Wednesday, October 2, 2013

of crock pots and inner peace

In many respects it's been a perfect fall--warm weather, slow-ish schedule (by our standards, anyway), no one testing for a black belt which frees up our weekends, no sickness, a fine balance of work and play.  The boys are still loving on the giant dirt pile by the shed project and messing around with the scrap lumber they rescued from the dumpster.  I'm puttering around my new garden fence, splitting perennials and moving stuff around to make it look pretty next spring.   School, church, karate, cross-country, flag football, play-dates (the kid AND the adult kind).  It's plenty, but not overwhelming.

But there have been little things jamming up my days.  Contractors with questions.  A pitch for a project.  Orthodontist appointments (yes, Mr. T will soon wear heavy metal in his mouth).  Fussing over revisions, fall cleaning (and re-cleaning) and meetings. 

The worst, absolute worst part of my day is around 4:50 when I've got Mr. T home from cross-country, all the homework checked over and miscellaneous paperwork signed, and Mr. D's coming home from work sometime in the next hour (or two--it always varies).  Everyone is hungry and I've been too darn busy to putz around in the kitchen because I've been driving and finding the common denominator and cross-checking schedules to coordinate car pools

Enter the crock pot.  When I spend a few minutes prepping a meal after sending the kids to school and turn that baby on "low," it makes my whole day awesome.  There on my kitchen counter is the promise of a hot meal whenevertheheck we're ready to sit down and eat it.  It will be ready.  It will be hot.  It will be hot if we eat it in shifts or as one big happy family.  It's in one pot and easy to clean up.  Added bonus:  the house is filled with the promise of a tasty meal because we can smell it cooking all afternoon.

I'm not fretting about dinner if I plug in the crock pot mid-morning.  In fact, I get a whole day of inner peace because I'm prepared ahead of time. 

Take out will always be my first favorite meal because there's NO labor involved.  Leftovers will always be my second favorite meal because it's a responsible use of resources and requires minimal labor.  But sweet, dependable crock pot--you have my vote for third favorite because you calm the chaos and bring me inner peace.

Spill it, reader.  Are you a crock pot cooker?

17 comments:

  1. I've never been one. When I was working full-time, the idea of setting up something in the morning to cook all day just grossed me out. When I was not working, or working part time, I have had the time to plan and cook during the day.

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  2. I love my crock pot! For some reason, it's far easier to figure out what to cook for dinner at 10 am than at 5 pm. The crock pot makes that a workable thing.

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  3. ah yes, the crock pot, I can put a roast in with potatoes head to work and farmguy will have noon meal when he gets in. I cook a lot with it, roasts, ribs, dressing on thanksgiving, scalloped corn. spices apple cider, apple sauce, and more. Come Thanksgiving and the whole family is gathering, I use the electric roaster, the oven, the burners, the microwave and the crockpot to get everything done on time.

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  4. I do love a crock pot. I just need more recipes to use, as I only have a few standbys.

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  5. I should use my crockpot more, but I'm always grateful when I do. Even on rushed mornings, I don't find it too difficult to throw things in there and turn it on. Although, I could never manage any meat that needed to be browned first --that's way too much work for a crockpot meal :-)

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  6. Even though I am single and live alone, I love using my crock pot. My schedule is very busy this semester and tossing ingredients in the crock pot on Monday ensures that I will have at least one decent meal every day all week long. Some people might not want to eat the same thing several days in a row but it suits my lifestyle very well right now.

    I recently learned how to cook plain, boneless skinless chicken breasts in the crock pot, then shred the meat and portion out for future meals. I have several individual servings of shredded chicken in the freezer that can quickly be defrosted to eat on a salad, stir into rice and veggies, toss with some BBQ sauce, or whatever I can think of. Just this one thing has revolutionized my meals!

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  7. I have leftover roast beef in the crockpot with some onion soup mix so that it will be warm tonight and we will construct French dips. I love coming home from work to a yummy smelling home and easy supper.

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  8. I joined the army of crockpot fans a few years ago. I will never, ever give up my crockpots!

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  9. We are crock pot cookers if we want beef stew, chili, or Italian red sauce. I can't think of anything else we have cooked in it over the past 16 years.

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  10. Yup love my crockpoy. Especially in the winter.

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  11. I do not own a crock pot. I have a small kitchen with very little counter and cabinet space. However, I've found that my Le Creuset Dutch oven works very well as a slow cooker. I just dump in my ingredients, put the lid on, and put it over the lowest gas flame. I can't do this when we're all at work and school, but I'll slow cook a huge meal on the weekends and we eat the leftovers during the week.

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  12. I do have a crockpot, but as the queen of the quick, one pot dinner, it doesn't get as much use as it could. Like Patience, I have limited counter space and pulling out the crock pot takes up half of it.

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  13. I use it at least two times a week. I love to come home from work to a dinner that is ready.

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  14. I have 4. One is rather worn and ugly looking, so it just comes out of hiding for canning season. I loaned one to La Petite for a chili cook-off (along with a few home grown jalapeno peppers), and I'm hinting to my dear husband that I'd like a small one, but bigger than the Little Dipper, for times when I want to cook slowly but not in big quantities.

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  15. I have recently been collecting many crock pot recipes and have used just a few. I love it when the meal is ready around that time too. Our afternoons and evenings are just SO BUSY around here. Our dinners have been pretty rushed. I think I should use my crock pot more than I do.

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  16. When my kids were young, I swore by post-breakfast dinner prep--and not just for the crockpot. Prep chicken and veggies for a stir-fry, prep a casserole, make a salad--all of that was huge for me.

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  17. We are hardcore crockpotters, with pork chops in cream of mushroom soup being a Midwestern household favorite, followed closely by a big old slow-cooked roast. NUM.

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Spill it, reader.