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What is a Chaffle?

chaffle recipe

Cutting down on carbs, especially bread, can be one of the hardest parts of dieting. But easy recipes like the chaffle can make low-carb and keto diets so easy!

SKIP TO THE RECIPE!

Explore this Article:

What is a Chaffle?

A chaffle is a keto waffle. It’s called a chaffle because one of its primary ingredients is shredded cheese, hence the CHAffle instead of Waffle, because chaffles are cheese waffles. Cute right?

Waffles are usually made of a flour-based batter, but a chaffle is flour free! Instead, chaffles are made of eggs and cheese. I know it sounds odd, but it actually works! And dieters everywhere are going crazy for this new low-carb waffle hack.

Chaffles are a great way for those on the keto diet to get their waffle fix. They’re also a great way to eat less carbs while still eating what you want! Even if it is a modified version. There are also endless combinations for what you can add to it and how you can dress up and use chaffles.

What You’ll Need

Chaffles are extremely simple and quick to make, but there are a few things you’ll need to gather from your kitchen, and if you don’t already have a waffle iron, you’ll need to get one.

Keto Chaffles Recipe

keto chaffle recipe
 

Here is the basic recipe for these keto, low-carb mini waffles. The serving size of this recipe is 2 chaffles.

Ingredients

1 large egg

1/2 cup finely shredded mozzarella cheese

Optional: (add 2 tablespoons of almond flour, baking powder, or coconut flour, to make it more like a batter)

Steps
  1. Whisk egg
  2. Mix in finely grated cheese
  3. Put the batter in a mini waffle maker for 2–3 minutes
  4. Serve and enjoy!

Sweet Chaffles

Just like ordinary waffles, these low-carb, keto-friendly waffles can come in sweet or savory form. You can make your chaffle sweet by adding any of the following ingredients into your mix:

  • Fruit
  • Cocoa powder
  • Pumpkin
  • Cream cheese

Savory Chaffles

You can also make your chaffle more savory by adding sharper kinds of cheeses. Chaffles work as a great low-carb replacement for sandwich bread. Here are a couple salty chaffle ideas for you to try:

  • Make a mini pizza
  • Use a sharper, cheddar cheese in your mix
  • Make a breakfast sandwich with eggs and bacon
  • Add bacon
  • Cream cheese

 
If you’re interested in this recipe, then you should also check out the following Facebook groups for more recipe ideas from your fellow chaffle-lovers:

Keto Chaffle House

Chaffle Recipes

Keto Chaffle Recipes (Low-Carb Chaffles Too)

There are many health benefits to eating the low-carb lifestyle, but there are monetary benefits too! Making chaffles is not only quick, it’s a super inexpensive meal as well. Learn more ways you can save on your food bill by reading our other article, “5 Easy Ways to Save Money on Your Food Bill,” and take advantage of our payday loans whenever you’re in a financial pinch and need groceries.

READ MORE
Check out even more yummy chaffle recipes!

Chaffles—The Viral Low-Carb Waffle Recipe Everyone is Loving!

Keto Chaffles Recipe (5 Ways!) + Ultimate Guide

Keto Chaffle Recipe

80 Best Halloween Movies, TV Shows, and Podcasts



halloween media list

October is a great time to get into some chilling Halloween media. There are movies and TV shows you can watch, suspenseful books you can read, and spooky podcasts you can listen to. This article is a Halloween media master list to help you decide what to watch, read, or listen to this Halloween.

If you need some creative Halloween snacks you can check out Food Network’s Halloween section on their website and make your monstrous media night complete! Tell us what your favorite Halloween Movie, TV Show or Podcast is in the comments section below!

Just don’t get TOO spooked this Halloween—viewer and listener discretion is advised!

Scary Movies

halloween movies

Horror films are a strong tradition for older audiences during the dark, cold Halloween nights. But kids often want to watch something special for Halloween too! So we included some kid Halloween movie ideas in this list as well.

Halloween Movies for Kids

1. Hotel Transylvania
2. Hocus Pocus
3. Halloweentown
4. Casper
5. It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown
6. The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About Halloween
7. The Curse of the Were-Rabbit

Halloween Movies on Netflix

8. Coraline
9. Goosebumps
10. Candyman
11. 1922: Based on the Novella by Stephen King
12. Little Witch: The Halloween Horror Story
13. Insidious
14. The Conjuring

Halloween Movies on Amazon Prime

15. I, Frankenstein
16. Sweeney Todd
17. Corpse Bride
18. Haunted
19. Lost Creek
20. The Legend of Halloween Jack
21. The Uninvited
22. The Witching
23. Halloween Horror Tales
24. The Woman in Black

Halloween Movies on Hulu

Hulu really likes to make an event out of Halloween. They have what they call Huluween, which is a category you can choose when browsing Hulu for what to watch.

25. Little Monsters
26. Uncanny Annie
27. Pure
28. School Spirit
29. Culture Shock
30. They Come Knocking
31. All That We Destroy
32. Tree House
33. Down

The “Halloween” Movie Series in Order

The Halloween franchise is a long series of movies starring Nick Castle as the infamous Michael Myers. But because there are so many movies in the series it can be confusing which movie goes in which order.

Below is the answer to all your questions about the Halloween movie series order:

  1. Halloween (1978), directed by John Carpenter
  2. Halloween II (1981), directed by Rick Rosenthal
  3. Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982), directed by Tommy Lee Wallace
  4. Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers (1988), directed by Dwight H. Little
  5. Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers (1989), directed by Dominique Othenin-Girard
  6. Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers (1995), directed by Joe Chappelle
  7. Halloween H20: 20 Years Later (1998), directed by Steve Miner
  8. Halloween: Resurrection (2002), directed by Rick Rosenthal
  9. Halloween (2007), directed by Rob Zombie
  10. Halloween II (2009), directed by Rob Zombie
  11. Halloween (2018), directed by David Gordon Green
  12. Halloween Kills (2020), directed by David Gordon Green
  13. Halloween Ends (2021), directed by David Gordon Green

Spooky TV Shows

halloween tv

Many shows will have a TV special for holidays like Halloween, but some TV series will dedicate the entire show to the spooky feelings of the Halloween season. These Halloween-themed TV shows make great binging material for those who want more than a movie to watch.

