So far, cooking while under quarantine has been very intriguing. Most dishes that I want to make, I can’t, simply because I’m missing one or two things. I’ve really been trying to avoid the grocery stores as well unless its an absolutely dire necessity. Luckily for me however, when digging through my pantry yesterday I realized that I had all the ingredients for chicken noodle soup. Thus, my InstantPot Chicken Noodle Soup recipe was born.
1 to 1.5 pounds (0.68 kg) of chicken
1 Bag of carrots (Your preferred carrot will work, but I enjoy crinkle cut carrots in my soup)
1 Bag of Egg noodles (or whatever noodle you prefer)
1 Diced onion
1 Tablespoon of butter
4 Cups Chicken Broth
4 Cups Water
A few pinches of oregano and garlic salt
A sprinkle of Cajun seasoning (optional)
InstantPot Chicken Noodle Soup Process
This first step ultimately has two options – 1) Dice chicken to cook, or 2) Leave chicken whole and shred later on after the lid has been removed and the quick release has been performed. I personally enjoy diced chicken more than shredded chicken in soup, so that is how I will be explaining the rest of these instructions.
After chicken is diced, turn the InstantPot on to high sauté and let it warm up
Once warmed, melt the butter in the InstantPot and then drop your diced chicken in to cook for roughly 10-15 minutes (or until done)
Add the bag of carrots, the onion, the few pinches of oregano and garlic salt, and the optional dash of Cajun seasoning
Stir all ingredients together, then let sauté for another 8-10 minutes
Pour in the chicken broth and water now, then cover the InstantPot
Switch from sauté to high pressure and let cook for another 10-12 minutes
Once the high pressure-cooking timer has rung, let your soup natural release for 10 minutes
Quick release any remaining pressure and remove the InstantPot lid (HERE is where you would shred your chicken if you chose not to dice)
Add the egg noodles (or whatever noodles you purchased) into the soup and cook until they’re complete (another 8-10 minutes)
And that’s that, a deliciously simple InstantPot chicken noodle soup recipe that will be sure to leave your stomach rumbling for seconds. Pro-tip, this chicken noodle soup pairs extremely well with some homemade garlic toast (recipe on the way) or even Ritz crackers (crazy, I know). As always, be sure to visit DustyPosts to see all the other recipes I’ve thrown together throughout my life, and leave some comments below with how it turns out. Enjoy!
Welcome back to the second installment of DustyPosts SEO for Beginning Bloggers! In our last discussion, we briefly covered Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and how it could be beneficial to someone who has just entered the blogging scene. This post will snake its way deeper into the grass that is SEO Optimization, the tools I use to push my searches to the next level, and hopefully, shed some light on some SEO best practices I try to adhere by.
What is SEO Really?
To briefly recap our last discussion, Search Engine Optimization can be defined as the process of getting free, organic traffic from a natural search through a search engine. As you can see from the picture above though, SEO can look much more complicated to the untrained eye. There are many things that roll up into the ever-changing traffic optimization technique, but many don’t realize that a lot of those things go hand in hand with one another.
Take the entire “content” section from the above image. Search Engine Land broke down SEO into two main areas, On and Off page SEO, before breaking those down even further. The content section consists of six positive items and one negative item, which seems like a lot of information to digest. But, if you really look at what the positive items are – Quality, Research, Words, Fresh, Vertical, and Answers – almost all of those come with the actual writing and research of your piece. So, SEO is all the above things plus some other stuff mashed into an article for your blog, but at the same time, it’s truly only two things: Promotionaly unpaid, well researched content.
Of course, all those back-end, architectural and web based items still matter, but without that strong piece of content no one will be searching for your blog post anyways. I know it seems like a daunting task – and in all honesty, when you first start it may not feel natural – but it becomes second nature after a while. You will optimize your articles with perfectly placed keywords, titles, URLs, and more, all without even trying.
SEO Optimization Tools
There are hundreds and thousands of SEO Optimization tools out on the web, but I really only use two at this point in my blog’s life.
Yoast is probably the easiest SEO tool to use if you’re a WordPress user already. It’s a plug-in that adds itself right to the bottom of your block/classic editor and helps with a few key areas of SEO optimization: Titles, URLs and Slugs, Links, and Keywords.
On the title side of things, Yoast will let you know if your title is too long, too short, whether your designated keyword is within the title, or even if your designated keyword is in an appropriate place within the title.
URLs, Slugs, and Links are all somewhat related to one another and can easily be distinguished within Yoast’s plug-in. These areas make sure that your content is easily accessible to search engines via the URLs, and it helps your patrons more easily clarify what may be found within a specific page/URL.
However, the Keyword analysis is where Yoast really shines. They will tell you if your keyword density, or the number of times your keyword has been used, is acceptable for your variable length of text. Yoast will also let you know if the key phrase you’ve entered has been previously used and if your keyword is placed in all the optimized areas: Title, URL, Sub-headings, and Meta description just to name a few.
On top of all that, it also has a really neat readability function that helps determine weak points in your article as well as sentences/paragraphs that may come across as “difficult to read.”
