound whole chicken
2 Tablespoons olive oil {divided}
sea salt & black pepper, to taste
1/2 medium onion, cut into quarters
5 large cloves fresh garlic, peeled and left whole
southwest seasoning mix {recipe below} or 2 Tablespoons of your favorite seasoning {lemon-garlic, paleo powder, etc.}
1 cup chicken stock/broth, or water
Southwest Seasoning
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon basil


  • Rub chicken with one Tablespoon of olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  • Place the onion wedges and garlic cloves inside the chicken. Use butcher’s twine to secure the legs.
  • Turn on the pressure cooker and press the Saute button.
  • Add the remaining olive oil to the metal pan. When hot, add the chicken and sear/brown both sides, about 4 minutes per side. {included in cooking time}
  • Remove the chicken and set aside. Place the trivet at the bottom of the metal pan and add the chicken stock.
  • Sprinkle seasoning mix over the entire chicken, rubbing it in and spreading it around to cover the entire chicken.
  • Place the chicken, breast side up on top of the trivet and secure the lid. Make sure the lid is in the “Sealing” position.
  • Set the pressure cooker to Manual and set timer for 25 minutes.
  • When the timer beeps, allow the pressure to release naturally for 15 minutes. If the lid will not open, quick release the remaining pressure and remove the chicken.
  • Allow chicken to rest for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.

Recipe Notes
Cooking time does not include the time it takes for the pressure cooker to reach pressure, or the time it takes to release the pressure. This will add an additional 30 to 40 minutes.
Each pressure cooker is different so times may vary depending on brand, temperature of chicken when you begin cooking, even the size of your pressure cooker can make a difference.
I have included a scaled down Southwest Seasoning recipe, but any seasoning will work, garlic-lemon, paleo powder, etc.
You do not have to use a trivet, but the bottom of your chicken will be soggy if you don’t.
If your cooker is not coming to pressure, double to check that the lid is completely secured and it plays that little song when it’s closed.
Discard the onion and garlic when the chicken is finished, or toss them into the pot with some water, carrots, celery, and aromatics to make Homemade Chicken Stock!

Instant Pots: Orange Chicken

This week we are focusing on fast food. This recipe from Sweet and Savory Meals for Instant Pot  Orange Chicken is family friendly, fast (30 minutes to prep AND cook!!), and will leave you with just one pot to clean. YESSSSS!  Also, it tastes really fresh & tangy…not the starchy mall food court mess we are all used to. Serve it with Rice, which can also be made in your instant pot, and dinner is done!


2 lbs chicken breast or thighs cut into 1-2 inch pieces
2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 cup orange juice no sugar added
1 tablespoon ginger grated
6 cloves garlic* minced
1 tablespoon rice wine or dry white wine**
1/2 cup tomato sauce optional
¼ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup brown sugar
¼ cup lite soy sauce
1 tablespoon Sriracha***
zest from 1 orange
Cornstarch Slurry:
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons orange juice
4 green onions sliced
extra orange zest


  • It is important for the chicken not to have any extra moisture, dry it with a few paper towels and after that cut the chicken into 1-2 inch chunks.
  • Heat up your pressure cooker: press Sauté -> click on the Adjust button -> select More to get the Sauté More function, which means that the food will be sautéed over medium-high heat. Wait for the Instant Pot indicator to read HOT.
  • Add the oil to the hot Instant Pot, add the chicken and sauté for 2-3 minutes, stirring a few times. Cook until it just starts to get golden. When sautéing it, stir constantly so it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan.
  • Also, after you sauté the chicken, check if bits stuck to the bottom, in that case, deglaze the pot with 1/4 cup orange juice and scrape them with a wooden spoon. If you leave the bits stuck to the bottom, they may burn or cause the pot not to come to pressure.
  • If you want a truly golden-brown chicken, brown it on the stove top, as the Instant Pot isn’t really good for that.
  • Add the Sauce ingredients to the pot: remaining 3/4 cups of orange juice, minced garlic, ginger, soy sauce, white sugar, brown sugar, rice wine, orange zest and Sriracha sauce. You can skip the Sriracha sauce or add more if you prefer your food on the spicier side.
  • Add the tomato sauce if you are using it. The tomato sauce adds a tanginess to the overall sweet recipe, and it makes it taste more savory. It is based on your own preference. I like it both ways: with and without the sauce. You can use less, or completely leave it out if you want a pure orange aroma.
  • Stir gently until all the ingredients are combined and coated in sauce.
  • Close lid, select Manual, and select 5 minutes on High Pressure. Make sure the vent is closed.
  • Use a 10 minute Natural Release. Turn off the heat. Release the remaining pressure by opening the vent. Open the lid.
  • Select again the Sauté function, on LOW. In a medium bowl combine 2 tablespoons of cornstarch with the orange juice, whisk until all combined with no lumps.
  • Add the mixture to the Instant Pot and gently stir to combine. Cook on Sauté function for a few more minutes, stirring gently, until the sauce thickens. Simmer for 2-3 minutes.
  • If you want the sauce even thicker, mix one more tablespoon of cornstarch with orange juice and add it to the pot.
  • Let the Orange Chicken stand for 5-7 minutes, the sauce will thicken more.
  • Serve over rice and garnish with fresh chopped green onions and extra orange zest.