Halloween TV Shows on Netflix

34. The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina
35. Charmed (the original 1998 series, and the newer 2018 version)
36. Stranger Things
37. Castlevania
38. Haunted
39. Penny Dreadful
40. Dexter
41. Van Helsing
42. Glitch
43. A Series of Unfortunate Events
44. The Haunting of Hill House

Halloween Anime on Netflix

45. Devilman
46. Death Note
47. Soul Eater

Halloween TV Shows on Amazon Prime

48. Lore
49. Fringe
50. Addams Family
51. Sabrina: The Teenage Witch
52. Haunted

Halloween TV Shows on Hulu

53. Light as a Feather
54. Castle Rock
55. Dimension 404
56. 11.22.63
57. Freakish
58. Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Suspenseful Books

halloween books

Don’t forget amidst all your haunted media consumption this year to include a few books as well. The freedom your imagination has to embellish scary stories from literature will leave you with chills until late November.

59. The Shining

By Stephen King

Kindle: $8.99

Audiobook: FREE with Audible trial!

60. Suspicious Minds

By Gwenda Bond

Kindle: $12.99

Audiobook: FREE with Audible trial!

This book is the first official Stranger Things novel! It’s a prequel to the Netflix original Stranger Things TV series.

61. Annihilation: Book One of the Southern Reach Trilogy

By Jeff VanderMeer

Kindle: $9.94

Audiobook: FREE with Audible Trial!

62. Fake Like Me

By Barbara Bourland

Kindle: $14.99

Audiobook: FREE with Audible Trial!

63. The Invited

By Jennifer McMahon

Kindle: $12.99

Audiobook: FREE with Audible Trial!

Creepy Audiobooks

halloween books

Looking to hear some great ghost stories? Audiobooks are a great way to listen to the eerie voices of narrators recounting ghostly tales while you and your friends listen in the dark or around a campfire.

64. Frankenstein

By Mary Shelley

Narrated by Dan Stevens

Kindle: $0.50

Audiobook: FREE with Audible Trial!

65. Dracula

By Bram Stoker

Narrated by David Suchet and Tom Hiddleston

Kindle: FREE!

Audiobook: FREE with Audible Trial!

66. The Haunting of Hill House

Narrated by Bernadette Dunne

Kindle: $14.99

Audiobook: FREE with Audible Trial!

67. Interview with a Vampire

By Anne Rice

Narrated by Simon Vance

Kindle: $7.99

Audiobook: FREE with Audible Trial!

68. Lincoln in the Bardo

By George Saunders

Narrated by Nick Offerman, David Sedaris, Julianne Moore, Ben Stiller, Susan Sarandon, Megan Mullally, Bill Hader, Don Cheadle, and over 150 other voice actors

Kindle: $13.99

Audiobook: FREE with Audible Trial!

69. The Handmaid’s Tale

By Margaret Atwood

Narrated by Claire Danes

Kindle: FREE with Kindle Unlimited

Audiobook: FREE with Audible Trial!

Eerie Podcasts

halloween podcasts

These horror podcasts are all available on Google Play Music so that whether you have an Android or an iPhone you can listen to all these podcasts. There are podcasts here that talk about the supernatural and the strange, and then there are others that talk about the real life horrors of true crime.

70. Cabinet of Curiosities

By iHeartRadio and Aaron Mahnke

71. Lore

By Aaron Mahnke

72. Unobscured

By iHeartRadio and Aaron Mahnke

73. Listen with the Lights On

By WAMC

74. Pretty Scary

By Unpops Podcast Network

75. My Favorite Murder

By Exactly Right

76. Unexplained Mysteries

By Parcast Network

77. The Strange and Unusual Podcasts

By Alyson Horrocks

78. Hollywood and Crime

By Wondery

79. This Podcast is Haunted

By Jen Vos and Cate Reed

80. Welcome to Night Vale

By Night Vale Presents

 

One of the funnest parts of the Halloween season is getting into some spooky media! Use this master list of scary, Halloween movies and more to kick start your Halloween media binge this year or to pick a movie for a scary movie night with your friends. If you need any financial help getting your monster movie night together, check out Check City’s payday loans.


READ MORE

Use this article to help set up your movie night, “5 Ingenious Movie Night Ideas for Your Movie Themed Party.”

Save money going to the theater to see new scary movies this year by using MoviePass, “Save Money With MoviePass.”


Let us know your favorite Halloween-themed books, movies, TV shows, and podcasts by commenting below!

Comments:

13 Halloween Activities to Do this October

halloween fun

Halloween isn’t just for little kids who go trick or treating. There are loads of things to do during this spooky section of the fall season that all ages can enjoy.

October is a great time of year because it’s Halloween time and fall time. So it’s completely up to you how you celebrate this month—whether decide to do spookier, Halloween themed activities, or just fall time ones.
 
Here are 13 things to do this October:

  1. Have a Halloween Party
  2. Have a Scary Movie Night
  3. Start Some Fall Time Baking
  4. Go to a Haunted House or Corn Maze
  5. Carve Pumpkins
  6. Do Some Crafts
  7. Participate in Your Community
  8. Trunk or Treat with Friends
  9. Play Games
  10. Make Your Own Haunted House
  11. Have a Campfire and Tell Each Other Scary Stories
  12. Read Scary Books
  13. Listen to Spooky Podcasts

There are tons of fun, festive activities you can do in October, or you can search events near you on google. By the time October comes around there are often tons of events going on for kids, families, and friends near you.

1. Have a Halloween Party

halloween party
 

Include a Costume Contest

Costume contests are a great event to include in any Halloween party. A costume contest is a great idea too because it gives those who have grown out of their trick or treat years a chance to dress up for Halloween too. Here are some things you can do to successfully hold a Halloween costume contest.

Decide what the prize will be.

You can make some kind of trophy or you can buy one. You can even have different rewards for winning different categories.

Halloween costume category ideas:

  • best group costume
  • scariest costume
  • funniest costume
  • most creative
  • most original

Make the invites!

