facebook pinterest twitter google instagram rss

18 Time Saving Spring Cleaning Hacks & Free Printable Checklist

It’s officially March and you know what that means – it’s time to get busy cleaning! Save a lot of time with these 18 Spring Cleaning Hacks and enjoy the free cleaning checklist printable we made for you. 🙂
spring cleaning

How can it be time for spring cleaning already? Are you ready? I know I’m not. Truth be told I have a hard enough time with the day to day tasks! Trying to add in more for deep cleaning is hard! To help us all out, I’ve put together a post with 18 different time saving clean springing hacks! All of these ideas should help those of us who struggle to keep the house in order. Are you with me? 

18 Time Saving Spring Cleaning Hacks

18 Time Saving Spring Cleaning Hacks & Free Printable Checklist

Time saving tips and tricks for those of us who hate spring cleaning.


While you’re here, get this Spring Cleaning Checklist!

Now that you’re inspired to spring clean, grab my spring cleaning checklist and start checking those items off the list! I highly recommend that you involve the whole family. Spread the love and get busy cleaning. 

Spring Cleaning Printable

Download the Printable here

 

Time Saving Spring Cleaning Hacks

Are you ready for Spring Cleaning? What chore do you most dread?

 

How to Cook Perfect Dried Beans in the Instant Pot {Soaked or Unsoaked!}

The Instant Pot has been a real game changer for my family – especially its ability to quickly cook dried beans with no pre-soaking! If you want to learn how to cook all sorts of dried beans in a pressure cooker, this post is for you!

How to Cook Dried Beans in the Instant Pot {Soaked or Unsoaked!}

How to Cook Dried Beans in the Instant Pot

Do you know how to cook Instant Pot Beans? Beans can be tricky in the Instant Pot. Sometimes it seems like they come out hard and undercooked and sometimes they are cracked and overcooked. Learn how to get perfect beans every time this post. It doesn’t matter if you cook soaked beans or un-soaked beans in the Instant Pot – learn the tricks to get them both just right! While both ways are totally doable with these useful tips, we prefer no pre-soaking of the beans!

One of the things I love the most about my Instant Pot is the ability to cook un-soaked dried beans relatively quickly. My Instant Pot has transformed the way I cook dried beans. I never remember to soak beans the night before and the ability to simply omit that step is so lovely!

blank

We eat a lot of beans here at SimplifyLiveLove. They are frugal and I always have them in my pantry. Our favorite types of beans to stock in the pantry are black or turtle beans, kidney beans, and pinto beans. I buy them in bulk and store them in 5 gallon buckets. 

Keeping a stocked pantry helps me cook from scratch and having rice and dried beans on hands means we almost always have something to cook in a pinch. Curious what I always have on hand in my pantry to cook from scratch? Read this helpful post on pantry essentials and grab my free checklist so you can stock your pantry too!

Besides that, beans are quite healthy. They are a fabulous way to added necessary protein to your diet, they are high in amino acids, they are rich in polyphenols, and they are lower in calories and fat than other protein sources. Learn more about health properties of beans here.

What do we do with beans?

Like I said, beans are a staple at my house and I almost always have a container of cooked beans in my fridge ready for some purpose. I add them to taco meat to stretch the meat, they’re a staple in my kids’ favorite taco soup, and we make a lot of pinto beans for bean burritos, nachos, and more. We also often have rice and bean bowls with guacamole and all the fixins. We also use dried beans in the best chili ever – also made right in your instant pot!

how to cook unsoaked dried beans in the instant pot

Time Chart for Dried Beans in the Instant Pot

I primarily cook three different types of beans: pinto beans, black beans, and kidney beans. But I have all types of beans in my pantry and so I’m sharing this handy chart of cooking times for nine different types of beans. Soak them, or don’t soak them. That’s your call. 

time chart for cooking dried beans in the instant pot (1)

Note: All times are in minutes. 🙂

How to choose a cooking time for unsoaked dried beans

How I choose a cooking time depends primarily on my end goal for the beans. If I plan to use the beans in another recipe, meaning they will continue cooking after I take them out of the Instant Pot, I will cook them for fewer minutes. 

