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    KITHKINCAID   38,693
30,000-39,999 SparkPoints

Slow Cooked Love

Monday, December 12, 2011

I swear I have an AHA Moment every time I actually have a day where I manage to cook 3 solid meals for myself. Because today I have eaten like a KING, I still have almost 200 calories left and I am not the least bit hungry. I have managed ALL of my fruits and veggies, have consumed near perfect numbers of protein, fat, carbs and other essential nutrients, and even had room for a Starbucks treat on my walk home. What's that again? Oh yes, I walked home tonight because I still had the energy to at the end of the day. It's amazing what happens when you fuel your body with the things that it wants and needs - it actually PERFORMS the way it should!

It never fails to amaze me how few calories I seem to have and how much sodium I manage to consume when even ONE meal a day is away from home. Most days it's TWO meals away from home - and I know I'm not alone in that habit. I, like many people, burn the candle at both ends and hardly have time on the weekends to catch up. But with the sweetie out of town, it's back to being FULLY focused on me - and that means some down hard time in the kitchen...

Or not. Though I like to cook, it's my crockpot that gets me through the day. Knowing that dinner is already made for me when I leave work is what allows me to say "yeah sure, let's spend the 45 minutes that it takes me to walk because once I'm there, it's serve & sit." And there is nothing better than walking into a house that smells of somethin' good cookin'. Yum!

So if you don't already own one - I HIGHLY suggest adding a crockpot to your Christmas list this year. I'm a bit obsessed with mine. Maybe not as much as Stephanie O'Dea. She took it upon herself to use her (now numerous) Crockpots every day for a whole year and wrote a blog about it.
I stumbled upon this site myself a couple of years ago and it has been my go-to recipe manual ever since. I own both of her books and use them almost every time I pull out my pot. I have never cooked a recipe of hers that wasn't totally amazing. But guess what? Once you learn how easy it is to do - you start coming up with stuff of your own. Or, you remember old recipes that you once loved and figure out how to use the crockpot to make those too. For me it was simple - my mom is just as obsessed with her crockpot as I am with mine and so I grew up on slow cooked recipes. Some of my favorite childhood memories revolve around the smells coming out of that pot. So for me - a simple phone call and a "what did you put in that again?" yielded me a whole slew of stew recipes and other slow cooker gems.

My menu today? Started out with one of these guys that was featured on Spark a couple of days ago:
with a couple of clementines which are totally in season right now and are so super sweet and delicious.

Then for lunch I had Mom's Beef Stew
with a pear, yogurt, snack bag of pretzels and a fun-sized Twizzler's licorice.

Dinner was a new one - Thai Marmalade Pork Tenderloin Roast
served over rice with a side of broccoli. Mmmm!

Since I have some extra calories left, I'm on to continue my Christmas cookie baking. I know little tasters and spoon licks add up, so I'll likely top out on my calories for the day - but it's so nice to have that freedom and not be too worried about going over.

If you're interested in more of my crockpot recipes - check out my Recipe Box. I post the recipe for everything I cook and try to indicate if it was a total flop - but usually I just change up the ingredients and improve on it the next time I make it. Here are a couple of links to my personal favorites though. Happy Cooking! Tis the season to throw it in the pot and let the appliance do the work for you!

Asian Peanut Butter Pork (one of Stephanie's recipes)

Brown Sugar Chicken (Stephanie again)

Chicken & Dumplings

Crockpot Lasagna (adapted from Stephanie's recipe - I make mine with turkey & spinach!)

Fruit Jam Chicken

Lentil (or Split Pea) Soup with Ham

Mom's Chili - Can't beat this one!

Turkey Pumpkin Chili - a different take on the classic that's really good!


Member Comments About This Blog Post:
SAPHRAEL 1/29/2012 11:46AM

    Great list of resources! I love crockpot cooking. It's something even my husband can do.


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JENNSWIMS 1/10/2012 11:56AM

    I swear I'm not stalking you, it's just that spark is giving me fits trying to resubscribe to your blog, so I'm going to try to do it along with a comment. :)

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READY4CHANGE81 1/8/2012 5:41PM

    thanks for all the great ideas and recipes!

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JENNSWIMS 1/3/2012 2:55PM

    Crockpots rock! I have two, one people at work are allowed to see and one only the household is allowed to see. lol.

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TEENY_BIKINI 12/29/2011 10:01PM

    Totally agree. Crock pots are magical. I have used my once - but it was lovely ;)

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SARAWALKS 12/29/2011 5:12PM

    I've been seeing this 365crockpot link on Esther's blogs but finally put it together and found you again. Sounds awesome! Somehow I lost your blog and missed a whole year of YOU, darn it! so congrats on having found a lovely guy (I think Indian guys are utterly the best but all the ones I meet are WAY too young for me, pooh) and on doing so well. You look FANTASTIC! emoticon emoticon emoticon

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KELLIGIRL523 12/27/2011 1:02PM


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TRAVELGRRL 12/21/2011 5:01PM

    I AM SO on this! Thanks for sharing the links!!

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FTHOODBABY 12/19/2011 4:45AM

    I love my crockpot! I will have to check out the link to the crockpot365 blog! Thanks!!

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SBHPATRICK 12/13/2011 11:24PM


Have you made Greek yogurt in your crock pot before? Super easy, cheap and tasty!

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LAURIETAIT 12/13/2011 1:37PM

    I love crockpots too. I just need to get my act together and use it! Thanks for the great recipes. I hope they'll inspire me to get organized.

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-POOKIE- 12/13/2011 11:15AM

    My boyfriend has one (well, WE do now!) and we used it yesterday actually.

Him being vegetarian seems to cut out a lot of the reasons for using one, cheap cuts of meat being made tender etc...

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MAGGIE805 12/13/2011 11:14AM

    I love my crockpot, especially this time of year. I made vegan chili the other night. It was delish!

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LOTUSFLOWER 12/13/2011 10:08AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon Much love for your shared recipes! Love our crock pot too!!!!

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GRANDMABEAST63 12/13/2011 7:54AM

    Oh, love this !!!! Thank you for sharing, and I totally agree having a crockpot saves on time you get home and dinner is done plus the house smells so good. emoticon

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ON2VICTORY 12/13/2011 7:04AM

    oooooooooh man... Me LUV's crockpot yummies!!!!! sounds like its working great. I seriously need to get on the stick and make it happen, its not like its hard...

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KT-NICHOLS-13 12/13/2011 1:22AM

    It all sounds wonderful!
My Mr. won't allow for a crock pot to be plugged in and cooking all day - sad but true.

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SWEETSOUNDS11 12/12/2011 10:53PM

    Yes I'm a crock pot super fan too! Thanks for the link to that blog. I'm enjoying looking around. Happy Crocking and Sparking!

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ADJQUILTER 12/12/2011 10:37PM

    Couldn't survive without my crockpot. Thanks for so many recipes!

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