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My first Instant Pot recipe is a Kung Pao Chicken that tastes even better than takeout

Why is everyone going crazy for the Instant Pot?

I honestly think it’s just because it cooks food fast. Yes, it’s cool that it’s basically seven appliances in one, but with everyone in a hurry nowadays, we appreciate something that can get the job done in half the time.

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I bought an Instant Pot so I can experiment with some recipes for you guys. Because I love takeout, I decided my first recipe should be homemade Kung Pao Chicken. If you use the Instant Pot, this recipe cooks in only 15 minutes, which is faster than it takes the delivery guy to get to my house!

You will need: Chicken
  • 1 zucchini, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1½ pounds chicken thighs, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • ⅔ cup cashews
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch or arrowroot (chef’s choice!)
  • 3 tablespoons ghee or olive oil (chef’s choice!)
  • 1 teaspoon red chili flakes
  • Salt and pepper
  • Sesame seeds, for garnish
  • Green onions, sliced, for garnish
  • ⅓ cup soy sauce
  • ½ cup water
  • 4 tablespoons honey
  • 4 tablespoons hoisin sauce
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon ginger, grated
  • ½ teaspoons red pepper flakes (or more if you love spicy food!)

The Instant Pot is, first and foremost, a pressure cooker. I used that function to fully cook my chicken in just three minutes. And it really did cook in those three minutes!

But be very careful when releasing steam from your Instant Pot! I learned that the hard way! Don’t get too close!

Serve your finished Kung Pao Chicken over rice, and don’t forget to garnish it with green onions and sesame seeds.

You guys — this dish is so delicious. It tastes just like takeout (without a ton of MSG), and it was quick enough to make on a weeknight. Seriously, make it in your own Instant Pot!

More quick dinners

Watch new videos from  Elissa the Mom  every Monday, Wednesday and Friday!

From 1 child to 6 overnight: how this growing family was determined to stay together

If you have ever found yourself wondering if the popular online dating sites work, question no more. Nicole and Bruce Barlow are a true testament that if you’re willing to take the time to fill out the cumbersome questionnaires, you may find the love of your life.

This couple didn’t only meet online; they also feel in love very quickly. After only one month of dating, they got engaged. One month after the engagement, this passionate couple was married.

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Bruce explained that although it was fast, it truly was meant to be.

“We met at a coffee shop. I was watching her walk up through the window, and I was immediately overwhelmed, in a good way. In that moment, I knew that she could be the one. I didn’t believe in love at first sight before I met Nicole. We talked for hours, and it just felt so natural. I couldn’t believe that I had truly met the perfect woman. I knew I had to move fast so she couldn’t get away.”

Their life started together, and they were originally thrilled to be a happy family of three; Nicole’s son quickly bonded with Bruce. Although they were a happy family unit, there was something missing.

Nicole was helping lead an after-school Bible study for elementary school children when her will was made clear.

“I was volunteering with elementary school children, and one of my students was a foster child. Once you see the faces that are in the foster system, once you see their hearts, it’s much harder to turn your back on them.”

After the foster system was placed on Nicole’s and Bruce’s hearts, there was only one thing they could do. The couple decided to step up and open their home to children in need. Nicole explained that everything in their life moves fast, so it was no surprise that the process of getting children in their home took no time at all.

“We went to an informational meeting one weekend. The next weekend, we went to a training class, and the next weekend, we had children in our home. Our first placement was two wonderful boys who stayed with us for two and a half years.”

As Bruce and Nicole loved on these children, they were also aware that the boys would eventually go back to their biological family. The couple loved the boys’ family, but after so much time together, it was a very difficult goodbye.

READ MORE: All of Rare’s heartwarming love stories

Bruce explained that although the pain was so real and so raw, it was necessary.

“We loved those boys; we still love those boys. Them and their family will forever be a part of our family, but knowing they wouldn’t be living with us anymore was hard. It’s still hard not waking up to them every morning. The thing is though, it’s supposed to be hard, you’re supposed be feel grief and pain. If you don’t hurt, then you haven’t put your whole heart into these children.”

When the family became a party of three, Nicole and Bruce knew they needed to open up their home once again to children in need. While preparing their home for their next placement, the couple took part in a program, respite care, where they would help other foster families.

“When you’re a foster parent and you want to get away for a weekend, you have to place the children with an approved caregiver. We would help other families that would go out of town. Sometimes we would keep children for a week, other times just a weekend. In the process of helping other families, we ended up meeting a few of our small children.”

Those small children they watched were placed up for adoption. Their parents’ rights were terminated, and they needed to be placed in a loving home as soon as possible.

Nicole and Bruce knew that God was speaking very loudly to them in regards to this family. Nicole recalled praying and asking for guidance in their situation.

“I prayed, and I just asked God to give me guidance. There were five children, five siblings, that needed a home. We had the room and the means to keep this family together, and eventually it was made very clear that these kids were the missing pieces to our crazy puzzle.”

