Money WELL spent.

Hello dear readers,
It has been while, hasn't it?
Until recently, I think I was really in the middle of a deep re-adjustment period. Life here in Canada, teaching yoga, is much much different than teaching English in Japan. Of course there is nothing like -35C weather to shake you out of your reverse culture shock slumber.
Different definitely isn't bad, though. While I do miss many things about Japan (i.e., tea, seaweed, beautiful countryside), I am really so happy these days. I just love teaching yoga and am so lucky to have been welcomed back with open arms and a bunch of classes right when I returned. T and I are loving our new house. I especially love the blue kitchen that comes complete with a working oven--- perfect for roasting winter squash.
The first few months I was home, I was so excited to find many of the products I missed: almond milk, much cheaper raw nuts, gluten free products, dark dark dark vegan chocolate etc. So, I baked my little heart away. Especially around Christmas. I managed to make vegan and gluten free versions of all my favourite family Swiss Christmas cookies, and reduced the sugar by at least half in all recipes. Challenge for next year is completely removing all sugar a la macrobiotics. So the past few months, my highlights and joys in the kitchen have been cookies, crumbles, muffins etc. Of course, I was still eating my regular meals, but didn't really find anything special that I wanted to post about.
But where was I?  Oh yes, the title of this post " Money WELL spent."
After about 3 years of reading and wanting, we finally purchased a pressure cooker.
And not just any pressure cooker, but apparently it's the "Mercedes of pressure cookers." Meet my new best friend:
Kuhn Rikon 8L family style pressure cooker.

I have used it almost every day since I opened the box.With my macrobiotic books in hand (well...arms, my hands are too small to hold all my macro books), and the pressure cooker book I ordered with the beast, I have been floating in Macrobiotic heaven.

Since first becoming interested in macrobiotics in the summer of 2008, I have regularly eaten whole grains, and lots of veggies and sea veggies, and tried to limit refined sugars. I have always liked simple seasonings, like flax oil, olive oil, lemon juice, sea salt, ginger, shoyu and tamari. I use natural sweeteners if I need a bit of something sweet, like brown rice syrup or maple syrup.  There are also some random stars that rotate through my fridge and dinner plate, depending on my mood etc. 

These include: tofu, nuts and seeds, nut and seed butters, fresh or dried fruit, canned beans, lentils, almond/rice/soy milk, puffed grain cereals, flaked grains, fish, sugar free jams,dark chocolate, and occasionally some goat cheese and of course, sometimes some actual sugar and even coffee (usually decaf).

But, despite all this, I always felt that I was missing part of the bigger macro picture, because I didn't really cook my own beans, or make many bean dishes.

First attempt at pressure cooker: red lentil stew with greens.

I have tried a few times, but the reality is that cooking chickpeas for 4 hours on the stove was and is not going to happen very often. So, I coveted the Kuhn Rikon Pressure Cookers (see end of post for a link to the cooker I bought). I dreamt of the day where I could throw beans and veggies in a pot and have a stew in less than 15 minutes.

And that time is now here! So far I have made: lentil and spicy green stew (two times), kabocha and adzuki bean stew, straight up brown rice, straight up millet, and whole oats. 
Kabocha & Adzuki Stew with Ginger, Tamari and Shitake Mushrooms

After eating at macro restaurants in Japan, T and I both knew we loved the taste of pressure cooked grains much better than boiled grains.
Simple Brown Rice. From Cabinet to Bowl in 25 minutes.

In short, the stews have been fantastic, the grains are unbelievably delicious, and the best part is that it is SO quick, safe, and easy to clean.

Expect many more macrobiotic recipes on here, as I can now make things so quickly to go along with steamed veggies, stir-frys and grains. I plan to try cooking with many more types of legumes and grains, and am beyond excited to delve once more back into the macrobiotic land. But don't worry, there will still be yummy treats: I just took carrot millet breakfast muffins out of the oven.

Leftover pressure cooked millet added to yummy carrot muffins!

I just ate whole oats every morning this whole week, and let me tell you, they have left me feeling much more "whole" than my usual bowl of rolled oats. Not that there's anything wrong with flaked grains--->so yummy. But whole oats are so satisfying on a deeper level!

What's the best thing you've bought recently? Has it improved your quality of life, or is it just for fun?

Here's to a happy weekend, and inventive pressure cooker recipes!

I added the Pressure cooker I bought under my shop link at the top of the page. 
Check it out for more information :)