Another incredible SEO Optimization tool is Google Analytics (GA), which is probably very underutilized by newbie bloggers. GA is a much larger, more complex beast in comparison to Yoast, but if you can learn it you will vastly improve your optimization scores. With GA, you can drill down into specific keywords and see what times, days, or even months that those keywords perform best. You can also more readily dive into your user data with Google Analytics and see how organic your blog actually is. It’s such an incredible tool. Not to mention, it can also be very helpful for those of you who are trying to set goals for your blog for the first time.
SEO Best Practices
Even knowing all of those tips and tools won’t make you an expert SEO optimizer though. So, it’s also paramount to have some important things to take note of while creating your content. A “Best Practices” list if you will, and my three things I always strive to optimize while blogging.
I touched on how Yoast SEO does some of this for you, but it is hands down the most important thing a blogger can do to help drive traffic to their site. With well-placed keywords your site will be more easily recognizable by search engines for whatever it is you’re trying to optimize. So, if your blog is not on WordPress and you do not have access to Yoast, try the following to ensure you optimize those keywords.
1 – Make sure the keyword/phrase you’re trying to optimize for is in your title AND introductory paragraph (preferably towards the beginning of both)
2 – If you’re writing a listicle or something with a lot of sub headers, be sure to include the keyword in a healthy amount (probably around half) of those subheadings
3 – Always, always, always, have your keyword in your meta description and your URL slug
Optimizing images within your posts or blog is also a must-do to drive the most traffic your way. This is a pretty simple best practice, but it can get tedious if you have a backlog of images that you have NOT been doing this for. All you need to do for this best practice is make sure that when you upload the image you add your key phrase into a) the image title, or b) the alternate text area of your image. In doing this, you’re adding another layer of key phrase crawl to your site, and search engines have one more thing to grab onto when someone searches for that golden key word.
Optimized linking is also very important, but it may not always be relevant. For example, if I’m posting about my book, the only thing I can really do is throw a link to the page itself (since there isn’t anywhere else that has information on my book… yet.), which is kind of redundant. With that being said, you should always double check that you are including links and making sure that those links will take viewers to trustworthy sites that help convey the point you are trying to get across.
So, by following all the SEO Optimization techniques I’ve listed above, I believe you can start setting your blog site up to efficiently drive traffic your way. Remember, SEO is promotionally unpaid, well written content, and with some plug-ins and best practices, you can step up your SEO optimization game to the next level before you know it.
Thanks for stopping by! Be sure to check out all the other original content I produce weekly at DustyPosts.com.
Six Diaper Bag Essentials for a Newborn: A Dad’s Perspective
As a first-time dad, there’s a lot of strange, new things that get thrown your way within the first few weeks of your child’s birth – much of which you have absolutely no idea how to handle. Like when your little boy continuously pees out of his diaper because no one at the hospital told you to point his downstairs mix-up south when changing diapers. Or the fact that babies sphincters don’t always fully close, which causes reflux, so they can sound really phlegmy and sick (which is big deal with COVID-19 looming over everything) after eating. With all of that being said, one of the biggest struggles I’ve faced so far has been packing the right items into the diaper bag at any given time. So, for all the other first time dads and moms out there who have no clue what to bring, enjoy my newborn diaper bag essentials list. Most of which were things I had to learn the hard way, but you may not need to.
The Diaper Bag Itself
It’s pretty hard to do just about anything for your newborn once you’re out of the house if you forgot the one key item that holds all of their key items. If I’m being honest, of the ten times I’ve left the house with my son in the last month, I’ve forgotten to grab the diaper bag on seven or eight of those occasions. I’m usually the least forgetful person, but for some reason that darn diaper bag never hits my radar of things to grab as I’m leaving. So don’t forget this, or you will be the butt-end of some jokes… trust me.
Diapers and Changing Pad, Duh
Another no-brainer that I have left out of the diaper bag a handful times is spare diapers and somewhere to change my son when the time comes. Luckily for me, the only times we’ve had to change him in public I had remembered to pack the changing pad, but there have been times when he needed a diaper change, and he didn’t get one because there were no spare diapers. Good thing for me that we haven’t been any more than ten minutes away from our house at any given point over the last month LOL.
Extra Outfits for Unexpected Messes
Another area we have been very lucky in so far has been the explosive poop everywhere category, which has only happened once. We were at home when this happened, but let me tell you what, we will never leave the house without extra clothes after seeing what that boy did to them with that poop! I could not imagine that happening and having to walk, carry, or smell him any longer than the walk from our living room to his room took.
Wipes and Hand Sanitizer for, Well, More Unexpected Messes
One thing I never thought I’d be okay with was having baby poo on my hand, but over the last three weeks, I’ve just grown to accept that it’s going to happen and I’m going to have to get used to it. All it takes is one swift leg kick while changing a diaper and the hand holding that leg slips from your newborn’s leg and slides right into some liquidy brown child matter. Which is where the saviors of all saviors, wipes and hand sanitizer, come in. If my hand touched poop while I was in public with my son and I didn’t have wipes or sanitizer, he would be getting handed off ASAP in order for me to sprint to the nearest restroom and wash my hands before I got sick.
