Instant Pot Review + Tips, Hacks and Giveaway

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The Instant Pot is one of my favorite things! I’ve had mine for 2 years now, and still rave about it to everyone I know. I gave my parents one for Christmas and now they are hooked, too!

If you want to cut straight to the chase, you can check out some of my favorite Instant Pot recipes, hacks and cooking tips I’ve pinned to my Pinterest Board: I Love My Instant Pot.

What’s an Instant Pot

If you haven’t already heard about the Instant Pot, it’s a programmable electric pressure cooker that takes the place of 7 kitchen appliances/cooking functions. It’s a Pressure Cooker, Slow Cooker, Rice Cooker, Steamer, Sauté, Yogurt Maker and Warmer. Not only is it super versatile, but it also let’s you prepare healthy, tasty dishes up to 70% faster. It’s great for parties and entertaining since it keeps food warm for hours.

Instant Pot Bone Broth and Stew for Pets and People

In addition to cooking for your human family members, you can also use the Instant Pot to cook for your dog! Making bone broth is super easy in the Instant Pot and I usually make several batches each month and always make a batch with NO onions or garlic so that it’s safe for Daisy. I also make dog-friendly stew to store in the freezer in small portions for Daisy. Her favorite is a fish and sweet potato stew but I like to experiment.

How to Store Broth, Stew and Batch Cooking

I find the easiest way to freeze and store bone broth, stew and soup in small portions is using these Square Silicone Molds. Each tray holds 8 4oz cubes so portions are pre-measured when I want to pop a few out of the freezer to use them. I learned this tip from Michelle Tam at Nom Nom Paleo. She’s got amazing Instant Pot Recipes and Tips on her blog!

Easy to Peel Hard-Boiled Eggs in the Instant Pot

Another of my favorite IP tricks is making hard-boiled eggs in the Instant Pot. Although it’s not really much faster than other methods, the pressure makes them way easier to peel than any other way I’ve tried. I use this method as my guide but usually put them in a bowl of ice and water to chill them quickly as soon as they are done cooking.

Getting Started with Instant Pot

There are SO many things I make in my Instant Pot: steamed beets, carnitas, “baked” sweet potatoes, short ribs, corned beef & cabbage, shredded chicken…you can even make cheesecake although I haven’t tried that one yet!

If you don’t know where to get started, LifeHacker has done a list of The First 7 Things You Should Make With a New Instant Pot.

You can also join the Official Instant Pot Community Group on Facebook. You’ll connect with all kinds of IP Fanatics and real people sharing Instant Pot recipes, ideas tips and solutions.

In addition to what’s on my Pinterest board, these are some of my favorite Instant Pot recipes and resources:

 

Got a dad or hubby who loves to cook? The Instant Pot makes a GREAT Father’s Day gift idea!

Where to Buy an Instant Pot

If you’re wondering where to buy an Instant Pot, I recommend Amazon.com. I got mine on sale HERE and as new models come out, the previous version usually becomes a great bargain. You’ll also spot Gold Box deals on Instant Pot from time to time as well as Black Friday and Cyber Week deals.

Instant Pot Giveaway

Want a chance to WIN an Instant Pot? Enter our giveaway!

Use the contest widget below to enter for a chance to WIN an Instant Pot 7 In 1 Multi-Use Programmable Pressure Cooker, 6 Quart. $99 value.
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Balance by bistroMD: Healthy Meals Delivered To Your Door (Because Pet Parents Should Eat Well Too!)

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Ever feel like you take better care of your fur kids than you do of yourself? You’re not alone! Whether you are too busy, or just tired of adulting, home food delivery has become a popular alternative to cooking. Woof Woof Papa and I love to cook but often get tired of meal planning, shopping and the prep-work that goes into making healthy meals. And our schedules mean that we don’t always have time to cook and eat at the same time. Sometimes it just seems easier to grab takeout or order delivery, and that isn’t the healthiest or most economical way to eat.

We were recently invited to try the meals from Balance by bistroMD. It’s the first meal delivery service to offer chef-prepared meals a-la-carte, without the constraint of minimums, memberships, or recurring orders. The top-rated diet delivery and weight loss program, bistroMD, created this subscription-free service to provide healthy meals with convenience and flexibility.

Balance by bistroMD fits health-conscious lifestyles, whether you’re trying to lose weight, adhere to a specialty diet such as gluten free, or just want to eat healthy without the struggle. When we went to their website to place our first order, we were impressed with the wide variety of over 100 meals and snacks available, and prices start at just $5.95.

