It’s almost Thanksgiving, and you know what that means: Black Friday and Cyber Monday! I love Christmas shopping, but it isn’t always easy to choose gifts, especially when you’re pressured by time. I haven’t bought a single thing yet, so I’m already behind.
I thought it might be helpful to fill you in on some of my favorite presents I’ve received this year. Feel free to respond with some of your favorites and to share my ideas with others. We need to help each other through the season before panic sets in!
I’ll start with my absolute fav . . .
I was so surprised when I received a big box from Amazon (it’s available at Amazon.com) a few days before my birthday earlier this year. Inside that box was another with a Crock-Pot inside. Really? A Crock-Pot? What would I do with that? Sure, my grandmother had one she used all the time, but she was an old-school cook. What could a Crock-Pot possibly do for me? But Paula, my friend who sent the gift, knows me pretty well, so I decided to give it a try.
It turns out that Crock-Pots do a lot more than I ever knew. In fact, they’re really great for healthy cooking because you don’t need to use oils and high-fat ingredients. You don’t even really need to be a cook to make great food.
Healthy cooking with no fats or oils. You don’t even need to be a cook to make great food
Knowing my limited cooking skills, Paula was so kind . . . She mailed me a nice, handmade card with recipes inside, all healthy. I’ve made different chili recipes and soups, chicken dishes, and even a lean-cut roast. Now, I can’t do without slow cooking to stay on my healthy track.
I want to tell you a little bit about why I think this would be a great gift.
The Crock-Pot Paula gave me is very stylish—silver and black, so it goes great in my kitchen. It holds 6 quarts, so it’s big enough to cook for several people when I have get-togethers, but it is small enough to not take up too much counter space.
It’s not overly complicated. It has a simple dial that even I can use—warm, low, and high. I use low when I want to cook overnight or while I’m at work and high when I want my meals done in just a few hours, usually on the weekend.
Most ingredients are put in raw, so I don’t have to do a lot of prep before I go to work in the morning. I just cut up vegetables raw and put in the meat raw. Even beans can go in dry, so no more soaking! I usually brown lean red meats before putting them in (just a few minutes on each side). I think this really adds to the flavor of these dishes, and it is quick and easy to do.
The Crock-Pot is super-easy to clean. The black crock is coated so food really doesn’t stick. Just a little soapy water . . . and voila! And this updated version has a locking lid and nice, sturdy handles I can use if I want to take a dish over to a friend’s house. No muss, no fuss.
My only complaint is that I had to learn to pay attention to where the little steam hole is on the lid so steam doesn’t burn my hand. I can live with that.
So there you have it. But I’m warning you, you may want one for yourself. Available at Amazon.com.
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