Recipe Notes
*I love the extra garlic in this dish, for some people it may be too much, you can use 3-4 cloves only, if you are not a huge garlic fan.
**You can also skip it if you don’t have any on hand.
***You can add more or less Sriracha or skip it entirely, based on preference or use red pepper flakes.

Instant Pots: What are they?

Instant pots are a relatively new hybrid of some very OLD kitchen appliances. The pressure cookers our Mothers, Grandmothers, and Great Grand Mothers used were straight-up scary. One false move, and you could be facing personal injury and a trashed kitchen. They were used to preserve food mainly, but also they could take a inexpensive piece of meat, and make it super tender and amazing.

Because of the risks & rigmarole associated with using pressure cookers, they fell out of “fashion” for modern kitchens, which is too bad because you can do things with them that are not possible with other types of appliances and cooking methods.

In walks the “Instant Pot”.


This new hybrid appliance combines a pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice cooker, saute pan, steamer, yogurt maker and food warmer. The company claims the pot uses 70% less energy over-all, and will cut your cooking time by up to 10 X! Plus, they are much more safe than their old timey, kitchen wrecking ancestors.

We will be featuring Instant Pot recipes all week, so come and cook along with us as we take the Instant Pot for a spin!

You can get them locally in Chilliwack at our Canadian TireBest Buy, or online at

Here is what the Internets are saying:

Are “Instant Pots” worth the hype? Check out this Chatelaine Review.

Why do cooks love the Instant Pot? New York Times writer Melissa Clark tries an Instant Pot to see!

Wellness Mama  reviews her new Instant Pot

Ready to try out your new Instant pot? Here is a great starter recipe: Fall off the bone ribs that are ready in less than an hour!!

Keep checking back to the blog all week for more instant ideas!


Food & Romance: Red Velvet

Our baker, Jesse, has been working very hard to find the PERFECT red velvet cake recipe. I know from experience that GOOD red velvet cake is hard to make. He thinks this one from Diva’s Can Cook might be it, and I agree (I volunteered to be his cake tester….I have a challenging job). We will be featuring these beautiful red velvet butterflies, made with REAL CREAM, in our cafe all week! Come by with your sweetie for coffee and the best red velvet cake you have ever had (That’s a promise)!

If you decide to try this recipe, let us know how it goes!

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 Tablespoons unsweetened, cocoa powder
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable oil or canola
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1-2 oz. red food coloring, more or less depending on how deep you want the color
  • ½ cup plain hot coffee, prepared (don’t skip this ingredient)
  • 1 teaspoon white distilled vinegar
  1. Preheat oven to 325 F.
  2. Generously grease and flour (2) 9-inch round cake pans. Set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, cocoa powder, and salt. Set aside.
  4. In a large bowl, combine the sugar and vegetable oil.
  5. Mix in the eggs, buttermilk, vanilla and red food coloring until combined.
  6. Stir in the coffee and white vinegar.
  7. Combine the wet ingredients with the dry ingredients a little at a time, mixing after each addition, just until combined. (Batter will be thin)
  8. Pour the batter evenly into each pan.
  9. Bake in the middle rack for 30-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out with moist crumbs clinging to it. Do not over bake as the cake will continue to cook as it cools.
  10. Let pans cool on a cooling rack until the pans are warm to the touch.
  11. Slide a knife or offset spatula around the inside of the pans to loosen the cake from the pan.
  12. Gently remove the cakes from the pan and let them finish cooling. (The warm cake will be very delicate)
  13. Frost the cake with cream cheese frosting when the cakes have cooled completely.
Be sure to not overbake! Check the cake at 30 minutes as some ovens run really hot.
Cakes are really moist and you may need to refrigerate them to firm them up before stacking and frosting.
To bake cupcakes, bake for 18-20 minutes, checking at the 18-minute mark.

