Now that we have settled into our school routines and after school activities, I feel like we are getting our groove back. Although I have to mention, our change in weather is not a motivator in the least. Literally days ago, I was in our pool. And even though it was chillier, the sun was out, and the sky was blue. Then in the blink of an eye, we wake up to a darker morning, we have dinner with less daylight and it’s been raining a lot lately.
Montreal fall, y’all. It’s not a Pinterest pic right now.
I am desperately trying to encourage myself to get to writing and creating while the boys are in school. With their schedules, I only have a select amount of hours before they come home, and I get to parenting. And truthfully, when they are home, I want to spend time with them (even if some of it involves homework!). We are trying to carve out family time before the day is over by playing a game, watching a family show or just plain talking without interruption. So, to help myself, I am finding ways to make my dinner prep easier.
Can you make dinner without making dinner?
I’m going to go out of a limb here and assume that many of you hate the five o’clock madness that come from preparing dinner. Trying to prepare dinner in the moment that the boys are all around, goofing off, and already ‘hangry’ is something I try to avoid. And if I haven’t figured out what we are eating until then, heaven help us all, because I will lose it and so will they.
A while back Hamilton Beach gifted me their newest Professional Sous Vide and Slow Cooker . It actually has two functionalities. It can be used for sous-vide cooking or slow cooking. Because I don’t cook sous vide at home, I have been using it solely as a slow cooker. I have been a long-time slow cooker for various healthy, hearty family meals. And if you are familiar with slow cookers, they have always been an appliance in two parts, a bottom heating system you plug in and a large, very heavy stoneware that holds the food and cooks it slowly over time, allowing for foods to be tender and flavorful.
For working mamas, this is a golden appliance you should not be without! Because I work from home, I prepare the foods in the early morning when the boys have just left for school, then I place everything in the slow cooker and I’m done preparing dinner. My cutting board goes in the dishwasher, skins and fats go into our compost and I’m off to work. For mamas that work outside the home, all you need to do is cut your veggies the night before and then dumb everything in the slow cooker in the morning before you leave the house.
Unfortunately, my old-school (other brand) slow cooker had an accident. The stoneware cracked straight down the middle when the temperatures changed too much after I have cooked with it and then washed it. Given the fact that slow cookers are meant to be left on their own in the home without a worry since they cook on low heat, I knew I couldn’t afford to keep using this cracked piece.
I was over the moon to learn about this new Hamilton Beach creation. The crockery was replaced with a 6-quart nonstick metal vessel that is ridiculously light compared to the old-school versions. Why does this matter? First, in my unfortunate situation, I know this base will not crack or warp. Second, it is so light and easy to clean that it makes using this method even more enjoyable. And as I noticed in the initial presentation of this new appliance, the lightweight vessel is an incredibly useful and easy solution for seniors or people with arthritis or osteoporosis. Making simple, healthy and delicious meals should stop at any age, especially because an appliance is too heavy. My mother would have loved this lightweight variety of a classic appliance.
Now, I will mention that Hamilton Beach still carries their classic slow cookers with the traditional stoneware. They are still a great solution if you are looking for a less expensive appliance ($29-$99 instead of $199) that does the same cooking. There are many different options, varying in size, capabilities in heat temperatures and travel clips. I recommend slow cookers to everyone I know, so it made natural sense to let YOU know about them too.
Having had the chance to use the Hamilton Beach Professional Sous Vide and Slow Cooker, I will never go back. I am so thrilled that we can enjoy hearty dishes with a lightweight container for easy cleanup.
Currently in the slow cooker
We have chicken thighs with sweet potatoes, carrots, celery, onion, tomato paste, seasoning and broth. You can either have a clear soup, or you can add everything to it. My boys like the choice to mix what they want. So, I separate the meat from the veggies and serve them each a bowl of broth. Other times, I break the chicken up while still in the container and make a hearty chicken soup. You can even remove some broth, add cream and butter at the end and create a chicken pot pie mix (here I don’t add tomato). The possibilities are truly endless.
I love to see their faces when the boys come in and smell the food cooking away in the kitchen…all while I have been upstairs working!
If you are curious to try some new recipes, Hamilton Beach has a list of recipes categorized by product. So, you can look up slow cooker and find some new and easy recipes right there.
Do you have a go-to slow cooker recipe you love for cooler fall days? I’d love to know!
If you haven’t tried slow cooking, I highly recommend it, mamas. Being able to sit with your family as the food is cooking itself is truly a blessing. And I guarantee, you will enjoy that meal even more yourself!
Disclaimer: I was compensated for this post. All opinions, as always are honest and my own.