When your new resolution is to use your slow cooker…

Everybody has theirs… something that was purchased once upon a time, with good intentions of using it often, or picking it up as a new hobby and thinking “oh yes, I will do this regularly and master it!”. Everybody has something like this tucked away in their cabinets, closets, under the bed, or in the attic. If you don’t know what I am talking about and you make great use of everything in your house, then hats off to you, just keep that to yourself! I really don’t need to be reminded that it is possible!

I cleaned the house last weekend, going a little bit deeper than usual. Pulling everything out from the cabinets and closets, weeding out the things that have not been touched for months or years. See, my husband and I have this tendency to get ourselves into new hobbies, purchase things and then we can not find time to do anything with them. We really want to, though. We really think we can make time for the 101th activity to be squeezed in our already depleted weekends. Then months pass by, nobody makes any move on the new item, because something else has already piqued our interest!

Take my sewing machine for example. I should not even say it is mine because I have  never used it since we bought it 6 years ago. My grandma is a top-notch seamstress and she did that for a living many years. I, on the other hand, have not done any particular sewing work and decided that I should have one sewing machine because “oh it is in my blood,and I can do this!”. It did not happen that way though,  I felt lost because I was stubborn, I thought I should be able to figure it out by just sitting and looking at it, and not take any class, or let my husband show me how to use it! Yes, he knows how to use it (he took a home economics class in the 8th grade after promises of freshly baked cookies at school), and I don’t know squat about it. Since then, it has been sitting on the upper shelf of the closet. Not anymore. I took it out, and put it out in the open, made a corner in a room for sewing. If I am still not using it or using and not enjoying it within the next 8-12 months, it will reach the end of its life here in my house and go to somebody else… That is the new resolution for October: If  these new hobbies don’t stick within a year, the associated material will find a new life in a yard sale, Ebay, Craig’s list or Goodwill.

Ok, it is off my chest now! Besides the sewing machine, another thing I went running to buy it when there was a sale was a slow cooker. It even came with a cute mini cooker inside for dips and such! How adorable, I thought! It was a little over year ago.  I was planning to make soups, tender roasts and all that yummy stuff  with it every week… You know that is one of the fantasies working women have… or that is how they market this thing to you: You prepare everything the night before, set it up before you leave the house in the morning … and Ta-Daaaa …. you come home to a home-cooked meal! Right?

NOT!

It never happened… I used it only 4 times! ONLY 4 times in all 16 months! And it was mostly on the weekends, because I am not comfortable when I know something is plugged in and cooking at home when I am not there. I am a type of person who checks if I unplugged the iron twenty times before I leave the house in the mornings. I am afraid of fires or causing a fire! And that thing claimed a good bit of space in my little kitchen!

While I was organizing the kitchen, I realized the number of cooking books I have as well. If I am not trying the recipes, what is the use of it? Opened the slow cooker book, started thumbing through the recipes… I guess the fact that it is October, and the fact that there is a tasty beer brewing in the house, I decided  to go with a recipe more like an Octoberfest menu! And we loved it. It is a potato-sausage-sauerkraut mix cooked in apple juice!

And I did it the way the slowcooker was supposed to be used: I assembled everything in the morning, and left the house on a Saturday morning. I came home to a home-cooked meal!  -Ok, my husband, Jay plugged it in a couple hours later and he was at home the whole time to quell my housefire anxiety! Baby steps, people!

Gotta tell you, this was a great and easy meal and went great with a couple of beers and kicking back with friends on a Saturday night! The first recipe tried from the book (adapted from Better Homes and Garden’s Slow Cooker Meals) was a success. Caraway seed definitely gives a different flavor to dishes. Goes well with cabbage!

Hopefully, I will be able to keep up with it. Check back with me in July if you need a sewing machine, a slow cooker, a 88 key keyboard, dark room supplies, various woodworking  items and Spanish books. Lightly used, like new!

Potato-Sausage-Sauerkraut in Slow Cooker

  • 2.5 cups diced red potatoes (or 8-10 medium to small size)
  • 1 medium yellow onion (diced)
  • 1 green bell pepper (diced)
  • 1 cup chopped carrot
  • 1-1/2 lbs cooked smoked Polish sausage(cut into 1 or 2 inch pieces)
  • 2/3 cup apple juice (apple cider can be used, I used Mott’s Apple juice, no sugar added version)
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
  • 1/2 tablespoon caraway seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1- 14 or 16 ounce can sauerkraut, drained

1. Mix the potatoes, onion, pepper, carrot and sausage.

2. Add apple juice, vinegar, caraway seeds, salt and pepper.

3. Cook it on low for 5-6 hours or on high 3 hours. (I check the potatoes/carrots for doneness to decide if it is done.)

4. Turn the heat to high setting and add sauerkraut. Cook another 30 min. Serve with a crusty bread like Ciabbatta.

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2 Comments:

  1. by Peggy
    8:37 am
    Oct 21, 2010

    I absolutely love using my slow cooker! This sounds like a delicious recipe and one that I’ll have to try really soon!

  2. by Meg (The Red Spoon)
    10:38 pm
    Oct 27, 2010

    I’ve heard that crock pots are life savers and produce yummy meals, but every time I use it my food comes out burned – how do you burn stuff in the crock pot?! But I am determined to figure out how to fix it/buy a new one because all I hear about is the slow roasted meats and the tender vegetables that result at the end of the day and it sounds good!

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