Thursday, August 27, 2009

Cooking with a Crock-Pot

I was reading one of my favorite blogs today and happened upon her latest post that was talking about Crock-pot cooking and she was asking for some good recipes,

I figured since I had been having a lot of "crock-pot" on my own mind lately I would share a few of my own. I had made a veggie spaghetti sauce Tuesday evening and chicken with potatoes, carrots & shallots for dinner this evening! I think crock-pots begin to surface again after summer grilling is reaching its end and school days are beginning; bringing with it all the busy-ness of homework and tighter schedules. I also think it has something to do with the cooler weather we have had and will be getting more of in the coming months. I know that the beginning of the new school year sends the "easy going" ways of summer to a distant place in my mind and is quickly replaced with all the worries of getting everything that needs to be done into the sacred three hours of time I have before my children need to go to bed!! Which leads me to the oh-so-easy crock-pot way of cooking dinner - put it all in, turn it on and leave it be until you are ready for it! One pot = less clean up = MORE TIME!! Those precious minutes are just that precious, especially when you have five children who all need something at the very moment you are trying to get dinner ready! I love anything that makes life easier without compromising quality and this fits that bill. I still know exactly what I am feeding my family and I have complete control over what I put into my meals, I just don't have to worry about being tied to the stove any longer than absolutely necessary. So here goes and please feel free to leave comments and your own recipes.

This is one of our favorites! It works so nicely with all the wonderful veggies from our Farmers Market! We usually will eat this as a meal with a fresh salad. I have replaced the potatoes with leafy greens and served this over rice or quinoa. I add the greens closer to the end, about 1/2 way through. I also love to throw in some yummy fresh herbs for added flavor! You could use any hard root vegetable in this simple recipe.

Prep Time: 25 minutes Cook Time: 6 hours

1 lb. sliced carrots
4 russet potatoes, scrubbed, cut into 1" pieces
1 onion or shallots, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp. water
3 Tbsp. olive oil
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper

Combine vegetables, water, olive oil, salt and pepper in a 3-4 quart crock pot and stir to combine. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours or until vegetables are tender. 6-8 servings

Blueberry Cobbler

1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar, and 2 Tbs
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 pinch salt
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1 egg, beaten
1 tablespoon milk
1 Tbs coconut oil
2 cups blueberries (or berry of your choice)
1/4 cup water

In a bowl, combine flour, 1/4 cup of sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. In a smaller bowl, combine eggs, milk and oil.
Stir this into the dry ingredients until moistened. Grease the crockpot well and spread the batter evenly on the bottom.
In a saucepan, combine blueberries, water and the 2 Tbs. of sugar, bring to a boil and remove from heat.
Pour into crockpot and cook on high for 2 hours, then turn off crockpot, uncover and let set for 30 minutes before eating.

I love this recipe especially made with granola from Nate's Naturals!! YUMMY!!

Apple Granola Dessert

4 medium tart apples, peeled and sliced
2 cups granola cereal
1/4 cup honey
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Combine apples and cereal in slow cooker. In a bowl, combine honey, butter, cinnamon and nutmeg; pour over apple mixture and mix well. Cover and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours. Serve with homemade ice cream or whipped cream. 4 to 6 servings.

I hope you enjoy and I look forward to your comments!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Sweet Treats

I have deiced I can call myself a "Baker". I have always loved to bake and I have fond memories of baking in our old farmhouse kitchen. It was huge and very open with the most beautiful built-in cupboard I have ever seen. The walls were lined with deep metal cupboards and a huge, and I mean HUGE double sink. I can remember my mother making cheese and hanging it in cheesecloth over that sink to drain. I think it was a Farm Cheese that she would make, whatever it was it tasted wonderful mixed with fresh herbs from our garden spread on homemade bread. I am finding as I take this walk down this new road that everything is better when it is made by hand. The less processed in any way shape or form it is, the better. I am also finding how much pleasure I am getting from taking the time to realize all of this. It makes you slow down and look for quality verses quantity. I am feeling the need for a good ole' purge of all this stuff that seems to be cluttering my life, including my baking space. I really think that it is difficult to get a good hold of this life I want when I have so much stuff to try and get in my grip! So, out it a good home of course. I am doing my best to return to nice and simple for my family, that is why I decided to stay home full time this past June and pursue starting our own little bakery. With each week I realize I am more competent than I originally thought I was. I really can whip up a new and yummy creation with my very own two hands that will eventually help support my family. That makes for a very Sweet Treat! Now back to being a baker!! I had a friend say the funniest thing to me once; I hadn't seen her in a few weeks so she gave me a hug but when she did she squeezed me a little tighter and said "Oh my goodness, you smell just like a cookie". I just had to laugh, I hadn't even been baking that day. I guess the smell of fresh baked goodies has now become a perminaite part of "Me" and the more baking I do the more I love it. I definitely think there are more sweet treats to come from this baker and her bakery so stay tuned!