Pacifiers and Pacifier Clips
This may not seem like that big of a deal, but having a pacifier (or three) nearby can always be handy. They’re perfect for right after feeding and burping when your newborn is acting like they want more food. It can calm them down just enough for them to drift off to sleep, or it could just soothe them to continue that feeding motion and feel like they’re eating. However, at a certain point, your newborn will not want the pacifier anymore and it will fall from their mouth. Or, in my son’s case, will projectile out of his mouth with such velocity you would have thought a five-year old just threw it across the room. And this is where the pacifier clips play a crucial role, because they save that binky from flying away from you and onto the filthy floor. These clips have saved countless binky rip outs, spits, and falls so far and you will not catch me without one attached to a binky at all times.
A Spare Bottle and Some Formula
Now this one falls more towards the first time father side of things, but having a spare bottle and some formula packed in the diaper bag can be quite the life saver for any dad roaming on his own. I’d like to think that seven out of ten times when your newborn is crying, they’re hungry. So if you run out for what you think will be a quick trip somewhere but end up being out longer than anticipated, that baby is probably gunna get hangry. And, as a father, if you aren’t with the child’s mother or if she isn’t breastfeeding, you’re kinda SOL since, you know, you can’t breastfeed. So, be sure to always have that bottle ready with the formula on hand to make your newborn happy.
Parenting can be rough some times. The sleepless nights, the endless flow of poop from your child’s rear, and the constant worry of something being wrong already make life hard enough. With the help of these newborn diaper bag essentials, you don’t need to let a disgusting poop hand, a stinky diapered baby, or the absence of a diaper bag make your life any harder.
Thanks for reading! Be sure to check out the parenting tag on DustyPosts often for more advice, life-hacks, and all around general baby knowledge.
Welcome back to another installment of DustyPosts recipes! Today, I’ll be teaching you one of my favorite InstantPot rib recipes, which you should have plenty of time to make with all the COVID-19 quarantining as of late. To cook, you’re looking at anywhere from 25-40 minutes (depending on style and size of ribs), and with prep you’re looking at maybe another 15-20. I know, you’re probably thinking Sweet Thai Chili shouldn’t be a rib flavor, but if you give me that hour of your time, I’m 100% positive I can change your mind.
Ingredients & Kitchen Requirements
One rack of ribs (Baby back or short ribs both work)
One bottle of your favorite sweet thai chili sauce (my favorite is Mae Ploy, which I typically get from Publix)
Garlic salt and Oregano
Liquid smoke or any smokey seasoning you can dump into the water
Grab your ribs and separate them into quarters (if possible) with your sharp knife or kitchen shears
Pour one cup of water into your InstantPot and add your liquid smoke or smoky seasoning (it totally up to you how much you add).
Place trivet stand into InstantPot, and then set quartered ribs onto trivet stand (it’s ok for them to be stacked here, that won’t change anything).
Turn InstantPot on to High Pressure cooking and set timer based on following: Baby back ribs should cook for 26 minutes on high, whereas short ribs should cook for 35-40 minutes on high.
While ribs are in the InstantPot, pour the entire bottle of sweet thai chili sauce into a mixing bowl and add a splash of soy sauce, some garlic salt, and a dash of oregano.
You can also get your oven preheated here if, like me, you have an oven that takes forever to warm up.
Once the ribs are done cooking, you will also need to follow one of these for venting: Baby back ribs should naturally release for about five minutes, and the short ribs should naturally release for ten to fifteen minutes.
Remove the ribs and place on your baking sheet, then proceed to completely slather in the sweet thai chili concoction you mixed earlier.
Place ribs into your broiling oven until they have a perfect crisp along the top and outer edges of the ribs. This time varies for all ovens, but for me it typically takes anywhere from eight to 12 minutes to be crisped the way I like.
Carefully remove from oven, let cool, and enjoy!
In less than an hour, you could have a heaping stack of warm, caramelized sweet thai chili ribs on a plate in front of you. I know it still may sound out of the ordinary, but I guarantee you that these ribs will forever change the way you think of rib flavors.
CD Projekt Red Announces Witcher 4 May Be Their Next Release
It’s officially official, CDPR has all but confirmed that a Witcher 4 is most likely the next game the company will develop after Cyberpunk 2077 is released in late 2020. The Polish Video Game developer has made it very clear that Witcher 4 will actually not be a fourth installment to the already immensely successful Witcher trilogy, but that it will remain within the Witcher Universe that Andrzej Sapkowski created. That could mean a number of things though, and its safe to assume that we are at least a few years out from seeing any specifics released on this matter. Whatever direction they do choose though will surely end with millions of Witcher fans having their hands on yet another spectacular fantasy RPG.
Anticipated Release Date
With four years between each Witcher Release so far, I think it’s very safe to assume that we are at a minimum of four years out from the next installment of the Witcher franchise. I do think there are some other things that will more than likely push the game even further out for all of us, the first of which is the success of Cyberpunk 2077. CDPR has stated multiple times that The Witcher and Cyberpunk franchises are the two universes they think they can continue to build on in the future. With that being said, if Cyberpunk exceeds expectations with its holiday release in 2020, CDPR could very well decide to pump out a second game there rather than a fourth for The Witcher.
