Lifehacks



  • NO I WILL NOT APOLOGIZE FOR CLICKBAITY TITLE.

    Ahem. So, I was mulling this over today and it's sort of a spin-off of the ADHD thread.

    When you have ADD/ADHD (and OCD), doing things in a timely fashion is hard. You may engage in a task that should take just five minutes, feel like it took five minutes, but look at the clock and find that 25 minutes have passed. This happens to me frequently, especially in the mornings. (And before anyone asks: I don't touch my computer before work, so it's not online distractions.)

    I'm sure others are in a similar boat, so what I want to know is: what have you found that helps? Maybe sharing our tips (aka lifehacks -- lol -- will help).

    That above is my first one: I stopped spending time on the computer before work. I used to do it too much. Then it was 'only if I have a few minutes before I need to leave.' No. Nope. Those 3 minutes turn into 10 and suddenly I'm late. (Or not so suddenly as the case may be.)

    Other things I've taken to doing:

    • Showering before bed
    • Getting into a habit of hanging my keys next to the door
    • Keeping my shoes in one. goddamn. location

    I'm trying (and failing) to make lunches the night before, but I'm just not there yet.

    The big thing I began doing is every Sunday, I make sure I have 7 (5 workdays + 2 for added options) outfits prepared for the week. Then, my dithering over 'what to wear' is cut down day-to-day. If, on a workday, I find myself torn over which one to pick... I have Alexa do it for me ("Alexa, pick a number between..."). Sometimes I do stick with her pick because I was truly indecisive. Other times as she's saying the result, I realize which one I actually wanted all along.

    This one is big for me because even with this, it can still take me 20 minutes to get dressed (literally just putting clothes on, putting my hair in a ponytail or brushing it, and putting on jewelry) and I have no idea why. I can't tell you where all that time goes. But I know it'd be worse without the small things I am doing.

    So what helps you?


  • Pitcrew

    I take my showers at night, and try to prep my work bag (drinks, making sure I have my short acting insulin and tylenol in there, etc.) I try to pack a lunch the night before, but on nights when I'm just too wiped out, I have a stash of frozen dinners I can toss in my lunch box.
    I pick out what I'm going to wear the night before, and pick out my jewelry beforehand.



  • @Macha said in Lifehacks:

    I take my showers at night, and try to prep my work bag (drinks, making sure I have my short acting insulin and tylenol in there, etc.) I try to pack a lunch the night before, but on nights when I'm just too wiped out, I have a stash of frozen dinners I can toss in my lunch box.
    I pick out what I'm going to wear the night before, and pick out my jewelry beforehand.

    I should maybe start picking my jewelry beforehand to pair with each outfit. That may be where I'm losing some time.

    For the lunch thing, I keep a stash of various ramen bowls on hand just in case I don't have leftovers I can put together.

    I've come to savor my showers at night. I know some people hate showering before bed ('lying in my own sweat' is a complaint I've seen), but I like that I can take my time of it, savor the hot water (man it feels good on sore muscles!), and even drink a beer or smoke a bowl to chill out even more.


  • Pitcrew

    @Auspice said in Lifehacks:

    NO I WILL NOT APOLOGIZE FOR CLICKBAITY TITLE.

    I'm trying (and failing) to make lunches the night before, but I'm just not there yet.

    I make cheese sandwiches for a week and put them in the freezer. If you take them out at breakfast they are defrosted at lunch and taste as if you just made them.


  • Pitcrew

    I go to the grocery store and buy stuff for lunch and bring it to work. I am lucky my job has two full kitchens with stoves and such, but I normally just bring in Sandwich meat, breads and cheeses. That way I can make them when I'm work, if I don't eat out. It works fairly well.

    Other hacks I do, I do a lot of crockpot cooking. So I put the stuff together the night before and stick it in the fridge, then pull it out and set the crockpot timer and turn it on. Saves a lot of time for dinners.



  • @Seamus said in Lifehacks:

    So I put the stuff together the night before and stick it in the fridge, then pull it out and set the crockpot timer and turn it on. Saves a lot of time for dinners.

    Honestly, I need to do like my mother does: put together a bunch of meals for my instantpot at the beginning of the weed and freeze them so that all I'd have to do is pull the bag out of the freezer and put it into the instantpot.


  • Pitcrew

    My lifehacks:

    1. Plan nothing. React to all things spontaneously and in a spirit of panic.
    2. Save time on meals by simply not eating them! The hunger pangs and migraines as your body seeks to consume itself will help to keep that killer instinct sharp.
    3. Do nothing to address your rising sense of anxious dread until you have a panic attack at work and have to bail unexpectedly.This will help you to feel more comfortable and relaxed about returning to duty the next day.
    4. Avoid conflict and confrontations by always deferring and shoving your emotions down; I'm sure that will work out great (see #3)
    5. Always take on more than one person can reasonably manage. Ideally, shape these commitments such that other people can't do their work until you do yours, as this will help you maintain a constant sense of urgency. Carrying around the feeling that you're always failing someone somewhere is good for building a humble character.

    This advice I give to you all for free. Enjoy.



  • @gryphter said in Lifehacks:

    My lifehacks:

    1. Plan nothing. React to all things spontaneously and in a spirit of panic.
    2. Save time on meals by simply not eating them! The hunger pangs and migraines as your body seeks to consume itself will help to keep that killer instinct sharp.
    3. Do nothing to address your rising sense of anxious dread until you have a panic attack at work and have to bail unexpectedly.This will help you to feel more comfortable and relaxed about returning to duty the next day.
    4. Avoid conflict and confrontations by always deferring and shoving your emotions down; I'm sure that will work out great (see #3)
    5. Always take on more than one person can reasonably manage. Ideally, shape these commitments such that other people can't do their work until you do yours, as this will help you maintain a constant sense of urgency. Carrying around the feeling that you're always failing someone somewhere is good for building a humble character.

    This advice I give to you all for free. Enjoy.

    calm down


  • Pitcrew

    Order. Order. Order. My brain wants to compartmentalize and structure everything - so I let it. I have things arranged around the house so that I have to do things in a certain sequence, otherwise something feels off and I realize I missed something.

    As far as food? A Foodsaver is my best friend. Finally broke down and got an InstaPot a couple of weeks ago and have been loving it, but we've had a Foodsaver for several years and I couldn't live without it. Plan out two or three meals for the week, buy groceries based on those plans; then spend a few hours over the weekend cooking. Some stuff gets stir fried, some in the InstaPot, some stewed or curried - each one enough for a couple of meals. Divide up whatever is made into separate vacuum bags and freeze them, then heat them up during the week after work - basically, make your own TV dinners.


  • Pitcrew

    I have had my instant pot for like two weeks now. I need to start using it. Anyone have any favorite dishes they're willing to share?



  • @Macha said in Lifehacks:

    I have had my instant pot for like two weeks now. I need to start using it. Anyone have any favorite dishes they're willing to share?

    https://pinchofyum.com/instant-pot-wild-rice-soup

    This.
    I love it, I love it so much (ps it can be made vegan for anyone looking for such!).

    It is so good that I a) spend a few days happy I live alone / am single, b) I'm usually sad when it's all gone.

    Bonus is that it's super easy to make. Just need to chop veggies.


  • Pitcrew

    @Macha Not exactly dishes but I've got a couple of accessories. Hard boiled eggs come out great (you can get rings that hold about half a dozen eggs) and get a vegetable basket (not the little thing that came with the instant pot but a full basket with legs). Throwing broccoli or cauliflower in and steaming it is great. I'm still trying to get artichokes right.

    It also does great rice (that doesn't take any accessories). I've been using mine to make yogurt but that can be a bit hit and miss. I'm still trying to figure out the variables. Sometimes the yogurt sets up nicely and sometimes it doesn't set at all.

    (edit: I'm going to be using it tomorrow to do a basket of steamed clams. I'll copy down the recipe and let you know how it turns out)



  • @The-Sands What yogurt do you use as your 'base' for the yogurt?
    Have you had any luck adding things (like vanilla) to it?

    I only made yogurt once and it was hand-wiggle. But I'm debating trying again because it's my preferred breakfast.


  • Pitcrew

    @Auspice That looks super tasty. I will have to get the fixings next grocery trip!


  • Pitcrew

    @Auspice I've used a couple of different cultures, but basically once I've gotten a successful batch I use it as starter for the next. I'll check the yogurt in the store to let you know the exact strains.

    One thing I've been told is that anything you are going to add has to be added after you've made the plain yogurt. You can't add vanilla or sweetner to the milk and then make the yogurt. Instead just make plain unsweetened yogurt and when you are done mix in the other ingredients.

    Other bits that I've sort of picked up and learned (but see below):

    Let the milk cool down normally after you've boiled it. I saw a lot of people talk about ice baths to bring the temperature back down faster and did that several times. The problem (as I understand it) is that there are proteins in the milk that you want to let break down. They'll inhibit the coagulation. I think once I started doing that I had more success.

    Let the starter warm up for a bit before you add it. When the bacteria is sitting around for a couple of weeks under refrigeration I think it can go into a sort of hibernation and it will take several hours to wake up and begin doing anything after you've added it to the boiled milk. I haven't read anything talking about this but I know something similar happens with yeast when you are brewing and since I started doing this I think I've been more successful.

    The caveat that I mentioned above is that I'm still a bit hit and miss as well. I'm getting it right more often than not but just recently I made a pot where almost nothing at all seemed to happen and the final product was pretty much the consistency of water. At the end of the day, though, it isn't like regular baking or cooking. Like brewing the material is being changed by microorganisms rather than simple chemical processes and sometimes it seems like they've got tiny little minds of their own.