For instance, if I’m using black beans in my taco meat, I’ll cook them for around 22 minutes instead of 27. But if I’m not putting them in another recipe, I will cook them for longer in the Instant Pot so they come out softer instead of al dente. I cook pinto beans for 28 minutes, for instance, instead of 25 if I’m making refried beans.

Water to Bean Ratio for Pressure Cooking Dried Beans 

The water to bean ratio for cooking dried beans in the instant pot is 4 cups water to 1 cup beans. One pound of dried beans is two cups, so you need 8 cups of water to cook one pound of dried beans in the pressure cooker.



homemade opt in

Let me help you Cook from Scratch! Get your free weekly meal plans by clicking here.

In addition to the beans, you’ll also need a good quality oil and salt as well. I prefer to cook with unrefined salt as regular ole table salt has been bleached and has a lot of additives that I’d rather avoid. My favorite type of salt is REAL Salt from the Great Salt Lake in Utah. I love its pretty colors and it has a nice taste and lots of healthy qualities too. There are so many different types of salt. We only use table salt for crafts.

how to cook soaked or unsoaked dried beans in the instant pot

Some things to be careful about when cooking Instant Pot beans

Make sure you do not overfill your pressure cooker when cooking beans, or it will foam and boil over. While the oil helps reduce foaming, one pound of beans (2 cups) is the maximum you can cook in a 6 quart Instant Pot. I know, that saddens me too, but it’s not worth the mess to cook more. 🙁 Also, use high pressure and a natural release for best results.

That said, I cook 4 cups of beans successfully in my 8 qt. Pressure cooker. I highly recommend the 8 qt Instant Pot if you have a large family or like to cook a lot at a time.

Yield: 12 - 1/2 cup servings of cooked beans

How to Cook Dried Beans in the Instant Pot

how to cook soaked or unsoaked dried beans in the instant pot

An easy way to cook dried beans in the instant pot. No pre-soaking required!

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Additional Time 15 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Add ingredients to instant pot.
  2. Seal the lid and cook on high pressure for the time specified in the chart.
  3. Use a natural pressure release for at least 15 minutes. You can naturally release the pressure longer if you want.
  4. Manually release pressure and enjoy.

Notes

If you have a larger instant pot, add 4 cups of water per 1 cup of dried beans.

Recommended Products

As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

12

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 66Total Fat: 4gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 330mgCarbohydrates: 8gFiber: 2gSugar: 3gProtein: 2g

Nutritional information is not always correct.

And that’s it, my friends, how to cook dried beans in the Instant Pot! It’s totally worth the price of the Instant Pot to me, just for the ability to cook dried beans in a relatively short amount of time! Do you cook beans in your Instant Pot? I’d love to hear if you soak them, or skip it!

Want more easy Instant Pot Recipes? Here you go!

More Instant Pot Recipes You Will Love

homemade opt in

Let me help you Cook from Scratch! Get your free weekly meal plans by clicking here.

Here are the secrets to Instant Pot Beans. Cook dried beans, both soaked and unsoaked, with this handy time chart that will help you get perfect instant pot beans every time! #InstantPot #DriedBeans #InstantPotRecipes

 

15 Things You Must Know to Save Money on Organic Food

This practical list of tips will help you save money on organic food to reduce your exposure to pesticides, protect pollinators, and avoid GMOs. Switching to organic food doesn’t have to break your bank, if you follow these simple tips.

guide to organic food

*Many thanks to Nature’s Path for sponsoring this post. All opinions are mine. #AlwaysOrganic.*

15 Things you Must Know to Save Money on Organic Food

Despite what the naysayers say about certified organic food being being an unnecessary rip-off, there are many valid reasons to switch to organic food. If you’d like to lessen your impact on the earth, reduce dependence on fossil fuels,  ingest fewer toxic chemicals and more nutrient-rich foods, and help save the bees, the monarch butterflies, and other pollinators, you might consider switching to organic foods.

