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

Do you know how to cook dried beans in the Instant Pot? I love being able to cook unsoaked beans in my Instant Pot and it’s totally doable! If you want to soak yours first, you have my permission to keep on soaking! ūüôā I’ll tell you the perfect way to cook dried beans both ways.

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

*This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting my site!*

How to Cook Dried Beans in the Instant Pot

One of the things I love the most about my Instant Pot is the ability to cook unsoaked 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!

We eat a lot of beans here at SimplifyLiveLove. 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 refried beans for bean burritos, nachos, and more. Dried beans are frugal, healthy, and easy to make and we love them!

how to cook unsoaked dried beans in the instant pot

Cooking Time 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.

Bean Type Soaked Unsoaked
Black Beans 10-15 minutes 22-27 minutes
Black-Eyed Peas 5-10 minutes 10-15 minutes
Cannellini Beans 10-15 minutes 30-35 minutes
Garbanzo Beans 15-20 minutes 35-40 minutes
Kidney Beans 10-15 minutes 25-30 minutes
Lentils 12-17 minutes
Navy Beans 10-15 minutes 20-25 minutes
Pinto Beans 10-15 minutes 25-30 minutes
Split Peas 5-10 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.


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 dried beans in the Instant Pot

Make sure you do not over fill your IP 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. ūüôĀ Also, use high pressure and a natural release for best results.

How to Cook Dried Beans in the Instant Pot
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Recipe Image

Ingredients

  • 1 pound dried beans, rinsed and sorted
  • 8 cups water
  • 3 TBS oil
  • 1 tsp salt

Instructions

  1. Add ingredients to instant pot.
  2. Seal the lid and cook on high pressure for the time specified in the chart.
  3. Manually release pressure and enjoy.
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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!

Do you know how to cook dried beans in the instant pot without soaking? It is possible and this handy chart will help you get beans right every time!

 

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.

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. ūüôā

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.

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

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

Yields 16 ounces

Immune Boosting Coconut Oil Sugar Scrub Recipe

Easy sugar scrub recipe great for winter use.

5 minPrep Time

5 minTotal Time

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Recipe Image

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

Our Eclectic 1st Grade Homeschool Curriculum

¬†Today, I’m sharing our eclectic 1st grade homeschool curriculum. After homeschooling three children through first grade, I think we finally have a method to the madness!

Our Eclectic 1st Grade Homeschool Curriculum featured image

*This blog post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting my blog.*

In the past, I have¬†shared some of the reasons we homeschool, and in this post I’m sharing what we’ve done in our first grade homeschool and some of my favorite resources. I’m always curious how other people homeschool, so I will share our method! Honestly, I don’t subscribe to any one homeschooling philosophy. We¬†use a variety of methods and incorporate Waldorf, Charlotte Mason, Classical, Child-led and more into our homeschooling days.

Each of my children learn differently, and there are a bunch of resources here. Please note that we didn’t use ALL of these resources with each child. My eldest daughter taught herself to read and needed very little help from me with that. My son didn’t really start to read until he was seven and we did a lot of phonics work with him. My third child actually went to public school for kindergarten and learned a strong grasp of reading there. My point is, pick and choose from this post. There is no one method fits all approach to homeschooling.

Our Eclectic 1st Grade Homeschool Curriculum:

For reading ~ For beginning reading, we like to do a lot of read alouds. I use the Mensa Reading List and also the Sonlight Reading List as starting points. (We’re a secular homeschool, but I still like the Sonlight lists.) We use¬†Bob Books as well as the Starfall Learn to Read books. The Bob books are my favorite. The Starfall books are also nice, but I prefer the Bob books for really beginning readers. My kids also really enjoyed working through the computer based ReadingEggs¬†program. In fact, we still have an active subscription to Reading Eggs for the younger kids.

Lakeshore Learning - Road to Reading Kit

For Language Arts –¬†We work through the Explode the Code¬†phonics series, both in book form and also online. We’ve also used the Modern Curriculum Press phonics series and Hooked on Phonics as well. Explode the Code is my favorite for phonics, but we do like the Modern Curriculum Press spelling books. Lakeshore Learning sent me some fun educational activities like the Road to Reading kit, and my youngest daughter really enjoyed learning sight words and basic phonics from it. It’s a hands on and interactive way to practice developmental phonics skills. For the more advanced First Grader, we’ve used the Editor in Chief Grammar book and the kids have fun finding errors in passages.

