Slow-Cooker Coconut Ginger Chicken & Vegetables

Given as a wedding present nearly ten years ago, my slow-cooker hasn’t seen nearly enough use. I tend to reach for my cherry red Le Creuset French oven for braising and stewing. However, as our family is growing and appetites are expanding, I can see the practical side of having a large crock pot and keeping it busy.

Still, I could use some help. I’m no seasoned slow-cooker chef, and can count my fails up there with my winning dishes. That is one reason why I was happy to have Kelsey contact me to participate in her week-long Slow-Cooker Challenge.

January is the perfect month to give that slow-cooker a permanent place on the counter top and our challenge is sure to fuel you with plenty of inspiration. Don’t own a crock pot yet? Both The Naptime Chef and my friends at Big Girls, Small Kitchen are giving one away this week! So hurry over and enter.

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Eat Well, Spend Less: Seasonal Soups (Recipe: French Onion Soup)

How is it mid October already? Oh, right, first there was our jump into October Unprocessed, then Thanksgiving, and just last weekend, Blissdom Canada in Toronto. The month tends to fly by when one is busy.

Yes, it’s time to bring out the Le Creuset French Oven, hit up the market for those incredibly cheap root vegetables, onions, and late-harvest tomatoes and simmer some soup.

Here is a round-up of a few of my favorite recipes, as well as my family recipe for French Onion Soup with a Canadian twist!

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An Unprocessed Dessert (Recipe: Maple Pecan Pie)

This post is going to be brief as I am literally heading out the door to catch a flight. I’m headed to my fourth and last blogging conference of the year – this time on home soil!

Blissdom Canada runs from October 13-15 in Toronto and I’m thrilled to be speaking (topic: Using Social Media for Social Good) at the conference, as well as partnering with Karen to be ‘Tribe Leaders’ for the food bloggers in attendance. The agenda looks amazing and I’m looking forward to getting to know more Canadian bloggers.

If you’re headed to Blissdom yourself, be sure to find me and introduce yourself. (PS. Look for girl with the baby bump. I’m officially halfway!)

Now, as you know, last weekend was Thanksgiving and we enjoyed a gloriously warm long weekend. We also enjoyed time with family and friends, a break from school and work for Danny and Noah, and plenty of pie.

I stuck to my Unprocessed plan for my contributions of pie to the family dinner, and, as I expected, no one noticed a difference. A massive apple pie disappeared with the help of its accompanying whipped cream, and every crumb of my maple pecan pie was devoured. Hit the jump for the recipe…

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How to Keep Your Freezer Cold

Written by Danny Bourque.

Rotten food stinks. Bad.

You know how you feel when someone gets you a surprise present?  Pretty good, I bet.  Now imagine if you got a present, and when you went to use it a few days later, it was broken, spoiled, just turned into garbage.  Just awful, I’m sure.

A few years ago, I knew that when Aimee got me half a cow for Father’s Day, she had to break the news a little bit early so we could prepare appropriately.  That meant finally getting a chest freezer to put it in.  We had been talking about preserving and storing food, buying in bulk and the like, but actually purchasing the freezer was a first step to making that a reality.  A somewhat expensive step.  It would have been really crappy if the freezer broke, or did not adequately freeze the food that we were to put it in.

Hence, I did all the research, read the manual (both French and English versions, of course), and then instructed the store’s moving guys on how to properly move it down the stairs, keep it level, etc.  They guys looked at me like I was some kind of nutcase.  They probably move 20-30 freezers EACH DAY, and here was this engineer telling them the “right” way to move it.  Well, *sulk* just because they’ve been doing it all their life, doesn’t mean that they necessarily are doing it the right or best way.

And so, since those movers wanted nothing to do with my advice, I bottled it all up. Now that I have a larger, (slightly) more interested audience, I propose to share the wisdom I gleaned from both versions of the user’s manual, the sales guy, about 20 websites, and the guy up the street who came to watch.  This, of course, to ensure that your FREEZER DOESN’T DIE and spoil all your hard work and frugal, bulk savings.

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DIY: Stir-fry Vegetable Freezer Packages

With late summer produce so plentiful and affordable at the markets, it makes sense to stock up while the “going” is good. A recent chat with my mother about preserving garden vegetables turned me on to this idea for freezing blanched (lightly cooked) stir-fry vegetables in meal-sized portions.

The concept is simple – prepare and cook vegetables separately, then combine them and package in resealable freezer bags for use all winter long. (We covered this last summer when we preserved broccoli for the freezer.) While the texture of the reconstituted-from-frozen vegetables is missing the firm, toothsome quality of fresh, they still retain their flavor and color, and are by no means mushy.

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