There have been countless books written about the crazy busyness of life. And, although I'm not sure if you've noticed, life as a grandmother doesn't seem to ease up. So I'm so thankful that I don't have to include hours of meal preparation time in my daily schedule. I regularly use my slow cooker. Do you?
I've used a slow cooker for years and I'm often asked for simple recipes that work. So, I've created a small recipe book with old family favourites that you might like to use.
These are meals that my kids often request and now, my grandkids do the same. You can find more information about the book below. It includes beef, chicken, and ham meals with some hearty soups. You'll also find some appetizer ideas plus tips and hints,
A slow-cooker meal is certainly quick and easy to prepare and ready whenever you are. But there are some other aspects of slow-cooking that are worth noting.
Although you can use your slow cooker any time of year, many people associate them with the warm, rich foods of autumn and winter. It's true that slow cookers are ideal for meaty stews and other hearty winter dishes. They are also economical.
Regardless of what style or size of slow cooker you have, there are other benefits to using a slow cooker as well. Here are some to consider.
1. Busy Cook's Friend
The slow cooker can certainly be a busy cook's best friend, especially if you are going to be gone all day. While quick-cooking foods can be convenient too, a slow cooker allows you to do something else all day while dinner cooks. There are some breakfast foods you can allow to cook all night, too, so that you can awake to a hot breakfast or have a meal ready to take to a morning or afternoon potluck.
2. Extra for the Freezer
One of the great advantages of the slow cooker is that you can cook extra food for the freezer. You can have a slow cooker going any day of the week, including days where you are cooking regular meals, and simply freeze the meal when it's done.
3. Cheaper Meat
Slow cookers allow you to get away with cheaper cuts of meat. The moisture contained in a slow cooker combines with a low temperature to tenderize tough meats and connective tissue. Also, you can make a very tasty stock using cheap cuts of meat and bones.
4. Low Energy Use
A slow cooker on your counter uses a lot less energy than a conventional oven. Even though it's on for hours, the slow cooker uses low temperatures and contained heat, so there's less energy output needed to keep it hot.
You'd be amazed at what you can make with your slow cooker. Most people associate them with roasts and stews, and slow cookers are great for that. However, you can also make jams, cobblers, sauces, desserts, pasta, and even bread in your slow cooker. You can even make yogurt with the right recipe.
6. Easy Clean-Up
While you can't submerge the heating unit that surrounds the crock in the middle, you can submerge the crock. It's usually very easy to clean, as most crocks are glazed ceramic. Also, with many recipes, you have a complete meal in one pot, so you don't have lots of saucepans and bowls to wash.
7. Low Temperatures
Have you ever been frustrated by burned, scorched, or stuck-to-the-bottom-of-the-pan foods? One of the things that a slow cooker can help avoid is burned food. The low temperatures mean you won't have to deal with those high-heat problems.
Try it... I'm sure you'll find your slow-cooker becomes your favourite way to cook- easy, delicious and takes just minutes to prepare. And, if you'd like a few, simple, family favourites to start you in the right direction, then buy the new Time & More cookbook below.
March already! It's hard to believe. Why, only yesterday I was optimistically reassessing my commitments and focus, determining how best to use my time and energy, this year. Surely, it was yesterday!
I was also listing the books that I planned to read over the next few months. Mmm... and I haven't crossed too many off that list, I'm sorry to say.
But at the moment, I'm deep in a couple of books. One is'Average Joe- God's extraordinary calling to ordinary men.' Yes... I know it's written for men. But I'd read some really good reviews and it sounded interesting. I've included a couple below:
All too often we stretch for the excellent, the exalted, the extraordinary only to be pulled back into the daily mundane of family life. We long for purpose and meaning but feel so entwined in the lives of others that we lose sight of ourselves. We even forget our gifts, our dreams, our identity.
Sometimes we need reminding that those things that we daily say and do, things that seem commonplace and ordinary, can be used by God for eternal impact. Don't sell yourself short.
Our deeds are like a stone cast into the pool of time creating ripples that extend to eternity.
But I'm also reading 'Made for More' by Hannah Anderson. I'm really enjoying Hannah's writing style. She reminds us that we are to be the image of our Maker and calls women to reflect God within their unique sphere of influence. She addresses the issue of who were are rather than what we are doing.
Her book has been described as 'a warm conversation about humanity, life and value and the journey of each of us as we come to grips with God and ourselves.'
I've been pleased to read these books together as they tend to complement and round out the picture. It's encouraging and inspiring to be reminded that our influence within our sphere of family and friends can be exceptional when we are focused on God and faith in Him. But neither can we be complacent. We need to broaden our gaze.. using and developing who we are, and that recognising and developing our gifts is imperative, not optional.
So, I've included a free downloadable iPad wallpaper as a daily encouragement and a reminder that we can find true purpose and fulfillment that takes us beyond commonplace to extraordinary.
Every day, in simple yet profound ways, you are building an enduring and ongoing family legacy, when your life is lived in the shadow of the King.
Life as a grandma.. it's no 'quiet, restful days in the rocking-chair'. It's filled with activity, excitement and lots of family fun. Please share it with me.