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Simple Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup

Simple Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup

It's fall ya'll! When the weather cools off, it means it's the perfect time to start cooking yummy soups. This is one of my go-to recipes, and it doesn't get much easier than this chicken noodle soup. As a little added bonus, I'm sharing how to make it in a slow cooker and a pressure cooker.

How to Cook Frozen Chicken Breasts in a Pressure Cooker

How to Cook Frozen Chicken Breasts in a Pressure Cooker

Whenever I need cooked, shredded chicken for a recipe, I almost always forget to take the chicken breasts out of the freezer. For example: I was going to share my homemade chicken noodle soup recipe on the blog next (don't worry, it'll be up next week). However, I need to have cooked, shredded chicken. And of course... All the uncooked chicken I have is frozen. So, I thought I'd share how easy it is to cook frozen chicken in a pressure cooker!

How to Clean Hardwood Floors

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How to clean hardwood floor || Bona Hardwood Floor Cleaner & Swiffer Sweeper || by Hayley Fiser || thehayleyfiser.com When we purchased our home in Gaylord, I was beyond excited to have hardwood floors. They look great and are so much better for people who have severe allergies, like my husband. After we moved in I realized I had no idea how to properly care for hardwoods. I was afraid that I would ruin them. Now I know that it's not so bad if you've got the right tools.

This post contains affiliate links. This means, if you click on the link and make a purchase, I will receive commission. 

Everyday Care

No matter how recently I've cleaned, there is always, dirt and dog hair. So, typically everyday I sweep the hardwoods. And, let's be honest, life happen and stuff spills. If it's a dry spill, like flour or cereal, we'll sweep or vacuum it up. For liquid spills, we do our best to it soak up and use a damp rag if it's something sticky. Just make sure you don't have anything liquid sitting on your hardwood for very long! As you probably already know, wood and liquid don't mix well. Over time it can severely damage the planks, and you'll have to replace it.

For a while I was using the Swiffer Sweeper with the wet mopping pads for those spills, but I haven't repurchased them in a few months. I don't know if they are really needed if you're cleaning up after messes as soon as they happen. I've also learned that if you diligently clean spills right away, you're floor will remain looking fresh and clean. This will save you time in the long run, because then you don't have to constantly deep clean your floors.

Deep Cleaning & Added Shine

A couple times a month I want to get a deeper clean and polished shine, and I use my Bona Hardwood Floor Cleaner. This stuff is amazing! Plus, it's GreenGuard Gold certified, meaning it's environmentally friendly and is even considered safe for sensitive individuals making it acceptable to use in schools and healthcare facilities. Knowing that, it makes me feel good about using it in my own home.

First, I'll sweep or vacuum the floors. Then, I'll put a dry rag on my Swiffer Sweeper, spray a light mist of the floor cleaner, and go over my entire floor. I have read reviews of people who say if you use too much it will leave a film on your floor. I personally haven't had this problem. You really don't need to use a ton anyway, as a little goes a long way.

If there is a hard-to-remove spot, I'll use a rag and a little more floor cleaner and scrub it out. I guess it's not really scrubbing, because you don't need a ton of elbow grease to get those tough spots out when using this cleaner.  Bing, bang, boom! You've got some super-shiny hardwoods.

Do you have any helpful tips for keeping your hardwoods clean? Leave a comment!

This post contains affiliate links. This means, if you click on the link and make a purchase, I will receive commission. 

How To Make Yogurt In An Instant Pot

How to make yogurt in an Instant Pot || by Hayley Fiser || thehayleyfiser.com

How to make yogurt in an Instant Pot || by Hayley Fiser || thehayleyfiser.com

How to make yogurt in an Instant Pot || by Hayley Fiser || thehayleyfiser.com

How to make yogurt in an Instant Pot || by Hayley Fiser || thehayleyfiser.com

How to make yogurt in an Instant Pot || by Hayley Fiser || thehayleyfiser.com

How to make yogurt in an Instant Pot || by Hayley Fiser || thehayleyfiser.com

How to make yogurt in an Instant Pot || by Hayley Fiser || thehayleyfiser.com

How to make yogurt in an Instant Pot || by Hayley Fiser || thehayleyfiser.com

One thing that sold me on my Instant Pot was the ability to easily make yogurt at home. It's super simple, and only take two products (milk and a starter yogurt). The process takes a whole day, but you really only need a couple hours to prep the milk before incubating it for 8-10 additional hours. Now, I can make a gallon of yogurt just how I like it for less than $2! So, in this post I'll walk you through picking the right Instant Pot to make yogurt, and how to make it.

Getting the Right Instant Pot

The pressure cooker I have is the 7-in-1 Instant Pot in the 6 quart size (yes, that's an affiliate link. Don't be scared. It just means I get commission if you buy something after clicking that link :) ). This is the lowest-priced Instant Pot version you can get that has the yogurt feature. They do have one that is less expensive, the 6-in-1 version, but it does not have the yogurt making feature.

