Kitchen Stewardship | A Baby Steps Approach to Balanced Nutrition

Saved by the Slow Cooker {GIVEAWAY – NOW CLOSED} + Recipe Resources

January 18th, 2014 · 15 Comments · What to Buy

The busier I get, the more indispensable my slow cooker becomes — and I need more good recipes to put in it.

Today I’m pretty pumped to share the work of two of my snarky, hilarious colleagues, both of whom are slow cooker freaks aficionados.

Stephanie Brandt Cornais of Mama & Baby Love is the bomb when it comes to going straight from the freezer to the slow cooker and not looking back. She keeps things simple, no extra steps, and gives working parents (and busy people everywhere) a superb new option for getting real food on the table realistically by dinnertime, every night.

Stacy Myers of Stacy Makes Cents is not only the funniest Southern girl I know but also one of the smartest with money and living debt-free, and I think she can make just about anything in a crockpot. Maybe even money, but I kind of doubt it.

FIVE lucky KS readers will receive a set of FOUR slow cooker books in today’s giveaway:

Although all four book clearly have something in common – they’re all slow cooker cookbooks – they’re remarkably different once you dig in. I can’t wait to tell you about each one.

crock on cover

Crock On! is subtitled A Semi-Whole Foods Slow Cooker Cookbook, but I think Stacy sells herself short on that one. It’s filled with real food in my opinion, no semi- about it, and it truly is one of my favorite books to cook from, including all my digital and hard copy cookbooks. I use it at least a few times a month, and one of her recipes (Southern BBQ Chicken) is even in The Healthy Lunch Box, one of my own books. You can see a sample recipe for the book, Cheesy Sausage Potatoes, by clicking HERE to download it.

image

Keep Crockin’ is Stacy’s second slow cooker book, new last fall, with 55 all new recipes, never published on her blog or anywhere else. You can feel Stacy’s shift in eating habits between this and her first book, as there is far less gluten and grain, more low-carb meals in general and more variations to adapt recipes. I’ve tried two from this new book, and so far, so yummy! Check out the sample download, Chicken Tiki Masala (will download immediately).

Slow Cooker Freezer Recipes

The concept behind From Your Freezer to Your Family: Slow Cooker Freezer Recipes took Pinterest by storm on Stephanie’s site a few years ago, and she realized that people were hungry for simplicity on both sides of the freezer – simple to prepare and freeze, simple to cook. We are a busy world! Every recipe in the book is written for double portions right from the get-go, and readers are encouraged to make 3-4 recipes at a time for 6-8 meals in the freezer, all in an hour or two of work. Then the frozen meals go directly into the slow cooker in the morning and on the table for dinner.

image

Stephanie’s second full-length freezer-to-slow-cooker eBook isn’t even out yet, but it’s coming next week. It’s been a labor of love for a year and a half with extensive recipe testing, and it includes the best recipes from the first book (which will be off the market next week!) plus many new ones for a total of 70 recipes.

Coupons!

If you’re already wishing you owned one of these gems, Stacy and Stephanie want to help – they shared exclusive discount codes with KS readers for all four books.

  • Use the code KitchenStew for 50% off everything in the Mama & Baby Love store HERE.
  • Use the code KS30off to get Crock On! for just $3.50 (down from $5) and Keep Crockin’ for $5.60 (down from $8). The coupon only works on the PDF books and expires January 24th. I’ve really enjoyed PDF books on my Kindle app, so hopefully you can get the book on whatever device you prefer.

You could get the whole package, all four books, for under $20 if you use your coupons. (Finally, something a real foodie can actually use coupons on!)

My Honest Thoughts

I get a bad taste in my mouth when I read a gushing, overly positive review. Maybe I’m just cynical, but I always think, “Wasn’t there something negative or questionable to say about the (whatever-it-is)?”

So I’m not like that.

I’ll help you figure out exactly what book will be best for you by listing advantages and disadvantages to each – honestly.

Crock On eBook (7) (475x317)

Crock On!

Advantages

  • Totally recognizable ingredients and spices – Stacy uses really normal stuff, and her family and ours mutually agree that we enjoy cumin, chili powder and garlic in our dinners, I think.
  • Simple recipes – not a ton of prepping or chopping
  • American fare – plenty of Mexican and Asian food here, but by “American” I mean that most Americans would recognize and enjoy the food. Think of slow cooker recipes that include canned cream soups, but without the cans.
  • Stacy will make you laugh, guaranteed.
  • She’s all about full fat dairy, butter, and the good stuff.

Disadvantages

  • Sometimes I feel like there’s more sweetener than needed in a recipe (so I just cut it) and there are a decent number of recipes with flour, corn, or other starchy carbs.

My experience:

I really do use this book all. the. time. Here’s the list of all the recipes we’ve tried and enjoyed:

  • Stuffed Pepper “Stoup” (multiple times, have shared with company)
  • White Beans & Ham (my new go-to when I have a ham bone)
  • Chili Pork Wraps (a few times)
  • Caroline Barbecue Chicken Sandwiches (many times, served to company too)
  • Beef and Broccoli (this was Christmas Eve dinner for us a few weeks ago – it cooked while were at Mass. Voila!)
  • Maple Sesame Chicken (a few times)
  • Sloppy Chicken
  • Broccoli Casserole
  • Garlic Smashed Potatoes
  • Plus I have about 4 more on my “must make someday!” list.

