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6 Ways the Instant Pot Can Help You Save Time

6 Ways the Instant Pot Can Help You Save Time

If you’ve never heard of an Instant Pot, it’s obvious you don’t watch television or use the internet. It’s the biggest sensation on the market, and it’s making serious waves across the country as a family-friendly dinner helper. Everyone loves it because it’s designed to save time, cook meals, and make life easier for busy families. It’s a hot product, and everyone is on the verge of owning one if they don’t already. If you haven’t fallen into the Instant Pot love triangle along with the rest of the world, you’re probably on the fence about it. Here’s what you need to know about saving serious time with your very own Instant Pot.

You Get to Multitask

The biggest benefit of using an Instant Pot is the ability to do anything else you want while dinner cooks. You can cook an entire chicken in around an hour, and you get to do it without using your hands at all. You can answer those emails. You can help the kids with their homework, and you can even work on the rest of the things on your to-do list you feel never get done. Your hands are free because you’re not required to touch the pot, check on it, or mix anything the entire time it’s cooking. You have better things to do.

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It’s Faster Than a Crockpot

There are some Instant Pot owners complaining that it takes longer than they’d like to cook an entire meal. It needs time to pressurize, warm up, cook, and release the pressure. However, it’s always faster than using your crockpot. In fact, you can cook an entire meal in less than a quarter of the time in an Instant Pot. It’s all about perspective when it comes to cooking times and kitchen appliances. You don’t need to prep your meal before you leave for work and hope it doesn’t cook too much on low all day. You do it when you get home, which saves you ample time.

It’s Good

Do you love good food? Everyone loves good food, and that’s why you’re going to love your Instant Pot. Your family will save a lot of time cooking a second meal or ordering fast food because the meal you tried to make failed. It’s good food in a pot, and that saves you ample time. It’s fast, it’s easy, and it’s good. Most people assume fast food that seems to take shortcuts isn’t as good. This is quality cooking all rolled into one hands-free situation that allows you to multitask and still cook a fabulous dinner in no time at all. Even better, the food you make is beyond delicious. Your family will love this investment when they realize just how much more time you have to spend with them when you cook good meals.

It’s Extra Help

Did you ever host a dinner party during which you realized that a double oven and a six-burner stove still didn’t allow you to get it all done? The Instant Pot can help you saute food without using it to cook anything completely, which makes it like having an additional stove top burner. You get to make more food for more people without adding more stress to your already overworked mind. It really is the little things in life that make the biggest difference.

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You Don’t Need to Store Fancy Appliances

The great news about an Instant Pot is that it does the job of so many other items. You don’t need a rice cooker or a crock pot. You can save yourself a lot of time, money, and effort by owning one Instant Pot and getting rid of everything else. You have one dish to clean after dinner rather than dozens, and having one tool that does it all helps you find the time to spend with your family rather than hooking things up, cooking, and watching everything you have going on all at once.

You Save Time Planning Meals

Meal planning is a great tool, but who has time to sit down and plan out a week’s worth of meals that have different sides and features when you can head right to Pinterest and pin some Instant Pot recipes? Your meal plan is right there, and you always have it at your disposal when you need to create an amazing meal. You can put an entire meal into the pot to cook all at once, which makes your life that much easier. You won’t spend hours looking for perfect sides when you can throw one recipe into a pot and make one entire meal.

All you have to do is to decide which is the best Instant pot for yourself. It is a major time-saver for families, and there is nothing wrong with wanting to save ample time every day. You don’t have much to go around, which is why it’s helpful for you to have this additional time every day. You aren’t required to use it daily, but this one simple appliance can become your go-to for simple, tasty, easy meals that take virtually no time.

9 Scarily Delicious Food Ideas for Halloween

9 Scarily Delicious Food Ideas for Halloween

Who says Halloween is just for kids? The spookiest day of the year is a great opportunity to gather the family for a feast but also to show off your cooking skills and craftiness. I love making Halloween sweet treats complemented with creepy decorations like ghost cupcakes or spider web cakes. But Halloween fun isn’t limited to just sweet stuff! There is also a variety of scary savory dishes that will satisfy both kids and adults.

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We offer a selection of terrifyingly delicious recipes that will help you host a ghoulishly good Halloween feast.

Savory Halloween Recipes

Disgustingly Delicious Meatloaf

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Are you looking for something simple that allows to be turned into a spooky meal? Meatloaf is the best solution. So, how do you turn a perfectly tasty meatloaf—made with ground beef, sweet corn, and a tangy barbecue sauce into a disgustingly delicious skull?

For starters, you need two additional ingredients – hard-boiled eggs and raw garlic. Use the standard ingredients and shape the meatloaf as a skull, leaving holes for “mouth” and “eye sockets”. Place the egg halves into the sockets, then pour ketchup over the whole loaf to create a bloody look. Arrange garlic pieces in the mouth to represent teeth.