Like any event, you’ll want to invite your guests. You can quickly invite everyone you know by making a Facebook event. You can also put up flyers or send out invites in the mail. You can make your spooky invites yourself the traditional way, with glue and paper, or you can design and print them on free websites like Canva and Adobe Spark. If you don’t want to pay for printing out a bunch of invites, but you still want to design something fun, you can also send out your spooktacular design via email.

Decide what the rules will be.

If your costume contest is going to need a set of rules, it’s best to outline them as early as possible so that people can appropriately plan their costumes ahead of time.

Examples of costume contest rules:

  • Maybe it’s a family party and costumes need to be appropriate, or not too gruesome
  • Maybe it’s a themed party and costumes need to be on theme
  • You can have rules about whether you allow group contestants

Choose the judges.

Every contest needs judges to decide the end results. Before you can have the contest you’ll need to decide who these judges will be.
If you don’t want to have the outcome of your contest depend on the decision of one or a few people, you can make everyone the judge and provide a place for guests to enter their own votes for who should win.

Figure out how you’ll judge.

After you decide who will judge you have to decide how they’ll judge. They’ll need to know what things to look for in deciding who should win.

How to judge a costume contest:

  • Scariness
  • Creativity
  • Originality
  • Best group costumes
Play Games

Board games don’t have to be Halloween themed in order to be a great group activity for a party. October is a cold month, making things like board games a great thing to do when you and your guests want to stay indoors.

Party Food

The food for your Halloween party is one of the things you can get super creative about. For instance, you can put labels on the food to give them spooky names. Punch then becomes a witch’s cauldron, grapes become spider eggs, and deviled eggs become eyeballs.

Choose a beverage

There are an endless variety of punches for you to choose from. Below are some websites with witchy Halloween brews to quench your ghoulish guest’s thirst:

Choose appetizers

Every party needs some great food to keep everybody full and happy. There are the staple party foods like chips, pretzels, and dip. But you can also make your own little appetizers, or your own party mix, to add some Halloween creativity to your food table.

Spooky Playlist

Lots of music streaming services have a Halloween themed playlist you can use.

2. Have a Scary Movie Night

scary movie night
 

Have a movie night with friends, host a drive in movie, or if it’s not too cold you can have an outdoor movie night on the lawn. You’ll need to plan some movie worthy snacks, like popcorn, soda, candy, and other treats.

Then you’ll need to plan the movie watching space, gathering all the cozy blankets, pillows, and flashlights your guests will need to be comfortable during the duration of the movie. You could even make a fort for you all to hide out in while you watch some scarier movie choices.
Then you’ll need to pick your movie.

Classic Halloween Movies

Experience some older but great Halloween movies this season.

  • Hocus Pocus
  • The Nightmare before Christmas
  • Halloweentown
  • Casper
  • Monster House
  • Beetlejuice
Halloween Movie Snacks
  • popcorn, seasoned sweet or salty
  • pretzels
  • fruits
  • veggie trays
  • make your own monster mash mix

3. Start Some Fall Time Baking

fall time baking
 

You can have a night of baking or cooking together with friends! Gather your favorite people around you, listen to your favorite music, turn on a show, converse, or play games all while making yummy fall time foods and desserts.

Check out these 50 Easy Fall Baking Recipes from Taste of Home for some ideas of what you could bake. But here are some other fall staples you could look into making with some friends:

  • Maple donuts. Everyone can help form the donuts out of the dough.
  • Candy apples. This is a great group activity because you can have all the decorating options out on a table and everyone can make up their own candy apples.
  • Pumpkin bread. Slices of this seasonal bread goes great with warm cups of cocoa or apple cider.
  • Apple cider. If you live near an apple orchard or an apple cider press you can make a night of picking apples and watching them get pressed into freshly made apple cider.
  • Sticky buns. A warm, gooey classic to chunk out on in the cold months.

4. Go to a Haunted House or Corn Maze

There are lots of outdoor Halloween activities you can do in October. There are scary corn mazes and regular ones, hayrides, and haunted houses.

5. Carve Pumpkins

carve pumpkin
 

Jack-o-lanterns can be really fun, no matter how old you are.

  • Remember to be safe
  • Use templates
  • Make it a competition
  • Use sharpie to draw your design first
  • box cutters
  • Use a pumpkin carving kit
  • use a tarp!

6. Do Some Crafts

This is an especially great activity to do when you have little kids to occupy. Happiness is Homemade has some great craft ideas to choose from.

7. Participate in Your Community

You can volunteer! Or start a cause or charity. This time of year is a great time to use Halloween fun as an opportunity to fundraise, or do a coat drive.

8. Trunk or Treat with Friends

Just because you’re not 8 years old anymore, that doesn’t mean you can’t have your own trunk or treat with friends. Everyone can decorate the trunks of their car as you all go around the parking lot getting candy and being with those you care about.

9. Play Games

Before it gets too cold out you can all get outside and play some fun spooky games. There are some classic games you can play with friends that can really get you in the eerie Halloween spirit.

10. Make Your Own Haunted House

haunted house
 

Who needs to spend money on expensive tickets when you can haunt your own house!

  • Decide where you’re going to have it, the porch, inside the house, in the basement
  • Use tarps to make the walls
  • Cover everything in cobwebs
  • Save money by making your own decorations and scary characters

11. Have a Campfire and Tell Each Other Scary Stories

campfire
 

Here’s a list of some books where you can find uncomfortable tales to tell in the dark.

12. Read Scary Books

13. Listen to Spooky Podcasts

 

It’s always fun to do seasonal things and get into the spirit of the season, whether that means doing scary stuff like haunted houses, or just festive fall time things like baking. And if payday just isn’t landing on the right day this October, you can always take out a convenient Payday Loan to tide you over.


READ MORE

Plan your Halloween festivities this year, “Start Planning Your Halloween Festivities Today.”

Keep you and your kids safe this Halloween with these tips, “5 Important Halloween Safety Tips.”

Stay on budget this year with these Halloween budgeting tips, “Saving Money on Halloween.”

Get inspired for your Halloween costume, “8 Cheap Halloween Costume Ideas on a Budget.”