Safety Note: There is definitely a learning curve to cooking in an electronic pressure cooker, and you need tofollow the instructions to ensure you use it correctly. I mean it is a pressure cooker... Improper use could lead to an explosion. Now don't get me wrong, these are very safe when used correctly, and it has a lot of mechanisms to make it safe. BUT! Please, please, please, if you buy one, follow the manufacturer's instructions!

Instructions on How to Make Yogurt in Your Instant Pot

How to make yogurt in an Instant Pot || by Hayley Fiser || thehayleyfiser.com

How to make yogurt in an Instant Pot || by Hayley Fiser || thehayleyfiser.com

What you'll need:

  • Instant Pot with yogurt setting (I have this one << and yes that is an affiliate link :) )

  • 1 gallon of whole milk

  • 4 tablespoons of yogurt with live and active cultures

How to make yogurt in an Instant Pot || by Hayley Fiser || thehayleyfiser.com

How to make yogurt in an Instant Pot || by Hayley Fiser || thehayleyfiser.com

To start, pour the entire gallon of milk into your Instant Pot, and put the lid on. You don't have to worry about the release valve, because the lid does not need to be sealed to make yogurt.

Next, press the "Yogurt" button followed by the "Adjust" button. It should say "boil" on the front of your Instant Pot. Leave it alone until it beeps, which takes around 30-60 minutes.

How to make yogurt in an Instant Pot || by Hayley Fiser || thehayleyfiser.com

How to make yogurt in an Instant Pot || by Hayley Fiser || thehayleyfiser.com

After the Instant Pot completes the boiling process and beeps, check the temperature of your milk. It should be between 180° and 185°F. If it hasn't reached that temperature with the boiling mode, don't worry. Just use the "Saute" mode on your Instant Pot and stir it regularly until it reaches a temperature between 180° and 185°F.

How to make yogurt in an Instant Pot || by Hayley Fiser || thehayleyfiser.com

How to make yogurt in an Instant Pot || by Hayley Fiser || thehayleyfiser.com

Once you're milk is between 180° and 185°F you need to take it out of your Instant Pot and let it cool down. You need it to be at or below 115°F. If you're not in a rush, you can just take it out, and place it on the counter. If you're like me, and don't want to wait, you can place it in an ice bath. I've seen people put them in deep baking pans full of ice, but I prefer to fill my sink up with cold water and a bunch of ice cubes.

When it's at or below 115°F take it out of the ice bath, dry off the outside of the pot, and place it back into your instant pot.

How to make yogurt in an Instant Pot || by Hayley Fiser || thehayleyfiser.com

How to make yogurt in an Instant Pot || by Hayley Fiser || thehayleyfiser.com

How to make yogurt in an Instant Pot || by Hayley Fiser || thehayleyfiser.com

How to make yogurt in an Instant Pot || by Hayley Fiser || thehayleyfiser.com

At this point you need to add your starter yogurt. If this is the first time you're making yogurt in your Instant Pot, you'll have to buy yogurt from the store that contains live and active cultures. I used the Chobani plain, non-fat Greek yogurt. However, once you've made yogurt in your Instant Pot, you can use some of your previous batch as your starter yogurt for the new one.

Measure out 4 tablespoons of your starter yogurt and whisk it into your milk for a minute or two. Then, place the top back onto your Instant Pot (you do not need to seal it), and press the "Yogurt" button so it shows 8:00 on the front. This number is how long it's set to incubate. I personally don't like very tart yogurt, so I leave it at an 8 hour incubation time. However, if you would like more tart yogurt adjust this setting to 10 hours using the "+" button. Then, leave it be until the incubation period is finished.

How to make yogurt in an Instant Pot || by Hayley Fiser || thehayleyfiser.com

How to make yogurt in an Instant Pot || by Hayley Fiser || thehayleyfiser.com

Voila! You've got yogurt! Now once the incubation period is done, I typically place it in the fridge for a little while to cool. However, you can take it straight from the Instant Pot and use a cheesecloth to strain out the whey (this will make it greek yogurt which is tarter), leave it as is and place it into your storage containers, and/or eat it.

I love making my own yogurt, because I don't like it to be overly tart. Plus, my husband and I can add what we want into ours. I like mine with chunky strawberry compote, flaxseeds, chia seeds, and granola. My husband uses a nut/granola mixture, honey or agave to sweeten it, along with chia seeds. We also add it to smoothies! You can find my all-time favorite smoothie recipe on the blog hereHow do you like to eat your homemade yogurt? 

