Super Bowl Instant Pot feast

I have never been one to care too much about sports.

Being from Buffalo, we tend to have teams that we all care a lot about, but continually disappoint. So the Super Bowl over the past few year has just turned into an excuse to eat a lot of snacks. I received my Instant Pot for Christmas and it was such a great tool to help prepare all of our snacks!

First, I made chicken wing dip that Cody is still raving about, days later. I followed  Frank’s Red Hot chicken wing dip recipe, but tweaked it a little bit. I cooked two chicken breasts in my Instant Pot for about 20 minutes. I searched the best cooking time on Google for chicken breasts but mine were still to tough after the recommend 10 minute cooking time from one site that I found. I cooked for another ten and they were perfectly tender to be shredded with forks. I ended up with about three cups of chicken, compared to the recipe’s two. I also added a little less cream cheese (only because I misread the recipe) and I added 3/4 cup of Marie’s blue cheese dressing. I am adamantly against the use of ranch with  chicken wings and being from Buffalo, I like to think of myself as somewhat of an expert on the topic. 🙂

I set that to cook in a small crock pot for a few hours on low. I wasn’t too worried about leaving it for too long while I got everything else together. Towards the beginning of the game, I added some chopped celery and scallions to the dip for some flavor and crunch. Using my Instant Pot and a crock pot, this dip couldn’t have been any easier.

I also made the New York Time’s Pressure Cooker Spicy Pork Shoulder and holy cow, it was GOOD. I discovered Gimme Some Oven’s pork and chicken crispy carnitas recipe at some point in 2016 that I made somewhat regularly. The basic idea is to cook the pork or chicken low and slow in a crock pot until you can shred them. Once they are cooked, the meat is broiled with some of the cooking liquids for flavor and they get crispy and perfectly wonderful.

The Spicy Pork Shoulder recipe follows a similar cooking method, except it’s pressure cooked! NYT recently published an article Why Do Cooks Love the Instant Pot? I Bought One to Find Out that I thought was interesting. The article includes a few recipes the use your Instant Pot or pressure cooker (I think I want to make the choclate pudding recipe too!) and that is where I found this recipe for spicy pulled pork. I joined a few Facebook groups to help with my initial learning curve of the IP since the manual isn’t the most well written. I’ve tended to notice that many people tend to view the IP as the be all, end all of cooking devices. Most of the posts to the groups include sharing something like a Tasty video and asking how they could convert the recipe. One video shared recently involved shrimp and one (snarky) member commented “Just because you can doesn’t mean you should.” The article sums up my feelings well on the Instant Pot:

It takes up a lot of space, it’s not at all intuitive, and I hate not being able to check on my food as it cooks. But even so, I don’t plan on giving mine up anytime soon.

The video at the top of the article shows the process of making the pork. I followed the recipe just about to a T (I didn’t have any mirin to include in the sauce.) Despite the fact that I only was cooking for three people, I made four pounds of pork and we have enjoyed the leftovers. I also like to serve any kind of pulled pork with a coleslaw. I used a preshredded bag of broccoli slaw and made a dressing out of plain Greek yogurt, apple cider vinegar and lime juice. I chopped about half a Granny Smith apple and added some cilantro, leftover from guacamole. We served the pork on sliders but I can imagine it would be good over rice too. I ate some leftovers for lunch yesterday on their own and in a wrap today.

I hope you enjoyed your Super Bowl parties too!


Finshed Project: Range shawl

I recently finished Andrea Mowry’s Range shawl. I have knitted a few patterns of Andrea’s  and really dig her cozy and trendy style. Uncharacteristically, I went with similar color choices to the pattern. I have never been drawn to browns and natural colors before but I have knit more than one shawl now in natural colors. (Beeton Shawl.)

Closeup of Ombre Tweed
Closeup of variety of stitch patterns and my new love, brioche.