6 Basic Instant Pot Recipes

instant pot recipes

Having a yummy, wholesome, home cooked meal for dinner each night is a part of the typical dream lifestyle. But who has the time?

By using an instant pot to make your meals you won’t need time to have home cooked meals every day! These aren’t the only basic recipes you can do with a pressure cooker though. Take a look at the READ MORE section at the bottom of this article for more essential instant pot recipes. Below are some the most basic instant pot recipes to help get you started:

  1. Potatoes
  2. Rice
  3. Beans
  4. Chicken
  5. Vegetables
  6. Pasta

More Recipes

Unlike a slow cooker, an instant pot lets you make healthy, budget friendly meals in a matter of minutes instead of hours. It can bring you back to cooking basics and save you on the kinds of groceries that add up quickly the way things like frozen pizzas do.

If you need any help with the food bill this week while you wait for an inconveniently placed payday, you can always get a Check City Personal Loan to tide you over.

With an instant pot cooker you can plan your weeknight dinners for the week much more easily. Instant Pot is one of the main instant pot brands, but there are many brands of pressure cookers you can choose from for your instant cooking needs.

Instant Pot’s website also has their own list of recipes for you to choose from. The recipes below come from a couple different sources, and are some of the most basic recipes you’ll want to to start saving on your grocery bill and getting back to the basics of homemade meals.

1. Potatoes

potatoes

You can do so many things with potatoes, mashed potatoes being one of the most popular American dishes. With the quick and easy instant pot you can make comfort foods like potato soup as well.

Ingredients
  • 3 lbs russet potatoes (cut into cubes)
  • 1 cup chicken broth, or water
  • 1/2 cup milk or half and half
  • 3 tbsp butter
Directions
  1. put potatoes, broth or water in the pot
  2. seal the lid
  3. select pressure cook and adjust to high
  4. set timer for 8 minutes
  5. After 8 minutes turn the valve to venting to manually quick release the pressure
  6. drain potatoes and set the liquid aside
  7. add milk (or half and half) and butter
  8. mash
  9. add back the liquid you set aside as needed

2. Rice

rice

Rice is a side dish that can go with almost any meal. For instance, you can serve chicken and rice along with some steamed vegetables for a rounded dinner.

Ingredients
  • 1 cup rice
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tsp oil
  • a pinch of salt
Directions
  1. rinse rice
  2. add rice, water, oil, and salt to instant pot
  3. lock lid and set steam valve to seal
  4. cook 4-8 minutes
  5. let pressure release naturally for 10 minutes, then release manually

3. Beans

beans

Beans are a healthy source of protein and can also go well with a lot of other dishes. You can use beans in different soups and salads as well as a side dish to your main meal.

Ingredients
  • 1 lb black beans
  • 1 tbsp onion powder
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1-2 tsp salt
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 6 cups vegetable/chicken broth or water (Use 4 cups liquid for every 1 cup beans. Make sure the pot is not filled more than halfway so your beans have room to expand)
Directions
  1. put everything into the pot
  2. turn valve to sealing
  3. press beans and chili
  4. release pressure naturally for 20 minutes before opening

4. Chicken

chicken

Instant pot chicken may be one of the most popular dishes to make. Chicken is cheap and with some seasonings and sauces it can make a truly delicious meal. You can even use chicken thighs for some extra tender flavor.

Ingredients
  • 2 tsp dried parsley
  • 1 tsp dried dill
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp dried chives
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
Directions
  1. set to saute and add oil
  2. sear chicken on both sides until golden
  3. transfer to a plate and add spices to the chicken
  4. add broth to pot
  5. put trivet in pot and put chicken on the trivet
  6. Lock lid and pressure cook on high for 5 minutes

5. Vegetables

vegetables

Vegetables are an important part of our diet, but we often forget about them. With a pressure cooker you can easily whip up any assortment of your favorite veggies to go along with almost any supper. Buying fresh vegetables is often cheaper than buying them frozen too.

Ingredients
  • 1 cup water or vegetable broth
  • 1/2 lb carrots
  • 1 lb fresh, trimmed green beans
  • 1 1/2 lbs chopped red potatoes
Directions
  1. pour water into the pot
  2. put steamer basket into the pot
  3. place vegetables into the steamer basket
  4. secure the lid
  5. steam for 5 minutes and let sit for 5 more minutes
  6. season the vegetables to taste

6. Pasta

pasta

Next to bread, pasta may be one of the world’s favorite carbs. Healthy pastas can be a great source of grain in your diet when eaten in moderation. Pasta can also be a great base for a lot of creative dishes.

Ingredients
  • 4 cups water, plus more as needed
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 (16 ounces) package penne pasta
  • 1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes in puree
  • 1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp dried basil OR 1 tablespoon fresh chopped basil
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • Freshly grated parmesan, romano, or mozzarella cheese for garnishing
Directions
  1. put the water, vegetable oil, salt, and pasta into the instant pot
  2. place rack in the instant pot
  3. put the tomatoes, garlic powder, basil, red pepper flakes, and salt into a pot on top of the rack
  4. lock the lid
  5. select high pressure and set to 3 minutes
  6. quick release the lid
  7. strain water out of the noodles and combine the pasta and sauce

These are just a few examples of some super basic instant pot recipes that you can use to make an unending array of meals throughout the week. Make your meals quickly each night or cook in bulk and have awesome leftovers for the rest of the week.

READ MORE

Learn all about taking care of your instant pot, “How to Use an Instant Pot to Save You Money.”

For a collection of beef recipes, including beef stew, “Most Popular Instant Pot Beef Recipes.”

For instant pot pulled pork, “Instant Pot Pulled Pork.”

For roasting pork in the instant pot, “How to Roast Pork in the Instant Pot.”

Instant pot boiled eggs recipe, “Instant Pot Hard Boiled Eggs.”

For some other ways to save money on your grocery bill read, “How to Save Money on Food Costs.”

How to Use an Instant Pot to Save You Money

use an instant pot

We’re always looking for ways to save on meals and groceries, but have you ever thought about how the way you cook food could also save you money?

How Does an Instant Pot Work?

