Monday, 20 January 2014

Mama saver

We're getting put through our paces on Mondays, with less than an hour between the end of Jaelyn's dance class and the time when Nicholas needs to be at hockey.  And did I mention yet that both activities bookend the supper hour?  How to warm bodies up with healthy food, and in a hurry?

I've turned to my slow cooker.  I first cozied up to it when I wanted to prepare holiday lunches for family while having the goal to spend more time with family than with food.  Then we packed it up and took it with us on our holiday ski trip.  I wanted to make warming, hearty meals without asking everyone to wait for an hour after our return from the slopes while I prepared and cooked.  On this trip, I adapted recipes from Long Way on a Little, as some of the recipes call for the "low and slow" method of cooking grass-fed meats.  And then, as luck would have it, I rediscovered my Fresh from the Vegetarian Slow Cooker cookbook right after the holidays when we were all in need of a little detoxing.  The crockpot has been getting a workout ever since.  Here are just a few of the meals we've had over the last several weeks out of this miracle machine.

  ~ Roast leg of lamb
  ~ Slow-cooked pork roast
  ~ Minestrone soup
  ~ Pho soup
  ~ Vegetable curry
  ~ Maple-baked beans
  ~ Slow-cooked sausage
  ~ Vindaloo vegetables
  ~ Cauliflower and kidney bean stew with coconut milk
  ~ Chipotle red bean and sweet potato chili
  ~ Borscht
  ~ Baked beans with pork hocks
  ~ French white bean and cabbage soup

I'm loving that many of these recipes focus on ingredients that we have on hand through our CSA (community supported agriculture) share, which helps to cut down on our grocery bill.  Onions, potatoes, carrots, beets and parsnips make an appearance in many of these recipes, and are often supplemented by produce we froze during the summer, such as peas, beans, peppers, tomatoes and celery.  And all I have to do is have everything ready to go and the pot turned to "on" by 9:00 in the morning! 

Oh, little crock pot.  It turns out you're more than a mama saver.  You're a whole family saver!

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