This pattern is a lot of fun to knit. This was my first attempt at brioche stitch and there’s lots of color changes and textures. This wasn’t my first attempt at brioche stitch, but it took a little while to get in the swing of things. I used Lion Brand Fisherman’s Wool in four different shades. I wore this shawl as a scarf to Wegman’s one Sunday to grocery shop and was waiting in line to order coffee. A young woman working stopped in her tracks and was like “oh my god, your scarf is beautiful! Did you make it? Did it take a long time? You should sell those on Etsy!”

I like the finished size of my shawl since it makes a nice size for me to wear around my neck which is the way that I would chose to wear it most frequently. I think it’s a touch too small for me to wear around my shoulders, but I’m not too upset about that. The only thing that I wish I changed was the second shade of dark brown. I feel like the colors are different enough, but not radically so and I think a bigger contrast level would have highlighted the pattern more. Just another excuse to knit another! After this pattern, I definitely think that I want to experiment a little more with brioche stitch. Good thing Andrea has a lot more patterns for it!


2017: So It Begins

Hey all !

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season. I had a wonderful Christmas and an uneventful New Years, but I’m looking forward to a new beginning. Let’s catch up!

For Christmas, I started celebrating in Buffalo at my aunt’s annual girls only holiday party. Sine my aunt and uncle went their separate ways a few years ago, my aunt Lynn took tradition in her own hands and started a new one! She first started a single girls party, but recently expanded who gets invited. This year, we each filled a pair of holiday socks with some treats and my cousin read us “The Night Before Christmas” and we passed our pair of slippers to the left or to the right depending on the story. My hand knit Mukluks were a big hit and my aunt Missy ultimately ended up with them! There were a few jokes of me taking orders.

I headed back to Rochester on Christmas Eve to work (boo!) way too early and then came home to exchange gifts with Cody! He always does a great job and bought me a fermenting kit, Alton Brown’s new cookbook and….we are getting a DOG!!! (…or a cat…or a new bike if all else fails.)  He was hoping to rescue a dog from a shelter to actually have for me when we exchanged gifts, but as we’ve learned, it’s surprisingly hard to adopt a shelter dog. There is a lot that goes into each application. We’ve submitted a few and are just hoping for the best right now!

Since our families live about two hours away from each other, we spent a lot of time in the car. Luckily for me, that was a few hours of being the passenger and ended up with some uninterrupted knitting time! I was working on Andrea Mowry’s Range, which just came off the blocking board.

I also added a new Instantpot to my kitchen! I’ve experimented a little bit and starting collecting a few must try recipes. Do you have any favorites?

All in all, I feel beyond lucky to have had the holiday celebration that I did with ALL of my loved ones. This was the first year that I didn’t celebrate Christmas Eve at my brother’s house and it was a little upsetting to not be there. But I learned that you have to take advantage of who is with you and that relationships are all about sacrifice. I had a really heartwarming chat with a customer at work about how holidays change when you’re a “grown up.” She said to me that whenever someone would give me a hard time about not being able to be somewhere, they were really trying to tell me that they loved me and would miss me not being there.

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday as well and that 2017 is treating you well!


Dollar Tree:Christmas edition 

True story: I love the Dollar Tree! You can’t beat $1! I have found plenty of craft supplies and lots and lots of household supplies. Now that the holiday season is upon us, I have made a few trips to my local Dollar Tree to stock up on some essentials.

Last year, I DIY-ed this garland. This archway splits my apartment in half, separating the kitchen from the living room. I braided together three strands on 15ft garland that I got from the Dollar Tree and with some lights that I had. Although I wish it was more substantial, I love colored lights and the festive spirit they bring. These Santa hat chair covers are also from the Dollar Tree. 

Last holiday season, I also picked up all of these supplies: vase, ornaments, and the garland. This year, I added the garland and gold ornaments. I feel like the garland fills a lot of the spaces left between all of the ornaments. 

I also plan on DIYing a tree topper one of these days, but between work, shopping for presents and holiday gatherings, I hope to find time to make it! I hope your holidays are merry and bright! 


Baking For Two’s Cinnamon Rolls 

I recently purchased Baking For Two through Bookbub, a weekly email that sends a list of discounted ebooks that I may be interested in. I have always loved baking, but now that I just live my boyfriend, Cody, a whole batch of baked goods is not a good thing to have on hand. 

