Follow this simple method for making delicious buttery brown rice in the Instant Pot.

How to make brown rice in the instant pot

I absolutely adore brown rice but it can be tricky to make, often turning out too dry or with excess liquid in the pot.  So I recently decided it was time to figure out the best method for making it in the Instant Pot.  I’ve made it several different ways and finally settled on this method as my favorite.  It makes the perfect buttery rice that’s ready to eat straight from the pot.  No need to add salt or butter because it’s already in the mix.

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I try to cook healthy homemade meals most days of the week, but the truth is I just can’t do it all.  Like everyone else, I use some convenience (processed) foods on a regular basis.  These are things that decrease stress and are useful when life just gets too busy.  I’d rather use some of these at home than eat out multiple meals a week.  It’s cheaper and healthier to consume most of your meals at home, where you know what’s going into them.

When it comes to processed foods I do try to pick the best choice that my budget allows.  I try to choose cereals without excessive amounts of sugar and artificial colors/ingredients, whole wheat pasta over refined pasta, crackers and breads with at least some whole grains, etc.  With that said, here are five of my favorite convenience foods that I buy on a regular basis:

Crackers

crackers

I always keep a box or two of crackers in my pantry.  My kids like these Back to Nature crackers.  I prefer the Crunchmaster multi-grain crackers that I wrote about here.  I use crackers for peanut butter/almond butter cracker sandwiches in the boys’ lunches.  I also use them to make homemade lunchables.  I pack a little nitrate free ham or turkey, cheese, and crackers and the kids can build their own “lunchable”.  I try to stock up on both types of crackers when they go on sale because they can be expensive otherwise.

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two ways to save money and eat better when flying

We recently traveled to Florida to visit my brother and his family.  In order to stick with our healthy habits and save a little money I did two things:  First, we stuck with water and second, we brought our own meals with us to the airport.  I knew we would enjoy plenty of splurges while we were in Florida so I wanted to stick to our normal eating habits during travel.

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easy and healthy dinners

Let’s face it, not everyone likes to cook or has the time to make elaborate home cooked meals each night.  Healthy dinners don’t have to be overly complicated.  I’d say about half of our dinners are super fresh, healthy, use-a-recipe type of meals.  But the rest of them are simple, easy, and use what I happen to have on hand.  I make it a point to keep my fridge, freezer, and pantry stocked with plenty of convenient and healthy options so we don’t have to run through a fast food joint or go out to eat on a regular basis.  Today I’m sharing some of our favorite quick, easy, and healthy meals for those nights I don’t want to cook.

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I’m a fan of eating fresh and healthy foods but they can sometimes be expensive and they often go bad rather quickly.  Learning to utilize your freezer helps minimize waste, allowing you to stretch your grocery budget further.  Knowing you can freeze ingredients and/or leftovers for later also decreases the pressure to “use up” produce and food that is close to going bad.

Over the years I have learned that you can freeze almost anything.  When I first started cooking more at home I would often google “how to freeze _____”.  It’s not very often that I learn about something that can’t be frozen.

I thought I’d share a few posts detailing my experience with freezing different types of foods.  Today I’m going to share how I freeze soups, broth, and sauces.

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6 Tips

One holiday down, lots more to go!  Just because it’s the holiday season doesn’t mean your healthy habits have to be completely thrown out the window.  You can still enjoy all that this time of year has to offer without compromising your health.  Here are a few tips to help you.

1. Try to practice balance as much as possible when it comes to eating during the holiday season.  Balance out the more indulgent meals with lots of salads, fruits, veggies, lean meats, healthy fats and whole grains.    Fill up with nourishing foods when possible so you feel well throughout the winter.  Don’t use the holidays as an excuse to completely let go of your healthy habits.

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homemade vanilla extract

If you love to cook and bake you probably use a lot of vanilla. When I started cooking more at home I was surprised at how much vanilla I used and how expensive it really is.  Pure vanilla extract will usually run you a little over $4 for 2 oz.  I snapped this picture at Target and you can see that it’s $4.19 there.

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kids in the kitchen

One of my goals this summer has been to spend more time with the kids in the kitchen.  The long summer days (and ensuing boredom) are perfect for getting them involved.  I purchased this cooking kit from Amazon and surprised them with it when school ended.  We’ve been having a lot of fun trying new things this summer.

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We are trying to do a few new things in our area this summer.  One of the things on our list was a visit to Great Wolf Lodge.  So this past week we spent a night there.  We had tons of fun and exhausted ourselves for sure!  We were there from Thursday at 1:00 until Friday at 4:00 and we spent the majority of our time at the water park.

I know most people want to take a complete break from cooking or planning for meals when they are on vacation.  And I think that’s good to do sometimes; it can be part of the fun.  I’m all about splurging and enjoying foods you don’t normally eat but sometimes I’d just rather try to stick to healthy eating even though I’m away from home.  Since I had the time Thursday morning I decided to go ahead and pack most of our meals.  I did this not only to save money but also so that we could still eat somewhat healthy while we were there.  I knew that we’d be really active the whole time and my kids do so much better when they don’t eat tons of junk.  Plus, we only stayed one night and traveled less than 30 minutes to get there.  So it really wasn’t inconvenient for us to bring our own foods.

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