For Christmas a year and a half ago, I wanted a new crock pot. Our old one would burn the stuff near the heating element and the stuff in the middle would be barely cooked. It wasn't good. At that time, I had a baby on the way, and I knew I would need a good crock pot. I mean, I could throw dinner in it while the baby was napping, and whenever we happened to have time for dinner, it would be ready. Life is so unpredictable with a newborn, and a crockpot is a great way to accommodate that unpredictability.
Anyway, I wanted a crockpot, and I wanted a nice one. My mother-in-law found the Ninja 4-in-1 Cooking System. At first, it seemed like more than I needed. It had so many features! Now, I love each and every one of those features. LOVE them.
Aside from the usual high-low-hold warm crock pot settings, there are three "stove top" settings. I can heat up the pot as if it were a skillet on the stove. It is awesome for browning beef before making chili and sauteeing onions or garlic before making soups and stews. I can sear my stew meat or chicken before stewing to get the awesome Maillard Reaction that gives meat its deep umami flavor. And it doesn't require another pan!
Plus, there's an "oven" setting where you can set a temperature just like an oven. I have steam baked all kinds of awesome noms, from fish to cheesecake. It bakes it like an oven, but uses a wet heat to keep your food moist. I'm still playing with that setting for baked goods, but I had some success with it for this Ninja recipe!
Meatloaf has a tendency to get dry, so the steam baking option is awesome for this meatloaf. Plus, the steam baking allows for me to cook my potatoes at the same time! What? Meatloaf + Potatoes and only one pot. Awesome!
This recipe uses a spicy ketchup in the meatloaf and as a glaze on top. If you're not a ketchup-on-meatloaf person, you can substitute barbecue sauce for ketchup. Or if you're just not keen on the spice, either tone down the peppers in the ketchup, or just use plain ketchup.
I served this with a bag of steamable corn. There's something so meat-and-potatoes American about sweet corn with this meal, plus I love the way the sweetness works with the spice of the meatloaf.
Ninja One-Pot Meatloaf and Potatoes With Spicy Ketchup
Disclaimer: the link for the Ninja Cooking System is an affiliate link, which means that if you purchase one through the link, I make a small commission. It doesn't cost you anything extra, and it helps me keep this blog running.
We had a shoe problem. We're all naked feet people, so as soon as we get home, we ditch the shoes. It was creating a shoe mountain at the bottom of the stairs. What's worse, sometimes Binnybeans ditches her shoes randomly throughout the house. We were late to church once because we couldn't find her shoes. We needed a better system.
During my latest trip to IKEA, I picked up a BISSA shoe cabinet with 3 compartments</a>. My husband and I could each have our own compartment, and Binnybeans and Budgie could share. Their feet are small. Each of the BISSA's compartments can be divided into two parts, meaning that you can get two rows of shoes per compartment. Depending on how big your feet/shoes are, you can get about 6 pairs per compartment.
Since this is right by the door, I wanted to make a landing zone, too. I wanted a space to set my keys or coffee while I zip little coats or velcro tiny shoes. I wanted a place to set the mail as I took my shoes off -- and put them away! Furthermore, the space was going to look quite empty with just the BISSA on the wall, so my husband suggested we put one of his antique radios there. But he didn't want people setting stuff on the radio. So I put shelves up. Kill two birds with one stone: protect the radio and make a landing zone. I bought 2 of the EKBY JÄRPEN/EKBY BJÄRNUM units and an extra set of brackets (EKBY BJÄRNUM) in the 11" deep size. Depending on your wall size, you may by more or less shelving, but make sure whatever you buy is 11" deep to match the BISSA.
But I still had one more problem to solve. My husband is a rather forgetful fellow, and he'll usually be the one dropping Binnybeans off at school. They say that if you want to remember something, put it in your shoe. Well, if the shoes are in the BISSA, that's hard to do. So after some brainstorming and trial-and-error, I came up with the idea of putting a bulletin board on the front of each compartment. And it was so easy to do!