Well, what better way to make the kids take a break from eating sweets and enjoy something nutritious?

Jack O’ Lantern Salad

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Instead of dreading Halloween as a day when kids overeat on junk food and sweets, consider it a great opportunity to feed them healthy food! I love this salad composed of fresh cucumber and onion slices enhanced with a sweet-and-sour dressing because it reminds me of summer but Halloween recipe works with any type of salad really.

You will need four oranges to serve as dishes. Cut their tops and use a knife to remove as much of the orange flesh as possible. Use a smaller knife to cut jack o’ lantern faces on them. Fill each orange with salad and serve.

Spaghetti Brains

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This is another easy and effective Halloween recipe – spaghetti covered in ‘blood’ i.e. rich tomato sauce and served inside a carved pumpkin or bell peppers. Serve the meatballs on the side this time for the sake of appearances.

Guacamole Witch Dip

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Homemade guacamole is absolutely wonderful! Spread this fiery mixture of avocados, tomato, onions, and jalapeño onto bread slices (omit hot jalapeños if kids are going to eat these witchy snacks). Make the hat from blue corn chips and the hair from grated carrots. Assemble the face with olive slices for the eyes, red bell pepper for the lips, and one cornichon for the nose.

Monster Soup

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You can choose your favorite soup for this Halloween decoration but we find orange-colored soups to work best. The monster eyes are made of portions of boiled eyes (scoop rice into the palm of your hand and squeeze gently to form a ball) and place pitted olives in the center. It should be noted that the rice needs support in order not to sink in the soup. For this, you can add some noodles to the soup to make it thicker. Drizzle with some ketchup or, if you are a fan of spicier stuff, sriracha.

Sweet Halloween Recipes

Spooky Banana Bread

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This banana bread looks so much like a cake and it can be easily turned into a spooky breakfast. All you need to do is buy some ready-to-spread chocolate frosting, place it in a decorating bag, and draw all kinds of scary things such as bats, spiders, nets, depending on your craftiness. If you are not so crafty you can always simply write “BOO”.

Pumpkin banana bread works best for this aim. If you want it bright orange, add some red and yellow food coloring into the batter as well. Draw either on top of the loaf or slice it first and decorate each slice separately.

Scary Halloween Pancakes

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Pancakes are one of the most flexible treats so, they are easily transformed into a creepy & fun Halloween treat. One way is to simply buy some Halloween pancake molds. Another way is to arrange candy eyes on top of the pancake stack.

You can also make ghosts with thick whipped cream mixed with powdered sugar. After mixing, place the whipped cream into a decorating bag and shape the ghosts using 2 chocolate chips as eyes on each one.

Spider Web Cake

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Here’s the perfect cake for a Halloween party. Your guests will be so impressed with the unique spider web icing. This easy and delicious cake is covered in chocolate on the top and the sides. To create the web design, pipe the white icing on top in 5 spirals. Using a skewer, draw a line from the center out to the edge, then repeat to make about 10 radiating lines, wiping the skewer clean each time. Let the cake set, then serve.

Halloween Cupcakes

 

Cover the cupcakes with orange frosting made with whipping cream, butter, sugar and orange extract or food coloring, then add the candy eyes. The cupcakes will also look spooky if you use green instead of orange coloring.

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Another great simple idea is to make spiders with peanut butter cups. Stick 2 candy eyes on each one and use twisted pretzels for legs. Glue the eyes and legs to the peanut butter cup using melted chocolate as glue. Place the spiders “crawling” on the loaf surface or Oreo cookie bats. Use the Oreo cookies for their head/body, add candy eyes and make their wings from graham crackers.

The Mediterranean Diet: Recipes, Food List, Meal Plans

The Mediterranean Diet: Recipes, Food List, Meal Plans

Are you looking for a heart-friendly meal plan? The Mediterranean diet might be just what you need!

The Mediterranean diet is based on traditional healthy ingredients, recipes, and cooking styles used in Mediterranean countries like Greece and Italy. Studies have shown that people living in these countries are much healthier than Americans and have significantly lower risk of chronic diseases like cancer, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and more. Furthermore, the Mediterranean diet is a go-to diet if your goal is weight loss!

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Similar to other healthy eating plans, this diet is based on fish, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. It limits the use of saturated fats, making olive oil one of the central ingredients and allows an occasional glass of good wine.

A Mediterranean Diet Plan

While there is no strict eating plan to stick to, there are general guidelines that can be adjusted to personal preferences. In a nutshell, the Mediterranean diet recommends increasing the intake of plant-based ingredients and decreasing the intake of red meat and processed foods.

It should be noted that, besides the following lists of allowed and banned foods, attention should be paid to ingredient proportions and amounts. In addition, the Mediterranean lifestyle includes eating with friends and family, as well as regular physical activities. In other words, besides eating high-quality foods, you should take care of your overall happiness and well-being!

