Warning: The attached article contains material that may be inappropriate for those who actually like to labor over a hot stove after getting the kids off to school, putting in an eight-hour day at the office, and shuttling the kids to various after-school activities, while squeezing in doing the laundry, cleaning the house, taking care of an aging car, trying not to look like an utter frump and still feel at least a little teeny bit sexy.
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I fell in love this summer. Seriously. It was unexpected and has changed my world. I thank my friend, Elaine, for introducing me to my new love: My amazing, high-end, shiny, brand new slow cooker. I’d always had slow-cooker fantasies. You know, coming home to mouth-watering wafts of rosemary, garlic, yummy stews after a long day at work. But I’d never gotten around to buying a slow cooker, and the fantasy was set on a dusty shelf in the deep recesses of my mind.
But when I was given a slow cooker as a housewarming gift by my friend, coinciding with my need to figure out how to have delicious, nutritious meals ready within an hour of my coming home with my children, the stars were indeed aligned, and it was time to turn fantasy into reality.
What I didn’t know about slow cookers is that cooking this way still requires some prep. Meats often need to be browned on the stove top, veggies need to be washed, chopped, and diced. But beyond that, once everything is in the cooker and the timer and temp are appropriately set, it does the rest. You are free, free, free to go to work, the gym, hike, nap, whatever. Five, six, eight, 10 hours later, you will return home to a cooked meal.
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But wait. This is what sealed the deal for me: When I made my first slow-cooked meal, not only was the dish done cooking when I trudged home, but the cooker had shifted to “warm” mode when the cooking was finished so that the meal was absolutely ready to be eaten the second we walk into the door. Now do you understand??? These are the benefits of slow-cooking: