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Why You Need to Use Your Crock Pot During the Holidays

Since the holidays are upon us, it is time to get your crock pot out and use it more. I invited Sheryl Tanner on to talk to us about the benefits of using a slow cooker.

Like most kitchen appliances, slow cookers can range from cheap budget buys with no thrills, to expensive luxuries with the latest cooking technology. One of the biggest considerations when buying your slow cooker is how big you need it. If you’re going to cook for a large family, then make sure you buy one that’s big enough to feed your entire family.

Here’s what she has to say-

The slow cooker is somewhat of a forgotten kitchen appliance in the modern kitchen. People don’t realize that a slow cooker is cheap, effective, and it’s a great way to prepare delicious meals with minimal effort. It’s a fantastic method of cooking to make the most of budget ingredients. You can make amazing low-fat and healthy meals with a slow cooker, and it’s extremely easy to use. It’s a great accompaniment to losing weight.

Choosing a Slow Cooker

Like most kitchen appliances, slow cookers can range from cheap budget buys with no thrills, to expensive luxuries with the latest cooking technology. One of the biggest considerations when buying your slow cooker is how big you need it. If you’re going to cook for a large family, then make sure you buy one that’s big enough to feed your entire family.

It’s also great to have a warming function to keep the food warm when it’s finished cooking. Most people start their slow cooker meals in the morning and leave it be for a couple of hours, then they dig in whenever it’s convenient. With a warming function, you don’t have to worry about the food getting cold or overcooking past the recipe time.

Price is also an important consideration. Most features will come at a premium, but the majority of them are unnecessary. Cheap slow cookers are absolutely fine. As long as they are big enough and there’s a warming function, you can pick whichever has good customer reviews.

Time and Effort Saving

Use your crock pot during the holidays

The main attraction to a slow cooker is the ease of use. But how can a cooker be “time-saving” you ask? It’s simple. Preparing a slow cooker recipe is as simple as cutting up ingredients and turning on the slow cooker. There’s no need to watch pots and pans, no need to fiddle with temperatures, you just follow a recipe (or make up your own) and leave it alone for a couple of hours. For the entire day, you’ll have a ready to eat meal whenever you feel hungry.

Here’s an example of a typical slow cooker recipe. To make a delicious spaghetti bolognese, combine minced beef, canned tomatoes, chopped carrots, diced onion, celery, garlic, tomato paste, oregano, a sprig thyme, a few bay leaves, salt, pepper, and a splash of wine into your slow cooker.

Cover it and cook for 5-6 hours on a medium heat, and then serve over spaghetti. Easy right? All it takes is preparation, and then you throw everything into the slow cooker and let it be. You can find more recipes like this at PaleoHacks.

Saves You Money

Tough and cheap cuts of meat such as brisket, shoulder, and thigh make great meats to throw into a slow cooker. They cook for an extremely long time which brings out the meaty flavor of these cheaper cuts, and the cooking process makes it juicy and delicious.

You don’t need to add oil to the slow cooker either, and you don’t need fatty cuts of meat because you usually cut the fat off before adding it to the slow cooker. This is because the fat drains away in regular cooking methods, but in a slow cooker the fat will sit in the food and you’ll have an oily mess.

Better Physical Intimacy in Marriage

I’m honored to have the second half of my interview with Tony Ingrassia over at Power of Purity podcast. Listen in today as we talk about better physical intimacy in marriage. There are many ways that you can go deeper in the bedroom with your spouse.

Tony and I explore:

  • Couples bedroom games
  • Understanding how to show love brings you closer together
  • Negative effects of porn
  • How a woman can change her perspective of sex
  • and more

Either download the podcast on iTunes or check out the episode over at Power of Purity.

Better Intimacy in Marriage Part 2

There are many ways that you can go deeper in the bedroom with your spouse.

Adding A Personal Touch To Your Christmas Gifts

adding-a-personal-touch-to-your-christmas-gifts-pinterestIt’s time to start lining up gifts for your loved ones! Susan Landry is here today with some ideas to personalize your gift options.

Are you frantically searching for Christmas gifts online? Tired of racking your brain for original ideas? Are you struggling to find something for that person who has everything? If so, it sounds like you need a little help. Christmas is all about friends and family. So what better way to celebrate this than adding a personal touch to your gifts? Here are some ideas to help you out.

Shopping for your partner

When it comes to buying gifts for your partner, it’s always good to go for something personal. There’s nothing wrong with universal gifts like socks and aftershave. But they don’t scream thoughtfulness. This Christmas, why not show that special person how much you love them by doing something different?

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You don’t have to spend a lot of money to spoil your partner. You could do something as simple as putting together a mix CD and designing a custom sleeve from Nationwide Disc. Or you could order prints online and make a photo album of the times you’ve shared together. Alternatively, you could book a weekend away or revisit old stomping grounds.

