If you’re a little rusty in the kitchen, and tired of take-out, I encourage you to embrace your inner domestic goddess. No, not vacuuming in yoga pants that make your butt look good. Something much more exciting; dusting off your slow cooker!
This time of year I rely on my slow cooker for many many reasons….
First and foremost, I have two hungry and very active boys (*the only “Apple” device we have in our home is the kind that keeps the doctor away). Tyler swims competitively (four days a week, plus dry land training) and Colgan maintains his love of soccer with indoor training practices. Not to mention his time spent after school at the bike park, and various school sports.
Secondly, using a slow cooker is a fantastic excuse to use up many leftovers kicking around in your pantry and/or crisper. Even if the recipe does not call for the lonely carrots hiding in the back of your refrigerator, or the potatoes that are starting to grow eyes that are mascara worthy – chop them up and toss them in.
Last but not least, I LOVE the fact that with a bit of chopping and the turn of a dial, I can embrace my inner domestic goddess and have a healthy, wholesome, home cooked meal ready for my boys upon their arrival home from school, swimming or the bike park. On a dime.
Here are six of my go-to slow cooker recipes – one for (almost) every night of the week!
From My Happy, Healthy & Very Busy Kitchen to Yours, Enjoy!
On the weekend of Oct 3rd – 5th 2014, I had the pleasure of being involved with What’s Cooking Bracebridge – a three day culinary event in the heart of Muskoka.
Cooking demos, gala dinners, celebrity chefs, keynotes, screenings of Julie & Julia, cookbook signings, celebrity chef hosted brunches, family cupcake decorating and more! It was a huge three day success for Bracebridge, and I was lucky enough (and honoured) to be part of What’s Cooking Bracebridge – The Great Muskoka Cookbook Adventure since (almost) its conception.
Our committee took on various roles during the weekend to bring What’s Cooking Bracebridge to the “table”. We all spent the weekend sporting our favourite aprons at events across Bracebridge – it was awesome! A dedicated and hard working team of people I was (and still am) thrilled to be a part of.
One of the many roles I took on for the weekend was preparing almost 100 boxed lunches for Janet Podleski’s keynote: “Eat, Shrink & Be Merry.”
My boxed lunch included:
*Whole Grain Wrap with Pumpkin Hummus, Roasted Turkey, Grated Carrot, Muskoka Four Season Greens & Dried Bala Cranberries
Although I have cooked for literally thousands of people in my almost two decades working in the food industry, I can safely say, this may have been one of the most satisfying. You see, one of the reasons why I truly enjoy cooking for people is because I am the type of person who needs reassurance. With cooking, you know instantly if you were/are good enough. As the boxed lunches went out, and my nerves set in, within seconds I heard the moaning and groaning I long for as a chef. “They like it!” I squealed inside, as a massive grin took over my face. Folks were putting down their napkins only a few bites in, and getting up from their seats to tell me how much they loved the boxed lunch.
Nothing in this world brings me more joy than feeding people. It is something I have loved to do since I was ten. If you know me personally, you will know how truly blessed I feel to do what I love. The real icing on the cake, not for my ego, but for my soul – is having people love, appreciate and be inspired by what I do.
Here are two of the recipes from the boxed lunch that I have been asked for.
From my Happy, Healthy Kitchen to Yours, Enjoy!
Chocolate Coconut Chia Energy Truffles
Satisfy your sweet tooth with these good-for-you and easy to prepare bites.
1 cup (250 mL) each; raw unsalted almonds; large flake sweetened coconut and dark (or semi sweet) chocolate chips
1/2 cup (125 mL) large flake rolled oats OR quinoa flakes
Place almonds, coconut, chocolate and oats in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Pulse until finely chopped. Add remaining ingredients and pulse until mixture comes together and starts to form a ball. Roll mixture evenly into balls – just a bit smaller than a golf ball (should yield approx 16 “truffles”). Roll each truffle in shredded coconut to coat and gently press an almond in the top of each. Store in an airtight container in refrigerator for up to two weeks.
Enjoy all the festive flavours of autumn with this tasty and healthy dip.
1 can (540 mL/19 oz) white kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup (250 mL) pure pumpkin puree (*not pumpkin pie filling)
*dried cranberries and green pumpkin seeds for garnish
Place beans in bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Pulse until finely chopped. Add pumpkin puree, garlic, ginger, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Pulse until mixture is well combined, scraping down sides of bowl when needed. With motor running, drizzle in orange juice and olive oil and pulse until very smooth. Cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days. To serve; place hummus in serving dish (*for a festive flare: hollow out a very small pie pumpkin and use as a serving “dish”) and garnish with chopped cranberries and pumpkin seeds. Serve with crackers, toasted pita wedges and veggie sticks. *Makes a delicious leftover turkey sandwich spread also.
Makes 3 cups (750 mL).
All recipes written and developed by: Charmaine Broughton www.charmainebroughton.com
Here are some of my favourite highlights from What’s Cooking Bracebridge – The Great Muskoka Cookbook Adventure: