The Instant Pot

Have you heard of the Instant Pot? Do you have one? It’s something I’ve been wanting to get but I have to admit it is a little intimidating to me. Plus, I am a really picky eater and weird about food and the thought of cooking meat in just minutes kind of freaks me out a little bit. I like my meat overcooked and crispy. Anyone with me on that? I know, I know… I’m kind of a weird one.

An Instant Pot looks kind of like a crock pot, the main difference is instead of taking all day to cook something, the Instant Pot speeds up cooking and uses 70% less energy. I have a friend that swears by her Instant Pot and uses it almost daily. She ones made this chicken with this Winger’s sauce (remember the restaurant Wingers?) and then she put it over a salad. It was so good!  When I asked her which brand she recommends, she said she uses the Instant Pot brand (affiliate link). That is the brand that I have been researching and watching for good deals on.

To be honest, I really don’t like to cook and if something like the Instant Pot could help simplify my life, it might be worth the investment of $50-100, depending on the features. For example, there is one that has Bluetooth and connects to your phone. There is lux series that comes in a mini or all the way up to an 8-quart. It has 12 smart built-in programs that allow you to make soups, meats, eggs, rice and even a cake, to name a few.  And all of that in a matter of minutes instead of all day.

So help me out, if you have an Instant Pot and you love it or hate it I want to know. I also need some tips and recipes so please share those with me too. And if I end up getting one I’ll post what I think about it.

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The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies

Just in time for the holidays! These chocolate chip cookies are sure to be the talk of the party. There is one secret ingredient that makes all the difference! Should I tell you what it is? It the Ghiradelli milk chocolate chips. Now, these are not your typical chocolate chips. They are like at least three times the size of a regular chocolate chip. My kids love these cookies and usually have them gone as soon as they come out of the over because warm, doughy cookies are the best.


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HOW TO MAKE THE BEST CHOCOLATE COOKIES EVER

INGREDIENTS

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 cup Crisco butter flavor baking sticks softened

2/3 cup brown sugar

2/3 cup granulated sugar

2 teaspoon vanilla

2 large eggs

1/4 cup milk

1 package Ghiradelli Milk Chocolate Chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine baking soda, flour and salt in a bowl. In another bowl mix together Crisco, sugars, vanilla until creamy. Add eggs. Slowly add in flour mixture. If the dough is too thick add some milk to make it a little more creamy. Stir in chocolate chips. Drop tablespoon size balls onto an ungreased baking sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes. Eat them warm or let them cool a little and dip them in milk.

 
Get your kitchen ready for the holidays with Hamilton Beach products from Walmart.com

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Girl’s Trip to Coronado, California

This past September I took a girl’s trip to Coronado, California. It seriously was one of the best vacations with my besties ever. It was my first time visiting Coronado and I think it’s probably now one of my favorite spots to travel.

Planning this trip wasn’t very easy. We wanted it to be the perfect vacation. We thought about Hawaii, Mexico, Florida but in the end we decided on California because we didn’t want to waste one of our days on an airplane. We decided on Coronado but we had a hard time figuring out where to stay and what to do. We searched online for information and asked people all about Coronado, but we weren’t having much luck finding out the best places to stay, eat, etc. Pretty much our only requirement was a swimming pool (with a pool boy – j/k), a nice beach, a Coke. Pretty low maintenance, right? So the purpose of this post is to remember exactly what we did and where we stayed so I’ll remember for next time and to help others who are traveling to this gorgeous little spot.

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Getting There

Flying from Utah to California is pretty inexpensive. We flew on Delta Airlines for $130 or 10,000 sky miles, which is such a good deal.  When we arrived we knew we didn’t want to rent a car because out plan was just to relax for 4 days straight, so we took an Uber to our hotel. We didn’t care about shopping, sight seeing or any of that, weird huh? We just wanted to lay at the beach and enjoy each others company.

Coronado Island Marriott Resort & Spa

Our first night we stayed at Coronado Island Marriott Resort & Spa. The rate to stay at the Del for our first night was over $1200 so we chose this spot on the quiet end of the island. I am so happy we did. There was no beach but there was a gorgeous bay and a swimming pool. It’s always nice staying at a Marriott Resort, the amenities and spa had everything we needed. At night we rode bikes from the resort (which are free to use) about a mile away to some shops and restaurants. We chose to eat at a cute greek cafe called Spiros. We sat in the outdoor seating overlooking the bay and had the best chicken kabobs. They had live music playing which made the ambiance and night just perfect. This part of the island was really calm and quiet and the perfect spot to begin our trip. The next morning we slept in then went to breakfast at the hotel restaurant. It had outdoor seating and was a great way to start the day. After we ate we went to our room, got our luggage and called for an Uber to take us to Hotel Del.

