It was a very quiet, stick around home with no plans kind of long Labor Day weekend, and I spent a good portion of my time reading. As a family, we finished reading C.S. Lewis’ The Magician’s Nephew, and I also finished Mere Christianity, also by Lewis. It was a lovely book that really moved me, and I plan to eventually write about it, but in the mean time, there was a passage about marriage which I enjoyed quite a bit. In it, he compares the excitement of first falling in love with your mate, to the feelings of staying in love, which lead in to what he calls a sort of “quiet love.”
” ‘Being in love’ first moved them to promise fidelity: this quieter love enables them to keep the promise. It is on this love that the engine of marriage is run: being in love was the explosion that started it.”
Isn’t that a nice way to put it? I thought so. At this point however, you may be asking yourself what a passage about love and marriage has to do with a budget stew you make in a crockpot, and I’m here to tell you, quite a lot. You see, it’s the fanciful and interesting meals that you enjoy while you’re out to eat on a date or splurging on vacation, or perhaps one you even make at home and spend hours preparing, that really peeks the senses and gets one excited about eating. Those meals are in a sense, the explosion which can make you fall in love with food and the process of eating and cooking, over and over again.
But it’s the quieter, simple and unpretentious meals made at home, with minimal, inexpensive ingredients, that keep the engine running. These unassuming, quiet meals are the ones which fuel and nourish our family, keep us centered at home, hopefully seated around a table, to better enjoy the company of each other, and allow us to function on a day to day basis with little to no drama and fuss.
At least that’s how I see it 🙂
So here we are at this stew. My sister originally told me about the recipe and how much her kids enjoyed it, but I adapted it a bit. As you can see from the ingredients, it’s quite unfancy, and besides browning the meat, there’s nothing else you need to do besides put it in a slow cooker (I use this programmable one and love it), and turn that engine on. A few hours later, a warming, hearty meal that will feed your family, with no drama mama. Serve a nice loaf of store-bought bread, and maybe a side salad, and call it done. It can also easily be modified to fit different dietary needs, or to fit what you have in the fridge and pantry. Other ideas could be to sub bison or ground turkey for the beef. Sub sweet potatoes for the white potatoes, or regular onions for the pearl onions. Even add in some ingredients; I’m thinking a 1/2 cup each of frozen peas and/or corn at the end of cooking would be quite good! Just think of a slow, reliable and steady engine running to help keep the family fed.
Which brings me to something else I’d like to talk about; a new series I’ll be launching here. I haven’t yet come up with a name for this series, and don’t know if I ever will to be honest. But basically, I’ll be launching monthly recipe themes here on the blog, to get you interested in cooking and trying new recipes. Well, if I’m being honest, it’s actually to get me interested in cooking and trying new recipes seeing as I’ve been in a rut, and you my loyal readers, get to benefit from my monthly experiments 🙂
The theme for the month of September will be focusing on slow cooker recipes; ones which I discover online, books, or have developed myself. I’ll post a new recipe here each week, and will also cook another one or two throughout the week, and at the end of each month I’ll do a recap, sharing my most favorite meals. The theme will change each month so things won’t get dull and boring, and I’ll make sure to post the recipes so you can try one or two of them yourself.
I decided to make September’s center around the slow cooker because I know just how busy and hectic this time of life is for many of us. Back to school, back to Fall sports and back to the craziness of life! It’s also quite hot still in some parts of the country (hello Indian Summer), so cooking in the slow cooker is a great way to create a home-cooked meal without turning on the oven or stove, while also creating meals that hint at Fall. And hey, if it is cooling down where you reside, good for you; enjoy the cooler weather and comfort food 🙂 Oh! And stay tuned because I also plan to throw in a post about the Instant Pot, since it’s kinda like a slow cooker on steroids.
I’ve been working with the wonderful Leila Lewis of Be Inspired PR, who is helping me better streamline my blog content, and my Beautycounter business so that I can work on both without sacrificing one for the other. I’ve appreciated her benefited from her guidance tremendously, and it would be unfair for me to not credit her with this great idea of themed meals. She’s a marketing whiz, but also a mother of 3 who is running a pretty large PR firm, so she knew how important it is to set realistic and manageable goals for a business. Making each month themed will therefore allow my readers to know what to expect from my content, and will also give me a starting point each month to organize around, allowing me to hopefully be more efficient and timely with producing content. Isn’t that brilliant? At least I thought so. Since this is my first go of it, perhaps I’m counting my chickens before they hatch, but at any rate, I’m feeling positive. Perhaps at this point I should come up with a hashtag and invite you all to join in on posting what you’re making on Instagram? I’ll think of something and will get back to you soon 🙂 Until them, I hope you enjoy this new idea and this simple new recipe!
Slow Cooker Budget Stew
- 1.3 lbs ground meat of choice; beef bison or turkey
- 1 lb of potatoes of choice cut into large cubes
- 3-4 large carrots peeled & cut into large cubes
- 1/2 cup pearl onions peeled
- 1 tsp each of salt pepper, garlic & onion powder, and oregano
- 1 small can of tomato paste
- 1 cup of water
- Brown the meat on medium heat until almost cooked through, then add to slow cooker along with the onions, potatoes and carrots . Add tomato paste and seasonings to 1 cup of water, stir until combined and pour on top of ingredients in slow cooker. Close lid and cook on high for 3 hours or slow for 5-6 hours.