Ask Angela: My morning coffee recipes, Instant Pot reader poll, and more!

by Angela (Oh She Glows) on February 16, 2018

I have to say, this blog series is so much fun to put together each week. Even though I reply to your comments and questions a couple of times each day on the blog, making this round-up inspires me to dig a bit deeper and try new things to help troubleshoot. I also learn so many interesting things from you all, and absolutely love sharing your tips for others to read! Let’s dive in, shall we?!

Q1. Hey Angela! With how popular superfood powders are, I’m curious if you consume any on a regular basis? 

Hi Monika, I can’t say that I use many superfood powders! They tend to be expensive and I’d personally rather spend that money on quality produce. I also want my recipes to be accessible. That said, there are a couple I like to use: DoMatcha Organic Green Tea Powder (I make green tea lattes with it and add it to smoothies) and Sprout Living Broccoli & Kale Sprout Mix. The latter is a powder made from broccoli and kale sprouts that have been gently dried and milled—I also add this to smoothies for a plant-powered boost!

Q2. Your coffee always looks so delicious on Insta Stories! Do you mind sharing exactly how you make it (including the proportions used)? My track record isn’t that good when I “wing” a recipe! 

That’s too funny, Susan—I’ve definitely had my own fair share of “winging it” disasters! I love to start my day with French press coffee, and have a couple different ways of making it. I’m not a coffee expert by any means, but I’m happy to share both ways that I prepare it!

Basic French press coffee:

I start by grinding coffee beans—I like the “Mug Shot” organic coffee from Toronto-based brand 23 Degrees Roastery, and find grinding the beans morning-of makes them extra fresh and flavourful. I scoop two heaping tablespoons of ground coffee into my small (2-cup/500 mL) French press (from Ikea). Next, I bring a small pot of water to a boil before turning off the heat to let the water sit for 15 seconds or so. Then I pour just enough water into the French press to saturate my coffee grounds before giving the mixture a stir. After this pre-soak, I add the rest of the hot water to the French press, filling to about a 1/2-inch below the top of the vessel. I secure the lid of the French press and set my timer for 3 minutes. After 3 minutes, I press the coffee with the plunger and pour it into my mug before stirring in a mix of Nutpods French Vanilla Creamer and Califia Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk.

Blender coffee:

I follow all of the basic French press coffee-making steps above except for adding the creamer, and instead I pour the steeped coffee into my blender. Then I add 1/2 tablespoon of Nutiva’s MCT (Medium-chain triglyceride) oil along with a tablespoon of Nutpods French vanilla creamer. Finally, I secure the lid and blend the coffee for about 20 to 30 seconds (tip: make sure your blender lid is vented as it can explode if it’s not!). After blending, I pour into a mug and enjoy! 

Full disclosure: When I need coffee yesterday (which is pretty much 98% of the time), I skip both the 15-second water resting and pre-soak periods, simply filling the French press with boiled water (this is technically a “no-no” as you can burn the coffee, but trust me when I say I’ve compared both methods and my sleepy taste buds tell me they’re virtually the same, lol). Then I follow the rest of the procedure as listed. On the average day, I like to have one of these in the morning, one in the afternoon (my caffeine cut-off is 3pm!), and a mild Matcha green tea thrown in between. #dontjudge ;)

Q3. Hi Angela, I want to make your new Easy Vegan Sugar Cookies as a surprise for my vegan husband. :) Instead of electric beaters, do you think I can blend the pink frosting in a food processor? Thanks!

Hi Nathalie, what a cute surprise for your husband! I wouldn’t have thought to make frosting in the food processor…such a fun idea! Your question made me super curious, so I just had to test it out in my food processor to see. I’m happy to report that the frosting came together quite well with this method. I tried adding the vegan butter first to “whip” it, but I found the butter just stuck to the sides of the processor bowl, so I’d recommend adding all of the ingredients into the processor at the same time. I also found that I needed to add a bit more almond milk than usual and had to stop to scrape the bowl down a few times throughout. I hope this helps you have pink frosting success!

Q4. Hi, is tomato paste the same as tomato purée?