Hotel Del Coronado

We were so excited. We had heard such great things about this place. When we arrived there were people everywhere. It was much more busier on this end of the island but you could just feel the excitement in the air. The hotel has a nostalgia feel to it and I could picture in my mind what it was like when The Del first opened years and years ago. The Del recently became a Hilton Hotel which our Uber driver said a lot of people weren’t happy about, but we weren’t too worried because I usually stay at Hilton brand hotels.

We checked into our room and the hotel concierge took us to our room. It was gorgeous and even though the hotel was older it had a new smell, like maybe it just got new carpet or paint. We had paid more for a room with a partial island view. When we went out to our balcony we were disappointed to find our view was a great big plant. We called the front desk asking for a room change and unfortunately the hotel was completely booked. They ended up removing the upgrade charge and wanted to make us happy, which we were.

We pretty much spent the next few days on the beach, eating and when we had to go back to the room we laid in bed and watched the series Younger, which is my new favorite.

Hotel Del has a few different swimming pools and a gorgeous beach where you can rent beach chairs for around $20 a day. We chose to the beach over the pool because that’s something we don’t have here in Utah. The beach didn’t get too crowded in September and we couldn’t have asked for better weather which was in the high 70s.

There are also many restaurants and fun little shops on the hotel property so we pretty much just stayed on location, only leaving for our fountain Cokes and dinner.

We would walk across the street to La Salsa to get our daily dose of fountain Coke. Their food looked pretty good too, if you’re wanting a quick lunch or dinner.

For dinner one night we went to Miguel’s Cocina which is within walking distance from the hotel. It was hidden back behind other shops and had a nice Mexico feel to it. The fajitas were probably the best I ever had and they were reasonably priced, especially for being in a resort town.

Another night we went to a fun local spot, Village Pizzeria. I had a no cheese, veggie pizza that was to die for.

What We Would Do Differently

Hmmm… for sure stay longer, which isn’t really possible since we all have kids and husbands at home. But honestly I have to say good company, good hotel, beach and food made for the perfect vacation. In fact, I’m already planning my next destination there and every time those dang Facebook ads for The Del pop up in my feed it takes me back and makes me long for my next vacation. If you’ve never been to Coronado, book your trip to day. You won’t be disappointed.

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Fall Photo Shoot Locations

Fall is quickly passing us by and before we know it winter will be here. The month of October was full of fun fall photo shoots. I could not have asked for more perfect weather.  Now, I’m gearing up for the colder months, brrr. Everyone seems to want photos right before Christmas and I always feel bad when I can’t fit everyone in, there really needs to be five of me from Oct.-Dec. – haha! Anyway, today I’m sharing some of my favorite fall Northern Utah photo shoots.

Pineview Damn

I’ve always had a favorite spot at Pineview, but this year I found a new one that is free to use. I did a couple different sessions up here. The colors were gorgeous, however it was a little colder than it is in the valley.

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How to get there: I meet my clients at the Maverick in Ogden Valley. If the sun isn’t too bright or we have plenty of time, I like to do some in the field to the north of the gas station. Then we take a right out of the north entrance, through the stop sign and follow the road around. When you pass the little town square with Carlos and Harley’s continue on the same road but before the road takes a sharp left keep going straight on the dirt road.

Rainbow Gardens

This is a gorgeous spot for fall pictures. There are weeds, trees and it really looks like you are up in the mountains without having really being in the mountains.

Mantua

This year was my first time doing fall pics in Mantua and I loved it. There is the lake with a dock and then just down the road are the gorgeous fall colors.

Riverdale Trailhead

This spot is off of Parker Drive in Riverdale. It is located at the trailhead. There are a lot of trees, a bridge, fallen trees to sit on and even some tunnels that help mix it up again.

Bird Refuge

The bird refuge in west Layton is a great spot also.

Antelope Island

This is probably my favorite spot year round but in the fall it is bug free which makes for a much better experience.

 

 

 

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