4 Reasons Why Your Business Needs A Social Media Strategy

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Using social media to market your business seems like a no-brainer. It’s free, easy to set up, and it seems like anyone can figure out how to use it. So why do businesses struggle to get followers and engagement on their Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc? A lot of them don’t have a strategy in place to get the most out of their platforms, and to stay on task. Below are a few reasons why I’m a firm believer that every business needs a social media strategy.

Provides a Roadmap

Creating a social media strategy gives you time to think about what you want your social media presence say about your business. A social media strategy helps you decide on your tone of voice, graphic look, posting schedule, key words, hashtags, and much more. Then you know what your content should be, and it becomes easier to determine what to and what not to post.

Sets Expectations For Followers

People will follow accounts they believe provide some kind of benefit including aesthetically pleasing, educational, helpful, inspirational or aspirational. When people who are new to your profile, they tend to peruse your recent posts to see if it’s something relevant to them. If your posts are all over the place, someone may hesitate to or all together forgo hitting the follow button. However, if you are constantly providing content they like, then they are more likely to follow you. Because of this, it is key to understand your target market and build a strategy around them.

Keeps Your Posting Consistent

One key component to any great social media plan is a posting schedule for your content. You need to pick broad categories, and determine how frequently you will post each one. Maybe every Monday you post something motivational, Tuesdays you post a new blog post, Wednesdays you host a webinar or live video, Thursdays you share your sales, and so on.

Luckily it is very easy to schedule social media posts, which also makes fitting social media posting into a busy schedule a little bit easier. You can schedule posts days, weeks, or months in advance. However, scheduling posts doesn’t mean you should avoid checking the pages you manage. You still need to include your audience in the conversation and promptly reply to any questions, comments or concerns raised on your pages.

Helps You Find Your Audience

You need to engage with your audience on social media. This means that in your social media strategy, you should be outlining those who make up your target audience. These are the people who share the same values as your business. By defining and connecting with these people, you will have a more effortless and genuine connection with them. In the long run, these are the people you want following your business on social media. They will provide you will valuable feedback, be excited about the new things you offer, as well as be more willing to like, comment, and share you posts. 

Need help creating your social media strategy? Contact me today!


How To Use Your DSLR Camera in Manual Mode

Nikon DSLR D3100

Nikon DSLR D3100

Taking the next step with your DSLR, and switching over to manual mode can be overwhelming at first. Let's be honest, that's why you're here. In this post, I'll help you understand the basics of your manual mode settings: shutter speed, aperture, ISO. I even threw in how I check my exposure when adjusting these settings. So, take my hand, and I'll help guide you on your photography journey.  

What is Shutter Speed?

Let's take a couple steps back before getting into choosing your shutter speed setting. Okay, so DSLR stands for Digital Single-Lens Reflex. The Single-Lens Reflex (SLR) part means there is only one shutter mechanism moving when you take your shot. It will move up to let the light into the part of your camera where the digital sensor is, and then back down. The amount of time the shutter mechanism is up and letting light hit the sensor is your shutter speed, which is measured in seconds.

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Now that we covered the background information, what should you choose for your shutter speed? Honestly, it depends on the shot... I'll walk you through why I might choose a slow shutter speed, and why I might choose a fast one.

Slower Shutter Speeds: I'm going to get this out of the way now: if you're using a very slow shutter speed, you're going to need a tripod. Now that we have that out of the way, lets talk about the two reasons why you might end up shooting with a slower shutter speed. First, it's a low-light shot. These are typically at night or indoors with absolutely terrible lighting. Second, you want to emphasize motion in your images. These include images like blurred cars racing around a track or moving water blurring into a silky texture. For those situations, I'd be shooting below 1/50.

Faster Shutter Speeds: When I'm shooting at higher shutter speeds, I want to stop a moving object. For portraits of people who are fairly still or landscapes, I prefer my shutter speed will be set at 1/150 or higher (but I can make 1/100 work if I'm in a pinch). If I'm taking photos of a child, who is most likely going to be on the move the whole time, my goal shutter speed will be at least 1/500. When taking photographs of fast animals (dogs, birds, etc.), athletic events, or moving vehicles, I would want a shutter speed of at least 1/2000. For those types of shots, you can probably get away with a shutter speed of 1/1000, but if it's possible shot at 1/2000 or higher.

Minimum Shutter Speed to Shoot Without a Tripod: This depends on the lens you have on your camera, and if you're using a full- or crop-frame camera. I'll start with full-frame, because there's less math involved... For full-frame cameras you want the denominator of your shutter speed to be greater than the maximum millimeters your lens can shoot. Confused? That's okay, stick with me. If you're using a 50mm lens, you want your shutter speed to be 1/50 or higher. If you're using a 70-200mm lens, you should set your shutter to at least 1/200. For crop-frame cameras there's a little math involved (sorry...). The reason for the math is because crop-frame cameras basically have a build in zoom (AKA crop). Because of this, you'll need to use a shutter speed that's actually faster then if you were using that size lens a full-frame camera. I know... it's super confusing... BUT! From all the research I've done, if you multiple your lens' maximum millimeters by 1.6, you should be good to go. For example, if you're using a 50mm lens, you'll want to use a shutter speed of 1/80 (50 x 1.6 = 80). Now if  you're using a 70-200mm lens, you'll want a shutter speed of at least 1/320 (200 x 1.6 = 320).

What is Aperture?

Have you seen those photos with the super blurry background? That's done thanks to aperture. What is aperture? In a nutshell, it's the hole in your lens that lets light through to your sensor. When you open your aperture more, you will let more light in and reduce your depth of field. By reducing your depth of field, you get those buttery, blurred backgrounds, which are perfect for portraits. If you are taking a landscape photo that you want to be in focus for miles, you'll want to close your aperture.

Now, if you're looking at the aperture setting, it might seem a little backwards. Let's clear this up a little bit. If you want to open your aperture and have a wider opening, then you'll want to reduce the number in your setting. So, if you follow that idea, an aperture of f/22 is a smaller opening then an aperture of f/1.8. I know... confusing right?! Don't worry, you'll get the hang of it pretty quickly.

Something else to keep in mind, is some lenses (including kit lenses) have variable apertures.  This means your widest aperture changes as you zoom.

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What is ISO?

This is the shortest section, but it's pretty straight forward. Your camera's ISO setting adjusts how sensitive it is to light. As with all the other settings, there is some give and take with this. You trade an increased sensitivity to light (higher ISO) for a decrease in image quality (more grain). Personally, when I shoot in manual mode, ISO is the last thing I'll adjust. I'll start with an ISO of 100 or 200, and then adjust all my other settings before going any higher. Then, I'll change the ISO if I have the shutter speed and aperture to a point that I'm not comfortable going past to get the shot I want.

How Will I Know If I Have the Right Exposure?

I personally use the meter in my camera, which displays in my viewfinder and on the back screen. There are a few different metering modes on DSLR cameras, and I prefer using Spot Metering. Why? I like knowing that my meter is showing me what it's reading at for that exact point, which is the center focal point. For example, if I'm shooting photos of a person where the background is darker than their face, then I put my center focus dot on their face and use the meter to fine-tune my exposure to ensure their face isn't too dark or too bright. I might not use a center focus for the shot, but I use it to meter. Once I have the exposure I'm happy with, I will change my focus point for the composition of the shot. Keep in mind, the meter might not be "perfect" exposure, but it is a great starting point. So, make sure you're taking a couple practice shots when you change up your lighting or location.

Now you have the basics, put them to use and get out here and take some photos!

Ways to Make Money with Online Surveys

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Online Survey on Computer You've probably heard about people who make money taking online surveys. It's definitely a great way to make a little extra money during your spare time.  Maybe you've thought about doing this yourself, but didn't know where to start. It can be difficult to figure out which survey companies are scams and which ones are legitimate. But don't worry! In today's post, I'm sharing three survey websites I have personally used to earn some spare change.

This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you make a purchase after clicking on one of the product links with an asterisk (*), I’ll receive compensation. Let's be honest, mama needs a new pair of shoes :)

MyPoints

MyPoints has to be my favorite of the three. With this site, you earn points by completing different tasks including surveys, and shopping online and in store at different retailers. When you take surveys, you only get the full points if you qualify and complete the surveys. However, if you take the time to answer the preliminary questions and don't qualify, they still give you 5 points. You can also earn points by shopping online (if you have their internet browser plug-in activated), printing manufacturers' coupons through them and using it on in-store purchases, using their online-shopping coupon codes at check out, or even donating to your favorite charities. Once you have enough points you can redeem them for gift cards at popular retailers like Target and Amazon, or have them placed into your PayPal account. You can get $5 gift cards for just under 1,000 points, and up to $100 for almost 16,000 points.

Interested in trying out MyPoints? Sign up here!

SwagBucks

SwagBucks is another survey program that rewards you for more than just taking surveys, but they currently don't offer the in-store rewards that MyPoints does. However, SwagBucks does have the an internet browser add-on to earn points while you shop major online retailers. Also like MyPoints, once you earn a couple hundred to a couple thousand points, you can cash them out for gift cards or a PayPal payout. More points equals more cash. Sign up for SwagBucks here!

YouGov

This one is a little different then the other two. First, you earn points in much larger chucks. Because of this, you also need a lot more points to cash out. In addition to taking surveys, you're also able to participate in discussions and questions that focus on understanding public views. Lastly, instead of using PayPal to get cash like the other two, you have the option for a prepaid Visa gift card. If you're interested in joining YouGov, use this link to sign up and get 2,000 points after you complete your 4th survey!