I think we’ve all had those days, or let’s be honest weeks, where the hours just seem to fly by. We are running around from meeting to meeting, picking and dropping of kids, chained to our computers trying to make yet another ridiculous deadline and barely have time to get around to eating, let alone cooking a healthy meal. Over the years I have learned the hard way how imperative it is to make this a priority because it’s the only way you will survive these kinds of super hectic days.
Gone are the days where we need to slave over a stove for hours in order to prepare a hearty meal and as convenient as it is to purchase cold pressed juices from the store, you can do these things at home easier than you think. I love chilli’s, meatballs, and if I didn’t have to stay away from gluten 90% of the time I could eat risotto every single day. But I never had the time to make these things until now. A slow cooker, otherwise known as a crockpot, isn’t something I saw around my household growing up. My mother was a bit old school when she was in the kitchen and slaved in there for what seemed like hours to prep us well balanced meals. Let me just say a slow cooker, is a gift from above. The Mister and I are still finding it hard to believe how easy it is to prepare some of our favourite foods and trust me when I say the dishes prepared in this Kitchenaid Architect Slow Cooker yields the juiciest and most flavourful foods imaginable.
Although slow cookers do majority of the preverbal “heavy lifting”, cooking this way still requires some prep. For instance, meats and fish need to be browned or seared on the stove top first, veggies need to be washed, cut and diced. But seriously, after everything goes into the cooker and the temperature and timer have been set, it literally does the rest. This means you are free to carry on with your day, going to the office, working out at the gym and the other 101 things you do in a day. Anywhere from 5-10 hours later, your arriving home to a delicious home cooked meal.
Some other amazing benefits of using a slow cooker at home:
Easy Clean-Up: With the exception of a cutting board, utensils and perhaps a pan for browning, you’ll only be cleaning one pot.
Reduced Energy Usage: Crock pots use substantially less energy than a conventional oven.
Useful Year Round: We usually associate slow cookers with comfort food in the winter, but they are really great to use all year round and during the summer it can eliminate the need to use the over, which can generate unwanted heat making your house hotter.
Whether or not you’re following a Paleo diet, this chill recipe is to die for. Just prep the ingredients and let the slow cooker work it’s magic!
- 2 lbs. of ground beef or turkey
- 1 onion, diced
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 red and 1 green bell pepper, both diced
- 1 cup of carrots, finely diced
- 1 cup of celery, diced
- 1 jalapeno, minced
- (1) 28-ounce can of crushed or stewed tomatoes
- (1) 14-ounce can of diced tomatoes
- (1) 15-ounce can of tomato sauce
- 3 Tbsp. of chili powder
- 1 Tbsp. of oregano
- 1 Tbsp. of basil
- 2 tsp. of cumin
- 1 tsp. of salt
- 1 tsp. pepper
- 1 tsp. onion powder
- 1/2 tsp. of cayenne
Garnish (Optional but highly recommended)
- About 4 strips of cooked bacon, crumbled
- 1 or 2 avocados, diced
- Sauté onions and garlic together in a large saucepan over medium heat
- Add in ground beef (or turkey) to the saucepan and cook just until browned. Drain excess fat
- Transfer the cooked onions, garlic and meat to your crockpot/slow-cooker
- Add all the above vegetables and spices (except garnish ingredients) to the crockpot
- Give the pot a good stir
- Set crockpot to LOW, cover, and slow cook for about 6 hours
- Spoon into individual bowls. Garnish with crumbled bacon and avocado slices
- Serve hot and enjoy!
Winter Juicing Recipes
The winter months can wreak havoc on our bodies – you name it; skin, energy and most importantly immune system. Besides nourishing my body with the right foods, I also add additional nutrients by pressing my own juice at home. This is the optimal time to experiment with juicing recipes if it’s something you’re in to as we are not in the season for summer produce. Whether you’re an avid juicer or just a beginner, Breville’s Juice Fountain Compact Juicer gets the job done. It’s extra wide 3 inch chute cuts down juicing time because it eliminates the need to finely chop fruits and veggies prior to juicing. And the bonus, it resembles effortlessly for a super easy clean up.
When people think of juicing, one often thinks of the standard green or beet based juice, but theres a whole world of other options you can try out at home that I tested out with the Hudson’s Bay team that are a tasty departure from your average juice blend. If you don’t mind tartness, you will love the “Hudson” fondly named after the HBC brand…
The “Hudson” Ingredients:
- 1 Large apple, rinsed and halved
- 1 Large pear, rinsed and halved
- 1/4 cup of fresh cranberries, rinsed
Our “We The North” blend is a unique mix of root veggies that turns into a creamy, frothy concoction that has a little kick thanks to the ginger.
“We The North” Ingredients:
- 3 Medium carrots, rinsed
- 1 Small parsnip, rinsed
- 1 Medium apple, rinsed and halved
- 1/2 Small sweet potato, rinsed
- One 1-inch knob ginger, smashed
Even though our “Chic Canuck” is simple, it’s still power packed and it’s a juice that you can make at home even when you are low on groceries.
The “Chic Canuck” Ingredients:
- 6 Medium or 4 large carrots, rinsed
- 2 Oranges, halved and juiced into a glass using a reamer
Photography by: David A. Pike
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