An instant pot is basically the modernized version of a pressure cooker. A pressure cooker uses high pressure to cook the food inside. A pressure cooker is a pot that you use on the stove top, but the instant pot is an electric pressure cooker, so it doesn’t go on the stove top, it plugs into an outlet. It uses a strong clamp-down lid to seal in the contents of the pot and the heat, for some fast, efficient cooking. Now your water can boil at even higher temperatures because less heat is escaping into the air. The steam and building pressure inside the instant pot can also help your food get more moist, tender, and full of infused flavors.

In a really simple form, you can think of it as a crock pot, or a slow cooker. You put the ingredients inside, close the lid, and punch in your settings. But instead of letting your food stew in the crock pot for 4 to 8 hours, you can put ingredients inside the instant pot, close the lid, set the settings, and have your food ready in just 15 to 30 minutes.

When your food is done cooking there are two ways to release the steam inside. You can use a quick release by turning the valve at the top manually and letting all the steam out right away or you can let it go, and the steam will naturally release over time. You’ll want to use the quick release when your food is done cooking, and the natural release when you want your food to keep cooking a little longer while it cools down.

How to Use an Instant Pot
  1. heat up the pressure cooker
  2. place the food inside
  3. seal the lid
  4. set your pressure level and your cooking time
  5. release the pressure when the time goes off
  6. wait however long the recipe says for the pressure to release
  7. thoroughly clean the pressure cooker after your meal and put it away for next time

 
instant pot cooking
 

Hot Water Test

Understanding how an instant pot works is important if you’re going to start cooking with one. It is a different type of cooking since you aren’t just using heat from the stovetop or oven, you’re using pressurized heat and steam. Because of this instant pots come with their own science of cooking that you’ll want to become acquainted with before you begin using your new instant pot.

To help you understand what happens inside your instant pot while it’s cooking you can do the hot water test. The hot water test will show you how the pressure cooker works, and how much water evaporates as it cooks. Depending on what you’re cooking inside the pot, you will probably need less water than you’re used to.

  1. pour 3 cups of water into the instant pot
  2. close the lid
  3. in your settings select simply steam or pressure cook
  4. set the timer to 5 minutes
  5. when the timer goes off, turn the valve to release the pressure

Now you can see what happened to the water. Measure it and see for yourself how much water evaporates in a pressure cooker as opposed to a pot on the stovetop.

How an Instant Pot Saves You Money

save money
 

Have you ever felt the struggle of wanting to eat well, but not having the amount of time necessary or the energy to spend cooking healthy, real meals every day? We know that eating healthy has so many obvious, long-term benefits, but in our busy day-to-day lives, it can be a real struggle to eat right. Money and time constraints get in the way and we end up buying another frozen pizza or eating out again. Thankfully, with the instant pot, eating right doesn’t have to take more than 20 minutes of your time.

By eating healthier every day you’ll have better health. Staying in good health can really save your wallet. Being healthier means you’ll feel more energized, get sick less often, avoid missing work, keep your medical bills low, and keep the doctor away, as the saying goes.

An instant pot can help you save while stocking your pantry as well. Cooking with the instant pot can bring you back to cooking basics, helping you eat simpler, more satisfying meals. You can easily and quickly cook rice and even dry beans! Eating this way is also ultimately cheaper. It’s cheaper to keep your pantry stocked with the basics (like rice, beans, potatoes, seasonings, and sauces etc.) that you can use to make many different kinds of meals throughout the week, rather than pay for a full meal at a fast food place.

If you need any help with the food bill this week while you wait for an inconveniently placed payday, you can always get a Check City Personal Loan to tide you over.

  • Miss work less often
  • Spend less on medical bills and doctor visits
  • Spend less time cooking meals and more time on other pursuits
  • Spend less on groceries

How to Clean Your Instant Pot

After eating your yummy, healthy, homemade meal, it can be tempting to leave the dishes undone and move on to other things. But try and not wait too long after using the instant pot to clean it out, because letting thing crust over will only make it harder to clean later.

  1. Take it apart
  2. Hand wash the outer lid and instant pot with warm soapy water. The inner pot and accessories can go in the dishwasher
  3. let white vinegar sit in the instant pot for 5 minutes to remove stains
  4. Use a small brush to get in between spaces
  5. Steam clean it, 1 cup water, 1 cup vinegar, lemon slices, on the steam mode to get rid of smells
  6. Dry and put back together

Tips and Tricks You’ll Want to Know

  • Replace sealing rings
  • You can get accessories like a glass lid so you can see inside
  • Bring your instant pot camping or on vacation, all it needs is a power source to cook
  • You can cook freezer meals
  • You can make popcorn
  • Get meal Tupperware and prep your meals for the week ahead of time
  • Reheat in the instant pot instead of the microwave using the warm setting
  • Use the rack to cook 2 things at the same time, like meat and veggies, or do pot-in-pot cooking
  • Use the curved end of the ladle to safely turn the release valve without getting your hands too close to the steam.
  • You can rest your lid upright by putting the handle of the lid into the rectangle opening of the handle of the pot.
  • To cook even faster, use already hot water in your instant pot so it comes to pressure even faster
  • Make a tin foil sling to put under the pot your putting in the pot so that you can easily lift your pot out
  • Get more than one stainless steel insert
  • Use some handy time-table charts to know how long things should cook
  • You can turn the instant pot onto saute mode before you put your ingredients inside in order to get it heated up and cook faster

Warnings

There are some warnings to be careful of when working with an instant pot. There are also some things you just can’t do with a pressure cooker, but don’t worry. What you can do with a pressure cooker still far outweighs what you can’t.

  • Be careful you don’t overheat it
  • Be careful of the steam
  • Keep it off of hot surfaces
  • Don’t put the appliance in the dishwasher
  • Don’t fill it more than 2/3
  • Don’t open the lid until it’s completely depressurized
  • Don’t make fried foods in a pressure cooker
  • Milk will curdle in the pressure cooker



READ MORE
Read more about how to save money on groceries, “How to Save Money on Food Costs.”

Find some great basic instant pot recipes, “6 Basic Instant Pot Recipes.”

