Things I Love: Instant Pot

InstantPot

I was dubious at first. It was Prime Day on Amazon and my wife spotted a deal there on something all her friends were raving about. It was something called an Instant Pot . The name and list of features she was rattling off sounded like one of those “As Seen On TV” things that only seem to work in the Infomercial. A combination pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice cooker, steamer with programable one-touch operation? Do sautéing beforehand right in the pot? It sounded way too good to be true. Especially because I’m the primary cook in the family…

Perfectly cooked rice in 8-12 minutes? Just throw the rice and water in the pot, put the lid on, push a button, and walk away? Yeah, right!

Potatoes and Eggs for potato salad in minutes? Cooked in the same pot at the same time? Get outta’ here!

Perfectly cooked Refried Beans without soaking? Just set it and forget it? I’ll believe it when I see it!

I mean, if this thing did even half the stuff people were claiming it did it would be worth it at double the price. Anything that saves me that much time in the kitchen and/or allows for quick and easy one pot meals is worth it’s weight in gold to me. So, we pulled the trigger and bought it.

I’ve cooked something at least three times a week in it since I got it and each time I’m just blown away. Just this afternoon I made Potato Salad for the first time with it using this recipe and was astonished yet again. Perfectly cooked potatoes and eggs in four minutes. FOUR! I love potato salad and with this I could make it for myself all the time. I’ve also made risotto in eight minutes and a red lentil stew in about 15 minutes.

Steal cut oatmeal. Homemade yogurt (yes, you can make yogurt with this thing). Chili’s and stews. I even made some tasty southern style cabbage that came out just like the stuff that takes hours on the stove in minutes. Seriously, this thing is legit!

What’s also nice is that portions don’t matter. You can cook a meal for one just as quickly and easily as a meal for six. That makes it perfect for anyone — single or not. I could easily see this being the perfect primary kitchen tool for a college dorm or small apartment. One could make fresh, easy, cheap, quick meals every day with this thing. The stainless steel liner makes for easy cleanup too.

It is rare that I jump on the latest gadget craze and walk away this impressed. It’s made me shamelessly brake out in happy dance around the kitchen several times since I got it. If you love to cook or hate to but would like to more often, give the Instant Pot your serious consideration.

Never Too Busy to Cure Clutter by Erin Rooney Doland — A Brief Review

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Never Too Busy to Cure Clutter: Simplify Your Life One Minute at a Time by Erin Rooney Doland

This is a practical, actionable, and approachable book that is designed for people who have “lives”. So many other books in the space are written by 20 somethings with no kids and nothing but free time on their hands (I’m looking at you Ms. Kondo). But, for those of us with jobs and kids and schedules packed end-to-end, spending 15 minutes folding a t-shirt to sit on end is just not going to happen.

This book is different. The author understands a normal life because she herself has one that she juggles too. This book is written from that perspective and understanding. It’s the sort of thing that you can pick up, turn to just about any page, and find at least one easy organizing task to make your space a bit better using the time and energy you have at the moment. No matter if that is two hours or thirty seconds, there are dozens of tips and ideas to fit either. The idea that making just a little bit of progress is far more valuable and rewarding than making none at all. Also, it is a start — thirty seconds here and 15 minutes there can clean up and organize a whole room.

Seriously, get this book. If you even manage to do five small tasks it suggests it will be money well spent.

Toms Men’s Avalon Sneaker — A Brief Review

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Toms Men’s Avalon Sneaker

I needed a nice slip on shoe to replace some slip-on Keen shoes I liked so much I literally wore them until they fell apart. I need slip ons for quick jaunts out of and around the house and, especially, for travel. I wanted something lightweight, comfortable, and easy to get on and off. They also needed to be good looking in a variety of situations — t-shirt and jeans but also maybe with a collared shirt and sport jacket. Ultimately, I was looking for a shoe that would satisfy my constant desire to pack light and go fast.

I seem to have found what I was looking for in Toms Men’s Avalon Sneaker. I’m really digging these. They fit the bill quite well. The fit is good and they look good without being too stuffy. I have a trip to New York City coming up and I can wait to take these on 20 block walks and see how the hold up. If first impressions are an indication I believe they’ll do great. I highly recommended them if you are in the market for something similar.

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