Hey cb, Great question! Tomato purée and tomato paste are made using different methods, which accounts for their distinct flavours and textures. Tomato paste is made by cooking tomatoes slowly until they become thick and pasty, resulting in tomato paste’s sweet, rich, and intense flavour (similar to sundried tomatoes). Tomato paste tends to be sold in small cans or jars, whereas I find tomato purée is mostly sold in larger quantities. Tomato purée is made more quickly, cooking tomatoes briefly to soften before processing into purée, resulting in a thinner consistency and flavour more like that of fresh tomatoes. In the photo above, tomato paste is on the left and tomato purée is on the right. (A special thanks to Livestrong for the distinction.) With all this talk of tomato sauce, I’m now craving spaghetti squash with marinara! lol.

Q5. Hi! Your Roasted Carrot and Dill Hummus recipe sounds amazing!! Just wondering if it’s best made the day you want to eat it or just as good made the night before?  

Hey Larissa, My recipe tester and I found the flavours were a bit better the day of, but it’ll still keep well in the fridge for 3 to 5 days. Homemade hummus thickens when chilling, so it’s probably best to let it come to room temperature before serving so your dip can soften (if you can wait that long!). :)

Q6. Hi Angela! I love the rebranding of the Friday FAQs series to “Ask Angela”—I think that’s a great idea! I’ve wanted to ask you for ages whether you have an Instant Pot and whether any of your recipes would be suited for it? What with this Instant Pot craze going on now, I’d love to be able to make your delicious recipes quickly in this new gadget! 

Hey Sandra, ohh you know what? I’ve been asked this question a lot lately and it’s making me super curious about Instant Pots! I don’t have one as I’ve been trying to avoid purchasing another small appliance, but I have considered it. I’d love to hear about your own experience, though! 

I’m also curious how many OSG readers use an Instant Pot these days, and would love to hear from you all in the comments!

Do you have one and would you recommend it (if so, which version/model do you have)? Have you tried any of my recipes in the Instant Pot successfully, and if so, which ones worked best? Would you like to see new Oh She Glows recipes developed specifically for use in an Instant Pot? Thank you so much for chiming in! I’ve been wanting to ask about this for a while. I may also do a poll on Insta Stories soon too. :)

“I love your 10-Spice Vegetable Soup! I found this recipe a year ago and make it about twice a month. It is so versatile. I can make it very spicy for our family or less spicy for those who do not love spicy food. I shared it with some co-workers and they love it too! Thanks so much for the amazing work you put into your site and recipes. We are paying attention and the world is getting healthier one recipe at a time thanks to you Angela! Keep up the great work!”

Hey Lyne, It really means the world to me to read this! I agree about how easy it is to customize the spice level in the 10-Spice Soup. I always add a lot more to my own portion (I’ve been known to dump it on!) because I can’t get enough of that intense flavour. Getting healthier one recipe at a time…I LOVE that!! Thank you.

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{ 25 comments… read them below or add one }

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Sharon February 21, 2018 at 1:47 pm

Hey Angela! Loving this new series! I can’t believe how much I’m learning… both from your post AND the comments section. After all the recommendations, I now feel I *need* an Instant Pot haha.

The definition of Tomato Paste/Tomato Puree can be really confusing as it seems to vary from one country to another. From what I understand, the US/Canada Tomato Paste is the same thing as Tomato Puree in the UK. Our tomato puree is very thick, rich and tends to be packaged in a squirty metal tube. We add it by the tablespoon to enhance the tomatoey flavour of dishes.

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Angela (Oh She Glows) February 22, 2018 at 12:31 pm

Hey Sharon, I’m so happy you’re loving the series…thank you! And you know what? I have heard that before (about the UK’s tomato puree being the same thing as our tomato paste)…it would be so much easier if there was just one term, heh. Thanks for mentioning this!

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wakemeupbeforeyoucocoa February 22, 2018 at 5:22 am

I missed the carrot and dill hummus so will be making that today!