You might think going organic is too expensive and not practical for you, yet there are many things you can do to help keep the cost of organic food down. Today I’m sharing 15 cost saving tips with you to help you add more organic foods to your diet.

Know Where to Buy Organic Food

The first thing to do if you want to keep the cost of organic food as low as possible, is know where to shop. More and more stores are selling organic foods these days – did you know even ALDI has an organic line? It’s true. I buy a lot of organics at ALDI and I’m very happy with them. See if your favorite store carries an organic line and compare costs – sometimes organics cost about the same as their conventionally grown counterparts.

Buy in bulk

There are two ways to buy in bulk and both ways can add up to significant savings on organic food. The first way is to shop for beans, spices, nuts, and flour from bulk bins in many grocery stores. You’ve seen the bulk bins right? They often offer significant savings over smaller packages (and produce less waste too). The second way to buy in bulk is to buy in large quantities. I buy lots of dried good like wheat berries, rice, dried beans in large quantities (25-50 lb bags) for a reduction in price.

Buy online

Don’t forget that you can buy on line! Amazon, Thrive Market, direct from companies, and organic coops like Azure Standard are great places to find organic foods for less money. Shop around, make a price-point list, and order organic food from the comfort of your own home. Having it show up directly to your door is a pretty amazing way to grocery shop too.

Buy directly from the farmer or from CSAs

Another way to save money on organic food is to buy it directly from farmers or from a CSA. I’ve never participated in a CSA myself, but I buy a lot of organic items directly from farmers in my area. It’s a great way to support your local economy, reduce fossil fuel use (less transportation), and really get to know what you’re buying and feeding your family.

blank

Proper Storage Techniques for Organic Food

Minimize produce food waste

Learn proper storage techniques to keep your produce fresh longer. Do you know which fresh food should be stored in the fridge and which should be stored on the counter? My partner for this post, Nature’s Path, recently published a free ebook called Your Guide to Organic Food. This beautiful ebook has lots of practical tips for switching to organic food, making produce last, and yummy recipes too! It’s also free so go here to grab Your Guide to Organic Food and check out their helpful tips for properly storing produce.

Minimize food waste for shelf-stable foods 

Just like there are tips for making produce last longer, there are also tips for making shelf-stable food last longer too. For instance, store your spices away from the heat of your stove. Make sure your dried goods are in air-tight containers to prevent spoilage and bug infestation. And store oils in cool, dark areas away from heat and light.

Waste Not / Want Not

My dad’s mantra when I was growing up was Waste Not Want Not. To make your organic grocery dollars last longer, make sure you eat up those leftovers. I know a lot of people don’t like leftovers, but for the life of me, I can’t figure out why. Leftovers are amazing! As often as I can, I try to have leftovers to reduce the amount of time I have to spend in the kitchen. If you don’t like leftovers, maybe you can think of creative ways to turn them into a new meal.  Whatever you do, don’t let those leftovers go to waste if you want to save money on organic food.

How to Prioritize your Organic Dollars

Buy in-season 

Have you ever noticed that in-season produce is cheaper than out-of-season produce? Yesterday I was in the grocery store and a little old lady was griping about the strawberries. “They’re just so expensive,” she said. “And they look terrible.” She was really muttering to herself, but I couldn’t help myself and replied, “Yes, it’s just not quite strawberry season yet, is it?” There’s a reason in-season produce fruits and veg are cheaper – they are in big supply and don’t have to be trucked in from another hemisphere.

Eating organic strawberries is great in the spring and early summer, but in the winter, citrus is where it’s at. Oranges, grapefruit, tangerines. These are the organic fruits we should be buying right now to maximize our organic spending dollars.