 

One idea is to stuff some envelopes with details of different date ideas and some cash. One night you could go to a diner you used to visit when you were dating. The next week you could go to the movies or take a trip to a football game. You can personalize the options according to your experiences and your partner’s interests. You can also control the budget by varying the amount of money in the envelopes.

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Personalized gifts for friends and family

It’s time to get your creative thinking cap on and make the most of your talents. If you have kids, you can also get them involved. Do some festive baking, or get your sewing machine or knitting needles out. You could create personalized bunting for your niece’s nursery or a jar of homemade cookies for your dad.

Children and adults can make customized greetings cards, and unique gift wrap. You can also make your own decorations to hand out to family members. If you’ve got a tight budget, DIY gifting is the way forward. You don’t have to spend much money, and you’ll be giving really thoughtful gifts.

Look for inspiration online. If you’re into crafts or you enjoy crocheting, for example, you’ll find some incredible ideas on the Internet.

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Shopping for gifts can be stressful, especially if you’re looking for those hard-to-buy-for relatives. This year, why not try and think outside the box and be original? You can make your gifts that extra bit special by adding personal touches. You could make your own cards, or come up with ideas for a gift with a difference.

Make use of your creative talents, and think about what that person enjoys doing. When you’re shopping for your partner, don’t restrict your search to material gifts. Experiences are often more valuable.

As the holidays approach, hopefully, these ideas have given you some food for thought.

My Adoption Story

I had the privilege of sharing my adoption story at Kelly Cox at Home. If you didn’t know, I went to live with my permanent family when I was 6 months old. The adoption was finalized at the age of 2.

All of my life, I knew I was adopted. That is a very different thing for someone my age. Open adoptions weren’t the thing when I was a baby. Now- research shows that open adoptions are actually healthier for a child.

I’m so blessed to have been adopted and have this story to share. Check out what I have to say over at Kelly’s today.

An Adoption Story- When God Sends You an Angel 

Learn how God used my name to place me in my permanent home. At the age of 6 months, I went to live with my new family and I am so blessed for it.

Cooking Tips For Beginners

Since we are going into the holidays, I know a lot of people are going to hit the kitchen that don’t usually make it in there. That is why I invited Susan Garland on to talk about a few cooking tips for beginners.

Have you realized that you have a passion for cooking and want to take it to the next level but need a helping hand to get you started? It will take time and patience, but you will get there. Follow some of these golden rules, and you'll be off and running in no time.

Here’s what she has to say-

Have you realized that you have a passion for cooking and want to take it to the next level but need a helping hand to get you started? It will take time and patience, but you will get there. Follow some of these golden rules, and you’ll be off and running in no time.

Safety First

As the phrase goes, ‘safety first’ does indeed come first! Kitchen utensils will hurt if used incorrectly so make sure you read up and take your time. There are open flames around you and hot water boiling, so it’s crucial to keep your eyes open. Anything that is spilled should be cleaned up immediately as this can cause accidents. Never leave anything cooking on the stove without you being there.

Don’t Spread Bacteria

  • Keep your hair tied back
  • Wash your hands before and after cooking, and after handling raw meat and fish
  • Keep surfaces clean
  • Store your food appropriately
  • Wear suitable shoes with good grip and something that covers your toes
  • Wear a clean apron, (never cook in baggy clothes)
  • Take off any rings or bracelets you have on

If you follow these rules you shouldn’t have any problems!

Knife Skills

Stay safe in the kitchen with proper knife skills

It is suggested to learn as many chopping skills as possible because these will come in handy!

For example, when chopping an onion you want to cut the top off, then slice it in half. Peel off the outside skin and throw it away. Lay the onion flat and chop horizontally, make sure you Cut It Fine and then add to a pan with hot oil or butter and fry until golden.

Learning little tips like this will make your life so much easier and you will save yourself a lot of time.

Manage Your Time Well

Keep a timer with you! Most people will already have one built into their oven. Cooking things like a pro all comes down to the perfect timing, you need to be on the ball and never take your eye off the clock. When you get more confident, you will start cooking numerous things at the same time; this can be tricky because not everything takes the same amount of minutes to cook, so trial and error is key .

Stay Patient

Patience is the secret to being a good chef. It won’t always work out how you planned, but it’s important not to give up after you make your first mistake, you’re not going to turn into a Michelin star chef overnight. Things go wrong! Maybe your chicken will turn out dry and overcooked – that’s okay! At least you’ve learnt something for next time.

Invite Friends to Taste

Now you have the rules; it’s time to test your skills out on people. Invite your friends and family round to taste your dishes. Arrange a fun dinner party and make a whole night of it. At least with friends, you have the freedom to experiment – go crazy! Not only will you get honest opinions about your dinner, you will pass an enjoyable evening with the ones you love.

Besides, what is good food without good people?

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Top Questions to Ask Before Buying Gifts This Year!

Buying gifts can be a huge stresser for anyone. It can be a bit overwhelming when it comes to Christmas buying, because you have to buy so many gifts. Today, I invited Lilian Macon on to share with us a few questions to ask before buying.