This family of three quickly expanded to a family of eight. Although the process was fast, it was far from easy. Nicole explained that foster to adoption isn’t what it looks like in the movies; it’s not always a feel-good, magical experience.

“To be honest, not all of our children wanted to be adopted. We had five children of varying ages coming into our home. There has been a lot of butting of heads and a lot of arguments, but I think it’s all worth it. These kids know that no matter how much they push and how much they fight, at the end of the day, we will love them unconditionally. They are forever a part of our family, and we love them more than they will ever know.”

This experience has not only bonded their family, but it has also strengthened Nicole and Bruce’s relationship. The foster care and adoption process has taught this couple to love when they don’t feel like loving, and stand by one another when they feel like walking away. Nicole explained that their family is forever.

“We are in this for the long run, in all aspects. I love my children, and I love my husband more than my own life. And I will say, neither one of us wants to be left alone with six children! We need each other!”

6 unexpected benefits of getting a massage

It’s more than an indulgence at the spa. Massage therapy has some pretty serious health benefits.

Did you know that getting a massage can do these six remarkable things to your well-being?

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1. It’ll make you sleep better

Horrible things happen to your body when you don’t sleep. But a massage relaxes you, and when you’re relaxed, you get that much-needed rest.

2. You’ll sit up straighter

Good posture is  more important than you may realize. Being massaged rids your body of pesky aches and pains, allowing you to sit up straight.

3. It’s good for your head

Massage has been proven to help with recovery from sinusitis and migraines. Really!

RELATED: These simple massage techniques can get rid of a headache without drugs

4. It alleviates other pains too

Injured athletes can stave off further problems by getting sports massages, which also improve flexibility.

5. It makes you happy

Literally! Massage therapy positively affects the parasympathetic nervous system, which controls the body’s functions while it’s at rest. This is another part of the reason why massages are so relaxing.

6. It improves circulation

And it also rids the muscles of toxins.

So what are you waiting for? Book a massage!

If you have more money than you could spend in a lifetime, these 5 vacation locations are for you

Most of us have to scrimp and save in order to afford any sort of vacation.

But if money is no object for you (lucky!), why not jet off to one of the most luxurious locations in the world? Here are five places where you can rub elbows with celebrities and enjoy endless pampering when you need to get away from it all.

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RELATED: You’ll definitely want to add these mind-blowing vacation spots to your travel bucket list


May we recommend the  Burj Al Arab , the world’s only 7 star hotel? Rooms start at $2,700 a night, but the amenities are well worth the hefty price tag.

The hotel boasts nine restaurants, five pools, a spa, a fitness center, and even a private beach. Every guest receives a gold-plated iPad, a choice of 17 types of pillows, and a set of 14 full-size Hermès toiletries.

(Burj Al Arab)
French Polynesia

It’s easy to see why celebrities adore the turquoise waters and sandy shores of such locations as Bora Bora and The Brando (named for the famous actor who once owned the island).

For added opulence, stay in one of those iconic over-water bungalows!


Laucala Resort boasts 25 villas on an island bursting with natural features, including beaches, rainforests, and mangroves.

Guests can partake in scuba diving, kayaking, snorkeling, island hopping, and hiking, among other adventures.

Cabo San Lucas

No wonder the rich and famous adore this Mexican paradise — it’s only a two-hour flight from Los Angeles.

From beaches to water sports to nightlife, “Cabo” has something for everyone.

(Mauricio Ramos/Red Bull Content Pool via AP Images)

Much like Fiji and French Polynesia, Baa Atoll is a paradise, with pure white beaches and crystal waters — the perfect place to kick back and relax.

Valentine’s Day: This amazing love story begins with a blind date and wedding days later

LaNelle and Perry Holland’s love story begins with a blind date on a winter evening in 1968.

A mutual friend invited LaNelle to join him in a gathering at Perry’s house in Kennesaw, Georgia. By the time LaNelle arrived, the roads were slick with ice. It was too dangerous to drive anywhere.

>> Read more trending news 

The Hollands’ first date never left a living room couch.

Instantly smitten, LaNelle and Perry stayed up through the night talking about music, politics, sports (they were both passionate Georgia Tech football fans).

Just a few days later, Perry proposed. 

>> Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news 

Sometimes people wait years, even decades, to find The One. For this lucky couple now in their early 70s, they were struck by Cupid’s arrow on a quiet winter evening and then tied the knot after knowing each other just two weeks.

What they didn’t know back in 1968 is how they would grow together and develop a passion for teaching and caring for children in their community. They would speak up, even march for social justice.

Read more about their amazing love story and how they would build a family beyond their own here at 

WATCH: United Airlines plane loses engine cover on way to Honolulu, makes emergency landing

Passengers aboard what one woman called the "scariest flight of my life" are breathing sighs of relief after making a safe landing following a midair engine problem.

>> Watch passenger video from the flight here

According to CNN, United Flight 1175 from San Francisco lost an engine cover over the Pacific Ocean less than an hour before it was set to land in Honolulu.

>> DOT reveals which airlines ranked highest for complaints in 2017

"There was a loud bang ... and then the plane really started shaking," passenger Allison Sudiacal told KHNL. "It was like rattling and the plane was kind of shaking like boom, boom, boom."

Passenger Maria Falaschi tweeted several photos along with the caption, "Scariest flight of my life."

The Boeing 777, which was carrying 363 passengers and 10 crew members, "declared an emergency due to a vibration in the right engine" before safely landing about 40 minutes later in Honolulu, the Federal Aviation Administration said, according to KHON. Emergency personnel were "standing by as a precaution," the Hawaii Department of Transportation said.

>> Read more trending news 

"Our pilots followed all necessary protocols to safely land the aircraft," United said in a statement, according to KHON. "The aircraft taxied to the gate and passengers deplaned normally.”

The FAA said it is investigating the incident.

Comedian’s boyfriend sends her on a romantic and nerdy Valentine’s Day treasure hunt

Angela Barnes is a hilarious British stand-up comedian who regularly appears on TV panel shows in the UK.

She’s a very talented lady, but she’s not the only talented member of her household. Evidently, her boyfriend is pretty talented too, if her recent Twitter postings tell us anything.

Angela’s boyfriend was out of town on a snowboarding trip on Valentine’s Day, so the comedian took to Twitter to tell the tale of the rather ingenious scavenger hunt her boyfriend had planned for her.

If Angela wanted her Valentine’s Day gift, she would have to solve a series of riddles.

Luckily, she’s pretty good at puzzles.

It began with a simple instruction: “Do not open until Feb 14th…”

1/7 – Look away now if you don't want to see how excellent my fella is at Nerdy Valentines. He is away snowboarding – so he left me this card to open today (to be continued…) — Angela Barnes (@AngelaBarnes) February 14, 2018

Angela’s first clue was written in the style of a crossword hint. And we have no idea how she solved it!

2/7 And in the card was this. ONLY A BLOODY CRYPTIC CROSSWORD CLUE AND A TREASURE HUNT…answers and subsequent clues to follow — Angela Barnes (@AngelaBarnes) February 14, 2018

“Pow! Sheep” is actually an anagram of “Peep Show,” which is the name of a popular (and hilarious) UK sitcom.

So Angela headed over to her DVD shelf to retrieve her next clue.

3/7 Answer to last clue: Peep showNext clue on back of Peep Show DVD box set — Angela Barnes (@AngelaBarnes) February 14, 2018

Nailed it.

4/7 Answer to last clue: GlobeYes, we have one of those globe mini bars, I bought it for his 40th, and sure enough, clue inside! — Angela Barnes (@AngelaBarnes) February 14, 2018

The next clue was hidden in a packet of lasagne sheets. Well played, Angela’s boyfriend. Well played.

5/7 Answer to previous clue: Lasagne Yup, hidden in the lasagne is the next clue… — Angela Barnes (@AngelaBarnes) February 14, 2018

Imagine being able to solve these riddles so easily.

6/7 Answer to prev clue: IMAGINE Now, took a false step here, I have Imagine John Lennon on DVD, but it was bereft of clues. Then I remembered, I have a beautiful illustrated book based on the song, and sure enough on the inside cover… — Angela Barnes (@AngelaBarnes) February 14, 2018

Of course, Angela didn’t have to imagine. She just did it.

7/7 Answer to final clue: Bottom drawer Finally, my gift is in the bottom drawer of his wardrobe . Posh chocolates and some of our favourite photos in a lovely frame. I love it, but it's not about the gift. It's about what mega brilliant fun I've had finding it. BEAMING — Angela Barnes (@AngelaBarnes) February 14, 2018

The present was hiding in the bottom drawer the whole time!

Well done, Angela. We hope you enjoyed your posh chocolates!

So next time your partner comes home with a bunch of gas station flowers at 9 p.m. on Valentine’s Day, think of Angela and her boyfriend, and make an important decision.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

RELATED: Mark Consuelos spices things up in a sexy Valentine’s Day post to his “boo” Kelly Ripa

We are at @BrooklynBrewery and I want to live here now #palealeheaven — Angela Barnes (@AngelaBarnes) July 8, 2017

Westminster Dog Show 2018: See the best in show, group winners

The Westminster Kennel Club has a new best in show for 2018. Flynn the bichon frisé was crowned top dog Tuesday at Madison Square Garden in New York.

>> MORE: Complete list of winners Photo gallery

>> Read more trending news 

9 marriage tips from people who have gotten divorced

Whether your relationship is solid as a rock or barely clinging to life, a little love advice never hurts.

Here are nine handy marriage tips from people who have gotten divorced. It may seem strange, taking advice from those whose marriages have ended, but they have some very insightful things to say about making love last.

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RELATED: New study on relationships has some good news for single people

In short:

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