The Mediterranean Diet Food List

List of allowed foods:

Plant-based foods like fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes, whole grains, herbs, spices, as well as fish, seafood, and extra virgin olive oil can be consumed on a daily basis.

Chicken and other poultry meat (turkey and duck), dairy (cheese and yogurt), and eggs should be consumed in moderation, whereas red meat is allowed only occasionally (few times a month).

List of forbidden foods:

All processed and refined foods such as added sugars, sweetened beverages, processed meat, refined grains, refined vegetable oils are strictly forbidden. Here is a more detailed list that will help you stay away from unhealthy foods:

  • Anything that bears the label ‘low-fat’ or ‘diet’ indicates highly processed foods.
  • Added sugar: table sugar, chocolate bars, candies, ice cream, soda, etc.
  • Unhealthy trans fats like those found in margarine.
  • Refined grain products including pasta and white bread.
  • Refined oils like regular vegetable oil (corn, sunflower oil) soybean, cottonseed, canola oil, etc.
  • Processed meats including sausages, hot dogs, burgers, etc. Bacon is considered too high in fats and should also be avoided.

Summary

The good news is that fulfilling foods such as pasta (preferably whole grain), rice, and potatoes are acceptable in the Mediterranean diet.

People living in Mediterranean countries are known to avoid red meats but take as many as 7-9 servings of fruit daily!

Bread made of whole grains are also allowed. In fact, bread is considered one of the staple foods in the Mediterranean region and is eaten plain or drizzled with olive oil, like in Spain. However, bread is never smeared with margarine or butter!

Nuts are very healthy and highly recommended but bearing in mind they’re high in calories, their intake should be limited to a handful a day. This refers to raw nuts only; toasted, salted, or candied nuts are on the blacklist!

The Mediterranean diet substitutes refined vegetable oils and butter with healthier fats like olive and canola oil. These oils are rich in healthy fats that reduce bad cholesterol levels and keep the heart healthy. Make sure that your olive oil bottle reads “extra-virgin” on the label. Other ‘good’ fat sources are olives, avocados, and avocado oil.

Fatty fish like tuna, mackerel, herring, lake trout, sardines, and salmon are great sources of omega-3 fatty acids. However, the method of preparation makes a big difference. Avoid fried fish and opt for grilling. It is not only healthier but also less messy.

Spices and herbs like basil, rosemary, mint, sage, cinnamon, nutmeg, and pepper, can be used in unlimited amounts. They will not only add flavor but also extra nutrients. Restrict the use of salt. If you must use it, opt for healthier options like Himalayan, Celtic, or sea salt.

When it comes to dairy products, opt for low-fat options such as fat-free yogurt, skim milk, and low-fat cheese (mozzarella is the safest option). Even better, try substituting dairy with plant-based milks like rice and almond milk.

And finally, avoid red meat whenever possible. When you do eat it, opt for lean varieties and restrict the amount to a fist-size per portion.

When it comes to drinks, water is recommended in high amounts. Plain, unsweetened coffee and tea are also acceptable. The Mediterranean diet also allows alcohol in moderate amounts. A glass of wine a day can help reduce the risk of heart attack. However, this is completely optional and can be disregarded if you are not a fan of alcohol or have health problems that could be worsened by alcohol intake.

A Weekly Mediterranean Diet Meal Plan and Recipes

Monday

Breakfast: Flax and Apple raisin Oatmeal

Lunch: Oriental Tuna Salad

Dinner: Tasty Salmon Cakes

Tuesday

Breakfast: Maple Almond Granola Bowls with Greek Yogurt and Berries

Lunch: Veggie and Humus Sandwich

Dinner: Colorful Pasta Sala

Wednesday

Breakfast: Homemade Granola

Lunch: Broccoli Lasagna Roll-Ups

Dinner: Sunshine Greek Salad

Thursday

Breakfast: Slow Cooker Vegetarian Omelet

Lunch: Seafood Casserole

Dinner: Fresh Sweet Potato Salad

Friday

Breakfast: Whole Grain Zucchini Bread with Honey and Walnuts

Lunch: Chicken Noodle Soup

Dinner: Roasted Pepper Pizza

Saturday

Breakfast: Whole Grain Banana Blueberry Pancakes

Lunch: Cilantro-Lime Sardine Salad in Avocado Halves

Dinner: Lemon Grilled Chicken

Sunday

Breakfast: Spinach and Feta Omelet

Lunch: Easy Turkey Skillet

Dinner: Grilled Leg of Lamb

Healthy Mediterranean Diet Snacks

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The above mentioned meal plans include ideas for the three main meals. However, the point is not to allow to get hungry so, you’ll need to eat snacks between meals. Opt for a piece of your favorite fruit, handful of nuts, unsweetened Greek yogurt, granola with nut butter, carrots, etc.

The Mediterranean diet is more than a restrictive meal plan, it is a healthy lifestyle that will keep you satiated and healthy!

 

 

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