Crock Pots and Cookbooks!

Two staples that I could not live without: a crock pot and a few solid cookbooks.

There is nothing that I despise more than finishing a long day of work, picking up Clara and then having to think on the fly about what I am going to make for dinner. This would be the time when I would think of something quick, that generally would not fall under the “healthy” nor “balanced” categories. It was a lot easier to eat something that required less effort and was less healthy when it was just the two of us. Now that we have our daughter, a little extra planning needs to go into it because I like to make sure that most of the meals I serve are wholesome and good for her little growing body!

I have not always been a big fan of cooking.

When I get into the kitchen, I don’t always feel inspired and often struggle to cook something delicious off the top of my head (how my husband does this, I am still in awe of). Because of this, I am a recipe gal! And not only am I a recipe gal, but I seem to gravitate towards recipes that are quick, easy and don’t take a lot of prep. There are times that I love spending hours in the kitchen whether it is cooking or baking, but during the week when we only have a short time to spend together before toddler bed time, the least amount of time I can spend in the kitchen, the better!

This brings me to my next point that speeds up the process big time- planning! (Stay tuned for a post about meal planning and prepping another time) For the last 6 months, give or take a couple weeks and meals, we have been cooking from a pre-planned weekly menu that takes the guess work out of the equation. It is life changing in the realm of cooking dinner on weeknights. Already knowing what I am making allows for me to pull out meat from the freezer and even do a little prep the night before to ensure that making dinner is as smooth as possible.

I have a relatively large collection of cookbooks in my kitchen. And although I do also spend hours on Pinterest finding recipes and using them, there is something authentic that I enjoy about working from a cookbook. Seeing the pictures, physically turning the pages- it adds to the whole experience of cooking. Within this library, I of course have my favourites. These cookbooks are the ones that I make at least one meal a week from, if not more:

Rush Hour Meals

400 Calorie Fix

Slow Cooker Cookbook

But my ABSOLUTE favourite cookbook is Skinny Taste: Fast and Slow . Skinny Taste was created by Gina Homolka. Skinnytaste-Fast-and-Slow-Cookbook.jpgIn her words about starting Skinny Taste, “What originally began in 2008 as an idea to marry my two passions, great food and beautiful photography, Skinnytaste was born which features delicious, healthy, family-friendly recipes made with real food.” She believes in the same things that I do when it comes to health, “Exercise + a well balanced diet + good sleep = a happy life.” Read More about Gina here.

I have been using recipes from Skinny Taste for a number of years now. The website is very easy, super user friendly and gives you access to countless recipes. So naturally, when I heard that she was coming out with a cookbook that included FAST recipes and SLOW cooker recipes- I kind of felt like this book was made for me. Since having purchased it, I have tried tons of recipes, and have not found one that we haven’t liked yet! Our absolute, #1 fave is the Slow Cooker Chicken Burrito Bowl.

unnamedWe eat this at least once every 2 weeks and each time I make it, it continues to be a hit. I also love how easy the prep for it is, just throw it in the slow cooker so it can cook all day, prep the pico de gallo and the rice before hand and it is ready to go when I get home from work! It also assembles very aesthetically. (Remember me and pretty things?)

Here are some of my other favourites from the book:

Slow Cooker Hamburger Stroganoff

Easiest One-Pot Pasta and Broccoli

Slow Cooker Beef Ragu w/ Pappardelle

Slow Cooker Indian Chicken and Peas

Roasted Brussels Bowls with Spicy Sausage

Okay, so just to name a few. I don’t want to give them all away! I strongly suggest purchasing this cookbook if you’re cooking for a great kitchen staple!

Hugs and Kisses,

Andrea

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