CROCKPOTS

English: Chef Pepín Slow Cooker

CROCKPOTS have to make my top 5 list for tools to make healthy living easier and more practical.

 

Is there anything these things can’t do?  Besides tasting amazing, what are some of the benefits of having one of these things lurking around your kitchen?

 

1. GOOD FOOD COMBINING and GOOD DIGESTION:  Cooking low and slow for hours creates an even “mixture” with whatever you decide to put in it.  Food is best eaten in simple combinations.  Often it is best to eat one food at a time, by itself.  However, cooking with a crockpot allows the food to “work out their differences” inside the pot.  Carrots, peas, chicken, onions, and garlic TRANSMUTES into “crockpot chicken and vegetables.”  This translates into better digestion.  Also, cooking things at a low temperature for hours is almost always better than quick-heat methods.  Cooking things (especially proteins) at very low heat is the best way to go.  This way, everything softens up for your digestion to go to work.  Ever have a burnt grilled chicken breast?  Not very appetizing to me.

 

2.  PRACTICAL:  These things are probably the most practical tool to have around the house.  Cooking and cleaning require little work.  There is no guesswork on timing.  They are super easy.  Instructions?  Chop up whatever vegetables sound good to you and your family.  Optionally throw in a piece of meat.  Set the timer.  DONE.  If you are fifteen minutes late from work or class?  Doesn’t usually matter.  Also, this is the perfect way to cook for large families without messing up the entire kitchen.  If you are single or in a small family, leftovers usually abound.  This is a great way to plan two days worth of food in a one time cook/clean job.

 

3. SAVES MONEY:  How many of us throw out old vegetables?  How about those rough cuts of meat we screw up?  This is a great way to start saving all that stuff.  Got some veggies that are starting to go bad?  Throw them in the crockpot.  Some cheaper cuts of meat are usually tough and chewy.  We can soften them up with the crockpot.  People have been doing this for thousands of years.  This is especially true of rough red meats and/or game meat.

 

There you have it folks.  I would recommend getting a LARGE crockpot.  It is better to have more room than you need to cook.  Sometimes we use ours to make giant meals with plenty of leftovers.  Other times, it can be used for simple vegetable dishes.  It depends what we are in the mood for.  Don’t be afraid to leave it on your counter.  It is easy to get hooked on the “crockpot meal.”

 

Happy Hunting =)

 

-JOE

 

 

 

Recipe’s Vs. INTUITION Cooking

English: Healthy Food For Life logo

 

A common reason we seem to come up with for not eating healthy food is that we have no good recipe’s.  We have no experience with combining foods properly to create good tasting food.  Well I’m here to tell you that we don’t need to use that one anymore.  Sure, recipe’s are very nice for special occasions, holidays, etc, when we are creating fancy meals and eating a little junkier than normal.  But what about the day-to-day?  The standard breakfasts, lunches, and dinners.  How do we create good tasting food that doesn’t take up a lot of our time and energy?  Here are some tips.

1. EXPERIMENT:  Buy different vegetables.  Farmers markets are excellent places for this step.  We just got a buttercup squash and purple sweet potatoes this week from the market.  Both were delicious.  Before that, we have found orange mini-tomatoes, italian zucchini, elephant garlic, and much more.  For dinner last night I cubed some purple sweet potatoes to bake in the oven and mixed them with 2 fresh zucchini from the market.  A little raw butter and salt and pepper and you have an amazing meal.

2: GEAR:  Have the equipment.  A steamer basket is probably the one I use the most often.  It doesn’t get more simple than this really.  Add a little water to a pot, boil it, add chopped veggies, and wait ten minutes.  Perfect every time.  CROCKPOT’S are amazing especially in the winter.  Putting whole chickens or roasts in with a pound or two of vegetables.  Prep time may be around ten minutes and you have probably at least quite a few meals there.  If you don’t eat meat, focus on the veggies.  Having a juicer or a blender around can really help as well if you are feeling something quick.  Several carrots and celery stalks in a juicer is a quick breakfast on the go if all you need is something light.

3. ENRICHMENTS:  These are mainly healthy fats.  Things like raw butter, raw coconut oil, raw olive oil, etc.  These add healthy ingredients, help the food digest easier, boost hormone health, and usually improve taste.  Try different veggies with different fats.  Variety is the name of the game here.  Refer back to #1

4. SEASONINGS:  I would tend to stay away from these fancy “one in all” seasonings.  They can be nice from time to time.  But learning how to cook with intuition requires learning the different tastes and effects of individual seasonings.  So invest in some high-quality single spices.  5-10 or so is all you need to start with.  Good options may include thyme, rosemary, basil, garlic powder, mustard powder, turmeric, and oregano.  Things like paprika, cayenne, cumin, and coriander are also great if you are feeling a little heat.

These are really the basics.  Always refer to #1.  We have to stop running from #1.  Odds are; you will create a few dishes here and there that you don’t like much.  That’s just life.  But let’s not let that stop us from trying new things period.  90% of the time, by focusing on simple methods, you will create good tasting, healthy food.  When you don’t like your food, think about WHY?  Maybe you overused a certain seasoning.  Maybe you put in more fat than your body wanted.  Maybe you used too many starchy vegetables.  Just be aware of why you don’t like it and adjust it next time.  After a while, we develop a sort of INTUITION that helps us throw together amazing meals with little preparation or thought.  Meals that seem complicated to others.  Unfortunately a lot of us in America have gotten accustomed to not cooking.  Let’s start changing that =)

-Joe