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cooking with an instant pot

I've always had a love-hate relationship with cooking. Some days, I love it and I'm excited to try new recipes. Other days, cooking seems like a punishment and I'd rather do every unchecked chore in my to-do list. Typically when I'm cooking for my family, I stick with my go-to's: chicken stir fry, seafood curry or some soup or pasta dish. My meals don't take longer than 45 minutes, and if I find a new way to create the meal online, I'm game. When it comes to cooking, I subscribe to the idea of cooking being the faster and easier the better.

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So when Prime Day arrived, I figured it was the perfect time to buy the Instant Pot. I heard it was amazing and a game-changer for mamas like me who has two small children and no time or energy to stand over a stove all day. I was so excited. My thinking was simple: Instead of cooking for 45 mins, I could cut that time in half and spend more time out of the kitchen and doing things I actually want to do.

After two days (thanks Amazon Prime!) my DUO60 6 Qt 7-in-1 arrived and I was ready to go. The first thing that stood out to me on the box: Serves up to 6 people and perfect for everyday meals. Perfect! To get things started, I figured tortilla soup was an easy win. I can't really mess up soup, right?

Spoiler alert: It was a total win.

The food was delicious. To quote my husband, "It tastes like you cooked this all day!" Clearly, I didn't but the thought was nice. Ordinarily, I can cook the soup for about 60 minutes (maybe 55 minutes if my toddler isn't around), but with the Instant Pot, I was completely done in 40 mins. It didn't exactly cut my time in half, but I was grateful for the extra 20 mins.

Here's how an Instant Pot works:

1. Food and liquid are sealed into the airtight pot, and no steam is released before the pre-set pressure is reached. It gets noisy, but don't worry, you're house won't explode.

2. The boiling point of water increases as the pressure increases, so pressure built up inside the cooker allows the liquid inside to boil at a temperature higher than 212°F.

3. When enough pressure builds up in the inner pot, a float valve is pushed up (on the top) and a silicone cap fully seals the cooker. Once pushed up, the float valve serves as a latch lock and prevents the lid from turning, even when force is applied.


Here are a few important things I learned along the way:

1. Get extra sealing rings.

I made the mistake of using one sealing ring for every dish and sometimes I ended up with the essence of a savory dish in a sweet dessert. Buy an extra set of sealing rings to keep your meals fresh.

2. When using the pressure mode, ALWAYS add water.

Here's the deal: In order to create pressure, the Instant Pot needs water to make steam that builds the pressure. Regardless of the meal, the cooker needs one cup of water to cook the food. It's very important else your pot will display "BURN" and your food will be scorched.

3. Add extra minutes to every meal.

Initially, I thought as soon as you turn on the Instant Pot, it's ready to go—but, that couldn't be further from the truth. The pot takes 10-15 minutes to build the pressure you need to actually cook the food. Be sure to add on the extra time when preparing your meals.

4. You can use it as a microwave.

I love using the Instant Pot to reheat food on the slow cook or keep warm mode.

The bottom line? If you're looking for an easy way to cut down time while cooking delicious meals, the Instant Pot is a total winner.

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These are only the vitamins I give my children and here's why

It's hard to say who loves these more—my kids or me.

When I became a mama five years ago, I didn't put too much thought into whether my son was getting the right vitamins and minerals. From breastfeeding to steaming and pureeing his first bites of solid food, I was confident I was giving him everything to support his growth and development.

But then the toddler years—and the suddenly picky palate that accompanied them—came along. Between that challenge and two additional children in the mix… well, I knew my oldest son's eating plan was falling short in some vitamin and mineral categories.

I also knew how quickly he was growing, so I wanted to make sure he was getting the nutrients he needed (even on those days when he said "no, thank you" to any veggie I offered).

So when I discovered the new line of children's supplements from Nature's Way®, it felt like a serious weight off my chest. Thanks to supplements that support my children's musculoskeletal growth, their brain function, their immune systems, their eyes and more, I'm taken back to that simpler time when I was so confident my kids' vitamin needs were met.*

It wasn't just the variety of supplements offered by Nature's Way that won me over: As a vegetarian mama, I'm the picky one in the family when it comes to scanning labels and making sure they meet our standards. The trick is that most gummy vitamins are made with gelatin, which is not vegetarian friendly.

But just like the other offerings from Nature's Way that I've already come to know and love, the children's supplement line is held to a high standard. That means there's no high-fructose corn syrup, gelatin or common allergens to be found in the supplements. The best part? My two oldest kids ensure we never miss their daily vitamins—they are so in love with the gummy flavors, which include tropical fruit punch, lemonade and wild berry.


Nature's Way Kids Mulitvitamin


Meanwhile, my pharmacist husband has different criteria when evaluating supplements, especially when it comes to those for our kids. He appreciates the variety of options from Nature's Way, which gives us the ability to rotate the vitamins based on our kids' daily needs. By keeping various children's supplements from Nature's Way on hand, I can customize a regimen to suit my kids' individual requirements.

Of course, high-quality products often come at a higher price point. But (to my immense gratitude!) that isn't the case with Nature's Way, which retails for a competitive value when compared to the other items on the shelf.

Like all mamas, my chief concern is supporting my children's health in any way I can. While I see evidence of their growth every time I pack away clothes they've outgrown, I know there is much more growth that doesn't meet the eye. That's why, for my oldest son, I like stacking the Brain Builder gummy with the Growing Bones & Muscles gummy and the Happy & Healthy Multi. My 3-year-old also enjoys getting her own mix to include the Healthy Eyes gummy. And both of my older kids are quick to request the Tummy Soothe tablet when something isn't sitting right in their stomachs.* And I'll admit it: I've tried it myself and the berry blast flavor really is tasty!

Although my current phase of motherhood may not be as "simple" as it once was, there is so much to appreciate about it—like watching my kids play and sing and create with their incredible imaginations. Along the way, I've eased up on some of my need for control, but it does help to have this range of supplements in my motherhood tool kit. So while I may not be able to convince my son to try kale, having the Nature's Way supplements on hand means I do know he's right on track.*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.


This article was sponsored by Nature's Way. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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I never wanted to be a mom. It wasn't something I ever thought would happen until I fell madly in love with my husband—who knew very well he wanted children. While he was a natural at entertaining our nephews or our friends' kids, I would awkwardly try to interact with them, not really knowing what to say or do.

Our first pregnancy was a surprise, a much-wanted one but also a unicorn, "first try" kind of pregnancy. As my belly grew bigger, so did my insecurities. How do you even mom when you never saw motherhood in your future? I focused all my uncertainties on coming up with a plan for the delivery of my baby—which proved to be a terrible idea when my dreamed-of unmedicated vaginal birth turned into an emergency C-section. I couldn't even start motherhood the way I wanted, I thought. And that feeling happened again when I couldn't breastfeed and instead had to pump and bottle-feed. And once more, when all the stress from things not going my way turned into debilitating postpartum anxiety that left me not really enjoying my brand new baby.

As my baby grew, slowly so did my confidence that I could do this. When he would tumble to the ground while learning how to walk and only my hugs could calm him, I felt invincible. But on the nights he wouldn't sleep—whether because he was going through a regression, a leap, a teeth eruption or just a full moon—I would break down in tears to my husband telling him that he was a better parent than me.

Then I found out I was pregnant again, and that this time it was twins. I panicked. I really cannot do two babies at the same time. I kept repeating that to myself (and to my poor husband) at every single appointment we had because I was just terrified. He, of course, thought I could absolutely do it, and he got me through a very hard pregnancy.

When the twins were born at full term and just as big as singleton babies, I still felt inadequate, despite the monumental effort I had made to grow these healthy babies and go through a repeat C-section to make sure they were both okay. I still felt my skin crawl when they cried and thought, What if I can't calm them down? I still turned to my husband for diaper changes because I wasn't a good enough mom for twins.

My husband reminded me (and still does) that I am exactly what my babies need. That I am enough. A phrase that has now become my mantra, both in motherhood and beyond, because as my husband likes to say, I'm the queen of selling myself short on everything.

So when my babies start crying, I tell myself that I am enough to calm them down.

When my toddler has a tantrum, I remind myself that I am enough to get through to him.

When I go out with the three kids by myself and start sweating about everything that could go wrong (poop explosions times three), I remind myself that I am enough to handle it all, even with a little humor.


And then one day I found this bracelet. Initially, I thought how cheesy it'd be to wear a reminder like this on my wrist, but I bought it anyway because something about it was calling my name. I'm so glad I did because since day one I haven't stopped wearing it.

Every time I look down, there it is, shining back at me. I am enough.

I Am Enough bracelet 

SONTAKEY  I Am Enough Bracelet

May this Oath Bracelet be your reminder that you are perfect just the way you are. That you are enough for your children, you are enough for your friends & family, you are enough for everything that you do. You are enough, mama <3

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International Network for Aid, Relief and Assistance (INARA)

It's 2020. The world is changing. It's hard to believe but the old decade is over, the new one is here and it is bringing a lot of new life with it. The babies born this year are members of Generation Alpha and the world is waiting for them.

We're only a few months into the new year and there are already some new celebrity arrivals making headlines while making their new parents proud.

If your little one arrived (or is due to arrive) in 2020, they've got plenty of high profile company.

Here are all the celebrity babies born in 2020 (so far):

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