If Cyberpunk is successful, but not so successful that they immediately want to begin a second game, CDPR could potentially push both games into the early stages of development. With teams split working on two games, we would obviously expect a longer wait for a possible Witcher title, so let’s add another six to twelve months there. On top of all that, we have to assume there isn’t much, if any, completed on an actual plot for the next Witcher. This would probably tack another six to twelve months on to things, which pushes that original four year estimate to five, or maybe even six, years before release. If I had to guess, I would say we can expect the fourth installment to the Witcher series in Mid 2025 at the earliest.
Witcher 4 Expected Plot
As I mentioned above, almost nothing has been announced (or probably thought too deeply of) on what The Witcher 4 plot could look like. In fact, the only thing CDPR has said so far is that Geralt will NOT be the main character. Of course, decisions like these change all the time, but I have three possibilities that I believe we could see in the fourth Witcher game.
#1 – A Young Geralt or Pre Geralt Universe
A young Geralt option would require CDPR to redact their statement of Geralt not being the main character, but I could easily see this being the direction of game number four. However, back in a time when Witchers were a plenty, they could also take the pre Geralt approach. We could potentially experience Vesimir’s story, or the story of any other Witcher from the period before Geralt. This would be very interesting, and would travel outside the realm of Andrzej’s books. I’m sure he would still be a part of developing the storyline, but if he wasn’t, I’d feel safe with CDPR and whatever direction they decided to take the game. Who knows, he may even have some unpublished Witcher stories he could use for the new game!
#2 – A Post Geralt Universe
Option #2 is probably the option that makes the most sense for a fourth game. This could mean Ciri becomes the potential new lead, or maybe even a new, younger Witcher comes into the fold and is trained by an older Cirilla. They could be attempting to restore the Witchers back to their former glory or maybe even just rounding up whatever remaining Witchers are out there to defeat whatever villain CDPR decides to add into the game. This, of course, would also require material that was not a part of the books, but at least here they have a base with Ciri and whatever other Witchers are still alive. Both of these options still leave plenty of room for some of our favorite characters to find their way back into the story. So, don’t be surprised when Yen, Dandelion, or Zoltan appear telling tall tales of Geralt!
#3 – An Entirely New Witcher 4 Universe
This option would require the most work, but it also has loads of room for something the Witcher Universe hasn’t really had before… complete character customization. With an entirely new Witcher universe, one could expect to create their own witcher who is responsible for saving the world, restoring the Witchers to glory, or even potentially being the cause of the Witchers dying off. This is definitely my favorite option of the three, but it would require a lot since they would potentially be scrapping almost everything from the original three games. Too bad we will need to wait four to six years to figure out what the story will truly entail!
I’ve been a fan of this series since I first stumbled upon The Witcher 2, and I don’t think I will ever lose my love for the realm of Temaria. So no matter what CD Projekt Red decides to do with the next installment of one of my favorite video game series, I know they will succeed. I trust them to make all the right decisions and lead us into a new age of Witcher games!
Thanks for stopping by DustyPosts to check out my Witcher 4 post. As always, leave some feedback in the comments section below and give my page a follow!
Taking care of a newborn can seem like quite the daunting task. Constant diaper changes and the fear of doing something your child won’t like loom around every baby-proofed corner of your home, but it doesn’t have to all be so difficult. This list includes five must buys for newborns that have made my life as a first time parent so much easier, and I bet they can make yours easier too!
#1 – A Great Stroller
This might seem obvious, but a good stroller goes a long way. As a finance guy, when the stroller research began I immediately took note of how expensive they were. Even for a generic, run-of-the-mill stroller you’re probably going to spend close to $200. Before we pulled trig on buying one we decided to run up to the local target to test out a few of the ones we had read good reviews about online. I knew within about five minutes of testing though that we wouldn’t be going with any of the basic strollers. They were all clunky feeling, and none of them were that easy to fold down. That was a big concern of mine because I didn’t want my significant other to have to struggle with a stroller once I went back to work. On top of that, none of them were all that aesthetically pleasing, which I know sounds ridiculous, but I just want my kid to look incredible in whatever he’s rolling around in (LOL).
Ultimately, we decided to get the Nuna TAVO. It’s definitely a borderline luxury stroller, but after testing out the others and comparing prices, it just didn’t make sense to be unhappy with something our child would be in on such a regular basis. The TAVO will typically run you $399, but if you grab it while Nuna is having a sale you can save a decent chunk of change! We were also fortunate enough to have some pottery barn gift cards left over from our baby shower, so we actually ended up paying even less than what we would have if we just bought a basic stroller. And let me just say, I am absolutely in love with this stroller. It has a simple one click folding mechanism with zero effort needed to fold down, it’s super lightweight yet also very durable, it has all sorts of angles for your child to lay and also comes with multiple areas where you can peel back certain areas for better ventilation. It is the Rolls-Royce of baby strollers and I would highly suggest going down a path like this if you’re planning on having multiple children. This stroller looks like it will last us our entire lives!
#2 – An Even Better Car Seat
Having a top of the line car seat is very important in my opinion. Think about how much time you spend in the car already… now wouldn’t you want your child’s time in that same car to be as safe as possible? The car is one of the most dangerous places for a child to be, especially if they aren’t in the proper car seat OR if the car seat is not installed correctly. This was another thing that we put a good amount of research into. But, since we were so sold on the Nuna brand already (and because we had already purchased the stroller LOL), we decided to stick with the Nuna car seat too. We ended up with the Nuna PIPA, and in all honesty, this car seat is also a top of the line masterpiece.
The installation was a little difficult in my car, but that was more because of my car being difficult and me not reading instructions rather than the car seat itself being difficult. Once installed though, I couldn’t budge this thing if I wanted to. It truly locks itself into your seats and it even has a neat little support that extends from the base of the seat down to the floor of your car. It is also extremely easy to snap into and remove from the base. Plus, all of that same ease is applied when moving the car seat to the stroller as well. The Nuna brand is very pleasing to the eye as well and comes in a navy blue that is to die for. I can’t imagine parenting with any other brand of stroller or car seat!
#3 – A 4moms mamaRoo Swing
This little swing, bouncy chair, and pure heavenly contraption has been an absolute lifesaver in my first week of parenting. It has six different motions and a wide array of soothing sounds (plus you can play music from your phone too) that perfectly mimics our movements as parents. When nothing seems to be working to calm down my son, I put him in here on the car ride motion and play the heartbeat sound effect for him. Within seconds, he is fast asleep and those frowns are turned into the cutest little smile. Thankfully, he is not a big crier and I haven’t had to use this too much yet, but it is nice to know that I have something so wonderfully helpful as back up when I need it.
Depending on what site you get this from, you could spend anywhere from $200 to $300. However, many sites now have the Affirm option, which is a simple way to make low payments on items like this over the course of a year or two. I would 1,000% recommend taking advantage of a deal like that if you can, because this swing/chair will be a bigger help than you could ever imagine. This could have easily been my #1 must buy for newborns too, but the stroller/car seat just have a safety factor that moved them to the top of the list.
#4 – Tons of Diapers and Somewhere to Put the Stinky Ones
Coming in at #4 on the “must buy for newborns” list is… diapers! Once again, this may seem like an obvious thing you would buy for your child, but there is more that goes into this purchase than you think. Throughout the entire pregnancy, we were told we were probably going to have a smaller child. Nurses and Doctors both all guessed we would have a baby that ranged from seven to seven and a half pounds. Well, last week when our child finally decided to come, he came out weighing almost nine pounds! “How does that affect my decision to buy diapers?” you might ask. Well, think of it this way: If we hadn’t bought a few different sizes of diapers, we would have ONLYbeen prepared for a small baby with newborn diapers. That would have been a problem, because our son probably hasn’t been a size where he would’ve fit in newborn diapers for close to a month or so. So then I would have had to run back and buy more diapers, and who wants to do that on day one with their newborn!?
Along with the diapers, you will also need an airtight, stench free zone to put them in. Personally, I like stainless steel the best because it has that sleekness factor that fits just about anywhere in your house. Not to mention, a stainless steel trash can at Target is about half the price of the usual diaper pail. So it seemed like a no-brainer to save that extra money! Another fun tidbit about diapers is that they are exchangeable, so even if you do end up with loads of the wrong size you can easily exchange for the size your ever growing baby may need!
#5 – A Bottle Warmer
As a dad, I think bottle warmers are easily must buys for newborns. I know, technically, you can warm up bottles or milk with warm water from the sink. And breastfeeding or formula are already both at the temperature they need to be at, so you wouldn’t need a warmer then. However, when your newborn wakes up at 3 A.M. and you grab them to let your child’s mother get that well deserved extra few hours of sleep, a bottle warmer will come in so clutch. It’s perfect for one hand use while holding a baby, and they’re extremely simple to use. Ours has five warming options, all with pictures to easily identify what you need. It is definitely much easier than attempting to hold a bottle under warm sink water for 5-10 minutes while your newborn is screaming for some food. On top of their extreme usefulness, they’re also relatively cheap. The Phillips Aventmodel that I have only cost us $23!
Being a parent is no joke. It comes with loads of stress, countless sleepless nights, and thousands of poopy diapers. But with this guide, I think I can assist in easing some of that stress and allowing you to enjoy more of the little things with your newborn.
Thanks again for the read! Be sure to check out all of my content over at DustyPosts, and be on the lookout for more parenting guides as well!
As the temperature dipped down into the low 50s this weekend I decided to bust out my old keto chili recipe. There’s nothing better than a warm, hearty bowl of chili when its chilly, am I right!? This recipe is extremely simple and only requires about 45 minutes until you’re enjoying that satiating bowl of chili. So go turn your favorite playlist on, get your Instant Pot preheated, and get to cooking!
