Sunday, May 31, 2009

Yoga and Hot Meals:

two things I like to say, are for people who don't have small children. Both require a great amount of concentration, focus, and active participation, in order to get it just right.
I can't count how many late nights have I popped a yoga video in the DVD, relaxed my breathing, prepared and stretched my body, and found my mental Zen, when suddenly I'm interrupted by my waking kids. "Mooooooooom, I neeeeed you!!!"
It just doesn't feel right to start all over again, once the concentration's been broken. And forget about doing it during waking hours! "Up dog, down dog" turns into horsey, horsey ride-my-backey, for two giggling little boys.

As for a nice, hot meal for dinner, I often find myself in the same scenario. It's about 4 O' clock when I start thinking about what healthy dish I can cook up for the family. I make mental focus of what ingredients I have, prepare my counter top with pots, pans, spatulas, and spices, and find the mental energy I need to cook a fabulous meal...When I'm suddenly interrupted by two little boys who need cuddles at the same time, or two little boys who need to be broken up from the same toy...or something to break me away from that kitchen. It happens so much that we've gotten used to apple slices and cheese sandwiches for dinner, more often than we should.

Although Yoga is definitely on the back burner these days, I think I've found a solution for those daily, healthy, hot meals I so crave to cook. Are you ready for this? It's one of the oldest cooking methods used in the history of the world, turned into a revolutionary modern convenience. My latest obsession---the Slow Cooker. Yes, that's right, my Crock Pot is going to save my family from hot meal deprivation.

First, let me tell you about the Crock Pot so you can see why I am so optimistic about this.
I went to the book store looking for a new cook book when I saw "The Complete Idiots Guide to Slow Cooking." I've read it cover to cover, and now feel like I am the "Idiot Expert" of slow cooking. The book boasts over and over that slow cooking methods are perfect for people who work full time, or have busy on-the-go schedules.
The ideas being, that they can prepare the meal ahead of time, start the cooker, and walk away. Then later they come home to a house full of pleasant aromas and delicious foods. Slow cookers are not rocket science. They are simple, uncomplicated devices that are also energy efficient. (A Porcelain pottery insert, surrounded by metal)
The food will not burn, rot, or heat up the house, in the slow cooker.
My most favorite thing about the slow cooker: I can prepare a meal when the kids are happy, and time it to be done when the family is hungry.
I think slow cookers are so perfect for mothers with small children, who often have to work around their children's temperaments and moods.

We eat pretty health conscious around here,too, which means not a lot of canned or frozen foods, or instant box meals. We prefer to eat from scratch, using whole foods, herbs, and fresh ingredients. The slow cooker is the prefect compliment to our diets, because it will allow us to eat all the foods we love. It's just less work for me, overall.

We've owned and used a Crock Pot since we got one as a wedding present, but now I am taking this up a notch. I'm getting serious about this slow cooking business!
Today I made Chicken Cacciatore in the slow cooker. I set the timer before church, and when we got home it was ready to eat. This meant no fussy, empty stomachs, and no grumpy, hungry, cooking parents--just a hot meal on the counter! Mmmmmmmmmm.

My goal is to continue experimenting with the "Idiots Guide" until I feel comfortable in finding other Slow cooker cook-books out there. I would love to cook some Ethnic Cuisine in my slow cooker. How about some "Asian Honey-Glazed Walnut Shrimp" slow cooker style?

Who knows-maybe now that I have all this free time I can do a little Yoga.
(uh, huh)


ashley said...

amen on the slow cooker, i am getting into it right now too!

to answer your question, we are in california for the rest of the year for luke to do a masters program at the university of redlands. then back to the rock in the middle of the ocean.

sunlightbeginnings said...

do you make meals with a dry hydrated beans? I would like
to find some recipes.

Sally Jackson said...

I don't know much about recipes with hydrated beans. I know, however, that they don't require a lot of cooking, because they can be easily reconstituted with a little water. I would think anything you do in the slow cooker, you would put the beans in very last. ??

Hilary-Dilary-Dock said...

I just made black-eyed peas in the slow cooker. YOu have to either soak the beans overnight or cook them in boiling water on the stovetop for two hours before you put 'em in. I think you can only put hydrated beans in the slow cooker because hard, dry beans take so long to cook (even too long for the slow cooker!).

Here's something else I love about the crockpot. . . If you line it with foil before you cook, you don't have to wash your pot when you're done. That might give you Alzheimer's though, or maybe cancer. So, do it at your own risk, or only use this method to make food for people you don't like.

Jana Neser said...

Sally! I love my crock pot! I actually got one for my 19th birthday :) I found an awesome crock pot blog a few months back and I'm addicted. It is

This woman decided to have her new years resolution in 2008 to be to cook something new in the crockpot every day for the year. Needless to say, she has some pretty creative stuff like creme brulee in the crock pot! She is hilarious too! I think she is actually writing a book now too which should come out later this year. Check it out!