Happy 2014 everyone! Thank you for spending time with me last year and telling me all about making my recipes. This year there will be more recipes, ideas and ways to make dinner easier. You can look forward to a few ebooks this year and my new oatmeal book from Page Street Publishers will be coming out in the fall.
Most people, including me, try to make some changes in January. My goals this year include:
- unpack the two rooms full of boxes (with Cheryl)
- eat at home for most meals (pack meals for Cheryl for work)
- write 2 to 4 short specialized ebooks
- write new cookbook to be published 2015
- get new writing gigs
- schedule in at least one day off a week
- schedule in 1 to 2 hours of downtime everyday
All of this is doable, but I worry about my time management the most. When I’m in cookbook writing mode most things get pushed to the side and I spend all my time working. Keep your fingers crossed for me!
What are you working on this year and how are you going about meeting your goals?
Here are 5 Slow Cooker Budget-Saving Staples for you to integrate into your lives this year. Even if you only have one slow cooker you can make a few of these before Monday!
Making your own bouillon saves a ton of money and adds lots of flavor to cooked grains, soup and stews. You can make it in your slow cooker or even your oven if you’d like to warm up the house a little while it’s still cold. I actually found a bunch of celery for 50 cents on the reduced produce shelf of the grocery so I made a huge batch to freeze. Get the free-form recipe here.
Cooking Dried Beans:
Buy dried beans and cook them in your slow cooker . It will save you so much money over the course of a year. I admit I always have a few cans on hand for last minute recipe ideas, but I also have beans that you can’t buy in cans cooked up and frozen in 1 1/2 cup portions in the freezer. Mother Stallard beans, runner beans and others, can be made into a quick soup or stew this way. Try my recipe for Beyond Easy Slow Cooker Beans – 1 1/2 Quart Version and see how easy and cheap it is for yourself. I buy Rancho Gordo heirloom beans with the money I save.
Winter Squash Puree:
It may seem off-season to talk about cooking pumpkin but you may still have a winter squash or two on hand. You can slow cook them by just poking a few holes in it and slow cooking, let it cool, scoop the seeds and scrape out the good part. Freeze in 1 1/2 cup portions and you have the same amount that’s in a can or in 1/2 cup portions to drop in your slow cooker oats. Step by Step Slow Cooker Pumpkin Purée has the instructions with photos to get you started.
Don’t forget that you can also “bake” potatoes and sweet potatoes in your slow cooker and they make a great meal. Just wash, poke holes and cook on low while you are away at work. You can even throw a few on top of the batch of chili you are slow cooking to make your meal complete!
Not Really Refried Beans:
While you are working on making beans from scratch instead of using cans, go ahead and give up the cans of refried beans. I have 2 very simple slow cooker recipes that can be doubled or tripled to stock your freezer. The plain refried beans aren’t pretty but are super easy and aren’t even fried. You can add even more nutrition by adding in some butternut squash or sweet potato.