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Monday, December 4, 2017

My thoughts on the Instant Pot Duo60 6 Qt 7-in-1

I bought my vey first Instant Pot for Black Friday. I got the 6 quart Duo, and wasn't quite sure about it, but knew my friends all loved their IPs.  I was thrilled when mine arrived.  It was all together and I couldn't wait to get going.  

I checked the seal, and it was good and seated correctly.  I checked the valves and they were clear (always do the checks).  I then did the water test where I pressurized a little water to make sure it worked and pressurized properly.  Once that passed with flying colors, I was ready to jump in. 


I'm not one to generally start off all crazy.  I joined several groups to study up while waiting for my IP to arrive.  Everyone seemed to start with hard boiled eggs.  I, however, wanted to make a meal.  So, I really did just jump in and start off all crazy!  I started making applesauce.  Something easy, but my kids love it!  I was able to fit 12 peeled and chunked apples into my 6 quart.  It turned out AMAZING!  I let the pressure release naturally and when I opened the cooker and stirred it the apples just stirred into the most perfect sauce.  A little bit of chunks, and so good and smooth!

For dinner I decided to make Indian Vegetable Rice and Indian Butter Chicken.  I did 4 cups of rice in my pot, removed it and kept it warm in the oven. Then was able to fit 10 whole chicken thighs in the 6 quart and could have fit 1-2 more, but I didn't need them.  That meal was absolutely amazing!  The rice being cooked into the IP wasn't really a time saver, however the flavor infused into the rice was beyond what I get on the stovetop or in my rice cooker. 

I finished up the day (yes, still on day 1) with a Salad Caramel Cheesecake.  It was so easy.  I used a silicon Instant Pot cheesecake pan I had bought and put the crust in it.  Then added in the filling.  I put my cheesecake on the trivet with a couple cups of water under.  I let it cook for 35 min at high pressure and let the pressure release naturally.  The cheesecake crust was a little soggy when it came out, but the cake itself was a perfect jiggly consistency.  I covered it and put it in the fridge overnight.  

The next day I removed the springform pan and the crust had hardened up.  The texture was perfect!  It was the first baked cheesecake I had ever made successfully.  

Day 2 I made penne pasta and meatballs for my kids for lunch.  I was nervous because I hate over cooked pasta.  At 6 minutes it was a perfect al dente.  I'm so happy with the dump and go ability!

I also made homemade Dulce De Leche with sweetened condensed milk for the topping for my cheesecake.  I didn't can it in the IP, as it's not approved for that.  I did use my canning jars though, that way I could see it when done.  I used one jar for the cheesecake, and the other two went in my fridge for use with raw apples for dip.  

This is my very favorite kitchen appliance ever.  I plan on getting another soon, as it's not enough for a family of 12.  However, it is a huge time saver.  I also love that I can set it and walk away.  I don't have to baby sit my stove like with my stovetop pressure cookers.  I was called away for an hour while the chicken thighs were cooking.  When it was done it just went to stay warm and waited for me.  

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Brent's Chocolate Chip Walnut Cookies - Holiday Cookies

My husband likes a flat and crispy, yet still chewy, chocolate chip cookie.  He came up with this recipe, and it's become a favorite in our house.

Brent's Chocolate Chip Walnut Cookies

1 stick butter; softened
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 egg
3/4 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup walnuts; chopped
1/2 cup Gheridelli semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven 350°

Whip butter until light and fluffy.  Add in brown sugar and whip until mixed and light. 

Mix flour, salt, and baking soda together. 
Slowly add to sugar mixture. 

Add egg and vanilla extract.  Mix until combined. 

Fold in walnuts and chocolate chips. 

Drop onto greased cookie sheet (a silpat baking mat is recommended) by tablespoon. You want a lot of space between the cookies.  You can get 8-10 per batch. 

Bake 10 minutes, or until golden brown. 

Let them sit 3-4 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.  Otherwise they will smash into itself and fall apart if moved when too hot. 

