Instant Pot Ham & Bean Soup

This is a recipe for Ham and Bean soup made in an electric pressure cooker. It can be made in a traditional pressure cooker if you don’t own an electric one. I own the Instant Pot which I love! I use it several times a week. It is a very versatile appliance and is so easy to use. Many people fear the pressure cooker, but there is absolutely nothing to fear with the Instant Pot. It is exceptionally user friendly!

This is a two step recipe beginning with dried beans.

Step 1:      

16-20 ounces dried beans, I prefer canellini beans

1 tablespoon salt

8 Cups water

Rinse dried beans. Add beans to Instant Pot with salt and water. Close the lid and make sure the valve is in the “seal” position. Press “Manuel” and time for 2 minutes. Allow a full NPR.

“NPR” – this means Natural Pressure Release, meaning that you allow the pressure in the pot to release on its own.

“Quick Release” – this means that once your cooking time completes, you release the valve and allow the pressure to release quickly, being careful to stay out of the way of the steam.

Step 2:

3 Tablespoons unsalted butter

1 large onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, chopped

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 ham bone or 2 smoked ham hocks

8 cups water

1-1/2 teaspoons dry mustard

Strain the beans and set aside. Add butter to empty Instant Pot on “sauté”, add onion and cook until soft. Add garlic and salt. Sauté about 1 minute. Press “cancel”. Add beans and ham bone or hocks, water and mustard. Place lid on and press “manual” and time for 12 minutes. Allow a NPR for at least 10 minutes. Remove bone/hock. Blend some beans with an immersion blender for thickness. Enjoy!

This is the immersion blender that I have. It is a Cuisinart, and it comes with a whisk and a chopper/grinder attachment as well. I absolutely love it and highly recommend it. Amazon has an amazing deal(only $38.95) on this right now as well! I am posting a link to it here for you if you are interested.




If you have a husky you are very familiar with what a zoomie is. If you don’t, and you are thinking of getting one, you better be ready for them!! A zoomie is when your husky goes wildly running from room to room, sofa to sofa uncontrollably with no real motive other than to burn off energy. They get so excited that you can’t stop them until they are done.

I’m pretty sure that just about every husky owner knows about this phenomenon. It is a fun time until the owner gets in the way! You will most likely be knocked off your feet and be headed for the ground. My best advice is to just let your kids get the zoomies out of their system (they usually only last a couple of minutes) and stay out of their way.

I was able to catch a snapshot of Nikita in the middle of a zoomie out in the snow last year. This is one of my favorite pictures of her. Her personality is completely captured in this picture. As she gets older we don’t get to see this playfulness from her as much. So this picture is really a cherished one.




Happy Easter!


I would venture to bet that many of you don’t think about having an Easter egg hunt for your four legged kids. I hadn’t given it much thought either until one year when I had hidden the eggs outside for the kids and found the dogs happily eating them before the kids had found them!

As it turns out, they have as much fun hunting for the eggs as the kids do! Word of caution **don’t let your dogs eat too many eggs!**  Your house will stink that night if you do!  We usually limit our gang to no more than 2 eggs.


Nikita found one!!

This is a great activity to keep their minds active and they get rewarded at the end. Don’t worry about the eggshells, they won’t hurt them. My dogs love to eat the entire egg just as it is.

So, go hide those eggs, and let your dogs out to find them. Take some pictures and enjoy your day. Happy Easter!

Sitka enjoying his egg.

Ham Glaze

This has become my favorite recipe for ham. I prefer to buy a bone in ham so that I can use the leftovers to make ham and bean soup. So make sure you save that bone!! It provides a phenomenal flavor to your soup.

Ham Glaze

1 Cup Brown Sugar

1/4 Cup Yellow Mustard

2 Tablespoons Apple Cider Vinegar

Mix the ingredients together. Place your ham in a high sided pan – I like to use a 9 x 13 baking dish. Score your ham with a sharp knife with a criss-cross pattern cutting about 1/4″ into your ham. This allows the glaze to penetrate into the ham and give it a really nice flavor. Pour your glaze over your ham, allowing it to soak into the cuts you have made. I like to use a basting brush to coat the ham well. Reserve some of your glaze so that you can coat your ham again about halfway through baking. I like to cover my ham with foil during the first half of the baking as well. When I pull it out to re-glaze I keep the foil off. Cook your ham at 350°F for 15 minutes per pound or until it reaches an internal temperature of 140°F. Allow your hame to rest for 3-5 minutes before slicing.

Glazed ham

I hope you enjoy! Try it with my Au Gratin Potatoes!


Cheesy Au Gratin Potatoes

fullsizeoutput_112cWith Easter here, you may be wondering what to serve with your ham this year. One of my families favorite dishes every year are these mouth watering Au Gratin Potatoes.

The key to these is to get your potatoes sliced as thin as possible. I like to use a mandolin. Not only does it get your potatoes super thin, but it makes quick work of a tedious job! And don’t be afraid to go heavy on the cheese! In the words of my boys, you can never have too much cheese!


3 Tablespoons Butter

3 Tablespoons Flour

1-1/2 teaspoons Salt

1/2 teaspoon Pepper

2 Cups Milk

1 Cup Shredded Cheddar Cheese

5 Cups thinly sliced, peeled potatoes

1/2 Cup chopped onion

In a large saucepan, melt butter over low heat. Stir in flour, salt and pepper until smooth. Gradually add the milk. Bring to a boil. Once this comes to a boil, cook and stir continually for 2 minutes or until thickened. Remove pan from heat. Stir in the cheese until it is melted. Then add the potatoes and onion. Pour into a greased 2 quart baking dish. Cover and bake at 350° F for one hour. Uncover and bake 30 to 40 minutes longer  or until the potatoes are tender.

This recipe make 6-8 servings. Enjoy!!



Rain, rain go away

I don’t know about you, but my huskies love to play in the rain! The only good thing about huskies and rain is that they have a double coat which makes it much easier to dry them off. The water doesn’t penetrate their fur underneath their guard hair.

I have tackled many muddy paws in my day. Washing countless towels and floors because I wasn’t fast enough to catch them as they ran through the door. Then there are the many times that they were so muddy because they were digging in the mud and I had to get a bowl of soapy water and try to wash their paws. That’s always fun! We all know that dogs LOVE to play in the water but HATE to get bathed in it!!

Praise the day that I happened upon the Mudbuster! This has changed my life and my pups. This comes in several different sizes, but I have the medium and it is big enough for even my large 70lb. male. All you have to do with this is fill is about half way with water, insert your dogs paw, twist it a few times and remove it from their paw. Voilà!