Posted in food

To Instapot or Not

I have been using a pressure cooker for almost as long as I can remember.  The one I have, I believe was my grandmother’s.  I have replaced the seal on it a few times and it is just as good as it was when she used it!  

I have always prided myself in being able to use very efficiently something that apparently a lot of people are afraid to use or don’t know how to use.   So when the whole “InstaPot” craze began a few years ago, I wasn’t on that.  It sounded like just another kitchen gadget  to take up room in the pantry.  I already had my “instapot” and wasn’t afraid to use it!  hmph!

This year the instapot craze has seemed to reach an even higher level of crazy and I was hearing more and more about them.  Rice cooker, crock pot and pressure cooker ALL in one?? hmmmm…. maybe there was more to it than I had originally thought.  Nah….. I have a rice cooker (working on wearing out my second one in 10 years), a crockpot (15 plus years old and looks like a spaceship, but works) and a pressure cooker (well over 40 years old!).   Why do I need some new fangled thing?!

The instapot sears and browns meat in the same pot you slow cook in?  Wait…. you say you can make yogurt in this thing?  You don’t have to stand over it vigilantly watch the weight on the top and monitor the temperature?   (Hahaha….. there was that one time when the weight got bumped and I had to clean chicken and chicken grease off the ceiling. That was exciting, to say the least.)

Maybe, just maybe I might want one…. but let’s be perfectly clear.  It is NOT because I don’t know how to use a pressure cooker!!  These new things DO look pretty cool…….did you know they have a steam setting AND there is a delay timer?!

Ok, yes…. I do want one…. I think.

Then for my birthday, my dear friends bought me one!!  WOW!  This thing is pretty cool!  I spend the first week reading up on it and looking at recipes for the Instapot.  I was not horribly impressed with the recipes I found on Pinterest etc.   Meh… I wanted to make the things I like to make but make them in this fancy new pot!  So…. that is exactly what I did.  

My birthday is the 8th of November.  Today is December 12.  I have used my instapot nearly every day, sometimes twice a day after that first week.   I have adapted so many of my recipes to use in that thing!  I make homemade chicken stock and doing it in that has been sooooo much easier!  And faster!

I’ve done, pot roast, goulash, pierogies with ham and broccoli, cheeseburger chowder,  beef curry, a corned beef (from frozen even) chicken wings, pork chops (I don’t recommend that… they dry out), chili and many other things!

I can officially say that I am part of the instapot craze and I do highly recommend them!   I am home all day but this would be a total lifesaver for those of you working outside the home!  Either with the delay timer, slow cooker or the “oh crap, I forgot to get something out of the freezer” feature! 

My instapot is a CrockPot brand and I am really impressed with it!  I have the 8 quart for our family of 5 people.  There is a 6 quart also if you don’t need one so large. 

You can purchase yours with the links below!  You won’t regret it!  I would love to hear what things those of you with an instapot have done with yours!

The 6 quart!

This is an 8 quart.  I couldn’t find an 8 quart in the Crock Pot brand to save my soul but Instapot is a great brand as well! 

Happy cooking! 

Posted in cleaning, laundry, Tips and Tricks

Laundry Cheat Sheet

I was tidying up in my laundry room and came across the “Laundry Cheat Sheet” that I made waaaaaay back when, when I was teaching my daughters how to do laundry.  I had put it in a page protector and hung it in the laundry room so that they could easily look to see how to wash what they were washing!  

As you can see, it is a bit wrinkled and worn.  It has been stored away for quite some time.  I thought it would be fun to update it and make it prettier and share it with you!  It can be a reminder for you or help you to teach your kids to laundry too.  

I am a fan of bleach.  I use inexpensive white hand towels and washcloths for my dish towels and dishcloths.  They can be bleached and when they get gross or wear out I throw them away!  I can’t stand the thought of all the bacteria and raw meat and all the nastiness that can be in a kitchen NOT being cleaned with bleach.  Bleh!  That is just my germophobia coming out I guess! 

I don’t wash my bath towels with dish towels.  It just seems yucky to me.   I don’t bleach my bath towels either.  Vinegar is a great way to get any smells out of the bath towels though!  No, they don’t end up smelling like pickles! 