Freeze & Can 

Another way to stretch your organic dollars is to freeze and/or can organic produce when it is in season. Buy in bulk and then add to your freezer! I love having frozen blueberries in my freezer in the winter. I’ve also frozen pomegranate seeds and smashed avocado in the winter when these produce items are in season and cheap. Then I can pull out the frozen foods and enjoy them even when the price and quality at the grocery store is outrageous.

Dirty 12 / Clean 15

As much as I would like to buy everything I can organic, the cost is sometimes prohibitive. That’s when I turn to the Dirty 12 / Clean 15 list. There are certain produce items I always buy organic: apples, grapes, and berries, because they have the highest levels of pesticides and are very high on the Dirty 12 list. But avocados, pineapples, and kiwi are on the Clean 15 list and have a lower level of pesticides, so I don’t feel as bad if I have to buy conventional versions of fruits and produce on the Clean 15.

Use Coupons

I love the memes I see that claim you can’t use coupons if you eat real food, because it’s just not true. I’ve found coupons on lots of organic food that I’m happy to use. Every dollar saved is a huge win in my book! Nature’s Path even has a coupon code to use in their Guide to Organic Food book! Hint hint. 🙂

stocked pantry helps save money

 

Get Organized to Save Money on Organic Food

Make a Price-Point list

A great way to save money on organic food is to make a price-point list. Prices fluctuate a lot at the grocery store so if you keep track of what you pay, it’s easy to stock up on essentials you know you will eat when they cost their lowest.

Make a weekly menu plan

It’s true that having a menu plan is a great way to keep you on track. Knowing what you’re going to eat makes sure that you actually eat the food you buy and helps you stay out of unhealthy restaurants. I’ve tried many types of menu planning from weekly, to bi-weekly, to a monthly plan to find what works best for me. It’s simple to write down meals you’d like to serve in your planner or on your calendar and is very helpful. If you don’t currently menu plan, give it a try!

Keep a stocked pantry

A stocked pantry is such a huge help when you’re trying to save money on groceries, especially if you keep track of prices and stock up when your favorite organic goodies are on sale. Always having a few items on hand for easy organic meals when you don’t feel like cooking or simply don’t have the ingredients for a more elaborate meal is a great way to stay out of stores and restaurants.

blank

Grow Your Own Organic Food

Grow your own garden

Growing your own garden is such a great idea because it can save you money on groceries and it’s a great way to connect with the earth too. I have a big garden very year and love eating the produce I grow in it. I also involve my kids and think it helps them to love fresh fruits and veggies too. If you don’t have a spot for a garden, maybe you have room for a couple containers. It’s not hard to grow tomatoes on your porch or balcony! You might be surprised what all you can grow in a container garden.

Grow your own kitchen herbs

If you enjoy cooking with fresh herbs, a great way to save money is to grow them yourself. A basil plant costs as much as the cut basil my grocery store sells. A nice kitchen window is a great place to keep a few herb plants and looks as pretty as it is functional.

These tips help me feed my family of six an organic menu for less. We don’t eat 100% organic, but knowing how to prioritize my organic dollars and make the organics I do buy last as long as possible is very important to me. I hope you found something useful in this list too.

Many thanks to Nature’s Path for sponsoring this post. If you’d like to check out their amazing {and free} ebook, Your Guide to Organic Food, head over and grabt! It really is a beautiful book with yummy recipes and more tips. Do you have another tip that I didn’t mention?

15 practical tips to help you save big on organic groceries. #alwaysorganic #ad

Immune Boosting Coconut Oil Sugar Scrub Recipe

The Immune Boosting Coconut Oil Sugar Scrub Recipe is made in about 5 minutes and makes a perfect last minute practical gift! Make this recipe today and give something useful to neighbors, friends, and teachers {or keep it for yourself}!