Food & Romance: Love Dumplings

If Jamie Oliver tells you to eat Love Dumplings, you eat the dumplings! Dumplings are something that every culture (EVERY. SINGLE. CULTURE.) has “their” version of. The Japanese have Gyoza, Poland (actually most of Central Europe) has Pierogi, Empanada’s from Spain (also Portugal & most of Latin America) Runsas from Germany, Mandu from Korea, Momo from Nepal….and the list goes on!

These particular dumplings are a Japanese/Vietnamese fusion. Love child, if you will. <– See what we did there?


  • 200 g raw peeled prawns, from sustainable sources
  • 1 large shallot
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 4 spring onions
  • ½ a bunch of fresh coriander
  • 16 round dumpling wrappers
  • 100 g glass noodles
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted peanuts
  • 1 soft lettuce
  • a few sprigs of fresh basil
  • a few sprigs of fresh mint
  • Lingham’s chilli sauce


  • 1 fresh red chilli
  • 1 lime
  • 4 tablespoons caster sugar
  • 4 tablespoons fish sauce


  1. Start by making the dipping sauce. Finely chop the chilli, then combine with the lime juice (about 2 tablespoons), sugar, fish sauce and 8 tablespoons of water.
  2. Pour half into a cute bowl for dunking, and save the rest to dress your lettuce, herb and noodle salad.
  3. Smash the prawns with the side of your knife, then finely chop them. Peel and very finely chop the shallot and garlic, then trim and finely slice the spring onions (keep the white and green parts separate). Pick and finely chop the coriander leaves.
  4. Pop the prawns, shallot, garlic, coriander and the whites of the spring onions in a bowl, generously season with black pepper and a pinch of sea salt, and give it a good mix.
  5. Lay out your wrappers and spoon a teaspoon of filling into the middle of each. Brush the edges of one wrapper with water, fold it in half, then pleat and pinch the edges together to secure. Repeat with the others.
  6. You can steam the dumplings for 5 minutes, then fry the base until crispy. But the method I use is how I’ve seen it done in Japan. Place an oiled pan over a medium heat, add the dumplings and a splash of water, and cover. They’ll steam for 2 to 3 minutes, then once the water has evaporated, take off the lid and fry for a further 2 minutes.
  7. Cook the noodles according to the packet instructions. Toast the peanuts in a dry frying pan, then crush.
  8. Pick off and arrange the lettuce and herb leaves with the glass noodles on two plates, dress with the sauce and scatter the peanuts on top.
  9. Serve the dumplings sprinkled with the sliced green part of the spring onions, with bowls of dipping sauce and chilli sauce on the side.

Food & Romance: Heart Shaped Pizza

Food has always been part of our love stories. We celebrate love with food, we mourn love with food, and we show our love with food. We were excited to see how sweet eats has taken everyones favorite food and loved it up! If yesterdays’ pink pasta paired with a cold rose wasn’t your thing, this will be! This recipe is perfect is for an easy, “casual night in” type of Valentines Day! Pair it will a local craft beer from Old Yale Brewery (we suggest the Old Paddle Pilsner), and date night is ON!

We have modified the recipe slightly.


1 1/8 cups warm water
3 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt

Good quality Olive Oil (the quality will make a HUGE difference in this recipe)
1 jar of your favorite pizza sauce (or use this great one made from scratch)
1 bunch fresh basil
1 lb pizza pepperoni, cut into heart shapes (here is a teeny tiny heart shaped cookie cutter)
1 lb shredded mozzarella
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan



In a large bowl, combine water, yeast, honey and olive oil. Mix with a spoon, then let sit until foamy, about 10 minutes. Add in 2 1/2 cups flour and salt, stirring with a spoon until the dough comes together but is still sticky. Using your hands, form the dough into a ball and work in the additional 1/2 cup flour, kneading it on a floured surface for a few minutes. Rub the same bowl with olive oil then place the dough inside, turning to coat. Cover with a towel and place in a warm place to rise for about 1-1 1/2 hours.

After the dough has risen, punch it down and place it back on the floured surface. Using a rolling pin or your hands, form it into your desired shape (in this case I did a rectangular baking sheet) and place on a baking sheet or pizza peel that’s covered with a little bit of cornmeal. Place the towel back over the dough and let sit in the warm place for 10 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Once the dough has had time to “rest” roll it out to 1/4″, then shape into a heart.