For math ~ We love¬†Singapore Math. I’ve taught it through level 6b and it is challenging and fun. Until we got to Level 4, I taught from it just fine without the teacher’s manual. But the methods they use aren’t the way I was taught and starting with Level 4, I really needed the explanations the teacher’s manuals offered. I also recommend that you get the solutions manual too. While it’s not that hard to check work, especially at the easier level, the solutions manual must makes grading that much quicker.

I’ve also heard a lot of positives about Miquon Math¬†from friends, and have seen Teaching Textbooks in action. I like that the Teaching Textbooks is computer based and so a little more hands-off for the busy mom, but it doesn’t start until Level 3.

For history ~ I have heard rumors that a lot of people hate history??? WHAAA? I can’t for the life of me understand why. History was always one of my very favorite subjects, but I lived in Germany during elementary and middle school and traveled to see where the kings lived and slept. It was very exciting! I have always loved history and want my children to love it, too. We just finished reading Volume 1 of The Story of the World and are moving along in The Story of the World Volume 2. I bought the entire Volume 1 set a while back including the textbook, activity book, and test book.

I recommend the textbook, activity book, and audio CDs. The activities are fun and the CDs are so useful for car schooling and roadtrips! I didn’t know half the stuff we’re reading and the kids are always enthralled. Ancient history is so fascinating and something I never learned that much about in public school and my kids have already been exposed to The Odyssey and Beowulf is coming! I am very excited to move on to the Middle Ages in Volume 2. And we travel! No better way to learn history than by traveling.

science curriculum first grade

For science ~ I don’t have a formal curriculum here either. Instead, we go outside. We garden. We cook. The kids build things with their father. We look at the stars and talk about the planets, dinosaurs, and aliens. We read lots of books and do some copy work. The Nature Anatomy book is just gorgeous and inspires lots of art projects. We play games and do Magic School Bus experiments. My younger kids have always enjoyed watching Magic School Bus PBS show (we have the complete series on DVD) and also reading the books too.

Lakeshore Learning has a lot of great STEM activities and my kids enjoy playing and learning together with their Create-A-Chain-Reaction kit. I’ve found that when bigs and littles play together they learn a lot more!

IMG_3639This activity {which I was not aware of and did not approve of…} provided an awesome opportunity for a discussion of levers, stability, and better safety practices. My hubs was all over that discussion!!

And finally, for handwriting ~ This is one area that I feel I failed in with my daughter. When she was quite little I didn’t really care that she was writing on her own. I let her do whatever she wanted without thinking about the consequences. Well…that made for some really awful handwriting and bad habits that she is just now starting to break. We have been using Handwriting Without Tears to try to encourage proper letter formation and they seem to like it. Ben finished My Printing Book already, and we will move on to the next book soon. We also listen the the The ABC CD: Rock, Rap, Tap, and Learn Readiness to Printing (Handwriting Without Tears) CD a lot which has catchy little tunes about starting your letters at the top and so on.

Other things we love:

GeoSafari Laptop~ I read about this is one of the first books I read when I was considering homeschooling, Homeschooling: A Patchwork of Days: Share a Day With 30 Homeschooling Families. The author’s family had one of these laptops and I was intrigued. My daughter got one for her 5th birthday and it has been a big hit. It reinforces a lot of basic skills: math, phonics, social studies. The kids enjoy playing on it.

MindWare Pattern Play Puzzle ~ My mom got this puzzle for my son a while back and it has provided hours of entertainment. I love the brightly colored wooden pieces and watching my kids study the pattern as they try to recreate it. I have also been entertained by the puzzle… ūüôā It’s lots of fun!

Draw Write Now, Books 1-8 ~ We borrowed this boxed set from our local homeschool assistance program and my kids love it! They have a lot of fun and actually produce some really nice drawings.

Electronic Snap Circuit Kit ~ Another gift that Ben got from my sister last year that teaches science. This kit helps him complete circuits and understand how electricity works – which is great because I don’t understand it myself.

Super Science Magnet Set ~ More science! When I first starting writing this post, I thought perhaps we were too lax in the science department. But we do a lot. It’s just in the name of playing – best way to learn in my opinion.

Lakeshore Learning Smart Pencil & Learning Cards – The Smart Pencil is really cool and lets kids work independently on math, phonics, and vocabulary skills. We have the Time and Money Kit and the Smart Pencil has helped make learning some of the basics fun for my younger kids. My eldest daughter basically taught herself to read with independent products like this!

Homeschooling has been both very rewarding and a ton of work! We’ve had a lot of fun homeschooling over the years and I hope this list of some of our favorite resources helps you in your homeschooling journey too. If you have a favorite resource for homeschooling first grade, I’d love to hear!

Our Eclectic First Grade Homeschool Curriculum. Resources and links to products we've used and loved to teach first grade.