We love this classic, rustic Italian dish and how quick and easy it is to make in a pressure cooker. “Cacciatore” means hunter in Italian. But we won’t keep our hungry hunters waiting long for this delicious meal. We’re always on the hunt for good tasting and nutritious food without a mess to clean-up in the kitchen afterwards. -- Pressure Cooker Chicken Cacciatore -- is the solution!
This recipe also comes in handy when time is limited, or you forgot to load the crockpot in the morning. In the warmer months you’ll appreciate not standing over a hot stove or heating the kitchen for an hour while waiting for chicken to bake. Drastically reducing cooking times also equates to saving energy.
If you haven’t already done so, make friends with a pressure cooker, it’s your short order cook that prepares gourmet cuisine ultrafast. You can enjoy a complete meal prepared in one pot, in a fraction of the time, yet it tastes like it’s been simmering for hours. The pressure cooker keeps the ingredients moist, tenderizes the meat, preserves the nutrients and unites the flavors making a luscious sauce you’ll enjoy in minutes.
Chicken Cacciatore -- Pressure Cooker Recipe
3 to 3.5 pounds chicken breasts, boneless, skinless
Himalayan sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper
2 tablespoons olive or coconut oil
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 large red onion, sliced
½ cup carrots, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 14.5-ounce can tomatoes, diced
½ cup white wine
1 teaspoon Himalayan sea salt and 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1 6-ounce can tomato paste (reserve until after cooking)
Season chicken breasts with sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper. Pour olive oil into the pressure cooker and brown both sides of the chicken over medium heat. Sprinkle the Italian seasoning on the chicken. Next, add the garlic, onions, carrots, celery, tomatoes, wine, sea salt and pepper. Close the cover of the pressure cooker securely and place the pressure regulator on vent pipe. Once the regulator has begun rocking, cook for 8 minutes with pressure regulator rocking slowly. Adjust the heat during the cooking process if needed. Turn off heat. Let sit for a minute and then carefully remove the regulator with an oven mitt. Place chicken on cutting board and cut into large chunks. Spoon tomato paste into the vegetable sauce in the pressure cooker and stir. Return the chicken to the sauce and serve.
(Always follow the manufacturers’ instructions when using a pressure cooker. For information purposes we used a Presto pressure cooker to prepare this entrée.)
What is your favorite dish to prepare in a pressure cooker?
Oil pulling is the missing link to oral wellness, as it addresses the health of our gums and entire mouth, not just the teeth. It is a simple yet vital practice to include in your proactive health regime in addition to brushing and flossing the teeth. Oral health also impacts overall health as the body’s internal systems interact and support health and healing as a whole. Although oil pulling is currently all the rage among natural health advocates in the USA, it is not a new health practice, but one that dates back to ancient India.
The History of Oil Pulling and Health Benefits
Ayurvedic medicine has utilized plant-based treatments for centuries. Originating in India over 3,000 years ago, it is considered the world’s oldest healthcare system. Oil pulling has effectively been used in Ayurvedic healing practices. Oil pulling is a natural oral detoxification treatment that has been reported to cure bleeding and inflammation of the gums, cracked lips, bad breath, tooth decay, and more. It is also noted for its preventive qualities: ridding the mouth of toxins and bacteria that cause decay, and strengthening the gums and teeth.
Oil Pulling Basics
Oil pulling is simply the technique of gently swishing oil in your mouth, first thing in the morning on an empty stomach, or when fasting, for about 20 minutes for oral detoxification. Do not gargle or swallow the oil, as it is collecting the bacteria and toxins from your mouth. The twenty minutes can go by quickly if you are engaged in preparing breakfast, showering, or reading the morning headlines while oil pulling. Spit the oil into the toilet after swishing. Next, rinse your mouth with warm water and spit, to remove any remaining oil. Afterwards, brush your teeth.
What oil should you use, how much and how often?
It’s no wonder that coconut oil known for its anti-microbial and other healing properties is the most popular oil currently used in oil pulling. Use whatever amount feels comfortable, about one tablespoon. If you have a sensitive gag reflex, use less. For additional antimicrobial support, add a drop or two of clove, cinnamon or tea tree therapeutic grade essential oil to the spoon of coconut oil and swish. This is especially beneficial if you are experiencing gum inflammation. Another oral health practice is to brush your teeth with remineralizing toothpaste containing these essential oils. How often you oil pull is up to you, between 3 to 5 times a week.
If you are new to oil pulling, like me, you may have a few questions.
Dr. Eric L. Zielinski, a chiropractor and public health researcher at www.drericz.com answered my questions.
Our Q & A follows:
Q. - Most articles on oil pulling suggest that you do so first thing in the morning? What is the reason for this and can it be done another time effectively? I also see recommendations for oil pulling on an empty stomach. Why is this important since we aren't swallowing the oil?
Dr. Eric Z - Like any detoxification process, it is best to do oil pulling on an empty stomach. It’s all about maximizing our metabolism. It is important to remember that the term ‘metabolism’ has been widely confused as only referring to the breakdown of food and weight loss. Metabolism is best defined as “the whole range of biochemical processes that occur within a living organism. Metabolism consists of anabolism (the buildup of substances) and catabolism (the breakdown of substances).
When our bodies are digesting food our metabolic reserves are being used up to assimilate this nutrition, NOT on detoxification. It is, therefore, advantageous to oil pull first thing in the morning, or when fasting, so that the body can completely focus on ridding itself of lipid-soluble toxins. Like laundry detergent or dish soap that removes the grease and grime from our clothes and dishes, the coconut oil that you swish around in your mouth will literally suck out the fat-soluble toxins from your oral cavity.
