Bread Pudding in 15 Minutes

For PDF of Bread Pudding Recipe – Click Here: bread-pudding-pages


Whoa.  Whoa, whoa, whoa.  I never really ever liked bread pudding and now I LOVE it!  Today I was a busy bee in the kitchen.

Bread pudding with fresh cranberries.  JUST FEED ME!


A bowl that can be put into the pressure cooker (size and durability)

3 slices of bread (about 4 cups) broken into bite sizes

2T chia seeds

3T water

½ t cinnamon

½ c coconut/almond creamer (or almondmilk)

2T brown sugar

1 c fresh raw cranberries (rinsed)



Place bread in bowl, set aside.

Blend the remaining ingredients.  Add cranberries last stirring in but not smashing them at all.

Pour over bread and fold together wetting the bread.

Place steaming rack into Instant Pot.

Pour 1 cup of water into bottom of Instant Pot.

Place bowl with bread and mixture into pot.

Close lid and secure steam trap to CLOSED.

Set on HIGH for 15 minutes.

I let the steam leave on its own, you can release the steam once the pot beeps completion.

Serve up immediately!  


Any type of fresh fruit would work for this I’m betting.  I’ll also be trying this with different types of bread. 



Save $50 on your very own Instant Pot!  Buy from the company and enter coupon code 805BC.

   Go to InstantPot’s store – click here


Releasing Pressure Safely From Instant Pot

I’m taking this opportunity to practice my Adobe Premier CC skills (learned using YouTube for the record).

Since I began sharing my recipes and spreading the LOVE about my Instant Pot I’ve seen concerns about the pressure release.

Back in the 70’s cooking in a pressure cooker was not always safe. Pots could and would explode! The tsss-tsss-tsss sound the heavy disk made as it danced letting pressure out bit by bit was fun to watch and my mom kept it on the furthest back burner.

That sound always meant we would be eating ON THE RITZ that night.

Today, different story. I can only speak for the Instant Pot and I have a video to show you that IT IS SAFE TO RELEASE THE PRESSURE.

All it takes for AMAZING mashed or smashed potatoes.
All it takes for AMAZING mashed or smashed potatoes.

instant-pot-potatoes-water instant-pot-potatoes-water-6 instant-pot-potatoes-water-9

Banana Bread Recipe



Banana Bread – off the charts DELICIOUS
Vegan, Vegetarian

This bread is not super sweet.  My daughter has nut allergies so I only used a few pecans on one side of the top.  Randy loves coming home after a boot camp workout to a surprise and I had these bananas staring me down for the last three days.  What else was I supposed to do!?

Time 1:08

 Preparation 8 minutes.  Baking 50 minutes.  Cooling 10 minutes.

1 cup of smashed banana
2T chia seeds
⅓ cup almond-coconut creamer (or non-dairy milk)
1T coconut oil (melted)
2T maple syrup
2t vanilla extract
¼ c sugar
½ c rolled oats
1t baking soda
½ t baking powder
½ t kosher salt
1 ½ c whole wheat flour
Optional: pecans on top, ¼ cup


Lay all of your ingredients out first.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Line bread baking dish with parchment paper.

Stir chia and non-dairy milk (I used a coconut/almond milk cream I had in my fridge). Set aside.

Combine banana, chia milk blend, maple syrup, vanilla extract and coconut oil well.  Really stir it up.

Add in and stir well between each ingredient: sugar, oats, baking soda, baking powder, salt.  Mix it up well.

Sprinkle in flour folding and mixing.  

It will be a big sticky blob – which is what you want.  

Use a spoon and ¼ measuring cup to scoop and transfer mix to the parchment paper covered bread baking dish.  Spread it out nicely.

Bake for 50 minutes.  Remove and lightly press the middle of bread (it should push back up – if so, you are done.  If not, put it in for another 5 minutes).  I love my breads crusty.

Remove from dish and place on rack to cool down, 10 minutes at least.
Cut and serve immediately!


Have baked bread in the morning! Wake up your family (and neighbors) with the delicious wafting smell of this bread.  Prepare the wet ingredients and place in airtight container the night before.  Same with the dry ingredients. Mix together first thing in the morning and SHAZAM!  

UPDATE (Feb 15, 2017)

I have successfully eliminated COCONUT OIL from this recipe!  The bread is just fabulous.

I also added cinnamon on my last go around: “best bread so far” was the exact comment from my Husband Unit.  Just sprinkle 1/4t of cinnamon up to 1/2t into the batter just before placing it into the bread dish to bake.


Starring: my banana bread fresh out of the oven having cooled for 10 minutes.

I found the original recipe at OhSheGlows and modified it to match what I had in my cupboard.  I LOVE her website and highly recommend you visit for plenty of ideas.

Why Are People Marching Today?

Screen shot of my Google Search “women’s march today”
I’m really confused on these Women’s Marches Planned all over the USA. 

Where is it organized out of, what is it for exactly, who created it?  
I feel dumb asking but I really don’t know.
I’m wary of joining any groups that claim (what sounds like) a good purpose only to discover that was all a lie and agenda for something else I don’t believe in and I’m now fighting against.
I’ve heard they were Anti-Trump and/or Pro-Women’s Rights. I’ve seen my democratic and republican friends rallying. Men and women.  
Who is the enemy the march is supposed to be directed at? 
What change is the march going for accomplishing?
What is the united message? Are there specific details within the message that are clearly stated?

I feel like I’m supposed to choose something but the details are unclear and the pressure is on because I have two X’s. 

Just being alive is getting to be more stressful than ever.

More results of my search below. Try you own!  

We all know my browser is influenced by my searching AND what paid advertisers have purchased, right?  

I’m curious about what everyone else sees first.

My 2-Cents

American flag.
American flag. Photo by me, Sarita Shoemaker.

Randy and I turned off our cable TV in March last year. To save money but also to stop having a fire hose of hate pumping into our faces whenever we turned on a normal channel.

Since then I mostly get my political “observations” from Facebook. I RARELY take the time to “get informed” by any friend’s political posts. Ignorance is bliss, sort of.

My daughter regularly fills me in on how awful our system is, especially for her generation. I don’t debate with her about it (because it is better to just love your kids and let them be who they are, and responsible for their choices.)

When I did a survey last year of my Facebook friends it was 50/50 divided blue and red. That was interesting to me.

I was purple.

I kept (that I can remember) my mouth shut on my personal opinions for the most part and decided to not partake in the banter or debates.

On a few occasions I’d have a reply fully written to an extreme caustic post…writing out what I REALLY wanted to say very carefully. 90% of my “friends” are my “customers” and I have to think about making a living, right?

Most times I just never hit POST because, in my mind, my throw up back onto the original throw up wouldn’t solve anything and definitely didn’t make me feel better.

My sister and I with mom on the east coast. Photo by my dad Victor Alvarez.
My sister and I with mom on the east coast. Photo by my dad Victor Alvarez.

Plus, I sincerely believe my mom is out there watching me and my behavior and she was a super kind person that people said “has the patience of Job.” (I don’t know much about this Job, but he has got to have big-time patience for what my mom tolerated).

Today is a big day for all of us. Yesterday was the start of 4 years with a new Boss.

In my tiny little time on earth I’ve been able to have some of the most awful and fantastic bosses you would ever imagine.

I’ve had Leadership you would drive the entire place into the ground.

I’ve experienced Leaders that knew their days were numbered and they spent those last days getting people fired (or trying to) to either save themselves or have revenge.

They had dumb ideas, they were bossy and pushy, they thought they knew it all.

Anyone ever fought nepotism?

How about the boss that tried to sniff into your personal life and make you donate to a cult?

There were a few disturbingly disgusting. One of them would come to my desk and lean over my food breathing on it with their smokey-spit ask me “you gonna eat that!?” pointing to something I’d pushed to the side of my plate. Nauseating!

One of my FAVORITE Leaders. I was the GM for Panda Software in the USA. This is Mikel Urizarbarrena, part owner along with two other leaders I admired: Jose Maria and Mar.
One of my FAVORITE Leaders. I was the GM for Panda Software in the USA. This is Mikel Urizarbarrena, part owner along with two other leaders I admired: Jose Maria and Mar.

BUT I’ve also had dynamic bosses that empowered me to have initiative, be myself and take pride for good things and responsibility for bad things in my sections, departments, divisions and countries.

You really don’t know what kind of boss someone is until they are actually doing their boss job.

Holding other jobs before is a nice gauge. Seriously though, have you ever had a person move up the corporate ladder and begin making changes you LOVE or HATE? In disbelief I’d be thinking, “where did THAT behavior come from!?” GOOD and BAD (for the record).

I can remember each of them pretty clearly. They all made me the “employee” I am today.

My feeling now that we have had 8 years of Obama and are embarking on at least 4 years of Trump is the same as having a new boss.

You hope you won’t hate coming to work every day.

You hope they succeed if they are a good boss.

You hope you survive if they are a bad boss.

I don’t think anyone can really say WHAT is going to happen over the next 4 years. We can predict and guess but that’s just wasting precious time.

Did anyone know what President Obama would do? Change? Improve? Destroy? I don’t think so.

An idea to save your sanity a smidge:

1) Cancel your TV feeds. I firmly believe it’s all just BS.

2) Recognize the good things in your life (things you can see and touch and control) and focus on making them better.

3) Live healthier with exercise 6 of 7 days. Be sure to include GOING OUTSIDE.

4) Make progress on your “Dream” or “Bucket List” items. A little every day or week.

5) I have no idea how to tell you to read things that are factual. I don’t believe ANYTHING anymore (and I used to). Maybe I was way more gullible or influenced by the scientology cult. Just beware and possibly open to seeing other points of view if you don’t already do.

6) Don’t take it personal if someone throws up on you. Just hold their hair if they need you to. Being nicer is sometimes gross and you gag, but I firmly believe it is better than being an asshole. If anything, for the stress of it all!

These are my opinions.

If you have your own, cool.   I still love you no matter what they are.

Hearty Italian Vegetable Stew

The Finished Stew
The Finished Stew

InstantPot Pressure Cooker
Vegan, Vegetarian, Low Fat, Protein Packed

Hearty and delicious.  Pair with a warm cornbread or salty tortilla chips!


Stage 1
1T water
6 garlic bulbs chopped
1 onion peeled and chopped
5 celery stalks chopped (tops included)
Stage 2
64oz of vegetable broth
1T parsley
1t thyme
1t oregano
1t sweet did basil
1t crushed red pepper (double if you want this super spicy)
Stage 3
3 carrots chopped
3 yellow potatoes with skins on, diced to bite size

1 small can/cup Great Northern beans
4 giant Lacinato kale leaves, sliced to small strips
3 cups of broccoli florets (bite size)
1 cup of frozen sweet corn


IMPORTANT: Prepare ALL of your ingredients before you begin.

Press ON Saute Mode, add Stage 1 ingredients.
Toss around to get water spread evenly.

Turn Saute Mode OFF.

Add Stage 2 ingredients.  Stir to combine everything.

Add Stage 3 ingredients continuing to stir.

Turn ON Manual Mode, set to HIGH PRESSURE and 10 minutes.

Be sure the release valve is CLOSED.

InstantPot turns on by itself with beeps.  The pressure will build up.  Once it does the “10 minutes” begins.  It will beep when the 10 minutes is up (just enough time to clean up my kitchen, floors swept and mopped or dishwasher unloaded).

You could even use this time to bake HOME MADE CORN BREAD!  See that recipe here.

You can manually release the pressure (USE AN OVEN MIT – IT IS EXTREMELY HOT).  I normally lay a hot pad or towel loosely over the release valve so the steam doesn’t hit the ceiling (which it will).  Let the steam go until the valve pin next to it drops.  You cannot open the lid until that pin drops.

Open and stir.


PDF OF RECIPE:  hearty-italian-vegetable-stew-pages

Better The Devil You Know: The Squirrel War (Chapter 3)


To the Cult Leaders, we were bothersome attic rats.  After months passed, the weather improved and we were allowed to play on the mansion grounds.  Attic Rat became Alley Rat.  We were stinky, dirty and always barefoot – but we were outside!  Always hungry, but much more tolerable having fresh air.

At home the months slowly ticked by.   

My mother was progressing up the Chart of Awareness getting written certifications and praise along the way but she was also expected to damage the Mereta Group. Damage that could not be undone: disband them from existence.  My frail and completely wimpy mom who wouldn’t hurt a flea.