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Tara February 22, 2018 at 7:17 am

I also have an instant pot and have used it only for cooking rice and beans so far. It saves SO much time and energy cooking beans that it is worth its weight in gold! I think that you would LOVE it, especially as a working mother of 2 toddlers (which is also what I am!). Oh my gosh, if we had some easy instant pot meals from your blog that involved dumping and leaving it for 30 minutes that would be huge! Maybe a bean & potato soup? I’m sorry, I wouldn’t even know where to start!

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Brittany February 22, 2018 at 11:19 am

Hi Angela! My little boy is about to turn one (gasp!) and I’m planning his birthday party. I want to make a healthy but tasty smash cake for him. Can you help point me to a recipe with little to no sugar and is at least somewhat healthy but still be a delicious birthday cake??

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Lindy February 22, 2018 at 7:12 pm

Hi Angela. I just bought an Instant Pot a month or so ago and I LOVE. LOVE. LOVE. it. We eat mostly plant based, with an occasional meat dish thrown in. The biggest reason I love my IP is that I have ME/CFS, fibromyalgia and chronic back pain. My energy is very limited, but I love to cook and love to eat healthy, whole food meals. I can make a batch of beans or chickpeas in 20 minutes rather then babysitting them on the stove all afternoon. I can toss a bunch of spices, veggies and coconut milk in and have a delicious curry in 10 minutes. Brown rice….perfect EVERY time in 20 minutes. I realize I might be a bit dramatic here, but the IP has changed my life and made cooking SO much easier and quicker. That is all. Thank you and goodnight. :)

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Christy February 22, 2018 at 8:13 pm

Hi Angela,
My question for you is: what is your grocery budget? I’m sure it gets crazy when you’re testing recipes, but in a normal month what do you think you spend for a family of 4? This is one of my biggest challenges, making wonderful, healthy food on a budget. Thanks for your inspiration. I eat very much a plant/whole foods based diet, and although I’m no vegan, your website is my hands down favorite food blog on the internet:)

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Jennifer February 24, 2018 at 12:12 am

I need you to get one! I make steel cut oats, veggie broth, and batch cook legumes and whole grains. I’d love to get more into some dinner recipes.

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Cheryl M February 24, 2018 at 10:36 am

We use our Instant Pot for almost every meal (especially since our little one was born) and LOVE your recipes… so it would be amazing to see some OSG recipes adapted for the Instant Pot :)

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Cecilia February 24, 2018 at 9:35 pm

Hi Angela,
I’m a lurker and not usually someone who comments. My partner and I were gifted an instant pot by a family member who is obsessed with everything house. Watching the house channel on TV, renovating their house, telling anyone who will listen about anything to do with their house… while we’re more the hiking type. We like to cook good food from fresh produce and we’re not much into gadgets or trends. Besides, we already have a rice cooker, a slow cooker and a pressure cooker. Why would we need this fashionable gadget?? We found the recipes that came with it were terrible and we’ve used the darned thing only once. If you had actually good recipes to use for it, we might give it another go!

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kiki February 25, 2018 at 9:06 pm

Yes!!! Please try the Instant Pot! You will love it. I would love to see more recipes here! I, too, thought that since I don’t eat meat, I didn’t need one. But my Instant Pot makes the best and healthiest beans (pressure cooked beans are easier to digest) and rice. And also vegan yogurt! You will love it! XOXO

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Nic Starker February 26, 2018 at 4:25 pm

I contemplated for about a year before deciding to get an Instantpot (Duo 6qt.) and I LOVE it! My husband even commented that I’m cooking a lot more now. Total game changer. I only make Instantpot-specific recipes with it because I don’t feel confident enough to tweak regular recipes, but it’s a huge timesaver for healthy, tasty meals. Would love to see your soup recipes adapted for it.