Have you started oil pulling?
About the Author:
Deborah Tukua is the editor of Journey to Natural Living and the author of the healthy fresh from the blender recipe book, Naturally Sweet Blender Treats. She is a freelance writer for the Farmers' Almanac and Chiropractic Economics magazine and author of the book, Marketing Strategies for Chiropractic Success. Check out Lowell and Deborah's super sturdy and handsome DIY Gardening Potting Bench Plans.
Strawberries are the quickest plant to bear fruit and the first fruit to ripen in spring. It’s no wonder that this delicious berry is grown in every state in the US and in many countries around the world. With the change of seasons, we’re eager to spruce up the patio with colorful plants. Strawberries are an attractive container planting that yield lovely, pale pink or white apple-blossom like flowers and delicious red berries for you to pick and enjoy. There are also white varieties available that taste similar to pineapple. To grow strawberries you have the option of purchasing seeds, bare-root plants or plugs. Follow the seed company’s directions for planting/growing strawberries from seeds. Bare-root plants should be planted right away. If this isn’t possible, moisten the roots with water and store in the refrigerator until you are ready to pot. Plugs are the easiest to grow as they transfer well to containers.
There are many ornamental yet functional pots, barrels, jars and hanging baskets that are well suited for growing strawberries, and look great on your deck, porch or patio. Strawberry plants have small root balls which extend in every direction, instead of deep into the soil, so large or deep containers aren’t a necessity, but adequate drainage is a must.
To avoid heat damage to plant roots, do not use dark colored containers to grow strawberries outdoors.
A 3” to 4” pot will hold one strawberry plant. An 8” pot or hanging basket can hold three to five strawberry plants.
Terracotta strawberry jars with side pockets are a favorite container gardeners use to attractively grow strawberries on the home patio. These jars/pots are available at local gardening centers.
A stacked strawberry tower is a handsome vertical feature made by stacking three round, decorative plastic pots of graduated sizes and planting strawberries in each tier.
The Alpine strawberry produces a tiny berry that is intensely sweet, making it an ideal variety for container planting. This variety is drought-tolerant and easy to grow. It picks easily when ripe.
Roman is a variety that grows best in containers and hanging baskets, making it a favorite edible, ornamental fruit.
Loran is a compact variety that is ideal for growing in containers.
(Loran is the variety I planted in hanging baskets this spring. I planted 3 in each basket, as shown above in top right photo. The potted strawberry plants at top left is also Loran variety, photo by bonnieplants.com)
There are many, many varieties of strawberries available. For gardening success, select one that performs well in containers and is suited to your growing zone.
General Planting and Care Instructions
Strawberries grow best in a sunny location, with six to eight hours of full sun in a well-drained, loamy potting soil mix, with a pH of 5.5 to 6.5. Potted strawberries can also be grown indoors with adequate sunlight.
Add potting soil to a pot with good drainage. Use a trowel to make a hole, 5” to 7” wide and as deep as the plant and its roots in the potting mix. Set the plant in the hole with the roots straight down. Place the plant in the soil so that the top of the crown is just above ground level. The roots should be completely buried. Water well. Strawberries don’t like soggy soil. Small containers will require more frequent watering than large ones. Water once the soil is dry one inch beneath the surface. Strawberries require 1” to 2” of water per week. Fertilize according to nursery recommendations. Do not fertilize plants after August.
Strawberry plants must be protected from late spring frosts. When freezing temperatures are forecasted, cover the plants with plastic sheeting, or a cardboard box, etc.
How to Construct & Plant a Stacked Strawberry Tower -
Select 3 attractive plastic or resin pots in graduated sizes. Place the largest plastic pot with drainage hole, in desired location. Fill three-quarters full with potting mix and level the soil. Place the next to the largest pot on top, leaving a ring between the first and second pots for planting strawberries. Add potting mix to the second pot to three-quarters full. Top it with the smallest pot and fill as other layers with potting mix. Plant strawberry plugs or root-bare plants as directed above.
Planting a Terra Cotta Strawberry Jar -
Place potting soil mix into a plastic tub, such as a dish-washing pan and add enough water to thoroughly moisten the mix. Add damp potting mix to the jar until you have reached the bottom layer of pockets on the jar. Put a strawberry plug or bare-root plant into the soil, positioning the roots beneath the soil and the crown just above. Continue this process. Once the lower pockets are planted, add more potting soil to the jar and plant the next jar pocket. Continue filling and planting process until all the side pockets have been planted. Add more potting soil to the top of the terracotta jar, leaving two inches of head space. Plant 3 to 4 strawberry plants in the soil at the top.
Whether you choose to plant strawberries in hanging baskets, a stacked vertical tower or in containers it will add colorful and delicious edible ornamental fruit to your outdoor living spaces.
Choosing Hanging Baskets -
If you plant strawberries in coconut coir hanging baskets, be sure to use a liner inside the coir basket or use hanging plastic pots instead. When planted directly in coconut coir, the roots will grow into the coir basket, thus unable to receive moisture from the soil, and tend to dry out and die.
About the Author:
Deborah Tukua is the editor of Journey to Natural Living and the author of the healthy fresh from the blender recipe book, Naturally Sweet Blender Treats. She is a freelance writer for the Farmers' Almanac, and author of the book, Marketing Strategies for Chiropractic Success.
Articles and recipes by health and natural living author and freelance writer,
Welcome to Journey to Natural Living. Join us on the journey as we share articles, recipes, and tips to empower you to live a healthy, proactive lifestyle.