  • Pitcrew

    @Macha Instant Pot Steamed Clams in Wine, Garlic, and Butter

    • 3 pounds of clams
    • 1 cup white wine (I used Pinot Grigiot)
    • 1 stick butter
    • 1 medium bulb of garlic (about 35 grams)
    • 2 teaspoons salt
    • 2 pinches of Old Bay Seasoning Recipe
    • 2 pounds of small potatoes (I used creamer potatoes about the size of radishes)
    • 1/2 lemon
    • 1/2 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
    1. Chop up garlic
    2. Slice potatoes in half
    3. Turn the Instant Pot to High Saut\e and wait until it says 'Hot'
    4. Add half the butter and potatoes. Saute for two minutes
    5. Add garlic and saute for another minute.
    6. Pour in white wine and add salt. Continue to saute another three minutes.
    7. Turn off Instant Pot while you perform the next step.
    8. Make a bed out of the potatoes and place clams on top. Sprinkly with Old Bay Seasoning.
    9. Lock on Lid and close Pressure Valve. Set to High Pressure for one minute.
    10. It still takes about five minutes to heat and build pressure. Vent to release pressure when the cooking cycle is over.
    11. Turn cooker off again and remove clams and potatoes with a slotted spoon.
    12. Turn the Instant Pot back to High Saute and simmer for five minutes.
    13. Take the stainless steel liner out of the Instant Pot and turn the Instant Pot off.
    14. Melt remaining half stick of butter in the liquid.
    15. Add parsely.
    16. Mix and pour over the clams and potatoes.
    17. Squeeze lemon over everything.

    So I just made this and it turned out pretty well. It took me probably about 45 minutes start to finish (not counting a couple of early prep steps like washing the clams). It makes enough for two people to get pretty full. If you need to stretch it out more you can add some more of the potatoes. I also bought some kielbasa sausage to add if I needed to extend it but I didn't end up using it so I can't say for certain how that final product would come out, though I suspect it would be delicious (I'd probably leave out the lemon at that point, though).



  • @Macha

    I'm addicted to instant pot.

    A favorite is pulled pork. Get 4 to 6 pound of your favorite part. Cut it up into 6 chunks. Through on your favorite dry rub ( garlic powder and onion powder if your not sure what a dry rub is, experiment from there). A little oil in bottom, saute in high. Just get the outside a little. This gets some grease to Brown not quit bkacken in the pot for the next part. Put those chunks aside.

    Put a little water in and scrap all that Brown stuff of bottom. This is the base. Throw in Apple cider vinegar, 1/4cup or so. Some ketchup/ mustard, srirachi, to flavor, a little Worcestershire. Put the meat back in, water until the meat is mostly covered then pressure on high for an hour. Natural or show depress for 10 minutes then vent. That pork will fall apart just trying to get it out with tongs. Pull apart with forks.

    My way for the high pressure cooking mix. After you scrape the bottom, do rice vinegar, oyster sauce, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, a little Louisiana hot sauce, some brown sugar.

    I can't say the measurements I eyeball it, but mmm.


  • Pitcrew

    @Macha While it does not directly answer the question of Instant Pot recipes I think this also falls under the idea of 'lifehacks cooking'.

    I do a lot of stuff with sous vide cooking. Like Instant Pot you're going to find a lot of people who try and tell you it is the universal panacea that can cook anything and cure cancer, which it isn't, but what it does do is handle certain tasks way better than anything else around.

    Since you've already got the pot you can get started for about $80. Since I use it about 3-4 times a week I've got some additional stuff but that will get you started.

    One of the things I make on a pretty much weekly basis is in the morning I take two chicken breasts out of the freezer, throw them in a reusable silicon bag with some weights and a grocery store marinade and set the temperature to 134 degrees (N.B. I use a 12 gallon container instead of an 8 quart pot. It's much larger than what I need for two chicken breasts. I'm only mentioning it because I want to be clear I haven't tried doing it in the 8 quart pot.)

    Just before dinner I take them out, put them on a baking sheet, sprinkle on some garlic salt, and but them in the over on Broil to crisp up the skin.

    Super easy. The chicken is extremely juicy.

    I'll also do something similar with tri-tip streak (although I marinade it the night before rather than throw it in a bag with the marinade). Instead of the oven I put a skillet on the stove with a little butter, let it get hot, then throw the meat on it with some garlic salt to get a crust.



  • Sous vide is something I def wanna get into. When I have a bigger kitchen.


  • Pitcrew

    @Auspice It doesn't take that big a kitchen. As long as you have space for the container (granted, that can be asking a bit since it isn't small) everything will go inside it when you aren't using it.

    And like I said, the things it does well it does amazing. It's like anything else, your earliest results will probably still need a little bit of work so all those people who want to sell it as taking absolutely 0 skill are full of it (you can mess up searing at the end, you actually can overcook things despite what people say, etc.) but it is a pretty fast curve. It lets you make really moist chicken and cook pretty tough pieces of meat (e.g. London broil, tri-tip, corned beef) until they are fall apart tender (if that's what you want, you don't have to cook them that far) and they still won't be dried out. The only thing you need to be aware of is that it won't give you the Maillard reaction so you will often need to do something else at the very end to get that.

    (Also, some people really, really like it for doing eggs in a sort of Japanese soft-boiled style. I never really got into them that way so after experimenting for a bit I gave up, but your mileage may vary)


Log in to reply