We joined the club (the Instant Pot Club)

So, maybe it’s not an actual club, but we have joined the ranks of Instant Pot owners. We were one of the many who snagged the amazing deal on Amazon day, and then quickly learned that this is much more than just another kitchen appliance! There is an entire group of passionate users on Facebook (it’s been very helpful to have this group), and so many things that can be done with it too.

While we are not pro users as of yet, I have been impressed with what we have made so far. I’m going to share our recipes here so I can find them easily, and hopefully that will be helpful for you too if you have one.

I have to admit, there is a learning curve. It’s not so much that it’s hard, but there are steps that are new and different as opposed to a slow cooker in which everything just gets thrown in and left alone for hours. The upside is that because the pressure cooker cooks so quickly, if you did forget to put a roast in the crock pot in the morning, you could still have pot roast for dinner that night if you started on time! We did one in the pot and it tasted wonderful, with the same tenderness as the crock pot.

Do you have one? What is your favorite thing to use it for?

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This entry was posted in food.

Pumpkin progress

As you may remember, I planted pumpkin seeds late this season. Well, here we are almost a month later and this morning I saw a tiny pumpkin!

Tiny pumpkin

I have also noticed quiet a few flowers, and the vine is growing really well. Here are a few tips if you want to try your hand at growing your own pumpkins.

  • Pumpkins need lots of water. Even though the vine needs a lot of water, try to keep the leaves dry.
  • Adding mulch around your pumpkins will help keep the soil moist, and helps control weeds and pests.
  • Bees are a must for pollination, so try not to use any insecticides.
  • Both male and female blossoms need to be present and open for fruit. This can take time, but it will happen!
  • Pumpkin vines are actually kind of delicate, so be gentle if you need to move them. Damaged vines will affect the fruit.
  • Gently turn your pumpkin to encourage an even shape. Just be careful not to hurt the stem or vine.
  • Help the plant focus it’s energy on the pumpkin by pinching off the fuzzy ends of each vine after a few pumpkins have formed.

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I’m excited to find out if pumpkins really will be a success planted as a late (or second) crop! I’ll keep sharing the progress too.

This entry was posted in garden.

ElectroLight Fire Starter Giveaway

The nights are getting longer, and what could be better than spending them outside with family and friends around the fire pit? How about a super simple way to light the fire? The ElectroLight Fire Starter is such a great tool, and it makes lighting fires simple. Use it for lighting your charcoal barbecue, wood burning fireplace or fire pit in 2-3 minutes.

firestarter

It uses super high 1300°F temperature air to ignite, then fan the flames with built-in blower. We love that you don’t need lighter fluid, or matches. You will need a plug though, as this is electric. You can even use it inside for your wood burning fireplace!

We are super excited to be able to offer an Electorlight Fire Starter to one lucky reader thanks to the folks at Home Right. To enter use the form below, this giveaway is open to those in the USA only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Steps to Light:
1. Touch the tip of the barrel to the charcoal or wood. At 1300 Degree you have more than two times the temperature required to ignite wood.
2. Once you start seeing embers, while leaving the button depressed, pull the tip slightly away. The blower will continue to fan the flame.
3. Continue until you get the desired level of fire started.

It helps to have a bit of kindling of course, and as always, be careful around fire and the heat. Let the starter cool down all the way before picking it up to avoid burns. Luckily it has a nice “foot” that it can rest on while it cools off.

What would a great night around the firepit be without s’mores? If you want a real treat, make your own marshmallows using this homemade marshmallow recipe. What are some of your favorite things to do on a fall night?

*Thanks to HomeRight for sponsoring this giveaway.*

5 Quick and Simple Ways to Save Money

5 quick and simple ways to save money

If your family is like ours, you are always on the look out for simple ways to save money. We have been trying to really cut back our spending the past few years so we could save for other goals. Here are a few quick ways we found to save quiet a bit of cash, and they are all pretty easy!

1. Change your phone plan. We used to pay about $135 a month for our cell phone plans. That adds up over the course of the year ($1620)! Now we pay $25 a month, for both of us, thanks to Ting. Now we just pay for what we use based on their tiered pricing. Some months we might pay a bit more, but we have been pretty consistent over the year since switching. There are other companies that offer this type of payment, but we liked Ting because we could bring our iPhones and there were more options for phone purchasing. We now pay just $300 a year, that’s a savings of $1320 a year! For such a simple thing!

2. Cut your cable. This one was a bit harder for us, but with streaming options from NetFlix and Amazon, and the use of HDTV Antennas, it was really a no brainer. We cut out our cable and switched to an internet only service. Our cable bill, even with negotiating, was a whopping $245 a month, again a big yearly cost ($2940)! Goodness, that’s a car payment if you think about it! We now pay $60 a month, for a total of $720 a year, that’s a savings of $2220 a year! That’s a lot of money.

3. Invest in a pressure cooker. Wait, what? Yes, using a pressure cooker can save you time and money. Because you can cook things quickly, and from frozen too, you won’t need to run your oven or your crock pot for as long. Surprisingly ovens can be a bit of an energy hog, and if it’s summer, they can heat up your house causing your AC to run more. But the biggest saving comes from being able to utilize good deals on meat and freezing it, while still being able to create great tasting meals quickly.

4. Shred your own cheese. I’m guilty of loving those pre-shredded bags of cheese, but oh boy do they cost a lot more than just doing it yourself. I haven’t done the actual math, but when you figure a small bag of cheese costs about $4, but a big block costs $7, you can see that it’s going to be better to shred your own.

5. Use a water bottle. Invest in a great water bottle, and forgo using bottled water. Having some bottled water on hand is great for emergencies, like water being shut off, but using bottled water all the time is a big drain on the pocket book over the years. We love this water bottle because it is dishwasher safe. We invested in a couple so there is always a clean one available while others are washing, so it might be a small cost at first, but it will save over time.

I’d love to hear about simple ways you have found to cut back on spending too, so please be sure to leave your tips in the comments!

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