Our kitchen renovation process was no small feat and now that it’s *nearly* over, I can honestly say that I never want to renovate a kitchen again. We learned a lot about ourselves and the remodeling process and we are so thankful that we made a few good decisions to make the whole thing a lot less stressful (overall).
1. We chose to do our renovation during the summer. During the summer, we spend a ton of time in our backyard, and the house just feels bigger. Without a kitchen, I worried about how cramped things would feel, but for the most part, we did a lot of our “living” outside. I’m especially grateful that our last day of outdoor eating coincided with our last day without an oven and use of our kitchen.
2. We made our lower level command control. Our lower level is “finished” but only partially remodeled. We have a large laundry room (next project!) that’s a bit of a mess, but it proved to be the ideal prep area for cooking. This is where we set up cutting boards on top of our washer and dryer, as well as our pressure cooker.
3. We let it go. Prior to the renovation, I felt like a lot of moms do: cooking is sort of stressful, but I still try really hard to be creative and make things from scratch. The renovation gave me a pass. I happily started buying rotisserie chicken at the grocery store, and lots of frozen veggies to pile on top of rice (also made in our pressure cooker!). What ended up happening was that we spent a lot more time outside. We had more picnics on the beach, went on more family walks, etc. It was liberating to feel like cooking doesn’t have to be an “all in” sort of activity.
4. We grilled. A lot. Needless to say, this was the summer of the grill for us. Grilling is something we love, particularly now that we have a backyard, but we actually got to the point where we were sick of grilling. We made so many things on the grill: scrambled eggs, cedar plank salmon, corn, and even cinnamon toast! The grill also forced us to eat breakfast outside on occasion which felt like we were on vacation.
5. We rediscovered our pressure cooker. I’ve had the Pressure Cooker XL for some time now and it’s become my go-to for a quick batch of rice, but this renovation made me a real believer in using a pressure cooker / slow cooker for virtually anything. We made barbacoa, carnitas, even a corn soup — all in a pressure cooker. This thing was a life saver. Which brings me to…
Pressure cooker oats. The first breakfast recipe I tried in our pressure cooker was steel cut oats. They cook in 8-9 minutes and require no stirring. After that successful foray, I wondered if I could make plain old oatmeal in a pressure cooker. Trying to boil water on a hot plate proved to be time-consuming and a bit stressful, given the safety concerns. White rice in our pressure cooker takes 6 minutes, and requires a 1-1 ratio of rice to water so I figured I’d use the same technique with rolled oats. Turns out, rolled oats in a pressure cooker are FANTASTIC. They come out so soft and fluffy — almost airy, I’d say. It’s hard for me to go back to making oats on the stovetop.
My new thing is to set up a batch before I hop in the shower and the kids wake up in the morning. You can double or triple a batch and fancy it up with any variety of toppings — we like milk (dairy or dairy-free nut milk is great), hemp seeds, chia seeds, bee pollen, maple syrup, honey, peanut butter, and berries. Make this seasonally appropriate by topping it with your favorite compote, pomegranate seeds, and molasses. Or go tropical with mango or diced kiwi.
There’s really no “recipe” here, but if you have a Pressure Cooker XL, I set mine to the “rice” setting at 6 minutes (the shortest cook time). I usually do 2 cups of oats to 2 cups of water, with a pinch of salt, but have also done 4 cups of oats to 4 cups of water, which makes enough to have leftovers for a family of 5. Make sure to use rolled oats, NOT quick cooking. I stir in all the toppings once it’s done. That’s it! 6 minute, no stir, perfectly fluffy oatmeal in a pressure cooker.
Mug, gifted by Farmhouse Pottery.