The Tasty Ingredients
Two 12 oz (ca. 454 g) cans of diced tomatoes (basil, garlic, and oregano flavored preferably)
One 12 oz (ca. 454 g) can plain tomato paste
1.5 lbs of a ground beef/ground pork mixture (you could substitute with whatever meat you prefer here)
One yellow onion, diced
Two fresh garlic gloves, minced
Three-fourths cup of beef broth
One-third cup of water
Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)
Himalayan Pink Sea Salt, Cumin, Chili Powder, and Smoked Paprika to taste
Turn your instant pot on to sauté mode and drizzle a little EVOO into the pan
Once preheated, add the ground beef/pork and brown for 10-15 minutes
This step is optional: If you aren’t a massive fan of all the grease produced here, simply grab a ladle and an old cup and scoop some grease out!
Add onion and garlic in with the meat and cook until onions are nearly see through
Add diced tomatoes, tomato paste, beef broth, water, and seasonings (totally your preference on how much you add here) and stir
Place your instant pot lid on and switch from sauté mode to pressure-cook (high)
Let cook for 25 minutes, and then let it sit on “keep warm” for an additional 10 minutes (this will allow some pressure to naturally release)
Switch your release valve to “vent” and let remaining pressure out
Stir, scoop into bowl, add cheese, avocado, bacon bits, and sour cream, then enjoy!
Be sure to take an aesthetically pleasing picture of this hearty chili before you eat it, because it will look good! This keto chili is full of flavor, protein, and healthy fats, plus it essentially has no carbs (depending on what additional items you add) so you will be more than full once you’re done with your first bowl. Be sure to let me know how your chili turns out, and if you have other tasty keto chili recipes leave some links in the comment section for me to try!
Are you avoiding chicken alfredo while on your keto diet because of all those carbs that are in pasta? Well I have just the meal plan hack for you then. This simple recipe will satiate your craving for delicious alfredo all while keeping carbs low and fats high. The trick, replacing that deliciously unhealthy pasta with one of my favorite sides, carrots! You may be wondering, “how exactly do carrots replace pasta?” And to that I would say, you use matchstick carrots my friend. This keto friendly chicken alfredo recipe hack will have you enjoying your favorite meal again in no time.
Keto Friendly Ingredients
Note: This recipe will feed two to three people.
Two chicken breasts
One bag of matchstick carrots
A bag of your favorite cheese (I recommend Gouda or mozzarella)
One large carton of heavy whipping cream
Fresh, minced garlic
A pinch of garlic Salt and oregano
Making the Keto Friendly Chicken Alfredo
Step 1: Cook your chicken. I leave this step extremely basic because not everyone likes their chicken cooked the same way. Typically, I throw mine in the oven the second I get home from work. It saves me time and I don’t have to worry about using two pans for later steps, but I know a lot of people don’t enjoy oven broiled chicken breast!
Step 2: When your chicken is almost cooked, throw the bag of matchstick carrots into a medium to large sauce pan and cover on medium heat. This will allow the carrots to soften a bit and get that spaghetti like texture.
Step 3: Pull the chicken from the oven and dice, slice, or prep your chicken however you prefer.
Step 4: Drop your chicken in with the softened carrots and add a pinch of garlic salt, another pinch of oregano, and some freshly minced garlic.
Step 5: Cover this mixture and let sit for five to ten minutes, allowing the chicken flavor to settle in with the carrots.
Step 6: Pour in the heavy whipping cream until almost all the carrot/chicken mix is covered.
Step 7: Immediately dump your favorite cheese on top and cover one final time.
Step 8: After another five or so minutes, remove the lid, drop the heat to low, and stir. Your alfredo should start to thicken now and will more than likely be to the appropriate thickness in another five minutes.
Step 9: Enjoy your keto friendly chicken alfredo!
I know it isn’t the exact same thing as a heart bowl of chicken alfredo, but its about as close to it as you’ll ever get while being on a keto diet! It really is quite delicious and more filling than you would think too. The taste and simplicity of preparation make it a staple in my weekly dinners, and I would strongly recommend you adding it to yours as well. Thanks again for visiting DustyPosts to check out my content! For more recipes and how to guides, be sure to follow this link. Be sure to comment how your keto friendly chicken alfredo turned out, and if you have any of your own recipes drop a link for me to give them a try!
As we near the halfway point of Q1, it’s officially time to take a peak under the hood at those goals we set back in 2019. As a new blogger, writer, site owner, I wasn’t really sure what to expect or anticipate going forward into my first full year in the game. Without saying too much, I completely undershot my goals for the first quarter of the new year! I decided that I would rework them for the remainder of 2020 and ended up with some pretty valuable insight as I began.
Setting Goals Is All About The Analytics, But…
You were probably thinking, “Duh. How else would you set goals” as you read that header. The funny thing is though, just because you have data and analytics doesn’t mean the way you interpret that info will be even 1% beneficial to you. My issue was I was somewhat “half assing” my first six months as a blogger, dipping my toes in the water if you will, and I would really pick it up once I began my first new year. I, of course, took my analytics and adjusted to them to what I thought would be reasonable as I began “full assing” my blog, but at the end of the day it was simply a guess.
Originally, I was writing two to three posts a week, one of which was a shorter review that I wanted to turn into a full-fledged review of. I also wanted to add at least one more post a week when time allowed. So, with all of that analysis I assumed the longer, more relevant review with an additional potential post would lead to about 1.75 times more views. (Example, if I had 100 views in Q4 2019, I was anticipating another 175 in Q1 2020, putting me at a total of 275).