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Ashley February 27, 2018 at 2:12 pm

Hi Angela! I am a long time fan, and thanks to you, I began the process of going vegan 3 years ago and am now fully plant based! I am having a hard time finding research based evidence to support having our 6 month old daughter stick to a plant based diet. My husband needs some convincing. Did you refer to any particular source of information when discussing your kids diet with important people in your lives (pediatrician, family members, etc.) At the moment, NOBODY is on board with me on this, and I’m having a hard time coming up with sources they will take seriously. Thanks in advance, and big big thanks for all the awesome recipes I’ve come to love!!!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) March 2, 2018 at 7:53 am

Hey Ashley, Thank you so much for the kind words! :) I’m sorry I don’t have any resources for you offhand. We decided when our first was a newborn that we wouldn’t label their diets so they would have wiggle room and then they could decide when they were older. But our paediatrician was supportive either way. I think it’s important to find someone who is up to date with current research and nutritional info…which can be hard to do. I’m sorry I can’t help you more! All the best with your daughter…such a wonderful age!!!

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Giovanna Mercado February 28, 2018 at 11:04 pm

Hi Angela: I bought my instapot and is so convenient, I now buy just dry beans and chickpeas to soak, cook and store them frozen just with much less time! So it saves a lot of money, I have prepared your creamy Thai carrot sweet potato soup, and was great. Is so nice to make soups and stews I really would like for you to try it! Makes cleaning a breeze, I absolutely love it!

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susan March 1, 2018 at 7:17 pm

love my instant pot – especially the fact that i can walk away and sip a glass of wine (or pull weeds in the garden) while dinner is cooking. highly recommend and would love to see your recipes made for the instant pot! i have the duo 60

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Sarah March 10, 2018 at 11:22 am

I got an instant pot two weeks ago and really like it! I’d love to see instant pot recipes especially for make ahead breakfasts (I’m using mine to make steel cut oats right now and was looking to see if you had a recipe).

I also used it to make pasta and really liked the way the flavors were infused into the pasta – it helped improve the flavor of whole wheat pasta and my daughter loved it.

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Dawn March 10, 2018 at 1:29 pm

I just bought an instant pot and haven’t even opened it up yet. I’ve got a toddler! I’m excited to try it, but haven’t found the perfect recipe just yet, and feel I have to read all the instructions before getting started. I would LOVE it if you shared some recipes. All the recipes I have tried from your book and from the app have been winners. Thanks!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) March 12, 2018 at 10:38 am

Thanks Dawn! :) And congrats on your Instant Pot…I’ve heard there is a bit of a learning curve, but I hope you get the hang of it soon! I’m still on the fence as to whether I want another appliance, decisions decisions!! Although all of these comments make me want to get one!

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Andy March 10, 2018 at 10:16 pm

I have a Cuisinart pressure cooker, I love it! I just made your Spicy Vegetable Soup. I just winged it. Sauteed garlic and onions, then added all the veggies, like in your recipe. I added more carrots and celery and used purple Japanese sweet potatoes though. I probably cooked it too much (10 min. at High Pressure), then added spinach, cashew cream, and chickpeas and cooked for another 4 min. at Low Pressure. My GF and I loved it!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) March 12, 2018 at 10:49 am

Hey Andy, Nice work!! Sounds like your first attempt went well…thanks for sharing how you made it!

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Tara March 13, 2018 at 12:01 am

In response to the Instant pot question, I have one and find it amazing to make soups and steam vegetables in half the time. The best part is that since it pressure cooks less nutrients are lost in the cooking of the vegetables!

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marie March 13, 2018 at 7:39 am

I have an instant pot which I am gradually using more as I get more comfortable with it,chilli,soup,curries etc. But the main reason I love it is that it makes the BEST yogurt, using Edensoy (original unflavoured )and the yogurt starter 12 hours later, perfect!!

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Alyssa March 15, 2018 at 8:33 pm

I just moved from New York to Boston and had a 3 month stay in a hotel before our new apartment was ready. The instant pot saved my life. I cook everything in there. Plus the best part is it’s not all hands on cooking. Which is great if you need to run out of the house for a while or run after your little ones. I highly recommend it. I resisted getting one also because I didn’t want another cooking appliance. But it’s really become a main stay in my kitchen. Hope this helps!

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Duage May 24, 2018 at 9:08 am

Hello, I bought an instant pot and would like some recipes.

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