The Mereta Group  was successfully recruiting our town’s wealthiest men and their families.  Their leader, a woman named Bette Jagers, had once been a member of our cult and jettisoned out to create her own group after a past-life indoctrination therapy session.  Law suits had been filed and it was war.  She was accused of stealing our cult’s teachings and, according to our Cult Leaders, she was guilty.  Lawyers were hired to send intimidating “cease and desist” letters mostly just to bully without intending to follow through.

We were a much larger Order with missions spread throughout the United States and Europe.  The Mereta Group was just a seedling in our town, along with any other “splinter groups”,  had to be completely eliminated by order of our Cult Founder.  Any group trying to help mankind, other than ours, was labeled a Squirrel Group.

My sister and I, along with Melissa and Sarah the daughters of a fellow cult couple, were used for demonstrations and media attention when we picketed or protested any Squirrel Groups.

friendly-resturantMeetings with executive Cult Leaders over coffee at Friendly’s always included details about the enemies .  Mom had remained friends with Bette and was feeding intel back to her Handler who, in turn,  reported up the lines to the Continental Liason Offices in New York.

The day was chosen and my sister and I were the unassuming spies to get into the Merata Group’s church so the work could be done.  No one would suspect us and mom would keep them distracted.

We drove the freezing cold dingy dark cloudy day as she gave us our instructions.  We were planting papers.  I was completely confused and told her so.  “This is going to finish my part.” she said with tears rolling down her cheeks and her eyes red and swollen.

I was wide-eyed and more scared than ever now.  Why was she crying?  What part?  Were we going to hurt people?  I loved Bette and her family because they opened their homes and hearts to my sister and I.  They had wealth I’d never seen before and they shared it with us.  We ate out of the dumpsters for God’s sake!

What could I do?

She was serving us up on a platter so she could be accepted.

We arrived and mom turned off the car.  I stared out the window as rain drops hit the glass and slid down making the Christmas light display blurry.  

on-the-road-in-the-gremlinThe cold began to quickly seep into the cab.  Mom turned to us buckled into the back seat and hesitated.  “Are you ok?” She asked and her breath was visible.  I looked back at her confused then at my sister who was bundled up more than me. I didn’t answer but thought, “OK? OK for what?”.  I stared at her and kept my mouth shut.

In the passenger seat were more legal size folders.  They looked just like those I’d seen in the attic a hundred times and filled about an inch deep.  A green stripe on the top corner and spine with the word CLEAR stood out boldly.  “Put this in your jacket and don’t let it fall.” She directed me with a crystal clear low voice.  I unzipped my puffy coat and placed the folder against my chest.  It cut into my neck as I zipped the coat back up.   Mom hunted around on the floor beneath our feet and found a scarf tossing it at me.  I put it around my neck covering the papers that were so obvious.  

“It’s time.  Let’s go.” She said as she opened her door.  Rain sprinkled on her and she looked up letting it cover her face and soak her hair.  She turned around to reach back and lift the seat forward so we could get out.  I held the folder in place with one hand and used the other to grab the handle and lift out then stepped away giving her room to get my sister.  

Together, the three of us turned toward the welcoming entrance surrounded by twinkling strands of Christmas lights and pots filled with red poinsettia.  We scooted up the narrow path to the grand covered front porch.

I caught my mother glancing back at the car, considering her alternatives and hesitating.

The giant front door swung open and like a backdraft, the most delicious smelling food wafted into my face.  Bill, Betty’s husband, stood with a welcoming smile and open arms for hugs.  I froze in place worried my folder would slip from my coat.

My mom stepped in first, tugging on my coat to follow.  I shoved past my sister to beat her in practically knocking her down.  

“I’ll take your coats.  Come in and warm up!” Bill said genuinely concerned as he stared at our appearance which might have resembled wet cold cats.

Bill and Bette had two sons.  Both were much older than me.  Their portraits hung over the fireplace and my only interaction was seeing them leave.  Today they were there and invited us to the basement class room area to play ping pong which I accepted with relief.  I would leave my folder there and hope for the best.


Extras!  As I uncover gems from my mother’s belongings I will post them beneath a chapter.  Some may not be relevant to the portion of the story…but they sure are interesting to see.  For me, they are triggering memories.

This is the actual $2 Dollar Bill given to my mother by Mereta and Bill Strandwitz I found in my mother’s belongings.