The ordering process is super easy…the only hard part was deciding which meals to get, because they all looked so good! To narrow down the choices, you can filter meals by diet type, including Low Sodium, Heart Healthy, Gluten Free, Diabetic Meals and other options. We ordered a few breakfast items, because we are trying to do better at not skipping breakfast. And we also ordered a variety of lunches and dinners, too. Everything arrived within a few days, shipped in an insulated cooler packed with dry ice. Even though the box sat out on our porch in the South Florida heat for most of the morning, all the meals were still frozen when I unpacked everything.

In addition to doing the cooking and delivering your meals straight to your door, the folks at Balance by bistroMD also send the instructions and info you need to make the most of your food delivery. For example, although you can microwave the meals straight from the freezer, they recommend you move your upcoming day of meals to the fridge the night before to thaw for more even reheating. They also suggest that you place your entree on a plate because visualization is an important part of dining.

This was my attempt to plate the Ham and Cheese Frittata. It came with a side of peaches with a tasty whole grain granola crumble. I added avocado slices because I cannot go a day without eating avocado! Although I can see the logic in their suggestion to plate the meals to make the dining experience more enjoyable, most times we opted for convenience over aesthetics, and just ate our meals straight out of the BPA-free microwavable trays they came in. Less dishes to wash!

Overall, we were impressed with our order and happy to have a week of no meal planning or prep. The nice thing about the service is that there is no commitment or subscription required. You can order when you feel like you need a break from cooking, or need a little extra help with eating healthy. It’s also a thoughtful gift for a friend or family member, and would be great as a Housewarming present or Mother’s Day gift, too!

Balance by bistroMD Coupon Code

Right now is a great time to try it because you can get 20% OFF with Balance by bistroMD coupon code: SAVE20 at checkout. You also get Free Shipping on orders of $99+. Head on over to balance.bistromd.com to learn more about how it works and try it for yourself. Less time spent cooking means more time (and energy) to play with the fur kids!

Tips, Kits and Tools To Make Your Own Dog Treats

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Tips, Tricks and Tools for DIY Dog Treats

Every want to learn how to make your own dog treats? Whether you are concerned about controlling the ingredients, looking for more frugal alternatives to store-bought treats, or just like to make stuff, here are several fun deals on cookbooks, tools and kits we’ve rounded up to help you get started on making your own DIY dog treats:

Make Your Own Dog Treats:

Be sure to visit Coupaw.com for more great Pet DIY plus Home Goods and Gifts for Pet Lovers!

How To Make Your Own Cookbook for Fun and Profit

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How to make a cookbook

Ever thought of putting your favorite recipes into a beautiful book you can give as a gift or pass down the generations? Maybe you’re famous for your pet treats and you’ve always thought about creating your own cookbook to sell or give to friends and family, but never knew how to get started!

Blurb is a company that lets anyone create beautiful books from their favorite content, and get those books shipped in any quantity (even just one copy). Not a designer? That’s OK, Blurb’s free BookSmart software is an easy route to a great cookbook.

What’s the best way to get started? Holding off a bit. It’s tempting to want to dive right in, but thinking a bit and getting organized is worth it in the end. Make the most of your time by dividing each step into chunks so you can tackle them at different points in your book-making process.

And here we go:

1. Organize: Gather your recipes and do a process of elimination. Once you’ve narrowed your favorites down, you can gather accompanying images—just make sure you’re giving the recipe and image files the same name to make it easier when it’s time to upload. Keep everything in one folder on your computer.

2. Flow it: Next, determine how you want your cookbook story to flow. Do you want to sort your recipes by age, popularity, or even something else? Once you’ve determined the order, you’ll have done the bulk of your creative decision-making.

3. Get the tool: Download our free book-making tool, BookSmart, choose your book size (Standard Portrait and Standard Landscape are the most popular for cookbooks) and input your title and author name. Then choose “Cookbook” as your starting point — this will give you the best layouts for the job. Then pick a source for your images — from iPhoto, your computer, even Flickr or Picasa. Lastly, choose a theme. Now you’re ready to put together your cookbook.

4. Lay it out: This is where the real book-making comes in. BookSmart will provide you with 20 pages in our standard recipe layout, but you’ll find plenty of alternate layouts in the “Choose page layout” panel on the upper left. You can also add additional pages ­­— including photo pages — by clicking “Add Pages” in the top toolbar.

5. Just add copy: Our layouts provide space for stories, introductions, and those all-important ingredients and directions. Paste in your copy and you’re golden. Then garnish with photos. Don’t forget to run BookSmart’s spell check feature.

6. Preview and review: Click “Review book” and go through page by page. If you’re not a natural-born proofreader, ask a friend to take a second look.

7. Order: Make any last minute edits, click “Order,” and follow the prompts to checkout. Remember to order extra copies for friends and family—or sell it in our Bookstore. Order now and save 15% on all print book orders through April 30th with code TAKE15%.