Immune Boosting Coconut Oil Sugar Scrub Recipe

*I received compensation for this post as part of the Barlean’s Blogger Program. Rest assured that I only recommend products I’ve used and love in sponsored posts and affiliate links. Thanks so much for supporting my blog. #abarleansholiday *

Immune Boosting Coconut Oil Sugar Scrub Recipe

Immune Boosting Coconut Oil Sugar Scrub Recipe made with Barleans Coconut oil, essential oils, sugar, manuka honey

I’ve been using this scrub for a while now and love how my skin feels and smells afterward. While it’s a great year round scrub, it’s especially wonderful in the winter for a lot of reasons. First, sugar is very hydrating in dry winters. It’s a natural humectant (it provides moisture to your skin) and is also a natural source of glycolic acid,  or exfoliant, for rejuvenating skin.

Sugar Scrub Ingredients

Benefits of Sugar for your Skin

I use organic raw sugar for this recipe, a coarser sugar that’s great for the body but not so great for the face. If you want a scrub for your face, I recommend using a finer organic sugar.

Benefits of Coconut Oil for your Skin

Coconut oil is naturally antibacterial and antifungal and it’s also an excellent moisturizer, makeup remover, and hair conditioner. It’s affordable and smells great too! Since the skin is our biggest organ, I really recommend using organic products for this sugar scrub to reduce exposure to pesticides. Barlean’s Organic Virgin Coconut Oil comes from certified-organic plantations in the Philippines where coconut palms grow naturally without pesticides.

Benefits of Manuka Honey for your Skin

Manuka honey is produced in New Zealand by bees that pollinate the native manuka bush or tea tree. Manuka honey is highly regarded for many medical purposes in the natural medicine world (but please, I’m not a doctor so you do your own research.) It’s supposed to absorb moisture to help your skin stay soft and lovely, can help with rosacea and eczema, and is also thought to have antibacterial properties. You can eat Manuka honey (but it’s pretty gross according to my kids) and you can also use it for natural wound and skin care.

Benefits of Essential Oil for your Skin

blank

We first starting using Thieves Oil {purported to boost immunity and ward of sickness} when our youngest daughter was going through surgeries for her hip dysplasia. I mixed it with a carrier cream {you should very rarely put essential oils directly on your skin} and put it on her feet for weeks before her surgeries to help keep her healthy. We called it tickle cream and all the kids loved having us put it on their feet. They all stayed very healthy when we used the thieves oil, but we also limited exposure to germs and ate as healthy as we could. I don’t honestly know if thieves oil works as advertised, but I love the way it smells and I figure it can’t hurt to use it in my arsenal to ward off winter illness.

I know a lot of people have a favorite essential oil brand, I’m not really hard over on any one brand, in all honesty. Right now I use the  Nature’s Shield NOW Protective Blend which is very similar to the Young Living Thieves blend. I’m really happy with NOW essential oils, but please choose whichever brand you’re most comfortable with. You can also use any scent you like, lavender or citrus scents would also be lovely, but I chose the Protective Blend for an immune boost, particularly during the dreary winter months.

The combination of all of these ingredients makes a really delightful and potentially therapeutic sugar scrub. I hope you like it as much as my family does.

Now that you know why to make this scrub, here’s the recipe!

Last Minute Immune Boosting Sugar Scrub recipe #abarleansholiday

Yield: 16 ounces

Immune Boosting Coconut Oil Sugar Scrub Recipe

Immune Boosting Coconut Oil Sugar Scrub Recipe

Easy sugar scrub recipe great for winter use.

Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Melt the coconut oil in a non-reactive pan. Add sugar, essential oils, and honey. Mix until combined then put in a jar.

To use: simply wet hands and apply scrub to wet body. Rinse with water. Pat dry. Use twice per week.

Nutrition Information:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 32Carbohydrates: 9g

If you make this for a last minute gift, make sure to make enough for yourself! This recipe makes enough to fill two 8-ounce jars, so you may want to double to quadruple. Print out these free printable labels for sugar scrub, put it on the jar and tie with a pretty ribbon. Voila! Wonderful and practical gift in minutes!

 

Here's an immune boosting sugar scrub recipe that smells great & leaves skin soft & lovely. Made in 5 minutes, it's a great last minute, practical gift too.