I rarely dry any of our shirts.  The less time in the dryer, the longer your clothes will last.  Besides, I find that skipping that step and going straight to a hanger to dry and then to the closet speeds up the laundry process.  There is less in the dryer so those things dry faster, and the shirts are hung up already so they just have to be moved to the closet.  

This is one of my husband’s favorite shirts.  Notice the year printed on the shirt.  It has rarely ever been dried, if ever.  I would say it has lasted pretty well! 

My favorites things for laundry are right here!  You can purchase from Amazon by clicking on the pictures.

If you are subscribed to The Self Cleaning House you will receive the Laundry Cheat Sheet in your email!  I hope you enjoy it!  My Christmas present to you!

Posted in routines, self discipline, Tips and Tricks

New Year’s Resolutions

The new year is fast approaching and it is the time when people begin to think of change.  New habits they want to start, old ones they want to break.  

I have not been a huge fan of New Year’s Resolutions.  They sound good, but really they are just a way of procrastinating what we know we should be doing now, until the first of January.   We will probably spend money to lose weight or exercise or start some new craft or hobby and then by March,  if we are lucky to make it that long, we are back to where we were but with less money and nothing to show for it.   I am not trying to be a Debbie downer here, but let’s face it, it is pretty typical.  

I am very guilty of this myself, which is why I haven’t been a resolution enthusiast and most definitely don’t share my attempt at resolve to change an area of my life on social media.  No one likes to fail publicly! 

I am currently reading James Clear’s book Atomic Habits.  It is one of the most amazing books I have ever read!  If you want to really learn how to change your habits and change your life you need to get this book!  It is powerful! Because of this book, I may change my opinion and actually make some New Year’s Resolutions this coming year and stick to them! I am learning so much!

We often we fail to follow through with our efforts to change because although we WISH to change, we don’t really WANT to.   Even though we don’t like the habit or behavior we wish to change, it is comfortable.  Change is hard.    We may be afraid of change.  It may be subconscious.   We may not feel we deserve it.     We got there for a reason.   It may require working through those issues before change can happen.  

Another reason our resolutions flop is because we don’t know how to go about changing!  We rely on sheer willpower to make huge changes in our lives.  When we are tired, stressed, hungry, sad, our willpower is the first of our character traits to bail on us!  Our brain is trained to make us feel better and protect us.  It doesn’t know that a quart of ice cream at 10pm is a bad thing.  It just wants us to be ok.  

There are some amazing habit hacks that you can use to help you actually stick to those resolutions!   

Make your new habit as fun and attractive as possible! Buy a new pair of walking shoes or a cookbook.

Reward yourself! Pay yourself each time you work out and use that money for a spa day or for something you want.

Don’t make your new habit so difficult that you are defeated before you start.   Go to the gym a couple times a week, not 6 days a week for two hours a day!  Make it easy! 

Remove any obstacles that would give you an excuse to not follow through.  Set out your gym clothes at night.  Get rid of all the junk food in the house.

If you are trying to stop watching so much TV put the remote in another room or on top of a shelf that you can’t reach well. 

Change your routine.  If you always have cookies after dinner and you want to stop, immediately after dinner, do something else!  Go for a walk.  Take a bath.  

Most of those things relate to weight loss and healthy living but you can apply those principles to anything!

Those are just a few small things that are mentioned in this book.  There is a wealth of knowledge in it! 

You can purchase it here! 

I am following his blog as well.  It is always fascinating and I learn something new every time I read a new article.  I am kind of a nerd when it comes to self-improvement, productivity, motivation and that sort of thing.  If you are into that, you really should check it out!

If you are wanting to make a change in the New Year, whether in your home, in the way you go about housekeeping, or in your health or whatever it is you want to change, now actually is a good time to start planning and moving in that direction.  With the proper tools and knowledge, you will be able to achieve your goals! 

Check the routines page here on my blog for the basics to help you stay on track!  

Get the Atomic Habits to help you learn how to best keep those habits in place

And hide the Cookies!!