Read more about Instant Pot hacks by reading the following articles:

11 Clever Hacks That Will Make You Love Your Instant Pot Even More

20 Instant Pot Hacks Every Cook Should Know

16 Genius Instant Pot Hacks That Will Blow Your Mind

7 Tips for Workplace Wellness

tips for workplace wellness

In order to take good care of your work you first have to take good care of yourself. Taking care of your well-being will not only help you in life, but it will help you in the office as well.

Explore this Article

  1. Get Quality Sleep
  2. Fuel Your Body Effectively
  3. Exercise
  4. Prevent Eye Strain
  5. Decorate Your Desk
  6. Learn to Unwind
  7. Have Pursuits Outside of Work

Believe it or not, but even an office job can have its own hazards. You may not think about it but everything from vending machine food and sitting all day can cause serious health problems. But don’t worry, there are plenty of ways to combat these workplace hazards and increase office wellness. This can mainly be done by having a work-life balance. Everyone always seems to be talking about having a good work-life balance, but what does this balance really mean? Ultimately your wellness at work is about taking care of your physical and mental health.

Take Care of Your Body

physical well-being

Get QUALITY Sleep

Sleep is a factor that greatly affects your performance throughout the day as well as your physical and mental well-being. But it isn’t enough to just go to bed and hope for the best. You don’t just want enough sleep you want quality sleep. There are ways you can optimize your sleep so that you are getting the most out of your nights.

Go to bed and wake up at the same time

This will help your body to adjust to a regular schedule. Once your body is used to this schedule falling asleep each night and waking up each morning will become much easier. Set an alarm or reminder for when you need to start getting ready for bed to help you learn to wind down at the same time each night.

Stay hydrated

You actually get dehydrated as you sleep which can cause a dry and hoarse throat in the morning, leg cramps during the night, and an overall lack of quality sleep. You lose hydration in the night through breathing or a dry or warm environment in your bedroom. Another thing that can cause night dehydration is exercising late in the evening. To combat this issue, hydrate yourself well throughout the day, keep a water bottle on your nightstand, and keep your room temperature on the colder side with a humidifier turned on while you sleep.

Fuel Your Body EFFECTIVELY

Your body is like a complicated machine and in order to work at top performance levels and feel its very best your body needs fuel that it can work with. There are a lot of foods out there today that might be quick, easy, and immediately filling, but they won’t provide your insides with the proper nutrients to function at full capacity and eventually you’ll feel this as you feel more and more lethargic throughout the workday. You can fuel your body with a lot of things, but only certain nutrients will give you effective nourishment to give you optimal health and energy.

Eat wholesome meals

Make healthy meals at home and take healthy meals with you to work. Many of your coworkers might be going out to eat every day and though this might be fun in the short term it probably isn’t beneficial in the long term. Healthy homemade lunches will improve your physical wellness and improve your spending! You can also start bringing in healthier treats for your coworkers to help improve workplace wellness as a whole.

Eat wholesome snacks

If your stomach is growling for the majority of the day, you will likely crash before the end. Make sure you have the right nourishment going into your body and it will pay off. Even simple snacks can help keep you going between meals. Nuts, fruits, and cut up vegetables can really give you the energy you need to make it through the day.

Cut down on sugars

One of the biggest issues office workers fight on a typical workday is lethargy. Sugar intake can be one of the major contributing factors to your lethargy. Take note of the sugar content of what you are consuming in a regular day and you’ll see how prevalent this ingredient has become in a lot of our foods.

Then remember, while you pick your foods each day, that each gram of sugar adds to unpleasant feelings like bloating and tiredness. Make sure you take these tips to heart in order to keep your body happy and healthy throughout the workday and throughout your life. You will be grateful when you still have energy after retirement!

Stay hydrated

You would be shocked to know how much staying hydrated can improve your workplace wellness. There is nothing more important than drinking enough water throughout the day. It doesn’t matter whether it is summer or winter, your body is made up mostly of water and you need to continually replenish it. Don’t wait till you are thirsty to start drinking. It is much better to have a set amount that you plan on drinking throughout the day.

In general it is advised that you drink 8 glasses of water a day. It can help to have a designated water bottle that you keep with you throughout the day to drink from. If you have trouble getting yourself to drink enough water each day try drinking with a reusable straw. This can make drinking enough liquids faster and easier. Another thing you can do is put things in your water to make drinking water more fun! You can add cut up fruits and vegetables, mint leaves, and many other things to your water to make staying hydrated healthy, tasty, and fun.

Exercise

Exercise may seem like a dauntingly intense habit to get into, but it’s actually one of the easiest ways to boost your well-being because any amount of it will help. Even if you only go out of your way to exercise 20 minutes on weekdays, that’s still better than no exercise at all.

The average person is advised to get 75 to 150 minutes of physical activity into each week. This averages out to be around 30 minutes a day. Thirty minutes really isn’t asking too much of your time and there are a million ways you can get this 30 minutes of physical activity into your day without having to do crazy intense workout sessions at the gym. You can simply go on a walk, plan a hike for the weekend, go swimming, biking, or take a physical class like dancing or yoga.

Put Exercise on the Agenda

You can implement a routine of exercise into your day before or after work. Getting yourself to exercise will be easier if you schedule it into a specific time of day. In fact, a study found that working out at the same time each day made exercise more effective.

Work Out at Work!

You can also find ways to grab some exercise while you’re at work! There are hundreds of exercises you can do at your desk. Everything from simple stretches to replacing your chair with a stability ball can greatly improve your health.

Whatever you choose to do, change things up and get your body moving as much as possible. By the end of the day when most of your coworkers are crying about sore backs and tired limbs, you will be ready to keep going with your day.

Office Friendly Exercises

  • Practice good posture
  • Leg raises
  • Chair dips
  • Use weights at your desk
  • Ab workouts with your swivel chair, or stability ball
  • Lean on your desk to do planks or pushups
  • Use a standing desk
  • Go for a walk around the building
  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator

Prevent Eye Strain

If you work in an office chances are you also get a lot of screen time at work. Staring at screens all day can put a strain on your eyes and even cause headaches and nausea after a while. But you can help prevent eye strain by getting a blue light filter on your screen, or blue light filter glasses to wear at work. It is also a good idea to take a break or two from your screen while at work to give your eyes a rest.