Don’t forget to check out Stacy’s blog where she hosts a new slow cooker recipe every Friday!

Keep Crockin’

Keep Crockin cookbook

Advantages

  • More simple recipes, just like the first book
  • Breakfasts included in this one!
  • Recipes tested and reviewed right on the page

Disadvantages

  • If you’re NOT grain-free/gluten-free or sugar-free, you’ll see a lot of ingredients that you might not have in your house: almond flour, arrowroot starch, stevia, and some other unique foods. Some have substitutions, some don’t. This book also includes many dairy-free alternatives. For some of you, all this might be an advantage!
  • Recipes can be on the small side in my opinion. Just be ready to double if your crock can handle it if you like leftovers.
  • The photos are only okay – I should be talking, mine aren’t so hot either – but this isn’t food porn. It’s simple fare.

My Experience

I tested a recipe for Stacy, the Curried Chicken Soup. It was delicious, even though I think I forgot to add the thickener an hour before the end (I do that all the time when anything has to be added to a crock). My only problem? It only called for 2 cups chicken broth and 1/2 cup. milk. I thought I might starve my family if I didn’t double it immediately!

The recipe we tried this week was Lentil Lasagna Soup, and I increased the amount of some of the ingredients (but not all of them). This one had 4 cups of broth. It turned out really thick, like a “stoup,” but I liked that about it. Jonathan, the 2-year-old who often declares, “I no like soup!” (except the “s” is a “p” sound, which is pretty awesome), ate 3 or 4 bowls of it. Hooray! The only problem was when my reminder popped up to take a photo for this post the next day, here’s what was in the fridge:

Lentil Lasagna Soup

That’s a 2-cup bowl but totally could have been a 1-cupper. User error.

The other recipe I planned to try was Pumpkin Chip Breakfast Pudding. The “chip” is for “chocolate chips” so I planned to make it as a fun Sunday night dessert. When I got down to it Sunday after lunch, I realized that it had to cook in a loaf pan in water in the crock…and mine didn’t fit.

I was going to switch to the Maple Pecan Pie, but when it came time to start that one 2 hours before dinner, I was way too busy with something that must have been important. I have Pizza Sandwiches from the book planned for this Sunday, and I have to say I’m so excited about that recipe – ground sausage, which I make homemade and love, as the foundation for sandwiches that taste like pizza? I have a feeling this one will be a hit. Smile

So bottom line, as long as some “different” ingredients don’t turn you off (Stacy offers “normal” substitutions for almost all of them) and you know what quantity your family will need, this is a very versatile and comprehensive slow cooker cookbook for just about any real food kitchen.

From Your Freezer to Your Family: Slow Cooker Freezer Recipes

 

Advantages

  • If you’re grain-free or gluten-free, you’ll love that the recipes hardly have any in them – nor dairy.
  • Gorgeous photography and layout
  • Stephanie has so much grace for busy moms and so many shortcut suggestions! I love that!
  • Lots of vegetables – when Stephanie shares a meat-centric meal, there is almost always still a few different kinds of veggies included.

Disadvantages

  • For our family, Stephanie uses fruit with meat or spices like cinnamon with meat too often, but that might be an advantage to some. There’s also lots of sweet potatoes, so I’ve skipped many recipes so I don’t get the stink eye from my husband (I like them, he doesn’t) but I just realized I should try simply subbing white potatoes!
  • This girl is not afraid to be heavy on the spice – if your family would be best described as “mild,” you’ll want to automatically cut down anything spicy by half, or even a fourth, because there’s generally no warning if something will be spicy. (We love it, but our kids haven’t been able to eat a few of the things I’ve made!)
  • Recipes aren’t listed in the table of contents, so navigation is trickier than I’d like.
  • Not all ingredients are everyday ingredients in my kitchen, but they probably wouldn’t throw everyone (lamb, eggplant, mango, duck, shrimp)

My experience:

I have to admit, I haven’t done the “freezer” part of the cookbook, just the slow cooker part. Call me crazy. It would probably be a good thing, but I have two reasons for not trying it:

  1. Sometimes I’m behind enough that I don’t have the extra time to plan to make a few extra meals for later.
  2. I don’t always have enough meat for a double batch of meat-centric meals.

We’ve tried:

  • Cumin beans (really good, but spicy)
  • Ginger Beef (seriously yummy, but spicy) I was going to take a photo of this one for this post, but the week just flew by! It’s really pretty with red peppers, scallions, and pea pods…and since my husband forgot to take the rice with it when he packed it for lunch, we can also say with certainty that it’s a delicious soup. Winking smile

Win them!

Enter here to win all 4 books and be crockin’ on from freezer to dinner table in no time. FIVE people will win the whole collection.

