Slow Easy!

owl crockpot

image by daftgirly, from Flickr

Are you grateful for your slow cooker?

I was out walking in the woods with a friend a week or so ago and began discussing the topic of gratitude.  Somehow we ended up talking about slow cookers.  Aeron is often out at the barn prior to dinner and finds it very convenient to start dinner before she and her daughter Emily leave for the barn.  A warm dinner is ready to eat when they return.  Aeron says that she finds it easier to eat well balanced meals when she is using her slow cooker.  She will be sharing her best slow cooker recipes with us shortly.

Do you remember having a slow cooker or crock-pot in your home when you were growing up?  The modern day slow cooker was developed by a company called Rival Industries using the trademark name Crock-Pot. The Crock-Pot was designed in the early 1970s based on the design of a bean pot called the Beanery.

With the emphasis on conserving energy, slow cookers became popular during the energy crisis.  The slow cookers were also a good choice for the record number of women who re-entered the workforce or began to pursue interests outside the home.

The motto for the Crock-Pot was “cooks all day while the cook’s away.”

I personally do not use my slow cooker to prepare my evening meals on a regular basis.  I do however use it frequently to prepare hot cereals overnight.  Here are two of my favourites:

This first recipe is based on a porridge recipe in The Eat Clean Diet Cookbook.

Crock-Pot Porridge

½ cup cracked wheat or bulgur 
1 ½ cup steel-cut oats

½ cup rye flakes

½ cup brown rice

¼ cup wheat germ7 ½ cups water or combination of liquids (rice milk, soya milk, almond milk)

4 ½ tsp vanilla

It is possible to add any dried fruit or nuts to this recipe.  I serve mine with ice cream!

Preparation:

Place all ingredients in a large crock-pot.  Stir well to combine all ingredients.  Cover.  Set on lowest cooking temperature and cook overnight.

The second recipe is not really a recipe per se.  This one is taken from Cooking Vegetarian.

Hearty Whole-Grain Cereal

Makes 4 cups

1 cup uncooked grain (such as amaranth, barley, brown rice, buckwheat, kamut berries, millet, oat groats, spelt berries, wheat berries or wild rice)

4 cups water

Put grains in slow cooker and cook on low heat for 8-10 hours until the water has been absorbed.

Try the recipe first with 2 or 3 grains.  Later, you can experiment and create your own!  Both recipes can be served cold as a pudding (again especially delicious with ice cream) or refrigerated and reheated as needed.

Do you have a favourite slow cooker recipe or website that you would like to share?  Let us know!

Laurie

Thinking of Gratitude

Aside

Angela’s most recent post reminded me of a profile I read a few years ago, of the actor Tommy Lee Jones (OMG, it was in 1994!).*  The writer spent several days with Jones, and noted his habit, at the end of each day, of listing the good and interesting things that had happened that day.  Here’s an example from Oct. 31st:  “This was a good day.  We got the pumpkins.  We made jack-o’-lanterns.  We saw Hoagy and Bogart and Bacall in ‘To Have and Have Not.’  We trick-or-treated.”

I’ve forgotten everything else about the article except for this habit of his. Sometimes I use it myself when my mind is buzzing and I can’t get to sleep at night.  For me, this is a form of gratitude, and a tool for an optimistic realignment of my bad attitude.

I like Angela’s idea of choosing a theme for the year.  Looking forward to the blog posts that will flow from the theme of gratitude!

I’d also like to say thank you to the readers of our blog.  We are honoured that you’re reading us.

Elizabeth

Posy

image by horrigans, from Flickr

*Ross, Lillian.  (1994, April 4).  “Onward and upward with the arts:  Keeping up with Mr. Jones”  The New Yorker, 57-63.

Creatively Yours: Gratitude for a New Year

Journal Entry

image by JoelMontes, from Flickr

There has been much written in the past few years about gratitude and how being grateful opens the doors to abundance. Sarah Ban Breathnach, in her book Simple Abundance, suggests we keep a gratitude journal and on a daily basis write five things we are grateful for. She suggests that over time you will find that the small, simple, overlooked things are what give us the most happiness. Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project and guru of happiness, is also a gratitude advocate.  She says,  “Gratitude is the key to happiness. Consistently grateful people are happier and more satisfied with their lives.”

Shawn Achor, author of The Happiness Advantage talks about the “Three Good Things” exercise, suggesting we keep a journal of three good things that happen to us each day. He calls this the “Positive Tetris Effect” which simply means that when we think about positive things we see things in a more positive light, which leads to more positive experiences, which creates more happiness. And, when we are happy we create more positive experiences – and so on.  And who wouldn’t want to feel happier?

But like many other good ideas, it is a matter of choosing something and sticking with it long enough to notice the benefits. Achor suggests that we need to do something for 21 days before it becomes a habit. So there is the challenge! Will you do what you set out to do (your new year’s resolutions or goals) for 21 days to achieve the benefits?

As I mentioned in my December blog post Before the Clock Strikes 12I am not big on resolutions and prefer to pick a theme to focus us.  So for 2012 I have decided that the theme will be gratitude.  Equipped with a beautiful leather bound journal and sparkly pink pen, I started my gratitude journal today.  Day one – check mark!  I’ll let you know how it’s going in 21 days!  And for those of you who have made resolutions or goals for 2012, and those who didn’t – I wish you much happiness and success, and I am grateful for your readership of our blog in 2011 and hope you continue to tune in during 2012!

Creatively yours,

Angela

Moleskine Journal Hack

image by budcaddell, from Flickr