Well, since I was only really looking at views and some other smaller analytics, I was completely wrong. In January alone my site saw nearly half of my entire 2019 traffic, views, ads published, and whatever other analytic you can throw out there. Safe to say what I thought was an educated guess was actually more along of the lines of a completely random guess.
Analyzing Those Analytics
And that brings us to the “but” from my first header. Simply looking at basic analytics will not help you make educated guesses for setting goals! You have to take a (somewhat) deep dive into your data before you can even begin to understand what it all means. It also helps a lot if you actually know what things like “impressions” and “bounce rate” mean too. Surprise, surprise, I did not know what they meant (lol).
Organic Traffic: Any visitors that land on your site via “unpaid” (ad-free) means.
Referral Traffic: visits that come to your site from sources outside whatever search engine you’re using (Outside = links from other websites, social media, etc.)
Direct Traffic: When someone goes directly to your page by entering the URL.
Users: Individuals who visit your site (can help track return rates, unique views, etc.)
Views vs. Unique Views: Views refer to the total number of views on your site. But, you could have 95% of your views from one user that could skew data. Example, if you have 100 views on a post and 95 of them are from subject A, but Subjects B through F all had one view, you would have 6 unique views.
Sessions: Sessions are tied to users in a way that shows how many views one individual may be bringing to your site.
Impressions are a strange beast, so they get a new section for discussion. Many claim that impressions are just views, but they really are more than that. For a view to become an impression, the ad/content must load. So, if someone were to scroll down your page slowly, you may get 100 impressions. If someone opens the page and immediately scrolls to the bottom before anything loads, you may get 20 impressions. Look at this explanation on Quora for another take on impressions.
Duration and Bounce Rate
Bounce Rate and Duration are also pretty important, but they’re a little more straightforward than some other things we’ve discussed up to this point. Duration is simply how long a user/viewer has been on your site, whereas a bounce is a single-page session on your site. Basically, it is the percentage of all sessions in which users view only one page and trigger only one request to your server.
You typically want your duration to be high and your bounce rate to be low, but they don’t necessarily have to follow that guideline. If the purpose of your site is to get people looking at more than one page though, then you 100% want to lower that bounce rate! Google Analytics has an excellent explanation of these two things here.
Timing of Posts
This is one that I didn’t pay too much attention too until recently, but it may be the most important thing you will read here today. I originally was uploading posts willy-nilly at all times of the day. But the thing with that is, if I post at 7:00 PM on a Friday, who is going to read it? My demographic is definitely geared towards the younger to middle-aged adult so most of that group isn’t even home at 7:00 PM on a Friday!
You can see where the disconnect in setting goals here would be, right? If I’m getting an average of 10 views per post at all times of the day on all days, but 50 views on Tuesdays at 4:00 PM, wouldn’t it make the most sense for me to post on Tuesdays or always at 4:00 PM? So you absolutely have to pay attention to your post-timing and popular day analytics to set accurate goals for yourself.
Setting Goals While Keeping Limits In-Check
All of this, of course, has to be attainable too. You can’t set to lofty of goals for yourself, and if you do, don’t get discouraged if you don’t hit them. It is, after all, the beginning of your blogging career, so it won’t always be smooth sailing. Trial and error will lead you to success nine times out of ten, so just keep pushing through to your goals and you will eventually excel at accurately predicting what you’re capable of!
Thanks for stopping by to read my post on setting goals. For more original content, be sure to visit DustyPosts. I’d love to hear more about how you set goals and if these tips helped you any, so leave tons of comments below!
The Last of Us: Part II – Everything You Need to Know
I may be a bit behind on this, but as I was verifying how many days were left until The Last of Us: Part II is released, I found out that the release got pushed back to May 29th! While that is extremely disappointing, I also don’t hate it. It shows that Naughty Dog wants this game to be absolute perfection before releasing it. With that being said, I fell into a very deep rabbit hole researching the game and decided to share everything I found with all of my readers.
Premise of The Last of Us II
For those of you who may be newer to The Last of Us franchise, the game has quite the story. In the first PS4 exclusive release, we travel with Joel and Ellie as they traverse a dangerous world full of zombies as they try to find a way to cure Joel’s younger companion. The second game looks to have a much darker and complicated storyline however. The synopsis is very intriguing as well (see below) and truly leaves everything up to your imagination. No matter what path this story takes us down, I’m more than positive that it will be well worth the wait.
“Five years after their dangerous journey across the post-pandemic United States, Ellie and Joel have settled down in Jackson, Wyoming. Living amongst a thriving community of survivors has allowed them peace and stability, despite the constant threat of the infected and other, more desperate survivors.
When a violent event disrupts that peace, Ellie embarks on a relentless journey to carry out justice and find closure. As she hunts those responsible one by one, she is confronted with the devastating physical and emotional repercussions of her actions.”
So far there have been nine videos released on The Last of Us: Part II website. Of those nine, two are interviews, three are PlayStation experience panel discussions, One is the reveal trailer, one is the teaser trailer, one is the gameplay trailer, and the final is the State of Play release date trailer. I’m not going to run through the interviews or panel discussions, but I will break down the other four trailers below.