Giveaways at Kitchen Stewardship are run via a Rafflecopter form, which means comments on this post do not count (and will be deleted). This is actually quicker for you if you go for extra entries.There are 7 possible entries to win! Please use the Rafflecopter widget below to enter and have fun!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

In order to win you must use the Rafflecopter form above. Remember, comments here DO NOT COUNT.

I will use Rafflecopter, powered by random.org’s integer generator, to choose the winner, who will be announced on the blog and will receive an email. Email subscribers, please click over to the post to enter OR on the link below that says “a Rafflecopter giveaway.”

Giveaway open to anyone, worldwide, as long as the laws of their country allow it. Entries will be accepted until 11:59 p.m. EST on January 23rd and I’ll post the winners the following week. Please add [email protected] to your email server in order to receive notifications of the winners.

If you missed the last Monday Mission, click here.

Kitchen Stewardship is dedicated to balancing God’s gifts of time, health, earth and money.  If you feel called to such a mission, read more at Mission, Method, and Mary and Martha Moments.

Disclosure: I received products for my review at no charge, which of course did not affect my opinion in the least. I am an affiliate for both eBooks, which also doesn’t change my opinion. See my full advertising disclosure here.

Official rules and small print stuff: 1) No purchase necessary to win 2) must be 13 or older to enter and have a mailing address within the sponsor’s boundaries (see above) 3) only one survey entry per person 4) odds of winning depend on number of entries 5) employees of Kitchen Stewardship, LLC or sponsoring company not eligible for participation 6) contest sponsored by Mama & Baby Love and Stacy Makes Cents. 7) prizes must be accepted as is and are not redeemable for cash 8 ) Kitchen Stewardship, LLC and sponsoring company are not liable for any injury or damage to persons and/or things as a result of the acceptance of the prize offered. 9) This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook.

Tags: ··


15 Comments so far ↓

  • Maria

    I definitely need the breakfast ideas in Keep Crockin’! With homeschooling, cooking and cleaning up take SO much from my day – this wold be a God-send. AND – she’s Southern like us! We just happen to be in the Mid-Atlantic for a spell :-)

  • Debbie

    Just checking how long the KS discount codes are good for? would be a shame to pay for the book or books, and THEN win the free give-away (though would love to WIN!) ………….

    Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship Reply:

    Debbie,
    Stacy’s coupon lasts through the 24th, and Stephanie didn’t say…I emailed her to check. For myself, I always say that if you buy a book and then win, I’ll happily refund the price, so hopefully I could convince these gals to do the same. Good luck! :) Katie

    Stacy Makes Cents Reply:

    Yep!

    Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship Reply:

    Stephanie says the same on the refund, and the coupon is through the end of the giveaway…

  • Judy T

    I’d love some new tried and true slow cooker recipes !

  • Marilyn

    Just tried to purchase Nook version of Crock On! Clicked on the NOOK button on Stacy’s site and was re-directed to B & N site. I couldn’t find a place to record the coupon code. Is there another place I should go? Thanks for your help.

    Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship Reply:

    Marilyn,
    Good question, and maybe I should update this post – the coupon is only good for the PDF version of the book, because that’s the only one Stacy sells directly. However – I really enjoy reading PDF eBooks on my Kindle, so hopefully Nook is as versatile and then you can use the coupon. And you can have it on your computer too, so you can search for recipes and print out ones you love and need to mark up. Hope that works for you! :) Katie

  • Diane | An Extraordinary Day

    Katie…have you done any posts on crock pots? I’ve had two newer models and they cook too hot on low for broth….or almost anything.

    Thanks!!

    Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship Reply:

    Diane,
    I haven’t actually – although I have a document of resources for a post someday! I hear the “too high” is a very common problem, especially with newer slow cookers. I wonder why? Maybe brands are afraid if they cook lower and someone gets food poisoning, that they’ll get sued. ??? Wish I could help – but you might check for secondhand models, actually! :) Katie

  • Stacy Makes Cents

    :-) Thank you, my friend.

    Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship Reply:

    Girl, we love your stuff here!!

  • Bethany W

    I only use whole chickens. So many slow cooker crockpot recipes call for boneless skinless chicken breasts. How do these four fare?

    I’m particularly curious about the freezer-to-crock ebook.

    Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship Reply:

    Bethany,
    I feel your pain! I just checked through the freezer to slow cooker eBook (the old one; I don’t have the new yet) and unfortunately there are a lot of boneless breast called for. One has a whole chicken and a few have parts that can be bone-in (thighs, legs) – in my book that means you can use a whole cut-up chicken. ;) That book feels to me like it has more beef and other meats than chicken, overall, and the new book is twice as big. I wonder what it will have…

    The majority of chicken recipes in Crock On can use already cooked chicken like you’d have from making stock, I imagine.

    Hope that helps! :) katie

  • Erin from Long Island

    oh shoot, I planned to enter since it says the 11th is the end date =(

Welcome!  Meet Katie.

I embrace butter. I make homemade yogurt. I eat traditional real food – plants and animals that God created, not products of plants where food scientists work. Here at Kitchen Stewardship, I share how I strive to be a good steward of my family's nutrition, the environment, and our budget, all without spending every second in the kitchen. Learn more about the mission of KS here.

PTE350
Squooshi reusable food pouches