Making the Bulletin Boards
The sides of the doors fit snugly in the frame of the BISSA, so I couldn't do a traditional upholstery where I wrap the fabric completely around the whole door. However, it looks unfinished to just have edges showing. To give it a more finished look, I cut out pieces of cardboard the size of the doors. (HINT: the box it comes in works pretty darn well for that purpose! Don't rip it all up!) Then, I cut fabric about 4" larger than the cardboard on each side. I was working with a remnant (love cheap fabric!), so I couldn't quite do it that big, but you'll want at least 4 extra inches on the sides and top/bottom. You may even want an extra inch or two on the top-to-bottom length.
Once the fabric was cut, I put it good-side down. I sprayed one side of the cardboard with spray adhesive and placed it on the fabric. Center the cardboard on the sides, and put it about 1" from the bottom of the fabric. Smooth out any bubbles or unevenness quickly before the adhesive sets, giving yourself a smooth, tight front. Then, spray a little adhesive on the exposed side of the cardboard. Wrap the fabric tightly on the sides and bottom; leave the top unwrapped. While the adhesive is still tacky on the exposed side, carefully line it up with the door and press to adhere. Now, spray a little adhesive on the top edge of the door and around the top of the back of the door. Tightly wrap the exposed fabric around the top edge of the door. For a more finished look, tuck the cut edge under, making a faux hem. I didn't have enough fabric to do that, so I just wrapped it over. From the outside, it looks finished and fine.
Now that the door looks upholstered, it's time to add the bulletin board ribbons. I cut each ribbon about 24" long. To prevent fraying, use a lighter or match to melt the edge of the ribbon. About 2.5" from each corner, staple the ribbon to the back of the door at roughly a 45" angle. Wrap the ribbon around the front and snugly pull it diagonally. Wrap it around that corner and staple again. Do the same thing on the other side of that corner so that you have both of the ribbons going in the same direction. On the other corner, staple the first corner and wrap it around the front like before. To get a weaved pattern, tuck it under the first ribbon and over the second, then wrap around and staple. With the next ribbon, tuck it over the first ribbon and under the second and staple. I also put a little Super Glue to relieve the pressure on the staples and reduce fraying.
Finally, to tack the ribbons into place on the front (and further secure the upholstered cardboard), I stapled the bottom ribbon at each of the crosses. I just pulled back the top ribbon a little bit and stapled. This is totally optional; it does reduce the functionality a little (you can't tuck stuff behind a staple), but I opted for security over functionality. The board still works just fine and it's a little more secure.
The bulletin board part is done! At this point, assemble the BISSA as you would according to the instructions. (Gotta love those wordless, internationally understandable pictures!) Be sure to secure it to the wall well; it will take some pulling, especially if you have little ones.
To add the shelving, I cut two shelves to fit the remaining width of the wall. Since the EKBY BJÄRNUM covers the ends of the shelf, I didn't have to worry about sanding, painting, or otherwise finishing the cut ends of the shelf. I lined the shelf up with the top of the BISSA and screwed the brackets to the wall. If you're not screwing the brackets into a stud -- which you should be for a secure shelf -- make sure you use drywall anchors. The end of the shelf that butted right up against the BISSA didn't line up with a stud, so I used drywall anchors. I don't want the shelf pulling out of the wall! Also, do the end that butts up against the BISSA first. You won't be able to wedge it in there if you do the outside end first!
Since the BISSA is kind of short, I added a short shelf for visual interest. That shelf is just the remainder of one of the cut shelves. It's not a super functional shelf, but I could put something pretty up there... or put something out of the reach of a kid or pet. My brother and his wife used that top shelf to store dog food when they brought their dogs with them for a weekend visit. It balances out the wall and looks nice.
I've had my IKEA Hack: BISSA up for a few weeks now, and I love it. No more mountain of shoes. No more searching for tiny shoes. If I see one of my daughter's shoes laying around, I tell her to put it in the BISSA. We have a central spot for shoes, right by the door, that fits snugly on the wall. (It only sticks out 11"!) And with the bulletin board feature, my husband doesn't forget his vacation requests or other papers for work. It is great!
If only fixing his broken antique radio was this easy!