Take Care of Your Mind

mental well-being

Decorate Your Desk

Decorating your desk will make you happier, and liven up your workspace. You can get plants, you can set up some photos, you can decorate with cool looking bulletins and white boards, or splurge on a special mug or thermos just for your desk.

Learn to Unwind

You don’t have to pay for an expensive spa to still have your own personal spa day. There are endless things you can do to unwind and everyone relaxes in different ways. For some people relaxing may include hanging out with friends and going out. For others, relaxing may mean staying home, taking a warm bath, watching TV, or reading a good book. In order to learn how to unwind you need to learn more about yourself and what relaxation techniques work best for you.

  • Learn about mediation
  • Keep a journal
  • go outdoors
  • listen to music
  • have a spa night
  • read a book

Have Pursuits Outside of Work

It will give you a special sense of accomplishment to have your own personal pursuits outside of your job. And if you need help with funds to make your club or go on a weekend getaway you can use a Check City Personal Loan!

  • Volunteer
  • Join a book club
  • Start your own group or club
  • Join a recreational or intermediate sports team
  • Make personal goals
  • Plan vacations and getaways
  • Take a class

Having workplace wellness is all about having a work-life balance. Having a work-life balance is all about taking care of both your body and mind. If you remember these key principles of taking good care of yourself than not only will your life and health improve, but you will actually become more successful and productive at work as well!

READ MORE

Read “Workplace Wellness” from Mental Health America (MHA) to learn more ways you can improve the overall well-being of your employees.

Read an NPR report about how effective wellness programs are in the article, “How Well Do Workplace Wellness Programs Work?

Read an article from Corporate Wellness Magazine called, “What is Workplace Wellness Really? “ to learn more about what workplace wellness means.

For more tips about workplace wellness, see our article, “How to Stay Healthy at Work.”


The Science of Skipping Breakfast: Is Breakfast Really the Most Important Meal of the Day?

friday
You’ve probably had someone tell you that “skipping breakfast is bad” and that “breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” Perhaps that person was your mother or your spouse.

Many people hold religiously to the idea that breakfast is of the utmost importance and that skipping it is tantamount to chopping years off your life. Others remain firmly in the breakfast-skipping camp, happily carrying on with their lives free from a morning meal of cereal or oatmeal.

Skipping Breakfast May Be OK

Science has lent some credence to the breakfast skipper’s refusal to cave to their peer’s admonitions: recent research shows that it’s probably OK to go without breakfast. In one study at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, 300 volunteers who were trying to lose weight were instructed to either eat breakfast or skip it entirely. At the end of the study, there was no significant difference in the weight loss results between the two groups.

Other studies, as reported by Gretchen Reynolds of The New York Times, also support the idea that skipping breakfast isn’t bad for your health. As she put it, “If you like breakfast, fine; but if not, don’t sweat it.”

Conflicting Data

Writing for The Atlantic, James Hamblin pointed out that science on the matter of breakfast has been starkly divided. Some studies indicate that eating breakfast helps lower the risk of heart disease. In fact, WebMD has an article titled “Why Breakfast Is the Most Important Meal of the Day.”
It makes sense that children need breakfast to perform well at school. What that breakfast includes is probably more important that whether or not it’s eaten in the first place. Sugary cereals are not very likely to prepare a child for a good day at school as they will produce an almost instant sugar spike, followed by a lull in energy and cravings for more sugary items.
It’s actually much better to go with whole grains, lean protein and a fruit or vegetable. Eating a meal comprised of these food items will help maintain a more stable glucose level, a feeling of being fuller for longer and will help control any cravings for sugar laden snacks.

As far as weight gain goes, a study at the University of Bath showed that people who eat breakfast consume more calories than those who skip it. It’s long been a widely held belief that the breakfast-eaters would gain more weight as a result, but the same study also showed that breakfast-skippers burned fewer calories throughout the day. Therefore the effects between the two groups evened out.
There’s been a prevalent myth that skipping breakfast causes you to consume more calories later in the day. The idea is that you’ll end up being so ravenous that you’ll consume larger quantities of food for lunch and dinner. However, the research just doesn’t support this claim.

Quality of Breakfast Counts More Than Whether You Skip It or Not

It’s a little silly to discuss whether skipping breakfast is bad for you without considering the quality of that breakfast in the first place. If you eat a breakfast high in sugar and trans fat, like pancakes with butter, cream and syrup, with a side of eggs and bacon, is that really better than eating no breakfast at all?

So it logically follows that skipping breakfast may be OK—as long as the other meals you eat are of a high nutritional quality.
Now you don’t have to let others guilt you into eating breakfast if you’re one of those people who prefer to skip it. Just try to eat a balanced, nutritious diet for the rest of the day. Check in with our blog regularly for more helpful health and fitness articles. You can also keep your finances in shape by visiting our services page for information regarding insurance quotes, bill pay and tax preparation.

How do you feel about skipping breakfast? Were you raised on the mantra that “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day?” Let us know what you think in the comments section below.

Saving by Purchasing Generic Brands

Each time you go to the supermarket you’re faced with a choice, should you buy the product with the bright, colorful packaging, or the boring generic packaging. We obviously know that buying generic brands can save money but there is always the unknown factor of quality. Can we trust these spin-off brands or are they creating products that just don’t fit the mold? These are questions that every consumer has but here are some must-knows about generic brands.

In this post we’ll cover some of the top reasons you should start buying generic whenever you have the choice. As you read through these points it’s important to remember that for many people simply switching to generic brands whenever possible can mean the difference between staying within your budget for the month and needing to dip into emergency cash.

Sometimes Expensive Means Lower Quality

Whether you’re shopping for sugar cereal or even beauty products and sunscreens sometimes going with the big brand isn’t the best option. Why is that? Well sometimes companies spend so much money on brand management, marketing, and flashy bottles, and put less emphasis on the actual ingredients. This can lead to you paying more for a lower quality product.