**These are also really good if you add 1/4-1/2 cup shredded coconut to the mixture.**

Friday, November 3, 2017

FandangoNOW Movie Rental Instant Win Giveaway

FandangoNOW Movie Rental Instant Win Giveaway - 5,000 Winners Win a Free $5 Online Movie Rental. 

Ends 1/3/18, Limit one entry per day. 

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Click here to enter now: FandangoNOW

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Grow Your Own Avocado Tree

Sponsored Post 

Have you ever wanted to GROW YOUR OWN AVOCADO TREE AT HOME?

Save 20% on any AvoSeedo avocado grower or other product and enjoy FREE shipping too. Visit the AvoSeedo Shop today and get growing today! Visit: http://www.shop.avoseedo.com/ Use Code: sp20 #avoseedo

AvoSeedo avocado tree germinator bowl that makes it easy for everyone to grow their own plant at home from a simple avocado pit. Easy to use for all ages of amateur avocado arborists, 
clever AvoSeedo bowl design keeps the avocado pit immersed in just the right amount of water to grow effectively. Made for durability from recyclable, non-toxic materials and is reusable for other vegetables like lettuce, celery, carrot tops! Germinate and grow an avocado tree in your own home, whatever the climate. Fun family (Millennial parents, their young kids, grandma/grandpa) project to make a tree sprout and watch it grow from the pit of a common avocado. Increase kids' understanding of ecology, interconnections in nature, responsibility and care for the environment in a participatory and concrete way. 

Save 20% on any AvoSeedo avocado grower or other product and enjoy FREE shipping too. Visit the AvoSeedo Shop today and get growing today!
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Monday, October 30, 2017

Gifts for Kids - Holiday Gift Guide 2017

Sponsored Post

Enkeeo Balance Bike

As a mother with lots of small children, one thing we need to teach each one of them is how to ride a bike. Learning to balance on one of these amazing contraptions is probably the hardest part of learning to ride.  

I have seen balance bikes for a while, and when I had the opportunity for my kids to try one from Enkeeo I jumped at the chance.  My 3, 4, and 6 year old children were thrilled, and weeks later they are still loving this bike.  

Putting it together was actually pretty easy.  Although I might have had to take part of the frame back off because I put it on upside down.  Don't ask.  I was distracted with kids all around "helping".  Anyway, it came with all the tools needed, and within about 15 minutes I had it ready to go!

The frame is a great quality metal.  The grips are comfortable for my kids.  I also love that the tires are a firmer foam feel, so they don't need aired up.  They are solid all the way through.  

This is perfect for small children to learn to balance before actually getting on a bicycle.  It's a bicycle, but without the peddles.  My kids actually ride it around in the house right now due to the cold weather. I'm shocked and amazed at how fast they picked up in this.  My 6 Year old son is about ready to move to a real bike.  I'm excited to see how much better they get as they keep playing on it.  

You can get it here:

Thursday, October 26, 2017

A Special Offer From Historical Conquest Game

Sponsored Post

Homeschooling History Game!

For all Big Family Reviews followers, we are offering 2 free decks of Historical Conquest cards! 

Get them at this link

Looks like the card game Pokemon, but plays like the board game Risk.

Use them in the game, timeline activities, and/or flashcards.

A free course is also available for all those who accept this offer.

I will soon be doing an in depth review of the game with the family.  I can't wait to show you more about it!  I am a huge believer in learning through fun.  Games are my kids favorite way to do school while having fun.   

Monday, October 23, 2017

Gifts for Him with Giveaway - Holiday Gift Guide 2017

I partnered with The Hopping Bloggers for this sponsored Holiday Gift Guide.

Rbenxia Sandalwood Hair/Beard Comb 

I got this sandalwood comb for my husband way back in the fall of 2015.  He was wanting some beard accessories, and I thought he would like this.  Boy was I right.  

This comb quickly became his favorite beard accessory, and had remained so for the last 2 years.  He has misplaced it a few times, and was very upset when he had to go a few days using something other than "his beard comb".  It is a great quality, and has survived perfectly through drops, moves, traveling, and daily use.  It's actually more beautiful and smooth now as it has had his beard oils infused into it.  