It’s always a challenge buying people Christmas presents. Especially when it's someone you don’t really know, or it's a person who already seems to have everything. Before I buy a gift for anyone, I always stop and ask myself some vital questions. It can stop me from making a mistake with a gift.

Here’s what she has to say-

It’s always a challenge buying people Christmas presents. Especially when it’s someone you don’t really know, or it’s a person who already seems to have everything. Before I buy a gift for anyone, I always stop and ask myself some vital questions. It can stop me from making a mistake with a gift.

After all, you don’t want to have to take it back in the weeks running up to Christmas. Here are some top questions you should ask yourself before buying anyone’s gift this year!

Do you like the gift?

Ask these questions before you buy gifts this year. Ask these questions before you buy gifts this year.

Before heading to the till you need to ask yourself if you like the gift. You need to consider how you would feel if someone else bought you the item. If you do like the present, then you can head to the checkout. But if it’s something you would never use, it’s time to put it back.

After all, you don’t want something which is going to end up being exchanged for something else after Christmas! Therefore, pick something you like so that you know your friend or family member will love it.

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Do they have it already?

A lot of us see an item and think that it would make a great present for a friend or family member. In fact, you can imagine them wearing or using it! But the reason you can imagine them with it might be down to the fact they have it already! A lot of people buy items that end up already being owner by the receiver.

Therefore, before you make a purchase, check with their nearest and dearest to see if they have the item already! That way, it will stop an embarrassing situation when the person opens the gift!

Are you taking a chance they may not like it?

For some people, they decide to take a chance when buying an item. They are not 100% that the person will like it, but choose to buy it anyway in hope they will love it. In fact, it tends to happen with clothes! But unless you know their size and stores they shop in, it’s best to stick to safe options.

For example, something edible similar to Boxt Christmas gift baskets would go down a treat with friends and family. Or bath products is always a winner when it comes to presents!  

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What is your gifts budget?

According to research, the average American plans on spending over $830 on their Christmas shopping this year! And it leaves them feeling the pinch for the rest of the year. Therefore, before you buy anything this year, you need to decide if you are spending too much on the person. After all, would they appreciate it any less if you spent a little less? You can get some cheap gifts which would make a great present for a friend or family member, without breaking the bank!

And make sure you don’t buy a gift that will just sit in the drawer in the house. You want something that is useful. That way, they can use the gift over and over again!

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Advice on Better Intimacy In Marriage

tips-on-better-sex-in-marriage

I had the honor of being invited on the Power of Purity Podcast with Tony Ingrassia. Tony has a ministry to men and women that want to go deeper in their sexual intimacy. As a pastor and a trained counselor, he has great insights into the hurts a couple experiences relating to their sex life.

Listen in today in the first part of our interview where we talk about duty sex, dealing with sexual baggage, and initiating in the bedroom.

Better Intimacy in Marriage 

 

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When is the last time you thanked your spouse?

This is the time of the year where we turn our minds and thoughts towards the things we are thankful for. When is the last time you thanked your spouse? We all appreciate having someone tell us thank you for the things we do, even if those things are our responsibility.

This is the time of the year where we turn our minds and thoughts towards the things we are thankful for. When is the last time you thanked your spouse? We all appreciate having someone tell us thank you for the things we do, even if those things are our responsibility.

Last year, I received a copy of Tammy Greene’s Ultimate Marriage Journal. She told me the story behind creating this journal, and how it had literally saved her marriage.

Both she and her husband were feeling insanely overwhelmed with life and as if no one appreciated them. She shared how they started writing short thank you notes to one another every day. Those simple notes to one another changed their attitude towards one another and helped them work through a lot of problems in their marriage.

The day the journal arrived, Austin grabbed a hold of it and wrote me a short note. He left it on the table next to my side of the bed. It was such a sweet surprise for me. Immediately, I could see how beneficial this small task would be for us.

Recently, I shared this idea with a friend and they decided to do it for their spouse. The friend told me that their attitude was changing towards their spouse, because of taking time to thank them every day.

Tammy put together a great journal that gives you both space to write on everyday for a full year. She also gives a few examples of notes that she and her husband wrote to one another.

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If you didn’t want to get this specific journal, you could use any type of notebook to do this. I encourage you to at least give it a try for a few weeks. It may not be something you stick with long term, but you would absolutely reap the benefits for just those few weeks.

Other things on my mind this week:

We did it! We finally release the ebook version of our Creative Conversation Starters for Couples on Amazon! You can check out this post to learn more about it. I go into detail about the book through video.

Also, I wanted to let you know that I’m running a sale in my Etsy Shop. You can purchase any of our bedroom game and marriage printables for 20% off. Use the code CHRISTMASLOVE at checkout.

15 Romantic Gift Ideas For Your Spouse

5 Ways to Feel Hotter While Having Sex

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