July(ish) Challenge – day 2

23 more items leave!!

How many ace bandages does a household of 2 middle-aged people really need??

Expired hydrogen peroxide (2011 and 2013)  Guess we don’t use as much as we thought.

Random makeup, brushes, and “special bandages” from the extra bathroom – guess the girls don’t need it any more!

“Directions” for a reading light that’s not in our house.


Total for this challenge:  41 items

Average: 20.5 items per day

July(ish) Challenge – Day 1, 18 items

Jen at HiddenHoarder.com has inspired us to work toward a certain number of items each day.  We are on vacation for 3 more weeks and have decided to try to get an average of 18 items per day (since that is Jen’s goal).  That would be 306 items gone by Aug. 2.  [John goes back to work on the 3rd and Barb on the 4th.]

Today = 18 items!

expired food from the pantry, appliance booklets, medicine spoon, wooden grinder thingy, and a partial bottle of Slo-Niacin the doctor said not to take any longer.


Instant Pot Beans attempt #2

So here we are – attempting to make the beans again using the Instant Pot.

This time we put in the 3 cups of beans and 12 cups of water and put the instant pot on “keep warm” for about 4 hours.

We then drained and rinsed the beans (we must decrease those gas producing chemicals!) and replaced with fresh water to cover the beans.  We added jalapeno and green peppers, salt, cumin, dried onion (we are trying to use it up instead of throwing it away).  We then pressure cooked for 10 minutes.  (again it took 15 minutes to pressurize).  We let it sit on keep warm about 20 minutes until the chicken was done on the BBQ.

Results were better than last time.  The beans were very tender and appropriately seasoned this time.  YUM!!  Now to become a food photographer!


Instant Pot Beans

Our next adventure with the Instant Pot was making a batch of pinto and red kidney beans.  We intentionally didn’t soak them to see how well the Instant Pot performed on the beans.

We put 3 cups of dry beans (2 cups of pinto, 1 cup of red kidney) in the pot with 12 cups of water and pressure cooked them for 4 minutes.  Now 4 minutes of cooking means 15 minutes to pressurize and another 15 minutes to depressurize so really 34 minutes.

We then drained the water from the beans and rinsed them.  No one wants excessive gas producing chemicals!

We put the beans back into the Instant Pot with enough water to cover them.  We also added jalapeno and green peppers.  We then pressure cooked them for an additional 10 minutes.  (again, 15 minutes to pressurize and 15 minutes to depressurize.)

So overall it took about 1 hour 15 minutes to make the beans.  They were a little bland but well cooked.  Next time we need to add a little salt and our typical seasonings.  Sounds like another post will be necessary.

Instant Pot purchase, brown rice

We did it – we joined the fad by purchasing an Instant Pot today.  Why??  Our decades old crockpot “died”.  It has several dents and the handles have fallen off.  The High setting is too hot, low setting too low, and the warm setting doesn’t warm.  The lid handle was the recent calamity.  We adapted but it was getting to the point of frustration.  While researching a replacement (we use our crockpot frequently!), I stumbled upon a cookware category – Multi Cooker.


For those of you like us who had no idea this appliance existed, it is basically a combination slow cooker, rice cooker, and pressure cooker.  We have a rice cooker we love and a pressure cooker that is only used when canning due to its size (23 quarts).  Not realistic to use to cook dinner.

The idea of pressure cooking is intriguing.  Cook it under pressure in less time.  The Instant Pot has a 6 quart capacity.  Our old crockpot was 5 quart so not much difference here.

Tonight we tried making brown rice in the Instant Pot.  On the stove top, it takes about 50 minutes and we have to worry about burning or undercooking.  With our Zojirushi rice cooker, brown rice takes about 50 minutes BUT is always perfect!  Even if we leave it on warm for hours after it cooks, it is still perfect.

You get to stay!!

The Instant Pot brown rice was not perfect!  It cooked in about 25 minutes (a plus) but after sitting on warm for about 30 minutes it was on the dry side.  Guess we will keep the rice cooker.

Now to experiment with the pressure cooker feature!

If you have a great recipe for this device, let us know!