It's one item you can get on Amazon that I would highly suggest as a nice stocking stuffer for any man.  It's great for beards or for their hair.  

Power Perch

The Power Perch makes it easier than ever to conquer the challenges of organization. This is an easy way to organize for the men in your life that hate organizing. This sturdy shelf is held in place with your existing outlet cover (no additional holes needed), and allows you to add storage space anywhere there's an outlet. He can use it to charge his phone, tablet, shaver, or any other tech devices that will fit on this handy little shelf. He can use it anywhere he needs a little extra space! Add a shelf to any outlet with Power Perch! (fits all vertical single outlets and requires no additional hardware). Get it on: StorageTheory.com or Amazon.com COUPON CODE: with code HOPGUIDE20 Readers will get 20% off any Power Perch products through December 31st when they use this discount code at checkout on the Storage Theory site.

Southern Scholar Subscription Box

Give him the look of a lifetime with this subscription box. With dress socks that keep him warm, comfy, and stylish – this is the perfect holiday gift for the men in your life this year! And, it's a monthly subscription box, so it's a gift that keeps on giving! Brand description: Superior dress socks + our Signature Style Card delivered to your door each month. Unlike other sock subscriptions, we provide high quality, professional dress socks that will keep their place and keep you comfortable throughout your entire workday. Each pair accompanied with style tips on how to pair them to get the most out of your look! Get it on: SouthernScholar.com

Echo Plus

Echo Plus is a hands-free speaker you control with your voice, with a built-in smart home hub. It connects to the Alexa Voice Service to play music, ask questions, make calls, provide information, news, sports scores, weather, and more—instantly. All you have to do is ask. Echo Plus has 360° room-filling sound powered by Dolby, and can hear you from across the room from any direction. It is always getting smarter as Alexa continues to add additional features. With a built-in smart home hub and simple setup for compatible connected devices, starting your smart home or integrating into your existing system is now easier than ever. Get it on: Amazon.com

Fitbit Ionic

Give him a gift that will keep him moving all year long and stylin' for every kind of event. Get a watch that gives you more with Fitbit Ionic—a motivating timepiece packed with fitness guidance, health insights, music storage, apps & more. A health and fitness first platform, Ionic offers a highly personalized experience not previously seen in other smartwatches. Ionic builds on Fitbit’s health and fitness expertise with a new relative SpO2 sensor, making it possible to track deeper health insights like sleep apnea in the future, industry-leading GPS tracking, on-device dynamic workouts, improved heart rate tracking, and water resistance up to 50 meters. Plus, smart features like contactless payments, on-board music, smart notifications, and a variety of popular apps and clock faces available in the Fitbit App Gallery. Ionic also has all the core features our users love from Fitbit like up to 5 days battery life, automatic activity and sleep tracking, and cross-platform compatibility! Get it on: Amazon.com

Gifts for himBraun Series 9 Wet & Dry Shaver

Braun Series 9 electric shaver is our #1 shaver – providing unmatched closeness and unprecedented skin comfort. The perfect combination of efficiency and skin comfort can be found with our #1 shaver. Choosing the Series 9 means you are choosing today’s standard of excellence in both - an efficient and gentle shave
Get it on: Amazon.com
mystery tackle box

Mystery Tackle Box

The Perfect Gift For Any Angler! Know a fisherman but don’t know fishing? Most people wouldn’t think of stepping into the world of fishing when it comes to gifts ...enter Mystery Tackle Box. MTB has the perfect gift option that all anglers will love! The best part is you don’t need to know a thing about fishing to give the gift of fishing this year. Here’s is how it works. 1. You purchase an MTB gift certificate. Quick, easy, done. 2. Your gift recipient then creates an account and tells MTB what fish species they like to fish. 3. MTB sends a curated box of baits to them each month based on their fishing preferences. 4. They receive their first box within 10 days of signing up. 5. You win the “gifter of the year” award, which hopefully includes hugs and free food & drink of some type. Visit MysteryTackleBox.com on Black Friday and Cyber Monday for their big Holiday sale!