Since I’ve bought Baking For Two, I’ve already cooked three different recipes-chocolate chip cookies, herb and cheese savory scones, and these beauties: basic dough Cinnamon Rolls. I followed the recipe as is and they turned out great. I probably left them in the oven just a little too long. If I were to make them again, I might change the frosting-a little on the sweet side and Cody isn’t a fan of cream cheese. The recipe just makes four cinnamon rolls, which was a perfect size for us. The filling also utilizes brown sugar, which I thought was a nice addition.


Tin Can Knits Mukluks 

Hi everyone!

I was lucky enough to be able to take Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday this week off of work. I’ve filled my time with a few doctors appointments and a visit to my mom’s house in Buffalo. I live and work in Rochester and it has been a big point of contention to my family, all of whom live within ten miles of each other.

On Sunday, I left Rochester at about 8am to join my mom, my Aunt Missy, Aunt Lynn and my cousin Jessica for a craft show. It was a small show and we made it through the whole thing in around a half an hour. I bought a few candles. Afterwards, we went to a local diner for breakfast. The topic of conversation turned to Aunt Lynn’s annual girls only holiday party. The plan this year was to fill a pair of holiday socks with holiday treats and each attendee gets to pick their pair. Without fail, I decided to knit a pair. Jessica and Aunt Missy already are bickering about who gets to claim them without knowing what they might look like!

Pattern: Tin Can Knits Mukluks

Yarn: Lion Brand Wool Ease Thick and Quick in cranberry and starlight

Size: Adult Small. Since I don’t know exactly who will be getting these, I figured the small would be the best size. I have larger than average feet (size 10) and these actually fit me pretty comfortably.

My plan for today is to make progress on the second and have these cozy slippers ready to go! I got a flu shot today and am feeling pretty lousy. Being cozy on the couch and watching reruns of Ugly Betty are what’s in the pipeline. I hope you have a relaxing and fabulous Thanksgiving!



Hey everyone!

Welcome to Day Off DIY, a blog to be dedicated to crushing the hours between work. We all have many responsibilities in those hours, but I think dedicating time to your hobbies and passions is just as important as watering the plants (sorry, houseplants. I know it’s been awhile.)

My name is Alyssa and I love DIY projects. I have spent many hours browsing Pinterest and have learned quite a few crafts along the way. I’m in my mid 20s and live in upstate New York. Although I do enjoy spending some time outside, my neck of the woods isn’t so conducive to being outside from November to….April. I picked up knitting in my early teens and have put the needles aside from time to time. Right now, I’ve been knitting like crazy and have about six projects lingering on the needles. There really isn’t a limit to the other things that I have done in my spare time too, and I’m hoping that you’ll enjoy what I’m up to!

As for work, I earn my DIY budget at a bank. I won’t get too specific, but most days, I love my job. I love getting to interact with lots of people throughout the day. Money is one of the biggest concerns to most people and it’s something to be taken very seriously. I never imagined that I would be working in a bank as I went to college for history. I don’t know if it will be a long term career, but for now I’m enjoying it!  Although working in a bank often means I have to work on Saturdays, I also generally am given at least one day during the week off.

It’s been at the back of my mind for a long time to start a blog. I’ve gone back and forth and back and forth. After talking with my boyfriend, Cody, that I feel like I should start a blog,  he asked what it would be about. In the first series of back and forth, my answer was “crafts…and soup.” (We eat a lot of soup for dinner. See: cold outside for too long.) I’m hoping that Day Off DIY will be a little more interesting than just crafts and soup, but that will be main ideas here. In my indecision to actually start this blog, I have also felt a little at a loss for direction lately. Despite how serious that sounds, I spent the majority of my life going through school and now that I’ve been free for a few years, just going to work and coming home hasn’t been cutting it!

If you ever have any questions, feel free to leave me a comment or send me a message through the contact tab up at the top! As I develop this blog a little more, I will round out the ways that we can interact!

Thanks for stopping by!

Alyssa 🙂