Outside the incredible looking graphics there was so much to decipher in this first reveal trailer. We pan through some desolate woods before seeing a stop sign that has been hit with a Firefly tag. After a little more random panning, we find ourselves within a house with who appears to be an older Ellie. She begins strumming quite the melody on a guitar before Joel makes his way into the house filled with dead bodies, all of which look to be human and not undead. As she finishes, Joel asks her if she’s really going to go through with “this.” Ellie responds by saying, “I’m gunna find and I’m gunna kill every last one of them.” For what you might ask, and who exactly is “them”? We can’t be certain yet, but it’s probably safe to assume that the death of someone close to Ellie triggers her hatred towards what appears to be the Firefly organization.
Unlike the first trailer, this one has no familiar characters form the original Last of Us game. We open with a woman being dragged through the woods. She is quickly hung up by a noose and placed on a bucket. The two men who were dragging the strange woman are greeted by an older woman. Before they get too deep into questioning the random woman, they hear something off in the distance and the two men find another young girl in the woods. They ask her where the other apostates (someone who renounces a religion) are, and the younger girl decides to spit in the woman’s face. “Clip her wings.” The older woman pronounces and the two men begin beating the girls elbows with a hammer.
As the second man is about to clip the girl’s left elbow, two arrows come whizzing by out of nowhere and find themselves in the man’s face and chest. The girl then grabs the hammer and hits the other man with it to free herself. In shock, the older woman turns, but the noosed woman throws her legs over the others shoulders and begins to choke her out. The younger girl then caves the hammer into the older woman’s skull, and she falls lifeless to the ground. The noosed woman is in a predicament now though because she no longer has her bucket and is choking to death. A young boy comes from the woods and the younger girl tells him to cut her down. “But she’s one of them?” He asks as he cuts her down. And then we get our first glimpse of our favorite zombie creatures as they bum rush the group. A very dark trailer indeed.
The Last of Us: Part II Gameplay Trailer
I won’t write too much here since this was an 11-minute gameplay video, but oh my god, this looks insane. We’re finally introduced to Ellie’s love interest while also getting a reminder that Joel is (still) super protective of Ellie. We then, rather shockingly, cut (no pun intended) straight to Ellie slitting a man’s throat in the woods. Clearly the aforementioned raid didn’t go as planned and Ellie is now sneaking her way through the woods in an attempt to make it back home. The graphics are ridiculously impressive, and we get a ton of glimpses into the dark and depraved path this game is heading down.
Ellie makes quick work with her bow, which I’m extremely thankful was brought back, as she sneaks around an old parking garage. We also get a great a taste of the survival aspect once Ellie breaks her stealth. Ellie appears a lot more agile than Joel and it looks as if we will get a whole new array of dodges, movements, and escape techniques. One of the other things you may have missed was that when Ellie killed one of the people, the other person yelled their name. Naught Dog added this in to make you really feel the repercussions of each and every decision you make throughout the game. All in all, this gameplay trailer took my anticipation levels from a ten out of ten to at least a twelve out of ten!
State of Play Trailer
So this last trailer reveals that Dina, Ellie’s potential love interest and obvious close friend, is killed fairly early on in the game. It also shows us an up close glamour shot of a Clicker, which is even more terrifying than I remember. Ellie “has to finish it”, so we assume that the death of Dina is the sole driving factor in her revenge mission. On top of the plot info, we also see the immense world that comes along with the game, and we could potentially get to traverse it with some vehicles. We already saw Ellie cruising around in a boat, so maybe there will be more to come in that area! We also get Joel (somewhat) confirmed as a key piece of the story, but he will probably hold a role more similar to Ellie from the original game.
The Last of Us: Part II Predictions
The Fireflies will NOT be the villains and will play a very minor role in the game.
There will be vehicles other than the boat, but they won’t be for open world travel.
Joel will die brutally at some point within the campaign.
There will be at least two new infected types (one of which already confirmed in the shamblers).
The group that Ellie is chasing will have some sort of tie back to the group from the original game
The scenes from the teaser trailer will be flashbacks and the younger woman who has about to be hung is none other than Anna, Ellie’s mom.
Recent News and Rumors
With all of that info broken down, lets hop into some news and rumors. My favorite announcement so far is that Ellie’s actor, Ashley Johnson, learned archery for her role. Bravo to you Ashley! We also now know that the second installment of The Last of Us is rated M for Mature due to gore, intense violence (duh), nudity (excuse me), sexual content (whaaaaat), strong language, and use of drugs. It’s also rumored that there will be a good amount of parallels between the original and second game, which will be very intriguing to experience as we play through. We can also expect the game to spread over two discs apparently, which hopefully is due to how massive and awesome the game is going to be (lol).
Well that’s all I have for you guys for now. I hope you enjoyed my in depth breakdown of Naughty Dogs The Last of Us: Part II as much as I enjoyed writing it. Be sure to check back soon for updates and new The Last of Us: Part II content, and if you’re in the mood to reminisce you can go check out my other TLOU reviews at DustyPosts.