Brush the dough, especially the outside crust, with olive oil and spread the sauce all over the pizza. Add half of the cheese. Place the heart shaped pepperoni all over the pizza. Sprinkle on fresh chopped basil. Cover with the remaining cheese and some parmigiano-reggiano. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the pizza crust is golden and the cheese is bubbly. Remove and cover with the extra grated Parmesan, Slice and serve!

Food & Romance: Pink Pasta

This recipe originates from the blog of The Bachelor/Bachelorette alum & current host of “Love it or List it Vancouver”, Jillian Harris. While I am not sure the special man in your life would appreciate a plate full of pink pasta and a glass of Rose, why not plan a special Valentines dinner for your girlfriends? This recipe is Vegan, but you could easily add prawns for extra protein (adding chicken, which would turn pink, might be pushing the pink theme a bit too far!).

You could also take this idea one step further, and make your pink pasta from scratch! (hand made pasta is VERY time consuming, but WORTH IT for a special meal).


  • Heaping 1/2 cup soaked raw cashews, drained and rinsed
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 2-3 cloves garlic
  • 1 small beet, sliced into 1-inch pieces
  • Salt, to taste
  • 1/3 cup white wine
  • 1 tbsp concentrated vegetable bouillon OR 1/4 cup vegetable broth
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 box favourite fancy pasta
  • 1/3 starchy pasta water


  1. Soak cashews overnight, or for at least 10 minutes with boiling water
  2. Preheat oven to 425. Wrap cubed beets in tin foil, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Roast for 50-60 minutes or until fork tender.
  3. In a blender, combine drained and rinsed cashews, water, roasted beet, garlic, lemon juice, and salt. Start by adding just a few small pieces of beet and work your way up until you reach the level of pink or ‘beet’ flavour you desire. Blend on high for 2 minutes or until smooth.
  4. Boil pasta and set aside. Save 1/3 cup starchy pasta water.
  5. Bring a large skillet to medium heat, add pink cream sauce and bring to a simmer. Add in white wine, starchy pasta water and vegetable bouillon, and simmer on low until warmed through. Taste and adjust seasoning at this point.
  6. Add in pasta and stir until pasta is fully coated.
  7. Serve with vegan Parmesan cheese! ENJOY!

Food & Romance: Engagement Chicken Pasta

I had never heard of “Engagement Chicken”! Is this a thing that everyone knows? Apparently, engagement chicken is a recipe from the 80’s that is SO good, it will cause your boyfriend/girlfriend to propose to you?  I personally took a less subtle tactic when trying to win over my now husband of 22 years….and I am pretty sure it included threats and tears.

I bet he would have preferred chicken!

With so much mystery and lore surrounding a simple baked chicken recipe, how could we NOT bring you at least a version of it for Valentines week?

This recipe is from Dessert For Two, and if your charm, talent, and sunny personality haven’t compelled him (or her!) to their knee, this might be the ticket!


  • 6 ounces dried spaghetti
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 10 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 10 ounces sliced mushrooms
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • salt
  • 2 small chicken breasts
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, softened


  1.  Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, and cook the spaghetti noodles.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large not non-stick skillet, melt the butter and thyme over medium heat.
  3. Add the sliced mushrooms to the skillet, and stir to coat in butter. Leave them to cook for a few minutes undisturbed so that a nice crust forms. Stir, and repeat until the mushrooms are golden brown. It will take about 15 minutes.
  4. Using a slotted spoon, remove the mushrooms from the pan, leaving the butter and thyme in the pan. Add the oil to the pan.
  5. Salt and pepper both sides of the chicken breasts.
  6. Turn the heat up to medium-high, and sear the chicken breasts on both sides in the same pan that the mushrooms were in. Again, let cook undisturbed so that a nice crust forms.
  7. If the chicken is sticking to the pan, it’s because the first side isn’t done searing. It will release when it’s golden brown.Remove the chicken from the pan, and cover to keep warm.
  8. Turn the heat down to low and add all of the wine.
  9. Allow the wine to cook down slightly while scraping the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to get all of the brown bits into the wine.
  10. Dice the cream cheese and place in a large bowl.
  11. Discard the thyme sprigs from the pan, and then pour the hot wine over the cream cheese, and stir until it melts. There might be a few small pieces, but the hot pasta will dissolve them.
  12. When the pasta is done, drain it, and immediately pour it over the wine-cream cheese mixture. Toss the noodles to melt and evenly distribute the cream cheese sauce.
  13. Stir the mushrooms into the pasta bowl.
  14. Slice the chicken, and serve on top.

*This pasta is best served immediately after making it. The cream cheese will set up if allowed to set. Not that you can’t re-heat it, but it will be t-h-i-c-k. Plan accordingly.