Doctors Don’t Care

Doctors are doing it so why shouldn’t you? The interesting thing is that most consumers think that the brand name means something special with certain medication. Doctors and Pharmacists will buy the generic brands because they know that they have the same ingredients. Sometimes they just aren’t as flashy though so we have to wonder if it is alright to use them. It is important to think about what you are buying. We are talking about over-the-counter drugs here, so you can be assured that they have passed all of the requirements of the Food and Drug Administration. This is the same when it comes to buying baby formula or other nutrition based supplements.

Generics Typically Perform the Same

This is true with many things. Batteries for instance, have the same chemical make-up and will last about the same amount of time. Forget the commercials, sometimes you just have to realize that they are just the same thing, just with a fancy brand label slapped on top of them.

Does that Name Brand Water Really Taste Better?

When you are getting bottled water, you can expect that your bottled water tastes like water. That is, that it is tasteless and really the same as other bottled water. Some people get lost in the brand names though and start thinking because it comes from a famous mountain peak or lost river in the middle of who-knows-where, that it deserves more attention. The honest truth is that there are industry standards that have to be met and everyone is reaching that same standard or they aren’t hitting the market. So if you need bottled water go cheap and easy. Your wallet will thank you in the end.

What About the Chefs?

Sometimes we get this ill-conceived notion, that chefs and great cooks only buy the most expensive brand name items. This is far from true though. When it comes to getting most of the kitchen staples like flour, salt, sugar, and baking soda, chefs go generic just like your local market.

So the next time you go out to get your ketchup, mustard, or even your cereal. Remember that you are paying a lot for the label and not getting much added value in return. Don’t feel guilty for buying generic brands. All this says is that you are thrifty and have done enough homework to know that generic doesn’t necessarily mean that it is junk.

Save Money Food Shopping This Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is only days away and for many people that means huge grocery bills. While food shopping is a necessity, it can get quite expensive, especially with increasing food prices. Although it may seem that you’re simply destined to continue paying lots of money for your groceries every week, and especially around the Holidays, there are things that you can do to reduce the cost of your food shopping. Read through this list of pointers to start saving during your trips to the supermarket.

Plan It Out

The reason why a large number of people find themselves spending way too much at the grocery store has to do with a lack of planning. While it’s always fun to go to the supermarket and indulge your hunger curiosities, this can quickly add up. Smart people refuse to go grocery shopping while hungry to ensure they only buy food they’re going to need and use. Even though you think you might not need one, take the time to write up a grocery list before you go and stick to it during your shopping.

Eat Healthy

Although healthier food has a reputation for being more expensive, eating healthy will actually end up saving you money. While it might seem cheaper to by the less expensive soda rather than juice, keep in mind that a lot of cheap, artificial foods contain empty calories, and little or no fiber, vitamins, and nutrients (the things your body needs to function). So it’s the continued purchasing of healthy foods that will actually give your body what it needs, making you less hungry in the long run.

Know Your Seasons

You can save big when buying produce if you are knowledgeable about when it is in season. For instance, fresh corn ears are usually much less expensive during the summer than they would be during the winter months. Knowing what types of fresh produce are cheapest during the various seasons can keep you from buying overpriced food.

Use Those Coupons!

While reality TV producers have been sensationalizing individuals who have honed their couponing skills into a powerful cost-reducing force, don’t let their skill level intimidate you. The truth is that anybody can start benefiting from coupons by simply looking through their Sunday newspaper. Be aware of the sales and promotions that your local supermarket is having by staying informed, and you’ll find that you are often able to buy food for a fraction of the regular listed price if you are adequately vigilant.

Buy In Bulk

Getting a membership at a bulk shopping franchise like Costco or Sam’s Club can go a long way towards helping you save on your grocery purchases. Buying in bulk results on lower individual prices for each item, which will be easier on your wallet as long as you make sure that you use all the items that you buy. Cooking in bulk and then freezing the leftovers for later is also another handy tip for keeping your costs down.

People often find that there is no one way to save money on your food shopping, but rather it’s a combination of strategies that will result in a significant difference in the amount you spend each week. So take the time to experiment with these suggestions and figure out what works best for you.

Saving on Thanksgiving Dinner

The Thanksgiving holiday is one of the most cherished holidays of the year by many families across the United States. For many families and individuals, Thanksgiving is looked forward to with great anticipation and excitement because it is a time for family and friends to gather together and enjoy time spent with one another.

But beyond the fun family time that is spent each year around the holiday season as a whole and Thanksgiving in particular, many people likewise look forward to the Thanksgiving season due to the obvious perks of an entire day of watching or playing football and capped off with a plentiful and delicious feast. However, just because it is tradition and an enjoyable family activity for the holiday season does not mean that Thanksgiving is something to splurge on.

Giving Thanks Isn’t Cheap!

The cost of a Thanksgiving dinner, as anyone who has had to fund one knows, is not exactly inexpensive. Still, the high prices and costly food stuffs do not have to be the natural way of things.

Those individuals and families who are planning on celebrating Thanksgiving in the traditional way with a large (and usually costly) feast can still have a fun and plentiful Thanksgiving dinner but without having to pay the high costs if they will simply try to cut back on their spending for their Thanksgiving feast with a few of the following suggestions. And one of the first and best ways to save money on the Thanksgiving dinner is begin now to plan and get prepared.

Plan Ahead and Save

Plans and preparations for any large event, such as Thanksgiving dinner, should start long before the scheduled date of the event. That means that if you and your family have not started planning for this year’s Thanksgiving dinner than there is no time like the present to begin.

In fact, you really should begin right now. By planning ahead of time through creating a menu and a shopping list of what ingredients you will need to purchase in order to fulfill that menu, you will be able to save money in the long run.

Watch For Sales

You will be able to save money on your Thanksgiving dinner through planning out a menu and shopping list far in advance because you will be able to purchase the ingredients and food stuffs on your list when they go on sale throughout the month or weeks leading up to the big day. By knowing ahead of time what items you need to buy, you will be able to search for specific deals offered by grocery stores on those specific items.

Shopping with a time frame and a plan will allow you to save more money on your holiday food shopping as you will eliminate the need for the last minute run to the grocery store. This type of shopping, the last minute dash, will almost always mean that you will overspend on items that you could have saved money on.

By taking the time to prepare ahead of Thanksgiving week, you will be able to save more money on the food and Thanksgiving items you were going to buy anyway.

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